(p. 30) WHO WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT GOD?
Honestly, I don't remember; I've always known about God. Instead, let me tell you about the last person to talk to me about God, Dr. Wayne Dyer, the well-known motivational guy. He was on TV yesterday (Dec. 4) doing a telethon for WETA. He reviewed his newest book, The Power of Intention. He explains his "theology" as all about being connected to the Source of all that is good, which Dr. Dyer does call God. Everything I heard him say on this program is compatible with what I believe, and he says it in a loving, inclusive way that will make sense to nonbelievers.
(p. 31) WHEN DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN? HOW DID YOUR LIFE CHANGE?
I grew up as a Christian. As a teen, I committed my life to full-time Christian service. In college, I took a course called The Christian Mission that turned me off because it was more about bureaucracy than inspiration.
I prayed constantly for a Christian husband. A lot of guys weren't interested. Allen was attending my church to shop for a girlfriend. He was raised in a Christian home but rebelled because his grandmother had told him he was going to hell for asking questions about his faith.
I thought I could bring back this lost sheep, but instead I got caught up in the culture of the late 60s, and we both became alienated first from God and then from each other.
We are friends now.
Your dad is a Christian, but we have differences in how we experience God. He was listening to Dr. Dyer yesterday when I came downstairs. I think what he has to say can help your dad and I understand each other. I expect to be changed.
How nice that you bought me a book in 2005 that assumes that I am a Christian!
I was raised a Christian. I'm not convinced that Christ is the only way to God for everyone, but He is the way given to me, and therefore the only way for me. His obedience to God and His example of how to live demonstrate the only way to God. I do believe He was a real person who taught a simpler form of relationship to God that offended the Jews, and He was crucified for His blasphemy.
Actually, Mom helped me a lot when I was an adult by pointing out that Jesus WAS God in human form. God didn't send His son to do the dirty work, which would have been the worst form of child abuse. God Himself became human and came down here to experience the best and worst of what we experience, and to experience relationship with God as Father. John 3: 16 tells us that if we believe this, that we will be saved from sin, which is separation from God, our creator and source of all power, goodness, and love.
It does take faith, which is belief in things unseen. There is evidence in nature and human experience for the existence of this totally righteous and just God, but no proof. Until we see Him.
I tried to live without faith for much of adult life, generally making a mess of things in my insistence on comfort and ease. God stayed with me throughout, like the footprints in the sand story.
(p. 32) WHO GAVE YOU YOUR FIRST BIBLE AND HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT? HOW DID IT INFLUENCE YOUR LIFE?
Probably I had a Bible very early on; certainly I was taking my own Bible to Sunday school by 4th grade. In those days most Bibles were King James Version. The Revised Standard Version came out when I was in grade school. We liked that the language was less archaic. The best improvement was in 1 Corinthians 13, the often quoted love chapter. In King James the word is charity; in RSV it is love. RSV was the version given to Andy when he graduated from high school in 1990. I stopped going to church regularly shortly thereafter, until 2002. Lo and behold, when I returned, there were multiple versions, the preferred seems to be the NIV. Young people don't want "Thees and Thous." For the most part, I like the new translations, but everything I memorized as a child, like the 23rd Psalm, sounds better in King James.
When I was ten, my first boyfriend Doug Stearns in Bryson City gave me a New Testament, which I treasured and kept for a very long time. He is discussed further in this story.... Needing closure for events of my adolescence, I tracked him to Desoto, Texas, outside Dallas, in 2001. Sara called him. In April when I was out to visit Mom, Doug, Sara, Steve, and I had dinner.
(p. 33) DESCRIBE A MEMORABLE VALENTINE YOU RECEIVED
None as a kid. I really didn’t have a boyfriend although there was always someone I was after. The only memorable valentine was from Scott Shinn in 1977. I was separated from Allen and had been dating Les, who was a horse racing fanatic with self-esteem problems, in the process of getting a divorce as well. Because of Les, I converted to patriotism and political conservatism. He had an editorial published July 4, 1976 in the Washington Post (We did not have the Washington Times yet). Les and Scott were good friends. They had separate apartments in DC near Columbia Hospital, that rented for $125 / mo. each. The building has been converted to $1 million condos, as has Columbia Hospital for Women, a real shame. Anyway, I read all of Ayn Rand’s books because of Les. I didn’t like the fact that Scott no longer saw his two daughters since his divorce. But I came to like him as a good friend while I was dating Les, and eventually romantically. After I moved to Southern Towers with Andy, I slipped Scott a note that said, “If you are really John Galt, send me a Valentine.”
(p. 34) HOW FAR DID YOU HAVE TO TRAVEL TO ATTEND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, JUNIOR HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL, AND HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
1st grade - rode a bus
2nd grade - I remember going by car, not bus
3rd grade - About an hour by bus, until we moved on base. Then I could walk.
3rd grade - After we got back from Japan - Westlawn Elementary in the Lincolnia area of Alexandria. I lived with Jane and Agnes - Agnes was the principal and she drove me. We lived in Old Town at 8305 Royal St.
4-6 grade - Glen H. Curtiss Elementary - about a mile - we walked
7-9 th - Miami Springs Junior High - adjacent to the elementary school, but close - about half a mile up Morningside Dr. I often biked or walked.
10th - 11th - Hialeah High - 5 miles - school bus or public bus or car. I walked home. It wasn’t cool to bike to school anymore.
12th - Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas - about 2 miles - often walked or rode with Sara.
(p. 35) WHAT SCENT OR SOUND IMMEDIATELY TAKES YOU BACK TO CHILDHOOD? DESCRIBE THE FEELING IT EVOKES.
The scent of Gardenias. We had a gardenia bush in the back yard in Miami Springs. It was often blooming. Later I learned how hard it is to get a gardenia to bloom. Plants offered for sale in Virginia come with cardboard pictures of blooms attached. The sound of Deep Creek in Bryson City.
(p. 36) WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD? WHAT MADE IT YOUR FAVORITE?
Lobster tails with melted butter associated with Daddy, as was duck with orange sauce and wild rice.
(p. 37) WHAT WAS THE NAME OF YOUR FAVORITE PET? WHY WAS IT YOUR FAVORITE?
Joto, the Boxer we had in Miami Springs was the best dog until we had Chomp. Both of you remember going to West Virginia to get her.
Joto means “Good” in Japanese. We got her as a puppy soon after moving to Miami Springs. Before Joto we briefly had a male boxer, Champ, who jumped the fence and ran away. But Joto loved us unconditionally. Joto had some kind of hip dysphasia that made her hind legs weak, although she limped along bravely into old age. We bred her with the usual deal that the stud’s owner gets the pick of the litter. She had only two puppies, but they were both fine dogs. They took the male and we took the female, named Jo. Mom nicknamed her Johannesburg which Butch corrupted to Hynee. Both dogs moved to Dallas with us in 1962. I think Joto outlived Hynee. I know that Butch was devastated when Hynee died unexpectedly.
(p. 38) WHAT CHORES DID YOU HAVE TO DO WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? DID YOU GET AN ALLOWANCE? HOW MUCH WAS IT?
In Florida, Butch and I took turns washing dinner dishes, wiping the countertops, and sweeping the kitchen floor. I was supposed to keep my room clean and clothes hung up. I didn't do a great job with that, because sometimes I would come home from school when Mom had a day off, to find her doing major cleaning in my room and telling me never to let it get so bad again.
I had a chore that is obsolete today - pinning up Mom's uniform. She still wore a long-sleeved starched white nurse's uniform to work. These uniforms went through the hospital laundry, which involved an ironing machine, so they had no permanently attached buttons. Only little slits like openings for cufflinks. My job was to attach the buttons with removable clips, and add her several pins and name badge.
After I had a bike, I was sent to the store (Food Palace, 3 blocks away, on the Circle) to pick up odds and ends. What I hated was buying cigarettes. Mom would write a note authorizing me to buy them for her. Occasionally I would refuse, but that didn't go over well.
Outside, we picked up the dog doo-doo, and rotten mangoes from the two mango trees.
Allowance policy varied. Sometimes there was a set allowance, like 25 cents a week. Sometimes there was a check-off chore list so the more chores done, the more money earned.
(p. 39) TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST JOB
Baby-sitting for 35 cents per hour. I got the jobs my friend Polly couldn’t take. One lady first name Geri was divorced and had three little girls. She eventually started calling me first. After the third was born I got raised to 50 cents. This was fun. Taking care of a new baby. When I was 15 (summer) Mom got me a job as a nurses aid in the outpatient clinic at Jackson Memorial Hospital where she was assistant director of nurses. They put me in the oral surgery clinic assisting with extractions. I was supposed to suction the blood so the dentist could see the area where he was working. These patients were poor so they didn’t fill their teeth, just pulled ‘em. Sometimes with insufficient anesthesia. I could relate to that from my experience breaking my front tooth when I was 10. So I complained to mom. She got me transferred to the well baby clinic. I weighed the babies, helped with their exams, did some charting. I think I developed some X-rays there. Also remember they still reused syringes and needles. So I had a task to check for barbs by running each needle across a cotton ball.PREVIOUS CHAPTER ............. HOME............. NEXT CHAPTER