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.

 

 

 

Our Fun Homes Away From Home

Camping has always been a favorite activity for our family.

Jerry and I bought our first camper in about 1962. It was a fold-up camper and we loved it! We had two children, Pammy and Teddy. It had two double beds, Jerry made a cupboard for our dishes. I used the top of it for a workspace. When we were traveling the cupboard set on the floor. In this picture Pammy is in the doorway, Teddy is sitting on a rug on the ground. Fold-up camper

This was at Higgins Lake Conservation Park in 1964. Timmy was a tiny baby. We also took our camper to our church family camp.

An experience I’ll never forget happened at family camp. Sunday morning, Jerry had taken Pammy and Teddy and gone on to the big tabernacle for church. He carefully zipped the flaps down before they left. I was in the camper, not dressed yet, nursing baby Timmy. All of a sudden the flaps on the camper unzipped and flew up. A man stuck his head inside! As he looked around he said, “I’ve always wondered what one of these looked like on the inside!” There I sat, in my nightgown, nursing my baby! He zipped the flaps back down and went on his way! I had no idea who he was! What a shock!

But we have so many good memories of our fold-up camper! However, with our growing family we decided we needed something bigger.

So we bought a 17-foot used trailer.  Bunk beds in the back for the kids, a kitchen in the middle, Jerry and I slept on the sofa in the front. Yes, we had more room but we didn’t have the feel of camping!

Next was our Gem pick-up camper. We bought it brand new.  But the truck was old! These two pictures are also old, but I want to show how we loved camping as a family! The second picture shows Teddy, Pammy, and Christy, backwards in her stroller! The kids slept on the bed above the cab, and Jerry and I slept on the table which made into a bed!  This was in about 1969.New pick-up camper Gem  Pick-up Camper It was crowded but we were happy. The picture above was about 1970, from left is Teddy, Christy is sitting on my lap, Timmy, and if you look closely, Pammy is looking out of the camper window above the truck cab! In 1976, we bought a different truck and traveled all over with our Gem, clear out to the Pacific Ocean! We had another baby, Robby! Sometimes we just went to Higgins Lake State Park and every year we went to our family camp. As the kids got older they slept in a tent, so Jerry and I moved up to the bed. We just loved camping. The top picture here is at the Black Hills National Park in South Dakota. The lower picture is at the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in 1976. Jerry drove our truck right down the beach! Timmy and Christy are standing beside the truck.Camper

In 1990, we bought our Shadow Cruiser, fifth wheel trailer. It was also brand new and we loved it! In fact, we still have it! Yes, we still have it!

Jerry & Rob camping

Rob, our youngest son and Jerry, relaxing after setting up camp!

We found a map to put on the side of the camper! Grandson’s, Andrew and Matthew, were excited that we went to Pennsylvania to visit them! Andrew & Matthew map on camper

We went to Iowa to Aunt Bessie’s 100th birthday party. Several others in our family had also gone. We actually fed 11 people dinner inside our 5th wheel camper! Looking from left: son, Tim; Jerry; Mother; Dad; grandson, Matthew. The rest of us are there, just not visible!Family dinner in 5th wheel

We added Canada, to our map, to show we went to Saskatchewan, Canada! Adding Canada to map In 1994 and ’95, we went to Sonora, Mexico, to Rancho Betania!Mexico So we added to our map again!Adding Mexico

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Sometimes grandchildren stayed at family camp with us! Here is granddaughter, Sydney, relaxing by her tent! Just look at the map on the side of the camper! Our Shadow Cruiser took us all over North America! Sadly, we missed Alaska and the northeastern states. We’ve actually been to all 50 states…just not with our Shadow Cruiser! But we came close!

Oh, what wonderful memories! We love our Shadow Cruiser, home away from home!

This year, 2015, is the first year we’ve not gone anywhere with our camper! We didn’t even go to our wonderful family camp at Covenant Hills Camp. We used it as an extra bedroom for guests a couple of times in the summer. That was a relief when we had a house full!

IMG_1492 (1)Here’s Jerry, after washing it, backing it into our pole barn. It’s rather sad to think we didn’t go anywhere with it this year. Age has a way of determining when it’s time to slow down.

What wonderful, fun, loving memories we have of camping and traveling!

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…