Posted by: Jim E | July 16, 2010

WWII…The Pacific…part 3…Personal…

My parents were married in 1938…and just 3 years later in December 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor…my brother, Jack, was born in 1939 and I was born in February 1942…as I have said in another post, I always thought I heard President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor speech with two months to go, before I was born…okay, probably not possible…but I have heard that speech, at least the opening lines, so many times that I think I heard it originally…

But that is not the personal part of this…life happened during the war…my Dad went into the Navy in October of 1943…and served as he always said, “For the duration.”…in other words for the duration of the war…the war ended in 1945…but it didn’t end for him until January of 1946…2 years, 2 months and 16 days, his discharge papers say…my Mom took both Jack and myself by train to San Francisco…not a fancy train but a coal burner…rats came along for the ride, my Mom said…no heat, no a/c just a ride to the coast…and after Dad was allowed to go back home, we left for Minneapolis…he was officially discharged there…

I was 3 and probably turned 4 on that journey…so I don’t have any memory of that time…my brother does remember some of that time…he was 3 years older…it was after we came back that I have some memory of what was going on…as often happened, we settled down in the area that my parents grew up…

And in that neighborhood were two institutions that played an important role in the community…a small chapel, Glenwood Chapel…and a tavern, Valley Inn…the two were, even more in those days, at odds with one another…in fact the two in many ways battled for the lives of many in the neighborhood…the chapel was always serving the community, especially the children…but also the adults…the tavern was serving too but not in as positive a way…my Dad was a good example of how insidious alcohol can be…

My Mother was a result of the chapel’s ministry…and even after she married my Dad, she continued to attend…in fact my brothers and I attended as well…reaching out to another generation…but many were “lost” to, as my Mom used to call it, “the beer joint”…no love lost on that place by my Mom…because my Dad spent much of my childhood, after work at that place…they had this sort of stand off between the two…without going into more details…it was a problem…because he did have a problem with alcohol most of his life…

The ramifications of the war and the difficult aftermath was hard on our family…and because all of us are effected by “how things are” as we grow up…these trail us, good or bad for the rest of our lives…and we pass on who we are to those around us…and it goes on…not with abandon, but with choices that will change what we become…and that can be a positive thing…

For me, the fact that I grew up living beside my Grandparents was key…a great Mom, who loved and spent her life on raising us the best she could…and though my Dad didn’t spend much time at home and drank up a lot of money during his return from the war…my Grandfather was my hero and mentor…he was what I wanted to be like, hard-working, loyal, provided for his family, a man of integrity, honest, all the good things you can think of…there were also relatives and neighbors who were powerful in my life…

But also for me was the effect of Glenwood Chapel…my Mom made sure we were there every Sunday…vacation Bible school, etc…we never missed going…two ladies (Mabel and Kate) started the Chapel in the 1930’s…the Sunday School Union helped them in those early years…and the community did too…building a small chapel for their use…

Mabel and Kate were really “sent out” by their Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis…her name was Henrietta Mears…she later moved to California, started Gospel Light publishers of Sunday School material…among other things, she introduced Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) to Jesus Christ…counseled Billy Graham at Harvest Home (a Christian camp and conference center, she founded) just before his 1949 historic meetings in Los Angeles…there is still a memorial there on that mountain where he made his decision to accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God…

Sometimes when things come together…I don’t know what it is called, but it happens to us all…the world is so small really…something about 6 degrees of separation that is true…we are not far from anyone else…

So what came together???…well, let me tell it in as few words as I can…when I was 9, something happened that changed my life forever…that summer, Glenwood Chapel sponsored a series of tent meetings…that was the way they did it in those days…much like Billy Graham tent meetings in LA and many places…two young men came with their tent and set it up…set up chairs, etc… (I helped most nights)…they were from Northwestern College in Minneapolis…Billy Graham was the president of the school…that was the reason one of the men, Don Watson, came to school there from Oregon…on one of the nights I accepted Christ as my savior…I was 9…

That decision changed my life and the direction of my life for these almost 60 years…my marriage to Judie…all four of our boys…their wives…our grandkids…it goes on and on…the ripples run on beyond my ability to follow and beyond my sight and knowing…it will be in heaven before we will get a glimpse of His plan and how it worked…amazing…

In 2001, I contacted Don Watson…he is a retired pastor in California…he sent me copies of records of their meetings of that time (1951)…what sermons were preached, offerings, pictures…and the name of a boy who became a believer that week…”Jimmy Elmquist”…that was some 50 years before…it was sort of weird to read those things from 50 years before…but all those things came together like I said…he was in the Air Force ready to fly out to Asia for the invasion of Japan…the atom bomb stopped that part of the war…instead he and his wife came to Northwestern College in 1949 and in 1951 the tent meetings…

All those things coming together…all those people…all the influences…all those decisions…all those events…like they did for you…important things…separated by time and space…yet coming together for an important time…for me it made all the difference…WWII was an important part of my personal life…it’s effect on me were real and important though I was just 3 when it was over…it now reaches into its 68th year in my life…and into a multitude of lives I know nothing about…

Now that is something…and that is personal!!!…


Advertisements

Responses

  1. I really enjoyed reading how you came to the Lord. I think that is important for people to know our testamonies and to see us walking in the Lord. Mom and Dad typed up their testamonies for us. I want to make copies for each of the kids. My girls heard Harold’s parent’s testamonies this past March when we visited them. I have Grandad Max’s on DVD and want to get Gramma Rose’s.

    ~Cheryl


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: