Wednesday, October 30, 2013

9. Heart Breaking / Heart Warming...Sunday, June 21, 1964...


My previous post concluded with this:
How would prayers be answered - jobs or a premature return to WI from Colorado for my sister and me?  Will continue the story...
The last letter from which I shared some information had been written on a Friday - our 4th day in Estes Park.  I reported that we would be moving from the Bunkhouse to a cabin only a short distance away on the same property.

We made that move on Saturday, June 20th.  It seems the cabin needed a good scrubbing which we began to tackle as soon as we moved in.  It was wonderful to have warm water, heat, a kitchen and a living room with a handsome fireplace.  

On Sunday, we returned to the Baptist Church.  We had visited for the first time on the previous Wednesday evening for a prayer meeting service.  The church was less than a mile from our cabin so the walk there was not much of a challenge.

As soon as the service was over and we had been greeted by many, we left and walked back to our cabin.  Since this was Father's Day, I'm sure there had been an emphasis on Fathers which probably conjured up in each of us gratitude for our own father and some sadness that we were so far from him that day.

We now had a kitchen so had "stocked" the cupboard and refrigerator with a few food items on our walk to town on the usual job search outing the day before.     

My next memories are some of my most vivid from that summer - heart breaking and heart warming entwined as gifts from God.  


I decided to start our lunch preparation and recall opening the cupboard door above the stove to search for the can of Campbell's tomato soup.  As I robotically reached for that soup, I was overcome by an intense feeling of sadness, discouragement, despair and painful emotion.  I think I must have been experiencing a strong wave of homesickness along with hopelessness, lostness, fear, uncertainty - my confidence was wavering.  I wanted to stay strong so my sister would not lose her willingness to remain hopeful but at that moment I felt my resolve was challenged to the limit.  I did not want to open that can of soup and have lunch with just my sister.  I didn't want to be in Estes Park, CO either.

Somehow being at church had caused me to feel far from family and things familiar.  I was struggling to stay hopeful.  

Tears were welling and threatening to flow...

But just then we heard a car drive up to our cabin and stop!  My sister and I looked out to see who it was.  

And out of the passenger seat popped Joyce Bennett.  She bounded up to our front door, opened it before we could and cheerfully tossed out this statement and question:
"Hey, Girls, George and I are planning to pack a picnic lunch and drive up to Bear Lake.  Wanna come along?"
Trail Ridge Road which took us to Bear Lake - postcard purchased in 1964
Needless to say, we did not have tomato soup for lunch.  We both bounded back out our front door and tumbled into the Bennett's backseat as fast as we could for one of the best afternoons of our entire lives.
Postcard of Bear Lake, 9,500 ft elevation with Long's Peak, 14,255 ft.elevation in the background.
I had no idea where Bear Lake was and it didn't matter.  I was going there even if it was on the equator.  But it was in Rocky Mountain National Park where Joyce worked!!!  I was about to be introduced to the grandeur of the Rockies and had no trouble falling in love with those mountains and the dear couple who took us there.
Postcard view of Bear Lake with Long's Peak and Glacier Gorge in the distance.
George was ten years older than Joyce - she was in her late 30's and he his late 40's.  They had not been blessed with biological children and Joyce told us she thought that God's plan for her was to "adopt" college students each summer in Estes Park and be "Mom" to them instead of having her own children.  What an answer to prayer that we would become her "adopted" children in 1964 and...
Linda, Joyce, Kathy - Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, 1964.
...that we would remain part of her family for as long as we all lived.  
Joyce and Linda reunited 45 years later in Estes Park, CO, November 2009
 I know the picnic was deliciously fun - a snow ball fight with the recent snow that had fallen, crocuses blooming and trees with budding leaves along with the hopeful distraction from our unsuccessful job searches.  

The day would include returning for choir practice and the evening service at the little Baptist Church.  Kathy would play the piano for a quartet special, I would sing a duet within the choir number and we would both be warmly welcomed and included.  

Though Sunday had included the lowest point for me up to that time, it also included the highest point because of the kindness, love and hospitable generosity shown to us by the Bennetts.

What encouragement their friendship had brought to us.  

Monday morning we would return to a restaurant where a Mr.  Lutz seemed to be thinking there would be a job for me.

More next time...

1 comment:

Rene R Ortega said...

Great story and photos, thanks for sharing. BTW most in my family are Baptists, I am the only Methodist. May God keep blessing you all.