1 - "SHUG"
Part 2 - "SHE MADE HER BED - LET HER SLEEP IN IT"
Part 3 - "TOO WET TO PLOW"
Part 4 - "A HARD ROW TO HOE"
Part 5 - ALL DRESSED UP - FINALLY!
Back to What SDAs NEED to Know
Keene was frightening to a small-town girl of fifteen, at least to this one. Some of the kids acted like they owned the place. I found out later that they were the ones who had been there a year or more. Dorm and campus life was the norm for them. Since Seventh-day Adventists can't permit their children to attend public schools, especially the minister - he would lose his job - the academies and colleges hold a tremendous position in the denomination. The small churches do well to afford an eight-grade school, so the off-spring are sent away from their parents at a crucial time of their young lives, just as the frustrating, decision-making years come along, and are placed in the care of those who, no matter how devoted and well-meaning, cannot replace a parent.
Southwestern Junior College, as it was called then, referred to as "Keene" because of the town near which it was situated, is about 35 miles south of Ft. Worth. After visiting relatives along the way, our trip finally ended where the road dead-ends at the Mizpah Gate, the Keene landmark. Two brick and stone pillars connected by round wooden beams at the top, from which the sign Southwestern Junior College was suspended. On the outside of either pillar was attached an arch-shaped gate of matching brick and stone. Alumnal emotion runs high at the very mention of the Mizpah Gate. Show a bunch of former Keene-ites a picture of it and just listen to the nostalgic moans!
Through the gate was the Administration Building - Ad Building to us - where the Business Offices and classrooms were housed. A three-story brick building with the main entrance facing the street, and entrances at the ends. One end opened toward the boy's dormitory and the other opened toward the grade school. You had to turn left to go the girl's dorm, past "New Mexico Corner" - the corner of the Ad Building so named because on a really cold, icy day, the wind around that corner could knock you down. I've stood looking out my dorm window and seen not a few take a tumble on the ice - plop! - when the wind was high.
Hamilton Hall, the boy's dormitory, was the most modern structure on campus, replacing one which had burned several years back. North Hall, where I was to live for nine months, had three floors above the kitchen, across the front of the "T" shaped building, and a full-length porch encouraging couples to extend their "goodnights" for as much time as they could steal.
The long part of the "T" went to the back. The top two stories were dorm rooms, and the lower floor was the dining hall. Across the sidewalk from the North Hall entrance was the Music Hall, an older frame home which housed the tiny practice rooms and the teaching studios.
Behind the Music Hall was the Girl's Worship Room, a small building where, rain or shine, sleet or snow, all the young ladies were required to attend morning and evening worship. Evenings were no problem, but mornings-Ugh! You try to sleep as late as possible, then jump up when the second bell rings, roll your pajama legs up high enough to be covered by your coat and then someone's pajama leg would slip down from under her coat as she hurried to or from Worship and that brought a reprimand from the girl's dean. I know, because the silky p.j.s my aunt gave me when I went away to school just wouldn't stay up, and I caught it once!
On Friday night the ministerial students spoke in our Worship Room at what was called "Seminar", a sophisticated way of saying they practiced preaching.
To the back of the girl's dorm were the industrial buildings: College Press, College Mill - a furniture factory, Chenille Shop, the laundry; and across the road which ran in a square around the campus was the fire station, dairy, and the Service Department which installed and maintained the various services needed in the buildings. There was a machine shop, a woodworking shop, and an auto mechanics shop. Across the road to the side of North Hall was Turner Auditorium, the "gym" to us. P.E., basketball, and skating on a regular basis; Lyceum programs, for which one bought a season ticket; talent contests as well as Camp Meeting for the Texas Conference each June as soon as school was out, all took place in the "gym".
Across the street on the opposite side of the campus were a grocery store, privately owned, and the College Store. Students worked at the College Store where there was a fountain where one could get sodas, ice cream, and Vegeburgers. No meat, of course, only fake hamburger meat made from wheat gluten and soy beans. We thought it tasted wonderful, though, especially served with fries, corn chips and a chocolate shake! Some of the constituency didn't approve of the ice cream, but Mrs. White had not said to stop milk products, only that the time would come when we would have to quit using them. Interestingly enough, she didn't mention chocolate at all. We asked her grandson about this once when he was visiting the college, and he said that chocolate shouldn't be placed in the category with coffee and tea since she was not "shown" anything regarding it. I'll bet she liked chocolate!
I was desolate when Daddy and Mother drove off down the road toward Arkansas. Two days later, the day of orientation tests, I was running a fever of 101 degrees and really felt lousy. I supposed the tests - it was the first I.Q. test I had ever taken -would show me to be and idiot. However, a couple of weeks later one of the girls in the office said, with a grin, "I saw your I.Q. test, Pat."
Really? What was my score? C'mon, tell me."
"You know I can't, but I will say this: you ain't got nothin' to worry about."
My girl friend Betty had arrived from home and we settled down to room together. We had the last room on the back with the fire station for a view. I began to get into the swing of dormitory life, and although keeping my nose in a school book was never my bag, I managed to get pretty good grades. The Denominational History and Youth Problems teacher taught as if we were college level with exceptionally long assignments and book reports that wouldn't quite. We had to fill a 3 x 5 card on each chapter of several books, mostly by E.G.W.. The students on our end of the hall got together and divided the books up. After we finished our portions we swapped cards, each doing a little re-write on them. Probably not kosher, but definitely creative. Our teacher never indicated that he disapproved, but since his reader was one of the "swappers" maybe she knew from the beginning that he didn't look at the work anyway.
To contribute to my expenses, I was assigned a job as a night clerk, working from two until six four mornings a week. The old dorm was a fire waiting to happen, and the burning of the boys' dorm, which had taken two lives, was still fresh in memory, so someone had to check all floors, all utility closets every half hour. I began to fall asleep in English class, so it was decided that I should move to second floor and work as monitor. That was much easier, as I sat and did my homework in the hall and kept an eye out that no one left her room without permission during the evening study period. Betty got a new roommate, a lovely Spanish girl. I moved in with Eleanor McCamey. I've called her Mac all the years she's been my close friend.
I really enjoyed rooming with Mac. She was in college, and assisted in everything from the switchboard at the Ad Building to the Girl's Dean to the Church Organist. The favor in which she held gave us a little more freedom than most of the girls, and we moved around during study period and at night without any problems, inside the dorm. We wouldn't have been allowed to go out. In cold weather we kept a jar of Choplets, (another phoney baloney), in our window to stay cool, a jar of mayonnaise and a loaf of bread, and we could always have a quick sandwich. She must be the most long-suffering person in the world, as through my SDA years she was always there for me, providing the shoulder I needed too often.
I began to hear the latest in popular music, which I had not been permitted at home. "Nature Boy", "Four-Leaf Clover", "Beg Your Pardon"; and the one that really sent me - Vaughn Monroe singing "Ballerina"! I wanted to be that dancer! And I loved that deep yet bright, masculine voice!
For some reason the boys were not permitted to have radios in their dorm. I didn't have a radio, but one of the boys from home told me to use his since he couldn't. We were singing along with Sammy Kaye and "The Old Lamplighter" and "Serenade of the Bells", Perry Como and "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba", Eddy Howard and "I Wonder, I Wonder", and Louis Prima and "Bongo, Bongo, Bongo". Every time I hear "A Tree in the Meadow" I think of a friend there whose boy friend left her for someone else. She went around singing it for days.
* * * * * *
"Did you get a Social Privileges Card?" I was asked at the dining table one evening.
"Well, if you are seventeen or in the twelfth grade you can date. Are you eligible?" I didn't want to tell the kids around our table that I was only fifteen.
"I'm in the twelfth grade, I responded.
"Well, then, you can date," Not only is that what every kid wants to do, it's why we were sent there in the first place - to find an Adventist spouse - the primary purpose of the denominational colleges. We must marry "in the truth".
I dated several of the boys. The big night everyone looked forward to was the bus trip in to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra concerts at the Will Rogers Auditorium. Since we couldn't go to movies or Broadway, the Symphony was a heavy date! Dick - blond, blue-eyed,and always laughing, asked me to go with him. He was a fine pianist and member of the a capella choir, as was I, and he sang in the men's chorus, as well. It was far enough ahead of time that I could tell Mother when she called that I had no gloves! She sent me a lovely pair of black gloves with dainty little rosebuds in shades of pink to rose on the back of each. I had a gray suit, black hat with veil and black shoes. I felt so sophisticated. And I fell madly in love with Dick that night! We even held hands on the bus ride back!
Dick was on the committee planning the boy's "reception" that year. Dancing not being permitted, a big banquet followed by student talent performances, well planned and well rehearsed, took the place of an annual ball. Everyone was excited for days. The date was kept secret until just time enough for the girls to get ready. Any boy who divulged the date was thrown, bodily, into the fish pond which decorated the center of the large lawn. Well, Dick did tell me. But I didn't tell anyone. Honest, Dick. The guys went at night and hauled him, in his pajamas, up to the campus and dunked him. And I got the blame. Needless to say, that cooled the little romance. Oh, well, asi es la vida!
One day at dinner a fellow senior said, "See that guy over there carrying trays?"
"Yeah. What about him?"
"His name is Bryan Dulane. Don't you think he's good looking?"
I looked. Over six feet tall, I observed. That's a plus. His nose was prominent and broad-based, mouth and chin a bit weak, forehead low minuses. But his hair was marvelous - dark, thick, and wavy - a definite plus. Dark eyes were laughing with someone as I watched, but there was more than a hint that they were also laughing "at."
George persisted. "I think he's the best-looking boy in school, don't you?"
I looked around. There were a bunch of handsome fellows. George wasn't hard to look at, himself.
"No, I don't," I replied.
Skating was the most fun I had at Keene. It replaced dancing, although music was not played for our skating periods. The faculty tried it one time, and all the kids began to skate in rhythm. That convinced them that it was a bad influence on us, and would lead to dancing. Never mind. They couldn't keep me from humming the music that was in my head! Later on, trying to hang on to "the truth" with one hand and help my children enjoy life with the other, I took them to the public skating rink where we took the classes together and learned the steps. As I've said, if it looked good, sounded good, tasted good, felt good - it was wrong!
I really goofed one night. We had been warned against fast skating, but I enjoyed skating with Roger, and he was fast! He had a great sense of humor. As we skated and talked that night, we were gaining speed. All I remember is a foot suddenly stuck out in front of me. When I woke up I was laid out on the bench where the foot had been sitting. It was a long time before I discovered that where that constant backache was, there was also a fractured vertebra. No one ever came around with an apology for tripping me, but at least they didn't let people sit along the wall inside the skating area anymore.
I cannot for the life of me remember how it came about that Bryan Dulane asked me for a date. It may have been at a relay skate, I just don't know. The first time I remember being with him was at a Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concert. The bus and any accompanying cars always stopped at a restaurant after the concerts so everyone could enjoy eating and socializing and dragging the evening out as late as possible. Although we were always heavily chaperoned, we managed to have a good time. In face, since Seventh-day Adventist hands are just as restless as any others, we probably had a better time because of the chaperones.
That night after we had enjoyed the orchestra, we were at the "eatery". all Adventists were vegetarians, but discovered that their kids will usually digress when out from under parental control. I was so sure that Sister White had been "shown" that I could not be translated if I ate meat, that I didn't eat meat. It was just that simple. I wanted to end up in heaven, not hell.
"Do you want a hamburger?" Bryan asked.
"No, thank you. I don't eat meat." His look was unreadable as he ordered cherry pie a la mode for each of us. Later he said that he began making plans for us at that time. After all, if you are aspiring to be President of the General Conference, the top of the Adventist world, you should have a wife who believes the whole ball of wax, shouldn't you?"
I guess when they passed out brains, I though they said trains, and said No thanks! I sailed right along, assuming everything was going to work out fine. After all, I was a good Seventh-day Adventist, eating no meat, drinking no coffee, tea or cola drinks. I didn't wear jewelry, make-up or immodest clothing, not even feathers or artificial flowers. I was in an Adventist school. Everything HAD to be all right, didn't it?"
Out of six weddings that year, there was not one that seemed happy years later. Three ended in divorce. One couple "had to" get married, and the last time I saw the other couple he was yelling at her, and she had lost the bounce and pizzazz she had in school. Her hair was dull and her clothes looked as if they had come from the twenty-five cent table at Goodwill. Well, at least they were safe "in the truth". Daddy said one reason the kids married so early in our era was because we wouldn't sleep together before marriage. I know that I and my friends were very concerned about "doing right" in every respect. "Standards" was the main topic of conversation among the more serious of us. Being good was what was going to save us - and I don't mean just for marriage, either. One of my friends wrote in my Yearbook: "Hold your standards as you have and you will be assured of God's leading hand." Even the most naive of us knew we would be saved - or not saved - according to our behavior. None of us had ever heard of salvation by grace alone.
Mother had told me that any guy would "try" a girl before marriage. So when I was accompanying Bryan on the piano in the Music Hall one day, and he began to get "handy", I assumed it was a man's normal conduct. I jumped to my feet, turned toward him, and informed him in no uncertain terms that I was not in the practice room with him for that type of practice! He wasn't angry. He said he respected me for that, and he behaved himself after that.
* * * * * *
Dorm life was busy, especially if you worked to pay for part of your tuition,
which the faculty prefers. One builds character that way. There was skating every Wednesday night, and some kind of function on Saturday nights. If you happen to have been too sick to attend church, you were automatically too sick to socialize on Saturday night after the sun went down. And believe me, when more than 350 youngsters have been restrained for 24 hours, they are ready for Saturday night! There was an Amateur Hour, a Snake Handler, the Hobby Man, North Texas State Teacher's College Band. All the kids loved cold weather because then couples could hold hands under a coat lying across one's lap, without the faculty seeing. We all knew - we had been told often enough -that hand-holding led to "other things". The boys always grinned when we were reminded, but girls were a little afraid of those mysterious, unknown "other things".
The different clubs had parties, too. And there was a subscription campaign for the school paper which kept the adrenaline flowing for two or three weeks with the Eagles - the boys - competing against the Parrots - the girls. The highlight of the year was, of course, the boys' reception. The girls were delectable in their formal gowns, and the ones with dates got corsages. The dorm was a flurry of activity as the girls fussed with their faces and tried to achieve the fine line between using a little makeup and not using enough to be noticed. Most cheeks had a natural rouge, applied by the excitement of a heavy date.
There were two or three other formal events in a year. Girls of the same size swapped formals, so we had a different one for each occasion. One sweet young thing was dressing for the Music Banquet. I heard unusual sounds down the hall and went to see what was going on.
"Oh, my goodness!" I gasped, as I looked between the other girls who had gathered 'round. Little Wanda was standing in the middle of the room in the most gorgeous gown I had ever seen. Black, not quite off-shoulder, the full skirt was gathered up at intervals around the hem and held with pink roses. The underskirt was of lace and net. Someone had tattled to the Dean, who came down the hall. She nixed it.
"I'm afraid you'd better not wear it," she said, a bit sorrowfully, I thought. When she left we all stayed to mourn with Wanda and try to console her. She was gutsy, though. She borrowed a much less attractive gown and went right on to the banquet.
Social privileges included the right to use the dating parlor. A little room with a loveseat, coffee table and end tables. A curtain hung at the door, to remind couples that anyone could take a peek at any time. An hour a week was permitted. The kitchenette where the girls could show off their culinary arts was also available for a date as well as for a get-together for the girls.
I really enjoyed A Capella Choir. We performed excerpts from Messiah, Haydon's Creation, Humperdinck's "Prayer" for Hansel and Gretel and other traditionals. We had a shorter number for each Sabbath service.
Speech class was fun, too. One really funny guy and I sat together on the back row, and did more "speeching" there than we did in front of the class. My girlfriend was dating him and we all laughed at the nonsense we came up with.
Much of the classical material in English Literature class was deemed to be unfit for Seventh-day Adventist children, so we were assigned only key phrases from carefully chosen poetry and essays. Sister White had fallen apart to the point of becoming sick in bed from just seeing a picture of Shakespeare and an article about him in a denominational paper! I was asked, years later, where on earth I had received my education. I knew nothing of the greats of literature, or of their works. Perhaps Ellen was intimidated by those with more education. She also refused to take any medication which had a Latin name. "I would not touch their nostrums, to which they give Latin names. I am determined to know, in straight English, the name of everything that I introduce into my system."2
She was very negative about students learning biblical languages. She somewhat grudgingly admitted that a few might benefit by studying Latin, Greek, and even Hebrew, but "It is folly for students to devote their time to the acquirement of dead languages", and "Those who think that a knowledge of Greek and Latin is essential to a higher education cannot see afar off."3 I have sung in Latin, and have learned the Latin names of my plants and flowers with ease. It goes to show her semi-literacy. Those who contend that she received all her "wisdom" directly from God should note her fear of higher education. On the other hand, if she did receive directly from Heaven, who needs Biblical languages and other research?
Sister White's counsel to two young people was to read only the Bible and spiritual material which, of course, would be Seventh-day Adventist material.4 The church was instructed to give her books the widest possible circulation and translate them into many languages.5 Adventist books were a means of quickly giving "truth" to the world. And a severe warning: many an inmate of the insane asylum got there because of a novel reading habit.6
I really hated Home-Economics, but I needed some easy credits. I was still finishing up my last correspondence course, Spanish 2, and the school felt I was overloaded and refused to let me take piano. So I did the Home-Ec bit. What do you teach a kid who has already cooked for the field hands? We wrote up a lot of recipe cards and planned menus. I believe I used two of the recipes in the years to come, both for meatless entrees.
Aside from learning to sight-read choral music, which had to fill my musical needs that year, A Capella Choir could be stimulating. We second altos sat in front of the baritones, who were always trying to disrupt us, all the while keeping their faces straight. One night a guy passed a hymnbook between two of us, on which was a daintily dissected grasshopper. No one squealed, fortunately.
Lunch - we called it dinner - at the Cafeteria was always fun. Our table was called down more than once for enjoying ourselves too vociferously. The boys thought it hilarious to put a pat of butter on the end of the knife blade and flip it up onto the ceiling. Sometimes a chair was pulled just as someone started to sit down, but I always yelled when I saw that about to happen. I had known of a boy who had been paralyzed by such a stunt.
* * * * * *
"Pat, come in here a minute." I went into the ironing room, a little cubicle with a hair dryer, ironing board, and a couple of straight chairs. Lorraine, one of my friends from back home was in there with a couple other girls.
"Sit." I sat.
"Now tell me what's going on," I demanded.
"Take off your shoes and socks. We're going to get that hair off your legs." They had a tube of Nair and very determined looks on their faces.
"Mother'll kill me," I whispered.
"No she won't. She might get mad but she'll get over it," Lorraine said.
"Besides," Mary added, "You won't be seeing her for a while." I had wanted to shave my legs. All the other girls did, but I dreaded the confrontation when I would go home.
Back home at Thanksgiving Mother noticed, of course, and was unhappy with me.
"I just knew you'd do something like that," she said, but she wasn't angry. Later, when she became single, she joined the club.
* * * * * *
On my way back to Keene after the Christmas Holiday, I was joined by Dorothy in Texarkana, returning to school also, from her home in Northern Louisiana. A jolly girl, she enjoyed a laugh as much as I, and we probably drove the passengers near us nuts. I liked her. I guess that's why it was such a shock several years later when I heard she was dating my estranged husband, and they were planning to marry and try to take my little son from me.
* * * * * *
The school picnic on a nearby farm was lots of fun for all 350 kids at the school. There were races, which Bryan couldn't finish because his heart began acting up. We had a great spread of food, after which we sat around on blankets and talked and laughed, played croquet, volley ball, horseshoes and other things. Bryan said, "C'mon, let's shoot some arrows." He shot a few close to the bull's-eye, then said, "Here. You wanna try it?" So I took the bow and an arrow and very carefully put the arrow in the line which edged the bull's-eye. I did it one more time, and he lost interest.
"Let's go do something else." So we left the archery range.
* * * * * *
Sex training in all our homes had been limited to "Don't you ever...," and "Never let a boy... ." At school it amounted to the faculty "beating the bushes", as we called it, after every social event. So 360 kids tried to figure everything out. Bryan told me that every boy in the dorm masturbated. I wasn't sure what that was, but I recalled bearing about it on several occasions. At a Home and School meeting once one of the mothers asked a question pertaining to that evil habit And I remembered a pale little girl in church school some years before, big allergy circles under her eyes and a constant post-nasal drip, whose mother told the teacher, who told her daughter, who in turn told her girlfriend, me, that she thought her child was masturbating. The mother knew that Sister White described some of the symptoms that way.Dear Lord, how many have suffered untold agonies at the lands of such stupidity! Sister White called self-abuse, masturbation, "a hellish practice."7 She claimed this information was given to her in vision in mid-1863, notwithstanding Sylvester Graham (of Graham Flour fame) had published on the subject in 1834. She also had in her possession in 1863 books by both Doctors Trall and Jackson on sex.
"I have been shown," she wrote, "that persons of apparently good deportment" were "guilty of practicing secret vice nearly every day of their lives. They have not refrained from this terrible sin even while most solemn meetings have been in session. They have listened to the most solemn, impressive discourses upon the judgment, which seemed to bring them before the tribunal of God, causing them to fear and quake; yet hardly an hour would elapse before they would be engaged in their favorite, bewitching sin, polluting their own bodies."8 Parents who "have abused their marriage privileges" produce children "easily excited", "born with natural irritability of the sexual organs" whose early secret vice cause them to become "puny and dwarfed".9 Masturbation is the cause of complaints such as "dizziness, headache, bleeding at nose, palpitation, and a sense of lassitude and weakness,"10 and is "killing thousands and tens of thousands."11 In a "vision", everywhere she looked, she saw imbecility, dwarfed forms, crippled limbs,, misshapen heads, and deformity of every kind" caused by the practice of solitary vice, which was the reason "a large share of the youth now living are worthless"! In addition to all of the above, continued masturbation causes hereditary insanity and deformities, liver and lung problems, neuralgia, rheumatism, spinal problems, diseased kidney, and cancerous tumors, frequently resulting in early death!12 Remarkable!
The poor lady was so horrified at the thought that she might accidentally ask God's blessing upon a "self-abuser" that she even began refusing requests for prayers of healing.13
We girls couldn't figure out how females could get caught up in that horrible trap, but thought boys probably could. At least we knew we weren't among the 99 percent of children Sister White said were "corrupt as hell itself!" Whew! What a relief!
Bryan didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with the practices going on in the Boy's Dorm, though I knew Sister White had to be right. But where, I wondered, were the puny dwarfs, the crippled limbs, misshapen heads and imbeciles? I thought the guys looked pretty healthy, myself!
None of the girls I knew understood what homosexuality was. A girl friend from California, more sophisticated than we tried to describe it delicately.
"What do you think was going on in the room next to mine?", she asked. "Don't you hear all that noise?" I couldn't believe that we had "some of those" right in our school! Even among the faculty, she told us. I later learned that she was right. Two of the females were still together many years later, and another friend of mine admitted to having been accosted by the faculty member. Sister White said "the gratification of unnatural appetite led to the sins that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah."15 So again I felt safe in the knowledge that my vegetarian lifestyle was saving me from unspeakable sins.
* * * * *
We had a real honest-to-goodness series of snows that winter, back to back. Some of the boys conned the farm manager into building a large sled and taking us for a ride. Bryan and I were among the happy riders. The slipping and sliding and swinging around of the sled somehow dumped me against Cyril, Bryan's friend, and he was holding onto me with both arms and both legs. Cozy. In my year book he wrote:
"To Pat: I wish you all the best in the world. Remember the sled ride? Lots of fun!!" Our paths would cross again.. and again.
* * * * * *
The die was cast at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in early spring, 1948. The concert was not quite to the intermission when one of the chaperones came back where we were sitting. Leaning over the other listeners, she said,
"Pat, you've got a long-distance call." My heart suddenly took off as for a race. Long-distance calls in those days meant trouble. I rushed as quietly as I could to the phone the usher pointed out. It was Mother.
"Daddy is in the hospital, Pattie. We don't know if he's going to make the night or not. You'd better come home."
I was stunned, unable to move or even think. Bryan took over.
"Come on, let's get the Prof," he said of his favorite professor. When Professor Lutz joined us in the lobby the two of them went into a huddle, then to the telephone. After a few minutes Bryan came back to me.
"Listen, Dear, the next bus out of Dallas is at 12:40. That gives us time to get you back to the school to check out, change clothes and pack a few things. The Prof will bring us back to the bus, and I'm going to Arkansas with you."
"Yes. I'm not going to let you make that trip alone. Besides, if the worst happens, I want to be there with you." There are times when it feels good to have someone take over.
We dozed intermittently on the bus, which stopped as often as the proverbial milk train, and was as smoky as a saloon. I thought a lot about Daddy. We had just taken the school pictures for the yearbook, and I remembered Daddy's little jingle for picture-taking days:
We don't care how we look,
We gonna have our pictures took!
He was the original Andy of Mayberry, laughing, teasing, and always coming up with unusual solution to difficult situations. And so descriptive!
"He was grinning like a sack of "possum heads," he would say. Or if the smile was one of triumph: "He had a smile like a wave on a slop bucket."
A girl with a too-short dress: "Boy, that dress was cut in high water!"
If I came out all dressed up and with obvious perfume, he'd say, "Hmmm, smells like gals goin' to meetin' in here!"
He enjoyed inviting friends out for home-made ice cream, and boy, could he make delicious ice cream!
I scream, You scream,
We all scream for ice cream!
When two little kids at our house were smacking their lips at table, and eating with a great lack of manners, he told them that they would find their next meal out in the hog trough if they didn't straighten up. They knew it wouldn't bother him one bit to do that, so they straightened up!
What would I do if I should lose him?
About eight o'clock next morning we stopped at Hope for ten minutes. I knew I'd better warn Mother about Bryan, so I called her.
"He's a little better, but not out of the woods. Where are you?"
"I'm in Hope. Mother, I didn't want you to be upset. I have a friend with me."
"Yes. A boy. He's a nice boy, Mother. He's studying for the ministry."
"Oh?" Pause. "What on earth are we supposed to do with him?"
Mother met us at the bus and we went directly to the hospital. Of all things to happen, Juliette was there. Mother was furious, but said nothing. I didn't blame her for being mad, but why didn't she sock the women good, or at least tell her off in a way she would understand, and put an end to the martyrdom? Meeting the "other woman" head-on may not always help, but usually it does.
True to his word, Bryan worked and dusted, swept and mopped, made juice and salad, and won both my parents' hearts. No one ever had a reason to call him lazy.
On Sabbath afternoon there was vespers in the privately owned hospital, run by some truly fanatical Adventists. They wouldn't even eat peas and carrots at the same time, since peas grew above the ground and carrots grew in the ground! One of the owners was later found to be sleeping with a woman other than his wife, but at least they weren't eating peas and carrots at the same meal!
For the service that evening I played the piano and Bryan sang, "When I've Gone the Last Mile of the Way", and that was the last straw for Mother. She was won. No one could sing such a meaningful song and not be a good man, could he?
If I had had any sense at all, I would have stayed with my Daddy instead of going back to school. But it's hindsight that's 20/20, right?
* * * * * *
As the end of the school year approached, couples were dreading the coming separations. The guys, and probably a lot of the girls, subtly, were trying to lock in the relationships. Consequently a lot of engagements were being announced. Since Seventh-day Adventists don't wear jewelry, a fellow would get his girl a watch, which she then wore on the right arm to signify her betrothal. The date parlor was really getting a work-out. Even the kitchenette was sometimes called upon to serve as a date place. One day Bryan called and asked if he could see me that afternoon.
"I guess so", I answered. When he got there the date parlor and the kitchenette were occupied, so the Dean invited us to use her office for awhile. Bryan sat down and pulled me down beside him. After an enthusiastic kiss he asked,
"Do you love me enough to marry me?"
"I think so", I replied. He kissed me again. He was happy and self-assured, and I was happy to have made him happy. I thought everything was going to be right with our world. Wasn't I following the counsel of the Lord? Had I not been prepared to be a minister's wife? We talked on and on of all the great things we would accomplish together when we finished college and were married. Suddenly, outside the door we heard a beautifully harmonized girl's chorus. It took a second or two for me to catch it:
"Now is the Hour When We Must Say Good-bye!"
We had a good laugh and left the office to the Dean and her girls. We were engaged. Since I had a good watch, Bryan asked would I just as soon wear it on my left arm as he was making me something special for my engagement present. Of course I agreed.
One day he came over to the dorm and sent one of the girls up for me. When I came down he was standing there with a box in his hands.
"I wanted to get us started off right," he said with an air of satisfaction. "Take'em upstairs with you and keep them. I'll pick them up later and take them to the book store. I'm going to have my name engraved in gold on the fronts." I reached for the box and set it on the table. I could see that it contained the four books of Ellen White's Testimonies and the five-volume set of The Conflict Series.
"If these are for us why only your name on the front?" I queried.
"Simple. When I get ordained I can add 'Elder' to the front of the name. If I put 'Mr. and Mrs.' on the books now, then I can't change it to 'Elder'."
* * * * * *
I had met Bryan's parents, as they had been up to see him and his sister several times during the year. His physician father, though a bit gruff, seemed nice enough. His mother was a nurse. A genteel person with a ready smile, she was very obviously sold on her son. From the independent way Bryan treated his folks, I supposed he was independent.
I wanted to visit the Dulanes at one of the breaks, but no way would Mother permit me to go.
"It just isn't proper!" That was correct in her era, but I highly recommend it, nonetheless. Had I done so, history would be different. I doubt any girl would have been good enough for Mama Dulane's boy. She had, in fact, chosen one for him - a cute petite blond, who was a lot smarter than I. She didn't want Mama's Spoiled Boy!
Daddy was doing some better. Since they had to come get me, anyway, my parents made plans to stay with some old friends at Keene during the Texas Camp Meeting. Bryan's family - not just Mama and Daddy - were all there: sisters, adopted brother, aunts, uncles and grandma. Most of the male relatives were doctors and the ladies nurses or dieticians. All were greatly respected by the Texas Conference Officials who saw dollar signs when they looked at all those doctors. At least one of them was on the Conference Committee at any given time.
Mother and Daddy attended my graduation and some of the meetings,but Daddy was suffering with some great painful boils on his body, so he rested as much as he could. As Camp Meeting came to a close, Daddy Dulane came over to our friends' home to talk with my folks. Daddy was lying out in the sun trying to heal his body.
"I think we might as well let the kids go ahead and get married this summer. It won't cost much more for me to support the two of them than just Bryan. I have some property here in the village they can live in, and I'll see them through school." Then he added some words between which lines I should have read. "Maybe Bryan will settle down."
So an August wedding was planned. Daddy thought the Lord was providing for his "Shug", as he didn't know if he would ever be well again. Bryan brought out a lovely cedar chest which he had hand-crafted himself in the Woodworking Shop. We took it home and I started filling it. Mother got me three sets of sheets with matching pillow cases, one set pink, one blue and one white. Colored sheets were a new idea then. She embroidered initials and sewed lace on the white pair. Snazzy!
We got new underwear for me, and a frothy white negligee. Engraved invitations were ordered, addressed and mailed. I was given two huge bridal showers; one by friends and neighbors of our area, and one in Hot Springs by the church where I had played piano and then organ since the age of twelve. Gifts poured in through the mail from school mates and relatives and friends of both families. I had two complete sets of dishes, a set of stainless flatware, a set of silver plated flatware and sixteen tablecloths, among other things.
Bryan was "colporteuring" in South Texas to earn his yearly tuition scholarship which the denomination awarded those who sold "X" number of the Church's books during the summer. He had been given the position of District Manager, helping the other kids with their canvassing, since he had proven to be a "natural". I've often said he could sell the dirty shirt off his back. (Makes for a great evangelist, yes?).
Well, the selling got him locked up once. He was helping some of the kids who were selling magazines on the streets of one of Texas' port cities, and there was an ordinance against it. The Conference and Union, (Union is several Conferences), brethren had to come down and bail them out of jail. It wasn't too bad an experience. They sang in jail until the jailer told them to shut up. At least they had suffered for Jesus! The trial date was set for the week after our wedding date.
We did not have a phone out in the country, so the wedding plans had to be laid by mail. Bryan asked what I wanted the men to wear, so I wrote that they might rent tuxes. I was stunned to receive a letter right back that no way would he agree to tailcoats for the men, his mom didn't think that an afternoon wedding should have tails, and who did I think I was to decide about what the men should wear, on and on and on. I couldn't believe the animosity that I was seeing with my eyes! I wanted to call it off immediately. When I told Mother she said, "But the invitations are out, and you've gotten a lot of gifts. How could we face all the embarrassment?" I didn't know, but there had to be a way. Mother came up with an answer. I had had an attack of appendicitis once before, I could do it again! So I wrote Bryan that;
A) a tuxedo was neither a cutaway nor a tailcoat,
B) I could see that a marriage between us could never work and I didn't want to be yelled at all the time, therefore;
C) I was calling the wedding off.
I would just pretend to be sick to save embarrassment for the families.
As soon as Bryan received my letter, he threw some things in his little Model A Ford and started out for Arkansas. We heard the "oogah, oogah: coming across the "dam road" early in the morning, after he had driven all night. Unshaven, wrinkled, red-eyed and repentant, he apologized for his ignorance of formal wear, and evidenced his remorse by becoming the nicest, smilingest, most helpful person you ever saw. Of course, I relented, Mother relaxed, and we continued with plans for the wedding.
* * * * * *
Daddy built, and I painted, a lattice arch and two panels to spread out from the arch. Daddy cut some small pines and stood them behind the lattice work.. A friend hung a yucca bell from the arch and twined ivy in and out of the lattice work. Two tall baskets of wildflowers, vines, ivies and mums flanked the arch. Daddy rented chairs and several of the male relatives moved the piano out to the yard. It was to be a lovely garden wedding. I was sent to my room while the bridal bouquet was assembled. I'll never know why I was not permitted downstairs all day. Something to do with the groom not allowed to see the bride before the wedding on the big day. Well, why didn't they just send him away? It was a long day, but finally the time came to dress. My gown was heavy traditional white slipper-satin, the scooped-out neckline filled with re-embroidered lace, a dropped waistline coming to a point in front, into which was sewed a peplum. The skirt was a full circle. Elbow-length mitts were of the same re-embroidered lace, and the veil had a double row of scalloped lace falling to fingertip length and was crowned with natural tuberoses. The attendants wore identical dresses to mine, but in shades of yellow, gold and apricot. Two petite cousins carried little white baskets of flower petals, dropping them as they walked down the grassy aisle.
My huge, round bouquet was my friend's masterpiece, full of pale yellow and ivory colored mums, ferns, and tuberoses tied into the trailing white and yellow ribbons. A lavender and yellow orchid corsage was centered in the bouquet, to be removed for me to wear on my "going away" outfit. Aunt Hazel styled my shoulder length, reddish brown hair.
We had agreed on white trousers and black coats for the guys, and the minister was in black.
Two tables near the house were covered with lace cloths, one for the tree-tiered cake, and one for the very red, non-alcoholic punch. Dozens of relatives and friends seemed to have a wonderful time.
There was no ring, of course. For nearly a century Adventists didn't wear rings, and many still do not. Sister White said that not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to state that we are married. A woman's deportment will take care of everything.16 During the years of school to come, we wives got together and traded stories of men expressing anger that we had no ring to signify our marital state. I discovered that I was not the only young wife who was embarrassed about the situations we got caught up in because of this rule of the church.
We had chosen and reserved a little cabin on the lake for a two-day honeymoon. It was just dark when we arrived. We had some snacks and sat and watched the water for awhile then went to bed. It was bad. For both of us. I was so young, so virginal, so uninformed, so scared. He was so male, so uninformed, so anxious. He suddenly jumped out of bed and left for a long boat ride, alone. I had made my bed, as Daddy would have said. I would have to sleep in it. The next day Bryan's parents came out to spend the day with us. I guess it was just as well.
Our third night of marriage was spent in the same motel room with his parents and brother. We were on our way to their home in South Texas. The following night late, exhausted, we were sleeping in Bryan's own bed.
"It's time to get up," Mother Dulane was saying. I looked at my watch. It was only 7:30. I thought after such a trip and on a honeymoon, we should at least get to sleep in once.
Mother Dulane fixed as many kinds of breakfasts as there were people in the house. She wanted to please everyone. Especially her boy. She even got him off to the side and queried him about our private life. She wanted his wife to please her boy, too.
A Youth Congress was coming up in Houston, and the Dulanes were planning to attend. In the meantime, Bryan stayed busy, I didn't always know with what, and I was left at home a lot of that two weeks with his younger brother Wally, who was a year or so younger than my own younger brother. It was a comfortable relationship, as big sister was a role I had played most of my life. We walked through the orange groves, which were new to me, and the nearby farm land. It was so flat after our Arkansas hill country. The palm trees were a first for me, also. Wally was a sweet kid, pleasant and easy to get along with.
The family had a dinner in our honor. As the well-to-do doctors and their families arrived bearing gifts, I instantly perceived a difference in the clothes, bearing, and later, in the homes of these other family members. Bryan's cousins filled me in on all the family skeletons.
Mother Dulane was from a genteel background. Her family resented her marriage to Dr. Dulane, good-hearted and generous, but completely unsophisticated and even a bit rough around the edges. His mother had been a tough, uneducated lady who took in washings or whatever necessary to see that her two boys were well educated. She did well, as one son became a lawyer, who did not move into Adventism, and the other chose to become a doctor. Medicine in its many aspects is ideal for Adventists, because they don't have to worry about the Sabbath. Didn't Jesus heal on the Sabbath? So working in that area is the one field in which the church member con work for someone else and work on the Sabbath, if necessary. Many other Adventists are self-employed to avoid confrontations.
Doctor Dulane was an original. He brought the placentas home after baby deliveries and threw them out in the front yard for his dogs.
"They're nourishing," he said. I thought he could at least throw them in the back yard.
He loved his dogs - big Boxers. He slept with one arm around his wife and one caressing the dog. In summer huge ticks crawled across the floors and up the walls and drapes. I once took a pair of dirty socks off the dining table, demanding, "Whose dirty socks are these on the table?", I was sure they belonged to one of the sons or grandsons.
"They're mine," the Doctor said, as he walked through the door. "And the table is mine. If I want to put my dirty socks on my table, I will put my dirty socks on my table!" So there! Guess he told me!
If you entered the living room mornings before the maid arrived you would see his boxer shorts lying there, just like he left them when he stepped out of them the night before. For years he didn't have a phone in their bedroom. One night, unable to sleep, I was lying beside my sleeping husband, just thinking, when the phone rang. Doctor Dulane came out to answer it - in the buff. When he saw I was awake he reached for his shorts on the floor nearby, held them in front of him with one hand while he continued his conversation. Of course, I turned away. The difference in lifestyle was so great that I was having a very difficult adjustment. I had never seen my father totally undressed. I had not thought of him as male, but as Daddy. One morning one of Bryan's sisters gave birth at the clinic and returned to her parent's home that afternoon, "to be with the family," she said. When she left a trail of blood behind as she walked down the hall, no one seemed to think it unusual. No one lifted an eyebrow when Daddy Dulane would step out of the delivery room, pointing and giving instructions to workmen with hands gloved and bloody. In summer he often saw patients without his shirt, in a holey or torn undershirt.
I was relieved when we got to the hotel in Houston for Youth Congress to find a mistake had been made in reservations, and instead of our room being next door to Bryan's parents, it was on the other side of the hotel! All newlyweds need some time and privacy, and we needed all the help we could get. But I may as well have forgotten that. Next day Mother Dulane came to our room with a package.
"Another wedding gift," she said, grinning. I opened the box and was stunned to find a douche bag with all the accouterments. Oh, how they laughed at the look on my face! I had been to my own doctor, and was following her counsel. I was insulted at this invasion of my privacy as well as the affront to my intelligence.
* * * * * *
There were a number of newlyweds at the Youth Congress. The Public Relations people even got a picture of us all for the newspaper. And there were quite a few kids from Keene, so I was not completely bored. Every time Bryan would see someone he knew, off he would go, leaving me standing. It took me a long time to realize that I could go on and do my own thing, too.
The theme of the Congress was, as usual, the Gospel to all the world in this generation, the Gospel being the Sabbath, the Spirit of Prophecy writings and the Investigative Judgment. At all meetings, Seventh-day Adventists must be reminded of the lateness of the hour, which puts them on a guilt trip, so they will work harder toward two goals: reaching their own personal perfection, and convincing the world, not of the forgiveness Jesus offers, but of the importance of keeping the Commandments, that is, the Sabbath commandment. You'll hear them bearing false witness, coveting, see them dishonoring their parents, and yes, even committing adultery. But never, never would they turn the TV on or buy a loaf of bread on the Sabbath. After I left the church, an Adventist gentleman said he would like to make love to me. Before I could respond, he said it would never work, though, because I no longer kept the Sabbath! Can you believe it?
Since the Church teaches that between the time Jesus finishes "going over the books" in the Heavenly sanctuary and the time he actually returns to earth the believers will be without a mediator, it follows that at every convention they must be exhorted to "get ready", since they do not know at what instant "probation" will close, and never after will there be a chance to come to God. (What do they do with Jesus' own promises to be with us always, even till the end of the world, and that He would never forsake us?)17
So we listened to the Youth Evangelists tell us all these things with as much originality as each could muster, then we headed back to the Dulane's home, where we would pick up the Model-A for the trip north to Keene. A couple of hours out of Houston, Bryan decided it was his time to drive his Daddy's car. Veronica, his younger sister, had driven long enough, he thought. They started in.
"It's my turn to drive," my big strong husband said. Veronica looked at him in the rear-view mirror.
"Down, Boy! she said as she kept on driving.
"Listen you," Bryan retorted as he reached forward and took her by the shoulder. "I want to drive. It's my turn!"
"Forget it, Kid. I'm doing fine."
By now Bryan was hot. His ego had been challenged. "Well, then, stop the car and let me out. I'll just walk!"
"So Miss Veronica stopped the car, and young Mr. Dulane got out and started walking. Sister took off down the road. I turned around and looked at my husband of two weeks, shoulders back, head up, eyes straight ahead, marching down the road, fighter for just causes, martyr for right! Heap big man! I wanted to crawl under the seat.
As his figure got smaller and smaller, Mother Dulane commanded her to stop and go back for her immature son. Then she added, "I think you should both get in the back and let Pat drive." No way would I have touched that wheel.
Back in South Texas we loaded the little Model-A with all the wedding presents and other odds and ends Mother Dulane came up with to help us get started. Daddy Dulane gave us $50.00, and we began our 50 mile trip back to college. Just north of San Antonio Bryan saw a sign, Collie Kennels. He grinned at me and pulled in.
"What gives?" I asked. He just got out and started toward the building entrance. I opened my door and followed him. The owners were a nice couple who invited us in when Bryan asked did they have any puppies. They took us to a litter of newly-weaned pups. Fifty dollars each. Thoroughbreds.
Out came the sales pitch. He had always wanted a collie pup but he had a new wife, was headed back to college, and had only fifty dollars to his name. Finally the man bent down and picked up the runt of the litter.
"This one is stunted. You can have him for $25.00." Bryan gleefully pulled out twenty-five of our fifty dollars, reached for the pup, and said, "Let's go!" He handed the pup to me and started the car. "I've always wanted a collie dog", he repeated. And what Bryan wants, Bryan gets.
Bruce was a sweet dog, and was a companion to me many lonesome times.
* * * * * *
We arrived at Keene after a long, tiring trip. Daddy Dulane owned a two story frame house just off campus, and had set up two tiny army huts in the back yard. He kept them all rented out, and had reserved one of the little huts for us. The day after we arrived Bryan informed me that his folks would be up the next day, and we were to meet them at the train. I was flabbergasted. We had been married less than three weeks and had been with them all that time!
When we met the train at a nearby town, it was obvious how happy Mother Dulane was to be with us. Contrary to what psychologists tell us, it is probably a good thing that most of us do go through life hiding our true feelings. Prevents a lot of fights. Maybe worse.
Bryan's parents had come up to help us get whatever we needed to set up housekeeping, and I was not ungrateful. I was just needing to feel like a woman rather than a not-too-wanted daughter-in-law.
In the back half of the miniature square house was exactly enough room for a double bed against three of the walls, with a dresser and three foot wide closet on either side of the bathroom door. The bathroom had a miniscule tub, ten inch basin and small commode. In the front half was a small refrigerator, apartment size stove, a sink, and several short shelves. We had a little dining table which I used to work on, then cleaned off and set for eating.
The Dulanes took us in to Cleburne and bought us a Wurlitzer Studio Piano. It was a fine instrument. We placed it against the inside wall across from the serapi covered cedar chest. On the other wall, like the bottom of a "U" was Bryan's desk, the three pieces almost touching. It was more than cozy, but fine for two kids starting out, still in school. And we couldn't beat the price!
The blow struck just before the Dulane left. Daddy Dulane informed me that since music was a "useless" education he wanted me to take nursing! Was it that he still hoped his son would take medicine? Bryan's mother had told me that his hopes were so strong that his sign had read, B.R.DULANE,M.D., so that even though their first names were different, they could both use the sign. I never did decide whether Bryan just didn't have what it took to study medicine, or whether the Korean War sent him looking for a classification which would keep him out of it. An amazing number of Adventist boys got the "Call of God" on them about that time! But back to the nursing. I had never wanted to be a nurse. The four of us finally compromised on secretarial, provided I could continue my musical studies. So I scheduled typing, shorthand, bookkeeping, Oratorio and piano. I also reviewed Bryan in his courses, Greek, especially. I worked for a while in the Chenille Factory, but I became so allergic to the lint that I could neither breathe freely nor sing, and could barely talk.
We both sang in Oratorio. The tenor section was directly behind the sopranos. Bryan, a tenor, became so smitten with Dolly, a tall, blonde, newcomer to Keen that he told me if we weren't married he would surely date her. Of course that made me feel wonderful. The flirting became so hot and heavy in choir that the director asked me was there anything I could do about it.
"Would it help if I started singing soprano?" I asked. She smiled and said, "Thank goodness for your wide range!", and placed me directly in front of my immature husband.
It was fun singing in "Messiah." I'm not Handel's greatest fan,generally speaking, but his "Messiah" is delightful! When the words say "All we like sheep have gone astray," he made the music go astray. "We have turn-ed", and the music turns! Every valley is exalted, and so is the music; the crooked music becomes straight; the trumpet sounds: Too, too, too-oo; too, too, too-too! Music and rhythm exactly fit "Hal-le-lu-jah!" And didn't he know what he was doing when he brought in - without introduction-"WOR-thy is the Lamb that was slain?" If your heart doesn't skip a beat at the music and at the thought, you're just dead. And that's a fact!
I was asked to be accompanist for one of the guys practicing to audition for the tenor solos in Messiah. I discovered that playing for a small church and even my classical piano training had not prepared me for sight reading. I had to do something immediately, so I started borrowing stacks of sheet music, mostly sacred, from various friends around the campus, and sometimes only for overnight. I would play through everything once, return the music, then start on someone else's. Within a few weeks I was an accomplished sight reader, and have enjoyed being in demand through the years as an accompanist. I already knew that a good accompanist had to be willing to follow. And when the vocalist skips several measure, as did the woman who was singing "The Lord's Prayer" for her daughter's wedding, you've got to find her instantly and cover for her so that she sounds good! Then she gets the accolades out front, and you get yours backstage!
Personal privacy was not permitted me in our new home.
"Don't lock the bathroom door," I was ordered. "Don't waste the toilet paper. Two squares at a time are plenty."
At times Bryan would grab my hands and say, "Kneel down and say I'm the boss!" Of course I would never be coerced to humiliate myself like that, but he would lock my fingers in his and bend my hands backwards until I was forced to the floor.
"Say I'm the boss!" After several such episodes I said,
"I'm the boss!" He was surprised, and laughed. I told him he was really hurting my hands, and he finally quit doing that to me.
* * * * * *
At Thanksgiving we went to Arkansas to see my family, because Bryan said he had always been with his family on Christmas. (Hadn't we all?).
Bryan's aunts and uncles, cousins and some friends owned a large vacation house on the beach, and there everyone got together for a huge Christmas dinner and games. Another party was held on Saturday night. Tables were set around the room for board games and dominoes, even though Sister White had condemned amusements; ball playing, cards, checkers and chess, cricket, and other games. Dominoes were not specifically mentioned. There were others she didn't mention, also. Those games were the newer ones, post-Sister White. Even the church had come out with some card games with Nature as their themes. Competition grew just as heated, tempers just as frayed over dominoes and "vegetarian" games as over traditional ones. I was surprised that they all thought it was okay. A lot of Texans were far more liberal than the way I was raised.
One of Bryan's favorite schoolteachers was visiting the area for the holidays. With her was a quite, willowy young lady. Her fair skin made her long dark hair, styled in a pageboy, seem darker than it was.Bryan had kept himself at her table all evening. When one of their games broke up, he asked her to walk on the beach with him. He seemed to be totally unaware that I was there. I saw her frustration, then I saw Hulda, the school teacher, become aware of what was happening. She had known Bryan much longer than I.
"Good idea!", she said. "Let's go take a walk and get some air." She looked at me meaningfully. "C'mon."
I went out the door behind them as they started down the walk. I thought, "Do I only want to be my husband's chaperone?" and answered myself immediately, "No, I do not!" So I turned around and went back in to play some more games with the kids, the picture of the backs of three coats and some long dark hair blowing in the wind blotting out the faces across the table from me. As we were dressing for bed that night Bryan said,
"She really makes me wish I wasn't married." I should have had that appendicitis attack. I just couldn't be her for him that night. Mary with the long pageboy would surface in our lives again.
One of the doctor uncles had us all over for a waffle supper - pecan waffles, banana waffles, plain waffles - delicious! He did the cooking himself. His daughter and I became good friends. She told me of a younger Bryan; nothing I couldn't have guessed by now. The picture that developed, and has continued to focus more clearly through the years is that Mama's boy was never denied a thing. Once he was told he couldn't go spend the day with a certain young lady, and he ran out, slamming the door, jumped into the family car and went anyway, staying all day. Several years later I related to Mother Dulane an incident with my own little son who refused to take his little red wagon off the organ bench. I spent several minutes with him, and finally took his little hands and placed them on the wagon, and we lifted it off together. She laughed, and told me of a similar experience she had with Bryan when he wouldn't pick up his blocks before bedtime. After two hours, she said, she took his hands and picked up the blocks with him. The only difference between the two is that never since had she given him a direct command. Not in my house! I really think it's all right for a child to obey his parents!
The Southwesterner Campaign that year was between the "Indians" and the "Pilgrims". Bryan always had to win at everything, and a simple school campaign was no exception. One of the Village girls and he were leading the sales on opposite sides. They had quite a battle. In the end she insisted that he beat her by cheating. There were others who thought so, too, but I was not in on it.
I loved my new piano as well as my lessons. Accuracy had always been stressed by teachers. When I played for the music faculty for the semester exams, the Choir director laughed as I finished my Czerny.
"That's the first time I've ever heard those chords played in exact rhythm!"
I was also working on two Beethoven sonatas, the "Ritual Fire Dance", and "Clair de Lune", both popular then, and Liszt's "Liebestraum". Mr. Craw, my instructor, admired the way I could play the tenths in the latter number. He had to roll them!
As the school year came to a close, Bryan looked around for another Seventh-day Adventist college to attend the following year. He decided on Southern Missionary College, as it was called then, out from Chattanooga, Tennessee, as he had heard it was "more spiritual." His father bought us a little 18 foot trailer and we set out for central Texas, where Bryan would "canvass" and earn his scholarship for the coming year. Since Bryan was a year ahead of me, it was never discussed that I would finish college. I was taking the subjects which would enhance my role as minister's wife. The Dulane's had not wanted me to get pregnant until Bryan was out of school, which made good sense. But I was lonely most of the time, and really was looking forward to having my own child. Bryan had no objection.
"You're the one who is going to have to take care of it, anyway." (The test of a true prophet is whether his predictions come to pass, right? Little did I know that I was married to a prophet!) My pregnancy may have brought our troubles on a little sooner, but they were already on the way. And that little son was so precious, everyone knew he was worth it! I loved him long before he was even born!
* * * * * *
My parents pulled the little trailer over to Tennessee for us, as the little Model A Ford wouldn't do the job. We rented a wooded lot and Daddy helped Bryan bring in the electricity and build a little room on the side of it, large enough for a double bed, Bryan's desk, a platform rocker and a little wood stove. Daddy left instructions for the building of a small outhouse, and my folks returned to Arkansas. We enrolled in school, taking New Testament Epistles and Anatomy and Physiology classes together. I was studying Organ, Choral Directing and Voice. Bryan was in the band, unhappy because he wasn't first chair trumpet. He was sure he was better than the other guy. He immediately flipped out over one of the girls in the office. Since he was married he didn't dare get too free with her, so he talked about her to me all the time. What Bryan needed was a mother, not a wife.
Bryan was selling vacuum cleaners part time, and I was baby sitting. We were not doing well at all. It was almost one continual fight. We had started meeting once a week with one of the theology professors, a counselor, to try to get help for our ailing marriage. He was very kind to us both, and sympathetic toward our problems. I had been pretty sick, and it was discovered that I had acute nephritis. Mother, though they were having a hard time themselves, sent us a five dollar check. Dr. W., our counselor, was not happy when he found that Bryan had spent the $5.00 on his car, when it was sent for, and we needed, food. The doctor and his wife had a few goats, so he told Bryan to come and get a quart of milk for me every day, as he was concerned about the baby. I've been forever grateful for the milk. And I thank you, Dr. W., for trying to help us otherwise. Everyone who ever tried had to give up. It takes two to tango. And the tango is not an easy dance. Both dancers must work hard at it, often, and long.
We were advised to get out together more. There was a banquet coming up, so Bryan said we would go. I fixed my hair and put on my best dress. And waited. And waited. Once again I was all dressed up, and no place to go.
* * * * * *
There were other problems. The couple we rented the lot from permitted us to shower in their garage where the husband cleaned up after working on his car. There was no shower stall or curtain and I was always afraid the landlord might come down the steps while I was bathing. But the biggest problem was the lack of a toilet. We had to walk out into the woods. In warm weather you could pretend you were on a camping trip and it wasn't too bad. But we were very close to civilization. I had become a little nagging about it - or maybe a lot. Daddy Dulane said of my attitude, "Oh, she's just pregnant!" They had come to visit us. After they left, shortly before Christmas vacation, I was spotted by a party of hunters as I was involved in one of my trips to the woods. I was horribly humiliated. That did it. When we hitched a ride home for Christmas I stayed in Arkansas while Bryan went on down to Texas to visit his family, and I told him that I was not going back to Tennessee until there was a toilet. It was the worse part of winter, pretty cold for that outdoor business!
At the end of the holidays he drove up in one of his daddy's big cars - for my comfort, he said - and a load of gifts. I don't know to this day what all was in there. I was tired of the constant fights, of hearing about the other women, of not being able to have a bath in a warm bathroom, of not having a potty, and of hearing from the three of them how I should be willing to make these sacrifices so my husband could get an education. There were other wives there, pregnant, yet, who were not having to go to the bathroom in the woods!
He came in the house and pulled me into the bedroom.
"Take off your clothes," he commanded. I was embarrassed. There were other people in the house.
"No way, Bryan. I'm staying here for now just like I told you. I'm not sure I'll ever come back."
"Oh-yes-you-will! You've got to. Daddy sent the car and Mother sent all those gifts for you. You have to come back. Now, take off your clothes."
"Okay. I won't do anything. Just take off your clothes and let me look at you." I refused. I really didn't know if I would ever go back to him.
"Okay, Sister," he said belligerently. "You come with me now, or you don't come at all."
"Fine. I don't come at all."
Mother invited Bryan to have lunch before he left, so we sat down to eat with my brother and her. The last of the stored tomatoes from last summer were on the table, enough for a couple of slices each. Bryan loaded his plate with food, then proceeded to dump all the remaining tomato slices on his plate.
"Daddy hasn't eaten yet," I said quietly.
"Well, how many slices did YOU nave?", he demanded. Only my share, but I was six months pregnant with his child, after all.
* * * * * *
So Bryan went on back to Tennessee and I stayed in Arkansas. Our baby was due the middle of March, and I busied myself making little wrappers, gowns, diaper shirts. I was given a big shower. Cookies and cute little sandwiches were served, and little blue paper diapers were filled with mixed nuts. The diaper with the mustard in the bottom won a prize! I got that diaper, and not by accident, I'm sure!
I heard through the grapevine that Bryan was dating a girl I knew, but I heard nothing from him. One of the dear "sisters" said my separation from him was just a publicity stunt. Several years later her daughter went through a similar situation which ended in divorce. Was it a publicity stunt?
My doctor was a dear little man who had lost his first wife in childbirth. He seemed to have devoted his practice to caring for mothers-to-be. He was concerned that I was so small, but thought I could have a normal delivery with good care. A little after 6:00 p.m. one March evening, I perceived this was the night. Nearly fifteen hours later I had a beautiful seven and one-half pound son. He had a head full of black hair, down his neck in a duck-tail. On his second day, when the nurse brought him in for a late night snack, she said, "Mrs. Dulane, this baby is holding his head up over my shoulder! I can't believe it!" He really was a strong one. When he was ten days old I put him on his tummy on my bed, which Mother had raised two bricks high, and left him with Daddy while I ran to the drug store. Daddy had gone outside and didn't hear him crying. As he cried and stretched his little arms out and drew them in, he pulled himself off the bed. His head had missed the brick by two inches! He was a real go-getter! As I write I have pulled the fragile calendar I kept of my little Laurie. He sat alone at three and a half months, crawled on all fours the next day! At four months and three weeks the little rascal crawled over to a chair and worked and worked, pulling himself up on his feet, where he stood all wobbly, looking around the room as if to say, "Just look at me! See what I've done?" Mama was in the room. She stood there aghast, hardly believing her eyes. She said, "Sweet Pea," her name for me, "No one is going to believe this, but you just send them to me. I'll tell them!" My paternal grandmother said, "Pat Cecelia, he is just exactly like your daddy. I couldn't keep him off the dining table, out of the sink - he was always climbing - going for whatever he spotted no matter it's location."
Laurie loved to sit with me in the swing while I sang, "Mighty Lak a Rose", "Rockabye Baby", Brahm's "Lullaby", and others.
* * * * * *
When Laurie was two weeks old, Daddy took the two of us and we drove all night to Chattanooga and got my clothes and other personal items. Bryan's sister had called, and in the course of the conversation mentioned that Bryan was sick with the mumps at home where he had gone for Spring break. When I had asked him to ship my things to me he had replied, "Daddy says not to let you have a thing until you come back on your knees." So we got the diapers together, jumped in the car and went out and back practically non-stop. Daddy wanted to get some dairy equipment from a supplier in Chattanooga, anyway. And it was a wonderful chance to really get to visit with my Dad, heart to heart, on issues we had never found the time to discuss: religion, love, gossip, forgiveness - even murder. Daddy knew a man who had killed someone. For some reason he believed telling would only make matters worse, and justice would not be served. It was never mentioned again. Who was it?
If I had not married so young, if I had stayed close to my Dad, would he have lived longer and experienced more joy in his life? Would I have understood the purpose of life sooner?
About noon a week later, I answered the telephone and it was the local pastor. "Pat, uh, could you come down to the church, meet me there? And would you bring the baby?" That set off a major alarm in my head.
"What's going on? You're not alone are you?" I could tell he was uneasy. But I persisted, and he admitted what I had figured out.
"Well, Bryan and his folks are here and they would like to see the baby."
"They know where I live. They can come here and see the baby." I didn't budge. He covered the mouthpiece, then returned to me.
"All right. We'll be out in about an hour." We, he had said. Surely enough, the pastor was accompanying Bryan and both his parents. As if my parents and I were some kind of criminals, and they needed a witness! They admired the baby son. Mother Dulane held him while I hovered close by. We all participated in some rather strained small talk. They dropped the bomb.
"We have been to an attorney here, Pat," Daddy Dulane said. Blood rushed hot all the way to my ears. "He tells us that Bryan cannot get his son from you." Relief. "We were hoping you would be willing to go back to the school with Bryan. You are his wife, you know." Why wasn't Bryan saying, I love you and miss you so much. Come back with me and let me care for you and the baby? Daddy had told him when he came from Texas after Christmas that "hell nor high water would keep me from my kid." It didn't take. From where I sat, I was really going to be ground under their heels if I went back now.
They left with the voluntary promise that Daddy Dulane would send $25.00 each month toward little Laurie's support. I didn't realize they were just keeping their hand in, legally. Neither did I know that Bryan's mother, a short time later, went to Tennessee to stay with Bryan until school was out. Because he was dating some of the girls, he had become a liability to the school. The faculty agreed to let him finish out the year if his mother stayed with him, so she left her home responsibilities and went out to chaperone her grown son so that he could finish the school year.
After the Dulanes left Arkansas, Mother and I met with a judge, a friend of my dad. I asked could those people take my child away from me.
"It is very difficult to separate a child from his mother", the judge said. "She would have to be proven totally unfit, and that's not easy to do." Then he smiled at me, "Anyone can look at you and see you're not unfit. Stop worrying about it."
* * * * * *
It was early August. I had been honing my sewing skills, both for the baby and for myself. Daddy had a few goats, a couple of cows, and a horse on the forty acre farm they had moved to the year before. The animal feed came in prettily printed cotton feed bags. We would launder and save the bags we liked until we had enough for a dress, or we could take the ones we didn't prefer back to the feed store, clean, and trade for others which had been brought back and placed on a table in the front of the feed store. I learned to use the attachments of the sewing machine, and made some pretty summer dresses.
I had been planning to visit Mama Miles in East Texas when Bryan called. Would I be willing to sit down and talk with him somewhere away from all our folks? I told him that I was going to Texas in a few days, and I would talk to him there. I had always enjoyed train travel, and enjoyed introducing my little son to it. Mama met us, and we talked off and on before Bryan arrived. She encouraged me to try it again, if we could get away from family. My parents had visited us only once in the two years of marriage, but his mother had to see him often. I wasn't sure how Mother felt about a reconciliation. I knew a divorce would embarrass her, and it would eventually be a divorce if things continued as they were. I didn't belong at home with my parents. Daddy's opinion: Whatever I decided, make it permanent - they couldn't take the stress. Then a little advice:
"Sis, if you're going to go and stay with him, find something that you enjoy doing and get involved in it. Stay busy."
Bryan called me at Mama's and said he would be in that evening. When he came in he walked right by me, into the house where he looked though each of the small rooms. Suspicious, I guess. He came back out to the porch swing where I had sat down with the baby. We talked, strained at first; reasonably, unreasonably; argued, blamed. We took a ride and talked, came back and talked, well into the night.
"My mother says I shouldn't take you back unless you change the baby's name to Bryan Junior." That set off another long argument.
"Besides, you are not taking me back! We are just trying to put something back together."
Finally, he asked under what circumstance would I consider going back with him. I replied that it would have to be a long way off. So we discussed the church's colleges. He needed certain courses available for his graduation requirements. We decided on Walla Walla, Washington. We figured we wouldn't know anyone there, which should give us an edge.
It was a long trip. By the time we came up over that hill on a dark night and were surprised by a huge valley full of lights called Albuquerque, I had heard how Bryan had been dating and planning marriage with my friend Dorothy of the bus ride. They were trying to figure out how to gain custody of my baby, he said. He had not yet discovered that one could do whatever to me, but don't touch my children!
It seems that all this - the reconciliation attempt, culminating in this trip - was brought about because Daddy Dulane had been advised by a member of the Conference Committee that there was no way Bryan could enter the ministry as a divorced, remarried man. Stupid me. Once again I felt used: whatever needed to further "son's" career.
Well, I was into it. I would give it my best shot.
* * * * * *
Bryan decided that we would turn north at Flagstaff, see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and go on up through Utah toward our destination. He had not seen that area. His parents had taken him on a trip in the West earlier in the summer, feeling so sorry for him in his great distress (Poor baby!) but they had not gone to Utah.
The Grand Canyon - truly grand; magnificent, marvelous, breathtaking - was also terrifying for me. I'm terribly unnerved by heights. From there we went north to Bryce Canyon National Park. I had experienced my first dust storm as we drove through New Mexico and was having a very uncomfortable sinus infection. I made the mistake of throwing a Kleenex out of the car inside Zion. An alert Ranger pulled us over.
"There used to be a sign up here," he said, "It read:
'THIS IS GOD'S COUNTRY
PLEASE DON'T LEAVE IT LOOKING LIKE HELL'"
I got the point. Never since have I thrown anything out the car window!
Sunrise in Zion was glorious! The color changes from yellow to gold, rose to red, on the great solid stone mountains called The Patriarch, The Great White Throne, and other religious names.
On to Salt Lake City, we took a quick look at the Mormon Tabernacle and listened for a bit to the magnificent organ from outside the door, since children were not allowed inside. We could see only the outside of the Temple, of course, since we were no "saints". I did not, at that time, recognize the similarities between my church and theirs. The people are extremely friendly, as are Seventh-day Adventists, always with a mind to proselytizing; a strong health program which elevates them above others (at least to their thinking); an emphasis on education; a religion of works (both churches claim to believe that man is saved by grace, but the works, essential to their salvation, nullify the grace!); a belief that theirs is the only true church: and the fact that each of the churches has a founding prophet whose writings are given equal importance with the Scripture, the Word of God.
I was enthralled with the great American West. In spite of the sinus condition which kept me from breathing properly, I was spellbound by the Snake River which we crossed and re-crossed as we headed northwest. Described as mad; a white boil; tumultuous; accursed; it drains the western slopes of the northern Rockies for a thousand miles into the Columbia River.
At last we arrived at Walla Walla in the Evergreen State, and drove on out to College Place where we immediately began searching for an apartment. Our timing was good. We found a little furnished basement apartment, unloaded the car, and Laurie "helped" me arrange the place and settle into a routine while Bryan enrolled in school. I took only chorus and voice, since those classes could be timed when Bryan could stay with the baby.
And what a baby! He refused to stay in his bed, and when he was out of his bed I had to watch him every minute. I still have books in which he "wrote" at nine months. Though serious, he was a happy little boy. He quickly learned to say "Please" and "Thank you." I tried to spend a lot of time with all my little ones, and encouraged good grammar. My father once said he had never seen little kids with such a broad vocabulary as my two were exhibiting at ages three and five. Once, on a Sabbath afternoon drive over the plains I said,
"Look, Laurie. See the choo-choo train?" Bryan said, sarcastically,
"Don't you mean 'locomotive'?"
A story hour every night contributed to the vocabulary, and we always took time to discuss a word and understand its meaning.
* * * * * *
That was the year I discovered the World Series. Our landlord upstairs had a black and white television, the first TV I had ever seen. We had only a little radio, to which I listened a lot when Bryan wasn't at home. He was very strict about what I listened to when he was home. Somehow I tuned in on the first game of the series - the Phillies against the Yankees. I didn't know I could get so excited about a ball game. For one thing, I had played softball in school, so I undertook the game. Four nerve-racking games and it was over! I was exhausted!
Then all the guilt of knowing Sister White condemned competitive sports settled down on me, and I determined never to get that involved again.
Walla Walla College had quarter hours rather than semester hours. We found a cheaper apartment every three months as other couples moved on, and moved into it. Bryan sold vacuum cleaners which supplemented the money his daddy sent up each month, and we were doing all right. A lot of the guys there were on the G.I. Bill and had kids since most of them were older, so we were all in the same financial boat. All of us had learned to shop carefully. There were several items in the college grocery store that were cheap, cheap, cheap. One Sabbath I invited a couple to Sabbath dinner with us.
"Whatcha got to eat?" the wife asked.
"Peas, potatoes and gelatin salad," I replied.
"Sorry," she said - and she meant it - "We can eat that at home."
We found a good used Necchi sewing machine, and I started sewing for little Laurie, who was growing so fast I couldn't keep him in clothes. Bleached flour sacks and rickrack of several colors made bright curtains for the dinky little apartment. Nice remnant pieces kept the baby and myself looking good. I made pajamas and shirts for Bryan, too. No one would ever guess how many good looking outfits I've worn from the remnant table.
Looking to the south and east, we could see the Blue Mountains. Several times we drove up there on Sabbath afternoon. Sometimes the snow would be piled ten or twelve feet high on either side of the road. That really intrigued me, as I had never seen more than the occasional central Arkansas snow. I drove our Mercury in the Washington snow for months with ease. It wasn't like the ice storms we have here in the South, with a thin coat of ice one cannot even see, which sends the car whirling about unreasonably. It was a dry, crunchy snow. Even with the snow there was a low relative humidity so that my hair kept its curl and looked good the entire nine months we were there.
Bryan's father did some work for the railroad so was able to get passes for us to come home by train for Christmas. We hitched a ride to Portland with a couple and two other passengers. I was uneasy in the crowded car, as I could sense a bit of animosity toward Bryan on the part of the driver. Maybe something that went on at school, but more likely over the price of the trip to Portland. Suddenly I forgot all about them. To our right was that historical Columbia River, plunging along its 1400 mile stampede to the Pacific Ocean. I knew that it rises in a mountain lake in Canada and drops 1300 feet along its way, and 1000 feet of that fall is between the Canadian border and the Snake River. No wonder it moves! Before the coming of the railroads this mighty river boasted steamboats almost as fine as those on the Mississippi. Upriver was the Grand Coulee Dam, which we would later visit, the largest man-made masonry structure ever. Thousands of stories had rushed down that river. I hungered to know them all. We followed the Columbia as it pushed through the Cascade Mountain Range and on to Portland. Tired before we were even on the train from riding over 300 miles with my nine month old son on my lap, I had to admit it was worth it!
We were deposited at the depot where we boarded the "milk train" south, so called because it stopped at every little town! When we arrived at the Mt. Shasta station Bryan jumped out and took some pictures of that magnificent white "snow cone" backed into a deep blue sky! I was afraid he would miss the train, but he made it back on. A lovely black lady and her two well behaved children were in the car with us all through Oregon and the long ride through California. I was deeply hurt when she had to move to another car as we turned East toward Texas. There has been plenty of sex discrimination through the years, as well as racial. To be both black, and female, well, I would have done my share of protesting, I'm sure.
After what seemed like forever, we arrived in San Antonio where Mother Dulane and Veronica met us.
* * * * * *
It was a big family Christmas. Bryan's older sister and her husband and their two children, his younger sister and brother, were all there, so the house was really full. The grandchildren had a great time together and the holiday went pretty well.
Daddy Dulane was giving Bryan a car for graduation. Because the car was not in from the factory yet, and rather than waiting until school was out, it was decided by Bryan and his father that Bryan should get on back to school by train, and I should drive the car out when it arrived. Bryan didn't want to wait until school was out for his car. Mother Dulane was not in favor of me making that trip alone, and I was too inexperienced to realize what it could entail. The Dulanes had a little friend who needed transportation to join her husband in Oakland, so she and her two children would accompany me that far and I would not be alone most of the way.
Early in January, I left the southernmost part of Texas with Laurie in front with me, and Anna and her two in back. Daddy Dulane handed me $25.00 in cash and a Chevron credit card for gasoline. We were loaded not only with babies, but bottles, pillows, diapers, blankets and a big lunch Mother Dulane had packed for us. Among the cargo in the trunk was a surgically deodorized skunk which Daddy Dulane was sending to a friend of Bryan. My idea was to make the trip as fast as possible, and that is just what I set out to do. We did all right for several hours, but as I turned more to the West out of Del Rio the wind began coming at me kittycornered. It would have been easier to hold the car - a '51 Nash which handled as if it were mounted on two coil springs, one center front and one center back - if the wind had been directly into my left side. In spite of the fight, we made over 600 miles that day. We rented a cabin with two double beds in Van Horn and slept hard until the children awakened us in the morning, ready for breakfast.
The wind was not so strong that morning, and with the distance between towns becoming farther apart along the smooth roads, we were making good time. Or I thought we were until those big Oldsmobiles and Buicks were passing me like I was standing still!
Do you remember Billy Cook? He was the hitchhiker who murdered all the people who picked him up. An entire family was found dumped in a mine, an elderly couple slain, among others. Billy was on the loose, and authorities were looking for him. In fact, they knew he was in the southwestern part of the United States. In the late evening, well after dark, I came up out of a flood-control dip in the Arizona desert and there, facing me, and on my side of the road was a dark colored coupe, and a guy had his head stuck out the window. With only a second to think, I ran off on the shoulder. Thank goodness it was firm and wide. We left him in a cloud of dust, whomever he was! An hour or so down the road, just out of El Centro, flashing red lights signaled me to a stop. The highway patrolman shined his flashlight into the car, looking at all the sleeping babies.
"What's in your trunk?" he asked.
"Just suitcases and stuff," I said as he started toward the trunk. "And a skunk."
He stopped with one foot still off the ground and turned around, looking me square in the eye. I smiled. He decided I was serious about the skunk, and said,
"Never mind. Go on!" So I went. He hadn't told us what he was looking for but we were sure it had to be Billy Cook.
Really stiff and tired, I found a cabin in El Centro and we collapsed. We had made a little over 700 miles!
Next morning little Laurie was restless and crying a lot, and after we got on the road he began throwing up. I felt his forehead. It was pretty hot. I was trying to think what to do. Here I was in California, I had already paid for two cabins out of the $25.00 and my baby was sick. As I was trying to figure it all out a familiar-seeming sign went by my line of vision.
"Anna, did that say Loma Linda Hospital?" I asked.
"I didn't see it, but it's around here somewhere, I know." So I turned around, and surely enough, that's what I had seen. I found the clinic and took little Laurie in. I gave them my hard-luck story and they agreed to send the bill to Daddy Dulane, an alumnus. In fact, they said, they might not even bill him. Baby Laurie had an ear infection and sore throat. The nurse gave him a shot and handed me a bottle of syrup, and we were on our way again.
I had a dear Aunt in Barstow, and I decided that I would swing northeast and go by there. I called to be sure she was there, and she welcomed us. I can never forget how she insisted that we wash all the diapers, blankets, and little clothes. And how we hung them out in that high desert wind, walked back to the other end of the line and started bringing them in! Aunt Lela was precious to a niece that dropped out of nowhere, with a strange woman and a carload of kids. Thanks, Auntie. I'll never forget you!
After a wonderful supper and a good nights sleep, Aunt Lela said, "Pat Cecelia, look at the headlines." Good news! They had caught Billy Cook. He had captured two State Policemen, and because he had an eyelid that never closed, the cops couldn't be sure he was asleep. But sometime during the night one of them jumped the ole boy and everyone would sleep better now.
Rested and refreshed, with a load of clean diapers now, we took off for Oakland. We started early and arrived at Anna's in-laws, where her husband was staying, in late afternoon. They invited me to stay the night, which I should have, but I didn't know any of them well, most of them not at all. Anna's husband said, "I'm going to take you to the bridge. It'll be a lot quicker than if you just try to find your own way." I accepted gratefully. He really did know his way around. We went up and down hills and around curves so fast I was scared we'd both get tickets, and more than once I went through the yellow light trying to stay up with him. Finally he pulled into a station. I could look around me at last, and there was the bridge! We were practically on it! The Golden Gate!
I was feeling nauseous.
"You're just car-sick," he said. "Wait a minute." He went into the service station and came out with a Coca-Cola. "Drink this. It will settle your stomach." I don't believe I had ever tasted a Coca- Cola. I didn't like the taste of it and it didn't settle my stomach. I didn't tell him that, though, just bade him and Anna good-bye and took off over the bridge. It was huge. It still seems awesome that something of that magnitude can be held up by cables. Never mind that my husband keeps telling me, "But the SIZE of whose cables!" I still don't think it possible!
I was really feeling bad after I crossed the Bay. I had been practically living on No-Doz and was not used to the caffeine. I hadn't had enough rest to balance the stress of the trip. As I entered San Raphael I saw a motel still lighted up. I pulled into the parking lot and asked the lady if it would be alright for me to sleep in my car in her lot for a little while.
"Sure. Go ahead," she said.
A little after nine p.m. I woke up and just got the car door opened in time. I threw up my shoes! By then I was wide awake. I should have rented a cabin for myself and the baby, but I was getting low on money, and realized there could be emergencies along the way. I started driving again, up Highway 101, in January of 1951, which should tell you how stupid I was! North of Ukiah the little towns grew scarce, lodges and cabins along the road were boarded up. It had rained, and rained, and rained in northern California for weeks. I discovered I was on a nearly deserted highway, mid-winter, after midnight, and a fog was moving in. I've read about London's "pea-soupers", but there's no way they could be worse than that one. It got so bad that I sometimes had to drive with the car door open just enough for me to see the white line below me, and just creep along.
I had never felt so alone in my life. And so tired. I finally pulled over and stopped. I will just take a nap, I thought, but decided against it. I wasn't afraid, as the fog was so thick I was sure that no one else was out in it. There could have been a battalion of men within twenty feet and I wouldn't have known it unless they had lights, but I was sure I was the only person stupid enough to be out in this! It was too cold to stay there without the car heater, and I was smart enough to know I couldn't sit still with it going. Suddenly 'way, 'way back I could make out two tall headlights coming up the winding road through the fog, and I knew it was a tractor-trailer rig. Aha! He would protect me! I started out and stayed far enough ahead of him that I only saw his lights occasionally - I didn't want to bother him - I just wanted someone behind me in case I had trouble.
So on we went through the wee hours of the morning, creeping through fog, I in my car, my baby sleeping beside me, and my guardian angel three-quarters of a mile behind me. Sometimes I lost sight of his lights for some time, but then they would re-appear in a little while. I drove through redwood forests, Indian Reservations, and what else? I never knew. Just as morning was coming on, we dropped down out of the mountains and out of the fog. I was needing gasoline, Baby Laurie was needing a bottle and diaper change, and I could use a stretch, too, so I pulled into the first open station that accepted Chevron cards. While I was there, our watchman of the night zoomed right on by. After a lot of draining and refilling, the car, the baby, and I were ready to go on.
Less than a mile down the road we were flagged down. I slowed, pulled up beside the flagman and rolled down my window.
"There's been an accident. You'll have to go real careful. A car ran up on a rock that had fallen in the road, and a truck went into the river trying to get around it."
Oh, no! I thought, not my truck! I eased on around the curve. It wasn't a rock. More like a monolith! It reminded me of the pictures we've seen of Daniel's rock18 which was cut out without hands; a huge, almost perfectly round rock. It must have been at least nine feet high, and a little Model A Ford had run up on it, as if someone had picked up the car and propped it on its back wheels against the rock. This situation was covering most of both lanes. The shoulder was narrow and muddy-slick. I went around very carefully, practically holding my breath, but unable to resist looking into the rain-swollen Eel River below. There was the truck of my guardian angel, upside-down in the river! Dear God, let him be alright! I prayed. But I never knew. Another man was urging me on down the road.
It was so cold to be in the river.
* * * * * *
Wide awake, I was lost in thought as I drove on down the highway. North of Trinidad the driving took every bit of my concentration. The torrential rains had washed holes in the road that my car could have gotten lost in! Most of the shoulder was washed away for miles at a time, and often large chunks of blacktop with it. Twice during the day I had to slow to crawl to ease close to the mountainside where there was barely enough room to pass the washout. Once I watched in my rear-view mirror to see if the bus driver could squeeze his loaded vehicle by. He made it. Passing him encouraged me. If he had made it this far, surely I could get through where he had been. About noon I drove down out of the mountains again, this time into Crescent City. I looked for a Chevron station. Finding one, I pulled in and went to the ladies room while the tank was being filled.
The attendant was also the owner.
"Where you headed?" he asked.
"North. To Portland, and across to Walla Walla."
"Well, not today, you're not. 101 is washed out and 199 is under ice. You got chains?"
"Well, I have some I can sell you. One set left, in fact . They've really been going with 101 out."
"Can you put them on a credit card?"
"Yeah, I guess so." He wrote it up and put them in the trunk of the car. "Have you driven on ice much?"
His look was untranslatable, first at Laurie then back at me.
"I'll tell you what. I'm going to send you home to my wife, and you stay the night with us. Her brother is going to Grant's Pass tomorrow, and he can drive you over." He gave me directions to his house, and with a mixture of fear, relief and embarrassment, I looked up the address. He had called his wife in the meantime, and she and her toddler welcomed little Laurie and me to their home. It was a simple frame house with a screened in porch, not far from the coast. We had a simple meal, and she watched me return to the window to look at the ocean.
"Would you like to see the really big breakers?'
"Oh, yes!" I replied.
"Well, let's go!"
We piled into the Nash and drove a mile or two down the coast. The sight and sound of the great Pacific Ocean rushing headlong into the rocks, the spray and mist - it was so exhilarating I almost forgot that I had not slept for hours and hours.
I died that night. Next morning I met Brother-in-law, his friend John and john's wife. John and his wife were to follow us over the pass in their truck and bring Brother-in-law back after he finished his business. We were barely climbing into the mountains when Brother-in-law stopped to put the chains on the wheel. John and his wife stopped behind us, and Brother-in-law got the jack and the chains out of the trunk. Then he made a terrible mistake.
Instead of scraping down to the gravel of the shoulder to stand the jack, he stood it right on the ice and started jacking up the car. Taking the wheel off, he fastened the chains to the tire. He then made his second mistake. As he lifted the wheel to set it over the lugs, he had his left arm under the fender skirt. At just that time, the jack slipped on the ice causing the fender skirt to fall on the young man's arm. It was bent as a weird angle between the wrist and elbow, both bones broker. I felt sick, All of this was because of me! His face had turned a pale green, and his arm even greener. I felt so bad. Although his pain must have been excruciating, he wasn't complaining. John took over.
"Honey," he said to his wife, "get him right to the hospital. I'll go on over the pass with Pat and take the bus back."
"I'm sure I could make it," I said. "I'll just take it real easy."
"No. The main thing is that he gets to the hospital, and my wife can do that. Besides, I have an Aunt in Grant's Pass I'd like to see."
So John's wife eased the truck around and moved back down the mountain.
John put the chain on the other wheel, carefully scraping down to the gravel, all the while trying to assuage my guilt feelings.
"It was really his fault, he said. "He knew better than to set the jack on the ice." But I couldn't stop thinking of the folks who kept getting hurt helping me - wittingly or unwittingly. I left our address and that of my doctor father-in-law with them. Surely Doctor Dulane would be willing to help them a little. I was wrong! There was some correspondence later. Those lovely people were not at all rich. Had I had enough money to rent a cabin, they would probably not have been involved. This whole ordeal was so Bryan wouldn't have to wait until graduation for his graduation gift. Neither he nor his father ever seemed to give a thought to the trip being anything more than a lark for me! And after all that trouble, would you believe he would sell the car within four months? Bryan never showed any interest in knowing what happened to us on the trip. The only important thing was that I got back for him.
As we drove on over the Pass I realized that I could have done okay on my own with chains. I said so to John.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "I love the Pass, especially like this." He waved his arm to encompass the entire white, brilliant landscape. Truly it was beautiful. One could go blind in a short time without sunglasses, I thought.
In the course of the conversation I discovered that John's grandmother was a Seventh-day Adventist.
"I don't care for the religion," he said, "but I surely do love my Grandma!" I could relate to that.
"I have only $8.00 left, John," I said as he got out of the car in Grant's Pass. "I wish I..."
"Don't worry about it," John said. "Let me have $3.00 and that will get me back on the bus." I handed him three ones. "Be sure and get those chains off as soon as the snow thins."
"Right. Thanks so much." He waved as I drove away toward what I thought was the last leg of my journey. They were sincere, helpful and unassuming people, doing unto others as they would have others do to them, and I don't even remember their names
* * * * * *
About 250 miles to Portland, turn due east for 250 more miles, then, I promised myself, a whole week of rest and sleep. The front seats of the Nash would lie flat, so with the passenger seat flat and the floor space built up in the back, little Laurie had a lot of room to crawl around and play in. Not so fortunate, I was growing achier by the minute. I stopped to have the chains removed and get gas. Once I pulled up to the front door of a tiny diner made of an old bus and got a bowl of beef chili (don't tell!). The baby was asleep, so I locked the doors. I was only fifteen feet away from him and watching him with every bite. I don't remember much about Oregon except that it was clean and green. My only goal was to get home before I died from fatigue, and I was concerned that I would be driving on the Sabbath. Not being a coffee drinker, the No-Doz had carried me pretty high. I was feeling tired, but didn't think I could sleep right now if I had a chance. It was a weird, unfamiliar sensation.
Shortly after dark I saw the lights of Portland up ahead. For reasons known only to my numb brain, I felt safer now that I was approaching civilization. An hour later I awoke, wondering why I was sitting straight up with hands on the steering wheel. Get the show on the road, I thought. So off we went again. Zip right down the Columbia River highway, should be home by midnight or a little after. I turned east at Portland and felt like I was just around the corner from home. Flashing lights and a roadblock brought me to a stop. Surprise!
"There's been a landslide. There may even be a car under it. You'll have to detour to the south." Oh, no! He told me to take 26 south to the junction with 35 and go north there, meeting my highway near Hood River. I had no choice. So out I went into the even more unknown. the moon was high and full, giving the low area around Mt. Hood a mysterious aura. As I turned back north on a gravel road, the dust added to the eerie mood which was building inside me as a result of the drug and fatigue. I cannot remember anything after arriving back at the main highway. I finished the last 170 miles I'm sure, because I arrived back at College Place, but I don't know how. The next thing I remember is walking up the stairs of the apartment, and Bryan reaching for the sleeping baby from the top step of our second, upstairs, home at the school. I was glad to be on terra firma. My ears would ring for three days, but right now all I wanted was to sleep. It was 2:30 Sabbath morning. I had left South Texas the previous Sunday morning. I had turned nineteen three weeks earlier, and my baby was nine and a half months old. I felt forty, at least.
* * * * * *
Bryan went to church that morning, but was not feeling well when he got back. Sunday was worse. He had the flu - the flu that went up the coast in '51, killing over a hundred people. So much for my long rest. He was really sick by Sunday night, and little Laurie had started throwing up again. I took him to the doctor Monday morning, and he gave him some Aureomycin in chocolate flavored suspension. He couldn't hold it down. When I had gone through all his crib sheets, trying to keep his bed clean, I started on the sixteen tablecloths! I was able to get down to the laundry room only once before I came down with the flu. Bryan could move around a little by now, but was not strong enough to care for me. We drove to the doctor's office. He took a cursory look at me and said, "Straight to the hospital, girl!" The trip, then nursing my men had drained me of resistance, and the doctor said my chest was beginning to sound like pneumonia. Bryan made it several hours with Laurie, and came back to the hospital. He had called the doctor who said since Laurie was not well yet anyway, he would put him in the room with me. He was fretful at first, but I rang for the nurse, who came in and pushed his crib close enough to my bed that I could hold his little hand, and he relaxed and rested. Four days of penicillin and rest and we were both much better.
Bryan was improved and back in school, and life became more normal.
Saturday nights were for popcorn, hot cocoa and company. Usually there was something of interest going on at the college. I've never seen a Seventh-day Adventist who wasn't ready for a little excitement on Saturday night. Marian Anderson did a program for us, there was a talent show, and the Village Home and School organization showed a film, "Melody for Three", which really upset me. I wasn't used to movies, anyway, and the love triangle which involved involved a little son was too real, too close to home. Sometimes we attended functions at Whitman College in Walla Walla. Dorothy Maynor sang one night. I thought her concert the best I had ever heard.
In March our little son was a year old. We got a cake from the college bakery for fifty cents, marked down because it was lopsided, and I had a slightly used candle which I put in the center of the cake. I turned the high side toward the front, and his one-year old picture didn't show a defective cake!
Mario Lanza was singing "Be My Love," and "Loveliest Night of the Year." I was singing his "Mattinata" in the shower and wishing I were on a stage doing opera. But Sister White said the angels were not pleased with operatic singing19 so I couldn't pursue it. But neither could I pursue a career of romantic, or "worldly" music, because she said it came from the "abyss below" and made the angels weep.20
"Be My Love" was such a big song, musically. I wanted to sing it as big as Lanza did. Maybe that was the greatest joy of the songs. The love sung about certainly wasn't what it was cracked up to be!
We had made our last move in Bryan's senior year. Another basement apartment. But at least we had a private bathroom, rather than having to share with another family. However, there was no laundry room we could use. One day Bryan came in with a 1918 Easy electric washing machine. It has three round metal plungers, about 7" in diameter, which splashed up and down in the tub. For some things it was satisfactory, but for long gauze diapers it was the pits. I would stand there in a near-rage for fifteen or twenty minutes untying the dozens of knots in which those diapers were tangled!
Laurie and I were singing "Teddy Bear's Picnic"; I was singing, "Kiss Me Sweet, Kiss Me Simple, Kiss Me On My Little Dimple" to him, in duet with Betty Hutton; Patti Page was doing a multiple tape recording of "Mockingbird Hill," a new procedure; Les Paul and Mary Ford were making some exciting new sounds, and Phil Harris was spouting "The Thing" and "He's His Own Grandpa." We listened to Martin Agronsky dish out the news with our breakfast. President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur on April 11th. It seemed to me that absolutely everyone disagreed with Truman. When MacArthur made his speech to Congress, he closed it with the words of an old song, "Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away." Within a matter of hours some ingenious person had the song on the radio. MacArthur was our hero. How would world history have been different had MacArthur been allowed to carry out his plans?
By graduation time Bryan had sold the Nash and had a little used Ford Club Coupe. In order to save as much money as possible, Bryan agreed to take two passengers with us back to Texas, one of whom owned a cello which she had to carry in playing position all the way. This plus all our worldly goods! Though we drove through some truly beautiful country, it was so hard and fast that it was not so pleasant, packed into the little car like sardines, but Bryan was rushing to get to Texas Camp Meeting. He needed a job.
I do not know what strings were pulled. Bryan was given a chance to "intern" in the Texas conference. Some time later, Elder Strong told me that was the only instance in his life when a man had been hired over his - Elder Strong's - disapproval.
Evangelist Winders was preparing to hold a big-time meeting in Austin, probably for six weeks. Elder Gray, the Conference's best in music, was coming in to direct the singing and help with the visitation program. The intern was the general flunky, and would be gaining experience for his own future evangelism, a hands-on training. And this particular intern had a wife who could play the piano, which fact always enhanced a man's value in the eyes of the organization.
We took a quick trip to Arkansas to visit my folks for a few days. Some of the church folks came out and we had watermelon and croquet. Mother got upset with Bryan when she saw him kick the ball into a position enabling him to get it through the wicket and win the game. I'm not about to say that Bryan was a typical Adventist minister. That would be wrong, as I have known some fine ones. But I think there are probably a lot of preachers who cheat, one way or another.
We moved to the east side of Austin, into a little three bedroom tract house with a flat roof on a flat lot with a flat skyline. At least no dinky apartment, and there was a salary we could budget.
Little Laurie was growing like a weed. He had a little tractor which went with him to bed, to church, to bathroom. We got him a big tractor he could ride and he loved it! His interest in anything automotive never waned. Later his brother would say of him, "We'd be driving down the street and he'd say 'Hey, look at that!'. I'd turn, expecting to see a gorgeous girl, and it would always be some car!"
* * * * * *
I had come to the realization that I would never receive from my marriage what I would like to give to it. Divorce was out of the question, as the church forbade it except in the case of proven adultery. I had made my decision to stay with it ten months before. Laurie needed a sibling, and in truth, Bryan and I made fine babies. So we planned for a new baby in the spring of the next year.
In the meantime preparation for the meetings continued. The Sabbath before the Sunday night opening we got the disturbing news - there was no piano, only a Hammond spinet organ! Organ was not my thing. I knew this song director sang like George Beverly Shea, doing his own thing with phrasing and rhythm. I could follow him on the piano, but could I follow him while adjusting to a spinet organ? I had studied full-size organ in college for a semester, but this was a new challenge. I was confident I could learn to play just about any musical instrument in time, but overnight? I told Bryan to get me up there while no one was there and let me get the feel of it and start practicing. So we went to the Auditorium Sabbath afternoon, and I sat down to the awful little instrument. No sooner had I learned how to turn it on than what should happen but the evangelist and music director came in to look the building over. A few minutes after I had begun trying to figure it out, I heard Elder Gray say to Elder Winders,
"Is there anyone else around here who can play the organ?" They were walking through the heavy stage curtain, so, although I did not near the answer I knew what it was. There was not a musician in the little church there, and most Adventists would still prefer to use second (or third or fourth) rate music than pay someone to do a professional job or (horrors) use an "outsider." I was so angry and embarrassed at hearing Elder Gray's remark that I said to myself, I will play this thing or die trying! I was not anywhere near great that first night, but I kept practicing. Next day I asked Bryan please to watch Laurie so I could concentrate on my practice. He said he would, so I really got with it. I was totally lost in the music when, from what seemed like a long way off, I could hear car horns. Suddenly I came to with a horrifying fear! I jumped up from the organ, rushed down the aisle and down the front steps of the building. Traffic was backed up both ways, all four lanes, and a gentleman was carrying my little son out of the street. He was unhurt, thank God, and I thanked the man profusely and rushed back in the building with mixed emotions. A lot of gratitude was going up toward Heaven. I was embarrassed before all those drivers, but I was furiously angry with my husband. I vowed never to trust anyone with the care of my children again. When I told Bryan what had happened and how nearly we had lost our baby, he seemed to be much more upset with my reaction than repentant for losing track of the child.
"Well, he was right here a few minutes ago."
* * * * * *
Bryan decided that I would be playing for a lot of evangelistic meetings in years to come, as he hoped to be an evangelist even more than a pastor, so he got his dad to help him get a Hammond spinet organ just like the one at the auditorium. It was the best deal at that time.
Hammond was practically trouble free, and the small size was easy to move, but I hated that I couldn't play the organ classics as they were written. They lost something when adjusted for the small organ.
Laurie was a handful. We fixed up a room behind the curtain with a baby gate so, though he could see his daddy sitting on the platform, he couldn't get out. During the song service Bryan was to watch him, and when I finished playing I would go backstage and care for him until the altar call and postlude, when he would be asleep. Well planned out. No problem. Or so we thought, One night I looked up as I was playing and frantically signaled Bryan. He turned and there to his surprise came his barefoot son, all dressed up in diaper and pajama shirt and his Daddy's ten gallon Texas hat! He was only three feet from the curtain when his daddy's quick move thwarted the evangelist's most memorable night!
* * * * * *
Elder Winders was a pleasant bachelor who always had time for a person. One of the church sisters, married, no less, said, "He could sure eat crackers in my bed!" Many years later, in another conference, we heard he had experienced and unfortunate marriage early on and for reasons never disclosed had decided he was not marriage material. The thing I remember most about him was the cheese. He had mentioned, in a sermon, that as a kid his favorite dish was macaroni and cheese, so all the little ladies were trying to bring back those childhood memories with a plethora of macaroni and cheese dishes at the church dinners. This really caused a dilemma for him. He could talk to us about it since we were part of the " ministry". You see, he had "given up" cheese since "the Lord through His messenger" had stated that "the effect of cheese is deleterious",21 he would eat a small amount to keep from offending. I liked him for that. Only eternity will tell how many have been turned away from religion altogether because of harsh, unbending "Christians.
Another incident I appreciated was the way he handled a situation in which the entire church was up in arms over the request of an older man to be permitted to "come back to the Lord." Many years earlier he had left his wife, and eventually remarried. Elder Winders gave it some thought. Finally he announced that in any event he would rather err on the side of mercy. Maybe he was remembering a sad experience from his past. He baptized the man. I never again saw in the Adventist church such genuine compassion as in that minister.
This pregnancy was not as easy as the first one. A lot of that due, without doubt, to having a lively little one to run after, plus the meetings every night. It's easy to get tired and stay that way under those circumstances. I had learned to play that dinky little organ quite well, and followed Elder Gray with ease, as I was catching on to his style of phrasing. In the following years he would look me up to accompany him if he knew I was on the meeting ground. It had been good training for me. After the meetings were finished, the church gave me a lovely shower for the expected baby before we were moved to the tiny town of Itasca, Texas. The only house we could find to live in there was a big, old, clumsy white frame. Four square high-ceilinged rooms comprised the main house: the living room with a fireplace that didn't work so that we had to keep the entire room shut off during cold weather; the next room which was the bedroom for all of us, and beside it the completely unmodern kitchen. The other room, next to the living room on the front of the house, leaked so badly when it rained that we couldn't use it at all, and the old lady who owned it wouldn't fix it for some reason. That room was the source of many nightmares since, when I would be in a house where water was leaking into all the rooms and there were not enough pots to put under the leaks!
There was a bathroom and two saggy little rooms which had been tagged onto the house as an afterthought - after, but not much thought. We nearly froze when we went back there through those two little rooms. An open flame heater warmed the bathroom, as in the bedroom. It's a mighty wonder there were not a lot more house fires than there were in those days. I guess people were more responsible then, or at least more aware.
The kitchen had an old, chipped free-standing sink, no cabinets, a worn linoleum on the floor. The other floors were bare and rough. After I had mopped there would be little threads all over the floor, strands of the mop grabbed by the splintered floor boards.
The big plus at Itasca was Dr. Oldstream. A brother to Bryan's brother-in-law, he was a fine doctor. He and his partner, Dr. Watkins, cared for patients from miles around. It was 35 miles to the nearest hospital, so their clinic was sorely needed. Dr. Oldstream and his wife welcomed us and helped us feel more at home.
Pastor and Mrs. Beck were our "overseers" at this series of meetings. The fellows put up a tent which, of course, attracted a lot of attention. Since Seventh-day Adventists don't identify themselves when they enter a community, the guys were surprised to see a sign in front of the local Church of Christ:
"ADVENTISM EXPOSED!" SUNDAY, 11:00 A.M..
Our two preachers went to the church that Sunday and heard, among other things, that "Ellen White got hit on the head with a brick and thought she saw visions, when all she saw was stars." In fact, Ellen White was hit in the face at the age of nine years with a stone thrown by an angry schoolmate, and her nose was broken. The cause of the anger has never been revealed, to my knowledge, in any of the dozens of books written about her life. Ellen lay in bed for three weeks in a stupor, some have said in a coma, and when she came around her face was badly disfigured, her body wasted and weakened for life. Some students of the life and works of Ellen White feel that this disfigurement may have motivated her condemnation of women who wore beautiful clothing and jewelry.
The Church of Christ itself is considered by some to be cultish because of certain of its doctrines, especially on baptism. Of course, since music is my thing, I especially don't care for their teaching on church music. Every response I have received to my question, Why no instruments in your churches? has been, "Well, the New Testament doesn't mention instruments, and we are a New Testament church."
Come on! Let's be serious! Neither is there any mention of the kind of edifices the Churches of Christ are erecting now. The last Psalm not only permits, but commands the praise of the Lord with all kinds of instruments, (even the dance! Wow!) The book of Revelation is full of the trumpets and harps of Heaven. I have often felt pity for my Church of Christ students who would never know the deep spiritual thrill of listening to the sounds of a great pipe organ leading the people of God in praise and worship of the One Who loved them so much.
And they can be harsh. One minister of that church, in a debate with a Christian Scientist, hauled off and kicked his opponent. When the man yelled, "Ouch! What did you do that for?"
The Church of Christ man replied, "You didn't feel that. You aren't even here!"
* * * * * *
Every time we had a good wind or rain, Bryan, as the assistant, had to go sleep with the tent. The other doctor's wife played the organ well, but she had a toddler and felt she just couldn't leave her long enough to play the song service! I was due at any time now, and actually began labor several times. The doctor said my body was too tired to cooperate. When I had some contraction on the organ bench one nigh, Doctor Oldstream said, "Enough, girl. You are not indispensable, Pat. If you should die, they would find someone to play that organ, and everything would keep right on going." He told Mother, who had come out from Arkansas to help out, and was also unhappy that I was working so hard at the time.
"Doesn't Bryan have any regard for her or the baby?" Mother added a few assenting comments. After three weeks of this, Doctor Oldstream gave me a series of minute pit shots one afternoon.
"Go home and rest," he commanded. "I think we'll have that baby tonight." I went home, and surely enough I began to have some light contractions. Meanwhile, he had been called out of town on an emergency. Bryan called the partner doctor when he couldn't reach Dr. Oldstream. So it was Dr. Watkins who stopped by on his rounds of house calls that evening. I had never liked him very much, and for sure didn't want him to deliver my baby. When he walked in the door my contractions stopped. He examined my tummy and said, "That baby's not coming tonight," and turned and walked out the door. After he left, my contractions started again. Bryan left a message for Dr. Oldstream. When he returned home he called, then came over.
"I think we'd better go to the hospital." His wife kept Laurie and Mother, Bryan and I got in the car with him for the long ride to Cleburne. My eight pound, eight ounce, red haired Jerry entered the world at 3:45 next morning while his daddy napped. He was "so tired". Our new baby was another strong, lively boy, holing his head up on the second day, as had his brother. And hungry! That boy was born hungry!
Mother designed a cute birth announcement with a tree on the front with the family names on a divided trunk, and brother Laurie's name on a branch. The poem on the inside read:
Hi there, folks!
Say, you just ought to see this brand new branch on our family tree!
(We're assuming, of course, that you already know
Of the twig that sprouted two years ago.)
This limb that's budded seems well and strong.
He measures a full 20 1/2 inches long;
He weighs 8 pounds and 8 1/2 ounces;
So full of life he fairly bounces.
On March 26 this new branch appeared.
Dr. Russell Oldstream the job engineered.
Jerry Lyndon was chosen to be his name.
(Some day he'll reach the Hall of Fame.)
His mother is proud and quite happy, too;
And we feel quite sure that his dad'll pull through!
In the short time between my two sons there had been a change in baby clothes, and now there were all kinds of cute little rompers for boy babies. Jerry was given blue, yellow, white and green ones.
Mother had been nearly three weeks with us and had to get home to her men. She thought taking Laurie with her would be a help to me, and Bryan agreed. I couldn't stand up to both of them. I really missed my little son, but I guess they were right, especially since Bryan felt he couldn't help me at home because "it is not meet to leave the work of the Lord and serve tables."22 I had come home from the hospital the day the baby was born, as it would have been inconvenient for him to have me 35 miles away. The day after Mother left, when my little redhead was three days old, I was cooking and washing dishes, and that Friday did the house cleaning, including mopping the floors.
Bryan's Mother came up to see the new baby. She took a look at the red hair and said, laughing, "He's no Dulane." Not a very good joke, I thought.
"Take off his shoe," I demanded. Bryan had a couple of unique big toes.
"No," she said. "I was just teasing."
"Take off his shoe," I repeated and reached over and began removing the baby's little shoe. She took one look at his foot and said,
"Well, that's Bryan's foot alright!" We all laughed, but I wasn't sure she wasn't half serious in her doubt. Mama Miles told me later,
"Don't let anyone upset you about it, my Sweet. Your Uncle Bud was as red headed as he could be when he was born!"
When Jerry was twelve days old Bryan said he needed me to sing for a funeral. I took my little boy and he co-operated by behaving beautifully.
The bluebonnets were beautiful that year. We drove with some friends to see them one Sabbath - acres and acres of blue waves in the breeze. A lovely place to take a baby's first pictures.
After the tent came down, Bryan continued studies with a small group of interested people in a rented building. The daughter of one of the new converts attended for awhile. Her husband had recently given her a pair of real diamond earrings - small, but genuine. Bryan preached on the sin of wearing jewelry.
"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.23 If any man will come after me, let him DENY himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.24 Complete surrender is required!" Complete surrender, in actuality, means agreeing to following a set of rules. Take off your jewelry; don't drink tea or coffee; don't eat meat; don't turn on the TV on Sabbath or sew on a button or buy gas for the car or cook your dinner. You must accept Ellen White as a prophet equal to the Biblical prophets, and in buying that you will also buy everything she wrote, hundreds of "testimonies" and rules.
So Bryan preached with growing intensity. The favorite text is in Isaiah three. He started with the sixteenth verse which states that because the daughters of Zion were haughty and walked around in a seducing manner God was going to take away all their ornaments: Tinkling ornaments about their feet, their cauls, round tires like the moon, chains, bracelets, mufflers, bonnets, ornaments of the legs, the headbands, tablets, earrings, rings, nose jewels. Several other places where the Bible mentions jewelry in a negative way provided him more ammunition, Then he replaced the ornament word with "idols" and "Other Gods," and all the wrath of God against His people "going a-whoring after other gods" came down on those who wear jewelry. There were only fifteen or twenty of us there, and everyone knew to whom he was preaching, the only attractive young woman there. He pled and pled at the call for a "full surrender." When no one came forward, he took the text concerning Ephraim in Hosea four, and changing two or three words, declared:
"She is joined to her idols. Let her alone!"
The young lady never again returned to the meetings, and was estranged from her mother who was very defensive about "my pastor."
* * * * * *
Bryan had a sermon based on the story of the Alamo. In telling the romantic and tragic tale, he built to the point where General Travis drew a line in the dust, inviting everyone who was willing to stay there and die with him to step across that line. All but two stepped across, one of which was Jim Bowie, lying very ill on a cot. He requested they lift his cot across the line, which they did. The point, Bryan expounded, was; "They may not have been happy, but they were right. God has drawn a line which you must cross. You will be right. You may not be happy, but you will have done right."
* * * * * *
Jerry was nearly six weeks old when we went to Arkansas for Laurie. He was a little shy with me at first, but not for long. One day while we were there we were shelling some beans for dinner. A little inch-worm had fallen off the beans and was crawling along the side of a book lying by the chair. Laurie spotted it.
"Look Mommie! I found a bookworm!" We loved it!
* * * * * *
Camp meeting time came around. Little Jerry was two and a half months old. Although our stay in the dorm would have been paid for, the family - Bryan's married sister and family, his younger sister and brother, and parents wanted us to all be together. So Conference owned tents were set up by Daddy Dulane's huts. The tents were not so bad. They had portable wooden platforms for floors, and were so nice and large that Bryan put our beds, a chest of drawers in lieu of suitcases, two chairs and the rocking chair (babies and rocking chairs go together in my book!) in a trailer and pulled it up to Keene. It wasn't far, and it made our two weeks there much more comfortable. I was nursing little Jerry and experiencing some problems brought on by the delivery. Bringing our stuff made life easier. Or would have, had we not had another crisis.
The major speaker for the Youth at camp meeting had been the area delegate to the International Youth Congress of the denomination. A tall, willowy soft spoken young woman, Nita had short, naturally curly reddish-blonde hair, and violet eyes. Her message to the youth was strong and cutting, and we know a "blessing out" does more to raise the adrenaline in a works-oriented mentality than a "blessing", any ole day! Droves of people absented the main meetings where the General Conference brethren were speaking. That didn't sit too well with the "powers that be." There was standing room only as Nita gently and firmly lashed out at ministers who discuss their new cars on the Sabbath and women who are not satisfied with the "shell-pink color of their lips."
"In fact," she declared with confidence," using lipstick will cause the lips to lose their natural color. They will become chalky white!" Interesting????
Bryan thought she was marvelous. And when she quoted "the Lord's messenger" that we should "spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ" as the basis for urging everyone to pray one hour every day, Bryan was really excited. Another "work" he could do! And this one would really be challenging! One set hour every day! First thing every morning!
Bryan immediately latched on to Nita, following her all around the campus, even going to her room to "study and plan" with her. Finally I was seeing him only when he came in to sleep after the evening meeting. Getting Laurie to his Cradle Roll meetings, which he loved, and caring for the two little boys, both in diapers, was about all I could do. Disposable diapers were still a thing of the future.
One night Bryan came in and said, "I'm going to be late. I've got to talk to Nita, so we're going to hike the circle." My cup was about full of Nita, and I retorted, "No, you're not!'
"Yes I am, and you're not going to stop me. You can come along if you want to, but I am going."
I got the babies to sleep and his sister promised to watch them. After the night meeting, about 10:00, we started walking. I can't recall the entire discussion. I was tired and hurting, and just putting one foot in front of the other. Certainly the talk was not centered around the wonderful grace of Jesus. Their ambition was to sweep the world with the "Power Hour", urging all Seventh-day Adventists to pray for an hour every day. After spending the next ten years waiting urgently outside the bathroom and taking the children out behind the house to tinkle; after ten years of trying to keep breakfast hot while he got prayed up; after listening to Mother Dulane, holding breakfast for the entire clan while he "prayed", say, "We should all be more like Bryan," I became a little burned out on formal prayer. When, after one of his little flings I asked him, "Why doesn't all your praying help you resist these situations?" He replied, "You don't know what I'd be like if I didn't pray!"
A little after 1:00 a.m., we got back to our tent. Nita said, "I really must get back to the dorm. I've got to get my talk ready for tomorrow."
Bryan said to me, "I'll walk her back. I want to talk to her alone." More talk? While I was never "in love" with Bryan in the usual sense, I was loyal and tried to put the past, every time it happened, behind. But I was so hurt this time. I was physically ill and losing the ability to nurse my sweet baby. Dr. Oldstream had already stopped by the tent to check on me about my problem and said I would probably need surgery. I was so fatigued I thought I just could not go on.
The next day I went to see Elder Strong, Bryan's boss. I was surprised to discover that the Conference leaders were already aware of the situation. He informed me that the Youth Director, who was feeling poorly, was irritated at having to attend the Youth Hike and Bonfire just to watch Bryan. That was when Elder Strong told me that Bryan was the only man ever hired against Strong's wishes. He also said that Bryan was of the ilk of the Russellites, Shepherd's Rods, and other offshoots. Adventists have had a lot of those. Every time the church moderates a bit, a certain element screams "Heresy!" and starts up another "True Church." He hoped I might be able to help Bryan, but being more experienced than I, he knew the chances of a change were slim.
On the way back to our tent I thought about it. I believed in prayer, definitely. In fact, the Apostle Paul admonished us to "pray without ceasing."25 On the other hand, I remembered that Jesus warned us to beware of the teachers of the law, who, among other things, make lengthy prayers for show."26 He also said their punishment would be severe. Oh, well, I don't understand everything I know, I thought. I'm tired of the whole mess. I'll go take a nap with my babies.
Camp Meeting finally came to an end. Bryan, along with the other ministers helped take down all the tents and pack away all the equipment necessary to the encampment. We finally arrived back at the old house in Itasca, and I cried because at only three months I had to put my littlest man on a bottle. About that time, due largely to Nita's influence, Bryan decided that since Sister White said we would have to give up milk before Jesus returns it was time for us to start drinking soy milk. I guess that lasted six months. Some of the young people Bryan had drawn into the "Power Hour" team were coming to our place over weekends form Ft. Worth and other towns around at Bryan's invitation and they, too, were into soy milk and other fads. I say fads since the average Adventist takes up on a new idea for awhile, touting all the reasons why he/she does it, then quits when it becomes too inconvenient, too tasteless or indigestible. It goes on and on, year after year. No eggs (eggs promote "animalism" in small children, increasing the likelihood of masturbation27 for a while. Carob rather than chocolate - for a time. Bryan and Nita were corresponding regularly. I wasn't permitted to read the letters. I was assured they were concerning the plans for the "Power Hour" around the country, hopefully, around the world. I finally wrote her husband, but that comes later.
One of the nicest things that happened that year was the invention of crinkled nylon fabric. I made three dresses and wore them out! You could wrestle two babies all day at church and still look as good as you did when you walked in. If baby wet on you, it dried immediately, and if they spit up, you could wash it off and go right on about your business. The only problem was, I broke out in a rash all under fabric. Dr. Oldstream said if I would put a cotton slip between my skin and the fabric I would probably do okay. I did, and I did.
One of the pastors was about to hold a series of meetings in Beaumont. There was no musician, so Bryan and I were sent to help. We moved to Port Arthur, one of the three churches in the district, and drove over to Beaumont for the meetings. The pastor and his wife had three little boys, so she couldn't help me with my boys while I played, but at least she had empathy! With some quiet toys, Laurie would be fine long enough for me to do the song service, and I put little Jerry practically under my feet on a folded quilt, where he would usually go to sleep before I finished.
One day I was sewing away, with my dress form standing in the middle of the living room floor. Our neighbors dropped by to chat, and Lew noticed the dress form and gave it a good once-over.
"Pat, that looks smaller than you." I laughed.
"Yes," I grinned. "But I'm softer than it is. I can pull me in. Bryan thinks I should lose some weight." Lew looked thoughtful a second, then drawled, "Well, I'd rather a woman shake than rattle." We all had a good laugh.
I began to have terrible sinus problems. Allergy, then infection; days without breathing normally, then weeks; waking several times nightly dry to my toes and dreaming my "water-bucket-at-the-old-well dream. I finally had to see specialists who gave me penicillin and sulfa.
Bryan's sister had compiled a program from the Ellen White book The Desire of Ages which was narration and song with background music throughout the hour it took to present it. It was always trying for me, because the singers for the eight or nine songs invariably wanted me to rehearse with them beforehand, and Bryan wanted me to start playing the organ fifteen or twenty minutes before the service started. He had been trying to get a booking for the church at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was elated when the opening came. The day before we were to leave I had had the shot for the sinus problem. By the time we got to Mama Miles' place, where we were to spend the night, I was red all over with a rash. She was devastated to see me in such a mess. Much of the night she spent bathing me with soda solution. She insisted on keeping the babies till we got back - we would be gone only three days - so next morning we left, rash and all, and drove hard and fast to get there with enough time to arrange the program before Friday night.
My problems were not solved by the time we returned to Port Arthur. The doctors then gave me some injections in my nose -ouch! - that helped some. I had no idea, nor did the doctors at that time, that the mold which was all through the house - in the closets, on the shoes and everything leather was the culprit. And no one realized that the penicillin had made matters worse, as it is also a mold. Nor did we know that it only got worse. Both the doctors and I would learn!
* * * * * *
The pastor we were sent to assist was called to another district, and for a short time Bryan was in charge of all three churches, and right at Ingathering time. In spite of the fact that Ellen White said Ingathering should be done by those with "special aptitude", the church puts a price on the head of each member. I guess they figure "special aptitude" can be learned! We discussed it, and came up with an idea which we thought might make it a little easier. Each church was able to come up with a small trailer, and the guys built a little frame which the ladies covered with greenery, which was then outlined with Christmas lights. Little mangers were built for the trailers, and folks signed up to be Mary, shepherds or wise men. Some nights there would be only a Mary with a doll in the manger, but a Mary with the greenery, lights and the King's Heralds' coming from speakers mounted on the back of the trailer really did give the solicitors a great support, and the money came in quickly. I drove a car and had the babies with me. Bryan knew I wouldn't burn out the clutch as some of the women had done, so he solicited while I drove. The best way is to get in there and find the easiest way possible to get that goal reached. Otherwise, the preacher might get dumped. I remember one year when the Conference President told us at Worker's Meeting, "Hope to see you again next year. Better be sure and get that Ingathering goal or you'll be in some other conference!" Ingathering amounts and baptism numbers. That's what counts!
Our next move was to San Antonio to assist the pastor there. The several military bases provided the church a large congregation. It looked like it was going to be good. Little Jerry was walking now, and he and Laurie provided entertainment and occupation for each other. We had a nice three bedroom house with real tile bathroom and kitchen. There was a large concrete patio out the back door and the yard was fenced. A lovely place for the boys. No more running Laurie down - how he loved to explore! I had tied him to the porch once in Port Arthur because he ran away. My neighbor thought it was a little cruel, but from then on, at only two and a half, he knew he was on his own recognizance, and I didn't have to worry again.
My allergies even backed off for a while. I met a lady who was to be a life-long friend. June and I really hit it off. We even got shoulder holders for our telephones so we could talk while we ironed or washed dishes! That gal was the best I have ever seen with Cradle Roll Kiddies. The Conference has used her as often as she has been able through the years. What I learned from her helped me a lot.
The pastor assigned Bryan the care of the little church at Kerrville. One Sabbath the kids and I accompanied him. As we drove out northwest of town, we made a left turn, crossed some railroad tracks, and without warning I started sneezing! Hello, again, allergy! I tried a couple more times to go with him, but it happened every time, and left me with the sniffles for several days.
A large, masculine looking, seventy-year-old sister in the church fell for Bryan. Once I went with him to visit her. "I've got something for you," she said, and left the room, returning shortly with a huge piece of fudge cake loaded with a thick icing which she handed to Bryan.
"Fat folks like you an' me don't need cake," she declared, looking at me. Even Bryan, who demanded that I keep my weight down, did not consider me fat, but she meant it. She never did offer me any of that cake!
* * * * * *
Bryan seldom returned home before ten or eleven at night. He would be visiting prospective members, as far as I knew, and I worked at something, usually sewing, until he got in. I usually waxed our hardwood floors on Thursday night after the boys were asleep. Bread making and vegetarian cooking takes a lot of time in the kitchen. I became so adept at creating meat substitutes that I could fool a non-vegetarian.
I had a ten-dollar-a-week food budget, and no clothes budget, so I had for sewing little coveralls, overall shirts and pajamas for my boys. I even made them little brown suits that year with lined and interlined jackets for church, with yellow shirts. I had only one outfit for Sabbath, but had no problem with that. Yet.
One Sabbath Bryan was speaking at a small church on the subject of discouragement. He had laid all the groundwork and was building up to his climax. Jerry was asleep on a pillow on the pew next to me, and Laurie was sitting on the floor at my feet, quietly absorbed in his soft toys which I kept specially for church.
"Do you ever get depressed, weighed down with all your problems? You just don't know what to do?" Little ladies were nodding their heads, intent on their pastor, when up from the floor, in a clear, strong, childish voice came a reply:
"No!" Grins and giggles rippled through the congregation. The pastor himself could not resist a grin. So much for preacher's kids!
I was so hungry for real music. Bryan had brought an old console size radio from storage at his dad's place, had stripped the cracked varnish off it, and waxed it. Then he bought me a little 45 record changer which he placed on top of it. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto on RCA's Extended Play 45 record, playing through the twelve-inch radio speaker never sounded better! A nice house, my kids, Bryan busy and relatively happy, and the music - things were pretty good. I sewed to Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto; cooked to Strauss' "Gypsy Baron Overture," mopped to the "Acceleration Waltz"; sang with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Mac Donald as they serenaded each other in "Indian Love Call" and "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life!"; folded diapers to Fritz Kreisler, and hummed with the Three Suns. When, aeons later, I read the libretto of "Die Fledermaus" I was extremely disappointed. It was so trite compared to the music.
I had a little trouble that summer with low blood pressure, but learned to get my head lower than my heart before I fainted. A bladder hemorrhage put me in bed a couple of times. The boys got impetigo in their mosquito bites, but Mother Dulane visited about that time and had some cream that cleared it right up. Laurie came down with the measles just before we were to leave for camp meeting. We were afraid I would have to stay home, because there was not enough time for Jerry to have it before we were to leave, but the doctor gave him a gamma globulin shot, and he didn't have the measles then, or ever.
A new pastor was assigned to San Antonio. I knew that Elder Lockman was a well-know musician in the denomination, having heard several of his recordings. Bryan came home one day to tell me they had arrived.
"Have you ever seen his wife?" he asked, and the look on his face was "that look". Oh, dear Lord, no! Things had been going better.
"Whenever would I have seen his wife? I've never even seen him." I had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, but tried to hide my fear.
After a few weeks I decided that everything was going to be all right, as Bryan and Elder Lockman seemed to be working together well and staying busy. I relaxed. I was not playing for church as this church had several qualified musicians, so I attended Cradle Roll with my sons and helped April as she needed. Dr. Mayhew, a retired dentist, and his lovely wife became dear friends. Son Laurie, who was almost four, had a crush on his Mrs..
One Sabbath as we were leaving church, she looked in the car window to great the boys, and Laurie had his thumb in his mouth.
"Oh, Laurie!" she cried, "I didn't know you sucked your thumb!" She told him how many children came to her husband with their teeth protruding because of thumb sucking. Laurie was embarrassed to the point of humiliation. I didn't say anything to him. After we got home, and changed out of our Sabbath clothes Laurie came into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner.
"Mommie, would you put some sacks on my hands so I won't suck my thumbs?" We had tried that before. However, he didn't suck his thumb daytimes so if we covered them at night and nap times we might win this battle now that he was motivated. Tough little guy, he quit sucking his thumb!
We had story time every night. I read them stories and poems; we sang songs, and always studied their Sabbath School lessons every night so they could have a star by their names at Sabbath School. Even little Jerry, not quite two, could say his memory verse each Sabbath. Both the boys had repeated the Lord's Prayer and the Twenty-third Psalm by the time they were fifteen months old.
Bryan came in one day saying there was a vacant house just two blocks from the Lockman's and since he had to drive so far every day to meet Elder Lockman, it would be much more convenient to live close to them. The Lockmans thought it was a good idea too. So we moved.
Summer in San Antonio was quite comfortable that year. I took the children to the Alamo and other places of interest. We had a much larger back yard in our new place, with a high fence. The boys loved to play on the thick carpet of St. Augustine grass. When Daddy visited us he wanted to take some sprigs back with him to Arkansas. He finally dug some, but it was not easy!
* * * * * *
Arlene Lockman was about eleven years older that I, and nine more than Bryan. Heavy, dark hair, small waist, nice legs, voluptuous; friendly hazel eyes and full lips - Arlene had everything. They had just moved from back East, where they had both worked. Inviting me over one day, she took me into their bedroom. She opened up the huge double closet doors. I was amazed. Never had I seen so many wonderful clothes; dresses and shoes to match. Then she opened the dresser drawers an I saw silky underwear in all the shaded of the dresses I had just seen! I had thought one black and one light-colored slip was all anyone had or needed! They had a new home, although only two blocks from where we lived, with carpets, Duncan Phyfe furniture, expensive drapes; china, crystal and silver. She had everything.
She walked over to see me often, usually with some kind of little gift. A pretty dishtowel. A bottle of non-alcohol vanilla (Adventist really scooped this item up. Never mind that the alcohol would evaporate in cooking!)
Ingathering time came around again. Bryan was gone every night, heading one of the bands, driving the truck with its load of carolers slowly down the street as the solicitors ran house to house.
One night he came home with "that look" all over him. I was furious and hurt.
"What happened?" I asked with my heart in my throat. He walked right past me and into the bathroom, where he began to undress for the shower. I followed him in.
"What happened, Bryan? I know you've been with her." Silence. "You simply can't be around her anymore," I said.
"I will if I want to." He sounded pleased with himself.
"You can't, Bryan. We'll lose everything. Don't you have everything you want, here? And what about the boys?"
"Don't worry about it." he sounded less sure of himself. "It was nothing. Just forget it." Just forget it?
The following night Bryan told Arlene that I was pretty upset and I don't know what else, but she asked if I would "calm down" if she apologized to me. He said it might be a good idea, that I could make a lot of trouble for them.
Next day Arlene came over to the house. Bryan was away, the boys were playing in the back yard.
"It was just a little indiscretion," she said. It seems as she was soliciting she would run over and jump on the running board of the truck when the houses were farther apart, and hold to his arm. Then on the way back to the church she jumped in the front seat with him, rather than in the back with the others, where he held her hand back to the church.
"But we both had gloves on, Pat. It was really nothing." Well, I wanted to believe her. Knowing nothing of the strength of sexual desire, I went on about my housewifely chores, hoping she was telling me the truth.
When Bryan got in late that night he asked if Arlene had come by.
"Yes, she came by."
"What did she say?" he asked.
"She apologized, and said it was just an indiscretion, and that it wouldn't happen again." Then I related her story. I watched his face change as I told him. For some reason, his attitude had changed and he didn't appreciate her attempt at deception.
"She lied," he said when I finished. I should have said, I didn't want to hear about it, but I was only a twenty-two year old kid. I listened.
"Several times since they got here she has winked at me. Last week, as we were choosing bands for the evening, Arlene motioned across the room for me to choose her for my band, so I did. As the evening went on, she ran back to the truck as often as she could. At first she just held on to my arm, but later she leaned in and kissed me on the cheek. On the way back to the church she sat close to me and put her hand on my leg. After the singers climbed down and went into the church, she stayed in the cab as I was taking the truck to the garage behind the church. We sat and talked. She told me about a relationship she had had with Elder Parker back in New York. (I would here from that Elder again, after he became a wheel in the General Conference.)
"Then," he said, "We kissed for awhile. She took my hand and put it in her blouse and we kissed some more. That's about it, I guess."
"Why did you stop there? Knowing you," I said, "I can't believe you stopped at that point."
"She said she was having her period. But before she got out of the car - she was afraid her husband would be looking for her - she whispered in my ear, 'To be continued,' kissed me again and ran back to the church."
I suppose in this day of loose living, the whole scenario seems silly. To a young mother who would never think of doing such a thing, it was like the end of the world. I couldn't handle it alone. I sent for Elder Lockman. He came to the house the next day, and took my whole story down in shorthand, then he left, saying, "I will take care of this!"
We were expecting Mother and Daddy for a Christmas visit in three days. (Ingathering always spoiled Christmas, especially that year!) I was baking goodies, wrapping presents, decorating a tree. I had used angel hair and created one of the prettiest trees ever, but I had reacted with a rash and it had messed up my breathing apparatus too, so I was pretty uncomfortable.
Mid-afternoon the Lockman's car pulled up in front of the house and the Elder came to the door. When I answered, he asked would the two of us come out to the car. I shouldn't have gone. There are things I should have told all three of them to do, but I went, albeit reluctantly. We climbed in the back sear, he and his wife in the front. The pastor informed us that he had talked with his wife, telling her everything I had told him, and said,
"She has told me her side of the story, and I must tell you that I believe my wife." And that's the way it was. In the end was I to be the culprit? I said that I needed to get back to the children. I was terribly uncomfortable there, as you may imagine.
"All right," the pastor said, "I went to talk to Bryan alone anyway." Alone meaning without me, but not without Arlene. I wouldn't give any slack to the thought that perhaps there was more, a lot more, but he was trying to spare me. At any rate, I never, ever, knew what went on as they sat in the car another forty-five minutes.
Daddy and Mother had stayed the night with my grandmother in Austin, so arrived mid morning. It was so good to see them. I really needed them then, although they surely didn't need my problems. That afternoon the doorbell rang. I opened the door and there stood Arlene with a gorgeous white Christmas cake decorated with a big red poinsettia on the top.
"I knew your folks coming, and I wanted to help out," she said,smiling. I accepted it, thanking her with cool politeness. As I leaned against the closed door I hated myself for not smearing it all over her lovely face!
Daddy and Mother, hearing the story, were ready to be lenient with Bryan because the woman was so much older.
"The oldest in a relationship like that is often the instigator, and should carry the most blame," Mother said. As I have seen more of life, I wonder if the early church should have banned polygamy, considering the nature of the average man! Certainly the fellows in Bible days had plural wives. Maybe certain males, at least, should be allowed plural marriages, no divorces, and be forced to support all the wives and kids that come from those marriages!
Mother had some private counsel for me.
"You have one cheap Sabbath dress. You must always dress as well as the women with whom your husband associates." She underlined her counsel by making two beautiful dresses for me when she returned home, and mailing them to me - a pale blue brocade and a turquoise taffeta. I had only to hem them. And from then on I followed her advice. We went to South Texas to visit the Dulanes the week after Christmas. One day I went down to the clinic alone.
"I need to talk to you, Daddy Dulane."
"Come on in," he said. I told him what had happened, and how Mother had suggested that I get myself fixed up a bit.
"There's never any money for clothes," I said. "I must take from our food budget, and that will take care of the boys, since I can sew for them." I told him about their little suits, made from some fabric Mother Dulane had given me, and interlined with some olive drab wool he, himself, had obtained from Army surplus. I knew that Bryan had lent him $1000.00.
"I need $200.00 of that money for family clothes. Can you let me have it?" He said he knew that I had done a good job providing on what I was allowed, and yes, I could have the money. We talked a little more. He sat thoughtfully for a minute, and said, quietly, without looking up.
"I've always thought that Bryan was oversexed." I didn't say what I thought, that Bryan was just over-spoiled, and wanted what he wanted, when he wanted, and how he wanted. I'm in some good company there, too.
When we got back to San Antonio I went shopping. I got another dress, a hat, shoe, a pink wool coat, and bought Bryan a much-needed overcoat. I was able to get shoes and undershorts for the boys, too.
One day I had a scare of the kind mothers have nightmares about. Little Jerry, not yet two years old, had been walking around sideways and running into the furniture and doors for a couple of days. A knock on the door by a solicitor for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign stood there. I never had any money, not even change, so I couldn't contribute, but she left me a pamphlet anyway. When I read it and saw the symptoms were loss of co-ordination and running into things I gasped. I couldn't get my little son to the doctor fast enough! It was an inner ear disturbance. Only a mother knows the relief I felt!
Life went on. Many of you, unfortunately, know what it was like. It hurts to have your body parts compared to someone else's. I tried to handle it, but it continued to tear away at me. To top if off, Elder Strong had received an anonymous letter in the church telling him about my husband and Mrs. Lockman. Whatever her husband chose to believe, it had been noticed by someone else.
When we went to Worker's Meeting that January, I was the best dressed woman there! I had on a different outfit every day of the meeting. Elder Strong said he wanted to talk to us, so we met with him in a private room.
"When we have the situation where a minister's wife is unfaithful, we don't move the minister, unless it is so public that it is advisable. If it is the minister, we move him. However, in this case, Elder Lockman is the senior pastor of the area, so we are going to move you folks and let them stay. Bryan, this is a good chance for you. If you don't make it in Santa Anna, just forget it!"
The Union President also talked with us. (How many times did I sit loyally while he was counseled during those years?) Elder B. said Bryan should think things through before acting, that he needed a "balance wheel", as did every man, and that he thought Bryan's wife might provide that balance for him, so not to hesitate to discuss things with her.
* * * * * *
Dr. Bridges and his wife had bought a little hospital in Santa Anna, a wide place in the road to San Angelo. The dry, barren-looking land was a haven for rattlesnakes and black-widow spiders. The hospital served a need for the spread-out population of the area. Dr. Bridges and his wife were both tall Nordic-types, ambitious and talented, with the business acumen to make their plans for the area work. He had brought in some of the best for his anesthesia, therapy, nursing and cooking. It was fascinating to me that most of them were musical, some excellent. With all the talent and help, it was no wonder that Elder Strong told Bryan if he couldn't make it there, forget it!
We found a nice two-bedroom home at the western end of town, the very last house. There was a two-room basement, which gave us the storage area we needed. All the rooms were Texas-large. I loved it.
Fellows from all around came once a year for a big rattlesnake hunt on Rattlesnake Mountain, directly behind our house. Ugh!
One day I went out to get the boys in for lunch and discovered a black widow spider in the box where they had been crawling and playing all morning. I started looking and found and killed thirty-two of those poisonous little Arachnids!
Little Jerry stepped on a rattler one night at some outdoor meetings we were holding, but the snake was partly under a board and couldn't draw back for the strike. Thank Goodness!
It had been two years since Jerry's birth, and pain had become my constant companion. Dr. Bridges said I needed surgery, and suggested I get it done right away. We had gone to school with most of the employees of his hospital so I felt comfortable there. Mother came to stay with the boys, so things went smoothly. I did pretty well through the operation, but Dr. Bridges said another child would be the last one.
A couple of weeks after I came home, I had a heavy depression settle in. Then my pulse began to race. We first noticed it at 136 beats per minute. Several times he had me come up to the hospital when it went up, and he gave me something intravenously to try to normalize it, but nothing helped. One day the doctor said, "Pat, next time your pulse goes up, give me a call and let me come by your house and take it in your own environment. Maybe you're getting nervous coming up here. Let's just see. Gotta try everything." He came by one day as I was preparing supper. I quit, sat down, and he counted my pulse for two full minutes then divided it in half. He got 206 beats per minute. He asked me to come up to his office the next day. When I arrived he really got down to business with his questioning.
"Is there anything upsetting you?" We finally got down to the nitty gritty. I think he had known of our problem in San Antonio before we came out. He got it out of me - the disillusionment, the hurt, the ache deep inside me that never quit. At last he said, "I think there is a possibility that you are experiencing some reaction to the morphine used in surgery, but worrying over your marriage problem isn't helping. I'm going to tell it to you straight, Pat. You are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. If you collapse I can't put you back right. I'll help you every way I can, but it's mainly up to you to prevent it." That's straight enough, isn't it? I've given myself that same lecture several time since. I told him it was very important to Bryan that I keep my weight down, So he asked about my aunties, grandmother, and he had met my petite mother. He assured me that I was normal female weight for my height, and said, "Learn to like yourself, and nourish yourself properly." He got Bryan in on some pretext, too, and they talked a long time. And he ran a gonorrhea test on Bryan, which was negative, thank goodness. Why did he have that test?
* * * * * *
One of the couples in Santa Anna sang beautifully, both together and solo. I enjoyed accompanying them. Once we put on a real concert for the town. Mother sent me an exquisite pink lace formal and all the other performers looked great in their finery, too. I practiced for days to accompany them well: "The Lord's Prayer", Allitsen's "The Lord is My Light", many other lovely sacred classics made it a memorable evening. I played the first movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", and sang the "Ninety-first Psalm".
My little sons were growing like jacks-in-a-box, and sewing for them could just about keep me busy, but I also kept myself in classy clothes, baked all our own bread and rolls as well as made our own gluten, a somewhat lengthy and messy procedure which produces a meat substitute made from wheat flour. It was cheaper than buying the canned "health food".
Printed corduroy was new that year, and I learned the hard way about fabric with nap. I had to return to town and buy two more yards in the same direction! Half the jacket was pale and half was dark!
Playing for the churches kept me in good practice. Everyone appreciated quality music so I had a ball. Since my husband was the minister I could say, "Don't start talking until I finish the prelude," or offertory. The way many of the smaller churches handle the worship service music is often a shame. A little communication between pastor and musician can usually remedy that.
Bryan's sister and family came to see us in December. I was running a couple of degrees of fever with something flu-like, so didn't feel like Ingathering that night, especially so since we would be walking through the neighborhoods singing, rather than driving. I declined but they insisted that the fresh air would help me.
"Someone's got to stay with the kids anyway," I protested.
"Come on," Bryan said. "Willard is old enough to take charge while we're gone." I didn't think he was. Their home was forever a shambles, with doggie-do on the floors, dirty diapers in the bathroom sink, unwashed clothes and dishes everywhere.
My fears were not unwarranted. When we returned home, tired, our new Englander mattress was on the floor where it had been jumped on, the lamp shade in the living room had been repeatedly sliced with a razor blade, and the worse crime was perpetrated on the Chickering parlor grand Bryan had bought for me - a fifty-year old piano, but a lovely piano of which I was very proud. There was water all over the top of it. I was ready to commit mayhem but Bryan said, "Just keep still. They're leaving in the morning." I found it hard to act happy during the balance of their visit.
* * * * * *
It was suspected by Bryan and Marvin, one of the hospital staff, that there was boot-legging going on in our dry county. They decided to play detective. After spending several nights on their bellies in a field, binoculars in hand, it was apparent to them that there was, indeed, unusual activity going on at a certain house. Bryan contacted the proper authorities, and a scruffy-looking undercover man was sent in to make the purchase necessary for prosecution. He told us stories from around the area. One mother of three was selling, they knew, but when they raided the place they couldn't find a thing. After the second raid one keen fellow found the "boot-leg" in an oversized hot water bottle hanging on the bathroom wall, well disguised with paraphernalia attached! One little grandma had had a false bottom built in her rain barrel for the forbidden drink.
On Saturday night our undercover guy made his buy - and his arrest. A man and his wife were jailed. Bryan was elated! I was uneasy about the whole thing. Was this our job? Spying on boot-leggers?
Sunday morning as I was making beds and cleaning I heard a knock on the kitchen door. Upon opening it I was startled to see a very angry, total stranger. She looked bedraggled, her long dishwater blonde hair needed to be brushed and her clothes were wrinkled.
"I hope your husband is satisfied!" she screamed at me. "I just got out of jail. They let me out because I've got a nursing baby. My husband's still there. I don't know how in the world we'll eat with him in jail. I hope you're all happy! And I hope your husband rots in hell!" She turned and ran to her car. I stood there shaking like a leaf.
* * * * * *
To go anywhere from Santa Anna meant a trip. I took the boys and visited my folks in Arkansas, stopping at Mama Miles' place in Gladewater. Jerry had a cold, and Mama thought it the sweetest thing on earth the way he went around singing all day, even when half sick. When we got to Arkansas Daddy spent as much time with them as he could, playing tricks on them and standing them in a barrel where they couldn't get out. Later, he mailed us a picture of that, with this note:
"This is the two little monkeys I found in the barrel when I got home. I'm going to take them out of the barrel and put them in the hole at the barn. Love, Gramp."
Mother and Daddy had cut some corn off the cob for freezing, and one day Mother served some, hot and buttery. Little Jerry, pulling a piece of corn silk from his dish, drawled, "Here's another spider leg!"
The other trip we made that summer was to Colorado for a vacation. It wasn't done in the greatest of styles, as we hadn't much equipment. Mainly a tent and camp stove. But inconvenience nonetheless, I thought it was the most breathtakingly marvelous spot in the world - at least in what I had seen of the world! Looking up at those marvelous heights, I was reminded that Sister White said where the earth was torn up the worst by the flood was where the antediluvians had been most idolatrous. Addressing the devastation following the Noahic flood, she stated:
"Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beast." The book of Genesis states that God sent a wind over the earth, a violent wind, according to Sister White, which, she said, blew trees and rocks over the decaying bodies, and even blew the tops off mountains to bury them, along with the gold, silver, and precious stones "which the inhabitants had idolized". I wondered, but didn't dare question the geological "science" she expounded: That the earth is 6,000 years old;28 that at the time of the Noahic flood "immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes, and fiery issues. As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, there are heavy explosions underground, which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow; and these often failing to give sufficient vent to the heated elements, the earth itself is convulsed, the ground heaves and swells like the waves of the sea, great fissures appear, and sometimes cities, villages, and burning mountains are swallowed up."29
Since these words were given to Ellen White by God, who needs geologists, seismologists and other scientists? (I've seen a lot of other close-minded Christians on the subjects surrounding the age of the earth. Personally, I have never opened my mind to possibilities like, maybe there were millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 without seeing God as bigger, not smaller. I don't want to ever be guilty of creating God in my image!)
The one sin that is above all others "which called for the destruction of the race by the flood...was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God."30 The Ellen G. White trustees have printed a seventeen-page paper to try to satisfactorily explain what she meant by this statement, but it has never meant anything more or less than what it looks like, to me, especially when she follows it with a statement concerning amalgamation since the flood which may be seen "in certain races if men."31
As I sat looking at the magnificent scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park, my mind would churn with all this information (disinformation?) and I could only wonder. We got lots of pictures of the little sons in and around those wonderful and sometimes wild, places, so we have been able to relive some of that excitement as they grew up. I think I left my heart in Colorado!
* * * * * *
I wasn't feeling too great by the time we got back home. Our bedrolls, made up all the blankets and quilts we possessed, had been soaked by one of the almost daily rains. That night we had to rent a cabin, and the only one we found had a wood heating stove. We strung some line around the room and hung the wet bedding up to dry. Then it was necessary to feed the stove all night so there was not much rest. We followed that night with the trip home, non-stop, and I was worn out. The headache, stopped-up nose, and sore throat finally sent me to the doctor, who gave me a penicillin shot "for allergic people," he said. The next day my arm was swollen and purple from my elbow to my shoulder! I went back to the doctor, who was not happy with what he saw. He gave me a shot of Benadryl, and said, "Pat, don't ever take penicillin in any form ever again. I'm afraid it might kill you." Great!
* * * * * *
Bryan had been giving some thought to dropping out, and there was some gentle pressure from the Conference. Daddy had offered to let him work in his real estate business with him, so Bryan decided that we would go to Arkansas and give it a try. No sooner than we had moved into our little two-bedroom apartment than he came down with the flu. He had been burning the candle at both ends and in the middle with the stress of quitting, plus managing his two churches and assisting the Conference Evangelist in a six-week six-night-a-week series of meetings. We had to put him in the hospital. When he was released after several days he was thinner than usual, and very pale. As soon as he felt like going to work I started walking over and taking him a rich, but healthy, milkshake every mid-afternoon. Before long he had put on some weight, and was ready to take his exam for a real estate sales license, which he passed without incident.
Daddy and Mother both had their Broker's licenses, and Bryan planned to go for that, too. He preached around in the area churches, and we organized a youth group in one of them. We took flying lessons, and did well, except that landing was a little stressful for my acrophobia. When that ground started rushing up at me I didn't always remember what to do. One day when Bryan had gone to the airport alone, he came home as white as a ghost.
"What's the matter? What happened?" I asked.
"I soloed," he replied. 'Nuff said! I had been complimented by our instructor often, but I knew very well that if I ever went up alone they would have to shoot me down, so I gave up on the lessons.
A well-known lady in town for whom Daddy had sold several places had some rental cabins on Lake Hamilton, and needed someone to live out there and care for them that summer. It was perfect for us. We moved into a tiny cabin, storing most of our household goods in the barn at Daddy's place. I would need the necessities. Bryan complained to Daddy,
"Everywhere I go I have to take the piano, sewing machine and record player."
Daddy replied: "Be glad she can use'em, Boy." It was a wonderful summer for the boys and myself. I got them life jackets, and they practically lived in the water. Bryan and his family were excellent swimmers, and I was determined the boys would be, also.
Daddy always had a beautiful yard, "A garden of Eden", Mother said. He had just put out some expensive irises and peonies, and each variety had its own little metal tag stuck in the ground beside it. Guess whose kids pulled those tags out of the ground and put them all back in the wrong places??
Sometimes we had friends out for watermelon, or our favorite sandwiches: dark rye bread with a filling made of cream cheese, chopped pecans, pimiento, bread-and-butter pickles and mayonnaise. Mmm! Life was pleasant as I enjoyed my sons. Tchaikovski's Swan Lake, Brahms' Hungarian Dances, Mantovani, and the Melachrino Strings poured from the portable record changer; I practiced Chopin, Paderewski, Rachmaninoff, and worked out special hymn arrangements on our new Baldwin Acrosonic piano (we had traded the grand - it was just too big to move around). I kept the sewing machine going part of nearly every day. Clothes were lovely that year - so feminine. Full skirts with petticoats were popular; picturesque wide-brimmed hats; and dainty high-heeled sandals were wearing out our feet.
* * * * * *
I had only recently heard the lovely "Tenderly". It really tore me up. Did any woman get treated that way?
* * * * * *
I was still having heart racing and irregularities. The specialist I went to told Bryan that it would be better for me not to get back in the pressures of being a preacher's wife. Bryan was wanting to get back behind the pulpit, even though he was preaching somewhere almost every Sabbath. And his folks didn't want their son to be "just" a real estate salesman. When we went to camp meeting in Texas, they pressured him about it. He came home restless.
One day he came home and announced that we were going to a big Layman's Congress in St. Louis. I didn't want the hassle of packing, traveling, and corralling the boys through another big meeting, so I told him I'd rather we didn't go. When I found out Nita would be there, I really didn't want to go. He said he was going to go anyway! Daddy tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined. I sat down and wrote Nita's husband, and told him the story from the beginning, including everything that had happened in our home as a result of the relationship. I admitted to him that I felt it was very one-sided, but it needed to be dealt with.
Nita and her husband both replied. Harlan said Nita had told about the incidents at Texas camp meeting, and that she had not known how to handle the situation. They were both very kind, and promised me that they would see to it that Bryan would not be alone with Nita at the Congress. So Bryan went to St. Louis, and came home less enthusiastic than when he left. Meanwhile, a young man whom Bryan had brought into "the truth" before we left Texas, had come to spend a couple of weeks with us at both our invitation. I guess there was too much swimming and boating around our house. Every day was like vacation. William, as is common with many eighteen year old boys, began to get a bit of a crush on me. I kept him at arm's length, kept everything light and cool, but when we took him to the bus the day after Bryan returned from St. Louis, he leaned down and kissed me as he boarded the bus. That really set off an explosion at our house! I shouldn't have, but I did get a certain amount of satisfaction out of Bryan's discomfiture! He acted like he suspected all sorts of things had happened while he was away. Daddy didn't suspect me - he knew his girl - but when Bryan complained to him about the situation, he told him, "Well, Son, I told you not to go. A man's family comes before anything else he might want to do." Personally, I thought it was okay to let him worry a bit. I had done a lot of it.
We knew well the commandment "Remember the Sabbath Day," but we knew nothing about the one that says "Live in peace".32
Bryan was doing all right financially. We had some house plans drawn, and Daddy was going to give us an acre of his land on which to build a house. I was really excited about having a home of my own!
A letter from his dad changed everything. If Bryan would go back to school and take medicine, his dad would support us until he got through. The hope still burned in the older man's heart that his son would follow in his footsteps. It was an offer Bryan could not resist, and he decided on La Sierra College in Southern California for his pre-med. He rented a trailer, and once again we packed our belongings, loading them tightly into the trailer. At least we were taking the piano. It was a long, long trip. We went first to south Texas to see Bryan's family, and while there his dad gave him the 70-pound pup of his big female boxer.
So with our boys in the back seat, the huge dog in the front floor on my side, we started out on the longest, hottest trip I've ever endured. It was late August and hot! The dog had a tongue a foot long, and as she panted she drooled buckets all over me. I hated her from the start!
The weather was so hot that we realized we couldn't make it driving days, so we made it through one long night and got a cabin with air conditioning for the day. The boys were a bit restless, having slept most of the night, and that broke my sleep up, but we got enough rest to take off late in the afternoon.
The parents of Dr. Oldstream lived in La Sierra, retired missionaries, and they told us that the small brown house two doors down from them was available. It was not for rent, we discovered. It was for sale. Bryan assumed we were going to be there a long time, for when he finished pre-med the Loma Linda School of Medicine was within driving distance of the college, and the children would not have to change schools and all the other inconveniences of moving, for several years. It was the tiniest little house I believe I have ever seen, but at least it would be our own. A saving feature was a storage building out back. So Bryan arranged to buy it. It sat smack in the middle of a large, sandy lot, surrounded by a faded picket fence. Bryan got some paint and we started in. He painted the house white, and I painted the fence. It looked better immediately. We put the children's swing setup in the back under a chinaberry tree, and I bought some grass seed and stepping stones. I watered the yard twice a day without fail. One morning I went out and the grass was torn up in a circle around the house. I was furious to discover that the big boxer did her "jogging" every morning about six o'clock, around and around the house. I kept working at my lawn, but it was a perpetual problem.
Inside our house was interesting. You walked into the living room off the little porch and the three walls to your left had against them a chair, the piano, and a couch. Period. That's all the living room would hold. The fourth wall contained the door to the bedroom, which would hold one double bed and a chest of drawers. The closet was built onto the wall as an afterthought. Next to the living room was the mini-kitchen. There was sink and cabinets on one side, stove and refrigerator on the other, with barely enough room for a tiny table. The children's room was off the kitchen, and it contained bunk beds and a small chest of drawers. There was a full-width porch on the back of the house which had been enclosed, another afterthought, but a happy one. A little bathroom was on one end, and the rest of the "porch" I used for closet, sewing and ironing, and Bryan had his desk back there, also. There was no conflict with his study, as I would be in the front with the children at night while he studied.
I met a girl friend from Keene days there. She and her husband and little boy were living at the College, where her husband worked. We caught up on all the kids we had known. I was surprised at the percentage of homosexuals among our former classmates. I related how a friend of ours had married an "upstanding" boy, according to the faculty members. When I met her later in another location, she told me she had had to divorce him because he was meeting other homosexuals. She didn't know until he started coming home scratched and bleeding on his body. Then one day she found him with their toddler son. That was the last straw. The church showed a great lack of understanding for her, and she didn't feel like explaining to them. The church is often harsh with the women who goes through traumatic experiences like that. Makes me wonder about the men who sit in judgment of her.
There were some wonderful things about Southern California then. The best was the little boys who came to our door with the most delicious little avocados for a nickel apiece! Fresh fruit and vegetables were reasonably priced in the grocery stores, and little Mrs. Oldstream would advise us about tomato and other vegetable fields where the harvest was finished, and were open for the public to glean whatever was left before it was plowed under. One could can a lot of good food that way.
Daddy sent me a big gardening book and a lot of Spring bulbs which I planted along the fence. I made a flower bed all around the house in which I planted carnations, stocks -several varieties, gladiolus and petunias. If we had stayed as planned, I would have had the whole yard a mini garden of Eden! If the dog permitted, that is!
Bryan was never satisfied to sit in the college sanctuaries and listen, though the best of the denominational speakers were there, so he always searched for a small outlying church where he could do a little preaching. This time we drove across desert and past a large dry lake, a sad sight, the docks behind the homes sitting high above the water which was no longer there. It was quite a way from La Sierra to a neat little white church in a small town. I don't even remember the name of it. I was asked if I played, and requested to do so. The second time we were there, the doctor, who was the pillar of the church, and his wife invited us to a fellowship meal at their home. The food was delicious. Believe me, when former meat-eaters become convinced that their eternal life depends largely on vegetarianism, they learn to cook! A good Adventist cook has learned to use the flavorings and seasonings produced by their food companies in such a way that their dishes don't taste meatless. Those same factories also offer fake ham, beef, chicken, scallops; those who go "all the way" and eschew dairy products can find pseudo-American cheese, as well as milk from soy. It is a boon for some people, but many complain that those "health" foods are so heavy with gluten and legumes, MSG and artificial flavoring that digestive problems result. I was loaded with food allergies from baking our own bread two or three times a week. Funny, isn't it, that in all those years I never heard a sermon based on Jesus' statements in Mark seven, verses fourteen through twenty-three?
After lunch some of the folk gathered around the piano and I played their favorites while they sang along. Bryan was in conversation with the doctor, and the doctor's twenty-five year old son was sitting by me on the bench, singing along with the others. We all had as much fun as allowed on the Sabbath, and after awhile the folks began leaving for their respective homes. I sat and talked with Robert, and when I discovered he, too, was a pianist, we got into an animated discussion of the Masters as well as instructors and colleges. Suddenly Bryan said,
"Let's go home," just like that. He was upset all the way home because the young man had sat on the piano bench with me. Hundreds of people have sat on the benches with me! And Bryan has sat on a few, himself! He was furious that we had talked. I never knew how to relate to males, as I didn't want to make Bryan mad, but any communication at all, even a man holding a door or opening the car door could set him off. We never returned to that church. Bryan never could, never did, understand that musicians have a special and instant relationship that has nothing at all to do with sex.
Jerome Hines came to the College that Spring. He was marvelous. I couldn't believe the astounding response from the audience until someone told me this story.
The year before, Mr. Hines was scheduled to appear at the College as part of the Lyceum program. As he and his driver headed out of Los Angeles toward Riverside, the smog grew thicker and thicker. Soon they were merely creeping. Mr. Hines had his driver stop the car at a phone booth, and he jumped out and called the school.
"I'm on my way!" Visibility did not improve with the feet and yards gained. Again he stopped and called, "Hang on! I'm still coming!" Another call, and more than an hour overdue, Mr. Hines walked out onto the stage in his street clothes, spread his hands to the now half-audience and asked, "What do you want to hear?" An impromptu and highly exciting evening followed, and he forever endeared himself to La Sierra College!
It was a high point to get to go to a concert. Bryan was keeping his nose to the grindstone with his schoolwork (including cat lab, which he hated) as well as his work. He was selling vacuum cleaners and stainless steel cookware (guaranteed three lifetimes!) to supplement the $200.00 each month from his father. We didn't do much in the way of "going out", so it was fun to get all dressed up and have some place to go! I had a navy taffeta dress with navy and red petticoats, and wore a red velvet hat with black veil sprinkled with black sequins, of my own creation, and threw a red stole with gold metallic threads running through it, over my shoulders. Bryan had on his blue serge suit in which I had pressed knife-edged creases. It would be a great evening!
Mr. Hines, all six foot six of him, was magnificent! Although he did a lot of operatic and foreign language numbers, he always explained beforehand what he would be singing, so we who did not know languages would understand his song. I especially liked the one about the fellow who - like me - always cried when he was happy. You could follow the progress of the story as you observed Mr. Hines' body language. The guy got a job promotion and he was so happy he cried. His girl-friend said "Yes" and he was so happy that he cried! Embarrassed, he sought the help of a psychiatrist. For a long year he was in therapy. Finally, at last, the doctor pronounced him cured! He was happy. So happy he - cried!
A committed Christian, Mr. Hines has done a lot of singing in skid-row meetings where he wouldn't be paid a cent. I, along with the large gymnasium full of people, thoroughly enjoyed him.
My husband couldn't handle all the joy. I was accused of being "in love" with the artist! Bryan was never to understand the pleasure music gives me.
Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby were singing "Love and Marriage" and Doris Day was crooning about her "Secret Love" that year, and the oldies were still going strong. One day Bryan came home and I was playing some of the newer music his sister had brought in (she was in nursing school in Oakland).
"I wish you wouldn't play that kind of music," he said. I never knew why. I played popular music when he wasn't around from then on.
Bryan decided we should try the Riverside Church. It was smaller than the College Church, so one didn't feel lost there. I was elected organist immediately, and asked if I would accept leadership of the Kindergarten department of the Sabbath School. There were thirty-six kiddies involved, and the church would provide me with an assistant, a pianist, six teachers plus a couple of substitutes. I couldn't beat that with a stick. Riverside had always had a strong program, so there was a lot of material to use. One of my helpers, a former leader who had a third of her stomach removed and didn't want the responsibility of the job, was willing to assist me. She was a very creative artist. She first introduced the painted felt figures for flannel board to the denomination for visual aids to teaching the children. We enjoyed each other, and I had a remarkable six months there. I had six sand tables and a teacher for each table, plus the substitute, all of whom came in every Thursday night so I could teach the lesson to them, and they, in turn, would teach it to their little ones on the following Sabbath. You have to be so prepared that you never let 2 seconds go un-busy. I even wrote my program on a small note paper and inserted in under my watch band so I could take a glance at it and rush right to the next activity!
One Sabbath I looked up and sitting in the back of the room with the other mothers was a familiar-looking woman. Although I had never seen her, I had seen her pictures. I knew in a flash she was the "Maid With the Flaxen Hair" of which I had been reminded so often since marrying Bryan. Mother Dulane and Rachel's mother had attended school together, and when they had children at about the same time, they hoped they would grow up to keep the mothers even closer, by marrying. Her mom told me that Rachel had received some really nice gifts from Bryan, but the signatures were in Mother Dulane's handwriting! Of course she returned the gifts when she broke up with Bryan, and Daddy Dulane and Bryan tried to get me to accept them. I didn't.
After Sabbath School I introduced myself - she had figured out who I was, too, and after we became acquainted I told her I had often wished she had been the one to end up with Bryan.
"No, thanks, dear," she said. "He was entirely too spoiled!"
* * * * * *
Most of our neighbors had televisions and would invite our boys over to see "Lassie". Bryan didn't object to that. I was glad they had the chance to see the harmless little show, and would like to have had a TV myself. But we never were permitted to own one. I have known of dozens of Adventist families who would not have a television set in their home, but would let their children go bug the neighbors. In fact, I've known of some families whose kids practically lived at their neighbors' homes after school, while mommie and daddy refused to have such "evil" in their own houses. The denomination made a strong statement against several shows, particularly Gunsmoke. But I still get a kick out of the continual rhubarb between Doc and Festus in the re-runs.
One week Elder V. came to the school to hold a seminar. In the course of his message one day, as an illustration of our inherent tendency to sin, he told of going into a restaurant with his two sons. A fellow walked over and put money in the jukebox. As the music started playing, one little son stood up from the table and started moving to the beat - horrors! I have a hard time with that. Shouldn't a little boy feel like dancing? The word "dance" or tenses thereof, is mentioned twenty-seven times in the Bible. Two of those times are in reference to the daughter of Herodias dancing for King Herod for the head of John the Baptist and one time refers to the Children of Israel dancing before the Golden Calf. All the rest of the references are to dancing for joy, and with God's approval. Check it out.
Many years later I read in the newspaper that this very minister's son tried to kill his father. I do not know why but one does wonder, doesn't one?
My allergy problem had increased to the point that I was unable to breathe through my nose, and the specialist recommended surgery. We went over to Loma Linda to the doctor there. The procedure was done under local anesthesia as I sat upright, head back, in the chair. A tiny, half-circle shaped knife was used to dig away at the bone in my nose. It cut clean and well except for the back portion of the bone, which had to be twisted loose. I jumped through the ceiling - well, more or less - with the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. When the doctor said, "You didn't feel that!" I really wanted to hit him! During that long night in the hospital with my nostrils packed with wax, the sweet little German nurse who cared for me was so sympathetic. She said: "I know you're really hurting, honey. The worse pain there is, is in the bones, and the bones of the face are even more sensitive." How often I have thought of her words when remembering my father, dying with multiple myeloma, his bones disintegrating in his body.
The brother of one of the Conference officials returned from the mission field, and brought slides to the church one night. Only a few people came out, and at the close of the service, we sat around and visited informally. When we left, Bryan turned to me and said, accusingly,
"He fell for you."
"You are absolutely crazy!" I yelled.
This dumb conversation recurred in varying forms for a day or two, and finally died a natural death. If I could advise every couple in the world I would say, don't waste time with that garbage!
The boys and I walked most days, and once or twice a week we would walk by the College Dairy Bar and get a peanut butter milkshake - dee- licious! We never missed our story time and little songs before bedtime.
One day Laurie saw a pretty baby girl at a church gathering. She was really a doll, dressed in her pink lace, and laughing at him as he tickled her tummy. On the way home he said to me, "Mommie, let's have a baby sister!" Great Scott!
"Well, Honey, only Jesus could give us a baby girl," I responded.
Laurie didn't forget. That night he added to his bedtime prayer, "And dear Jesus, please give us a baby sister!" And every night thereafter!
* * * * * *
Bryan's sister came to see us and was angry that the boys weren't too well dressed. She took us to Los Angeles and we bought them some charcoal gray pants, pink and gray striped shirts, and little light gray jackets with a pink fleck. Now they looked great on Sabbath. We bought fabric with which I made a dark pink sheath dress and an ivory cape. With remnants I made a black velvet hat with veil and purse to match. We had kept Bryan in clothes as he was the one going out every day. Now we looked good, too.
I loved Southern California except for the dust storms. When they blew in I would hang wet sheets over the windows and doors to stop the onslaught of the relentless, unstoppable, dirty wind which blew in under the doors, around the window panes, around the door and window frames. I kept re-wetting the sheets until the storm would pass, when I would practically need a shovel to remove the piles of sand. That blown sand would take all the paint off a car as if it had been sandblasted - which, in effect, it had been! Bryan found a narrow garage to keep his Cadillac in. It was so narrow that we would all have to get out on the same side of the car, and then it wasn't easy! One day I scraped it, just a little, parking it. I really felt bad about it. The guilt lifted a bit when Bryan, a few days later, made quite a long scratch on it. Oh, well, it needed a paint job anyway!
We learned an important lesson about cars while at La Sierra. The oil light came on. After checking the oil, the gaskets and other items, Bryan decided he would have to go down to the rings. He took the most part of the week during his free time tearing it down, rebuilding, and putting it back together again. When he turned the key on, the oil light was still on! It turned out that the oil light mechanism had a short in it! Moral of the story, always be sure the light is working before tearing down the engine!
* * * * * *
Meanwhile, back in Arkansas, a situation which had been developing over the years was coming to a head. That "medical work" which the Conference had told Daddy about when we left Tennessee, that little hospital where Daddy lay so ill when I was called home from Keene - let me tell you about it. The brothers and their wives, one of whom was a doctor, and the mistress of one of the brothers (a relationship not yet known by the church), were all members of the local church, and so fanatical that none of us kids growing up there could stand them. They quoted Sister White in more ways than even she intended. One of their followers scolded mother for letting me take off my long, heavy stockings in summer! A shock to the system she said! After his testimony at each Wednesday night prayer meeting, at which time he invariably thanked God for his personal humility, the elder of the brothers then took up most of the prayer time. One of the boys clocked him at nine minutes once. We were mostly sitting by then, as we had no padded kneeling benches to protect our knees from the bare tile floor. This brother loved to interrupt the preacher with an Ellen G. White quote, "Brother so-and-so," he would whine in his nasal voice, "Sister White says thus-and-so on page 326 of Volume one of the 'Testimonies'.
We kids could not believe the church would permit this to go on and on. Finally, Daddy had enough. Next time it happened, Daddy contradicted him.
"No, no, Brother Fake. It's on page 461!" It only took a couple of those to halt the little drama. Daddy got a kick out of discomfiting the old geezer.
They began to pull some dirty tricks in their sanitarium. They would get their elderly patients to sign over everything they possessed to the organization before their sometimes untimely deaths. Sister White had said the one purpose of the sanitariums was to work for the salvation of the sick, who, "because of their condition of health are susceptible to the sanctifying influence of the medical missionaries who labor for their restoration."33 The one purpose of the brothers Fake was to get money into their own coffers. Relatives of the unfortunate ex-patients were unhappy, but could prove nothing. One daughter came to Daddy who decided to assist her in her investigation and subsequent lawsuit, even to the point of buying the plane ticket for a former employee of the sanitarium to come back to testify from California. The Fakes continued with these and other activities, and when the F.B.I. started poking around to see why all those trips to Mexico, the church finally got off its backside and disfellowshipped them.
The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference President asked Daddy to help out with some of the related incidents, since the Conference "couldn't get involved". The hard-as-nails sister of the Fake brothers, a tactless, know-it-all woman with dark hair piled in high rolls on her head, swore, "I'm not going to stop until I see L.B. Pine in his grave!" She set about carrying out her threat by hiring two different people to sue him on trumped-up charges. He won both cases, of course, but the long months, the humiliation of having his Broker's license suspended (both suits had to do with real estate), and coming home every night to Mother on the verge of hysteria - it took its toil. His health had never been good since the time I was called home from Keene when he was hemorrhaging so severely, and now he really started downhill. I wish he had let the sanctimonious Conference do its own dirty work.
Daddy had always loved a good laugh and a practical joke, from the time when, as a young man, he and his brother and brother-in-law took down the sign in front of the Baptist Church on Saturday night and exchanged it with Mrs. Tucker's Beer Parlor sign, until the day not long before his death, when spotting his close friend shopping in Safeway, Daddy dropped a package of bacon and box of snuff in his shopping cart! When Pastor Shain came back to his cart, he didn't even go looking. He just lifted up his voice and called,
And now Daddy was about to close out a short, tough life, nonetheless a life he loved.
All this to say, when Bryan decided to take out clear across the country to the Seminary in Maryland, I should have stayed near Daddy. We could have all stayed. What is a year out of one's life to be with a dying loved one? But we didn't know. We just didn't know.
* * * * * *
"Everyone gets hired from the Seminary", was a common saying in the colleges. Bryan had decided that medicine was to be too long a drag (not to mention too hard ). He really wanted to be back on the platform.
So the teeny-tiny house had to be sold, another trailer rented, packing done. The children had good friends in the neighborhood, and it was hard to leave them. I was enjoying Southern California. During a lifetime since, it has been rare to find a minister to whom family is more important than his own ambition.
It was a fast trip across the United States, as Bryan had not much time between the time classes were out in La Sierra and classes began in Takoma Park. First we went to South Texas with our stuff which we left in one of Daddy Dulane's buildings, on for a short visit with my folks, then off again to Maryland. The General Conference headquarters was nearby, as was the Review and Herald Publishing Association and the Seminary. We found a dinky basement apartment in the home of one of the General Conference brethren. Elder Walton's wife was a lovely person whom I enjoyed. There was a little park at the end of the street and the boys and I walked down there every day and watched the tiny water creatures in the stream, the squirrels doing their acrobatics through the trees, and especially a family of raccoons. They were so precious with their dainty facial markings, and were not shy as they came down to the stream to wet their food!
It was a quiet little time. The boys were able to attend vacation Bible School at the largest Adventist Church of that era. I walked up to meet them every day. Bryan arranged to give his "Desire of Ages" program there, which gave me a chance to play the fine organ.
The summer's high point was when Daddy and Mother came up on vacation. Daddy did not know how sick he really was, and wanted to see the Eastern part of our country. We took them down into the District of Columbia and saw many of the sights. Bryan and the boys climbed the Washington Monument, but I declined, not just because I was pregnant with the little sister Laurie had prayed for, but because of the height! Jesus will have to cure my acrophobia before He takes me home!
The sights at our Capitol are wonderful, but if you have any kind of problem with standing for a long time, be sure to carry a little folding stool. Especially at the Smithsonian. There are so many wonderful things to see there, and one needs to be able to sit. Maybe some thoughtful persons have thought of benches since I was there.
When we were studying the Marine Memorial from all angles, I noticed Daddy off to one side, standing very still, tears rolling down his face. I never see its reproduction without remembering, in addition to those terrific guys and Dan, my own Marine, my Dad, standing there reliving the awesome sacrifice made by our boys.
The fourth of July in the nation's capitol is spectacular! We arrived a bit late, but heard most of the creme de la creme of the country's music as we sat on the spacious, grassy grounds, waiting for the fireworks. The boys were frightened by the loud booming and cracking of the brilliant displays at first, but finally relaxed a bit and enjoyed them.
Of course, we had left our piano in Texas with all our other stuff. Not knowing how long we would be in Maryland, we decided to look for an accordion for me. We hit the pawn shops and found a fine Italian-made 120 bass instrument, which Bryan arranged to pay out for me. It gave me something musical to do while we were waiting for our future to happen. The bass buttons were a challenge, but I was soon playing the hymns along with a little Schumann and Chopin.
Bryan kept looking for job openings. A former Hot Springs pastor approached Bryan about temporary work in the conference of which he was now president. They were having a lot of crusades and he very frankly told Bryan they needed musicians. He said the job might turn into full time employment. Nothing else had come along, so Bryan was thinking along those lines.
One day I answered a knock at the door. A very neat, even dapper gentleman stood there.
"I'm Caris Lauda," he said. "President of the Carolina Conference. May I come in and have a word with you and your husband?"
"Of course. Please come in." Elder Lauda was a friendly, pleasant man. He and Bryan spoke frankly about the needs of his Conference and Bryan's problems. Lauda was willing to give Bryan a new chance if he would pledge to give it all he had. He spotted the accordion, where I had left it on the chair to go fix supper.
"I've been told your wife is an excellent musician," he looked from the accordion to me, then to Bryan. "We really need musicians in our conference. A lot of our little churches have no one to play for them, some have no instrument, and many have no baptistry. An accordion will be great for an outdoor baptism at a lake or river."
Elder Lauda loved to sing, and said good accompanist were hard to come by. He told us he would have our furniture moved from Texas. Seems there was a move in the opposite direction which facilitated the move back.
The Greenville, North Carolina, district was open, and that's where we would be going. The largest church was in Greenville, with maybe thirty-five or forty members. The next in number of members was at Plymouth, fifty miles northeast; another fifty miles was the Elizabeth City church, There was one other church, or company, I should say. They didn't have their own building, but were a lively group. The town was Washington, called "Little Washington" by the locals. That's where I would play the accordion right up until our daughter was born. It was interesting playing at eight and nine months with the accordion so far out in front of me! If I sat I could do it!
A lot of the people in our district could trace their ancestry back to the Pilgrims or others who had settled there upon arriving in America.
So we took out for North Carolina, hopes high. We stopped at a motel on the way.
"Do you give a discount for preachers?" Bryan asked. He never had the kind of pride that kept him from asking for favors.
"No, I don't. Preachers get their sheets just as dirty as anyone else, and it costs me just as much to launder them!" I was embarrassed.
It was August, and hot! We rented a room, planning to set out the next day and look over our district, but the temperature soared to over 100 degrees. A fan was all the landlord had to offer, so we dipped the bedsheets in water, covered ourselves, and stayed in front of the fan. Air conditioning was not common in that area in those days. I can't make a summer without it now! How did we do it?
When the church members found out we were in town one young couple insisted that we stay with them until we found a place. It happened that a nice three bedroom frame house across the highway from the church was available. It was for sale, however, not for rent. That posed a problem, as most Adventist ministers don't stay very long in any one place, and we had a record of shorter stays than most. But he arranged to buy it with, of course, his dad's help. At last the day came when the big van pulled up with our furniture and we were able to settle in. I had a good kitchen to work in, a dining room, and a nice, large living room with a coal burning fireplace, which was a novelty to me. There was a floor furnace in the hall, but it did not heat the entire house. There should have been another one in the front part of the house. A big oil drum stood on a frame just outside the house, and a guy in a truck came around and filled it as often as needed. It was different, life along the East Coast. Terminology seemed unusual to me. I had to learn what was meant by certain phrases. The "boot", for instance, had always been a reinforcement in a tire. Now the boot was the trunk.
Once I said that I was just a "common, ordinary person". A friend told me never to refer to myself as common. A "common" woman was a streetwalker. "Hume" was what you returned to at night, rather than and "home" as I had always pronounced it. A rather British pronunciation, which I found extremely interesting, considering the roots of the people there. "Some kinda" was the absolute superlative; and when one of the sisters said her husband "was messin' on me all the way home", I just stared at her. Later I discovered that "messin' on" means teasing.
Many of the elderly people had never been outside their own county. The illiteracy rate at that time was high. The utmost tact was required in dealing with the people, as our cultures were so different that we could be easily misunderstood. We goofed sometimes, but even with all the adjustments, I must say it was the best eighteen months Bryan and I had. He was on his toes trying to make good, as he would be up for ordination soon, and he really did want that. Once a fellow is ordained it takes a lot to get him out.
It was a pretty average fall. The boys had ear infections. Bryan was out visiting his parishioners much of the time. I was tired a lot, but enjoying a real house, large enough for us to live in comfortably. The utterly unpleasant Ingathering campaign came around. I announced that I would be happy to babysit all the little ones for those who wanted to go out evenings since I was eight months pregnant and would not be going this year. I thought that was more than fair, as I could hardly bend over. My sister-in-law said I waddled like a duck!
I had had some kidney problems and a lot of fatigue this time. Well, would you believe, there was a nineteen year old wife in the church who was seven months pregnant with her first child, and Ingathering. She thought I should be Ingathering also. Some of the other folks grumbled a little, too, so Bryan asked if I would just go stand in front of the liquor store. I went. I stood. When one guy came out the door and made a lewd comment about me begging for money and my pregnancy, I got in the car and left, never again to Ingather! I told Bryan he would just have to deal with it, I was not going back. I really thought he should have protected me from that experience.
Daddy and Mother came out for Christmas and my brother and his wife drove down from Maryland, where he was in the Navy. We had all hoped the baby would come before that time so my parents could see her before the long trip home. No such luck. We had a good time together, anyway, and the boys enjoyed their Grandpa. It was sad to see him unable to play with them and do his famous "bear walk" for them as he had always done. I knew he was hurting, but had no idea how badly. He was in a back brace, but I had to get to that point in life myself to understand how much pain it takes to get a person in one of those contraptions.
Mother and Daddy had stopped at Madison Sanitarium on their return from visiting us in Maryland, where test after test was run, all to no diagnosis. The Seventh-day Adventist doctor there sent Daddy to a psychiatrist! I had been infuriated! I wrote her and told her, not too Christlike, I fear, that she didn't know what she was talking about. That is the last resort of stupid doctors, a sign of their own ignorance. Send 'em to a psychiatrist! I can't tell you how many persons of my acquaintance or knowledge who, after having suffered such humiliation, were found later to have lupus, scleroderma, severe hypoglycemia, or other of the rarer diseases.
Daddy barely made it home. He was admitted to the hospital almost immediately. Many years later, when I went to one of Daddy's physicians, he said, "I never forgot your Dad. It took us so long to diagnose the multiple myeloma." Very little was known of it then.
Meanwhile, after the usual inducements and a lot of hospital-corridor walking, our first daughter was born on January the second. She should have been a New Year's bay, but the doctor wanted his holiday. Guess I can't blame him! I sent out cards that read thus:
We thought that you might like to know
That we now have our Patti Jo.
January two was the big day.
Seven pounds, eleven ounces she did weigh.
Our Delight has dark blue eyes;
She rolls them 'round and looks so wise.
Soft dark brown hair crowns her wee head.
Oh, she's sweet there in her bed!
Mother is doing fine, and thinking
That Preacher Pa acts like he's drinking.
He really is a proud ole dad.
Laurie and Jerry are nearly as bad.
We could keep on and never rest
We feel we are so very blessed.
Come see her here in the county of Paine
At the home of Pastor and Mrs. Dulane.
A letter shot right back from my girl friend, Mac, asking, "What in the world would you have done for a poem if you had not lived 'in the county of Paine'?" [Names have been changed.]
It was fun having a little girl baby. She was well behaved as long as she could see her mommie, so I kept her in her buggy wherever I was working, or on a pillow on the kitchen cabinet when I was making that everlasting, never-lasting homemade bread.
* * * * * *
January 4, 1957
There is just no way for you to know the joy I received at hearing the sound of your sweet voice over the telephone Wednesday evening. Do you know what you said? You didn't say, 'Mother, it's a little girl,' but 'It's a little girl, Mother'. I called Daddy immediately, but they are not letting him up at all, so a nurse had to relay it... May the good Lord reward you for being such a precious daughter to us, through that little girl, is the most we can ask the dear Father for you. May the sweetness of the mothers be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generations - may the goodness of those who are good be received again in the lives of their children. Pray for us, Mother.
I have been wanting to write you ever since I have been back, but have been so groggy from the pain medicine they keep me on I haven't done it. We are so glad of the little girl, I just had to pass around the cigars, ha! My little friend Glenda was not though. When I told her about it she was plum jealous. Bryan will have to tune the 'camry' up and take some pictures of her for us. We are just dying to see her. I am truly sorry I had to be sick while there. They have had me in traction since here, but I do not think it has helped. At least the pain is worse. It now looks as though I will be in this place for at least three more weeks. I only hope my back is not injured for life. (I just can't hold back the tears when I read this. Can you imagine - traction for multiple myeloma!)
I also wanted to tell you how nice you made our Christmas. It was grand. You had everything so nice, and you two got along so good it made us happy.
Bye now, and thanks for the little girl.
Your ole dad.
January 14, 1957
Just in from the hospital. About 3:00 this afternoon Daddy was in X-ray lab. The technician turned him on his stomach for a chest x-ray and Daddy passed out. The Doctor just happened by. "Can't you see the man's in shock!" he shouted. They covered him with blankets, put pillows under his head and knees. He came out in about fifteen minutes. They then took the X-ray while he was standing. The Doctor and the technician apologized profusely - they didn't know how badly his chest hurt since he won't complain. Wilson, my sweet nurse friend, said tears were pouring from the agony. The Doctor said all the ribs on both sides sprained and spread from the breastbone. He may be there a long time. Pray for us.
* * * * * *
I was trying to nurse my little daughter. I was not feeling as well as I had hoped, but, remembering the prediction that I would be able to have only one more child, I was doing all sorts of exercises to try to get my body, internally and externally, back in shape. I didn't get as much rest as I should have. Bryan didn't really understand my need for it. He had once said, "Having a baby is the most natural thing in the world. Why, over in China and other places, the women have their babies out in the field, put them on their backs and continue working." Don't ask me where he got that. He had hired a maid on Fridays for several weeks after Patti's birth, and he was always good about helping me get ready for the Sabbath. Salvation depended on that, and if I couldn't do it alone, then he had to help!
Knowing that my singing, laughing, twinkling-eyed father was probably dying was taking a terrible toll on my health. How I longed to be near him!
My sweet little pediatrician told me to nurse Patti twice a day on both sides, and give her Similac in a bottle in between. She knew, as I believed, that the natural way was the best way, and with her encouragement we made it for six months before I finally put her on the bottle full-time.
The former owner of our house had finally cleaned out the garage where he had stored some miscellany, and somehow a board with a rusty nail sticking out of it got left by the drive. I stepped on it and had to go in for the inevitable tetanus shot. Knowing my tendency to allergy, the doctor did skin tests, first the horse serum. I reacted wildly to it! So he gave me a shot of the bovine serum. He didn't like the look of the test site, but said I had to have the shot, so he gave it to me. Five days later, I woke up with a fine red rash all over me. Back to the doctor.
"It's a delayed reaction to the tetanus," he said, shaking his head.
"You are a medical freak," my nurse-brother once said. Well, not on purpose!
Laurie had been having recurring ear infections, and the doctor finally came to the conclusion that he must have his tonsils out. Daddy, lying dying in bed, dictated the following:
Listen now, boys, and you shall hear
About a little boy who had a sore ear.
At night he would cry and cry and cry;
His mummie thought it was his eye -
But he said, "Mummie, can't you hear?
I told you that it was my ear."
Mummie put in drops; and then some heat;
(Might have done more if applied to his seat!)
Next day to the doctor they did go
And took those tonsils out, you know.
So - let's give a party for that boy.
Everyone come and bring a toy.
Come, Glenda and Wesley with a shout:
"Laurie done had his tonsils out!"
Hurry, Twila, Ralph, and have a look
At this hole where they were took.
Come, Danny, Gary, and Douglas, too,
All join hands and skip-to-my-loo
Round and round as we all shout,
"Laurie done had his tonsils out!"
The news went here and all about
That Laurie done had his tonsils out.
People in town said 'twas a better snout
Since he done had his tonsils out.
Round and round we sing and play
Everyone will always remember the day -
What was done and why we shout
'Bout Laurie havin' his tonsils out.
Mummie served ice cream
and lemonade, too,
Jelly-filled cookies - not a few.
Everyone ate and drank but one -
Laurie: His sore throat wasn't no fun,
So he sat in a corner and began to pout.
"One thing," he said, "I'll not shout
'Cause they done took my tonsils out."
They all laughed, then he did, too,
And Jerry tickled him with the toe of his shoe.
T'was getting late the sun was low -
And homeward they all had to go.
So skipping and jumping they
all turned 'round to shout,
"We'll be back again
When Jerry's tonsils come out!"
* * * * * *
A series of tent-meetings was in the works at a little community about thirty-five miles from home. Bryan and a helper sent by the Conference got the tent up, plus chairs, platform and backdrop for the platform. I don't remember how they came up with an old piano. Six nights a week I piled my little ones into our big, second-handed Cadillac and drove down all kinds of little sandy roads to pick up people so we could have a congregation. Bryan did the same with his car, and his assistant did likewise.
In the late fifties many of the homes still had well pumps at the kitchen sinks instead of running water, and outdoor toilets. The husband of one of my friends was bitten by a black widow spider in one of those little outhouses. He was really sick for quite a while.
Those country folks really knew how to raise collard-greens. I've gone out and broken the ice off the leaves in the cold of winter, and brought in enough for lunch - called dinner in the South. Callie, a new-found friend, said, "You know, that's what we all like about you. You're not too good to do the things we do." Well, after all, I was a country girl, too! And you just might get the girl out of the country, but you never get all the country out of the girl!
There are both advantages and disadvantages to living next to the church. Anyone who comes early, or has to wait afterward for a ride, or wants to stay over for an afternoon meeting - they wait at your house, so in many respects you live in a goldfish bowl. One Sabbath Callie's little girl became sick, and I told her she could go over to the house and put the child to bed there. I had been working on getting my weight down after Patti's birth, and had read that hips and thighs could be slimmed with a rolling pin. I had been working out once a day, then using the rolling pin for several minutes.
After the service the other ladies who rode in from the country with Callie went over to the house to see how the baby was doing while I was greeting the parishioners. Bryan was involved in conversation with one of the elders, and I went across the street to the house. As I walked in, the ladies all looked a little sheepish, then began to giggle. It took a while to get them to tell me what was going on.Callie dragged me to our bedroom, point to the rolling pin on the nightstand and said, "Now we know why you don't have a baby every year like we do!" The other ladies, who had followed us, laughed and laughed. Oh, well.
A number of people in the district would have been baptized except for their use of tobacco. You have to quit smoking or chewing or any other use of the weed before you join the church. Some people do get in before they quit, and try to hide it. Simple belief on the Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul and Silas told the jailer, is not enough. Jesus said whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. You may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you may believe that He has redeemed and saved you, but you may not be baptized in the Adventist Church until you conform to a set of rules, thirteen, in fact, in the Baptismal Vows, and twenty-seven in the Summary of Doctrinal Beliefs. If baptism is essential to salvation, then what is the condition of one who, though a believer, dies while trying to conform his life to the thirteen requisites for baptism? Believe me, Adventists lie when they sing "Just As I Am." In fact, some other fundamentalists do, also. They do not believe one can come to Jesus just as they are. They must get prepared to come to Jesus.
The church where Dan and I found "grace" treasures and nurtures the brother with a drinking problem, the woman who had been divorced. Is there any other way? There they grow into the person God has in mind for them, surrounded by the warmth of God's other children.
So there were folks we couldn't baptize. One really special little lady who chewed the fresh leaves out of her commercial tobacco patch. (Everyone raised tobacco, which presented another problem for the church.) Growing and selling tobacco are frowned on, also. I only hope those sweet people found a church where they could experience the warmth of the love of Jesus and an environment conducive to Christian growth.
* * * * * *
I could not believe that God would let my Daddy die. One and another doctor joined the team in a search for a diagnosis. Finally, I called his original doctor - the one I had gone to with my heart - asked him to tell me what he knew. He said that one of the X-rays of his back had picked up a portion of the base of his skull, and they had observed myelomas - little holes - in the bone. As gently as possible, Dr. Leatherman told me there was no hope. I tried to learn what I could about the disease. Multiple myeloma occurs in males twice as often as females, and almost all cases are diagnosed after age forty. Often the first evidence is a pathologic fracture of a rib or vertebral body. A year earlier Daddy had been hit - very lightly - from behind while driving, and had broken three ribs. That should have told the doctors something then, but so little was known.
"Deep bone pain," says the medical book, "worse at night, is the most common symptom. This reflects the 'boring in' of plasma cells eroding the bone and pressing on nerve endings." I wanted so to be close to him, and to help Mother. I did the next best thing: I made him a tape. On one side I played his favorite hymns. Ever since I had been required to play ten hymns for my Christmas bicycle, he had loved to come in on a Friday night and listen to me play as he stretched out on the couch. On the other side I played and narrated through our lives together. When I got to the piano lessons, and then the hymns, I played "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling", first the stanza in a labored four-part harmony,exactly as written, then with a roll all the way up the keyboard, played a classical style variation on the refrain. We had the boys talk to him, and got the baby to cry a little. Then to close it off, Bryan sang the song my parents had first heard in the little sanitarium in Hot Springs, "When I've Gone the Last Mile of the Way," and played "The Holy City" on his cornet. They were so proud to have their daughter and son-in-law "in the ministry", and I'm glad Daddy never knew how the marriage was to deteriorate.
May 7, 1957
Dearest daughter and Bryan,
The tape came yesterday!! We just sat and the tears washed down our faces! Both sides of the tapes were inspired of the Lord, we know. And the personal side just melted our hearts, for we remember all the deficiencies of our parenthood. In this sad hour we have reviewed the past. We have made so many mistakes. But as I told Daddy yesterday, no two lives were completely unprofitable that had produced a daughter like you. You never mentioned the times I was impatient with you, or the several punishments which were not merited. We can only beg you and the Lord to forgive............
I'm sure all parents have sorrow when facing the mistakes of their parenting. I know I do.
* * * * * *
They had decided to ask for anointing. Daddy said he had prayed for the Lord to do whatever necessary to save him. The poor Seventh-day Adventist is not aware that Jesus has already done everything for our salvation. He has done it all! Justification, for them, is forgiveness for past sins only, at the time of conversion. Sanctification is the "work" which follows, "The work of a lifetime", Ellen White said, character development which is necessary to prepare one for the judgment and final acceptance. So Daddy thought that God was putting him through the "pressure cooker" to get him "ready". Living without the assurance of salvation is a desolate way to live. An Adventist song I once sang asks, "Are You Ready For Jesus to Come?" Then a long list of questions follow, pertaining to one's behavior and "works". Folks still mention "that wonderful song" to me. I think certain works-related religions attract those who get their pleasure from being beaten from the pulpit, which beatings spur them on to work harder in their do-it-yourself attempt at salvation. Many of my Adventist friends are growing older now, and still asking themselves, Am I ready for Jesus to come?
* * * * * *
No one knows how long multiple myeloma "incubates" in the body before diagnosis is possible. Mother's letter of May seven mentions how the X-rays show "great patches of calcium gone! We are assured in our own minds that this has been Daddy's trouble for a long time. Those unexplainable headaches!" I can remember him rubbing Ben-Gay on his forehead; using a cold, wet washcloth; lying down for a while in the middle of the afternoon. The last Sabbath in May the Elders of the church came to my parents' house for the anointing.
May 28, 1957
I know that you want to hear about Sabbath afternoon. We truly believe it is the Lord's intention to fully restore Daddy to health, and after the great improvement Sabbath we are planning to go to camp meeting.
Elders Evans, Thurmon, Shain, and Brother Beem were here. At 2:30 as Elder Evans was offering a most earnest prayer that the lives of the ministers might not cover sin that would prevent the working of the Holy Spirit, a terrible windstorm arose and beat against this house. Other groups praying in the community and in Malvern noticed it, too. It seemed that the prince of the power of the air was determined that the Lord should not work. We have thought for some time that we were special targets of his in the great controversy. Elder Evans never faltered a word in his prayer. I was the only one who even looked up. I was watching the windows. He just prayed that the God who could heal all diseases and command the winds would hear us at that time. He was very humble.
Elder Thurmon then had the Scripture readings. What power he has with the good Lord! Elder Evans always takes him on anointings. His reputation is far and wide as a man of God. Then all prayed. Elder Evans prayed last and anointed Daddy. He told him to rest in the Lord, but Daddy looked at Elder Thurmon and said, 'Tell me in the name of the Lord to get up and walk.' Elder Thurmon reached out and took Daddy's hand and said, 'Brother Pine, in the name of Jesus, rise up and walk'. With some effort Daddy raised to a sitting position and then rose easily to his feet and without any cane or crutch he began walking into the living room. I watched in silence. I know Daddy for the man of will that he is and I feared a bit. He prayed and praised the Lord and walked. We followed him into the living room.
"It can't just be excitement", he said several times. He swung his arms toward the front and toward the back. Because of his broken ribs in the back where the disease seems to have made the greatest inroads he has been lifting his right hand with his left for weeks. He turned to the divan.
"I am going to sit on this', he said. He sat and rose immediately. He saw the little chair I always sit in. He went over and sat down on it. It is very low. Then he got right up. I guess all of us were crying, even Elder Shain had tears in his eyes. He hugged Daddy real hard. Daddy told him that yesterday that would have broken him all to pieces.
Of course we had hoped for complete healing immediately, but Sister White says this is not always so. We are told that our faith may be tried and that we are to wait on the Lord. So we are waiting. Daddy is getting around better, but uses his cane. He has been at times bedfast, but yesterday he did not return to his bed from morning until night. He goes out into the yard. We strung this beautiful wisteria vine last evening while he directed. He even squatted right down on the ground and pruned away some branches...I truly believe that the Lord will heal him. How much we do not know, but I believe he will be healed enough to finish the work that he had begun."
Daddy had always had a special love for the little Malvern Church. The "Mother" of the church had once walked several miles into town with her little twin girls and sat there alone, week after week, when the attendance had dropped to zilch. The Conference was to the point of selling the building, but this little lady fought all the way to the General Conference for her church. The General Conference said as long as even one person wanted the church that badly, it should not be sold. It was spared. As her children grew, so did the attendance. When Daddy took ill, he was in the process of helping to enlarge the building and refinish the pews and other church furniture. He had asked the Lord to at least let him finish what he was doing for the church. As it happened, he was working on the last bit of the addition when his poor body could go on no longer.
* * * * * *
It was fun sewing for a little girl. With remnants I kept her looking like a real baby doll. Blue velvet coat, white cape with fur trim. A pretty navy dress with a pink taffeta sash. I didn't hold with the Adventist brother, who, when his three daughters came down the stairs in new white dresses with red sashes, made them remove the sashes before they could go on to church.
"Sister White says we shouldn't dress for appearance, or to attract attention. Christians are supposed to dress plainly." The brother's wife wanted to do something really bad to him, she told me. But it was her Christian duty to be submissive!
* * * * * *
One day I overheard a sound from the bathroom, and I thought: Happiness is listening to my five-year-old Jerry singing "The Lord Is My Light" at the top of his voice in the shower!
* * * * * *
I had planned to go see Daddy and Mother after camp meeting that summer. My brother, who was leaving the Navy on a hardship discharge, was coming through eastern North Carolina and would pick me up at the camp meeting and we would drive together to Arkansas. I would return by bus. Laurie went back to Greenville with his daddy, and Jerry, little Patti and I were to leave with my brother the next day. Next morning, however, Barclay awoke with severe pain in his head over his left eye. We went immediately to the doctor. It worsened so fast that the doctor put him right into the hospital. I called my sister-in-law, who caught the next bus out. My brother had such a terrible infection that the bone began to bulge, and they had to drill into it to relieve the pressure. When his wife arrived, not knowing how long until he would be able to travel, I decided the best thing was for me to get on the bus with my two little ones and go home. I was so sorry for the pain Barclay went through. I remembered what that little nurse at LaSierra had told me about the bones of the face. And I was devastated that I had lost that time with Daddy.
June 30, 1957
We received your nice newsy letter and were very grateful to hear from you. It makes us sad all the time that we can not see that precious baby before she is a young lady. All these years we have longed for a granddaughter and now we can never see her.
Yesterday Dr. Durham insisted on X-rays. He was amazed at the findings. There is great improvement everywhere. The skull has hardly any uncalcified places now. The hips showed least improvement and Daddy still walks with great difficulty, in fact, he walks worse than he did. He slept about thirty minutes on his side two nights ago for the first time since way last year. It made him so sore he had to sleep with the heating pad on his chest this morning."
I do not have all the answers concerning prayer for healing. I have heard of healings, but have not seen any, myself. I've thought, when the expensive-suited television preacher says that God is healing someone in the left elbow right now - who can contradict or support that? I've been in the same building with some of the greatest, and they seem to only heal those who have a hidden, undiagnosed ailment. The folks in the wheelchairs go home in those same wheelchairs.
On the other hand, there was this little lady in the hospital who, when she saw the pastor coming, pointed her finger at him and said,
"Now don't you pray for me. They keep praying me back and I want to go Home!" I guess if one is not badly needed here it's much better to go on to be with the Lord, yes? I learned about this time that we would just have to wait for some of the answers.
Mother had decided not to teach school the coming fall. Daddy told her to go ahead, but she refused.
"He needs me and I am staying by. Even this year I needed to be with him more. I need to be with him when some of the younger sisters call on him. Old as he is and sick as he is they are not always as discreet as they should be and that isn't good for him or them so I will just stay with him as long as we both live," she wrote to me.
Ellen White was strongly against any familiarity between the sexes, which I find interesting in view of her affiliation with the "holy kissers" of 1845. But later on that subject. A hug between Christian friends seems appropriate to me. And if you should discover that I am dying, please drop by and give me a brotherly kiss - or a sisterly one!
October 10, 1957
It makes me very sad to have to tell you this, but your mother asked me to write you. Your Dad is very bad. She wanted me to tell you to not be surprised at anything now. Life is so sad. I will be glad when Jesus comes and makes things perfect. May He who alone can comfort you shed His Grace on you. Tell all I love them. Bye for now. Mama."
Lesions, the size of a pimple, could come up and develop into a swollen, discolored area from ankle to mid-thigh in twenty-four hours. The pain was excruciating. One little lady told Mother to pack the leg in a wet, warm Epsom salts pack, and that relieved the pain.
October 11, 1957
Last night was terrible for him. He spit blood into tissue all night, and suffered terribly.
A nurse friend said Daddy couldn't last more than six weeks. The doctor said it could be three, six, or even twelve more months. Daddy was horrified at the thought. He had tried to make it without medication, but was now taking a Demerol shot as needed. Mother would sometimes hear him in the night, whispering, "Dear Lord, please let me rest in Jesus!"
"He dearly loves his Saviour and the same Saviour dearly loves Daddy. What a wonderful assurance!" she wrote.
Other than singing the song, "Blessed Assurance" in church, I had never heard the word assurance in the Seventh-day Adventist Church until Mother used it in this context. Nor do I remember hearing it since. Salvation was once described in a sermon as an umbrella which God holds over our head. As long as we keep ourselves under it, we are safe - saved. But when we walk out from under it, we lose our salvation. Never, wrote Sister White, should one dare to say, I am saved.34 No wonder the Seventh-day Adventist lives in perpetual fear, in and out from under that umbrella, singing, "Am I ready for Jesus to come?"
Mother had helped Daddy "get ready." Worried, he had asked,
"Is there anything I haven't confessed?" And she helped him remember. They had quarreled over Juliette right up until the last. Daddy was so tired of it he would lose his temper, which put him in the wrong. Right? Now he was helpless.
"Finally all mine," Mother said.
In mid-October Mother wrote that the lot was bought, the casket, the clothes for his funeral were arranged for, and money was in the bank for the expenses. Daddy had painfully gone to the cemetery himself, and to the mortuary. He chose beautiful lots on a hillside, visible from the highway. At the mortuary he picked out an inexpensive casket. He didn't want anyone to take advantage of Mother with an expensive funeral. He asked Elder Shain to preach his funeral service. A piece of property was sold, and that with insurance money from sick time and other benefits, Mother would have no debts. The home place was paid for, he bought her a little Volkswagon bug for cash, and there was the real estate business property with monthly income.
One day Daddy called my brother into his room. In the course of the visit, he said to him,
"Son, I want you to know that I have never been unfaithful to your mother." I have always believed that. Jealousy is a tough lady to live with. She sees things that are not there, enlarging on those non-existent happenings in her mind, and making everyone in her environment miserable.
On October the fourteenth, Daddy dictated letters to his sister and to me. He assured us he was ready to meet Jesus, "no little assurance", he said.
And to Aunt Lela:
"I just thought that I must write you today and let you know how I stand with the Lord. Some nights I make it just fine, with not too much pain. Other nights I don't make it so well. I can thank Jesus for the amount of relief that He has given me and is giving me at the present moment. I want to recommend to you Jesus as the only true Source of peace and happiness. There is no fear of dying when one has Him."
I did not know, at that time, that my Aunt Lela had spent almost an entire night with him on her last visit there. They had been so close as youngsters, and they discussed the religion of their Mother. Aunt Lela assured me that Daddy knew he was going to Jesus when he died.
* * * * * *
I told Bryan that I had to see my Dad again. My summer trip had been thwarted through the fault of no one, but thwarted nonetheless. So I planned to take the children and since the big old Cadillac was pretty reliable, drive the nearly 1000 miles home at Thanksgiving. A dear little lady, on a crutch with arthritis, said no-way would she hear of me making that trip alone with a nine-month old baby and two boys. I assured her that the boys would be able to take care of Patti, but she didn't think so. She didn't know about my famous 1951 trip West!
So we packed up, and left on a much-too-fast trip for an arthritic, (I now know!). Whenever we stopped for gasoline or other reason, Sister Bea begin walking on down the road to move her body, where I would pick her up.
We arrived in Hot Springs late, after a very long, hard, and fast trip. It was Sunday before Thanksgiving. It was good to be home, but too late to do more than greet Daddy. He was so weak that I could only go in and out a little. He tried once to hold Patti on his tummy and cried because he couldn't.
"All these years I waited for a little girl, and now I can't even hold her!"
We left for North Carolina on Thanksgiving morning. It was raining and I thought there wouldn't be much traffic on the road since it was a holiday. Since I wasn't into sports, I had no idea there were football games on Thanksgiving. There was a football game in Atlanta! No freeway, only two-lane roads, and every time I passed a slower-moving tractor-trailer rig there would be three or four seconds of driving blind as the back-splash from eighteen wheels hit our windshield. We must have kept our angels busy!
We stopped at a little cafe that looked clean to give ourselves a Thanksgiving dinner of sorts. It was pretty good. All vegetables, of course. Suddenly Sister Bea left the table and hurried outside. A few minutes later she returned, looking pale. After we were on the way again, she said,
"Didn't you taste the pork in the string beans?" I really had not noticed.
"The Bible says we mustn't eat the swine or the broth thereof. I have to throw up when I get even a taste of it."
* * * * * *
Mother asked us not to come Christmas. Daddy was too sick, and as careful as we had been, the little ones would slam a door or bump something, which shattered his nerves. The pain was intensified and Dr. Leatherman said Daddy seemed stronger otherwise.
"This terrifies us," Mother wrote. "It means a longer period of suffering unless the Lord intervenes. We are praying subject to His holy will that Daddy may sleep in Jesus soon and be free of the anguish. Multiple myeloma moves slowly. The terrible crisis in October was unusual. Oh, we don't want him to improve one bit unless the Lord means to heal him. He cannot hold his food down, has hard rigors, with high fevers. When I see those dear thin pale hands folded across that diseased chest in token of the pain there, as he sleeps, it all but crushes the life out of me."
* * * * * *
Bryan was looking forward to ordination soon, and his ambitions were growing again. He still hoped to have a chance to become the President of the General Conference. He had found a friend in Elder R. A. Anderson, of the Ministerial Association of the Denomination. The advice he gave was that Bryan had better apply for mission service pretty soon, as one wouldn't have a chance for the position of running the denomination if he hadn't put in time outside the United States. Bryan asked Elder Anderson to come down to our little church and hold a week of lectures on the Book of Revelation. He thought he would enjoy that, so we had a house guest from the General Conference that January! His wife joined him the first weekend, and I enjoyed her a lot. Imagine playing hostess to such dignitaries!
We had interesting discussions. One was concerning the church ruling - actually Sister White's -against wearing a wedding ring. More rings are seen nowadays, but back then you didn't dare! The Andersons were from Australia, where not only did they wear them, they had double ring ceremonies in the churches! Mrs. A. said the Australian Adventist ladies, married to men who were transferred to headquarters, were so embarrassed at not having their rings on they wouldn't let their husbands put an arm around them in public.
The continuing discussion that week, however, was the story of the General Conference encounter with Walter Martin, a young theologian and cult-watcher, who had published a book called The Rise of the Cults. I listened attentively as Elder Anderson described the cover of the book, illustrated with an octopus whose tentacles were named Jehovah's Witnesses, Latter-day Saints, Christian Scientists, and - you guessed it - Seventh-day Adventists. Martin was contacted by one of the brethren, T.E. Unruh, and eventually a discussion was set up between several of the church leaders and Dr. Martin and Dr. Barnhouse of Eternity Magazine.
The outcome of the dialogue, after thousands of hours of research, was the publishing of the book, Seventh day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine,35 which satisfied Martin and Barnhouse that Seventh-day Adventists were not an anti-Christian cult. While the General Conference president and several others, including Elder Anderson, were pleased with the encounter and the resulting book, many others were not. Many would only see a fulfillment of a persecuted-for-my-name's-sake prophecy and consider themselves suffering for Christ to be labeled a "cult". Many in the Evangelical community, also, were not pleased. Eternity magazine lost 11,000 subscribers.37
I will never forget the light in the eyes of Elder Anderson as he talked of the project. There are two kinds of church leaders, I decided. One wants to dictate, to have the devotion of his constituency, and less educated, more gullible his constituents are, the easier it is to dupe them. The other type encourages an intelligent search for truth. I believed Elder Anderson searched for truth.
* * * * * *
Our telephone number was 2222. There was a nightclub with the number 2223 and a hatchery whose number was 2221. The hatchery mis-dials were not too much of a problem, but when the phone rang at 2:00 a.m. and I would fly to it praying, "Oh, no, dear God!" thinking Daddy was gone, only to hear the voice of some distraught woman looking for her man, we had the number changed.
January 12, 1958
Daddy is so sick, so weak, so tired, that he cries when I get out of hearing. He says he becomes frightened when he can't see me. He wants me right in the room with him if possible, and I almost smother because I have to keep it so warm for him. His poor tiny frame can't bear the weight of regular blankets. Two blanket sheets are all he can stand. His nerves are completely shattered from intense pain and unending weariness. Through it all, his faith is perfect. People come to see him now for their own good. Brother Overlees was out last night. When Daddy said he could not understand why he was still here, Brother Overlees just wept and said,
'It is for us, Brother Pine. We need the witness you bear in Jesus'.
Brother C. also came out. He fit well into the local church, helping keep each current stink stirred. He had borne a grudge against Daddy for a long time, but since Daddy was dying, he came out to ask his forgiveness.
The only reason I mention it is that twenty years later he tried to tell me how Daddy had done him wrong. What kind of forgiveness is still harping on it after twenty year? He better get scared. He's not so young now, and his time is coming up. Jesus made it quite clear that we will be forgiven only as we have forgiven each other.
January 20, 1958
Our daddy weighs 103 pounds. Yesterday he wanted some hardware cloth brought to him, and tools, with which he began to fashion a suet cage for his beloved birds. His precious pale trembling hands gave out before he finished it and he fell asleep, so your brother completed it and mounted it outside where Daddy could see it, and filled it with suet.
Terrible swellings came up on his chest, the base of his neck, his side. His pulse was up around 170, 180. Dr. Leatherman said he should never have suffered so long, but his heart was so strong.
He gave away his little Bantam chicks he loved. He had Mother remove flowers from his room.
"They remind me I can't work." He had always had such a glorious flower-filled yard.
January 24, 1958
Guess I've read your letter five times already. Daddy is sleeping now, but has been worse the past day or two. He cries and prays the dear Lord to please take him away. It is so sad!...I wish he might have release from his suffering."
The phone rang about 9:00 p.m. on February 22. I answered, and at the other end was a long-time friend of the family.
"Pat, I've just got to warn you, honey. Your daddy is not going to make the night. I wanted you to be able to prepare."
I still could not comprehend that so vital a personality, so bright a light, could go out. I had no reason to think otherwise, but you probably know what I mean. Most of us have lost someone.
The call came.
Suddenly there was a great big black hole in my insides. It was a long, long time before food had any taste, before the beautiful things in life had any beauty. It was nearly a year before I could play the music he had loved. When I sat down to the piano on Friday night for our family devotional, I would break down, and my little sons would fight back the tears in sympathy with their mommie and for missing their grandpa.
We were more or less ready for the trip, and went sorrowfully home for the funeral. There was a lot of the family there. Mother was chipper, but it was such a relief to see him free of his suffering that she could not be sad. The loneliness was to settle on her after everyone left. We went to the funeral home. Who should be in the viewing room but Juliette. She at least had the grace to leave when we came in. I felt I just couldn't look at him. I wanted to remember him as I had known him - singing, laughing, happy, angry - not wasted to nearly one-half his normal weight and pale with death. But my sweet, six-year-old Jerry went in and stood there, the silent tears pouring down his little face. I ached for him, for Laurie, for me.
Next day we went to the florist to choose a family arrangement. The boys were with us. Jerry pulled me down and spoke in my ear. I had taught the children early to handle things that way, so everyone didn't hear whatever we had to discuss.
"Mommie, I want some flowers for Grandpa."
"I know, Love. That's what we're doing. We're choosing a family arrangement."
"No, Mommie, I want some just from me." This went on a time or two more, and finally I talked to the florist.
"I will fix up something Jerry, just for you!" When we went to the funeral home the next day, there was a small vase with five carnations surrounded with appropriate greenery. It was standing in front of all the other wreaths at the head of the casket.
After we got home Jerry received a letter:
"Grandma is thanking folks for flowers and here in our "Cherished Memories" book the lady at the funeral home has written, "Jerry - red carnation", so I'll just thank you, too. Grandpa truly loved you, Jerry. You will love Jesus and be like Him so you can see Grandpa again.
It was a typical Seventh-day Adventist service. That is the only church I have ever known to use Psalm 126:2, "He giveth His beloved sleep" to indicate death. It is so plainly referring to rest from daily labor. Over and over the "sleep" part of death was mentioned in the service, including two lengthy poems. Those who believe in "soul sleep" sorrow at a graveside as deeply as those who have no hope. I discovered that when I started playing professionally for other churches where they believed that to be absent from the body was to be with God.
I remembered Daddy singing a song from an early Adventist hymnbook which had the words in the chorus:
In a look there's life for me, In a look at Calvary.
Blessed thought, salvation free, By a look at Calvary!
It was taken out of future books. Too true to the Bible, I guess.
After the funeral I walked in the yard and looked at the daffodils Daddy had planted. The irises were showing buds. The gardenia bushes he had placed under each bedroom window would blossom in the summer and perfume the air, the dahlias flaunt their color. But the joy, the laughter, the songs and the whistling - they would never return.
* * * * * *
A letter from my Mama Miles the following week stated,
"I have never stood by the casket of anyone that I felt more sure of than he. I only hope that when my time comes that I can feel that sure."
* * * * * *
Several years ago, an old Bible which had been Daddy's in his youth was discovered, and his family graciously sent it to me. On the fly-leaf, in the beloved handwriting, was written:
I vow I will never go against this Holy Book in any way.
Oh, yes. He was ready. He knew Where his salvation lay. And I know where he is!
* * * * * *
The test of a man's life is not his birth.
It is how he ends it.
* * * * * *
Continue to Part 3 - "TOO WET TO PLOW"
"SHE MADE HER BED - LET HER SLEEP IN IT"
1. E. White, Letter 106, 1902.
2. E. White, Manuscript 86, 1897, quoted in Selected Messages, Book 2.
3. E. White, Review and Health, August 17, 1897; Ministry of Healing, page 444.
4. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 3, pages 81, 82.
5. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 9, page 67.
6. E. White, Ministry of Healing, page 446.
7. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 2, pages 402, 403.
8. E. White, Testimonies, page 469.
9. E. White, Testimonies, 391.
10. See SDA Comprehensive Index to the Writings of E.G. White.
11. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 4, page 97.12. E. White, An Appeal to Mothers, (Battle Creek, MI: Stream Press, 1864).
13. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 2, page 349-350.
14. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 2, page 360.
15. E. White, Counsels On Health, pages 108-110.
16. E. White, Testimonies to Ministers, pages 180, 181.
17. Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5.
18. Daniel, chapter 2.
19. E. White, Manuscript 91, 1903.
20. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 2, pages 595 and 596; Testimonies to Ministers, page 83.
21. E. White, Counsels on Health, page 114.
22. Acts 6:2.
23. Matthew 7:14.
24. Matthew 16:24.
25. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
26. Matthew 6:5
27. E. White, Ministry of Healing, pages 320, 321; Testimonies, Volume 2, page 362.
28. E. White, Desire of Ages, pages 49 and 759; The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, pages 518 and 656; Review and Herald, July 28, 1874, quoted in Selected Messages, page 267.
29. E. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 108, 109.
30. E. White, Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, (Battlecreek, MI: James White, 1858), page 64.
31. E. White, Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, page 75.
32. 2 Corinthians 13:11
33. E. White, Testimonies, Volume 7, pages 95 and 96.
34. E. White, Review and Herald, June 17, 1890, quoted in Selected Messages, Book 1, page 314.
35. Seventh-day Adventist Answer Questions on Doctrine, (Washington, D.C.,: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1957).
36. See Adventist Currents, (Loma Linda, CA: Mars Hill Publications, Inc.), July, 1983.
37. See Christian Research Journal, "From Controversy to Crisis", by Kenneth R. Samples, (San Juan Capistrano, CA: Christian Research Institute), Summer 1988 Issue.