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!
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…
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!
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!