Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 18, 2015

Once Upon a Time I was a Little Boy, Concluded

 The Church

For our family, church was the main focal point for life outside the home; if our church, Baptist Temple, was open we were probably there. I started attending services at Baptist Temple nine months before I was born, as the old expression goes. Grandfather was a deacon and church treasurer and grandmother was active in the Women’s Missionary Union.

Dressed up for ChurchEveryone dressed up for church in those days

I can still clearly recall many of the experiences I had at Baptist Temple; I kissed a girl for the first time on the back steps of Baptist Temple; as a youngster I got called down by the pastor, Brother Jester, for talking in church at an evening service (talk about embarrassing). I received Christ as Savior at Baptist Temple and was baptized there by Brother Jester. Those and many other experiences are forever engraved in my memory.

As with all of the other buildings in my childhood, Baptist Temple was not air conditioned; I can clearly remember evening services on summer Sunday nights when the auditorium was stifling hot. We usually sat on the first floor and could look up into the balcony where small groups of people would be clustered under the oscillating fans that were placed at intervals along the wall of the balcony separated by rows of empty seats where the breeze from the fans couldn’t quite reach.

At the Sunday morning service all of the deacons would sit together in the front right corner of the auditorium (our AMEN! corner) and when Brother Jester made a good point a strong chorus of Amen’s would resound from that corner.

Family Photo

Family Photo After Church From left to right, my great aunt Tinnie, my aunt Belle, in the back row my uncle Rex standing behind his wife, Bernice, in the back row my grandfather Dave next my grandmother, Georgia Belle, my mother, Koreene, and me.

We all had hymnbooks with the pages of the hymns for the service posted on a board at the front. There was a lot of four part singing from the congregation as the men sang the tenor and bass and the women sang the soprano and alto parts of the hymn. The singing was done with great enthusiasm! I still have and am looking at an old Broadman Hymnal  with a 1940 Copyright date and an inscription; “To Georgia Belle From Dave, May 11, 1941.” The price of copies was marked inside with a Cloth Board single copy for 75 cents. Georgia Belle was my grandmother and Dave, after whom I was named, was my grandfather. Since he was Dave I was called David and that has stuck to this day.

The Baptist Temple of my childhood no longer exists; multiple changes in the neighborhood have required changes be made to the church and they are being made as this was being written. Much of the property has been sold and a smaller church building is being prepared for the greatly reduced congregation that attends. Time is relentless and change is inevitable; my body will attest to that reality of life.

The Second World War

Pearl Harbor Bombed 1941

The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor came over the radio that Sunday afternoon; I suspect that no one could imagine the impact that event would have on us as individuals and as a nation. By God’s grace the impact on those of us living in the United States was much less than those living in some other parts of the world.

Almost every aspect of our lives was impacted to some degree, even a child had things they could do to help in the war effort; many things were rationed and some in short supply. Scrap metal was collected even to saving the foil on chewing gum wrappers; waste paper was collected and sent to processing plants to be recycled; I spent many an hour collecting waste paper for the war effort.

Two war related events stand out in my memory; the first was the appearance of a huge dirigible that hovered over my street one day, it seemed to stretch from one end of the block to the other. I had never before or since seen such a large object floating in the air above me. If you’re imagining the Goodyear Blimp, which was about 192 feet long, think bigger, the WW II K class blimps were just over 251 feet long.

The second was a city wide blackout practice for the entire City of Houston. For a few minutes every light throughout the city was to be turned out and absolutely no traffic moving. I remember when the blackout went into effect walking a half block to the busiest street in the area which ran many blocks in both directions and seeing no light or movement. That left a vivid mental picture which I can still easily recall.

News of the war was slow in coming to the people, there was information on the war in the newspapers but this was usually several days old before it got to us. There would be newsreel shorts at the movie theater but this information was also weeks old; the public simply didn’t know what was happening until well after the event was passed.

One thing that was clear was the identity of the enemy and our reason for fighting; our nation was united in working to bring about the defeat of our enemy. Many have paid a great price for us to enjoy the freedom we have!

By the end of the Second World War I was almost a teenager and no longer a little boy; I had a lot of growing up left to do but that’s another story.


Responses

  1. wow a very great and interesting.to me,i only read it in my study syllabus since i am a born of 1990.may God Bless you for that and you more and more years to share with us your life experience,that is of ups and downs.The Best is That God Chose you to His mission before you were born.Amen

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    • Kennedy,
      Thank you brother for your comment! It is always a joy to know God is working all things together for our good!
      David

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  2. Thank you for your story. I really enjoyed this and was Baptist Temple in the Heights?

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  3. I also was spoken to (called down) from pulpit for talking. You are correct, you never forget that.

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    • Kathy,
      Ah the innocence of youth; I had invited the little boy from next door to go to church with me that night and we wanted to sit by ourselves near the front of the church. There was usually a small crowd at the Sunday evening service and the first 10 or 15 rows in the center section were usually empty. We decided to sit right under the pastor’s nose right in the middle of a bunch of empty seats and we had to stick out like a sore thumb. We were having a really great time, oblivious to everything going on around us when Brother Jester finally had enough and suggested an adult might want to come down to the front and provide some supervision for us. By that time we realized that the attention of the entire church was focused on us and we wished we could turn invisible. Needless to say we quickly retreated back to where our adults were sitting and tried to look inconspicuous. It just may be my grandparents saw the humour in that situation because I do not recall any punishment later.
      David

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  4. Dear David,
    Your story is interesting. Those were the days! We need to go back to those days where the Bible had an impact on the lives of the people. We need to go back to the Bible and apply its salvation message in our lives. But today things are upside down, especially in this time of Islamic terror.

    Man in his strife, thinks that terror is outside,
    but it abides inside Islamic faith deep inside.

    Yours in His service
    Hanna Awwad

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    • Dear Hanna,

      How good to hear from you again, I hope you are rejoicing in the Lord’s blessings.

      I look at the world situation today and feel a sadness at the condition of the world we’re leaving for our children and our grandchildren. Then I look back at the world situation in which I grew up and realize there is not all that much of a change. Today we have Islam, wars and rumors of wars and corruption in government; then we had the Nazi’s, the Japanese, following the great depression and the dust bowl.

      It appears each generation has its own set of problems with which it must deal. The good news is it will not always be this way, the Lord will return at His appointed time and bring peace to this troubled world and I am truly thankful we’ll be there to see it!

      In Christ’s love,

      David

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  5. Hello David,
    I remember December 7, 1941 as an excited and scared kid. I could visualize bombs crashing through the roof of the house and exploding! We got home from church, changed out of our Sunday go to meeting clothes and was waiting for mom to get Sunday dinner ready when the newspaper boys came walking up the streets yelling “Extra, extra, read all about it, Jap;s bomb Pearl Harbor!” I believe my dad bought a newspaper and read it as we turned on the radio to listen to what ever news they had to tell us. I visualized dad, uncles and cousins all going to war very soon.
    Dad and his work mates all went down to the Army recruiting office downtown Houston to volunteer on Monday morning. Dad was 4-F; he had had malaria and was still a carrier and had flat feet. His office mates did end up in the war but not right away. Seems like they took just out of the army people and the young single men, then married young men without families and just progressed along. Humble Oil and Refining Co., now Exxon-Mobil, also got dad a deferment due to his job helping in the war effort. He was a micro paleontologist aiding in the finding of oil and gas reserves.
    Thanks for your stories David as they have caused a lot of old memory banks to try and get back on line for me.
    Fred

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    • Fred,
      You must have had a more active imagination than I did, for some reason I cannot recall personalizing any thoughts of attack on my house or Houston when I heard the news on the radio. I’m trying to remember my feelings but no particular memories of fear seem to be there. As I recall there was very little overt reaction from the adults that I was with at the time. I did some checking and it appears the radio announcement came around 1:30 PM Central Standard Time plus or minus depending on the radio station. There is an interesting timeline here: http://www.authentichistory.com/1939-1945/1-war/2-PH/
      David

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  6. I have enjoyed reading your mini-memoire also, David. My dad, now 98, was raised by a single mother also at a time when that was not so common. There were four of them and they all pulled together in marvelous ways. The oldest finished college and started working to send home money for the next one. By God’s grace, they all finished college. One went on to finish medical school. As for being called out in church…..well, I wish there was a bit more of that these days.

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    • Anne,
      Thank you for your comment. Your dad was fortunate to have siblings that all pulled together. While I had a half-sister by my mother and half-brother by my father they were both much younger and I did not have the opportunity to grow up with them. It seems today that almost anything is acceptable in church; a bit more calling out might help.
      Thanks for being a subscriber,
      David

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