Remembering Billy Graham

Billy Graham breathed his last earthly breath on February 21, 2018. He was 99 years old. He was a man that I, and millions of others, looked up to. He never disappointed me. God was with him.

In 1956 I was hired, as a teenager of 16, to work at the Eskimo Inn, a restaurant in Winona Lake, Indiana. I had taken the train from Des Moines, Iowa, where my family lived at the time, to work for the summer. This is a town, near Warsaw, where there were many Christian conventions and retreats held. My own denomination, Free Methodist, had it’s headquarters in Winona Lake, Indiana.

I was living, along with all the other employee girls, up in the 3rd floor of the Winona Hotel. I remember how hot it was up there, every day and night!!!

So, on this day, I was on my way to my room. As I approached the hotel I saw Billy Graham come out the door! Yes, he was staying in the same hotel I was living in! I’m assuming he had the best room in the hotel, maybe even had air conditioning! It was a very hot summer! As I approached he spoke to me! He was so gracious and polite! Somehow I managed to ask if I could take his picture! He very kindly obliged!

Billy Graham (2)                         I love his shoes!

So many well known evangelists have fallen morally. I remember reading that Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, and George Beverly Shay had an agreement, or more of a pact between them, that they would never meet with a woman, for any reason, alone. Someone would have to be in the room with them. There is just so much to admire about Billy Graham. God blessed him.

When our children were young a special meeting with Billy Graham and his team was scheduled to be in the Silver Dome! My brother, Bill, and his family were visiting us so we all piled in the station wagon and drove to Pontiac to attend the Billy Graham crusade! That was before seat belts! There were twelve of us in our ’66 Pontiac station wagon! It was an unforgettable trip and experience!

There is so much to write about Billy Graham I hardly know what to write! Do any of you, my readers, have an experience to share about Billy Graham? Please write about it in a comment! I would love to read your experiences!

 

 

Jesus Loves Me

I recently read an interesting post about the person who wrote Jesus Loves Me! It was so interesting! I must admit I’d never wondered who wrote it! I along with every other child loved singing it and did so, often. Norma Nill wrote about Anna Bartlett Warner, the author of Jesus Loves Me. You can find it at normanill.com.  Go ahead, look it up, it’s worth your time!

I am reminded of a post I wrote a few years ago on my blog Anita’s Adventures.

 

I was at a Winning Women Retreat in London, Ontario, Canada. The speaker was excellent, the workshops so relevant, the music was beautiful. What a wonderful weekend away for me and for the other thousands of women who were there. 

     One of the singer’s was an outstanding soloist. The last day as she began to sing her solo, Jesus Loves Me…, a hush fell over the entire arena, This I know, for the Bible tells me so…

     Suddenly, from one of the balconies, sobs were heard. They became louder and louder. I, along with all the other women, turned to see who was causing this disturbance.

     Sitting alone, was a rather robust black woman sobbing uncontrollably. She, alone, identified with the black soloist. The words penetrated the very depths of her soul:  Jesus Loves Me, This I Know…For The Bible Tells Me So. Little Ones To Him Belong, They Are Weak, But He Is Strong…Yes, Jesus Loves Me…

If you’d like to read more of my adventures, you can! Go to                                                  mylife-experieces.blogspot.com.  I know, the ‘n’ is left out of experiences. I made a mistake and wasn’t able to correct it! So just make the mistake along with me…you’ll be glad you did!

 

Growing Up…White

In 1944 to 1946, I began my education in Des Moines, Iowa  at Nash Elementary and Kirkwood Elementary. The schools I attended were racially mixed. Race meant nothing to me. I played with anyone who would play with me.

I was raised in Iowa, except for three years, 1946 to 1949, when we lived in Oklahoma and Illinois. It’s interesting how impressions are made on children. Because I’m writing about the 1940’s and ’50’s I’ll use the word, Negro, rather than Black.

When we moved to Oklahoma, we lived in a town that was all white. I remember seeing a negro man walking along the railroad tracks one day. The thought that came to my mind was, he’d better keep walking because negro people can’t be in this town! If he wants to sleep overnight, he’ll have to sleep in the jail!  What a thought for a little child. What a thought to remain in my mind after all these years! Anita 1947

We moved back to Des Moines and for 8th and 9th grades I attended Washington Irving Jr. High. I have many memories of my two years there. There were many, many negro students. I don’t remember any negro teachers.

I wasn’t very athletic so gym days were tough for me. I couldn’t serve a volleyball and get it over the net… My hands stung every time I tried to hit the ball back over the net. One day a girl, who was getting very aggravated with me, yelled, “Niger”, at me! I couldn’t believe it…she was a negro! Later we became good friends.

A negro boy in my homeroom was named Matthew. I’d never heard of anyone named Matthew. I thought it was interesting his mother named him a Bible name! Today it’s a common name…I have a fine grandson named Matthew!

I had a very long way to walk to and from school. One day as I was walking alone, one of my classmates, who was also walking alone, caught up with me. We started talking as we walked. We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot.

We were walking down a very busy street. All of a sudden, a car veered and nearly lost control. We jumped quickly, staring at the car. The driver caught my eye. He was staring, in disbelief, at me! Oh my goodness, we’d nearly caused an accident! Yes, my friend was a negro boy! So what! We were friends…simply that, friends. And good friends, at that! We continued walking together until we came to where he had to turn the corner but our mood had changed. We said good-bye. We were still friends but we never walked together again. I felt bad then and I still do today.

These are just a couple of memories I have of growing up white in a country of both whites and blacks. I have lots more, but these stand out in my mind.

Years later, I understood why I had such a feeling of comradeship with my black friends. My parents, though never saying so, had the feeling of equality with black people and had always encouraged me in this way. But it was more than that. My dad became Director of Interracial Evangelism, in the 1960’s, in our denomination, Free Methodist Church of North America. I was so proud of him then and still am. What a legacy my parents gave me.

 

 

 

Respect…or not

I was born in 1938 so my growing up years were in the 1940’s and ’50’s. Saying please and thank-you, dressing for the occasion,  showing respect and responsibility were the norm! Did respect end in the 1960s? It looks like it and I truly don’t understand why.
What’s happening today? What’s wrong with people? I was near the busiest intersection when an ambulance came to the corner. His lights were flashing, his siren was wailing. No cars stopped for him! He had to stop! My turn came at the light. My turning light was green but I stopped, even though drivers behind me were impatient. The ambulance driver waited until he saw that I wasn’t moving and then he went through his red light! I don’t mean to praise myself but what is going on? Is the fact that schools don’t give driver’s training anymore, at least, part of the problem? Aren’t kids learning safety and respect? It should start at home!
I wrote recently on facebook, about not getting help pulling my recycle bin out of our snow-filled ditch. I’m not young, I almost fell. What I didn’t say was that one driver stepped on the gas, and skidded past me! 
Is there no respect anymore? May I mention, again, how folks dress for church? I’ve written about it before. I grew up always dressing up to go to church. It wasn’t a showing off time. We didn’t have money to buy expensive clothes. But we dressed in clean, well-fitting clothes, and we looked nice. We weren’t showing off, we were being respectful for God’s House. Scan_Pic0105                   My family, ready for church, in the middle 50’s. Lorraine, Billy, Mother, Dad, myself, and Richard. I was about 15 in this picture.
Recently I saw a teenage girl in church with faded, very holey jeans. Later, the same day, I saw her in blue jeans with no holes. Why did she change after church? I sense rebellion here and I don’t understand it…not at all.
I guess I’m the one who is rebelling now because I still always wear a dress or skirt to church. But, I dress in respect for God’s House, not to show off.
I’m thankful my new pastor dresses nicely. He wears slacks and a nice shirt with an open collar. I would prefer a suit and tie, but he always looks neat and clean.
There’s so much more to respectfulness than just what I’ve mentioned here. Opening and holding the door; table manners; saying please and thank-you; showing respect when driving; letting a driver cut in; I could go on and on. I think you get the drift.
Being respectful is so important and I fear it’s becoming a lost art. What are your feelings here? Am I just old-fashioned?

It’s A Wonder…

It’s a wonder my kids are still alive! I’m watching the news and the latest thing is that children need to be facing backwards in their car seats! Oh, dear…we didn’t even have car seats when my children were children! Neither did we have seat belts!

We went on several trips to the west coast, from Michigan. We loved our Pontiac station wagon. We piled the kids in the back with blankets and pillows and toys. They could play and when they got sleepy they laid down and took a nap!

Then one year we bought a Ford pick-up and a Gem camper! The kids rode in the camper and Jerry and I with our youngest child rode in the truck! They loved lying on the bed and looking out the window extending over the cab!  Oh yes, we had an intercom system so we could communicate. We have such great memories of our trips!

I placed my babies on their stomachs for sleeping! They slept better that way! I put sleepers on them over their pajamas to keep them warm, but I also put baby blankets in with them. They liked the soft edges! I didn’t know any better…

That’s not the only difference in life. We also spanked and taught our children respect!

Life has changed a great deal from our early years. Some of it is better but not all. Technology has made a tremendous difference in life. Some of it is good…but not all. We must do our best to keep up and to teach our grandchildren love and belief in God; love for family; respect for people and laws; safety; to distinguish between good and evil.

Life is a challenge worth living. I’m now in the latter part of life. I have many regrets, but I have many more joys and many happy memories. God has blessed me with my life, my marriage, my children, my grandchildren, my extended family, my friends. Most of all I’ve been blessed with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is worth living!