BARRY'S BLOG     fbfawana@aol.com

IN HIS GRIP

A COLLECTION OF LIFE EXPERIENCES PASSED ON
TO MY GRANDCHILDREN



ON THE MOVE

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which you should go. I will guide you with my eye.” Psalms 139:3. This verse must have been very real to my parents, for in my early years it was move, move, and move.

Times were difficult when I was born. World War II had changed life in America. Jobs were scarce and the wartime economy put the squeeze on everyone.

After I was born in Sunbury in 1941, Grandpa Kauffman found a high school math teaching job in Doylestown. Making only $1,200 a year, he couldn’t afford to have our family live there with him. So Grandma and I spent our early months living in the parsonage with the Wolfs in Sunbury. Grandpa came home to be with us on the weekends.

While I don’t recall much about that year, I’ve heard many stories and viewed many pictures. Grandma Ettinger (Grandma Wolf’s mother) also lived there during those years. Living next door were the Wagners and their daughter, Arlene, who later married Bob Gehret, a close friend of Grandpa Kauffman.

Then it was on to New Cumberland where Grandpa Kauffman found a job-teaching math at New Cumberland High School. We lived across the street from the school and I have some memories of visiting the school and attending basketball games with my father. Grandpa had been allowed to play football while he was a student at Susquehanna University – this was unusual in those days for a Christian, especially a preacher’s son. As a result he was also able to serve as an assistant football coach at New Cumberland.

I don’t remember it, but I am told that I decided to varnish one of the walls in our house just after new wallpaper had been installed. Fortunately they were able to replace the damaged paper and repair my paint job.

The war interrupted Grandpa’s high school teaching and we moved to Selinsgrove where he taught Air Force cadets at Susquehanna University. I don’t remember too much about our short stay there except that my little dog, Penny, was killed by a car when he ran into the street in front of our house while I was playing in the front yard.

Later my dad was hired to work for Dupont in Wilmington, Delaware as an industrial engineer. My mother was pregnant with Uncle Terry and until dad could find us a place to live we moved back to the Sunbury parsonage with the Wolfs.

After Terry was born we moved to Wilmington. We lived in a newly built apartment building and at times I can still recall the smell of the new wallboard and other building materials. I also remember that we often took the train to Chester to worship in the Chester Mennonite Brethren In Christ Church, long before the name was changed to Bible Fellowship. That church is now the Wallingford Bible Fellowship Church.

I also have special wartime memories from Wilmington. I can recall the sirens and the resulting practice blackouts. All lights had to be turned off so incoming enemy bombers couldn’t see any locations. Those were scary events. But I also remember when the war ended and my father took me downtown to watch everyone celebrating. While I didn’t really understand the war, that joyous event made a real impression upon me as a young child.

Then it was back to new Cumberland where Grandpa returned to teaching math and coaching football. Since we didn’t have a car, I remember taking the bus with my mother to go to Harrisburg to shop. Grandpa used to take the bus to shop for our groceries. Pastor Jansen Hartman, a close friend of Grandpa Kauffman, used to come and take us to the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church in Harrisburg. It was here that I began school as a first grader. At that time children did not attend preschool or kindergarten. So after six different homes in six years, I was now in school.

But near the end of that school year it was off again, this time to home number seven, in Elizabethtown. My dad took a temporary job at Elizabethtown College teaching math and physics. We lived on the first floor of a big house on the corner of the college campus. My yard was a large portion of the campus and I loved it. My first Boston Terrier, Frisky, joined our family. Grandpa also bought his first car while we lived here. What I didn’t know until much later in my life was that Grammy and her parents were actually living just a few blocks from us in Elizabethtown.

One memory I have is a fire in the basement of our house. The professor who lived upstairs carelessly emptied the hot ashes from the furnace and placed them in cardboard boxes. The fire company came but fortunately there was no major damage.

I finished first grade and second grade and then we moved again. Grandpa Kauffman was hired as an engineer at RCA in Lancaster and we moved into the big city, on North Queen St.- home number eight. It was really fun there because we lived upstairs and John and Ellen Derck lived downstairs. That is probably one of the reasons I have had a very special bond with them.

When they moved, we rented the entire house and moved downstairs – I guess that could be home number nine. We often used the extra upstairs rooms to keep visiting pastors, missionaries, and Berean Bible School students who were helping with the establishment of our new church in Lancaster. I was one of the charter members of our church which was formed in 1950.

I loved the city. It was then safe to walk downtown and I often went there and walked through the stores after school. We didn’t have much of a yard but we had a big house with plenty of room to play. I walked to George Ross Elementary School where I completed third and fourth grades. Aunt Kendy was born while we lived there.

One more move – my parents finally built a house in Lititz – number ten for me. I went to Lititz Elementary beginning in grade five and finished by graduating from Warwick in 1959. I quickly fell in love with Lititz and often thank the Lord that our long journey ended there. It was a wonderful, safe small town with nice people and great traditions.

When we trust the Lord, He does direct our paths. My parents followed the Lord in faith and He did provide all that they needed. My many moves and readjustments didn’t hurt me at all. In fact I think they taught me many valuable lessons, including the faithfulness and provision of the Lord. God is so good – all the time!

 



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