Ring…Ring…Hello?

Telephone. A luxury I’ve had for most of my life. Telephones have come a long way! Let me begin by retelling my dad’s exciting telephone experience.

Dad was born in 1909. His family had their first telephone. They were on a party line, of course. The number of rings had to be counted to know when an incoming call was for them! I don’t know how many rings meant a call for them.

Eight long rings meant important news was being broadcast across the party line!               In 1918 good news came across the wires telling families World War I had ended!

July 5, 1919, there came eight lon-n-ng rings again! This time to tell everyone to look in the sky, south. There my dad and others in the family had their first sighting of an airplane, just a tiny speck, moving steadily along!

Dad’s sister, Bessie, was seventeen years older than Dad! She went to school through eighth grade, then she got a job as a telephone operator until her marriage to her young boyfriend, Earnie!  619px-texasrichardson_telephoneexchangeoperator-2 This isn’t a picture of Aunt Bessie but I imagine she looked something like this on the job!

An early telephone.antique-telephone-1-2

The first telephone below was in the farmhouse where my mother grew up in northern Iowa! It is now in my brother’s kitchen. The board on the box at the bottom has been replaced, as you can see. But my mother remembered the phone well from when she was just a girl. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   momonoldtelephone3-16-08   This is Mother, in her old age, pretending like she listening to someone on the phone of her youth!antique-telephone-in-georgia-2  This phone is in the history building in Winder, Georgia! I was given permission to post it here.

When I was a little girl, we had a phone most of the time. When Dad was a pastor, he needed a phone. Many emergency calls came to him. Black phone (2)  Some years he traveled and my parents couldn’t afford a telephone!

Jerry and I were married in 1959. We had a phone like the one in this latest picture. It started out being a party line with eight people on our line. It was very soon cut down to four people…then later, two people. We were very conservative. Long distance calls were made very seldom. Of course, when we had a new baby, calls were made to spread the news!  I’ll never forget the day Jerry told me, in the early 70’s, that I should start calling my parents once a month and have a nice visit with them! So I did! Black phone (2)  In the eighties, we finally got a private line! It was wonderful! Calling became normal and usual. With five children, how could it not!

I was hired by the school system to call the substitute teachers for the secondary schools in our city. A new private phone was installed in my kitchen! Blue telephone  It was very similar to this one! Yes, I picked out a blue one to go with my kitchen! The big difference of this picture is that my new school phone had push button numbers instead of a dial! I loved it. But, it was for school calls and paid for by the school system so our family still used the old black phone, most of the time. There were exceptions!

When we built our new log home twenty years ago in 1997 we bought a new phone with an answering machine! Oh yes! I wish I had a picture of it! We didn’t have to miss any messages! We also bought an old looking phone and hung on the wall in the kitchen. It worked but, of course, not anymore. new-old-phone-2  Now it just looks old-fashioned!

All this to bring us to today! Of course, businesses still have telephones and a few people still have a land line with a phone connected.

We don’t. We have our cell phones. But even so we’re not up-to-date! Jerry still has his flip-phone! jerry-on-phone-2 He says it works fine. I have my iphone. img_0052-4  What a difference in telephones today! I have instant access with anyone anywhere! I can text or message or talk at any hour of the day or night. My daughter, in Ireland, and I message or talk to each other whenever we want to! It sounds like she’s next door! I have friends all over the world and it’s wonderful to be in contact with them! My phone gives me the weather anywhere in the world, instantly! International and national news comes over my iphone! Pictures? My phone has a camera and I can even edit my pictures before I post them! I carry my phone with me all the time. I charge it at night while I’m sleeping.

This morning one of my sons called so we facetimed! That means we are both on a camera so we could see each other as we talked! Wonderful!

But back in about the seventies, a prediction was made that in the future we’d be able to talk on our phones–live! Oh, no, I thought! What if my house was messy! What if I looked bad, like I wasn’t dressed up! My hair might be a mess! I thought it was a bad idea! But the prediction came true and I love it! I love facetiming with my grandchildren and my children and even friends!

Yes, the telephone has come a long way from when it was first invented! But we still answer with “Hello?”

 

 

 

 

Flowergirl and a Bow

 

My mother made my flower girl gown. It was 1942 or ’43 and I was four years old. We lived in Des Moines, Iowa. Mother was almost finished when she decided to add a bow about two inches above the hemline of the dress. The bow made it special! She finished sewing my dress, pressed it, and oh, it was beautiful! It was a perfect fit!

 

Anita Flower Girl, 4 yrs.

Anita, the flower girl with a bow.

Hmmm…do you wonder why she sewed a bow near the bottom of the dress? Well, I had a baby brother, Billy. I suspect he was crying and needed attention! Whatever the reason…my dress ended up with an ugly scorch mark! I don’t know who came up with idea of a bow covering the spot, but it was a good idea! Mother was an excellent seamstress so she may have thought of it herself. There was enough material left over so she made a beautiful bow!

Not long ago I was looking at pictures of President Polk’s wife. She was known for her beautiful gowns. One had a beautiful bow on the skirt of the dress! Hmmm, I wonder if someone made a mistake and covered it with a bow?!

Bow on a gown Mrs Polk

Mrs. Poke’s with a bow on her gown!

Here’s a picture of the entire wedding party in 1942 or ’43. My dad assisted in the ceremony. He’s the first man on the left, second row from the top.

Anita flower girl wedding

Anita (Williamson) Archer, flower girl; 1st row: ? French; ? Matheny, bride; ??, groom; Norma French; 2nd row: ??; Wyla (Notbohm) Skeen; Annabelle (King) Kerestly ; 3rd row: Rev. Glen Williamson; Rev. J.K. French; Rev. E.W. Walls; 4th row: ??; ??; ??.

Mother’s English China

Back in about 1952 Dad bought and sent a beautiful set of English China dishes to Mother. We lived in Elk Run Heights, a sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa. Dad, as an evangelist, was traveling, as usual. He was in eastern Canada and had been looking for just the right set of dishes to buy and send to her. He finally found it!

I’ll never forget the day several large boxes arrived in the mail. We were both so excited! It was like Christmas day to us! Mother and I carefully unpacked the boxes. Only one cup was cracked and later it was replaced.

Mother was a beautiful hostess. Between graduating from high school and marrying my dad she had worked for a very prominent family in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. There she learned how to be a proper hostess. She said at the time she never dreamed that knowledge would be so important to her later on in life!

Being the wife of a pastor, an evangelist, an executive, a conference superintendent, and more, she had entertained many important and influential men and women. Bishops, missionaries, pastors, evangelists, college presidents, professors, the list goes on and on! Her beautiful set of English China was well used!

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Table set with Mother’s English China.

We were visiting Mother and Dad, at Warm Beach Retirement Center, in Washington, in about 1994. Mother surprised me when she said she’d like to give her set of English China to me and that we should take the set home with us! Oh, I didn’t know what to say! I was thrilled that she wanted me to have them, but how could I take them? Maybe she would need them again! Why not wait a few more years? But she insisted I take them when we left back to Michigan. So Mother and I carefully packed the dishes into a couple of sturdy boxes. English China 1

I treasure Mother’s English China! On the bottom of each piece is the name and location where they were made. I can’t read the whole thing, but I can see ‘Simpsons… Cobridge, England’. I only use them on very special occasions. Today was one of those occasions! We invited our new lead pastor and wife, Pastor Gene and Lois, for dinner! As we all sat down at the table Pastor Gene exclaimed, “Oh my, what beautiful dishes! Are these special?”

So I had the joy of telling them about Mother’s English China and my joy to be serving dinner with them.  I told them of all the important people who had eaten from them and now they were among the important folks also! It was a wonderful evening!

 

 

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today started out as almost every day starts out. Autumn was just beginning, as it is now. A few leaves were beginning to turn color. That day, in the morning, I had an inkling to call my sister, Lorraine. But I didn’t because she lived in Portland, Oregon and I live in Midland, Michigan! There is a three-hour difference in our time zones. Or is it four? I’m in Eastern Time Zone and she, in Pacific Time Zone. We’d been getting together about once or twice a year because we’d visit our parents in Washington. Then she moved to Washington for their final years. So when I went to visit Mother and Dad I stayed with her in her apartment. About a year after Dad died, Mother moved to Colorado, where our brothers lived.

And in between those visits, we talked often, on the phone, but most of our calls were late at night, so we weren’t interrupted by anyone or anything. We both loved our visits. They were always long visits, two or three hours long! We had so much to talk about!

  • Our childhood, we were just two and one-half years apart, we had such fun playing house (dolls), paper dolls, school. She was always the teacher! We played jacks, jump rope, tag, hide and seek. We listened to the radio every evening. We reminisced about all of this. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n  This picture is of Richard, Me in the middle, and Lorraine. Grandma had curled our hair for this picture.
  • Our family life, back when we were young. Our parents had rules we didn’t understand but had to obey. Dad was a pastor/evangelist in an evangelical denomination, Free Methodist, and there were strict rules. No jewelry or make-up, no movies, no dancing, no mixed swimming, no bowling, so many things we couldn’t do. Lorraine and I had long braids. Mother had two very long braids that she wrapped around her head, twice! Mother 001When Lorraine was in about fifth grade she wanted her hair cut and fixed like the other girls. She begged Mother to cut her hair. Finally, Mother gave in. But Lorraine heard her say softly, “I hope the Lord will forgive me for this!” Lorraine never forgot that statement. kids 1947 In this picture of the four of us children, I have braids but Lorraine doesn’t.
  • Thank goodness the Free Methodist Church no longer has those rules for dress and behavior. I’m still Free Methodist today. I love God with all my heart. But for Lorraine, to live a Christian life was a struggle. We had many discussions about those old rules and what it means to be a Christian today. I believe with all my heart she made her peace with the Lord.Lorraine
  • We discussed private matters that we only shared with each other. Being able to talk with each other, knowing our conversations were, for our ears only, freed both of us from guilt feelings that sometimes can plague a person’s mind.
  • We discussed our children and grandchildren. She had four, all girls. Her oldest, Christine, was my flower girl when Jerry and I got married! I had five, three boys and two girls. She had eleven grandchildren. I have fifteen grandchildren. We both love all of them, with no favorites.
  • We even discussed our husbands! She had two. I have one.

We decided, early on, not to discuss politics. We didn’t.

Well, the day, three years ago today, went by, the urge to call her left me, with the business of the day. That night I was tired and went to bed earlier than usual. But not being able to relax and fall asleep, I got up and went to the loft when I collapsed in my ‘lazy-boy’ chair. I hadn’t been there long when my phone rang. Oh good, it must be Lorraine!

But no, it was my older brother, Richard! He was calling with bad news. Lorraine had died sometime during the day. Her daughter, Christine, found her. Whatever else he said, I don’t know. I was in shock. Three years ago today. I miss Lorraine so much.

Happy Birthday, Bill

Happy Birthday, Bill! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s a bitter-sweet day for us. Seventy-three years ago today both you and Mother weren’t expected to live. You weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces. Both of you lived! Two years ago today, on your 71st birthday, Mother died at 7:00 AM. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????  This picture was taken at her 99-year birthday party in March 2013!

She was 99 1/2 years old when she died! I was with her, having stayed with her overnight. When I called to tell you she was gone…you told me you had expected her to die on your birthday! Somehow you had expected this for about a week! So you took the news very graciously.

I’m wishing a good day for you today.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Bill. Bless him today on his birthday. Please touch him, both physically and spiritually. Keep him safe and well. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin,  friend, and neighbor. I love Bill so much and You love him even more!

Fifty-six Years and Counting

Jerry and I wrote letters back and forth for a few weeks but then one day his letter said he wanted to come for a visit! He gave me a date and when I mentioned it to my parents they said they’d be gone that weekend so it wouldn’t be right for him to come. I sadly wrote back to him that I’d love to have him come but we’d have to pick a different weekend.

We continued writing and that particular weekend came along. My parents left and then I got a phone call from my former boyfriend, Burt! He was on his way home from Seattle and was coming through Warsaw, which is next to Winona Lake. He’d be at the train station at a certain time and wanted to come to see me. Oh boy, now what…

I didn’t drive so I called a taxi cab and was at the station when he arrived. He was so pleased to see me! I’ll never forget the look on his face when he saw me standing there. We took another cab back to my house in Winona Lake. He then called his parents, who lived in Wilmore, Kentucky, to tell them he had arrived in Winona Lake, so they would drive up to get him.

We sat on the sofa, talking about his trip from Seattle. He suddenly pulled me to himself for our first kiss! Of course I resisted.  He looked shocked and hurt. Then he said, “Is it another guy?” I nodded and said something like it being a long time since we’d been together.

I fixed us something to eat and we talked about nothing, we went for  a walk and finally his parents arrived, also his sister, Nellie, and younger brother, David. Nellie and I had been good friends for several years. I actually made up beds for the entire family to stay overnight!

The next morning, I cooked breakfast for them and they prepared to leave. Oh no, the car had a problem and wouldn’t start! A mechanic was called and he spent a couple of hours working on the motor before he got it fixed! In the meantime, Burt was coaxing me to go home with his family for the weekend! I could go as Nellie’s friend! After all, Nellie and I’d been friends for several years. It was tempting but somehow just didn’t seem right. So I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

They finally left and I collapsed on the sofa, falling asleep. I was exhausted! Suddenly there was a knock on the door! Who could that be? I quickly straightened my clothes and my hair. When I opened the door, there stood Jerry, with a big smile! I invited him in. As we closed the door he drew me to him with a sweet kiss!

Jerry said he’d been driving around town looking for our house for at least an hour. I suddenly realized he was in town before Burt’s family left! Oh, my! That was a close call! Later when I told him about Burt’s family being there he said if he’d arrived while they were there…he would have left!!!

Jerry worked for Dow Chemical Co. and I didn’t know or understand their scheduling. This was a long weekend for Jerry and he wouldn’t have another one for several weeks.

The next day Mother arrived home by bus! Jerry and I met her. She was very surprised and we quickly explained that he was staying in a hotel. Later she kindly rented a room for him with friends about a block from our house.

We had a great time getting to know each other better. Love was in the air!

A few weeks later I took a bus up to Michigan so I could get to know him and his mother better. I remember being so nervous as the bus got closer to Flint. What if he wasn’t there to meet me? What would I do? I saw him before I even got off the bus. He was standing there waiting with a smile!

But there was a problem! I was a student at Wessington Springs College in South Dakota. Jerry said if I went back our relationship would end. Oh no. I was so troubled. My parents suggested I change colleges and attend Spring Arbor College in Michigan! The rest is history…

Happy Mothers Day

My mother, Corina Williamson.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                         My mother-in-law, Frances Archer.Scan_Pic0031    They were both beautiful!             Happy Mother’s Day, I miss you both.