Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jammed In For Jesus

For the next few weeks I’m posting letters I wrote to family and friends. About ten years ago a publisher proposed a series of books. I wrote a dozen or more letters—the project never materialized. Today I thought, why not share them here. They are sunshine and smiles. Enjoy the read and share with your friends. Kat, Still Lionhearted

Letter for my Aunt Betty Viola Leaton Demarest
Photo by Kat June 2010 at Mom's birthday party in Elmira OR

Dear Aunt Betty,

Do you remember the times in your small car jammed full of giggling girls and groaning boys?  They are some of my ‘funnest’ childhood memories.
About two years before those fun rides, you gave me a story book doll that touched my heart forever. I’m pretty sure you gave all the nieces dolls back then. My doll came dressed in a hand crocheted yellow dress. I’ll never forget how pretty she looked with a black bow tied around her waist. That doll is the one prized possession I remember from my childhood in Goshen, Oregon.
Maybe you don’t remember the year, but I do. That’s the year our family lived in a tri-plex that burned.  My doll and all the family possessions went up in smoke.
See below for link to the pattern 
When I started writing this letter, I thought more about how much you gave me through VBS. Then I remembered how much that doll meant to me.
Two summers after the fire you asked if Mom and Dad might let my sister, Karen and me attend Vacation Bible School in North Bend. Mom laughed when I talked about this. She said, “It didn’t take much for me to say yes.”
How much do you remember about those VBS weeks each summer?  I know the crafts were my favorite part of each day. The music, drama and stories were great, too.  I do remember one year when your daughter, Mary, and another of your niece’s, my cousin, Gladys, Karen and I composed the story of the Good Samaritan to the song, “Do Lord.” We giggled our way through the music and never finished the story.
I think I might have been eleven that year. (Oh and your friends Margaret and Violet helped us with that music—they touched my heart for lifes--such fond memories of them too.)
Of course, the four of us girls had great times together.  We played house, helped can pears, peeled apples, and snapped green beans.  All of us girls enjoyed reading your Grace Livingston Hill books.
Best of all, in my memory bank are the trips between home and church jammed three deep in your little car. Just this week I described that funny foreign car, an Austin Healey to a friend. She had no idea what an Austin Healey might be.
Do you remember how all of we laughed when you raised the turn signals? Those funny flapper thingies that popped out on either side when you wanted to turn right or left?
I remember yours as gray and boxier? 
The church and the house were not far apart. Maybe eight blocks if we walked down Marion Street. All I remember is that you crammed Mary, Karen and me in the car and made a run around the town to pick up other kids. I clearly remember one day with thirteen kids in that little rig. We were three deep in giggles and groans. The boys didn’t want to touch the girls and the girls loved having the boys nearby.
Years later, I blamed you when I made trips around our neighborhood to pickup kids for VBS.
VBS Sign
With the seat belt laws I couldn’t put thirteen kids in my car. Some days I made three trips.
You taught me how to care about all those obnoxious giggling girls and grumbly groaning boys. They needed Jesus just like me when I was a kid.
You know, Aunt Betty, my least favorite color is yellow. However, if that doll with the yellow crocheted dress was still around today it would have a place of honor, yellow and all—a reminder of your love for me.
Thank you for teaching me about Jesus and how to care for kids. “Jammed in for Jesus” is a great motto I’m passing on to others.

Your niece,
Kat, the one you still call Kathy 
the doll photo is from Crocheted doll collection /the dress is close to what Aunt Betty crocheted for me--it doesn't have the black belt, but still beautiful. 
The car photo is from somewhere between 19040-1960 from a sales photo--I can't find it again--oops.