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.

 

 

 

September 4

September 4 was an important day in my life three times. I’ll write about two of them here.

September 4, 2012. My phone rang late that night. I gladly answered it, knowing it would be Lorraine, my sister. We often talked late at night because there were no interruptions! We could talk as long as we wanted to and we often talked for a couple of hours or longer! We talked about our childhood, our parents and brothers and sisters-in-law, our grandchildren, our feelings, our belief in God…and sometimes, non-belief. We both felt better when we hung up, knowing we both had shared our true feelings, knowing we both understood where we each stood on issues, and feeling a little closer to each other and to God.  Lorraine

But this night when I answered with a cheery hello, it wasn’t Lorraine. It was my brother, Richard! Well, that was a surprise, but I enjoy talking with him too. Then he told me why he was calling. Lorraine had died that day! No! No! It can’t be! What? How? When? Why? No! Not Lorraine!

How many times had we laughed about the longevity in our genes! We both hoped we’d keep our good health and clear minds as we aged. Our parents did so we should too! She was a widow and one year she flew from Oregon to Michigan to visit me! I was thrilled as we had a great time together.

We’d been so close as children but had grown apart when we were teenagers and then as young wives and mothers we were so busy and so many miles apart we just didn’t keep up with a close relationship, like we should have. I’m actually ashamed…

But now we were both retired and had time and needed each other so we spent hours on the phone late at night. We sometimes talked about death. I assured her of my relationship with Jesus and my belief in God. She had many questions and I felt her belief begin to blossom again. We even talked about death but it was a long way off and we needed to have a close relationship with God as time was going by so quickly. She told me she had forsaken her faith years ago and I assured her I’d be praying for her because God loved her. Then one night she told me she believed in God again. She felt Him with her. She wanted to be even closer to Him. I continued to pray for her daily. Now, suddenly, she was gone. But our conversations and prayers were not in vain. I believe she’s in heaven and I’ll be with her one day.

September 4, 2013. Mother, who had died on August 25, at 99 1/2 years, was buried beside Dad, in Stanwood, Washington. We struggled, debated, questioned and finally decided to have Mother’s ashes buried on September 4. Lorraine had died one year earlier on September 4. It was a distance from Castle Rock, Colorado where she’d been living and had died. Everyone had a distance to travel to get there and then to get back home, for some many hundreds of miles. Lorraine was also honored in the short burial service for Mother. It was a painful day.                                                                                                            Lorraine & Dog       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     6038 (2) (1)

September 4, 2018. The pain is still in my heart. It hasn’t gone away. It’s just as vivid as in 2012 and 2013. I loved Lorraine and I loved Mother. Someday I’ll be with both of them, when my day comes to leave this earth. I love you, Lorraine! I love Mother!

 

 

Mother’s English China

Back in about 1952 Dad bought and sent a beautiful set of English China dishes to Mother. We lived in Elk Run Heights, a sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa. Dad, as an evangelist, was traveling, as usual. He was in eastern Canada and had been looking for just the right set of dishes to buy and send to her. He finally found it!

I’ll never forget the day several large boxes arrived in the mail. We were both so excited! It was like Christmas day to us! Mother and I carefully unpacked the boxes. Only one cup was cracked and later it was replaced.

Mother was a beautiful hostess. Between graduating from high school and marrying my dad she had worked for a very prominent family in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. There she learned how to be a proper hostess. She said at the time she never dreamed that knowledge would be so important to her later on in life!

Being the wife of a pastor, an evangelist, an executive, a conference superintendent, and more, she had entertained many important and influential men and women. Bishops, missionaries, pastors, evangelists, college presidents, professors, the list goes on and on! Her beautiful set of English China was well used!

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Table set with Mother’s English China.

We were visiting Mother and Dad, at Warm Beach Retirement Center, in Washington, in about 1994. Mother surprised me when she said she’d like to give her set of English China to me and that we should take the set home with us! Oh, I didn’t know what to say! I was thrilled that she wanted me to have them, but how could I take them? Maybe she would need them again! Why not wait a few more years? But she insisted I take them when we left back to Michigan. So Mother and I carefully packed the dishes into a couple of sturdy boxes. English China 1

I treasure Mother’s English China! On the bottom of each piece is the name and location where they were made. I can’t read the whole thing, but I can see ‘Simpsons… Cobridge, England’. I only use them on very special occasions. Today was one of those occasions! We invited our new lead pastor and wife, Pastor Gene and Lois, for dinner! As we all sat down at the table Pastor Gene exclaimed, “Oh my, what beautiful dishes! Are these special?”

So I had the joy of telling them about Mother’s English China and my joy to be serving dinner with them.  I told them of all the important people who had eaten from them and now they were among the important folks also! It was a wonderful evening!

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

A Long Lost Cousin Comes To Visit

Don is actually my second cousin. He lives in Washington, I live in Michigan. He had been east to get acquainted with his new granddaughter, Audrey Sue, all the way to Vermont. Now he’s on his way back west to go home. He drove out of his way to come to visit Jerry and me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  We both enjoyed looking at old pictures and sharing dates and names catching us up on our family records. We even made a quick trip to Meijer’s to make some copies of old pictures that he thought his family would enjoy. Don’s mother, Mabel, was my cousin. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA She died just a few months ago. Mabel’s dad and my dad were brothers. Her dad, Floyd, was the oldest of seven children and my dad, Glen, was the youngest.

This morning before Don left, Jerry played our antique music box for him. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  We only play it once in a while so it was fun for Jerry and me too!

The older I get the more family means to me. Don agreed with me 100 %. He’s four years younger than I am,  the same as my younger brother, Bill. We promised each other we’d stay in touch from now on.