Church Bells Heralded My Birth

While my mother was in labor the morning of June 4, 1944, nearby church bells chimed.

I was born in the Dexter Clinic-Hospital at 1:00 that afternoon, delivered by Dr. Keith Chapler. Dad was back from instructing advanced cadets in Texas for my birth.

The ringing bells were actually to call the town to church services at the Dexter Presbyterian Church, where I would learn about God in Sunday School, sing in the children’s choir, help with Vacation Bible School, and help serve scalloped chicken Memorial Day dinners my entire childhood.

Dad bought a 1939 Chevrolet while he was home–his first car. It needed work so he left it with his dad while he flew back to Texas.

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Mon sent birth announcements to her brothers, Danny and Junior, in the Army Air Force.

After the normal ten days in the hospital, Mom and I went home with Grandpa and Grandma Wilson (Clabe and Leora), in their 1942 Plymouth, to the Minburn farm where he was a hired man.

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My parents wrote back and forth often. I love Mom’s June 9 letter telling Dad that if she’d died having me, it would have been worth it!

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And this one from Marfa, Texas, written June 25: He included a letter to his baby daughter, along with one to my mother.

“My Darling Little Bitty Hon, Has anyone gotten you a dolly yet? If no one has, I’ll get you a little dolly.

“Sure will be glad when you and Mommy get down here with me. If Mommy won’t give you nickles to buy ice cream cones, you just come down and live with me and we’ll have ice cream cones galore.

“Love, Dad x”

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Four generations of oldest daughters, July 4, 1944, Minburn. Mom holding me, Grandma Leora Wilson, Great Grandma Laura Goff (visiting from Omaha)

Dad couldn’t get back to Iowa except between cadet classes, so Mom and I didn’t move with him to Marfa, Texas, until August. Dad drove the ’39 Chevy, as they called it. Mom didn’t know how to drive yet.

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More about this car later this month.

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He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. – Psalm 147:4

17 comments

    • Yes, but what to do with them! I have those two because they were with the letters of the two younger brothers who never came home. There wasn’t one for Dale because he didn’t get mom’s V-mail telling him he was the first one she’d told she was pregnant. Stamped “Missing in Action” and was returned, I was the one who finally opened it, decades later. I wept.

  1. I love this story–and the letter! So sweet what she wrote about you, the little dickens. That is an expression I heard as a kid! Great pix, too!

    • Bless you, Luanne. Because families were split up before email, it those years have yielded a wealth of letters–saved because you don’t throw them away. My husband and I saved ours from when he was in Vietnam. Wonder at what point we’ll begin to go through those, or will we just let our son do it someday?

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