Let’s Go For A Ride

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“Let’s go for a ride.” is all Jerry has to say. I drop anything and everything and say, “Okay, let’s go!”

We actually stopped going for rides for a few years because the price of gas was so high. But now with gas under two dollars, we’re going for rides again. It’s one of our favorite pastimes! It’s actually the times when we have communicated the best with each other! No interruptions! Now, of course, we have our cell phones, but we can select our incoming calls! Or just turn them off! We enjoy being together with just scenery and each other!

I remember one ride Jerry and I took to a small lake near Spring Arbor, Michigan. To get to the lake we had to drive down a steep hill. When we wanted to leave, the car had a malfunction of some kind and wouldn’t go up the hill! Oh, what were we going to do? Then Jerry discovered it would go in reverse, so we backed up the hill and out on the main road, where he put the car in ‘drive’ and off we went!

We have some rides that are even kind of monumental! One I’ll never forget was when our children were young and we had some news we wanted and needed to share with them. Jerry and I decided to go for a ride and while we had their full attention, told them we were going to have another baby born into our family! They were very excited! Their ages were about thirteen, eleven, seven, and four.

Lots of times our rides included a stop at an ice cream shop for ice cream cones! When we rode up to Wixom Lake, to ride and ski with our boat, we always stopped for ice cream cones on the way home. It was almost required!Scan_20160323 (2)

In 1990   I went for a drive all by myself to Minneapolis, Minnesota! My mother had flown there from Washington state to visit her brother, my uncle Richard. He was in the Veterans Hospital for cancer surgery. He was my uncle who had been in WWII and lost both of his legs. I always loved him but hadn’t seen him since I was about 13!

Jerry and I discussed the possibility of me driving by myself and studied road maps. We decided I could drive north to the upper peninsula and drive on US 2 across the UP until I came to Norway and US 8. I could remember Norway! I’m half Norwegian! I’ll skip the rest of the trip except to say I had no problems! When I arrived in Minneapolis, I just followed the signs and ended at the Veterans Hospital! Those were the days before internet and cell phones! It was an unbelievable ride for me all by myself! Scan_20160323 (4)Aunt Ruth, myself, and Uncle Richard.

A few years ago, Jerry bought a MG! We called it our ‘ice cream cone car’!  We only went for rides in it and often stopped for an ice cream cone!IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF  He loved to take our grandkids for rides in it and they loved it too!Sydney 032 Jessica, one of our daughters-in-law, took this picture of us driving ahead of her! We didn’t even know she was following us! Archers MG goodbye Just yesterday we went for a ride and saw some Sandhill Cranes! Jerry stopped and I took a picture of them. Sandhill Cranes    Another favorite ride of mine is to horse ride! I don’t get to often but I love it. This is Sandy and me up in Saskatchewan, Canada!Scan_Pic0238 I’ve gone for rides in airplanes, cruise ships, buses, trains, boats, bicycles, dog sled, and more! I even rode a camel up Mt Sinai, Egypt! There is nothing more relaxing, for me, than going for a ride!

Cousin LJ

I was a little girl when I first got to know my cousin, LJ. He was already a man. I probably saw him before he was married, but I don’t remember. I do remember his brown, thick, wavy hair!

LJ was in World War ll. Scan_Pic0054  Thanks, LJ!

I do remember him after he was married. We were living in Oklahoma and were visiting family in Iowa. LJ and Ermadel were newly-weds. My mother, being a wise and patient woman, talked to us children, before we arrived at our grandparents house: “LJ’s wife has a birthmark on her face. You’re not to stare at her. You’re not to ask what it is. LJ loves her and the mark doesn’t matter to him. So just remember that when you see her.  She’s a wonderful person.”

I learned two things that day. 1.)  I learned what a good man LJ was! He loved Ermadel for who she was and probably didn’t even see the flaw on her face, even though he knew it was there. 2.)  I learned what a loving and wise person my mother was! Preparing us ahead of time saved a lot of nervous embarrassment for LJ and Ermadel, and for us.

There is something else I’ve always remembered about LJ. He always smiled at me with a tender, loving smile! When I think back, all those years ago, that’s the main thought that comes to me! I would shyly smile back. Today, I think he probably was thinking and hoping for a little girl to be born to him and Ermadel! A few years later, Iris, and then Keith were born to them. I think LJ and Ermadel must have been very loving parents!

LJ’s dad and my dad were brothers, making LJ and me cousins.

My parents became born-again Christians when I was about two years old. They were the only ones born again in both of their families and were very often ridiculed by their siblings. But in 1948 LJ made a life-changing decision to live for Christ. A special bond was formed between LJ and my dad.

Years went by and LJ and I hardly had contact with each other, but being cousins, we still had that bond between us. A couple of years ago another cousin, Erma, died, and my daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Gene, drove Jerry and me to Iowa to attend her funeral. Who else was there? LJ with his daughter, Iris. We’d not seen each other in years!

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Then last year we had a cousins reunion in Iowa. LJ and I had a time, just for the two of us, to visit and reminisce about our lives. I told him about his smiles when I was a little girl and how much they meant to me. He didn’t even remember! But I do! FullSizeRender (78)  I took this picture of him during our little visit. He was 90 years old!

There was a sign on his door of the nursing home he was living in. LJ's door sign  I was surprised to see the date of when he was born-again! I don’t know why I was surprised…after all, that’s the most important date in a Christian’s life! LJ died on November 23, 2015 at age 91. I’ll see him again…some day!

This is a picture of LJ and Ermadel when they were married 50 years. LJ & Ermadel 56 years

 

 

My Dad… Part II

Today Dad would have been 105 years old! He died four days before his 96th birthday! P16_253_338  In this picture, Dad was 93!

In about 1939 Dad and Mother decided to go to the Waterloo, Iowa Free Methodist Church to hear Dad’s old friends, JK French and Oscar Leper, sing. They were good singers, but Dad couldn’t imagine them singing in church! They always sang in bars! Dad and Mother were pleasantly surprised and even saw a different kind of countenance and lifestyle in their friends and decided to find out what had happened to them. JK and Oscar, along with their wives, told Dad and Mother how they had become born-again Christians and what a difference it made in their lives! After thinking and meditating for a few days, Dad prayed for forgiveness and accepted Christ into his life. Then a few days later, Mother prayed. What a life changing experience for each of them and for their marriage! What a difference in their family life! Breaking old habits were hard but with the help of the Lord and with determination it was accomplished.

Dad was a gifted speaker and was sometimes asked by Pastor Walls to fill in for him in the evening services when he had to be gone. He was given an Exhorter’s License in 1941.

When Pastor Walls was appointed to the Free Methodist Church in Des Moines he asked Dad to consider moving to Des Moines as his assistant. There was a small Free Methodist Church on the east side of the city that he was also responsible for. He asked Dad to take charge of that small church, Fairview Free Methodist Church. The folks at Fairview couldn’t afford to pay a pastor so he would need to work elsewhere at the same time.

Scan_Pic0004  The move to Des Moines was made. There isn’t room here to tell the story of their trip from Waterloo to Des Moines pulling a trailer with all their belongings. God was definitely in this move! Dad was now working two jobs, cooking in a large hotel downtown and pastoring a small church along with assisting Pastor Walls.

World War II was going on in Europe and December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. The USA was thrust into World War II. A young, Free Methodist Japanese couple escaped the exodus of the Japanese people on the west coast and came to live in our upstairs. See former post: World War II Memories-Displaced Japanese Americans.

At the beginning of 1942 Mother discovered she was pregnant again with their fourth baby. It was a difficult pregnancy, the baby was due in October. One day in August Dad came home from work finding Mother having convulsions. An ambulance was called. Mother wasn’t expected to live and the baby wouldn’t live either. Friends and relatives came to help out our young family. Grandma Aanas, Mother’s mother, came and stayed to help.  The church family was all praying for Mother and for our family. Mother’s body was full of uremic poisoning. She even lost her eyesight. She could see when a person entered the room but she couldn’t tell who it was until the person spoke.

Mother’s oldest brother, Obie and Ev, his wife, came to visit and offered to take me home to raise as one of their own, if Mother didn’t live! Dad thanked them and said he’d think and pray about it. The next day, he thanked them but said he couldn’t do it. Somehow he knew the Lord would help him make it through life with his children.

On August 25 the doctor’s told Dad the baby would be born that day but he shouldn’t expect the baby to live. They would do everything possible to save Mother.  God answered prayer. Mother lived through the delivery. The next morning as Dad walked through the hospital hall one of the doctors met him and said, with a smile, “Say, that little engine is still a puffin!” William Claude weighed 2 pounds, nine ounces! The hospital didn’t have an incubator so they put hot water bottles around the baby to keep him  warm! Mother and the baby both lived; Mother’s eyesight returned although she was left color blind. We called the baby, Billy.

More changes in Dad’s career came. He quit his job as a chef and became senior pastor of the Des Moines Free Methodist Church. A big change came in the church while Dad was the pastor. There had not been any musical instruments up to this time. In the 1946 General Conference, it was voted upon to have a piano or organ in the sanctuary!

He was very successful for not having a college degree and not having been ordained yet. But, somehow he felt he wasn’t doing what God had called him to do. He felt he should be an evangelist! That meant traveling and holding two-week evangelistic campaigns. Dad and Mother began to pray about this and decided God must be calling him to be an evangelist. A house was purchased and the family moved out of the parsonage.

Scan_Pic0107  Richard and Lorraine, in back. Dad, Anita, Mother holding Billy.

Requests came from all over the country for Dad to hold revivals. Many evangelists of that day required a promised certain amount of pay at the end of the revival…but not Dad. Whatever money came in, he accepted. Most of the time it wasn’t quite enough to cover expenses at home and his traveling expenses!

The coal bill for the house in Des Moines was a problem. A move to Covington, Oklahoma was suggested, where he had held a revival. The temperature was almost always warm, the people were always warm. There would be no coal bill!

So in 1946, the house in Des Moines was sold and a house in Covington was purchased. Dad moved the family to Covington, Oklahoma.

To be continued…

World War II Memories – News

Today we have world news at our fingertips via internet. Back in the 40’s we had radio and newspapers. Period. But the news spread like wildfire. I was too young to understand what was going on, but I remember my parents listening to the radio and reading the newspaper. The news wasn’t good. Until ??????????????????????????????? the day in 1945, when the news was that the war had ended! That was a bittersweet day. The war was over. We won! A day to celebrate! But so many lives had been lost and/or maimed, including my Uncle Richard (See previous post) … celebrate? How?

I remember the day my mother heard over the radio that thousands of Jews had been imprisoned and/or killed. Why? How? Was it true? As the news unfolded she knew it was true.

Those were very troubling times. But they were times we must remember. History must not repeat itself. The United States is a country that was founded on the belief in God. This is a fact we must remember and act on. John 3:16.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  NIV

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!

 

World War II Memories – Ration Stamps

I was a little girl during WWII, but I have lots of memories so I’m going to be sharing them here, at the request of one of my commenting readers!

Ration stamps were a big item back in the early 40’s. Each person in the family was registered and received a book of stamps. A few products that were rationed were gas, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, nylon. FullSizeRender (2)

In our family sugar was a big item. In order to make it go around Mother devised a game for us kids. We each had our own sugar bowl with a piece of colored thread tied to the handle, for identification. I’m not positive, but my color may have been purple because that’s what is sticking in my mind.  The rule was: each one had to use sugar on breakfast cereal, we couldn’t just go without, but we had to make our sugar stretch as long as possible. A prize was given at the end of the month to the one who had the most sugar left in his/her sugar bowl…I don’t remember what the prize was so I’m assuming I didn’t win!

FullSizeRender (2)  It was a tough time, but the government was doing it’s best to provide for the service men and women, both here and overseas. The manufacturing of cars and trucks was stopped from 1943 to 1945 so jeeps, planes, army trucks and tanks could be built for the war. It was a very bleak time.