Our second ministry, nearly full time, was at the Meridian Church of Christ in Meridian, Idaho, starting in the fall of 1953. At the same time, Chuck taught at Boise Bible College just twenty miles away. The school was small and had very little income, so it was imperative for the professors to have other work. Therefore, Chuck preached at Meridian, and we lived in the parsonage. We enjoyed our ministry there, and we sponsored the young people, too. We had an excellent youth group there. Besides that, I taught Bible School on the age level of our own children. Our oldest was Nancy, three years old, Ron was two and Kenny was one year old. When we first moved there, Kenny was only six months old, and he was a very happy baby.
We enjoyed our children tremendously. When Kenny was only about six months old, though, he bit me as he was in the process of nursing. I noticed the little twinkle in his eyes as he did it. He thought it was funny when I said, “Ouch!” Although I tried to get him to stop that practice, he wouldn’t, so even though I hated to do it, I stopped breast-feeding and put him on a bottle. We had a bottle during the day we could give our babies, though Kenneth didn’t like this arrangement.
However, because I couldn’t take the pain his bites were giving me, he was forced to take the bottle from that time on. Whenever I would come near, he would want to have a feeding, but I couldn’t give it to him, so I began to stay away from him as much as possible so he would be able to get over that desire as soon as possible. It took a long time to happen, though, and besides that, it was very painful. When he would cry, my breasts had a tendency to fill more than normally, so even though he wasn’t drinking from me, it was painful. I had to express the milk from them in order not to have them be so tender, though that made it just take that much longer to go dry.
We had a little dog that was just a tiny puppy. We kept him in the house because it was too cold outside. One day we saw something on the floor near the potty chair that we kept by the oil heater in the living room. It looked like urine. We asked Nancy if she did that, but she said, “No, Ronnie did it!” When we asked Ronnie if he did it, he said, “Oh, no, Kenny did it!” But Kenny was just as quick to come back with the retort, “No! Doggy did it!”
At night we put the children to bed at a certain time. We said our prayers with each one of them, one by one by their bedsides. They would say after us, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take. God bless Daddy, God bless Mommy, God bless Nancy, God bless Ronnie, and God bless Kenny y y y y y eeeeeeeeee!” This last word ended up being in a very high screechy voice, and we ended up laughing and giggling and tickling the children. This was a very special time in our lives.
In the morning, when we had the time, the children got into bed with us. We had a set of books called The Book of Life. The first one of these was for little children and had good stories they loved to hear and then to read themselves as they grew older. This was another special time I remember we had with the children at Meridian.
When it was their birthdays, we took them to a park in Boise, even though it might be quite a cold day. There were small merry-gorounds there, slides and other things they loved to play on. Then we would have a picnic and enjoy playing games, laughing and running, and pushing them on the swings and round and round on the merrygo- round. We ended up with opening their birthday gifts, which were not really all that much expense-wise, but they were fun-type things just for kids.
One Christmas when we were there, Ron got sick with a fairly high fever. We didn’t really know what it was he had, but we put him in his little bed which we took out into the living room so he could be in on the fun with the rest of the family. His little face was all red from the fever, and he looked quite peaked as he tried to have fun but just wasn’t up to it. At least, he was there and was “in on it,” and that was what counted right then. They got some fine gifts given to them by people in the Meridian church. One was a nice little blue table and chair set, and another was a very sturdy wooden hobby-horse that was made and painted by one of the men, Merritt Thomas. It would hold at least two children, and they loved that hobby-horse for many years to come.
Before Christmas, we had made green and red bright shiny, colorful pieces of paper into Christmas trees and decorations to put up on the walls; so with those, plus the little Christmas tree we put up, we had a very special day. The oil heater was at one end of the living room near the entrance to the kitchen, and we had a wooden clothes drying rack right beside it to get clothing dried that wouldn’t dry outside, so it was a different type of a Christmas from what we had later on in years when we lived in Southern California. But it was our home, and we had a great time together. We had fun making popcorn strands to lace around the tree, eating some of the popcorn along the way.
At Valentines’ Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving, we made colorful creations to put up on the walls and in the windows. It was always fun to work on these with the children even though they could only do a certain amount. They liked making cookies, too, and pressing different cutters into the dough to make various forms of cookies. In fact, on days that weren’t holidays, but they had to be inside because it was just too cold out-of-doors, the children played with pots and pans that we kept in a given drawer in the kitchen that was “their” drawer to play with. It didn’t really take much to make them happy and keep them occupied in those days.
Chuck would preach in Meridian and then go back and forth to Boise to teach at the Bible College during the week, two classes at a time. The elders seemed to like him and the church was growing. Chuck was the choir director, too, as in Zillah, and did a good job of it. Then something happened. Right while we were having a very happy, growing period in the church, we had a young couple come to us who wanted to be married. I don’t remember if it was the man or the woman, but one of them was not a Christian. So, as much as they wanted Chuck to marry them, he wouldn’t do so because it would not be a marriage according to the scriptures, citing this Bible verse: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) The families were both very upset about this, but it was something that was a part of Chuck’s makeup to not go against the scriptures in anything he did, so he could not marry this young couple. Because of that, the couple and their families made life hard on us as minister and his family, and little by little, the church began to dwindle in numbers, including the young people’s group and every other group in the church. We were really sorry to see this happen. We tried to think of a way to fix the situation, but we couldn’t. So we decided it would be best if we would just leave, rather than to allow things to go downhill even more.
At the same time that this was happening, we realized Chuck’s situation at Boise Bible College was less than perfect. His bachelor’s degree was from a non-accredited school, SJBC, so he didn’t really add any prestige to the faculty at Boise. We wanted him to be a prestigious asset to any college where he might want to teach. Therefore, we began to think about his returning to school to get an accredited degree. We also felt he should attend graduate school. However, when he investigated, he found that since his degree at San Jose Bible College was not accredited, he would have to start all over again at another school to get an accredited degree.
Why not start over again at a place where we already felt at home? After living in Meridian, Idaho for two years, we moved back to San Jose, where Chuck started back to school at San Jose State College.