Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | February 12, 2018

Once Upon a Time I was a Teenage Boy

The Later Years of My Childhood

Finding my Forever Home

In March of 2015 I wrote a three-part series on some of my experiences as a little boy, “Once Upon a Time I was a Little Boy” was part 1 in the series. Part 3 concluded with the victory over Japan and the end of World War II; I was 12 years old and my life was about to experience another big change.

My parents divorced when I was two and my mother and I had lived with my grandfather and grandmother Kennerly until I was seven at which point my mother married again and we moved into a rental house with my step-father.

I continued to live with my mother, step-father and their daughter until I was nearly 15 years old and had just graduated from junior high school. A few weeks before my 15th birthday I was told I could no longer live there and had to move out.

Time to Find a New Place to Live

Fortunately, my father and step-mother had a room which had been built for me by my grandfather Bower so I was permitted to live there as I started high school. This was a rather significant change for an almost 15-year-old boy so I had some mental adjustments that needed to be made. Life with my step-father had not been easy but it was the only life I had known since I was seven.

I had accidentally discovered classical music when I was 8 and was convinced a life in classical music was what I wanted for myself. No one else in my family had any interest in classical music so I sort of stumbled around trying to figure out a way to make it work for me.

For the record it didn’t work out as a career, too little, too late I’m afraid. It has, however, become a wonderful hobby which I enjoy to this day and it did something else for me as a teenager; it gave me a focus for my energies and hopes which helped me through a very difficult period of my life.

Life with my father and step-mother would continue to present challenges as my step-mother was very annoyed at having to have me live with them. After about 1 year my step-mother divorced my father and my father and I lived in the house by ourselves for some time.

My father’s mother invited us to come live with her so we moved across town to live with her for several months. By that time, I was in my senior year at high school and by God’s grace had met the girl I would eventually marry.

Time to Once Again Find a New Place to Live

It seems my father and step-mother had been communicating and she agreed to return to my father on the condition that I was removed. I had graduated from high school and had started college on funds given to me over the years by my grandfather Bower. I do not recall the exact timing but I was once again told I had to leave the house and find somewhere else to live.

Briefly Homeless at Eighteen

Since I was fresh out of parents that would take me in I was faced with some new choices. I had no money as the funds given to me by my grandfather Bower had been used by my father for his own purposes; that meant I had to find a job and a place to live as living on the street as a homeless street person never even occurred to me. My future wife was probably suffering more over my situation than I was and helped me find a furnished room to rent with a family that attended their church.

I don’t remember the details but I somehow found an interesting job as a counter salesman for a machine tool supply company; the Oliver H. Van Horn Machine Tool Supply Co. gave me a job. I remember the excitement I felt as I busily discovered a whole new way of life; the store was filled with big machines and an almost endless assortment of parts which sparked my imagination. I reported to a man who knew the business very well, Mr. Weaver, and could answer any question I might ask about any part in the store.

Fortunately, the rented room I had was close enough to town that I could walk to work and back to the room in the evenings. There was a small neighborhood store nearby and I would frequently have cheese and crackers for supper; I still love cheese and crackers by the way. My future wife and her mom and dad helped me by seeing that my clothing was laundered each week.

Finding My Forever Home

You have probably heard some form of the expression, “home is not a place, it’s a person.” That was certainly soon to prove true for me; my forever home, my beloved future wife, had found me and my years of wandering and uncertainty were soon to close forever.

It was during this time we decided to go ahead and get married, we had known each other for almost two years at this point; she was 17 and I was 19 so her dad and my mother agreed to get the marriage license for us to get married.

The lovely wedding dress in the photos was made by her mother while I had on an old suit and a pair of well-worn shoes in serious need of repair with a hole in the bottom of the right shoe (I had carefully polished them so they looked better when I was standing up).

I’m still amazed that her dad would even let her marry a young man with such an unstable background who wanted to be a musician. Some, including my mother, questioned how the marriage could last more than a few months but time has proven the naysayers to be so wrong; over 65 years and counting to date.

In October of 1952 we got married at her church with her brother officiating for his first wedding, we were all nervous. We had a short, low-budget, honeymoon in New Braunfels, TX and came back to a small second floor apartment in an old house in the Montrose area of Houston. A marriage which has now lasted over 65 years had begun very modestly to be sure.

We had no car, we had been loaned a car for our honeymoon, so we both rode the bus when we needed to go anywhere. Our apartment was much farther from town so I now had to ride the bus to get to work; we lived just off Westheimer and there was very good bus service in that area.

The Blinding Glare of Hindsight

This is a very condensed “executive summary” of those growing up years but it gives an overall impression of what happened to me. As I look back, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see the hand of the Lord so clearly present in my life. I had received Christ as my Savior as a child and been blessed with a strong Christian environment until I was 7 years old. That was to provide a protection for me over those troubled years that helped me to maintain a balanced outlook that would not have otherwise been likely or perhaps even possible.

I have deliberately refrained from detailing the difficulties I encountered from age 8 – 18; let me assure you they were many. I see the Lord’s hand of mercy reaching out to me when other hands seemed to so often turn against me. I had an inner strength and determination which helped me through those trying times and I’m convinced this was of the Lord through the presence of the Holy Spirit; there is no other logical explanation. Somewhere during those years, I picked up a phrase which has become a part of my life; “If it’s going to be it’s up to me!”

My discovery of classical music, although it would not result in a music career, provided a target for my youthful dreams that kept me focused on music and not on things that might have proven destructive. I am still rather amazed at the singular devotion I felt to classical music and my determination to make it my life’s work.

Not too long after we were married we decided I would try to finish school; we moved to Ft. Worth, TX and I started attending TCU. This was during the Korean War and much to my surprise I received my draft notice. Having been an active reservist in the USNR and a USNR officer candidate I was given the option of volunteering for active duty as a non-commissioned officer in the USN and chose that option. I was able to resume my education after my release from active duty two years later but that’s another story.

 


Responses

  1. Wow!! I love your story because it shows God grace and mercy in abundance. God blessed you and through blessing you, blessed us. I had the most amazing childhood with both of you as my parents, how blessed can any girl be. There were no signs of the abuse you experienced as far as we knew. You were and continue to be the most loving, generous, kind and humble father and that’s because of Jesus Christ. Once we were older and we learned what you had gone through, it was shocking to hear because of how loving and kind you are. We always hear about the chain of abuse in a family and how it statistically goes through generations. But praise our mighty and merciful Father, he can break those chains. Praise God!!!!!! Thank you mom and dad for always leading us to Christ and living that example daily. I love you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen,

      Thank you for your comment; it means a great deal to me, rest assured! I was saved as a little child and although I had no idea what had happened to me at that point, the results speak for themself. My heavenly father took over on my behalf and guided me through the morass of problems that were going to assail me over the years of my childhood. The Holy Spirit was active in me and provided the strength and determination I needed to pass through those trials. The fruit of the Holy Spirit became my portion and I know with complete confidence he will never leave me. Your mother and I have jointly committed to loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ and rejoice in the certainty of his return.

      Like

  2. David – what a wonderful testimony of God’s grace in your life and how, with the Holy Spirit, you were able to succeed in life. Your story brought tears to my eyes and I’m so thankful to count you and Adele my friends. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. God had a plan… You and Adele are such a wonderful Christian example and I treasure your friendship! Such a beautiful testimony! It reminds me a lot of my father’s childhood from a broken home and abuse -left home at 17 to go into the Air Force – he wasn’t saved at the time but had a mother who was praying for him continuously. Thankful for a God who loves us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • God’s love is the perfect reason to rejoice in him; we are so greatly blessed in Jesus Christ.

      Like


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