Let Your Heart Reside where Your Home Is
I moved into Crestwood retirement home on the campus of Oklahoma Methodist Manor on the last Tuesday of June. My son Paul was in Tulsa for a company board meeting on Monday and stayed all week to help me move and to help arrange the funeral of his mother-in-law Nancy Parks. During the week the larger family arrived. On Friday afternoon I sat in on the closing for my home sale.
Having worked a number of years in the four-year-old weekday preschool class with Paula Smallwood and Kristie Miller, I found them wanting to help with my move. On the following Friday, Paula and Kristie came to help me hang pictures. This completed an extended effort to move.
On Saturday night, I let my head sink into the pillow sitting on the back of the couch while watching the Texas Rangers play the Minnesota Twins. For the first time in a month, my mind went limp. I had not had much time for feeling, but now I wondered why my enthusiasm was not as euphoric as my children’s for my new home.
As the ballgame announcer softly shared a player’s statistics, this thought came clearly into my mind – “Let your heart reside where your home is.” My eyes left my vision of the pitcher, batter, and catcher as I moved to the dining table to write down these words, all the while wondering where they had come from.
The next day as I read, “Let your heart reside where your home is,” I recalled the rental house on northwest 26th Street off Classen in Oklahoma City that was my home during the great depression and World War II (kindergarten through high school). I could visualize Mother, Daddy, Wallace, and me on Saturday morning gathered around the clothes wringer on a stand between two washtubs of water. I turned the handle on the wringer as fast as I could because I knew that the front yard softball game would soon begin.
Wallace, my year-older brother, Harriette, my year-younger sister, and I were in high school when Daddy died from a perforated ulcer. My siblings and I found half-day jobs during the school year. Mine was at the telephone company, and this employment continued through college in Norman.
After the war, my mother was able to buy a small brick house. My heart was warmed by Mother’s pride in her dollhouse home where she planted roses and pecan trees.
A fraternity house in Norman with two or three boys per room was my home for four years. This was followed for three years by a much smaller room with three tier bunk beds for junior officers aboard a navy destroyer during the Korean War.
After the navy, I returned to Wesley Methodist church, the church of my youth, to worship God and meet girls. I noticed across the Sunday school room a trim girl in a light blue chiffon dress that matched the blue of her eyes. Nelda and I were married and moved to a one-bedroom apartment in New Jersey where I worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories. My heart was warmed by the joys of marriage.
A couple of years later, Nelda and I bought a new home on twenty-third Street west of Sheridan in Tulsa. Seven years later we built a house on fifty-third street east of Sheridan when Paul was in the third grade and Mary Kim in the first grade. Here heart-warming memories accumulated for forty-eight years. Nelda’s early departure for heaven twenty-five years ago left me remembering alone. Still the memories were good. How could they not be when grandchildren Brett and Amy came to my house every Saturday to build things at my workbench in the garage?
My void when Brett and Amy moved to Texas was soon filled by volunteering to help with three- and four-year-olds in Asbury’s weekday preschool. This continued for seventeen years.
On June 26 I entered the final lap of my journey of life with a move to Crestwood. I suppose I should expect a little uneasiness from so much change despite the effort of family and friends to ease the transition. On Saturday night the Holy Spirit did His part by sharing, “Let your heart reside where your home is.”
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