An interesting thing happened on the way to refinish a dresser, we discovered a family we didn’t know. Let me explain. We have a used dresser that we purchased after we moved to Lynden, and Kathy wanted to refinish it. As she took it apart, in one of the drawers under the liner was a potpourri of memories from the family that last owned it. There was a silhouette profile of a little girl named Ann made in 1966 at Disneyland. She was eleven. There was the “King’s Herald” magazine from King’s Garden in Seattle dated July 1961. There were three cards, one get well, one Mother’s Day and one thank you. There was a poem about Thanksgiving written by Kelli in 1974. There were six personal letters, eight photos, and one receipt for a used gramophone dated 1972. There were five newspaper clippings and two Western Union telegrams congratulating David and Norma on their wedding day dated February 5th, 1942.
Quite a collection!
Our first hint as to who owned the dresser was that written on the back of it was “Sept. 1960, Norma.” Now we had the wedding telegrams for her and Dave from 1942 so obviously this was their family dresser and memories. The letters revealed Norma’s maiden name to be and that she and Dave once lived in Bellevue. We also surmised that they had three children, Louis, Steven and Ann. We learned that they were members of the Swedish Tabernacle Church. I’m assuming that the “King’s Herald” was a publication connected with their denomination.
Of the letters, three were from the children to Dave and Norma. Louis wrote in February of 1964 from College. Evidently his parents were unhappy with him about something and he explained why he hadn’t been home in a while because he felt disconnected from the family. I wonder what he meant. I did some research and found his obituary. He passed away in 2011 “into the arms of his higher power.” I am assuming that he was connected with A.A. because of the use of the term “higher power” and by the fact that after his retirement he worked in the chemical dependency field. According the obituary he was sober for the last twenty eight years of his life! Steve wrote home in September of 1967 from Hong Kong where he was serving with the military. We learned from Louis’ obituary that Steve had passed away earlier, but we don’t know how or why. Then we have a letter from their daughter Ann writing from Alexandria Louisiana dated June 1976. Evidently she and her husband are on vacation.
So laying before us was the remnant memories of a family. I found Norma’s obituary on line. A few words to summarize a life: Norma Age 89 of Mercer Is. passed into the arms of the Lord at Covenant Shores on Oct. 2, 2010. Norma was born Aug 4, 1921 in Selah WA. Retired from the Bellevue School Dist. Food Service, she was a longtime member of Highland Covenant Church. She was famous for her Swedish rye & cardamon bread. Norma was preceded in death by husband Dave and son Steve. We would like to thank the staff at Covenant Shores for their care and support.
I was able to find Ann’s Facebook account and sent her a message that we had all of these bits of memories from her mom and wondered if she wanted them back. We have had no response so far, but it may be that she actually doesn’t go on Facebook.
So I wonder about this family. Are they still connected? It bothered me that in Louis’s obituary nothing was said about his mom or dad, brother or sister, only his immediate family. I wonder why? I wonder do they still have faith? Do David and Norma’s grandchildren and children have faith in Jesus? I wonder!
This was just a reminder to me of how important it is that we pass our faith along to the next generation. Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The key here is what does it mean to “train up?” That same word in the Hebrew is often translated “dedicate.” When we dedicate something we give it over, we give up ownership. It seems to me that the thought here is more than just following rules and dictating lifestyle, it seems to be giving over our children to God and modeling true faith before them. Deuteronomy 4:9 helps us here. “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.”
When we get to Deuteronomy 6:6-7 we have similar exhortation. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
We need to live out our faith before our children and grandchildren! It only takes one generation for faith to be lost, and we are seeing it happen before our eyes. Did it happen to the family whose memories we stumbled on? I hope not, but the discovery and the process of trying to find them reminded me of how precious faith and family are.