Help came for the people in need in 1935 when FD Roosevelt was elected president. That was when the WPA was initiated and people were given work under jurisdiction of their state government, also the CCC camps came into being where the youth of the nation were given work cleaning trails and work to be done in the country's forests.
Hope was once more born in the hearts of the people. Those who had been on welfare were being given jobs, which restored confidence and hpooe for a better life once again. It was a time when my confidence was reforn and I went seeking a home for our family. We had moved five times in one year and I had no intention of having to move again. Ralph was not sure that it was the teim when we could afford a down payment and it did seem impossible, for he had just started to work at Sand Point. But my mind was much made up, and I went looking to see what could be accomplished toward finding something. I think God worked a miracle for us that day. I inquired at the real estate office of B- Homes in West Seattle, telling the older man who was in charge that day that I could pay $30 down and $60 within 90 days. That seemed to be all right with him, and he showed me the little house on 40th SW which almost at once became our home. The house was old, and the basement was full of water, but that didn't matter: it was close to the schools and it was a place we could call our own, and we wouldn't have to move again. It took a long time, about 20 years, for us to pay for it, and there was much to take care of, but new siding and a roof were applied, fixing the walls in the basement so that the flooding was taken care of. Later a new furnace was put in, but the problem of only one bathroom remained. I wonder now how we ever managed, but it was home!
The children all grew up there, went to scohol and church in the neigborhood. It was from there that Stan enlisted in the (GCS?), a branch of the service in Alaska. It was while living there that Shirli met John Strong and was married to him in Dec. following her graduation from high school in June. It was at the practice of that wedding ceremony that Gloria met Paul Swanson who later became her husband.
Our little house seemed almost to burst at the seams, with seven of us, plus all the young people who gathered there. Many young service men came as well as school friends of our children.
It was a time of great stress, for we were in the middle of World War II, when all good citizens felt responsible to help in the war effort. Having two sons in the service and later the third, I felt it a privilege to give as much help and support to other young men as possible.
One day Ralph, who was working at the Bremerton Navy Yard, came home and told of a young sailor whom he had invited to come home with him for dinner. A few nights later he came. He was a handsome boy (he was only seventeen), and had a way about him that found a place in my heart. Whenever his ship (the Lexington) was in port, he came to our home whenever possible. He was, I felt, just a scared little boy, and we gave him a sense of security, for he said that he always felt safe in our home. He felt the Lord was there.
Those days of fear and doubt now seem to far removed, but they were merely stepping stones that led to higher heights and a stronger, better life. The days of poverty and grief were merely stepping stones chiseled out o fhte rock with little steps going upward. We can struggle against many odds, but unless we start the climb upward, we shall remain on the first step of that rock and be destroyed by the (fiercest) storms of life. Steps upward can be precarious but we have an "Anchor," the "Good Shepherd" who really cares, for He was poor for our sakes too. Each step has its own hazards, but these are stepping stones of life and Peter tells us: "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trials," for there will always be a slippery slope of sickness on which we may feel that we shall surely fall, but the Master reaches out His rod; we grasp it and are safe. There is also the stepping stone of failure. This is a grievious stone which is so rough it seems to tear at our feet, which causes us much pain and we wonder if we can make it. We are reminded once again of David's assurance in Ps. 23: "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." There is comfort for the weary, and new strength for our climb upwards. And so through all the storms of life we are comforted and strengthened as we look to the Shepherd of our souls.
I was never quite sure what Paul meant when he said, "When I am weak, then I am strong." But we can only become strong (spiritually which I think Paul meant) when we are willing to confess that we are weak, and are willing to accept His strength.
My family all came to that time when they needed "His strength" and accepted it. We are all stepping on some slippery stones from time to time, but underneath are the "Everlasting Arms" and we go on with our faith renewed and strengthened in the inner man / woman.
Our family of five children has grown now with ten grandchildren and one great-grandson.
John, my first son-in-law, has been a pastor and a schoolteacher for many years, and how his son David is following in his father's footsteps. I am so proud of him as I am of his brother . My very first grandson John, who is a doctor now stationed with the Air Force in Germany. Deborah, John's and Shirli's only daughter, is also a very special person, at present teaching a class of retarded children and working on her Masters. I have much pride in Marlys, Gloria and Paul's only child, woh is employed as a registered nurse. John and Pat have four children: Laurel who is married to Rand Fullington and is a bank officer. Steve is a policeman in Kirkland and is being mightily used by God. David and Peter live at home, but David is hoping to go to China as, I think, a missionary.
Dayle -- Ron and Phyllis' son - is married to a little southern girl (a very lovely one) and living in Florida. Cindi is working for SPU and it also taking some classes hoping to graduate as a CPA.
I feel that I am greatly blessed with all my family. They are all very precious to me and while that climb up from the very depths of poverty was a most difficult one, I am so fortunate that the Lord chose me for this task. There is just one note of sadness that I feel inclined to add, the fact that my precious first-born son Stan could not have a son of his own. He would have been a very wonderful father, but God in His infinite mercy knows what is best for us all, so I accept that and thank Him for knowing what is best for us all.