Veterans Day

US Flag  The one day of the year that we set aside and remember to honor our veterans. Those in my family are: Nick Antoine (2)  Nick Antoine;  Scan_Pic0170  Jerry Archer;    Scan_Pic0165  Sean Banford;  ????????????  Roger Bebeau; FullSizeRender (93)  Chuck Gray;  Scan_Pic0054  Louis Williamson;  Scan_Pic0168  Richard Williamson; Scan_Pic0159  Woody Williamson;  Ed Woollard, Vet  Ed Woollard.

Thank you so much for all you did for all of us.

If I have missed any in my family, I apologize. Please let me know so I can add them. They deserve our recognition.

Thank you so much! I love you all!

Prime Time News

Several of us, women, were sitting around a picnic table at the lake, talking about some of our needs. We were all in our sixties and some in their fifties. We had just enjoyed a fabulous pig roast! So we were full and ready to just sit and visit. “What do you think about a newsletter for our age group?” someone asked. “That way we could keep informed about each other!” Well, it sounded like a good idea. But who would write it…who would have time to write it? My friend, Joan, suddenly stood up, pointed her finger at me and said, “Anita, you should be the one to write it!”

“What?” I was sort of in shock! I was also flattered! I love to write, but I’d never thought of writing a newsletter! I didn’t even know how!

I was up all night, that night, composing my first newsletter! I typed and deleted, typed and deleted…Finally, I was sort of happy with it! I finished in time to print it out and then took it to our church that morning to show Joan. She was surprised and happy! I had written about the pig roast and posted pictures as the main feature. I had a section of prayer requests. I included some scripture. There were announcements of upcoming events. “Yes, that’s it!” she exclaimed! “I knew you could do it!”

That was in September of 2007. I’ve been writing the newsletter, every other week, ever since! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Prime Time News is the name of it. It’s a publication for folks 50 years and older. The feature folks seem to like best is one I call, Getting to Know You… I interview folks about their lives and then write-up their life story. I took the title from the old song, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…”

My good friend, Joan Schloemann, is now supervising my work from her home in heaven. She died a couple of years ago while waiting for a new liver. I miss her so…

But the newsletter goes on. Here are some interesting statistics: It’s bi-weekly; 45 copies are printed; 65 copies are e-mailed; eight copies are snail-mailed to shut-in folks!

More statistics: 61 couples and/or singles have been interviewed and featured in Getting To Know You… Of those nine folks have died; eight have moved away; seven have transferred to other churches in our town; two couples are now divorced and have moved on.

Besides the Getting To Know You…feature, there are other important events featured. Page two is reserved for prayer requests and praises.  Also on age two is a feature called The Beauty of God’s Creation… Nature photos taken by my photographer friend, Harold Klassen, is a feature everyone loves.  There are notices, such as deaths, births and graduations of grandchildren and others; our three pastors rotate writing a column: A Word From Pastor… Other important and interesting news items are featured such as birthdays and anniversaries. And actually…lots more!

My older brother, Richard Williamson, a writer, has helped me immensely with the newsletter. It wouldn’t be what it is today without his help! A friend, Wilma Kasten, is the proofreader.

So now you know what keeps me busy! Once in a while I get some feedback. The most common feedback is when I’ve made a mistake or when someone doesn’t like what I’ve written! But once in a while I get a good comment about how much the newsletter is appreciated!

Jerry and I both feel this is work the Lord has given to me. It came out of the blue and it came when I wasn’t doing other work, such as teaching a class or other time-consuming work. Jerry is my biggest supporter and advisor!

Lorraine Roseann and Me

Lorraine and I were sisters. We played together all the time as children. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n  This picture of Richard, Lorraine and me, was taken in 1942. Grandma Aanas came to stay with us because Mother was deathly ill with our baby brother, Billy. Neither were expected to live. Billy was born three months premature and weighed 2lbs 9oz. . Grandma dressed us up, curled our hair, took us on a city bus to a photo shop and had our picture taken for our mother! I was three years old, I’m in the middle. Richard was seven. Lorraine was five.

Lorraine and I loved our dolls and played with them every day. We also played School, Lorraine was always the teacher. We played Jacks, Jump Rope, Mother-May-I, Paper Dolls, and more.  kids 1947  Richard, Anita, Billy, Lorraine. 1947.

Then Lorraine turned teenager! I was still a child. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to play with me anymore! She began to hang out with new friends! In her sophomore year of high school, she went away to school. Richard went to the same school in South Dakota. Our life at home was never the same.

Lorraine and I were in each other’s weddings,Lorraine 010 but we lived so far apart, South Dakota and Michigan, so we seldom saw each other. In this picture, left to right: Bill and Richard, ushers; Christine, flower girl; Lorraine, matron of honor; me, bride; Jerry, groom; Mother and Dad. Then we both became so busy with babies and raising our families, we didn’t take the time to write letters. I’m ashamed and so sorry that we drifted so far apart.

Lorraine and her family moved to Germany for nine months in the late sixties. On their way and on their way back they came to our house and stayed about a week each time. Lorraine and I became close during those visits. I even confided in her at her prompting. She sensed something was bothering me.

In our retirement, we finally came close once again. Lorraine, on the left. 334297_10150350549117528_639567527_8289434_855443489_oWith the change in phone systems, it became easy to call and chat for long conversations. We called often. We called late at night. We talked long…hours. We reminisced. We discussed God, church, family, death, ourselves, brothers, parents, children, grandchildren, news, weather, etc. We did not discuss politics!

Lorraine & Dog

We often laughed at the longevity in our genes. Aunt Bessie lived to be 102 years, Great Uncle Will lived to be 101 years, Mother lived to be 99 years and five months and Dad lived four days shy of 96 years! We both wanted to live long lives, but we didn’t want to be a burden to our children.

September 4, 2012 my phone rang late, I answered thinking of another good chat with Lorraine. Instead, it was my brother, Richard! He simply told me Lorraine had died. We didn’t talk long. I was in shock. He gave me a few details. She hadn’t answered her phone so Christine went to check on her. Christine’s mother, my sister, had died! I was in shock.

Lorraine was 76 years and seven months old. How could this be? What happened to our longevity? Oh, I miss her so much!

I’m now 76 years and five months old. Whoa…

Every morning I thank God for another day!

 

My Dad Part III

A Kessel moving van moved our families belongings from Des Moines, Iowa to Covington, Oklahoma. The truck driver’s wife was with him. A slogan was written on the truck: DON’T CUSS, CALL US! These are my memories of that move. It was a big adventure! The year was 1946. I was seven years old.

The house Dad had purchased for our family was a small two bedroom house! We were a family of six! But a good-sized porch, with a roof, went across the entire front of the house.    Dad’s plan was to enclose one-half of the porch and make a third bedroom for the boys to share, which he did.

The next big challenge for my parents came the day they enrolled three of us in school. In Des Moines, students were enrolled in January and September. We had, each, already had one semester of our grades. So, we either had to skip a semester or take a semester over! After discussing it, Dad and Mother, decided we should take a semester over. I was in second grade. It was a bit of a disappointment to us, children, especially for my sister, Lorraine. She was an A student. Then Dad and Mother had another dilemma. School books had to be purchased! They had no money left after this big move and I’m sure, buying groceries! I remember our family standing outside the school. My parents didn’t know what to do. They’d never heard of buying school books! A new friend, a man from our new church, Mr. Kegan, saw us and seemed to pick up on our situation. He walked over and handed my dad the money needed to purchase our school books! He was a friend, indeed!

Dad had a full slate of revival meetings lined up. He traveled the U.S. and Canada holding two-week revivals. When he came home for a few days of family time it was an exciting time for all of us. I have a story, posted on, Anita’s Adventures, at mylife-experieces.blogspot.com of one of his homecomings. It’s titled: What More Could Any Little Girl Want?  (the word, experiences, is misspelled)

Dad always brought a present home for each of us. I remember getting a monkey bank. When I put a coin in the slot, the monkey would tip his hat! Another time he brought me a small clock, resembling an antique clock. I treasured his gifts.

The four of us children in Covington. Richard, Anita, Billy, Lorraine. kids 1947

“Someday, when the kids are grown, I’m going to take you around the world!” I can still hear Dad saying this to  Mother.  These were difficult years for Mother. Money was scarce, she had all the responsibility of us children and keeping our family life going.

In 1947, Dad and Mother wanted to take a trip, with the family, back to Iowa, over Christmas vacation. It had been a year and a half since moving to Oklahoma. There just wasn’t enough money for a family of six to travel to Iowa. Dad, wherever he was holding a revival, and Mother at home, were both praying about it. They were both discouraged.

One morning a knock was heard on the door of the parsonage where Dad was staying. The woman, at the door, asked to speak with Rev. Glen Williamson. The pastor’s wife knocked on the guest room door, telling Dad to come to the living room. When he met the woman visitor, she told him the Lord had spoken to her, in the night. He told her that Glen Williamson had a need. She wasn’t able to go back to sleep until she promised to take cash to him in the morning. Surprised, he took the envelope from her and thanked her. After she left, Dad went to his room and opened the envelope. Inside were five 20 dollar bills! What an answer to prayer! This was just what they needed. In 1947, $100 was a huge amount of money!

We went by train to Waterloo, Iowa. Mother had her hands full traveling such a distance with four very active children. I think Dad must have met us there, I don’t remember him traveling with us. We had a wonderful visit with family and friends in Iowa and returned home to Covington. This was our last time to be with Grandma Williamson, Dad’s mother, in Manchester, Iowa. She died in the fall of 1948.

In the summer of 1948, a devastating tornado went through Oklahoma. It completely wiped out the town of Woodward. Covington got the tail winds of that tornado and even that was bad. I remember it well. Dad was gone. Mother had walked to town to the grocery store. The four of us children were at home. Our neighbor, Mrs. Powell, came running in telling us to get under the beds. Then she ran home to her own children. We were afraid for Mother and were praying for God to protect her. Suddenly she came running into the house and joined us in the bedroom. It was such a relief to have her with us, but we were all still scared and she joined us in praying.

We heard a loud crash! When the storm was over, we carefully left the bedroom to investigate. The living room windows were gone! The glass was outside! Our house had created a vacuum and sucked the windows out! Glass was everywhere in our yard! We also lost some siding off the house. But we were safe.

That did it. Dad was so worried about our family. When a church was offered to him in East Peoria, Illinois, he accepted the pastorate.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

My Dad…

My dad was almost 96 years old. In fact, his birthday was December 22. My older brother, Richard, and I were visiting Mother and Dad, who lived in Washington. Richard lived in Colorado and I lived in Michigan. My sister, Lorraine, was living in Washington, but because she was with them most days, had taken a few days off while we were there. My younger brother, Bill, living in California, was not there.

Richard and I were staying together in a cottage on the adjoining campground to the senior community Mother and Dad were a part of. Dad was now in the nursing home, Mother lived in their apartment in Independent Living. Sunday morning I decided to go visit with Dad before going to church with Mother and Richard. I walked to the nursing home and went right to Dad’s room. He was sitting in a wheelchair and was so glad to see me. We visited briefly. He was so alert! I suddenly asked if he’d like to go home to see Mother. Oh yes, he’d love to. I pushed him in his wheelchair down the halls to their apartment. Mother was so surprised to see us when we went through the door!

Dad loved being back in their apartment and looked it all over. He was so alert! It was kind of like arriving home after being on a long trip! I called Richard at the cottage and suggested he come right over so we could all visit together. What a wonderful morning we had! We looked at all the Christmas cards they had received, it was quite a stack! Dad knew each person or family and talked about what good friends they had been over the years. We skipped church that morning, but we had a wonderful time of sweet fellowship. God was there!

We took Dad back to the nursing home at noon so he could eat his dinner and we went to eat with Mother. We promised him we’d be back after dinner. We all went back to his room anticipating another good visit.

What happened? Did he know we were there? He wasn’t the same. Did he even know us? We stayed all afternoon, trying to make him comfortable.

We left at suppertime. Mother went back to the nursing home to sit with Dad but Richard and I went to our cottage. It had been a long day. About 9:00 PM I got a phone call from Mother…Dad was gone… December 18, 2005.

Here’s a review of my Dad’s life. He was born, the youngest of seven children, on a farm in Iowa. Scan_Pic0108

Scan_Pic0254  This picture of Dad is a very typical picture of him in his retirement years! Even though he was getting older, he managed to make the switch from a typewriter to a computer! By the way, he typed with two fingers! He spent hours writing stories, articles, books! He had 13 books published! Of course, they weren’t all after he retired. He loved writing. Dad and Mother traveled all over the world researching for books he authored. Most of them were historical biographies.

Dad 45  This picture of Dad is probably from the fifties.  Dad was a pastor, evangelist, writer, chef. He was also an editor, superintendent, traveler, student and author.

??????????????????????????????????  Dad had a bright future ahead of him back in 1928. He graduated from high school and that fall was a freshman at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was going to become a lawyer! He loved debating on the college debate team. Then in 1929, the bottom fell out of the financial world in America. Dad, along with most college students became a dropout.

He managed to get a job as a cook’s helper in a hotel kitchen. Scan_Pic0103 That’s Dad in the forefront. Tony Parrish, the chef, is behind him.

Tony Parrish became Dad’s uncle a few years later when Dad married my mother, Corina Aanas. Tony’s wife, Pauline Reinartson Parrish, was my mother’s aunt. Mother and Dad met when Larry Reinartson, Pauline’s brother, took her for a ride on his Indian Chief motorcycle and stopped at the hotel where he also worked as a cook’s helper! My dad was working his shift and stepped outside on a break, to chat with his friend, Larry. Larry introduced Glen to Corina and the rest is history! ???????????????????????????????  They were married November 30, 1933.

It was Thanksgiving Day, a good day to get married! Glen (Dad) began going through the phone book trying to find a pastor who would be willing to marry them that day! Finally, one answered…Rev. Mark Shockey, pastor of the Waterloo, Iowa Free Methodist Church. They had never heard of that church or that man before, but he was willing to marry them if they came soon. He was going hunting so they’d better hurry!

My dad advanced at work and became a chef! But times were tough. They moved often, wherever a cooking job was available. Three children were born to them in five years. Richard in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Lorraine in 1936 in Clinton, Anita in 1938, back in Waterloo. Yes, times were tough. Drinking and smoking were taking up too much of the meager salary Dad was making.

One day, as Dad was reading the newspaper, he decided to check out the pastor of the Free Methodist Church. He wondered if it was the same pastor as the one who married them. No, Pastor Shockey had moved. A new pastor was there now, Rev. E. W. Walls.

Dad suddenly saw a picture of some friends of his from a few years past! J.K. French and Oscar Leper.  They were singers and would be singing in the Free Methodist Church! He laughed! What were they doing singing in a church? When they were all single, these two friends sang in bars! My dad would go into a bar where they were singing, throw a fifty cent piece into a cup…as bait! Other people would follow suit! Then they’d go to another bar. Before entering the guys would hand my dad the fifty cent piece, he’d wait outside until he heard them singing, then he’d go in and throw the fifty cent piece in again! What were they doing singing in a church!?

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

World War II Memories – Displaced JapaneseAmericans

Everyone knows about the displaced folks of Japanese descent during World War II. But not everyone has a personal story to tell!

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Japanese were moved to camps,  filled with rows and rows of barracks which housed the Japanese families, against their wishes.

My dad was the pastor of the  Free Methodist Church in Des Moines. Rev. Aoki was the pastor of a Japanese Free Methodist Church in California! It really doesn’t matter how they met…it does matter that they met!

But, let me try to explain the two men meeting. Dad answered the phone one day, the person on the other end had a Japanese accent! He quickly gave his name and his position in the church. Then he asked if he and his wife could come to our house.

My dad didn’t have any prejudice bones in his body. He explained how they could find our house and that they were welcome.

Somehow Rev and Mrs Aoki had escaped the exodus of Japanese people in California! Somehow they made it all the way to Des Moines, Iowa and called my dad, as another pastor, in the same denomination! With the blessing of my parents, they moved into our upstairs. They were a delightful couple.

There were folks in our church who were not happy! Dad patiently and lovingly gave God’s plan of salvation again and explained God’s love for ALL people. Slowly folks accepted them.  Finally, one Sunday evening, at the request of my dad, Rev. Aoki preached a sermon to the church family! Afterward, he received many warm handshakes and smiles. He and his wife were completely accepted into our church family.

I was too young to understand any of the implications. I only remember a very nice couple coming to live with us. They were very friendly and always smiled at me! In discussing this time of our lives with my older brother and sister, they both used the term, underground railroad! My sister, Lorraine, is gone now so our discussions are over. I called my brother, Richard and he, being four years older than I am, remembers many details and carefully explained it all to me again.

I believe with all my heart that God had a plan for Rev. and Mrs. Aoki and my family was included in that plan! What a privilege!

World War II Memories – Uncle Richard

Every family had someone in the war, back during World War II.

In my husband’s family, his brother, Bob, Scan_Pic0158  fought in Europe.

In my family, my cousin, Louis, Scan_Pic0054 served from my dad’s side of our family. He recently had his 90th birthday!

My uncle Richard  Scan_Pic0053  was my mother’s brother.

There were others as well, but these were the ones we were close to. They all came home for which we’re very thankful!

But a price was paid.

Bob came home with an illness and was hospitalized for months.

Uncle Richard was inducted into the US Army December 2, 1942 in Des Moines, Iowa. He trained at Camp Dodge in Des Moines. Uncle Richard served in the infantry in Africa, Italy and France. He was wounded in France in 1945 and received a Purple Heart with a Cluster. Uncle Richard was discharged from the US Army on July 18, 1945.

My grandma was first notified that my Uncle Richard was missing-in-action. Then she received word that he had been injured and was in a hospital. What a relief! Later, Grandma went to Texas to be with him.

One day our phone rang. Mother answered…it was Uncle Richard! He gently told my mother that he had lost both of his legs in France. Mother burst out crying. He assured her he would be okay. I remember the family being in shock. He was alive, but what kind of a life could he live, without legs? He came to visit once that I remember of. He was able to walk, with his cumbersome, new artificial legs, with the help of his cane. I remember being impressed that he could walk!

The next time I saw him was in Waterloo, Iowa at Christmas time, 1947. My family was now living in Covington, Oklahoma, and we had gone to Iowa for Christmas that year. Uncle Richard was living with my grandma. I remember Mother talking to my siblings and me, warning us to behave, to be quiet, not to play in his wheelchair, not to stare at his missing legs or at his artificial legs, etc. I do remember sitting in his wheelchair and even riding in it!

The US Government gave Uncle Richard a convertible with hand controls! If I recall, he traded it in every two years for a new one.

Uncle Richard enrolled in a business college and became a bookkeeper. He married Ruth and they had four children, two boys and two girls. They moved to Elysian, Minnesota, in 1954, living there until his death in 1993.  He even became the mayor of Elysian!