Flowergirl and a Bow

 

My mother made my flower girl gown. It was 1942 or ’43 and I was four years old. We lived in Des Moines, Iowa. Mother was almost finished when she decided to add a bow about two inches above the hemline of the dress. The bow made it special! She finished sewing my dress, pressed it, and oh, it was beautiful! It was a perfect fit!

 

Anita Flower Girl, 4 yrs.

Anita, the flower girl with a bow.

Hmmm…do you wonder why she sewed a bow near the bottom of the dress? Well, I had a baby brother, Billy. I suspect he was crying and needed attention! Whatever the reason…my dress ended up with an ugly scorch mark! I don’t know who came up with idea of a bow covering the spot, but it was a good idea! Mother was an excellent seamstress so she may have thought of it herself. There was enough material left over so she made a beautiful bow!

Not long ago I was looking at pictures of President Polk’s wife. She was known for her beautiful gowns. One had a beautiful bow on the skirt of the dress! Hmmm, I wonder if someone made a mistake and covered it with a bow?!

Bow on a gown Mrs Polk

Mrs. Poke’s with a bow on her gown!

Here’s a picture of the entire wedding party in 1942 or ’43. My dad assisted in the ceremony. He’s the first man on the left, second row from the top.

Anita flower girl wedding

Anita (Williamson) Archer, flower girl; 1st row: ? French; ? Matheny, bride; ??, groom; Norma French; 2nd row: ??; Wyla (Notbohm) Skeen; Annabelle (King) Kerestly ; 3rd row: Rev. Glen Williamson; Rev. J.K. French; Rev. E.W. Walls; 4th row: ??; ??; ??.

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!

 

 

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today started out as almost every day starts out. Autumn was just beginning, as it is now. A few leaves were beginning to turn color. That day, in the morning, I had an inkling to call my sister, Lorraine. But I didn’t because she lived in Portland, Oregon and I live in Midland, Michigan! There is a three-hour difference in our time zones. Or is it four? I’m in Eastern Time Zone and she, in Pacific Time Zone. We’d been getting together about once or twice a year because we’d visit our parents in Washington. Then she moved to Washington for their final years. So when I went to visit Mother and Dad I stayed with her in her apartment. About a year after Dad died, Mother moved to Colorado, where our brothers lived.

And in between those visits, we talked often, on the phone, but most of our calls were late at night, so we weren’t interrupted by anyone or anything. We both loved our visits. They were always long visits, two or three hours long! We had so much to talk about!

  • Our childhood, we were just two and one-half years apart, we had such fun playing house (dolls), paper dolls, school. She was always the teacher! We played jacks, jump rope, tag, hide and seek. We listened to the radio every evening. We reminisced about all of this. 2414_1029994670148_9430_n  This picture is of Richard, Me in the middle, and Lorraine. Grandma had curled our hair for this picture.
  • Our family life, back when we were young. Our parents had rules we didn’t understand but had to obey. Dad was a pastor/evangelist in an evangelical denomination, Free Methodist, and there were strict rules. No jewelry or make-up, no movies, no dancing, no mixed swimming, no bowling, so many things we couldn’t do. Lorraine and I had long braids. Mother had two very long braids that she wrapped around her head, twice! Mother 001When Lorraine was in about fifth grade she wanted her hair cut and fixed like the other girls. She begged Mother to cut her hair. Finally, Mother gave in. But Lorraine heard her say softly, “I hope the Lord will forgive me for this!” Lorraine never forgot that statement. kids 1947 In this picture of the four of us children, I have braids but Lorraine doesn’t.
  • Thank goodness the Free Methodist Church no longer has those rules for dress and behavior. I’m still Free Methodist today. I love God with all my heart. But for Lorraine, to live a Christian life was a struggle. We had many discussions about those old rules and what it means to be a Christian today. I believe with all my heart she made her peace with the Lord.Lorraine
  • We discussed private matters that we only shared with each other. Being able to talk with each other, knowing our conversations were, for our ears only, freed both of us from guilt feelings that sometimes can plague a person’s mind.
  • We discussed our children and grandchildren. She had four, all girls. Her oldest, Christine, was my flower girl when Jerry and I got married! I had five, three boys and two girls. She had eleven grandchildren. I have fifteen grandchildren. We both love all of them, with no favorites.
  • We even discussed our husbands! She had two. I have one.

We decided, early on, not to discuss politics. We didn’t.

Well, the day, three years ago today, went by, the urge to call her left me, with the business of the day. That night I was tired and went to bed earlier than usual. But not being able to relax and fall asleep, I got up and went to the loft when I collapsed in my ‘lazy-boy’ chair. I hadn’t been there long when my phone rang. Oh good, it must be Lorraine!

But no, it was my older brother, Richard! He was calling with bad news. Lorraine had died sometime during the day. Her daughter, Christine, found her. Whatever else he said, I don’t know. I was in shock. Three years ago today. I miss Lorraine so much.

Happy Birthday, Bill

Happy Birthday, Bill! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s a bitter-sweet day for us. Seventy-three years ago today both you and Mother weren’t expected to live. You weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces. Both of you lived! Two years ago today, on your 71st birthday, Mother died at 7:00 AM. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????  This picture was taken at her 99-year birthday party in March 2013!

She was 99 1/2 years old when she died! I was with her, having stayed with her overnight. When I called to tell you she was gone…you told me you had expected her to die on your birthday! Somehow you had expected this for about a week! So you took the news very graciously.

I’m wishing a good day for you today.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Bill. Bless him today on his birthday. Please touch him, both physically and spiritually. Keep him safe and well. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin,  friend, and neighbor. I love Bill so much and You love him even more!

Happy Mothers Day

My mother, Corina Williamson.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                         My mother-in-law, Frances Archer.Scan_Pic0031    They were both beautiful!             Happy Mother’s Day, I miss you both.

My Dad…Part V

“Someday, when the kids are grown, I’m going to take you around the world!” This statement, I remember hearing Dad say to Mother, back in the middle 40’s, finally came true! Scan_Pic0107  This picture was taken in about 1945. I’m the young girl between Dad and Mother. Richard and Lorraine are standing, Billy is on Mother’s lap.

Their first trip, in 1961, was an exciting six-week trip to Europe. Dad was Scottish-Irish; Mother was full-blooded Norwegian, so of course they went to Ireland and Norway.   They kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland! In Norway, they visited relatives who still lived on the farm that had been in the family for centuries! They also went to The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and France.

Coming back home to America they traveled by ship! It was a great ending of a great experience for both of them. Dad was invited to preach on Sunday! It was an unexpected thrill for him.

The next few years had many changes for Dad and Mother. They moved to Colorado where Dad was Conference Superintendent of the Colorado Conference of the Free Methodist Church. They lived in Canyon City and Denver. He wrote several books during that time.

Then they moved to a lovely retreat home on Horn Mountain! He became editor of the magazine: Sermon Builder, a widely used magazine for pastors and church leaders. At the same time, he wrote many articles, stories, and several books. Frank and Hazel, The Adamson’s of Kibogora in 1972 published by Light and Life Press; Repair My House in 1973 published by Creation House;  Geneva and On The Brink by Geneva Sayre with Glen Williamson) in 1974 published by Light and Life Press; Born For Such A Day, The Amazing Story of Western Evangelical Seminary in 1974 published by Le Sabre Press; The Doctor and Geraldine in 1975 published by Church Extension Service, Inc.; Gonzalo of Mexican Missions in 1976 and Brother Kawabe in 1977 published by Light and Life Press.

They traveled to Assisi, Italy where they researched for the book, Repair My House, a biographical novel of Saint Francis of Assisi. Repair my house was a command God had given to Francis concerning the Church. Dad and Mother stayed in a guesthouse run by four Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement. The nuns it interesting that an evangelical minister was writing a book about a Catholic saint and gave valuable assistance to the production of the book.

Other countries they went to for the purpose of researching for books were Japan and Taiwan. “Brother Kawabe”, “Geneva”, and “On The Brink,”

On the way to Japan, they had a layover in Hawaii. They took in a luau and went to see Pearl Harbor. Then on to Japan where they were entertained by Dr. Lavern and Lois Snider. It was a dream come true! They met and ate with new Japanese friends, visited several Free Methodist Churches, and attended a Japanese wedding! Dad was able to do a lot of research on his book, assisted by Dr. Snider.

Taipei, Taiwan was next on the itinerary. They were met by James Taylor, Jr. Then they flew on to Kaohsiung where they were met by Carolyn Winslow and Dorothy Raber. They visited Free Methodist Churches and met wonderful pastors and lay people. One day they visited a heathen temple which made their hearts ache for people who haven’t heard of Jesus. Harry and Ruth Winslow took them to a wedding in Mutan, a mountain village! At a conference meeting of pastors and missionaries, Dad was the speaker, with the conference superintendent as his interpreter.

They took a train back up north to Taipei. It was an excellent way to see rural Taiwan. Rice, sugarcane, pineapples, oranges, bananas, soybeans, cabbage, watermelons, papaya, and persimmons were in abundance. James, Jr. and Leone Taylor and Wilma Kasten met them at the train station. They all enjoyed a delicious Chinese dinner and a good visit. Wilma was their hostess that evening and the next day, before their plane took them to Hong Kong.

John and Ruby Schlosser met them in Hong Kong and showed them all around the large city, explaining cultural ways and the church, as they went.

What a fruitful trip this had been for Dad and Mother. Not only did they meet with missionary friends, they made new friends, explored new cultures, and accomplished lots of research for the books Dad was writing.

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To be continued…

 

 

 

 

Mother

Today, Mother would have been 101 years old! She lived to be 99 years and 5 months. Even though she lived in Colorado and I live in Michigan I was privileged to be with her as she crossed over from life to death.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   I love this picture of her.  I miss Mother so much. But death is a part of life.  She was a child of God. She taught me well. I’m also a child of God. Someday when my time comes, I’ll join her and Dad and many others who chose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He is our redeemer.