Happy Birthday, Pam

Happy Birthday, Pam! photo (9)

My first-born! I hardly knew what was happening! Two hours and twenty minutes total labor time!  A head full of beautiful and manageable black hair! You were special right from the start!

Here you are at three months.IMG_0697 (2)

You’re still special today! You’re a very hard worker and yet, whenever we need you…you’re here!

We’ve had some very special, unforgettable vacation times with you! Malaysia, Canada, Hawaii and Iowa! I wish we could be with you today on your birthday!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Pam! She’s a beautiful child of Yours. Please watch over her as she drives, works, plays, in whatever she does. She’s a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend and neighbor. Please keep her close to You as she trusts in You. I love Pam so much and You love her even more!

My Dad…Part IV

Summer of 1948. A moving van was hired to move our belongings from Covington, Oklahoma to East Peoria, Illinois. It was a sad day for the family. So many good friends were being left behind. But for Dad and Mother, it meant being together again as a family.

The last thing Dad said to the truck driver was, “You can deliver our furniture any day but NOT Sunday.” When the family arrived in East Peoria several days later, Dad was told, the furniture had arrived and was unloaded on Sunday! The parsonage was connected to the church! East Peoria FMC and parsonage.  The furniture and boxes were stacked in the annex, the room between the parsonage and the church. This is a picture of the church and parsonage back when we lived there. A new church has since been built. I don’t know who took the picture or who the people are in this picture. There was a very high hill directly behind this property! I loved hiking up the hill! I doubt Dad ever climbed it!

Dad’s mother, Rose Williamson, died on October 5, 1948.

That fall, another person, loved by our family, died. Those were the years of the terrible epidemic of Polio. Eddie Pennington, a young boy from the Des Moines Free Methodist Church died of polio. He was the only living child of a prominent family in the church. It was a blow and tremendous loss to the family, to the church and to our family.

Dad and Mother, both,  enrolled in a Dale Carnegie course. They both enjoyed it and did well.

Dad was the pastor at East Peoria for just one year, it was a congregation pledged with problems. The family moved back to Waterloo, Iowa and Dad went back into evangelism.

He was a very much-loved evangelist. His sermons were right on target. He included stories which held folks attention and served to illustrate the point he was making. I have a few cassette tapes of his sermons. Resurrection.  Fervent in Spirit. We Have An Advocate. Witness of the Spirit. Let Your Light Shine. Rejoice Evermore. More Blessed to Give. The Roast Pig Story was a favorite of everyone. He tells of a true experience during his ‘chef’s helper’ days. My Brother Roy, plus a few more.

Scan_Pic0106 The next few years were unforgettable for the family. First we lived with Grandma Aanas, Mother’s mother, for about six months. During that time, Dad’s nephew, Roy Gray, was remodeling, a never-used building meant to be a chicken house, on his acreage, into an apartment building. Dad was the first one to rent an apartment from Roy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is a recent picture of the apartment building, still in use today! Dad bought a lot from Roy where he built a small house for our family while we lived in the apartment! That is, he built it in between holding revival meetings! He hired some friends to work on it. Richard, also worked until he became ill with meningitis. I remember Bro. Arms and Nate Olson working, and Bro. Rasche painting the living room.

While we lived in our little house, Richard went away to a high school in with Wessington Springs Jr. College in South Dakota. It was expensive, but Dad and Mother felt it was important. A few days after Richard left someone in our church gave the money for Lorraine to also attend the school. Life at our little home in Elk Run Heights, sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa was never the same! Mother got a job as head cook at the school Billy and I attended.

It was also during those years that Dad became the cook at camp meetings! He and Mother loved cooking and they were very good Dining Hall Worker's Manual (2)at it! They cooked at the Iowa Camp Meeting and Conference and at the Wisconsin Camp in Oregon, Wisconsin. Dad even wrote a book about cooking at camps. I have a copy of it and treasure it. Illustrations were drawn by Richard! This picture, on the cover, is of the crowd of hungry folks at the Iowa camp. I recognize many of the people!

We only lived in our little house in Elk Run Heights, Waterloo, Iowa for about three years. Then the conference asked Dad to once again pastor the church in Des Moines. Dad and Mother prayed about it and decided, yes, we should move back to Des Moines where he would be at home again with the family and pastor the church they loved and the people loved them.     Scan_Pic0105

In 1956, Dad was asked to join Lyle Northrup in Winona Lake, Indiana in the Office of General Evangelism. Bro. Northrup was General Secretary of Evangelism. Dad became his assistant.

Family life was changing.  Richard was in the army in Augusta, Georgia. Lorraine was married and living in Wessington Springs, South Dakota. Anita was now attending high school at Wessington Springs Jr. College. Bill was living at home.

Life as Assistant Secretary of Evangelism was very busy. Mother also worked in the office. Dad was doing a lot of speaking and writing, promoting evangelism across the church. A Free Methodist school in Shreveport, Louisiana came to the forefront. Dad was very busy promoting the school. He made many trips down to Shreveport and was 100% behind the school and it’s directors. He even made a movie, “It Took A Miracle” about the school to be shown in the Free Methodist Churches all over North America to raise funds to help the school. It was a very prestigious school in Shreveport with a good reputation.

Dad then became Secretary of Interracial Evangelism along with being Assistant Secretary of Evangelism. He was very busy but a happy busy man.

Family life was also booming! Grandchildren were coming along and increasing the family. Richard, Lorraine and Anita each had three children, at this point. There were more added later.

Dad was a proud grandpa! When he saw pictures of his grandbabies he saw a great way to show off his grandbabies and to raise money! Who could say no to a beautiful baby asking for money for a good cause?  Dad promotes TEL '60 (2)   Dad promoting TEL with Pammy 1960 (2) Dad promoting TEL 1960 with Pammy (3) Dad promoting TEL with Pam 1960 (2) Dad promoting using Teddy 1962 (2)

A new chapter of his life came when he was asked to be Conference superintendent of the Colorado Conference. A move was made to Canyon City, Colorado.

He was also writing books. The first was a biography of  Julia Shelhamer “Julia, Giantess in Generosity.” He Book Julia  dedicated the book to Mother. “To Corina, loyal companion, without whose gentle prodding and unselfish assistance, the story of her good friend, Julia, would never have been written.” This is copyrighted, 1969, published by Light & Life Press.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…