1986 – A Major Change, Leaving MCM, Florida, and A God Appointment

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.

The Ziemke Story - 1986


In February and March, Brad travelled and worked with my brother Terry, installing satellite equipment, having been hired by my brother Rich.

Cousin Howie Tiller came to put on one of his dramas with our church youth. They performed “Asleep in the Light” in March. Bridget played “Snow White” opposite Frank Spady. Bonnie, Joe, and kids; Jodi, Tim, Holly, and Shiree and Marcene and Lynell all came from Portland to see the production.

In the spring, Bridget worked picking daffodils and tulips. Brad worked with his uncle Pete some in the landscaping business, and Brenda worked at Barbee Mill. She got a raise and was making $1200 a month.

I began to think about getting a secular job to get away from church work for a while. I got a typing instruction book and began to brush up on my typing skills. I took a computer class on Monday evenings and applied for work through Kelly Temp Services. I felt God was prompting me to hand off my church duties to others and did so one by one.

A Major Change

Bits and pieces from my Journal June 18, 1986:

We are both at a point where we realize standards as we have known them, aren’t the priority we have always made them.  Letting people develop their own convictions and just loving people, having a servant’s heart, is where it’s at. However, it is still a very difficult process to go through. You can say and know the above but still hurt immensely to see people leave standards behind. You can know what you know but not know how to show others – have misunderstandings, etc.

Besides our personal busy-ness and stress, our church was going through the stresses of transitioning from UPC to a more charismatic environment. Gene did a good job of preparing the hearts and minds of folks but there were some who wanted us to have strict guidelines and, on the other hand, some that thought we still weren’t liberal enough. Besides those who had left with our former youth pastor, a few others drifted away; one couple because they disagreed with our taking a sabbatical at a critical time for the church.

Everyone affects someone else. When a music minister left, a few others seemed to get anxious and leave, or maybe just move away. We counted 100 people who left one way or another in the period of one year.

We had not been long in the new church and our payments were high. We could have easily sold an acre or two from the property to help with that but we had plans for a future campus to use it all for God and didn’t want to sell. The loss of people meant the loss of tithe payers.

We had felt refreshed as a result of our fall trip but it wasn’t long until we were put to the test and found we were not ready for yet another battle. We got through Christmas, winter, and spring and the initial preparation for another season of Jesus of Nazareth, and then….

Leaving MCM

A rumor started that unless we resigned the church, 25 families were set to leave. We didn’t know if it was true or not but we weren’t ready to tackle another “people problem”. The rumor was later found to be false. Gene resigned the church with a two week notice and I started cleaning out closets, packing, and planning a moving sale.

Some folks were hurt by our leaving but we were without choice it seemed. I mentally put a “Not Responsible” sign in the front yard of my life. I was the victim of circumstances and could not take responsibility for what happened. Nor could I take responsibility for what anyone else went through as a result. Most folks went on to serve God the rest of their lives in various churches. We won’t know until Heaven the lives impacted by them.

Where to go now was the question. My parents had a winter home in Lake Placid, Florida, that was currently empty. They said we could use it in the interim.

We took care of the last minute items such as insurances, bank accounts, address changes, sorting, and discarding. I had a dental appointment. We had lunches, dinners, and visits with friends and family.

Our last day at Meridian Christian Ministries was April 13, 1986. We had a “moving” sale on April 19 with a lot of helpers: Frieda, Tammy, Sharliss, Jeff, Mona, Mary, Brenda, Brad, Bridget, Judy W, Dan, and Susanne. Whatever we kept fit into the motor home and U-Haul trailer behind it for the drive to Florida. An offering of about $300 was given to us.

Later, Dan and Susanne drove our Plymouth Voyager down to us and stayed for a couple weeks of sight-seeing in the area. Brad went with us to Florida but the girls stayed in Puyallup.  Bridget had to finish her sophomore year and Brenda was working at Barbee Mill. They stayed with Jeff and Frieda until school was out. Then Bridget joined us in Florida and Brenda got an apartment with a friend. It was a difficult few weeks for them. Bridget’s friends gave her a going away party at DeCoursey Park.

Not long after we left Puyallup, a church in Tacoma formerly known as Peoples Church and then Covenant Celebration, requested our church to merge with theirs, which they did. It became what eventually was called “Champion Center”. Most of the people moved along with them. Some who wanted to remain traditional UPC formed another church with Charlie Yadon as pastor. The church at 144th and Meridian (Meridian Christian Ministries) was rented out and finally the whole property was sold. It became a county park called Meridian Habitat Park and Community Center.


We researched property values and put our house up for sale. The church board agreed to make the payments while it was on the market, about $600 a month. When it hadn’t sold after a few months, we rented it out. Having thought we would never be leaving Puyallup, we hadn’t given any consideration to a retirement plan.

Notes from the Journal of Our Move/Journey to Florida after 19 ½ years in Puyallup

April 27 – Sunday – Last minute packing. Went to say goodbye to Augustina and Abraham Vashchenko. Family here to say goodbye and cried, hugged, and prayed together: Pete and Linda, Jeff and Frieda, Brenda, Dan and Suzanne, us three (Gene, me, and Brad).  Mom Z didn’t come for the goodbye. She doesn’t like them. Bridget had spent the night at Angie’s.

We left at 10:45 and arrived at Bonnies (in Portland) at 2:15 – (157 miles). Went out to eat at Sea Galley, did load of laundry, and went to Grocery store. Went to evening service with Sargents. The Kiergards came over after for strawberry shortcake. Bed close to midnight.

April 28 – Monday – Left Bonnie and Joes – Drove 407 miles today and stopped for Breakfast at Alice’s Restaurant in Hood River. Brad drove part of the way today. We had some hard pulls up inclines and the engine smelled a little hot. Stopped at a campground in Caldwell, Idaho. Fixed macaroni and cheese with hamburger, corn, buns, Jell-O that didn’t set. Had cake and ice cream for dessert. Brad and I played a couple games of Scotland Yard. Gene called back home and we went to bed early.

April 29 – Tuesday – Leaving Caldwell at 8 a.m. with odometer 44989. Brad stayed in bed while we got up, ready, had oatmeal for breakfast. Gene visited with people in the park and took care of the motor home. A bit of a tiring day – going through so much desert and driving so long. We were going to stop in Rock Springs but one camp ground wasn’t open. The other was one we had stayed at before and didn’t like – Albert’s’.  Tried to call Schertzers here but couldn’t get the info operator. Drove on to Rawlins, arriving at 10:30. Fixed and ate dinner and went to bed at midnight. It was rainy and cold most of the day.

April 30 – Wednesday – Leaving Rawlins at 8:30 a.m. – odometer 45600. Had fried potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. It is a sunny but cool, windy day. We drove a long day today with Gene and Brad switching off driving when we stopped for gas about every 3 or 4 hours. The Nebraska roads were quite bumpy. I fixed grilled cheese sandwiches on the move. At dinner time we were stopped for gas and we decided to just buy sandwiches at Stuckeys to save time– but they didn’t taste good at all. We finally got to Carson (my folks place) a little before 1 a.m.; visited awhile and went to bed about 2 a.m.

May 1 – Thursday – We slept a little late this morning. Mom fixed us a big brunch about 11 a.m. I cleaned up the motor home. Gene went a couple places with Dad. Brad worked with Terry on his pickup. About 3 p.m. I went for a walk around the farm. The fields are rented out this year and it looks like the whole thing is clover. The weather was beautiful and it was enjoyable to walk up and down the dirt clod fields in the sun and slight wind. The sky was beautiful blue. Our neighbor’s (Harrell’s) house has been removed (torn down or burned). I walked to the back tree/fence line and then along it to the rock quarry. Then I walked back up to the buildings and around and in them. I poked my head in the old empty silo and a bird came fluttering out above me. I reminisced at the old granary foundation and milk house about rounding up the cows, etc. Mom made a delicious roast beef dinner. Then we went to church. Later we watched a video Terry had taped from TV. The boys had explored the farm today on Brad’s cycle. They heard noises in the old auger and turned it on. Out spilled 4 little baby coons, some with their tails cut off. And then their mother landed hard on her side and quickly righted herself. She took off – never to be found. The boys stayed home tonight taking videos of each other popping wheelies on Brad’s cycle. Then Terry flipped it and knocked the tail light out.

May 2 – Friday – It’s a beautiful morning. We had a nice breakfast: French toast and ham. We spent a few hours cleaning up the back yard of twigs and branches that had fallen in the wind. Gene worked in the motor home and Brad went to Omaha with Terry. Later, Gene and I walked to the quarry. We had tacos for dinner. Mom and I visited and played Avalanche and Dad did his bookkeeping. I brought in my calculator and helped him some. To bed about 11 p.m.

May 3 – Saturday – It rained last night so it’s cool and dreary this morning. It’s kind of a lazy day – guess I’m tired from yard work yesterday. I did our laundry. Mom and I went to visit Aunt Winnie and Uncle Orlo. Then they came out for a Chinese food dinner.

May 4 – Sunday – Leaving Carson at 9:45 a.m. – odometer 46310. We had breakfast and prayer together. It was a long day of fighting the wind and bad gas mileage as a result. It was also hard to hold the road. Gene drove almost all day and Brad the late afternoon and evening. We went around Kansas City, St Louis, and stopped to camp at Mt Vernon, Ill. We drove 505 miles today and stopped about 9 p.m. We called the girls.  Gene also talked to Frieda and Mom Z. We left a message on Peri’s phone.

May 5 – Monday – Up at 6:30 and ready to pull out at 7:40 at odometer 46815. Brad was sleeping. We had some big cities to go through today, including Nashville and Chattanooga, and again some wind. We nearly rear-ended someone in heavy traffic. We really feel God’s protection and thank Him for His guardian angels. We decided to eat lunch at Wendy’s – a big chicken fillet filled us up good and we weren’t hungry for a big dinner late, so just fixed bacon and egg sandwiches. We stopped about 8:45 and went to bed at 10:30.  It was very hot to try to sleep so we put our heads by the open window. It cooled down a little by morning.

May 6 – Tuesday – Leaving the Georgia Camp 7:30 a.m. at odometer 47333. We got up at 6:20 – new time – (would have been 5:20 yesterday). It is already 74 degrees. We’re headed for Macon, GA. At 11:30 we stopped at a Factory outlet for an hour just before entering Florida. We had sandwiches as we drove and kept going, arriving in Lake Placid 6:30 pm. The folks’ neighbor, Irene Hall, came to greet us and a short while later, the Kings. We unloaded the motor home and put things away, cleaned up a bit, and went into town to Pizza Hut. Got back to the house, called the folks, and then the girls. It’s so good to be here but we do miss the girls already. When we stopped in Iowa, Mom sent a spiral notebook with us in which she outlined specifics about the house and property.  It started:

We, Lyle and Bernice Mincer, welcome Lorraine and her husband Gene Ziemke and their family to our little home at 910 Golfview Drive, Lake Placid, Florida 33852. Phone 813-465-2594. We pray the Lord continues to lead your precious family in all your new beginnings. You are important to God. He is with you. His love surrounds you. We claim James 1:5-6 for our family this year.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

Brenda thinks she’ll probably stay in Washington and get an apartment with someone – maybe Shannon.

May 7 – Wednesday – Went shopping for something cool to wear. Contacted Florida power.

May 8 – Thursday – Gene called Uncle Kirby. We checked out the town of Lake Placid.

May 9 – Friday – We left for a week-end trip to the Gulf Coast. First we stopped at the Lake Placid bank to open an account. Brad did as well. It took us quite a while to pick out checks, etc. Before we left town, we ate lunch at K-Fried chicken. The drive toward the coast on Hwy 70 was mostly open country & cattle grazing. Arcadia was okay, but not impressive. The Phillips area out of Sarasota seemed new, progressive, and neat.  The Causeways are a bit frightening to me. St Petersburg, Treasure Island, and all along the coast was so busy with tourists. Hardly any beach was open to the public. There were no RV parks right on the beach – only hotels. We went all the way up to Dunedin to park and then not on the beach. We probably didn’t really see the good part of the city but city living doesn’t seem to be for us.

May 10 – Saturday – We had breakfast at a restaurant on the water, on the Gulf Coast. We watched people fishing with poles or nets and talked with them. We drove through some of St Petersburg and over the Causeway to Tampa. We had lunch in our motor home on the beach and watched people wind surfing and playing in the water. We got a grease/oil/filter job on the rig, and then drove to Lakeland. Driving around Lakes in the city, we thought Lakeland was nice. We camped at Tiki.

May 11 – Sunday – This morning we drove around housing areas and then went to church at Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland. In the afternoon, we drove some more and ate lunch at Taco Bell on the way to Winter Haven. We stopped at a Flea Market; looked at some houses in Winter Haven; but liked Lakeland better. It is 1 ½ hours from the folks’ house. We stopped on the way home at Schultz’s little restaurant and ate. Debbie and Chic called tonight. Gene gave me a whale knick-knack for Mother’s Day and Brad gave me a card. I got a note from a florist that I have flowers from the girls, and Chic and Deb.

May 12 – Monday – Checking the paper for job opportunities.

May 13 –Tuesday – Spent some of yesterday and most of today writing thank you notes to about 24 people who had been helpful to us in our moving process. Went to Lake Placid and found the dump for trash and looked at a townhouse, went to the PO etc.  Rich called tonight.

May 14 – Wednesday – This morning we went to Sebring after dropping Dad’s boat off for repair. I applied for jobs at the County and at Barnett Bank’s main hiring office for this County. Gene got a certificate of Domicile so that he can get a fishing license, and put some ads in the Sebring News. We also looked at job listings in the State Job Service office and did other varied errands. He’s always looking for a VW for Brad. We picked up the boat on the way home at 4 p.m. We keep ourselves busy. I made several phone calls and always looking for jobs or churches.

May 15 – Thursday – We went to the Orlando area today, leaving at 8:30 a.m. Rich had told us Winter Park may be a good place to live if we decided to find work in Orlando. We went through it to Winter Springs where Simmons live. We still like Lakeland better. After Orlando, we drove over to Winter Garden, going back roads through Ocoee and a lot of communities of poorer economic standing. We got home in time to fix dinner and eat at 8 p.m.

May 16 – Friday – We made a lot of calls today. About 3:30 p.m. we took off and drove to Ft Pierce to look over the city, etc., and got back about 9 p.m. We decided coastal cities aren’t for us.

May 17 – Saturday – We left for Lakeland about 12:30 so Brad could find a car. Tomorrow we’ll visit a couple of churches and go to Cypress Gardens. We went to the big Flea market in Winter Haven and looked at some houses in Mulberry Country Club and McCormick CG and parked in Brandon for the night.

May 18 – Sunday – Gene’s birthday. We got up at 7 and left about 9 to look at a couple of “bugs” for Brad before church at 11. The Goldsberrys are nice people – been here 14 years. Also a man there from Wisconsin recognized our name. There were probably 60 adults there. A Bro Pierce and his family, missionary to Nicaragua, was guest speaker. We went to Cypress Gardens for the afternoon hurrying from Showtime to Showtime, and then to Cypress Cathedral which was a little dead on a Sunday night. Back home, we had cake and ice cream for Gene’s birthday and he got some calls.

May 19 – Monday – We were very tired and decided to sleep in this morning. Brad and Gene left about 3:30 to pick up Brad’s car in Brandon. They looked at another car and didn’t get home until after 11 p.m. Several people called tonight: Debi, Lucy, & Mom Z.  Earlier I had called Mom and Dad and also talked to Brenda at work.

May 20 – Tuesday – I cleaned the motor home to show and did the budget and bookkeeping. Gene worked on things and Brad worked on his car.

May 21 – Wednesday – We worked on the yard today. There was a snake skin caught on the bush by the front door – about 8 feet long. It makes me leery to clip grass around the bushes. This afternoon we went to the lake and Brad water-skied for the first time. He did real well – even took off a ski and went on one.

June 2 – Monday – Slept in – then ran errands and went grocery shopping. Brad went skiing. We are trying to come up with a house plan should we buy the lot on Lake Gibson.

June 3 – Tuesday – Brad took his VW to the guy to paint it and Gene picked him up. Dan Flukinger called that the old car (1951 Chev Business Coupe) didn’t sell after all. The guy only wants to give $700 and we have $1500 in it. We are still looking at house plans.

June continuing …

It was 100 % humidity this morning. We turned on the air conditioner yesterday and left it on – more because of the humidity than the heat. We slept a lot better than we had been.

We called the girls on June 8 and made reservations for Bridget to come on the 17th. Brenda was excited about her new apartment.

It was kind of fun living in Mom and Dad’s vacation home in Lake Placid. They were in Iowa for the summer, so it had been sitting empty. It was also fun exploring the area. Gene puttered around with Dad’s boat fixing the back seats and we cleaned it up good from being in storage. Lanny Wolff was singing at Tampa Calvary Tabernacle so we went to hear him. We also visited a UPC church in Orlando’s Apopka area pastored by Mike Williams. Lloyd Bustard was the guest speaker. It was a very classical Pentecostal service, still using the songbook.

We weren’t sure where we wanted to settle and looked at property and house plans, as well as built homes. We also needed to look for work. Gene thought he would like to get into real estate. I checked on State employment in Sebring and applied a couple of places.

We took time to tour central Florida to see where we might settle, if not in Lake Placid, then maybe St Petersburg, Orlando, Brandon, or Lakeland. We got a camping spot in Lakeland for $10.00 a night. It was raining hard. I was going to start job hunting the next day but we decided that unless I could get a high paying job, I should wait until we sell something, such as the motor home, and are really ready to move. Of all of the places we toured, we had a good feeling about Lakeland. I did apply at Sears. Gary Thompson’s brother, Ron, worked in a bakery in Lakeland. We visited him.

Brenda called to say she got a $200 raise at Barbie Mill, so she’ll be making $1400 a month.

Days started to drag by. I was doing a lot of house work, cleaning, laundry, cooking, and baking while Gene was doing the dirty work of mowing, edging, and caring for the yard. Mowing there was so dirty as the dust just flies. It rained a lot but when it was nice, we liked to go out in the boat, go for a hike or bike ride, or just enjoy the sun and read.

Brad took his VW to Orlando to get painted. He skied a few times while Gene drove the boat. I tried skiing once but couldn’t do it.

Mom and Dad’s next door neighbors, the Kings, invited us over for cake and ice cream to celebrate Father’s Day and meet their daughter, Evelyn, who had been an actress for 29 years.

On Sundays, we visited different churches in the area. One was a little store front UPC in Sebring with Pastor John Patterson. They had 25 to 30 people and a good spirit of worship.

We had advertised the motor home to sell and were receiving some inquiries.

The girls called us Sunday. Brenda was feeling sad to see Bridget leave. Her school would be out Monday, June 16, and she would be flying to be with us in Florida the next day. Since there were just two bedrooms at Mom and Dad’s, Brad moved his things from the bedroom to the living room where there was a hide-a-bed, and we got the bedroom ready for Bridget. We still had the family room to use as a living room.

Tuesday morning Brad skied and, after lunch, we took off for Orlando. Brad got the windshield he needed for the VW. We went to the mall and then to the airport to pick up Bridget in the evening. After stopping to eat, we arrived at Lake Placid about 11:15 p.m. Bridget called Brenda to say she got here alright. She had to make transfers in Denver and Newark on Peoples Express.

Florida welcomed Bridget with rain the next day, so no sunning for her. Brad got his other VW and took her for a ride and shopping. Thursday was better so we went out on the boat again and Brad skied.

Bits and pieces from my Journal June 18, 1986

It seemed that things kind of snow-balled and Gene came to the point where he felt to resign the church. I think he felt a little forced into it, and yet feels that it must be a part of God’s plan. We just weren’t able to cope with people problems in an overcoming fashion any more. Perhaps now is the time we need to “come apart and rest.” I know I had fizzled long before, but as long as he felt to stay; I was willing, even though not able to take a real active role.

Still looking for a place to locate, we drove to Lakeland on Friday and checked the paper there for rentals. We also checked with the man we had been dealing with about property to build on and looked at some house plans. Brad and Bridget stayed home and worked on the VW’s and went to Orlando the next day for car parts. They were working out a deal for Bridget to drive one of them.

The following Sunday, we went to New Life Fellowship in Sebring. The kids slept in and went to a 2 o’clock service in Lake Placid after we had a turkey dinner. Gene and I walked, read, and I made and ate too much of a coconut cream pie.

That week I took a typing test in Sebring for a job interview, finished writing my resume, and pored over the Lakeland paper, organizing jobs to apply for.

A God Appointment

On June 29, we went to the Church of God on Lake June Road, close to where we were at Mom and Dad’s house. Pastor Payne was called to the bedside of a dying saint and asked Gene to preach. He had only met Gene that day as we arrived at church. Gene said, “You don’t even know me”. He said, “I know you in the spirit”. So Gene preached and the people responded well. The Pastor came back before service was over. He said it had been a false alarm…she wasn’t dying. Gene said, “God set me up”. God knew he was in burn-out and not wanting to preach again, yet he needed to know he was wanted. They prayed for us as a family and invited us to eat with them at the Golden Corral but we had lunch with Brad and Bridget and then they went to the afternoon service in Lake Placid.

Dan and Susanne arrived with our car (the Voyager) on July 3, just in time to enjoy Cypress Gardens with us on the 4th. We saw all the events and got rained on. That evening we sat on the grass to watch the fireworks. It was a good program with a guy coming down on a lighted glider. Brad and Dan went to Orlando the next day for an all-day sing with 12 groups. They had dropped off their dog at a kennel in Sebring and Susanne went by to check on it when we were out shopping. On Sunday night, we went back to the Church of God. Gene preached and Dan sang.

Dan and Susanne stayed the week and went with us to Disneyworld and Epcot Center. Brad and Dan tried to fill one day full of sports: tennis, skiing, swimming, golfing, and more tennis.  Brad and Bridget went with Dan and Susanne to Miami, played in the ocean and looked at the University. We took them to Highland Hammock Park. The following Sunday morning they went with us to the Carpenter’s Home church in Lakeland and the Tampa UPC in the evening. In the afternoon, we took them to the huge swap meet and showed them the Lakeland area. Brad and Bridget had stayed in Lake Placid and went to church there for the last time before we moved to Lakeland.

Bits and Pieces from my Journal July 10, 1986

Maybe it’s still mid-life crisis along with our real mid-life switch, but I sincerely want my life to count. I want to help people, love people, heal the hurts, feed the hungry or whatever; but without being the in-charge person held responsible for mistakes or things not done. I want someone else to see the need and I could be a small part of a group that fills the need. Burn-out is real.

We moved to Lakeland on July 15, 1986. God helped us find the perfect place to live. It was a new duplex that had been used as a model in a row of duplexes. Since most of them were now full, the model was available for rent, fully furnished with very nice furniture and even bedding. The only thing we had to purchase was a washer and dryer. We were still trying to sell the motor home and hunt for jobs. I took a typing test for a cashier job at Mirror Lake Center. The room was full of applicants. I never got a call for an interview but found out my test had come in with the highest score. The reason: they had to fulfill their hiring quota of minorities.

I went back to Lake Placid with Brad to clean up the house there and pick up his other VW. It stalled several times on the way back to Lakeland and then stopped two miles from our house.

The Ziemke Story - 1986

We had been living on the proceeds from the sale of our belongings since the end of April and now, two and a half months later, we were out of money and charged to the max on Visa for Gene’s Real Estate School and our first rent in Lakeland. Brenda and Gram Z sent us $200.  Bonnie sent us $20. Bills would all be due again in a week. We needed to sell the motor home. I was willing to go through hard times to gain more empathy and compassion for the poor if that was God’s design.

Brad was broke too. He had just enough to fly to Puyallup as planned to see friends, go to the drama, Expo and sell the VW he had left at home. Then he’d come back and look for work in Lakeland.

Bridget got a job at Ponderosa Steak House. On her first day, July 26, she made $15 in tips. She went to her junior year of high school in Lakeland and made new friends. The schools in Florida were not nearly as tough as those in Washington. Brad got a job delivering newspapers and did so throwing them from the window of his VW early every morning.

Gene took a crash course and got his real estate license but ended up working for Culligan Water, selling water softeners. I got a job at Penney’s and, a month later, also got a job in the Foster Care Department of Health and Human Services. I typed up service plans for the Case Managers and sometimes worked the reception desk. The boss thought I was a calming influence on distraught parents who came in hoping to get their children back. The pay was $3.50 an hour. I continued working days there and evenings for Penney’s, mostly in the children’s department, walking the four blocks between businesses and enjoying the sunshine.

In August, we had more visitors. Lyle and Eric came for a couple of days and the next week, Jeff came. Rich and Kathy came in November and then again to Lake Placid in December.

Brenda came early morning the 24th of December to spend Christmas with us. She looked cute in her white fringed shirt as she came up the escalator at the airport when we picked her up. She had been doing a lot of shopping and had some cute new clothes. She caught a cold about as soon as she arrived so we curtailed some of our sightseeing. She brought us gifts from Jeff and Frieda and Ladonna and Chip, and goodies from Mom Ziemke.

On Christmas morning, we opened gifts and then went to the folks’ in Lake Placid. Brad went skiing. We had Turkey dinner with the folks and Rich and Kathy but had to get right back for Brad’s paper route in the morning and my work at Penney’s in the evening.

The day after Christmas, Gene’s cousins, Gary and Linda and daughter Cindy, who traditionally come from Wisconsin to Florida for Christmas, came by with Danish Kringle. We went shopping with them at the Florida Mall in Orlando on Saturday. On Sunday, Mom and Dad and Rich and Kathy met us at Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland and came to our house for dinner, games, and watching football. I was still on Christmas vacation from HRS but working each evening at Penney’s.

On Tuesday, the girls went shopping again in Orlando. Gene dropped me off at a Winter Haven mall to shop while he had a Culligan appointment, then picked me up and dropped me off at Lakeland mall while he went to the office. On Wednesday, he took Brenda to Cypress Gardens and I went back to work at HRS.

Bits and Pieces from my Journal February 3, 1987

A thought that came to me Sunday re: refined religion needs to be meditated on and developed. I often think of the very real spiritual experiences of my childhood.  I don’t think my children have experienced as much in the Lord as I.  Things that are unforgettable assurances that God is real; and yet perhaps a little embarrassing to talk about today as we are more refined in our religion.  Just as the old time stone ground flour and natural foods have been replaced with more palatable “refined” flour and foods.  It looks more pleasing and tickles the taste buds but leaves something of true nutrition lacking.

We had many good old fashioned prayer meetings at the church altars and at home when we were young.  We prayed until we knew God was in control of our lives and were unashamed of the flowing tears and red swollen eyes when we were done.  We spoke in tongues and felt the refreshing uplift of the Holy Ghost.

Mom and Dad sold the farm, left Iowa, and moved to Florida that year.  I flew from Lakeland to Iowa to help Mom with a garage sale.  She was very particular to have things clean and arranged nicely.  Glassware that had been stored was given a fresh washing.  I stayed a little longer than expected as Mom had to have an emergency gall bladder operation.

We were in Lakeland June 1986 to June 1987.

2 comments… add one
  • Teri Ramsdell Dec 4, 2017, 10:06 pm

    What a treat to come across this page. Such a good read and such good memories. The seeds that were planted in Don’s and my life under the ministry of Pastor Z have deep roots and it’s these deep roots that have kept us grounded during the storms of life. What began with Don and I dedicating our lives to God at WoP has been passed to our 4 children and 11 grandchildren. (Three generations) We are forever grateful to our first pastor for his service to God that others might be saved!
    Don & Teri Ramsdell

  • Arthur L. Brown Sr. Dec 1, 2021, 6:58 pm

    This comment in your journal:
    “We had many good old fashioned prayer meetings at the church altars and at home when we were young. We prayed until we knew God was in control of our lives and were unashamed of the flowing tears and red swollen eyes when we were done. We spoke in tongues and felt the refreshing uplift of the Holy Ghost.”

    These days it seems we have to take more personal control of our connection to God as the Pentecostal Churches I have gone to over the last few years, have emphasized on the “Sinners” to come forward but ignored the “Christians” that needs some more.
    So home prayer is more important to your(My) daily salvation.

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