Lorraine – The Early Years – 1953 – 1955

Mom wrote their story in 2014 in order to share their history with family and family to come.

I’m excited to now share their story with YOU!

In The Ziemke Story you will learn of their Christian Heritage, their early years, ministry, trying times, family, where they’ve been, and how they ended up where they are today!

We will endeavor to share a little bit of  The Ziemke Story each week as Mom wrote it to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and beyond.

Lorraine - The Early Years - 1953-1955

Lorraine – The Early Years – 1953

We had lived in Carson nearly three years when Cindy came along.  It was the time of year calves were being born.  From February 1 to the 5th, 1953, Dad came in every morning and announced the birth of a new little calf.  He knew we were anxiously awaiting the birth of our little sister.  On the 6th, he teased us saying another calf had been born, “no it’s a little girl”…”no it’s a baby calf” and, finally, let us know it was really our little sister.

She was just a year or so old and still sleeping in the crib in Mom and Dad’s room when, one night, Mom called us children from our beds to help pray for her.  Her eyes had crossed and she said: “Why I see two Mommies?”  We children poured out our hearts in prayer for little Cindy.  The next day she was fine.

I was probably in the 4th grade when, encouraged by my Mom, I began taking piano lessons.  The teacher’s home was just around the corner from the school.  I was to walk there after school and Mom would pick me up when the lesson was over.  The first day, I was so focused on not forgetting to go, that I hurried through my day and walked over to her house.  It was only noon!  I was so embarrassed.  I took lessons only a few months and begged my Mom to quit.  I seemed to have a mental block on learning to read notes…and still do.

Lavonne and I sang together sometimes at school or church events and Mom joined us for a trio a time or two.  Lavonne was the bravest one but, with her by my side, I was able to do it.   Among the fun songs at school and community events were:

Sweet Violets

There once was a farmer who took a young miss,
In back of the barn where he gave her a – lecture
On horses and chickens and eggs,
And told her that she had such beautiful – manners
That suited a girl of her charms,
A girl that he wanted to take in his – washing and ironing
And then if she did, they could get married and raise lots of –

Sweet violets, sweeter than the roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets

The girl told the farmer that he’d better stop,
Or she’d call her father and he’d call a – taxi
And get there before very long
‘Cause someone was doing his little girl – Right
For a change and so that’s why he said
If you marry her son, you’re better off – Single,
‘Cause it’s always been my belief
That marriage will bring a man nothing but –

Sweet violets
Sweeter than the roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets

The farmer decided he’d wed anyway
And started in planning for his wedding –
Suit which he purchased for only one buck
But then he found out he was just out of
Money and so he got left in the lurch
A standin’ and waitin’ in front of the
End of the story which just goes to show
All a girl wants from a man is his

Sweet Violets
Sweeter than the roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets

Grandpa’s Whiskers 

I have Grandpa’s Whiskers

Written by: Unknown, Copyright: Unknown

I have a dear old Grandpa
For whom I nightly pray
He has a set of whiskers
They’re always in the way

They’re always in the way
The cows eat them for hay
Gram eats them in her sleep
She thinks she’s eating shredded wheat
They’re always in the way

My Grandpa was a soldier
He fooled the enemy
He wrapped his whiskers round him
They thought he was a tree

My Grandpa was a swimmer
No bathing suit for him
He tied his whiskers round him
And then he’d dive right in

There are a few more verses, or maybe a bit different wording in the original song, but this is the way we sang it.

When can-can slips were in style, we had several; depending on the fullness of the skirt, we may wear 2 or 3 at one time.  A letter from a friend let me know she had just gotten a new one with 2 layers and 40 yards of netting.

Lorraine – The Early Years – 1955

The following are notes taken from Bernice’s diary about our family trip to Wyoming.  We kids would have been: Lavonne 15, Lorraine 13, Richard, 8, Cindy 1-1/2. The three day trip was packed with activities and was a trip we will always remember.

Dear Diary,

Today, Saturday morning, August 20, 1955, at 5 minutes to 6 a.m., our family (The Lyle Mincers) started on a trip to Wyoming.  This is the first long trip our complete family has taken together.  Lorraine is especially thrilled because she has never been any place outside of Iowa, except to Omaha.  And Richard is shooting his guns high because we are going to visit a real ranch.  And, of course, we are all very happy to go in our nice new Oldsmobile.  It only has 235 miles on it so far, and it is air conditioned.  We will keep nice and cool.

We have just entered Nebraska, by crossing over the big Aksarben (that’s Nebraska spelled backwards) Bridge that separates Iowa and Nebraska.  We stopped at Avery to give Grandma and Grandpa Tiller goodbye and show them our new car, but Grandpa had already gone to work.  Then we went on out to Bellevue, Nebraska, and picked up Uncle Wallace and Staney, his little 5 year old son.  They are going to the big pony ranch with us.

We entered the Capitol of Nebraska: Lincoln, at 8:20.  This is where Bill and Pat Mincer live as Bill is in service here at this air base.  The car is really nice and cool.  Uncle Wallace didn’t know we were going to have a new car to go in, so he has really been raving on how nice this trip is going to be with an air conditioned car.  The 2 men and 2 boys are all sitting in front and we 4 girls in the back.  Cindy is already trying to go to sleep.   225 miles so far.

Arrived on the edge of Grand Island at 10:15 and filled up with gas.  Wallace tried calling Milly to find out where a man he wanted to see lived out here someplace, but he couldn’t get her.    We all got candy bars here…taste good.

We went on to Kearney and Wallace decided this is where the man lived that he wanted to see.  It took us awhile to locate him, but made it and saw his ponies.  He had a midget pony which Lavonne took a picture of.  We also ate dinner here at Kearney.  The children all ate hardy…chicken and hamburgers.  We left at 12:50.

We arrived at the half way mark of the US, just out of Kearney a ways.  They have a little sight-seeing place here; a museum, live buffalo, a huge covered wagon, and 2 big cement oxen hitched to it.  I took some pictures here.

At 1:30, we’re going through Lexington, Nebraska.  Wallace is sound asleep.  At 2:10 we are going through the original pony express town, Gothenburg.

Lyle says it isn’t a bit tiresome driving with the power steering and brakes.  Wallace has offered to drive if Lyle does get tired, but said, “Don’t get tired please”.  It seems he thinks he’s getting too old to drive on trips any more.  At 44, he likes to have someone else do the driving.

At 3:00 p.m. we arrived in North Platte and have to turn our watches back to 2:00 o’clock out here a ways as our time is changing to Mountain Time.  We are speeding right along.  We got to Ogallala at 3:10.  It’s looking rainy out.  We are beginning to see some Indians and can see miles and miles of sand hills.

My note:  I (Lorraine) was the map reader on this trip.  Someone asked where the next town was.  As I put my arms up in a stretch, I said “Ogallala”.  Little Cindy, standing on the floor of the back seat just behind me, thought I was praying in tongues and said “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”  Remember, we had just been in revival.  She was less than two years old.  We all laughed.

Lavonne took off her shoes and tried to sleep on the floor but it was too bumpy so she took up the whole back seat. So, we have to sit on the edge.  Oh well, she is getting a good nap.

Its 3:40 and time to wake up Lavonne as we’re stopping to see a reptile garden out of Ogallala a ways.  We saw a rattle snake strike a balloon, a 5 foot lizard, and some monkey faced owls.

At 4:23, we have gone 473 miles. Arrived at Chapel, Nebraska, filled up with gas and Uncle Wallace treated us all to dairy treats.  We ate them in the shade of the ice cream stand.  Stanford (Staney) had a root beer float and spilled it all over his clothes when the chair he was sitting on tipped forward.  But I had a wash cloth handy and soon had him cleaned up as best as could be.  Lavonne got a box of the best popcorn.  She is passing it around as we are traveling.

At 5 o’clock we are just entering Sidney, Nebraska.  We girls have been singing.  Cindy said, “Sing My kitty gone her bassett”.  We have been seeing some oil wells, table top sand hills, and big rocks showing up in the hills.  At 6:15 we just crossed the line into Wyoming.  Everyone is happy we finally got across Nebraska.  We have been making pretty good time.  Richard said he couldn’t believe it and started giggling.  He has been wanting to come to Wyoming for a long time.

We went past a Teepee Oil Station operated by an Indian.  At 615 miles at 6:45, we can see Cheyenne.  Five minutes later we are entering it.  We plan to stay in Cheyenne tonight.  We found a nice 2 bedroom cabin at the Scout Motel on the edge of town.  The boss set up a rollaway bed in one room to make room for all of us.  It has a cute kitchen also, with a breakfast nook.

The big girls and I went across the street to a big supermarket and got groceries for supper and breakfast.  We had a good supper of hamburger and onions, boiled potatoes, good home grown sliced tomatoes, creamed peas, cold ice water, white grapes, bread and butter, and cookies.  After supper we all went down town to see the pretty neon lights. Wallace stayed at the motel and slept.

We had a cool night to sleep and all slept fine except me.  I got kicked in the back a few times because I slept at the foot of the bed Lavonne and Lorraine slept in.

I got up around six o’clock and started breakfast.   Then, the others got up one-by-one; Uncle Wallace and Staney being the last ones up.  Boy he (Wallace) is sure getting caught up on his sleep.  Seems he’s been up late a lot the past week.

We had a good breakfast of bacon and eggs.  We picked up our things and left by 8:15.  We took a couple of pictures in front of the motel where we stayed.

We are now headed for the Farthing Ranch 45 miles from here.  We are going to see some wild ponies.  We are driving west and can see the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  We stopped and took pictures of the open range steers and mountains in the background.  We saw a lone coyote, which is unusual out here since the government got rid of most of them by poisoning them because they were so hard on the sheep.

At 8:50 we are coming into Iron Mountain station and Farthing Ranch.  We took some pictures of the little country school house on the edge of the ranch.  We drove on up and back in to where the ranch house sits.  They have a very charming yard and home.  It isn’t new but real pleasant and home-like.  We met Mr. Farthing, his wife, and two teen-age girls and baby boy.  They seem like grand folks.  They have 2 ranches, one on either side of the road.  One is 25,000 acres and the other one 29,000 acres.

They took us out to the edge of the ranch where one bunch of ponies were back in the hills and told us we could drive on into the hills to see them.  Then they had to go on to a party.  We had quite a time finding the ponies in these hills.  There are about 50 very nice little ponies.  We all got out to take pictures and get fruit out of the trunk of the car.  We were soon scared back into the car by rattlesnakes.

At 11:30, just leaving the ranch, we saw 3 herds of antelope.  This was really an interesting experience for all of us, talking to a real cowboy and visiting such a big ranch.  He said the ponies ran wild over the rocks and mountains until roundup time in the fall.  Then several cowboys with horses go out and round them up and drive them in to the corral.  Often some of them get away or are missed completely.

At 1:30 we drove up; into the lime quarry outside the ranch.  Then we drove back to Cheyenne to the big depot for Uncle Wallace and Staney to catch the train (the Challenger) back home to Bellevue. It will leave at 3:45 and get in to Omaha at 11:30.  It is little Staney’s first train ride so he was thrilled.  Before they left, we all had dinner at the steak house.

Little Cindy kept wanting to run up and down the steps in the depot.  While we were watching them leave on the train, we saw one of the teachers at the train coach door, Miss Fogarty.  We tried to get her attention but failed.

Now our little family of 6 is left alone for more adventures and site seeing.   Leaving Cheyenne at 4:00 p.m., we headed Northwest through Westmore and Glendale toward Yellowstone National Park.   At 6:05 we are beginning to see some big, big mountains.  At 7:05 we are entering Glenrock, the big Continental Oil Company; then on to Casper, another oil town.  The oil has such a strong smell.  Cindy keeps saying, “Akee pony stinks daddy”.

We stopped at 8:30 and stayed in the Breakers (sp) Motel; got up early and left the motel after breakfast at 7:30.  Lavonne took a picture of me with the water jug on the porch of the motel.

We saw Hell’s Half Acres, deep rugged yellowish looking earth.  By 8:45 we were seeing some pretty good farm land with lots of irrigation, and by 10:50 we are driving on top of the Rocky Mountains and seeing lots of pretty mountain streams.  We went through the Shoehorn Natural Forest and got to Yellowstone National Park at 12:15.  We had to pay a $3.00 fee to enter.  We saw Lewis Canyon on entering, and bears along the road.  They came up to the car and the kids threw cookies out the window. It was most interesting seeing Old Faithful erupt.  We visited Naris (sp) Museum.  Lavonne asked the forest rangers there if they would have their picture taken with her, so I took it.  They asked her if she was Hollywood.

We just spent one afternoon in the park as it’s so expensive to stay in it all night.  Everything is high, including food.  We kept driving after leaving the park until we came to Cody, Wyoming.  We so much enjoyed going through Buffalo Bill’s Museum.  Then we drove on to Thermopolis and rented a cabin about 11 at night.  It had been a really big day and everyone was really tired.

Tuesday morning we were up at 5:30 a.m.  Lyle was anxious to get started toward home.  By 6:40 we were entering Wind River Canyon, 8:45 back in Casper, 10:45 just entering Nebraska, 11:30, Crawford, 4:20, Myrna, Nebraska. I am wondering if Lyle will keep going until we reach home.  At 7:30 we are too close to home now to pay out another night’s lodging. 12:30 home at last. Boy, we will sleep late in the morning.

Thank the Lord for a safe trip.  Our family will always cherish this vacation together.

Incidental note:  At the back of the notebook, Mom had written down a couple of the stops for gas.  They got 14.07 gallons at one time for a total of $4.75; and again for 16 ½ gallons, paid $5.50; 10 ½ gallons for $3.69, and an oil change for $2.30.

School Friends

In high school, Lavonne invited a school friend, Betty Jo, to church.  Betty had a sister in my class, Mamie, so she came too.  They became regular attenders and got saved at our church.  Their father was a drunk and often came home with a mean spirit and the children would have to hide from him.  Lavonne found this out first hand when she spent the night with Betty.  Betty also had many temptations and struggled with her Christianity at times.

One night, Betty woke from a nightmare tormented by an evil spirit.  She had dreamed that their house was on fire, her family burned, and that it was her fault that they perished.  It was so real that it shook her up to the point of calling us at 2 a.m. to ask for prayer.  She came over to our house and we knelt at the couch in the living room to pray for her.  Mom was impressed to rebuke the Devil from the situation and did so forcefully.

At that precise moment, one of our farm cats came tearing into the house.  We lived on the farm and had many cats, but none were house pets or ever came into the house.  The screen door was held closed by a spring.  It had never been opened by a cat before or since.  However, at that moment, a cat, yelping as if in a cat/dog fight, shot through the door as from a cannon and tore wildly through the house.  It jumped up on Betty Jo’s shoulders where she was kneeling by the couch, flew around the living room from couch to chair and high on the walls, jumping from window curtain to window curtain, and then bolted out of the house.

It was as if the Devil had asked permission to enter the cat if he had to leave Betty alone.  I don’t know what happened to the cat after that but I don’t think it was around any longer.  It was like the Bible story in the 8th chapter of Matthew when Jesus rebuked the demons that had been tormenting a man, they entered a herd of swine (pigs) that then ran into the lake and drowned.

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