Friday, June 17, 2011

The Long Days of Summer.

When my parents separated and divorced, my mother took us back to Byesville Ohio. It was a smallish town and we lived on the outskirts of town in an old, old house that my grandfathers family had built and he had acquired or inherited along the way. The house had started with two rooms and was old enough that in the door frames of the original rooms, wooden nails could be seen.

I'm not really sure of the time frame of everything. One day my mother said we were going to visit grandma and grandpa and off we went to never return home again. My grandfather had had some renters in the old house that had wrecked it some, so he spent some time putting up paneling and laying linoleum and fixing the busted water lines.

We had already started school, I was in kindergarten. I LOVED kindergarten. I had a wonderful teacher and I was sorry to see the school year end.

Summer came and we children roamed the neighborhood, the woods, the town. It was nothing for us to be 3-4 miles from home. I think my mother was depressed. She wasn't real available at that time. I don't remember much about her excepting that she laid in bed a lot and read a book. The house was in a state of chaos most of the time with dirty dishes piled up around the old kitchen sink, the small counter and the chest freezer that resided in the kitchen. It would be depressing to go through an abusive marriage and find yourself a single parent to 3 lively children at the age of 30.

That summer I discovered a creek in the woods that was bubbly with the just the right amount of water in it. Some places could be crossed with ease and others could be crossed but I would get pretty wet in the process...something my mother frowned on. I spent a lot of time there alone playing and puttering around. I liked to watch the water bugs skate on the surface of the water. There were all manner of wild weeds and flowers that grew around the creek. I liked to make little boats out of sticks of wood with a flower for a sail and send them down stream. I would find sticks and tie them together into a lattice of sorts with the tougher grasses that grew along the creek and decorate it with flowers and leaves. They were so pretty!

One summer evening, I stopped in at our house to see that mother was laying on the couch but was glad to discover that she had made oatmeal cookies. I helped myself to a couple of cookies and off I went again out into the evening. The sun was starting to make its decent and fireflies were lighting up the evening. While walking along I happened across a neighbor lady that I had not met before. She greeted me and as she told me many years later....I offered her my other cookie from a very dirty hand. She accepted my cookie and visited with me for awhile.

I learned her name was Mrs. Harper and she had 2 little girls who were not old enough to go to school yet. Pretty soon some of the other neighbor children wandered into her yard and she began to tell us all about Jesus, Heaven, Hell, God, Angels, Creation and The Tribulation. I'd never heard anything about Jesus before and I found it all quite fascinating. She held me on her lap and answered all my 5 year old questions. Where were God's angels? Why can't we see them? When is Jesus coming? and so on.

Mrs. Harper invited me to church with her. My mother, probably glad to have me occupied under someones supervision, gladly let me go. I went to church with Mrs Harper for the next 4-5 years. I wasn't a christian back then but Mrs. Harper laid a foundation in my life. Going through life I always had a basic knowledge of sin, right, wrong, Jesus etc. Back in the 70's and 80's evolution was beginning to be pushed in the government schools and because of Mrs. Harper I never believed in evolution. I always knew that God had created me and the world that I lived in.

Mrs. Harper was a seed sower. It took 20+ years for the seed she sowed in my life to grow up and bear fruit. I'm thankful for her.


  1. Oh Dana, my heart really goes out to you and your mother. And I thank God for Mrs. Harper being there with God's message while you were young. I feel like that is the most receptive time to reach an individual, when their faith and trust are open to His Word. Now, through her sowing of the seed, you are raising your children to love God. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. Charlotte

  2. Dana,
    That is just beautiful! Praise God for women like Mrs. Harper! Did you keep in touch with her through the years? Is she alive still?
    Wonderful testimony for your children :)

    I love reading your blogs and I love your dolls :)
    I an fascinated about the Waldorf dolls. Just about a month ago I discover them.I am hoping to learn to make them.I knit and quilt and sew!
    Blessings to you, Dana.

    Manuella Pop