The Ziemke Story – 1969

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 - 1969

The Ziemke Story – 1969

When Jerry and Kris Dillon left in July of 1969 to be Business Manager at CBC, John and May Ruth Hardt came to fill the youth pastor role.  May Ruth played the piano while I played the organ.  Both of us were challenged as to what keys we could play in.  They were with us until December of 1972, when they went to Pastor the church in Renton.

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom January 9, 1969:

We just got a “Bread of Life” scripture promise box that we use for our family devotions every morning.  Brenda (4) passes them out and Brad (2) picks them up.  They really think that’s big.  Brenda wonders at every meal if this is time for “De motions”.

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom February 28, 1969:

Gene preached a week at Roams’ church in Portland and we stayed with them from the 16th to the 23rd. We had good revival meetings.  Some people were healed. Some backsliders came back to God and were refilled.  Countless wonders God performed in lives.

Bonnie guessed our secret while we were down there so I guess it might as well be out now.  I’ll let Brenda tell you.  She’s done quite a bit of telling already, bless her heart.  She’s excited and so are we.

From Brenda:  I’m going to get a baby.  I want a girl ‘cause I want it to be a sister and just have one brother and have two sisters.  

I’m afraid they have a long wait, but are trying to understand that it takes a while to get a baby – due September 4.

The Ziemke Story - 1969

Brenda got her wish for a baby sister and they have been best of friends. Here they are at a father-daughter dinner showing their floral gifts from Dad.

Purchasing 1818

Gene had been looking at property to build a new church.  Our church had grown from about 50 when we came to over 150.  We were pretty close to being maxed out on space and the location wasn’t the greatest.  It was down town but not on a main street.  In fact, the street was only two or three blocks long.  He knew location was important.  We took a vote.  The people voted 100% in favor of planning toward a new church.

Gene scouted out several places and found acreage with a house and Quonset barn at 1818 S Meridian, the main thoroughfare through town.  It didn’t have a “For Sale” sign but he stopped and asked anyway.  He found that they were just going to put it up for sale, made an offer, and we were in.  Well, it wasn’t really that easy.  We gave them $300.00 earnest money and had to come up with a $10,000 down payment within 60 days.  The total price for the 5 acres and buildings was $35,000.  They finally agreed to $5,000 down and the remainder at 8% interest.  That was an answer to prayer as they had previously been so insistent on $10,000.

It took a lot of fundraising but we made it by the deadline.  We had rummage sales, sold Almond Roca, made and sold peanut brittle, and had church dinners.  People of the church, including our kids and me, went door-to-door selling our home-made peanut brittle. Folks pledged a monthly amount or even loaned an amount to the church at 7% interest.  Fund raising events continued, including publishing our own church recipe book.  Even Hill Funeral Home, because of close ties with the former Pastor having worked there, donated $1000.00.  Later yet, in 1971, the men of the church built a house in Bonney Lake to sell for profit.

After that purchase, we bought two houses adjoining the church property with an additional 2½ acres.

Once again a busy year, 1969 was full.  Gene took two trips, one to Wisconsin and one to General Conference.  I did a lot of canning: pickles, beans, plums, apples, and jelly.  There were pie cherry trees at the 1818 location, and u-pick raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry farms in the area.  The berries were less expensive if you picked them yourself, so the kids and I did just that.  Frozen raspberry jam was a must to make each year. We did a lot of visiting folks and had a lot of company as well as special services.  I routinely picked up a family for church from out in the country, the Copes.

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom May 1969:

We’ve had three beautiful days in a row.  The kids have just about lived outside. They have their trikes to ride (we just got Brad one as he was really hogging Brenda’s). Now they ride each others.  Brenda has learned to hang by her knees on the cross bar of the old swing set frame.  She really thinks that’s something. It reminds me of me when I was little. Ha.

We have an old croquet set out there that we enjoy too; only Brad threw one of the wooden balls and cracked a window yesterday –  the same window we had just replaced after he broke it a couple weeks ago.

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom May 31, 1969:

The CBC choir was up last Sunday night.  Brenda (age 4) is always excited when she hears they are coming.  Both Brenda and Brad (2 ½) pounced on “Unc Wich” (as Brad says) when they saw him walk in.  Brenda ran for him and he picked her up and Brad hugged his leg till it was his turn to be picked up.

I have a brother, sister in law, and future sister in law in the choir (Rich, Kathy, and Frieda).

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom July 15, 1969:

Brenda is always asking for things.  Her latest is she wants a little tractor like Grandpa gave her a ride on around the yard.  I finally convinced her she couldn’t have one but she at least wants to go visit you right now so she can have a ride on Grandpa’s tractor again.

I go over to the church a lot to work in the office and they ride their trikes over and have fun playing there.  They sure can fight too.

Brad’s doing much better with his talking.  He says, “Gum her Mom”.  That means “Come here”.  Everything is spoken slowly in a deep serious tone of voice.  When I correct him, he raises his eyebrows and gets an expression a lot like Terry and says “Well, Mom.”

Jeff and Frieda invited us to their wedding August 16, 1969, but we couldn’t go because Bridget was due soon.  They came to live with us by the end of the month and stayed until they were able to get jobs and their own place.

And Baby Makes Three

Bridget was born on Friday, September 12, 1969. I had started having contractions and went to Good Samaritan the night before just to be checked, as I was advised to do in an earlier session.  After checking, they told me to go on home and come back in the morning.  I knew shift changes were at 7 a.m. and purposed to go in after that.  I laid on the brown couch in our little living room and slept between contractions.  When a contraction came, I’d sit up and rock back and forth until it subsided.

About 6:45 in the morning I woke Gene up to go.  There was construction on the road to Good Samaritan so it was a miserable bumpy ride up the hill.  I got there about 8 a.m.  There was no time for the anesthesiologist to administer pain medication.  The nurse told me not to push and I heard her say, “She has such control”.  The doctor got there soon and with one push Bridget was born.  It was an unintended “natural” delivery.


‘Twas a clear peaceful night, ere the 12th of September

The eve of her birth, as we remember

A trip to the hospital to check on her progress

Up the bumpy old hill under construction – no less

The nurse said, “You’re fine, come back at seven

The new shift will be on, it’s now past eleven”

So back home we went, the vigil to keep

Dad went to bed and fell fast asleep

The night went by slowly for Mom on the couch

“I will wait until seven” she said, “that I vouch”

At 6:45 woke Dad up to go

Up the bumpy old hill again so slow

At half past eight, when the doctor arrived

She was ready to come and declare she’s alive

“Hello baby girl”, I heard Mommy say

“What do you think of this new world today?”

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom September 15, 1969:

You were the first to get the news long distance of the birth of our little girl, Bridget Jo.  She is certainly a little sweetheart.  Lots of dark hair and we think she is so cute – getting cuter every day.  Mom Z says Gene looked just like that when he was a baby, including the hair.  It makes me think of when Donna Jo was born, all that little Indian hair.  Should put a feather in and take a picture like you did of Donna. Ha

I came home from the hospital on Sunday and took Bridget to church for the first time on Wednesday the 17th.  I took her little car-bed to church with me and sat it between the rows of seats.  Her little head bobbed as she raised it up and looked around.  She was so cute with all of her dark hair.  Mom Ziemke had come on the 6th to be of help with the new baby.

The Move To 1818

After living in this second house a year and a half we were getting ready to move again.

Quick Quotes from my letter to Mom November 10, 1969:

Brenda (almost 5) is really a big little helper with the baby (2 month old Bridget) and otherwise.  She can feed Bridget the bottle and then kind of sit her up on her lap (in a safe chair) and pat her back until she burps.  She hasn’t tried to pick her up and carry her and pretty well understands her limitations.  This evening while Frieda and I were doing dishes, she voluntarily cleaned out 2 drawers – just like a pro.  After I put them to bed she called me back upstairs to ask me, “Momma, when Jesus takes us to heaven, can we come back to our own house?”  She’s afraid there won’t be any toys or food in heaven and she likes our house and our cute house on the hill we’re going to move into. …  Nothing helped until I told her Jesus would let her do anything she wanted to do – even come back home if she “wanted” to.  She’s sure she’ll want to.

We had Brad’s (age 3) picture taken at a studio last week.  He cried – didn’t “Nika dose lights”, etc.  The photographer really went through the antics trying to get him to come around.  Finally got a few smiles (it made him mad to smile though) and he left still pretty grouchy.  But after he got home, the story was different. Ha. “Me nika data mon, me getta picture ‘gin, data pun (fun)”.

In December 1969, we moved into the “farmhouse” on our new church property at 1818 Meridian, after fixing it up some. Bridget was three months old.  We decorated the large kitchen-dining-family room area with autumn gold painted cabinets and wood work, covered the walls in a red country style paper, and hung off-white Priscilla style curtains at the large windows.  There was a touch of avocado green, as the kitchen stove we had found on sale was that color.  It was a 48 inch stove with a regular size oven and another small side oven.  A couple of years later, we got a portable dishwasher.  I argued that we didn’t need one, but Gene said, “You are a woman of the 70’s. You need a dishwasher”.

Until we were donated a new Formica dining table and chairs by a family in the church, Gene made a large table by using a pedestal from an old table and mounting a large wooden oval top on it.  It worked fine if we could remember not to lean too hard on it.  When Willoughby’s came to visit, it collapsed when Diola leaned against it.  It gave us all a good laugh.

In the living room, we covered the walls with a green-grey-white large leaf patterned wall paper, painted the fireplace and surrounding bookshelves gray, and had a grass green carpet installed throughout the large living/formal dining, entry and steps to the second story.  We found a used dining set to use as our formal dining room at the end of the living room, and painted it and the matching buffet gray also.  Things were coming together nicely.  One of the most colorful pictures that pops into my mind when I think of living in that house, was little Bridget at nearly two years old, hopping down those grass green stairs in her tomato red and blue dress, her auburn curls bouncing.

We didn’t do much redecorating upstairs.  Our master bedroom never got a new coat of paint in the whole seven years we lived there.  We put the old “gold” colored carpet in the guest room, which then became Mom Ziemke’s room (she moved permanently with us in January 1970).  Brad got the little room – probably painted but furnished with the black, blue, and red décor and iron bed from the first house.

I had always loved canopy beds, as seen in catalogs, and wanted those for our girls.  We found a good deal on matching white French provincial beds, dresser, and night stands. We got a hot pink shag rug for the floor and similar colored spreads and canopy covers, even shades for the windows.  It was a totally hot pink room.  I’m sure I thought it was lovelier than my girls did.

We decorated the entry with a hanging lamp above a small antique stove painted flat black.  A mirror finished off the look.  I had learned that the entry to a home gives the first impression.


1 comment… add one
  • Arthur L. Brown Sr. Dec 1, 2021, 5:51 pm

    Hearing (reading) some of those name Dillons, Willoughby’s, and all the rest reminds me of the good times in that church (I was only in the Downtown Church near the river, as I left for Tacoma in late 68 early 69 I don’t remember the date.
    I was one of the Teens of the time.Bro. & Sis. Ziemke, God Bless you both as you have blessed others.

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