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!

 

 

Having Babies In The 60’s and Early 70’s

I remember those first few minutes after each of my babies was born. It wasn’t like today! I had no idea what the sex of the baby would be! So it was a wonderful surprise when the doctor would say if it was a boy or a girl! Two times Dr. Buskirk announced, “It’s a girl!” Two times Dr. Buskirk announced, “It’s a boy!” Then Dr. Harrigan announced, “It’s a boy!”  I had wonderful doctors and will never forget them. Five babies and that was enough. But it was a wonderful surprise, which ever it was: girl or boy!

Jerry couldn’t be in the delivery room with me. He had to wait in the waiting room and a nurse went out to tell him the baby had arrived and the sex of the baby! He then waited until I was taken to the recovery room before he could join me and see and hold the new baby! It was kind of torture for him and all new fathers!

When I was taken to my room no visitors were allowed except Jerry and my parents! In our hospital there were wards for new mothers! Four or five mothers to a ward! So I guess it was best that no visitors were allowed! There were large windows lining the wall and looking out to a lovely courtyard. Family and friends could come to the windows and get a look at the new baby and me. Jerry brought all four of our kids to the window to see their new baby brother, Robert Glen. Robby. They were so excited!

But I want to back up to before the baby was born. It wasn’t like today at all. Most new mothers were modest. I was. I wore a skirt or pants with an elastic front that would expand with me! Maternity tops did fairly well! My tops were gathered under the bust and were long enough to cover the elastic on my skirt and to cover my growth! I was fairly comfortable with these outfits. I was proud to be pregnant but didn’t want to show my expanding stomach! I had some very attractive maternity clothes!

I can’t find any pictures of when I was pregnant to show how I and almost all pregnant women dressed. So not just me, it was the style of that day. I will admit when I see a pregnant woman today, I become uncomfortable. I want to cover them up!

It’s the style today and I must conform. But I’m still proud of my pregnancy wardrobe and outfits. I was slender and proud to be carrying a new life within me.

I was fortunate and had relatively short labors! My first baby only took two hours and 20 minutes of labor! After that one my labors were more like five or six hours. My last baby was my longest labor of about seven or eight hours. He was also my largest baby at 8 lbs 6 oz. An interesting fact that is interesting to me is that today I remember the weight of each of my five babies! Pammy – 7 lbs 7 oz; Teddy – 6 lbs 5 oz; Timmy – 8 lbs 2 oz; Christy – 6 lbs 10 oz; Robby – 8 lbs 6 oz.

One fact today really bothers me! I stayed in the hospital for five days after my babies were born! For two of my babies I was kept in the hospital for seven days! Today mothers and babies are sent home after only a couple of days! I don’t understand that and I don’t like it! I know it was difficult for my husband to have me away for so long but my body needed the rest and the strength to return to my normal use.

I wonder if any others feel like I do. Do you like the tight form fitting outfits today? Do you approve of mothers and babies going home after only two days in the hospital?

 

 

 

Joan

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Joan

Joan and I were good friends. We had a lot in common, even though she was younger than me; love for God, love for our husbands and children, camping, gospel music, our church family.

Penn and JOAN moved to Midland from Missouri after Penn earned his master’s degree.  They were newly weds, with no children yet, just a cute little dog! We already had three children! In time they had a son, Chris, and a daughter, Tracy. Tracy and my daughter, Christy, became very good friends.

In 1978 Penn was assigned a job in Salvador, Brazil for two years. How exciting for them! We were very excited for them and looked forward to all communication from them. But we missed them and were glad when they returned home to stay.

There is so much I could write but I’ve got to keep this down to three events.

My husband, Jerry, was diagnosed with cancer and had major surgery. Recovery was so slow and we were so discouraged. Our children came when they could but lived such busy lives and most were far away in miles. Joan sensed our discouragement and called one day to ask if they could stop by. “Of course,” I said. When Penn and Joan arrived Joan carried in a bag of something! She took out a couple video tapes of Bill Gaither and singers. The bag was full of video tapes! She said perhaps listening to these would lift our spirits!

Oh my, we played those videos every day, listening and sometimes even singing along. Our spirits were lifted up, we praised God, just like she had hoped! What a difference in our lives! We finally returned them to her and then bought some for ourselves!

In 2007 Joan suggested to me that I write a newsletter for the senior folks of our church! I had no idea how to do such a thing, but she insisted we needed one and I was the one to do it! We were at a pig roast when she came up with this idea so when we came home I got on my computer and began trying out ideas for a newsletter! I was up ALL night writing and rewriting and rewriting! Finally, I thought I had it right and printed out a copy. We went to church and I handed it to Joan. The pig roast was the main feature with pictures. There was a section for prayer requests and praises. Other news and up-coming events were also featured. Joan said it was exactly what she had in mind! She said she knew I could do it! So every other week for eleven years I put out a newsletter! Joan was my biggest fan and encourager!

One Sunday in 2013 I stayed home from church, just not feeling well. When Jerry came home he had a package for me from Joan! I had no idea what it was and was thrilled when I opened it! A Bone China cup and saucer! She knew I had a collection and this would fit in beautifully! Neither one of us had any idea she would be leaving us for good this same year, a few months later! So, I have a wonderful reminder of my very good friend, Joan!IMG_1700

She was having physical problems. We all have problems, don’t we? But she didn’t get better. Finally she was told she needed a new kidney. She was put on a list to receive one from a donor. However, one was not available soon enough.  Joan passed away on May 21, 2013. I couldn’t believe it and still can’t. I know, without a doubt, Joan and I will be joined together as friends, one day, when my time is up. Meantime, I have my wonderful memories of her.

 

 

 

 

Judy

I have lost another friend. Judy. Judy We’ve known each other my entire married life. She was fun, cute, full of energy, creative, and committed to Christ. She and Bob were married a couple years ahead of Jerry and me. Judy and I would both turn 80 in October of this year! Judy and Bob celebrated 60 years of marriage last summer, 2017.  Jerry and I will celebrate 60 years next year, 2019.

Judy’s oldest son, Dennis and my oldest daughter, Pam, were very good friends growing up and right up until Dennis died, as a young man. Judy’s next son, Chris, and my son, Ted, were best buddies when they were kids. Judy’s daughter, Margie, and my son, Tim, were very good friends clear up through high school. Our whole family has so many memories of Judy and her family.

We were pregnant at the same time with our second babies, Ted and Chris. Oh my,  was she sure she was going to have a baby? She didn’t look like it! I did! She was so slender and carried her babies inward! I was slender but I carried my babies outward! I wish I had pictures to show you! Judy’s Chris was born about three weeks before my Teddy!

Bob & Judy family  Archer family 4 kids        These family pictures are from our church directory, 1970! They are even in pretty good order! Chris and Ted on the left of both pictures and Dennis and Pam on the right in both pictures. They were very good friends.  Marjory and Tim both in the front row were very good friends! Marj beside Judy and Tim beside Jerry. We had added Christy to our family and she’s beside me in our picture. Then we added another son in 1972!

One favorite memory of mine is of Judy and me going Huckleberry picking! There were so many good places for us to pick. We’d pick buckets full for baking pies and for freezing. Huckleberries and Blueberries are almost the same, except that Huckleberries are wild and smaller and more tasty! So much more tasty! They grow on bushes in the woods. With all the new subdivisions being developed here many of our favorite places to pick are gone! One day we were riding in the country together, Bob and Judy and Jerry and me. Country in Michigan means lots of wooded areas. All of a sudden Judy said, “Stop, Bob, there must be huckleberries in this woods!” He stopped and Judy and I got out. She had buckets in the trunk! We went into the woods and sure enough, there were huckleberries! We happily picked our buckets full!

Judy was very creative and loved decorating. She kept their home and yard very attractive. She also decorated our church up until just a few years ago. For a while we were both into Macrame. One year she came up with a clever idea for our church Christmas decorating. We each made matching white hanging tables! They were hung on each side of the sanctuary platform with evergreen boughs and large red candles inside clear glass chimneys as a beautiful center piece on each one! It was very festive and attractive! Macramae tables Mine is on the right side in the picture. For many years Judy kept our church decorated so lovely with her creative ideas!

Judy was attractive and very slender. I was okay in our younger years. I wish I had pictures of us but we just weren’t into taking pictures, like we are now days!              Here’s a recent picture of Judy and Bob. FullSizeRender (86)

Judy Funeral flowers These beautiful flowers were at her funeral. I’m posting them here because they were so Judy! They were created at the business where she worked. They knew exactly what to make and how to make them to represent Judy!

There is so much more I could write but I must stop. Judy was my good friend. The best thing about her was her faith in God. She was a committed Christian. Today she is in heaven, no doubt about it!

What A Difference A Day Makes

The day was all planned. I would be joining four other friends, in our small group, to go to Bay City to pay our respects to our friends, John and Jan, over the death of their sister-in-law. Jerry was staying home. John and Jan seemed so pleased we had taken the time and made the effort to support them in their grief.

As we left, to go home, we decided to stop at a pizza shop, only a few blocks away from the funeral home. We parked across the street from the pizza shop.  No cars were coming so we jaywalked across the street. When I picked up my foot to step over the curb, alas, I didn’t pick it up high enough!!! I felt myself stumbling and going down! I put my hand out in front of me to break my fall. Well, I didn’t break my fall and I did break my wrist!!! I knew it was broken by the way my hand was hanging from my wrist! My friends helped me get up.

But I suddenly felt myself getting faint and cried, “I’m going to pass out!” They quickly helped me lie down on the cement sidewalk. Sharon called Jerry. John called 911. Jerry insisted they take me to Midland Hospital instead of Bay City Hospital. Our wonderful friends met us at Midland hospital. With the help of our friend, Larry, Jerry met us all there. Many hours later after lots of tests, x-rays, and a soft cast put on my arm, we were sent home along with lots of instructions.

The next day, Friday, our friend, Rose, brought supper to us! Oh how wonderful. As we visited she told Jerry and me details about my fall that I didn’t know or didn’t remember! One detail was that her husband, Larry, sat down on the cement and put my head on his lap, as a pillow! I didn’t know that! How sweet of him!

Saturday morning I became very sick. Extremely sick! Jerry didn’t know what to do for me. He called 911. So I was taken to Midland Hospital for the second time in three days! This whole mishap was quite an ordeal! But we have such good friends! John and Jan brought a delicious meal to us and then Creston and Sharon brought supper to us! Wow! We ate good!!!

But it was two weeks before I could see the surgeon! He said it was a bad break and I’d need surgery. So a steel plate, the shape of a T, was put in my wrist with seven screws! Two weeks of a soft cast and then two weeks of a hard cast! Oh what misery!

It’s now been almost three months since I broke my wrist and I’m still in occupational therapy! Please, whatever you do, don’t break your wrist! Of course it doesn’t help that I’m almost 80 years old! I guess the older we are the harder it is to heal! Whatever would I do without my granddaughter helping me out for the summer!

What a difference a day makes! It can be a great day with family and friends. It can be a lonely day. It can be a day where tragedy happens, or a fall and a broken bone.

What A Difference A Day Makes!

 

Honoring Lewis Hood, WWI

On this Memorial Day 2018 I bring honor to all those who have given their lives for our freedom. I, specifically, bring honor to my second cousin, Lewis Hood. Lewis Hood Graduation   Lewis was my dad’s cousin, making him my second cousin. He was killed in the Argonne Forest in France at the very end of World War I! Of course I never met him. He was killed on October 10, 1918. My dad was only ten years old! But Dad admired him and was looking forward, along with the rest of the family,  to Lewis coming home from the war. ??????????????