48 years, Thanks for the Memories

“Thanks for the memory Of sentimental verse, Nothing in my purse, And chuckles When the preacher said For better or for worse, How lovely it was. Thanks for the memory Of Schubert’s Serenade, Little things of jade And traffic jams
And anagrams And bills we never paid, How lovely it was. Thanks for the memory Of faults that you forgave, Of rainbows on a wave, And stockings in the basin When a fellow needs a shave, Thank you so much. Thanks for the memory Of cushions on the floor, Hash with Dinty Moore, ” Bob Hope (song)

In January of 1975, I said I do to so much I never expected. I was two weeks away from turning 20. Dale was already 20. We thought we were so mature and knew what we were doing. I look back now and laugh. We were kids.

This year we are where we spent our first eighteen months of marriage. The Virginia Beach area. It has grown so much in the intervening years. One of our homes is now a vacant lot, overgrown with weeds and looking small compared to the amount of apartments that once stood there. Our second apartment is long gone also, but now a beautiful beach home is where our rent by the month apartment once stood. It is now a beautiful area, not a run down bad part of town. I am certain none of the houses there have to worry that the pilot light in their heaters will be extinguished by blowing sand. Waking up to sand in the living room is just one of the memories of this area.

As a child, I always dreamed of marrying someone local and living in the south side of town in one of the Victorian homes that grace our city. I did marry someone local, my high school sweetheart. We have lived in apartments like I mentioned above, in a Japanese apartment that was very small, in multiple government quarters, and two homes that we have bought. I have always had a roof over my head. Life has been good.

Yes, there have been years where we went to dinner on this date and barely spoke a word to each other. There have been years where we have dressed up and dined with majestic views of the Pacific and the Atlantic. There have been years where he has been on the other side of the world and I sat at home wondering if he was okay and where he was currently.

Life has been good, and great. Marriage, I think is a series of upheavals and nothing. It is the mundane and the excitement. It is life.

I am so grateful to have spent this time with this man. He has made life interesting, entertaining and surprising. As I woke today in the same area where we first lived, I smiled to myself. One of my aunts gave us three months. I think we showed her.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18 (NLT)


It is raining again today. The temperature is still in the mid-80’s so it is warm.

Dale and I ate our lunch outdoors again. We sat on the screen porch and listened to the gentle rain falling on the other side of the screen. It was a quiet rain, a soothing rain. The type where you want to make soup for dinner or just curl up with a blanket and rest.

The falling rain reminded me of being in our hometown of Oil City, PA. I thought of times past when we were getting ready to head back to school. When you could feel in the air that summer was winding down and soon books would be what was focused on.

A rain that signals the beginning of the end of summer. Now, I am not a summer person. I much prefer the cooler seasons. But, there is something melancholy about the end of summer. The rain starts and although you know there are still a few weeks left of heat and humidity, the late summer rains carry a signal that soon the leaves will fall and the wind will hold a chill.

The days will grow shorter, nights longer and long sleeves will be part of the wardrobe. This year I feel the end of summer more than most other years. Although I am not a summer person, this time heralds the end of carefree vacations and days at the beach for so many. The days of fresh produce and summer fruit. The lightness of the season. Summer is laughter and playfulness.

Soon, as the stores are all displaying, school will start. Each package of new crayons with sharp points, highlighters that are crisp in color, notebooks that are new and not tattered, pens still in their package waiting to be opened forecast a more somber time. A time to sit still and listen. A time to learn and read. A return to the rote, the have-to’s.

Yes, that all hit me while munching on a sandwich and talking with Dale. Sometimes that which is not spoken carries the most weight in the mind. But, for now, it is only the beginning of August and yes, I am retired.

“And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.” Daniel 2:21 (NKJV)

My Little Town

“In my little town I grew up believing God keeps his eye on us all
And He used to lean upon me As I pledged allegiance to the wall
Lord, I recall My little town …. Everything’s the same Back in my little town Nothing but the dead and dying Back in my little town” Simon and Garfunkel

Years ago I wrote a piece called, Home of Quaker State, Pennzoil and Me, a post that I wrote late at night and it took only minutes to write. It turned out to be a very popular post to my surprise.

I had thought to rework it and repost, but after reading it once more, I knew it did not need any changes.

I grew up in Oil City, Pennsylvania. It was my home for nineteen years. I married three weeks before my twentieth birthday. I never thought I would leave, I never really wanted to.

In it’s prime, Oil City was a bustling city filled with oil refineries, steel mills and businesses. The downtown area provided many stores to shop and browse. There were lunch counters in many of the stores. Lemonblend was served at Thrift drugs, Woolworths had the best hot fudge sundaes, Kressges had cheap sub sandwiches they were just around a dollar, if I remember correctly.

At one point the world wide oil prices were set in our little town. Former mansions of the oil barons still stand today.

It was a wonderful place to grow up. Children were given roots and wings. Most of my generation left town. As we grew jobs became scarce. I was one of the migrating generation. Pennzoil left for Texas in the 60’s. Quaker State was there much longer, but eventually left for Texas also. When we lived in Japan, Dale and I would head to the auto section of the exchange to pick up a can of oil. Not to buy it, but to look at the label and see, ‘Refined in Oil City, PA’. We held home, we held our heritage.

As the years passed the refineries closed. Steel mills followed. The downtown died leaving empty buildings with no care. Yet the river still flowed through the town, and Oil Creek still meets up with the river.

A remnant still remains. They are faithful, consistent, strong. I used to think that only the old people stayed, it turns out those old people are those I went to school with.

We visit, not as often as we have in the past. Anyone who we are related to are now in other cities or their bones are resting in the cemeteries.

Yes, this is all bleak. But, looking below the surface of the tiredness of the town are memories. Echoes of laughter spill out from the old playgrounds and the park. The place where I held a boys hand for the first time still is there. The place of my first kiss is right by the coffee shop.

We drive through town, knowing which lane to get into, knowing what street connects with another, recognizing destinations that were once places where we went in high school. I can look anywhere and people and experiences flood my mind. It is familiar, it is my hometown.

I would not change anything. I know had I stayed there, had we not married, had Dale not joined the Navy, everything would be different. But the Lord. How many times have I said this. My life was created by God. He gave me to my parents and to my sisters. There was a divine purpose in me.

The love of my hometown, gave me a respect for anywhere I have lived since. I grew roots. I was established in the roads and places in Oil City. I grew into who I am today. The memories serve to remind me of who and what I am. The legacy of those who came before me resonate in Oil City. The history defines me.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (NKJV) This is true for me, for you, and for that little town.


“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7 (NKJV)

Safety and security are two of the basic needs in life. When you feel safe and secure you rest easy.

Growing up our doors were only locked at night, I think. As a child I didn’t pay attention to that. I know my Dad would get a glass of water before heading to bed and he would blow his nose as only Dads can. You know that loud almost sounding like a horn honking . I do remember that.

After the death of my Mom, my sisters and I grew up quickly. Yes, we were still kids, but we had a side of us that took on more responsibility. A couple years after our Mom passing, our Dad had a job as a specialty salesman for U.S. steel (the Oilwell supply in Oil City, PA). This job required him to travel overnight, sometimes being gone for more than one night. He talked with us and we knew we were responsible for getting up on time for school and getting to bed on time.

Before leaving on his first trip, he bought a dead bolt lock to put on our door. I remember watching as he put the lock in place. It was a heavy lock, probably more secure than the door. We lived in a very quiet, small neighborhood, and everyone was aware of our situation. It was safe, but my Dad wanted the security of the dead bolt.

Through the years we have lived in areas that weren’t the best. Japan was very safe in all three houses we lived in. San Diego was not the case. But, the Lord safeguarded us. There were nights when Dale was deployed that safety and security alluded me. I felt alone and uneasy.

Through this all, our Lord has remained faithful. He has been the guard at the door, He has been the presence on our property.

When we look at the world, listen to the news, watch events unraveling around us it is hard to retain peace within.

The scripture above, some trust in chariots, and some in horses, to me that is depending on the world to keep us safe. The world can only do so much. The ending of the above scripture is what I attempt to remember, I will remember the name of the Lord my God. My God is my security. He knows my fears, my doubts, my concerns, my worries. He speaks to me in a still voice, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

First Love

“There’s no love like the first.” – Nicholas Sparks

We all remember our first love. It is the one that awakened feelings never felt before. It usually is our first heartbreak. It follows you into each relationship you have after.

My first love happened at the city pool in the summer of 1969. He was a few months older than me. He stood several inches taller than me. We had a brief stint as boyfriend/girlfriend and by August of 1969, my heart was shattered into pieces, some of which I never really recovered. It was in August of 1969 that I put myself on guard. I determined that I would never again suffer the heartbreak that I had become well versed in. Such is the thought of a high school freshman.

A few years later I was engaged to my high school sweetheart, preparing for a life as a Navy wife. No, it was not the same man, but he has been my sweetheart for the past 50 years.

I would like to say that it has been sweet music and laughter. I would like to say that, but it would not be true. The heartbreak I endeavored to avoid was a part of my life in our early marriage. I thought I would never again feel the joy, the unspeakable joy of a first love. And then, on Monday evening, April 18th, 1977, in Yokohama, Japan, we met our Lord in a personal way.

We were washed with joy. We were bathed and cleansed with love for one another. Each day gave birth to hope. We had a season of our first love with Jesus.

As with all loves, you cannot continue with emotional highs. It’s not like the love dwindles, but it becomes normal. It becomes your life. When I was first saved, I was I’m born again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, it’s a matter of fact, I’m born again.

With time, love becomes a comfort. After 47 years of marriage, I am comfortable in my relationship with my husband. We know how the other works. We know what will make them comfortable, what pushes the wrong button. I know that after dessert, he will fall asleep. only to wake up and wonder why another show is on t.v.. He knows that I have this quirk that all the light switches have to be in the same position and he knows that I’ll growl if he messes them up. Our love is comfortable.

I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to the test, and they are not, and you found them to be false;  and you have perseverance and have endured on account of My name, and have not become weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and I will remove your lamp-stand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:2-5 (NASB)

However, how often in our relationships do we look at our spouse and wonder why things have become so ordinary. Each day is similar to the previous one. We know the love is there, and I can look at my husband and still see the 17 year old boy I fell for. That smile is now surrounded by a gray beard and thinning hair though.

Do we also become complacent with our relationship with our Lord? We are assured of His love toward us. Knowing that He is there in all aspects of our life, do we take that for granted? I often think of this verse in Revelation and ask to be returned to my first love of our God. The fervor of waking each day, anxious to see what He is going to do in my life, and wanting to be used of Him for great things. Too often I awake each morning, thanking Him for waking me up and giving Him the day only to walk into the kitchen and suddenly it is I who is going through the day.

The challenge is to start each day remembering Who it is that I serve. I serve an awesome God, a God to hears me when I pray, hears me when I cry. He is by my side when I feel alone. He will never leave me, nor forsake me. I am His. I am blessed.

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)