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I Believe God Put Us Together – 4

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is more about my late wife.

In 1989 Billie had a major heart attack while we were on a trip, which I have chronicled in another story, God Is in Control. We nearly lost her twice that day. Four hours after they put her in the Cardiac Care Unit, she flat-lined while I was visiting with her. Bells began ringing and the nurses ran me out as they rolled the electric paddles into the room. I went to the waiting room with tears in my eyes. I thought I had just lost her. I was selfish and begged God to keep her alive.

Within minutes, a nurse came to the waiting room calling me by name. She told me that Billie was okay and they had not used the electric paddles. She had recovered on her own. I thanked God. I still thank Him daily for the time I had with her.

Many times after that incident, Billie talked about the attendants saying that she was dying. She could hear them, but could not say anything. She said that she was not scared. She was not worried about dying because she knew where she was going – to Heaven!

Following the heart attack, Billie’s doctor told us that with care and medication, we would have another five to ten years together. We had quite a bit longer, but still not long enough. I am still selfish.

Billie became an insulin-dependent diabetic during the year following her heart attack. Before long, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Part of her heart muscle was killed during the heart attack. Over the years, more of her heart muscle died until the last year of her life, she was down below 30-percent heart function. A pacemaker/defibrillator was installed when her heart function went below 35 percent.

In early 2000, we were at a relative’s 50th Anniversary and one of my sisters reminded her that our 50th would be coming up in five years. I overheard Billie tell my sister that we probably would not make our 50th because of her health. That year, I made a big deal of celebrating our 45th Anniversary. Five years later, we also celebrated our 50th Anniversary.

As her health continued to degenerate, I became her caregiver. Each year began requiring more care. Billie even said a few times during her last year that she never dreamed that I would care for her as I had. I always told her that I had taken a vow, ‘in sickness and in health,’ and I meant it. I tried to keep her going as long as I could. I wanted to keep her with me forever.

She finally became weak enough that her heart just quit, right in front of me. The last words from her mouth were, “I just felt an electric shock,” as her pacemaker/defibrillator tried to restart her heart. But, her heart was too weak and it did not restart. I still see that scene in my mind over and over.

She had changed my life completely, from someone with no thoughts of marriage or a family of my own when I was 21 years old to her husband for over 56 years, with a large family of four children, 13 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

As in all marriages, we had our good times and bad times, but we worked at it and stayed together. I loved her dearly and still do. I miss her so much. I told her I loved her many times a day. Once a man at work heard me say, “I love you” just before I hung up from talking to her on the phone. He asked how many times a day I said that and I replied, “Every time I talk to her.” He asked me why I said it so often. I told him that some day, one of us would be gone and I wanted her to know that one of the last things I had said to her was, “I love you.”

I have written many stories about our lives together, living in a three-room shack in the Bahama Islands, etc. We had a fantastic life together. I have many wonderful memories, some of which I have written about. There are more stories still to write. 

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I Believe God Put Us Together – 3

I Believe God Put Us Together – 3.

I Believe God Put Us Together – 3

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is more about my late wife.

I could not stand being away from Billie, but the company and government did not support families downrange. I found us a one-room camping trailer with a two-room cabana added on, located on the beach only 100 yards from the high tide mark. We had to live with kerosene lamps, a hand-pump for water and an outhouse. Of course, Billie had lived that way growing up as I had also. She did learn to meet strangers because I was working such odd hours tracking missiles.

I took her home to Oklahoma to have our third child and brought her and the children back a few months later. Before any of the children were old enough for school, I transferred to an uprange job as a technical writer. We moved into Florida near Cape Canaveral.

I began traveling to various downrange sites periodically as a technical writer. I was traveling almost 50-percent of the time. Billie had to learn how to do all of the grocery shopping and take care of everything by herself, which she did very proficiently.

Billie was very athletic. We took up bowling and both of us became coach/instructors in the junior bowling program. We were also active in the Scouting programs and Little League baseball. We continued actively working with children in various activities for many years.

We had our fourth child while in Florida. We had three sons and a daughter by the time Billie was 25 and I was 28.

RCA moved us to Goddard Space Flight Center, near Washington, DC. I left RCA after one year on that job. I worked more than 12 years for RCA on various contracts around the country.

We then moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area where I took a job with LTV, the airplane manufacturer in Grand Prairie. The moving van burned on the way to Dallas and totaled us out. We had to start all over again. By this time, Billie had adapted and took everything in stride. She began shopping for a place to live and garage sales to outfit our place until the insurance settlement. She had really come a long way from the shy, sharecroppers’ daughter I married.

I continued traveling for business quite often while at LTV and Billie had to take care of everything herself. She became a very independent person and could handle almost anything that came up. After 11 years at LTV, I quit and began contracting my services as a technical writer. The 12 years I had worked for RCA had been on various government contracts. Billie liked it better when I contracted because she said I did not bring my job home. I contracted most of the time until I retired.

I Believe God Put Us Together – 2

I Believe God Put Us Together – 2.

I Believe God Put Us Together – 2

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is more about my late wife.

Not only was Billie a beautiful lady, but she was a wonderful person. She bears a distinction that few people today have. She was born in a tent on her grandparent’s farm. Her parents were helping the grandparents and there was no room in the small house, so they lived in a tent in the yard.

Billie was very much like her father, who was one of the finest men I ever met, although uneducated. Her parents were sharecroppers in western Oklahoma. Billie began driving a tractor at a young age and could do anything on the farm that a boy or man would normally do. Her father could repair almost anything mechanical and Billie always helped him.

Although, she could do just about anything on the farm, one task she really hated was chopping cotton. She also did not help cook in the kitchen, another sister helped their mother with the cooking. But, she became a good cook after we married. She taught herself how to sew on her mother’s treadle sewing machine. She became an excellent seamstress. She made much of the clothing we wore, including some of my suits and sport coats.

When we first married, she did not like to go into the grocery store without me. She did not like meeting new people. We took our laundry back home each weekend and she washed our clothes with her mother. They had to draw water from a well, heat it and use an old wringer-type Maytag washing machine in the yard. She would not take our laundry to the laundry room at the apartment where we lived. A few times I took our laundry to a local Laundromat by myself.

I was working at FortSill as a radar instructor. When RCA lost that contract, I accepted a transfer to Grand BahamaIsland as a computer/data handling systems technician tracking missiles. I moved Billie and our two children to an apartment next door to her uncle and aunt in Dallas. Her parents had also moved to Dallas a few months earlier.

I Believe God Put Us Together

I Believe God Put Us Together.

I Believe God Put Us Together

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is about my late wife. I was gone for a few days so did not post.

I wrote this story shortly after Billie died. The story tells about the life-changing event of meeting this young lady.

Sometimes an event happens that is life-changing. Such an event happened on March 20, 1955 that was a life-changing day for me.

I was in the Navy for nearly four years and fully intended to make it a career. I loved the Navy. Dad did not want me to re-enlist, but I intended to re-enlist anyway. About two weeks before my scheduled discharge date, I was unexpectedly sent from my squadron to a receiving center for discharge. I told the Chief that I wanted to re-enlist and return to my squadron. I loved my job in the squadron and the fact that we spent six months in the U.S. and six months overseas each year. I was seeing the world.

When I started to sign the re-enlistment papers, I found out I was scheduled to go aboard an aircraft carrier that was leaving a west coast port in a few days. The Chief told me that the carriers were shorthanded and everyone currently re-enlisting was being assigned to carriers, on both coasts. I said that if I had to go aboard a carrier, send me to the east coast. When the Chief said that his job was to outfit the carriers on the west coast, I took my discharge and went home.

I planned to spend a couple of months at home, travel to the east coast and re-enlist. By shipping out on an east coast carrier, I hoped to see Europe and meet some pretty French, Italian and Spanish women. At that time, my hopes were to have a girl in every port.

I arrived home Sunday afternoon, March 20, 1955. Dad was the pastor of a small rural Baptist Church in western Oklahoma. That night at church, Mom introduced me to a young lady and her family. She was one of the prettiest girls I had ever met. A week later, we began dating and were together almost everyday after that.

I realized within a few days that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this pretty lady. I was not interested in just a few dates; I wanted to be with her forever. We married just over three months after meeting. I never went back in the Navy.