This is an aerial view of Midland, Texas when we lived there. It seemed like a big city to us, but really it wasn't. When we moved there, the population was about 70,000. Now it's about 108,000.
The first job I had when we moved to Midland was as secretary to an allergist. For a now-forgotten reason, I decided to look for a different job after a couple years. I had noticed an advertisement in the paper placed by an insurance agency, Mims & Stephens. It wasn't a job ad, just a general advertisement for their agency. Because most of my working experience had been for an independent insurance agency in Jeffersonville, NY, and because it was only a few blocks from where we lived, I decided to go pay them a visit. I went in and talked to David Mims (top row, right side) and low and behold, he was looking for someone just like me. That was a divine appointment. I know it was, because I had seen their ad, I went on a whim, walked in without an appointment, they were not advertising the position, and yet they were looking for someone with my qualifications. Their 72-year-old bookkeeper was getting close to retirement, the office had converted from manual records to computers, and she did not want to learn about computers. In fact, she was so reluctant to learn, that she had not balanced the bank statements in several years. Oh, she had done it manually, but nothing was entered into the computer system. I loved bookkeeping, I loved a challenge, and I took the job immediately. I still say that if there is one perfect job created for each person, that was mine. I was hired as Financial Manager and was later promoted to Office Manager. David became like a brother to me, not just a boss. Oh, how I cried when we decided to move back to Pennsylvania in 1985. I did not want to leave that job. For many years, David continued to tell me that he would hire me back if we ever returned to Texas. Since Mr. Stephens retired, the business might have been Mims & DuBois by now. Seriously. As for Mike's work, he worked for Scooter's Plumbing. It was a good job and Scooter was a good boss.
This is Darren and Duane on our front porch. Can you tell he was happy to have a little brother? Well, I suppose he could have just been smiling for Mama, but I know that he was happy to have a little brother. So was Chris. They were a big help in taking care of him. They even babysat him on occasion when Duane got a bit older. Chris was 14 when Duane was 2; that's old enough to babysit.
Chris and his buddies on his 12th birthday, July 3, 1983. Left to right, Dennis Vasquez, Eric Burke, Chris & Chris Ledbetter. Chris L. is holding our cat, Sam. Sam was half Siamese.... what a beautiful cat. We brought him back to PA with us.
Chris, Darren & Duane - Duane's first trip to Pennsylvania, August of 1983. We were thankful that we had our mobile home here, because we were able to visit home each summer.
Duane with his great grandparents, Ed & Icle Houghtaling, August 1983. How blessed my sister and I are, to have the parents and grandparents that we have. Thinking of them led me to thinking about gray hair. (Well, I have that too!) Did you know that God talks about gray hair? The glory of young men is their strength; gray hair the splendor of the old (Prov. 20:29). And this: Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4). I'm going to stand on that one!
Back in Texas, this is my good friend Bernice who lived a block or two from Mims & Stephens where I worked. She babysat Duane (on her left) and her nephew Scott. I was able to go to her house for lunch, spend it with Duane and watch "Days of Our Lives." That's the only time I ever watched a soap opera, and I got hooked on it. When I started dreaming about the characters, I realized it was time to stop watching!
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8). Soap operas do not fit that description!
I took the kids to a rose garden in Midland and took at least a dozen pictures, with the intent of making our own Christmas cards that year. This is the one that I used. All good-lookin' boys, huh? Good genes. J
The school system in Midland was not a pleasant experience for Chris. Starting in the fourth grade, they did forced bussing in order to assure an equal balance of races in the schools. So every year, he got bussed to a different school with different students. We were there for five years and he went to four different schools. Chris was a lot like me (quiet, it took him a while to get to know people), and I can still remember how hard it was for me when I had to go to the "big school" in Hancock in fifth grade. That was just one change. He had to do it every year. Darren was more fortunate. He went to the neighborhood school for K-3 and then had to change for fourth grade.
Happy First Birthday, Duane - 01/22/1984. Of course, we celebrated with a party - friends, cousins (Mike's sister and family were there too), cake, ice cream, presents.
And the first steps. Look at that happy face!! We were all watching, clapping, cheering Duane on. "Yay, Duane - good job, keep going!"
I'm convinced that's how Father God watches us, too - cheering and saying, "You can do it! Don't give up." He doesn't get angry when we fall. He just wants us to get up, dust ourselves off and try again.
So that's half of the photos I scanned; I'll save the rest for the next post.
I hope you're enjoying this little trip with me down memory lane.