As the years continue to roll by at a faster rate than ever before, I must write another column on the American freedom I have enjoyed throughout my life here on this earth. Each 4th of July arrives and I continue to be thankful to live in the United States of America.
Even when I was born in ‘33, my parents were pursuing their dreams. They already had my older sister, Luella, born in ‘30, and were teaching in a two-room school near Weatherford, Oklahoma. Even though money was tight, they had the freedom to dream of doing what they wanted. My father, Edward Kroeker, felt called into the ministry and wanted to attend a seminary in Texas. My mother was going to run a grocery store/filling station which was popular in that day. As time came for them to move, however, the seminary told my Dad that he was too old and they had to change plans.
We moved to Dodge City instead and Dad worked in a filling station while Mom looked after my older sister and me, during the dust storms of that era.
After a year, we moved to Hutchinson and Dad worked at the Sam Schneider Oil Co. My sister attended Kindergarten at Roosevelt School and graduated. That summer was very, very hot. The only cooling system anyone had was the icebox and we had ice delivered twice a week. Although life was hard, it was pleasant. Neighborhoods were safe, and no one locked their doors. We had the run of the neighborhood in the 300 block of West 14th and everyone shared with each other.
Money was not the criteria to happiness and we enjoyed the life we had, as did most of the community.
Then tragedy struck our family when I saw my sister shot by a neighbor boy who was carrying in his Dad’s hunting gun. It was hard on my Mom and Dad but they survived and continued. The neighborhood was so kind to me and I had the option to visit anyone in our block. As I enjoyed that freedom, they all looked after me and I can remember thinking how nice they all were.
We moved once and I attended Kindergarten at Allen School, then we moved to the grandparents’ farm for a year, until my Dad’s cousin Ike visited Kansas and talked our family into moving to California, the land of milk and honey.
I enjoyed McFarland and had the freedom to roam the little California town on my scooter with my friends and cousins, completely safe in American freedom. I loved it but was also glad when my Dad told me after a year and a half that we were moving back to the farm and I was totally happy.
I was privileged to attend a one-room country school and loved it with all my heart. Learning 500 Bible verses through the Rural Bible Crusade, I finally understood that I had the freedom to ask Jesus into my life, live for Him and could know for certain I will someday go to heaven. So I did.
Later we moved back to Hutch and I attended a large Junior High. I prayed about it and decided I wanted to attend Buhler High School. My parents went along with it and I had the freedom to follow God’s directions. I met my future husband John and later married and we had the freedom to find the place God had for us and follow that step by step.
Did we make a lot of money? Of course not, but we always had enough for the important things. Did we become rich and famous? No, but we could enjoy the peace of God in our hearts as we followed Him. He gave us two wonderful children, John and Judy. They married and we had two in-laws, Carol and Stan. Later, five grandsons: John, Jesse, Ryan, Jason and Michael. And now we have two grand-daughter-in-laws, Melissa and Becky and three great grandchildren as well.
We have had the freedom to visit other countries: Hawaii, Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Holland, Africa and Germany. Would we ever want to live at any of those places? Of course not! We love America and the freedoms we have had in t
he past to follow God’s leading.
We have enjoyed the American freedom in our lives and pray it will continue! Let us thank God for allowing us to enjoy what is good for us and let us not let it slip out of our hands! Be proud of American freedom!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at [email protected]