Tag Archives: San Antonio

On the Street Where You Live-Part 4

25 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

After Fred graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he was unable to find a position with a church or school in his field.  Consequently, his Draft Board informed him that he would be “next” for call-up for military service.  Since he had a college degree and two seminary degrees, he looked into becoming an officer in the Air Force.

The result of that inquiry was his enlistment in the Air Force.  He had to go to San Antonio, Texas for his training.

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

The River Walk, San Antonio, Texas

At that time, in 1966, wives were not encouraged to follow their husbands to the OTS training (Officer Training School). That was mainly because the men were billeted in barracks for six days, with only one day allowed off base.  But Fred and I were determined to be together as much as possible.  So we moved to San Antonio, and we rented a small apartment over the garage of the landlady.  At least this apartment had a separate bedroom!  

It was furnished, so had a table and four chairs in the kitchen, which was just one long room into the living room.  The bedroom and bathroom (which didn’t have a tub, just a small shower stall), were at the end of that room.  There was a sleeper sofa and a chair in the living room. Again, it wasn’t air conditioned, so our big window fan came in quite handy.  We actually sold it to the landlady when we left there.

We were only there three months, so I don’t really remember a lot about that apartment.  I do remember that the only entrance to that apartment was by the stairs outside the garage.  The kitchen had cabinets and a window over the sink and a stove and refrigerator.

I worked at Kelly AFB through Civil Service, and lived in that place all by myself except for Saturday nights.  I would pick Fred up from his OTS place on Lackland AFB and take him home.  I think his only good night’s sleep was that one night at the apartment with me.  I had to return him to the base on Sunday afternoons.

We did manage to join a small Baptist Church there, and became good friends with the pastor and his wife.  They were about our age, and were a fun couple.  His wife’s name was also Judy, so that was made a nice connection.

After graduation and commissioning as a 2ndLieutenant, Fred was to report to San Jose, California for schooling to become a Meteorologist at San Jose State College. 

He wasn’t due for a few weeks, so we stayed in San Antonio a few days, then drove to Albuquerque to visit with my parents. 

Fred’s Dad came for his commissioning ceremony and we each pinned on Fred’s new bars.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

South of the Border~Part 5

13 May

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Lites

 

Once all the dedication ceremonies were over, it was time for the teams to relax and celebrate. OSM had made arrangements for a cookout at the John 3:16 Church and we were all ready to do our part to help eat everything in sight. This was another opportunity for the entire group to praise God for His continued love, protection and provision toward us during this entire project

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After we finished eating, several of us headed over to the Carpenter’s Shop to help assemble and setup some new equipment that had been recently donated. The young boys were especially excited about the new tools, and were wanting to know what each tool did and when they were going to get to work in the shop.

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Early Saturday morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we packed up the vans and started the long trip back toward San Antonio. Our caravan took a short break just before we got to the border to visit the market in Piedras Negras, where I bought DiVoran a 4-foot long Rain Stick. It makes the most wonderful sound (like falling rain), and she still uses it every Sunday, when she sings with the Praise Team, during our morning church service here in Titusville.

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Our border crossing was uneventful this time, and we arrived at the Kennedy ranch in time to enjoy a real American dinner (our first in a week) and boy was that a great meal. Some of us took time to wash some really dirty clothes, and enjoy the quiet surroundings of the ranch, until it was time to head back to the Retreat Center for a good night’s rest.

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 Sunday, after breakfast, we drove a short distance over to attend a church service at a Cowboy Church (I can’t remember exactly where), which was quite an eye opener for me. It had to be one of the most informal and unusual church services I’ve ever attended. They really know how to praise the Lord in that church, and without any pretensions.

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 Then we started working our way toward the airport by spending a short time at the beautiful River Walk, where we had a great lunch at one of the many nice restaurants located there along the San Antonio River. By the time we finished lunch, it was time to head for the airport, say our final good-bye’s, and get checked in for our flight back to Orlando.

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I can say, I feel like that was one of the most rewarding weeks I have ever spent in my life. There is nothing like seeing the appreciative look on people’s faces when you hand them the keys to a house that they would never have been able to afford, or that they ever had expected someone would give them. If you can, you should try it sometime. I guarantee you will love the experience, and it will absolutely change your life forever. Our God is good, all the time.

—–The End—–

  

If you, your church or civic group would like to help the OSM with their ministry to the needy people of Mexico and Haiti, you can visit them for details on their website at www.onlyaservant.org or call them at 830-228-4809.

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My Husband…My Hero

21 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

After the birth of our second child in 1971, we moved from Loring AFB, Maine, to San Antonio, Texas, where Fred would become an instructor at the Officer Training School (OTS) at Lackland AFB. Since our marriage, we had always lived in either apartments or government quarters. We felt it was time to own our first home. So we began looking at houses not too far from Lackland.

We didn’t actually have a realtor, but kept seeing signs for “Ray Ellison Homes” all around that area, so we checked them out. There was a subdivision of new homes there – within our price range – and we found one we liked. It wasn’t terribly large, but it had three bedrooms and TWO BATHROOMS!! WOW! We snapped it up.

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The bedroom windows in this house were high and long – narrow. They were high enough that we could hang a picture above our bed (no headboard). One night in 1972, about 2:00 a.m., we both were awakened by a bright light. We got up and looked out our bedroom window – and saw flames roaring from the garage in the house next to us! It took us a few seconds to recognize what was happening, then we swung into action. I called the fire department, then ran to get the girls. I was in such a state that I forgot to bring extra diapers for Janet! The firemen told us we had to leave the house, so we went to the neighbor’s house across the street.

In the meantime, Fred ran next door to the burning house. He began ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door. I heard him yelling “FIRE” several times. He woke them up. To his amazement – they ran back into the house to get “stuff” before leaving. They told us later that, while they usually left their bedroom doors open at night, they had each closed their doors that particular night, and so didn’t know their house was on fire.

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None of the family members were injured in the fire, while the entire house was destroyed. Fred suffered some burns on his forehead from blowing embers. After rousing the house members, he grabbed our garden hose and began spraying the side of our house, trying to save it from as much damage as possible. Some of our windows shattered, but we had the blinds closed, and so the shards were contained mostly in the carpet. We had about $500 damage to our house, including the soft water tank on that side of the house. But Culligan came and replaced it with no charge to us.

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It took until after daybreak for the fire to be under control. We were amused to see that some of the neighbors came out to retrieve their newspapers and found fire trucks and hoses in the street! They hadn’t heard or seen anything during the night! Heavy sleepers, huh?

I volunteered to help do some salvage. What amazed me was in the kitchen – the door of the dishwasher was completely mangled and warped. But under the top cabinets hung a roll of paper towels, completely untouched by the fire!

Two years later, the house on the OTHER side of us caught fire in the early morning. And we learned that, after we left San Antonio, the house two doors down from THAT one burned. Seems like it skipped every other house. We’re just glad ours was one of the “skipped” ones!

But Fred is my hero – thinking of the neighbors as he did.

 

The Shock of My Life

3 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

When I was about 6 years old, my sister, Judy, and I went to spend the summer with our grandparents on their farm on the south side of San Antonio, TX. Grandpa and Granny had a cow, some chickens, several peacocks, a goat and a large Victory Garden where they raised a lot of the vegetables they ate. We had a free run of the place, all day every day, once we had finished our assigned daily chores. What a grand time we had. One of the things I remember about our stay was, every morning my Grandpa would milk the cow, bringing in the pail of milk for Granny to strain, through cheese cloth, before putting it away in the refrigerator for the day. My sister and I had our own small drinking glasses, and would stand at the counter waiting for our morning glass of warm milk, right out of the cow. I’m not so sure I would consider that a “treat” nowadays, as we did then. I never did learn how to milk that cow. It seemed like a lot of work to me.

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One of our chores was to gather the eggs every morning. There would be a dozen or so eggs to find and some of the chickens didn’t want to get off the nest. When they pecked at me, it hurt, and I would sometimes throw an egg at them. Of course, when Granny found out about that, there was the green willow switch that found the back of my legs. That went for chasing the Peacocks around the yard too. But, they were better flyers and usually made it high into one of the trees before I could get even close to them.

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You might find this hard to believe, but the neighbor down the road from Granny’s house had a couple of very old Giant Century Plants in their front yard, and we smaller kids liked to climb up the pedals and slide down them. They had thorns down the edges of the pedals, but they had been worn down over the years and were dull, so with practiced skill, we could slide down them without getting scratched. I have never seen a Century Plant that big since; not even in pictures on the Internet, if in fact that is what they really were.

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But, the thing that gave me “The Shock of My Life” was of all things, an old metal bed frame and springs. Yep, an old metal bed frame! A couple of the older boys had scrounged up a car battery, along with an old Ford Model “A” coil (and I don’t know what all else), and had somehow wired it all up to that metal bed frame. Then with the operator holding onto one of the wires, we would all line up, holding hands, and he would grab hold of the bed frame. We all jumped and the girls screamed, as the electricity went thru us. But why was the last boy in the line jumping around so, I wondered? That is, until it was my turn to be at the end of the line. When that jolt got to me, let me tell you, it was electrifying!

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I guess you could say I got my Electric Shock Treatments early in life. DiVoran says, “Maybe those electric shocks had a calming effect on you, and that’s why you are so laid back.” Maybe she has something there. Who knows? I’ll never tell.

 

—–The End—–

Aunt Jessie

17 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

JUDY

 My mother’s only sibling, a sister, was my Aunt Jessie.  She never married, and was what we might consider an “old maid.”  My Granny lived with her.

They lived in San Antonio, Texas for many years, and moved to Albuquerque in 1952.  They moved into

2a neat old house that I loved.  It had a sunken living room – with an even more sunken fireplace.  It had what is known as “cove” ceilings – where the wall joins the ceiling in a smooth curve – no sharp angles.  Makes for a really nice effect.

Because she never married, and was responsible for herself as well as her mother, she worked all her life.  She was an accountant/bookkeeper – and a very good one.

Interestingly enough, that’s not all she ever did.  While living in San 3Antonio, she owned and operated a small diner in downtown San Antonio, called The White House Lunch. She had a cook, but I know that Granny made the pies – I still have some of her recipes.  They were so good that people would come in just for a slice of pie – or to purchase the entire pie to take home!

That little diner was even written up in the newspaper 4as the place to go for some of the “best beef stew what am.” While working the diner, Jessie met an Army Nurse, stationed at Fort Sam Houston, and they became very close friends.  This nurse would work the counter at the diner in her off-times.  This same nurse was stationed in Korea and was the one who brought a pearl ring back for me.  They remained life-long friends.

Also while in San Antonio, Jessie, Granny, and my mother all worked at the Rochester Handkerchief Factory.  The owner of the company found that she could make more profit if she purchased the fabric in Ireland, and had the “cut work” done in China, than if she did it all in the U.S.  In order to do that, she traveled to those countries to set up all she needed.  She brought back Chinese mementoes for Jessie – a China doll (which I was NOT allowed to play with!),and three camphor chests.

5Two of the chests are what we would call “foot locker” size, and the larger one is “steamer trunk” size.  All are ornately hand-carved with Chinese scenes on them.  And the inside wood is camphor wood, which is deliciously aromatic, and guaranteed to keep critters away from woolens and other fabrics.

I was always intrigued by those chests, but never had the nerve to look in them – until after Jessie died.  But when we opened them up – we were in for quite a surprise!

 

 

THE ELEPHANT WALK

9 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

 

JUDY

                                                     

 2When I was a small child, we lived in Dallas, Texas.  My mother’s mother and father lived in San Antonio, so it was probably a short ride (about four hours in today’s time) for a trip to visit with Granny and Grandpa.  I have many pictures of my brother and me in Granny’s yard.  They lived in the country, so there were lots of animals – particularly peacocks, cats and dogs.  Interesting times.

 Mother told me once that, as I was sitting on Granny’s back step, they heard me scream and then cry out.  When they rushed to see what was the matter – they discovered that the peacock had plucked my peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of my hand, and I was furious!

 San Antonio has a lot to offer – whether you are living there or just visiting.  And we 3found that one of the best zoos in this country is in San Antonio.  I actually remember visiting there often.  Remember – we moved from Texas to New Mexico when I was just four years old – so that is a long memory!  But one memory that has stayed with me for a very long time, is the elephant ride we took.  I have pictures of my brother and me on one of the elephants.
4While I don’t know whether or not the San Antonio Zoo still offers those elephant rides, I do know the zoo was still offering elephant rides when our girls were young and we were living in San Antonio.  I have pictures of both our girls – along with me – on an elephant ride.  I’m not sure Janet remembers that ride – she was pretty young – but I’m pretty sure that Karen does.

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Apparently an elephant ride isn’t such an uncommon event.  Fred’s sister and her husband took a trip to Africa not too long ago, and they took an elephant ride, as well!

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It’s always been interesting to me just what my mind has stored away.  But it only takes a comment, or a picture, to bring an event back into focus.  And the elephant ride of my childhood stands out as a grand event.

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