July the 4th, l961

11 07 2011

I can’t let July gain too many more days before I write of my 50th anniversary of arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky.  My mother is a native of Hopkinsville.  She married a soldier from Camp Campbell in l943.  My parents moved to Lansing, Michigan so that my father could attend college to study to be an engineer.  Mother taught school in Lansing until her first son was born.  Then she became a homemaker.

I was actually born in Detroit.  Early in l960– my father pushed my mother to update her teacher’s certificate.  We all sensed things between my parents were not good.  By June l960– my father left.  My mother had already made arrangements to take classes at Wayne State University that summer.  She already had a babysitter lined up for us.  I can’t imagine how she managed all of that.  We didn’t have a car.  Mother took the bus to her classes each day. 

She did gain employment for the l960-l961 school year.  My youngest brother wasn’t even old enough for kindergarten.  So mother hired a sitter for him and she was at the house for us as well–when we arrived home from school.  Later, I found out that one particular couple befriended my mother and loaned her the money to accomplish all of these feats.  This couple had been friends with my parents for a very long time. 

I have the actual letters of correspondence between my mother and grandmother about the pros and cons of moving back to Hopkinsville.  In the end, mother decided that she needed to be where her family was living. 

We were renting a house –so it made it a little easier to uproot.  We left by train on the afternoon of July the 3rd, l961. A train ride from Detroit to Hopkinsville was a great adventure to four children.  The stop in Chicago was especially fun.  Mother let us have soda fountain treats and she bought us plenty of comic books. 

Arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky about 8:00 a.m. on July the 4th–we were met at the train station by my mother’s brother and her sister.  Grandmother was waiting for us with open arms.  She had buckwheat pancakes already made up.  We were to live with Grandmother in her part of the house until school started.  Then we would move upstairs.  There was a young married couple who had planned to leave that apartment the end of August.

Grandmother had endured a mastectomy the summer of l960.  Now that I am 59 years old and a grandmother myself–I can’t imagine how she took us into her home.  That was a very generous deed!

Grandmother made sure our lives were full of structure.  She never allowed us to sleep in or be lazy.  We always had to help with chores around her home.  And church was a part of our education, too.  Not only did we attend church on Sunday mornings–we also attended all the youth activities on Sunday and Wednesday nights, too. 

Mother taught school at the old Westside School the first year.  After that first year, she taught at the old Virginia St. school.  That was just a few houses from our home.  Her last year of teaching was at the brand new Holiday Elementary School. 

Mother died of breast cancer in l985.  Grandmother died when I was 25 years old of heart problems. I left home when I was 19 to attend Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Al.  I met my husband there.  He was raised in Iowa.  We moved back to Hopkinsville in l985. Hopkinsville has been a great place to raise our four children.

The structure and love my grandmother gave me as I was growing up has stayed with me my entire life.  I’m not much of one for sleeping in.  I always see my dear grandmother’s face.  I feel her with me all the time.  I keep pushing on in life because of the building blocks of love and leadership that she provided for me.

My brothers have often spoken of the same sense of grandmother’s influence. The four of us have done well in life.  One brother is a college professor, another is a lawyer, another works for  the state in Denver, Co.  I have been a teacher/homemaker.  Together all of our children have grown up to have multi-varied talented careers.  My children love to hear about Grandmother B.  They cherish her memory even though they never knew her. 

I, too, have survived a mastecomy.  I am a 4th generation breast cancer survivor. 

Today the old train station is now the center of Art’s here in Hopkinsville.  I drive by the old station several times a week.  Always, the memories of arriving on that train in l961 flood my mind.

Thank you Grandmother B for taking such good care of us.

God bless each of you!


Memory Lane With My Grandsons

9 07 2011

What a morning Jim and I had going through all of our pictures and videos on  our computer.  We haven’t been the best at keeping up with organizing all of our cyber memories.  Thanks to our daughter, Vera, we have all of 2008 and 2009 photos  and videos  neatly organized.  The rest of our memories are not. 

First, we went through all of our pictures of the last year into our present moment in 2011.  As Jim showed them – I made note of the different categories .  This will make it easy now to place our photos in albums. 

Lastly, we reviewed all the albums that Vera had set up for us.  When this video showed up–I knew that I had to share it on today’s blog.  The boys have grown up so much.  No longer do they want me to read stories to them or spend time working with coloring .  Yes, those days are gone forever.  But I’m glad that I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with the boys in their young days. 

This video also makes me miss Vera.  She  spent 16 months with us.( She lives in Pittsburgh, Pa. now)  She was a great help with the boys.  I’m also grateful that she was still living with us when Jim had his second Aortic episode in October of 2008.  This clip was made 5 months before his second trip to Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Now the boys have a precious brother who everyone calls “P”.  P is getting a head start with this social media age.  I doubt that we will have the same experience that I had with his brothers.  P will be 2 in September.

Hope you enjoy the Youtube.  God bless each of you! And, a great big thanks to Jim to making this video a Youtube. 

In Memory Of Sam And Katie

13 05 2009

Forgive me for not posting lately.  It has been hectic with Jim’s health problems.  Also, Vera has had a very serious bout with her lower back that kept her from making her May 6th flight to Kansas, City Mo. for her internship.  Seventeen years ago, she fell  43 feet and the older she gets–the more trouble she has with her lower back.  Hopefully, she will be leaving on May 22.

Inbetween all of these circumstances–we noticed that Katie, our 15 year old cat, was not eating much nor grooming herself.  She has had bad times before but we’ve always been able to get her interested in food again.  Katie had a bond with Vera that was special.  Vera always went the extra mile with our geriatric Katie.  Katie was so afraid of our dog.  She lived on our fridge.  We would put the dogs up to have special “Katie” time.  She always knew when Jim and Vera were going to play table games.  Her eyes told us that she wanted to be a part of the game.  So that would be one of her special times.


Jim and Katie

Jim and Katie

Jim liked to put Katie in his lap while he was playing table games.  He claims that she helped him win against Vera.  Friday evenings have always been our movie night.  Katie would know it was movie night and motion for us to take her off the fridge.  So we would put the dogs up and let her enjoy movie night with us. 

She didn’t always live on the fridge.  However, she has always been very afraid of things.  When we rescued her as a three year cat in l997–we still had our original dogs.  She lived upstairs for almost a year.  Then around the time Vera started college–Katie started living behind our entertainment center. 

When Sugar and Lucy got old–Katie began enjoying more freedom in our home.  Then in 2005–I had to put them both down.  That same day, Rudy came along.  I had never planned on getting another dog.  Sandy, my oldest daughter owned Rudy but gave her away.  Rudy was found in Cadiz , Kentucky by a couple passing from Georgia on their way to Chicago.  They rescued her and brought her back to the vet clinic where we live.  I was called and asked if I would get Rudy.  I made a quick decision to keep her.  And that is when Katie started living on the fridge.

A few months later another daughter asked me if I would take their dog.  I accepted “Tickie”.  The two dogs have always been a bit much for Katie.  So she has lived a very secluded life.

When Vera came home to help me through my breast cancer operation–Katie was so very happy.  I personally believe that Katie knew Vera was going to leave and decided that she no longer had the will to live.

The decision to end Katie’s life was extremely hard on us.  In February –it was also hard to have Sammie, a 12 year old cat, put down.  They both started going downhill very fast. 

In memory of these precious cats–I’m posting a video of them together back in October of 2008.  Katie loved Sammie –so occasionally Vera would put the dogs up and take them both up to her bedroom.  They really had a great time with each other that day.  So in memory of our dear cats—-I hope each of you enjoys this video. 

A Christmas Past/ A Christmas Present

1 01 2009

My grandsons and I were cleaning out a drawer and found my album of photos from the first ten years of our marriage.  It was in complete disarray.  I knew right then that I was going to get new photo albums for my pictures.  The boys and I went to the store to buy some albums that very morning.  Later, after the boys went home –I began putting my new albums in order.  There were two items of furniture constantly used for a photograhic background in those pictures.  Each new school year our four children would line up in front of our old piano for back to school photos.  The other piece of furniture is a bookcase.  It was also a very popular backdrop for family pictures.  We no longer have the piano but we still have the bookcase.  There is a story about that bookcase that I would like to share.

The summer of l982 was very difficult.  My husband was self employed working at various jobs.  Work was scarce and we were short of money.  I had already sold my mother’s fine china and silver ware to help make mortgage payments.  One day that summer Jim came home with a bookcase that he had torn out of a house.  One could tell that it was very solid and worth keeping.  The only problem was that it had been painted so many times over the years that it would take a great deal to restore the bookcase.  Neither Jim and I have that particular talent to restore furniture.  Thus, we put the bookcase on the street with a for sale sign.  We were asking $20.00 for the bookcase.  I didn’t have much faith that anyone would buy it. 

Within a couple of days a family came by and decided they wanted the bookcase.  The husband of the family did like to restore furniture.  While we were talking –we realized that our children went to the same school.  Matthew was in the same grade as Ben and Sandy. Tina, Matthew’s mother, was looking for an after school sitter.  She asked me if I would be interested.  I agreed to look after Matthew.  I was already baby sitting two other children in the evening.  She also asked me if I could take care of Matthew on certain days during the rest of the summer.  So not only did I earn $20.00 but I gained a job. 

Matthew was to be a part of our lives for the next three years.  I also seemed to become the sitter for many other children as well.  Those were busy years but the most interesting part of this story is that John and Tina gave us back our bookcase as a Christmas present.  John had stripped off all of the many layers of paint and refinished the bookcase.  Today in 2009, we still have that bookcase and it is one of our favorite pieces of furniture.  I shall always cherish the day that I met John, Tina and Matthew.  Tina and Matthew even came to visit us in Kentucky after we left Alabama.  And our bookcase is still a favorite backdrop for photo sessions.

Now for the Christmas present.  I was deeply touched when Ben and his wife gave us a card telling us that our Christmas present was to move our washer and dryer up into our kitchen.  One of my brothers fell down his basement stairs in November and had to have three surgeries.  I must confess that I have been worrying about my basement stairs.  I’ve been taking laundry up and down our stairs for 23 years.  And I’ve fallen several times with one fall being so serious that I had to have surgery.  Evidently, Ben and Linda have been worrying about us , too.  Ben has the skills to do all of the plumbing for us.  I’m so excited about not ever having to do laundry in the basement again.

Another wonderful Christmas present was having our former Mennonite friends and their six children come sing for us.  Daniel and Ruth were old order Mennonites until about eight years ago.  They left their order to start a new life.  Daniel learned to drive and they put electricity and plumbing in their home..  They also have phones, a DVD player,  a fax machine and a computer. They still live much like the Mennonites in that they are self supporting.  They farm, sell goats and rabbits, do carpentry work for others, and run a bookstore from their home.    We enjoy visiting their bookstore.  In fact, I did much of my Christmas shopping at their store.  Whenever we visit them–their children are always busy with projects to help around their home. The past two times we have visited them–some of the children have been busy baking.  The oldest son has been involved in building on to their home.  He helped his father with the blueprints and studied the rudiments of electrical wiring so he could do the actual labor of wiring their new addition.  They are an amazing family.  So we were delighted when they came to sing for us.  We took many photos of them as they are no longer under the ban of not taking photographs.  They had fun looking at our family pictures on display.  I had one picture of my birth family during Christmas time in which I was just six years old.  Daniel got very sad as he has no photos of his growing up years, of his parents and siblings nor of his wedding to Ruth.  However, he smiled again thinking of how it would be different for his family.  We had a lovely time with Daniel’s family.  It was an experience that I will always cherish. 

Christmas comes and goes each year but these two Christmas seasons will always stand out in my mind.  I’ve been busy working on my albums.  It looks like I will need four albums for my one huge torn up book.  There are many pictures of Ben as a child building all of his treehouses.  He was already developing his life work as a child.   The picures reflect many birthdays and Christmas seasons.  There is a space in my new albums to write about each picure.  This project will keep me busy for a number of days.  And to think all of these memories started from just cleaning out one drawer. 

May God bless each of you!

My Dad, Part 4

28 07 2008

The most exciting part of our train ride was stopping in Chicago.  Mom treated us to a nice lunch and let us buy all kinds of comic books.  Those comic books kept us very entertained.  We would swap our comic books with each other the rest of the trip.  We arrived in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on July 4, l961 at around 8:00 a.m. in the morning.  My mother’s brother and sister meant us at the train station in downtown Hopkinsville.   Grandmother was waiting for us and had cooked hotcakes for us.  She had her table all set with her finest dishes.  It was wonderful getting such a welcome greeting.  Grandmother showed us the sleeping arrangement for our family.  Since she ladysat each evening–mother and I would sleep in her double bed.  My youngest brother would sleep in the twin bed in the same room.  My other two brothers would sleep on cots in her hallway. 

Grandmother allowed us to have a few days of fun and then she presented us with a schedule of chores.  She made us wash and dry all of the dishes.  I had to learn to iron.  My brothers did all of the yard work and took out the garbage.  I had to help my grandmother clean the formal living room each Saturday morning.  I had never had to do anything but wash dishes my entire life.  We also had to learn how to say “yes, m’am” and “no m’am” and “yes, sir” and “no sir”.  Grandmother would shake our little shoulders when we slipped up.

For the last two months of summer vacation I ironed all of the clothes in the family.  There were no permanent press clothes in those days.  Grandmother had me sprinkle the clothes with water then I would begin ironing.  I didn’t sass my grandmother because I knew she meant business with each of us.  (Later, as a teenager I sassed my dear grandmother a great deal.  I deeply regret that.)

When school started– grandmother and mother hired a woman to help with cleaning and ironing.  Never again did I have to iron any of the family clothes.  However, I will always be grateful that my grandmother started right in with teaching us that it takes every member of the family to do their share. 

We moved upstairs in September to our own apartment.  Grandmother was a heart patient.  In those days with heart patients– the medical thought was that climbing stairs was too stressful for the heart.  Thus, grandmother wasn’t always watching everything we did.  Mother assigned our dish washing schedule for our new apartment.  However, grandmother still made me help clean her formal living room each Saturday and the boys had to continue to do the yard work.

Gramdmother was a Southern Baptist and she insisted that we attend church.  She made us go to church not only on Sunday morning but any time the church building was opened.  I had to go to “training union” each Sunday evening and “G.A” activities each Wednesday evening.  We lived right in the heart of town.  Our church was just a few blocks from our home.  So we walked to church.  We also learned to walk everywhere because Mother didn’t have a car.

Dad had written to mother shortly after we arrived in Hopkinsville.  He wanted a divorce.  We all knew that was coming or else my mother would never have moved us to Kentucky.  Nevertheless, we all wept when mother read the letter to us.  Thus, began a long series of my mother meeting with her divorce lawyer.  There were no quick divorces in those days.  I think it took nearly a year for the divorce to be granted.

Now Dad did write short notes to each of us the first year he was gone.  He claims that he wrote letters to us throughout our growing up years but that mother just didn’t give them to us.  To be fair–Dad might have tried to write us those first couple of years we were in Kentucky.  But by the time I was in Junior high school–I checked the mail a great deal.  There were never any letters from Dad.  Mother claims that she never knew where dad was.  At any rate–there was never any money coming to our household from Dad. I don’t think my mother had the emotional strength to fight for child support.  It was all she could do just to keep our household running smoothly.

Now I’m not going to write every detail about our growing up years.  We all did well in school.  My oldest brother was the family scholar.  He earned a naval scholarship to the University of North Carolina. In his early 50’s he earned his master’s degree in English Literature and currantly teaches at Hopkinsville Community College.  I ended up going to our local community college then transferring to Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Alabama.  I met my dear husband of 34 years at Southeastern Bible College. I have gone back to college at various times in my life but have never earned another degree.  I have taught as a subsitute teacher off and on for almost 20 years. All of our children were born in Birmingham.  My brother who goes by “David Web” on this blog had years of  doing various things.  He did earn a two year business degree.  He has lived in Denver, Co. for 23 years now and has a great job working for the state.  My youngest brother earned in undergraduate degree in Art and his master’s degree in  English Literature.  In his thirties’s he earned a law degree.  Today he works for the state of Tennessee as a lawyer. 

In l979, we found out where our father lived.  Thus, we all began corresponding with him.  Dad came to visit my family in Birmingham in l985 for a week.  I have written the details of that in my Vera stories. ( I have an entire category devoted to these stories.) Dad worked for years in the space program at Hunstville and was part of the engineering team that made Apollo 11.  I have documentation of his work on Apollo 11 that was given to me after my dad died.  Dad fathered two other children.  They live in the Detroit area.  I have been in contact with my half sister but my half brother is not open to getting to know my family.  My dad divorced their mother ( the secretary) and married another woman.  That marriage lasted to the end of his life.

Dad lost everything he had in l994.  He hadn’t filed taxes for many years.  The government seized all of his assets.  His health declined from that point and he died of a stroke in l996.  It has been a difficult journey for me learning to forgive my dad.  At times we were very close and then he would brush me off.  I know my brothers have had their own struggles.  My oldest brother feels strongly that Dad had a death bed conversion while he was in a coma those last days of his life.  Dad was baptized in his youth and was a very devout young man of faith during his growing up years.  I like to  believe that my brother’s “knowing” is true.  At any rate, I do forgive my dad.  As an Orthodox Christian–I’ve come to understand that we are all sick and in need of help.  Christ is our great physician.  The Orthodox Church is viewed as a hospital.  We are continually getting well by obeying our church.  We get our nourishment through taking the Holy  Eucharist and by having regular confession with our priest.  We also get our nourishment by obeying the fasts that our church has.  We strongly rely on the Gospels of Christ for lessons about daily life.  The most important lesson Christ taught us was to forgive each other.  If we can’t forgive others then Christ will not forgive us.  So today I pray for my reposed father each day.  He made many mistakes.  But then so have I.   I hope my story will help each of you to let loose of resentment and bitterness.  May the Holy Gospels work in each of your lives!

God bless each of You!

My Dad, Part 3

28 07 2008

My dad lost all interest in keeping up traditions in our family.  Our last Christmas with us he just frankly told each of us that there was no Santa Claus.  I was 7 years old and I still loved Santa.  What a heartbrake that was for me.  I know now that he was brutally honest with us because there was no money to buy Christmas gifts. 

We did have one lovely occasion our last summer with Dad.  He was working for an insurance company in downtown Detroit.  The Queen of England was to be on her ship on the Detroit River.  He took our family downtown to his office building so that we could see the queen on her ship.  We did see the ship but of course could not see the queen.  However, we knew she was on that ship.  That memory is something special that I have always carried in my heart.

Mom started talking about how she was going back to college for refresher courses so that she could teach school again.  I enjoyed my mom being a homemaker.  I loved her presence in my life at all times.  She was a very elegant lady in all ways.  Mother always dressed up each day unless she was doing housework.  After her chores, she always dressed up again.  She spoke softly to us in her reprimands.  Thus, I felt very bewildered when she started talking about going to college.

Dad kept his mysterious plans going strong.  We had already met his secretary.  She went out to eat with us on my 7th birthday.  I remember Dad making me sit in her lap.  I had a creepy feeling about that lady.  Dad knew he was going to leave us.  That is why he pushed mother to take college courses. One of my brothers told me that at least dad had some integrity left by pushing mother closer to the field of teaching. I wasn’t sure I agreed with my brother at first but now I realize that he was right.

Dad had a little conference with each of us children.  He told us that he got an engineering job with Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, Washington.  Likewise, he told us that he would be leaving in June.  Dad assurred us that he would be writing to each of us and that within a year that he would have us join him.  I thought it a little strange that we couldn’t be with him from the beginning of his journey.  Don’t ever under estimate the discernment of a child.  Children are very perceptive.  I knew in my heart that Dad was gone.  I knew that we would never join him anywhere.

That June day came when Dad kissed us all goodbye and drove away.  Later we found out that Dad picked up his secretary who was pregnant and took her with him.  Mother had already arranged for a sitter to take care of us while she took courses at Wayne State University in Detroit.  We had no car so mother took a bus each day to and from college.  Our sitter only lasted a couple of months before she got burned out with taking care of four children.  By the time school started mother found another sitter.  She lasted the entire school year.  My youngest brother was still at home all day. 

Now that I’m grown and have raised four children with the help of my husband–I feel such admiration for the courage that my mother had.  She didn’t have money to go back to college.  One family loaned my mother the money.  Later, after mother died –the man of that house told me that mother repaid every dollar that she borrowed.  Thus, Mother took a cab to her school each morning.  She was an elementary school teacher once again. 

I grieved so much.  Dad had been overly strick the last couple of years he was with us but I still missed him.  I cried myself to sleep each night.  Many times I would wake up with terrible stomach cramps and would beg my mother to let me stay home from school.  Mother relented many times with me.  I know I missed at least a month’s worth of school during the third grade.

Mother made a real effort to make our Christmas special that year.  She made all kinds of homemade treats .  I especially remember the peanut brittle she made and put in candy dishes in the living room.  After Christmas, she began talking to us about moving to Kentucky.  Mother was raised in Western Kentucky and wanted to go back to be with her family.  By spring she had already landed a job with the school system in her hometown of Kentucky.  We all began to get excited about taking a long train trip to Kentucky.  The plan was that we would live with my grandmother.  Grandmother had a house that was made into three apartments.  For the summer we would live in Grandmother’s apartment but in September we would move to the upstairs apartment–after the young couple who was renting it moved out.

There had been so much confusion and grief our first year without our dad.  Mom did the best she could do to keep up with housework and laundry while teaching fulltime.  She didn’t push us to do chores and we didn’t volunteer.  I looked forward to grandmother taking care of us and that life would be neat and orderly once again.  What I didn’t know was that grandmother was about to be the character shaper of our lives.  She was 69 years old and a breast cancer survivor.  She was not soft spoken like my mother.  Grandmother was all about discipline and hard work.  It is a good thing–I didn’t know that while I was dreaming of my perfect world.  That train ride wouldn’t have been as much fun.  

So we left Detroit , Michigan around noon on July 3, l961.  All of us were excited about the long train ride to Kentucky.  New adventures were just around the corner.

One Person Can Make A Difference!

8 07 2008

I’ve known Wally since I was 17 years old.  Until then, I only knew of him by looking at my brother’s high school annuals.  Our church had a big youth revival the summer I was 17 years old.  Wally preached the Sunday morning sermon at the conclusion of our revival.  He didn’t attend our church but somehow–he was invited to give the Sunday morning sermon.  He was dressed in a white summer suit.  His text was from the book of James, chapter l.  This is a chapter of the Bible that tells people that the rich are not to have exultation over the poor during worship.  Wally had a heart for the poor in his early youth.  And that compassion has never left him.

Wally went on to become an astute businessman.  He founded his own real estate business.  He married and had three children.  In l990, he became the mayor of our town.  He went on to serve a second term as our mayor.  When he was still selling homes, he went to great length to help us buy our home.  He even hired us to do an extra job which helped us with our down payment on our home.  We were a struggling family in those days and we would never have been able to buy our home without Wally taking a very personal interest.

After he finished two terms of being the mayor of our town–he went back to school and earned his master’s degree in public service.  After that–he taught high school for a few years.  Wally, now a single person again, ventured out into a new dream of helping the poor.  With the backing of our YMCA  and the local development corporation–he moved into an apartment located in the inner city.  He started his adventure by riding his bike each day all around the inner city.  He would stop and greet people.  He then started inviting businessmen to join him on a bike ride throughout our city. Next, he started a Bible study in his apartment.  Later, the Bible study was moved to the home of an elderly lady in his neighborhood.  And finally, a church in town started using one of their mini vans to give tours of the inner city.  Wally would be the host of those bus tours.

In August of 2005, Wally invited Jim and I to dinner at a little country restaurant.  During our dinner, he told us about a home in the inner city that was once a beautiful brick home–now in bad disrepair.  No one had lived in it for years.  Drugs dealers had used it.  There was a minor problem is getting the deed.  After our dinner, we walked along the country roads.  Wally began telling us more about his dream of how this home could be used to help so many people.

I reminded Wally of the work that Jane Addams had done in Chicago in the late 1890’s into the 1900’s.  At that time in America, all kinds of immigrants were pouring into our nation.  There were no government assisted programs.  People lived in horrible poverty.  The streets were filled with garbage and raw sewerage.  Sweat shops abounded in the big cities.  Women would have to leave their small children to work in the sweat shops.  Likewise, many children had to work long hours to help their families.  It was a horrible time for the poor people.  Middle class living did not exist.  Either people had plenty of money or they struggled with poverty.  I was so inspired by Wally’s idea to start such a home in our town–that I read Jane Addams’s book: Twenty Years At Hull House. I found the complete book online at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/ADDAMS/title.html

It took a full year to get just the basics done on the house.  Many church groups volunteered to help clean all of the debris out of the house.  By the summer of 2006, a plan for restoration was started.  Again, many volunteers helped restore the once beautiful home.  The garage was restored to make a workshop to teach trades.  The home didn’t really open for full use until the summer of 2007.  It took two long years to fulfill Wally’s dream. 

A young girl in Viginia, who was a friend of Wally–had a dream for another home to be opened up.  She raised the money to buy another old home.  I think the price of the home was around $12,000.  Then she raised another $12,00 to $15,000 for the beginning restoration costs.  Again, volunteers went to work on this new home.  LIke the first one, many business people and churches donated money.  This home has been ready now for several months.  Recently, Wally gave us  a tour of the home.

Currently, Wally lives in the upstairs of the origianl home.  However, at night –he sleeps on a sleeping bag at the new one.  He is looking for volunteers to live at these homes and manage them.  However, the network of services has begun at both homes.  There are GED classes currently being taught.  There is also a program called Jobs For Life being taught.  Recently, a $5,000 grant was given to help those who successfully complete the job program.  The money will be used to buy gift cards for these people to buy gas for their cars and the proper clothes necessary to enter the job force.

Occasionally, Wally will stop by our home for a spontaneous visit.  Recently, he popped in while we were eating our supper.  We just set an extra plate at our table for Wally and enjoyed asking  him questions about the programs at both homes.  Our inner city is divided into six networks.  Already, (again through Wally’s leadership) there are neighborhood associations that have been started.  Wally would like to see each of the neighborhood associations have a home restored for spiritual and social needs. We already have two homes up and running thanks to the hard work and vision of just one person.

I know many people in our town thought that Wally was crazy when he moved into the inner city.  He moved in 2004.  Today, in 2008 we have two homes for social and spiritual services and six neighborhood networks in full swing.  Yes, one person can make a difference!

God bless each of you!