My Big Brother and Me part 2

In 1950 we moved to Elk Run Heights just outside Waterloo, Iowa. Waterloo had a baseball team, the Waterloo White Hawks, a farm club of the White Sox. We loved baseball. That year the baseball club came up with a solution to a problem they’d had for years. Kids would line up along the fence surrounding the ball field to watch through the knot holes, probably making new ‘knot holes’ just so they could watch the game. In 1950 they advertised t-shirts that read across the back, KNOT HOLER! Mother bought each of us one. Richard and I, especially, loved to go to the games and as long as we wore our t-shirts we got in free!

One game night we had a dilemma…it was Wednesday evening. We always went to church on Wednesday evening. In fact, we went to church twice on Sunday and to every Wednesday evening  prayer meeting. We never missed. Oh boy, this evening Richard and I really wanted to go to the ballgame. We begged and coaxed.  Mother finally agreed but…we had to go to prayer meeting first and each give a testimony! We agreed. For some unknown reason prayer meeting was held in a home that evening instead of at the church. Harvey and Minnie Nichols were hosting the service. They happened to live in the same direction as the stadium! We arrived on time. First we sang some hymns, then Bro. Nichols, prayed. Oh, it was the longest prayer!!! Finally it was time for testimonies. Richard jumped to his feet  and declared his love for Jesus, I immediately followed him with “I love the Lord with all my heart!” Then we politely excused ourselves and went to the ballgame! I don’t remember who won the game but it was an evening I’ve never forgotten!

In my seventh year of school and Richard’s 11th year he went to South Dakota to Wessington Springs Jr College and High School. Then someone graciously paid Lorraine’s way to also attend the same school. Our life at home changed dramatically with only Billy and myself at home with Mother. Dad was traveling most of the time as an evangelist. This picture is Richard and Lorraine, brother and sister, who became great friends while away at school!Richard & Lorraine

The school year went by quickly and in August we moved to Des Moines, Iowa. Dad had been appointed pastor of First Free Methodist Church. Lorraine returned to South Dakota to school but Richard stayed home with us in Des Moines. He had decided to join the Army.

I’ll never forget the night before he was to leave early the next morning. My bedroom was right next to his. I wanted to go to him to tell him good-bye, I wanted to give him a hug. I wanted him to know I loved him, I would miss him and I’d be praying for him. Our family wasn’t a demonstrative family. We never hugged or said I love you. But that night I wanted to so badly. The Korean War was going on and I didn’t know what that would mean for him. I tossed and turned all night but I didn’t go to him. I just couldn’t risk being rejected by my big brother. It seems ridiculous now but that was then.

Richard was stationed at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia for his entire three years! Mother and Dad and Billy and I took a trip down to Georgia for his basic training graduation. I was so proud of him. I was a teenager now and he told me some of the guys were asking him who the pretty young girl was with his family. He said he told them I was his sister and they’d better not bother me! Then he gave me some big-brotherly advise about guys and how I should be careful! This was the first of a few big brother talks he gave me through my teen years… Scan_Pic0168

In the army Richard became a radio communications instructor; got married; had a son… Life goes on but life is not always fair. The marriage didn’t last but his son did! Richard Anthony Williamson, my nephew!

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Richard had come home to seek counsel from Dad and Mother. I didn’t know he was coming. I walked through the living room, Richard was sitting on the sofa. We looked at each other…his eyes looked wild! What was wrong? Later Mother explained to me what was happening. I was heart broken for Richard. I cried, sobbed, cried some more; praying all the while. Divorce! How could this be happening to my wonderful big brother?

Richard had graduated from De Vry Technical Institute in Chicago.

I was a freshman at Wessington Springs Jr College. Richard returned to begin his college career. It was very nice for me to have my big brother so close. We didn’t spend a lot of time together but just knowing he was near was a comfort to me.

The summer of 1958 I met Jerry and we fell in love! So I decided to transfer to Spring Arbor College in Michigan. We were married the next summer. Richard was an usher in our wedding. This picture is our family: Bill, Richard, little Christine, Lorraine, me, Jerry, Mother and Dad. Dad married us. Bill and Richard were ushers, Christine was flower girl, Lorraine was matron of honor, I was the bride!Lorraine 010

Then Richard married again. He and his new wife moved to Spring Arbor so he could go back to school. We got together several different times. We had three children by then, Pammy, Teddy and Timmy. They had a son, Andy.

Richard is a good actor and while he was attending Spring Arbor College he played the part of Silas Marner in the play of the same name. Jerry and I drove down to see the play and were so impressed. Richard was an excellent actor.

From the time I was very young I knew Richard was going to be a pastor. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. While they were living in Spring Arbor Richard began to feel this call. They moved to Iowa where he became pastor of the Knoxville, Iowa Free Methodist Church. A baby girl was born to them, Susan Diane. We went to visit them while they were living there.

Then they moved to Walla Walla, Washington where he pastored the Free Methodist Church. He also worked with teens who needed help. It led him to write a short book, El Shaddi.

While living there Richard also completed his college work and graduated from Walla Walla College in ‘69 with a degree in English and a minor in Religion. I was very proud of him.

Another move was made, this time to Golden, Colorado where he pastored the Free Methodist Church. The conference superintendent was our own father, Glen Williamson. We went to visit them and had the wonderful, unforgettable experience of going to The Flying W Ranch. We enjoyed it as much as all our children, Pammy, Teddy, Andy, Timmy and Susan.

But trouble was brewing again and again there was a divorce. My heart was saddened again for my big brother. As I prayed for him I questioned God, “Why, Lord? Why?”

This divorce, of course, meant the end of his pastoral ministry in the Free Methodist Church. I was saddened. He was a good pastor.

He continued living in Colorado, moving to Greeley. He had several jobs, he was successful at every job he had! A printing shop, The Pony Express. He headed up a ministry for troubled boys. He managed a home for senior citizens. He always left the job a better position then when he started with it.

I mentioned before that he was a good actor. The Hollywood movie Centennial was being made. Richard tried out as an extra and got the job! He was a minister in one scene and…

Then he met Cookie. They married and a year later Heidi Ann was born!

He still acted in plays. He was often the leading man.

Richard began attending the Methodist Church in Greeley, often filling in when the pastor was gone. Then he was hired as Pastor. 17 years over 3 different times.

Richard loves old radios and has collected and repaired them for years. He also has had a radio program “Oldies” for 22 years! At present he’s on The Pirate Radio station in Greeley, Colorado every Sunday evening, 5:30 to 11:30 PM. He plays music from the 40’s and 50’s and old programs like Fibber Magee and Molly, Inner Sanctum, Jack Benny, and so many more.

Richard is a busy man at 84 years of age! He just had a birthday! He’s a husband, grandfather, and great grandfather! He also makes up cross word puzzles and other word puzzles for the Greeley News!

I’m very proud of my big brother! There is a lot more I could have written but I didn’t. I wish we lived closer but we don’t. I’m thankful for telephones and internet and mail. Today it’s very easy to stay in touch. I love you, Richard!

My Big Brother and Me

My big brother, Richard Glen, is four years older than I am. He’s just older enough for me to have always looked up to him. He’s always been there for me. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n

My very first recollection was when I was about three or four years old. We lived in a house that didn’t have enough bedrooms! So Richard and I shared a bedroom. I went to sleep every night knowing my big brother was in a bed near by and I felt safe!

When we were kids, back in the 40’s, he had a tall stack of comic books! He was very possessive of them. We, my sister, Lorraine, younger brother, Billy and I couldn’t just pick up a comic book and start reading. Oh no, we had to ask permission to read one! Then we had to put it back on the pile when we finished! I’m sure our mother appreciated the fact that Richard’s comic books were never just laying around waiting to be picked up!kids 1947 (2)  I was just seven years old, and he, 11, called with a gruff voice, “Anita!”

Oh no, what did I do now?

“See my comic books?” he asked sternly.

I nodded, searching through my mind, had I sneaked one to read lately? I don’t think so…I couldn’t remember…

“Well, pick out which ever one you want to read!” he ordered with a friendly grin! “But…take care of it and put it back when you’re done!” OH, okay, I could do that!

Richard was very responsible. From the time he was in sixth grade he always had a job! Covington, Oklahoma: sweeping the floor of the newspaper print shop and recycling lead free linotype cymbals! East Peoria, Illinois: an early morning paper route. Waterloo, Iowa: a grocery store carrying groceries and stocking shelves.

One year for Christmas Dad and Mother gave Richard a new, used Schwinn bicycle. He was so excited. It was bright red, it didn’t really matter that it didn’t have fenders. But, because Richard worked and made a little money, he was able to buy new fenders. Shiny chrome fenders!

One day, some boys after school, were picking on him, trying to pull his bike away from him! I saw them and was horrified! They couldn’t do that to my big brother! I ran toward the boys. When I reached them I started hitting and kicking, yelling all the while, “Leave my brother alone! Get away from him, That’s his bike!”

I don’t remember how it turned out. I do remember the reprimanding I got from Richard, later at home. He told me he could fight his own battles, and I was never, under any circumstances, ever to fight for him again!

When we moved to East Peoria, Illinois in 1948 Richard again went to work! This time he was hired as a paperboy delivering the early morning paper! He had to get up very early every morning! I got up early a couple of times to go on his route with him. It wasn’t even light out, but he was faithful and his customers appreciated him. I felt proud making the rounds with him. I should have gone with him more often…but it was soooo hard to get up soooo early!

Richard, teenagerRichard had a dark room where he developed pictures from our Kodak brownie cameras! He patiently explained the whole process to me. I was impressed! He was so intelligent!

But Richard had a problem. He stuttered. He just recently told me how he overcame this embarrassing, uncontrollable problem. We moved often which meant new schools, new friends, new jobs, new church, etc. During our childhood we never lived in a house longer than three years! It was hard on all of us kids but it was our life. It was hardest on Richard though because of his stuttering. Some letters were harder to say then others. He could hardly get out the letter R, so he took the nickname, Dick, although he’s always been Richard to Mother and me.

But Richard had a teacher in East Peoria who recognized his problem of stuttering because she’d had the problem when she was a girl and a teacher helped her overcome it. She talked to Richard about it and offered to help him, if he would let her.

Thankfully, he did let her and what a difference she made for him!  No more stuttering after a few months of working with her. He ended up with an A in English. Later in life he became an actor, preacher, radio announcer, etc.!

Continued as part 2.

 

 

 

Fun Loving Dad

My dad was a baby,  Scan_Pic0108  who started out racing with the doctor! Dad won! The doctor arrived at the Iowa farmhouse after he was born! My dad was a boy, who lived on a farm until he was ten, then his dad retired, built a house in town, Scan_Pic0006 and Dad became a city boy. You can see their  1916 Saxon, which my Grandpa bought brand new!  My dad was a brother, the youngest with six older siblings. My dad was a college student until the financial crash in 1919. He was going to be a lawyer!

My dad was a cook’s helper and later a chef. Scan_Pic0103 Dad’s the cook in front.

He was a husband 3905_1067392805078_6714086_n and a  daddy. Scan_Pic0107 He was Dad 45 a minister, pastor, evangelist, and a writer, Scan_Pic0254 He published 13 books!  And he was an executive.

My dad was an actor! He portrayed B. T. Roberts, Glen as BT Roberts the founder of Free Methodism.

My dad was a world traveler, having traveled to various countries in four continents: North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Because of all his experiences and knowledge he was bestowed an honorary Doctors Degree of Letters!

Then he became a student again, earning his BA and his MA at age 70!

In all of these roles. he still loved to have just plain fun. Scan_Pic0127  This was in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago! Dad & Mother relaxingDad and Mother relaxing in the park!

He walked me down the aisle and gave me away. Wedding June 13 '59 001  Then he walked up onto the platform and married Jerry and me! wedding-day J & AGo-cart0098  Here he’s having fun riding my son’s go-cart! Anita & Jerry Merry-G-Round 79 Portland0001  He’s riding a Merry-Go-Round! Scan_Pic0059  He’s letting Annie drive his scooter!  Yes, I have many fond memories of my dad. He was a man with a mission…who loved to have fun! He lived four days shy of his 96th birthday. I loved my dad.

Change At The Top

Change is always hard… I don’t like change. I like familiarity. This isn’t a political post… I’m not talking about electing a new president. I’m talking about my church. Changing pastors. It’s hard. I’ve been in my denomination, Free Methodist, since I was only about two years of age! So I’ve seen lots of changes.

There’ve been changes in policies and rules, like the negativity of the  40’s and 50’s. A few of them were movies, dancing, make-up, jewelry, bowling, I could go on and on. Today I’m free to do whatever I feel is okay in my personal life. So even though I’m free now, I do very few of those forbidden acts.

What I’m referring to, in this post, is the changing of a pastor. In the Free Methodist denomination, pastors are appointed, not hired by a church. When I was a little girl, it was common for a pastor to be moved after two or three years at the appointed church. My dad was a pastor and we stayed at the church in Des Moines, Iowa for four years during two different appointments! That was unusual!

I want to skip ahead to today. Pastors are still appointed, but the assignment may last for many years.  My pastor was here, in my church, for 20 years! I knew him well, he knew me well. I loved him and his wife. One day in May he made the announcement to a few committee folks (I was on the committee) that he had accepted a church in another state. We would be getting a new pastor. Oh…no…my heart dropped.

The committee I was on and our conference superintendent met numerous times in order for us to give the superintendent a clear profile of our church family and our needs. We  prayed for guidance for the conference committee in searching for a new pastor for us. This went on all summer! We were fortunate in having two assistant pastors who filled the pulpit, so to speak, over the summer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Midland Free Methodist Church

Finally as of one week ago, we have a new pastor appointed to our church! He’s not new to us. In fact, he was an assistant pastor here about fifteen years ago!

We, as a committee, were committed to prayer. We knew, without a doubt, that God had a person already picked out for us. We just needed to be patient. So we prayed, we interviewed, we discussed, we prayed…

Finally, another name was brought to us. We were surprised! We hadn’t thought of this person, even though most of us, on the committee, knew him.

Here’s his story. When he first heard our pastor was leaving, he began to pray for our church. After all, he knew us, he had been on staff as an assistant to our pastor, years before. Every now and then, our church came to his mind as he was praying and so he’d include us in his prayers. After a while, he asked God what was going on, why a new pastor wasn’t being assigned! Then he said, the thought came to him that maybe…maybe…he was the pastor to answer the call! He wrote to our conference superintendent telling him this and… the rest is history!

Pastor Gene LeForge has been assigned. This is a big change, but it’s one I can live with. I believe God is in it! “Thank You Lord, for Your guidance.”