It is now 76 years later from the time I heard our president Franklin Delano Roosevelt announce on our floor radio “we are at war!” I had just got ready to go to Sunday school in a little church about three blocks from our home in McFarland, California. All morning I had wondered what that really meant and on the way home I envisioned planes flying over and bombing our homes. As I absently kicked a pebble along the way, I heard the drone of one of the little planes from Bakersfield and my mind pictured what war really meant and I trembled. I knew it wasn’t good and I admit, I was afraid!
Although war never did come directly to the United States mainland, we
did feel some of the things that come along with black outs, rationing and the drafting of the young men. My dad took a job in a defense plant in Pittsburgh, California and we lived in a little trailer house near the highway. I saw buses go by with people of other nationalities wearing black and white stripes and was told they were the people from the countries we were at war with. I felt so sad for them.’
When we moved back to our Grandfather’s Kansas farm, the war was more distant. We had no black outs, we just used kerosene lamps anyways, because the REA still hadn’t come to the country. I had a bedroom upstairs with four vacant bedrooms on the same floor. In the evening I would light a kerosene lamp and take it up the winding stairs to my room, put the lamp on the double school desk that was there and write make believe stories in pencil on my Big Chief Tablet. If Ruth, the other girl in my class at school or some of my cousins came over, we would wind the old victrola by hand and play the one record that was on it.*Blest Be the tie that binds.”
Still, we worked hard, I helped my Dad with the fieldwork and greatly enjoyed the learning I got in Sunrise, the country school I attended and could listen in on all eight grades. The country schoolteacher always taught us a love for America and we always felt grateful for our country. Once, some kids came to our school for a short time but would not do the flag salute or bow their heads when we prayed. I felt so sorry for them but didn’t have the nerve to ask them why.
We learned 500 Bible verses if we wanted to and I worked hard at it because
I wanted to become a part of God’s family. I finally understood it. It was so simple… and I knelt down and simply asked him into my heart. It felt like a load had been lifted, as I was now part of God’s family. I have not doubted it ever since. Now I not only had a country I loved, but a loving God as well. I knew God would show me what I was to do with my life if I let Him lead.
And He did…although my family moved back to Hutch when my grandparents sold the farm; I had a persistent desire to attend Buhler High School.
I stayed with my Grandmother Lange on Buhler Main Street my freshman year, took the school bus from Hutch my sophomore year and rented a room from Lizzie Ediger across from the high school, my Junior and Senior year. I also worked in the Buhler Nyal Store, which was a sort of drug store without the drugs since they didn’t do prescriptions.
On Sunday night when I walked home from church, I began to see a fleetline, 2-tone Chevy come driving by with a guy named Johnny and stop and ask if I would like a ride home. This gradually became a habit and so 68 years ago on Christmas we got engaged.
During the almost 67 years of marriage, has the world become better? No, not really. Of course we do enjoy more inventions and so forth, but really, if you ask us, we enjoy the simple things more. As to “wars and rumors of war?” They are phrases we hear every day on the news. Where is the “peace on earth, good will to men? Certainly not the world over if the news is any indication.
However, in a town called Hutchinson close to the center of the United States of America. located in the state of Kansas, is where you can find a lot of real people.
People with a heart for others…who will offer you help at the drop of a hat. Workers who love their jobs. writers who understand the good part of life. Enablers who will/go the second mile, believe the Word of God because they have studied it, prayed and personally accepted God as their own. They even attend churches that preach from the Bible. What more do we need?
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at dorisschroeder @att.net
By Doris Schroeder