Upon graduation from high school in May, 1938, I entered my “footloose” years. That continued until I 2was nearly 25 years of age.
Although I had felt the call to pastoral ministry for some time, I remember being up town in Nortonville with the empty feeling of, “There do I go from here?” Before long my focus returned to going to college in preparation for ministry. Two problems had to be faced: Dad needed my help and did not want me to leave the farm; and I needed finances to attend college. With brother, Merlin’s, intervention, we reached agreement that I would stay on the farm until financially able to go to college.
This led to a kind of “treading water,’ from late May of 1938 until January, 1940. Charles and I were a team, carrying the heavier duties, as Dad’s health was declining. The two of us made a good team, sometimes giving way to youthful escapades, but generally working hard. That time strengthened our brotherly bonds, a closeness that has remained through the years. So, “seedtime and harvest” continued through 1938 and 1939.
I became known during that time as the “tar bucket,” meaning that I was the only one of my age who was not dating regularly. The week days were generally taken up with work. Sabbath days were respite and blessing, also a time of worship and of socializing with cousin Winston and friends of the church. One special event was a youth conference at our church in August, 1938. It also marked a break in the drought years, as a severe storm with heavy rain came during it. The fresh smell of rain and earth still stands out in my memory.
Finally, in 1940, I decided it was time to leave home for college. I had agreed with Dad to help through the harvest in fall, 1940. That harvest was memorable because it was the best crop in years, and for the camaraderie built with Charles husking corn day-after-day.
I enrolled in Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois for the second semester, which began in January, 1941. I chose Wheaton because it was a well-known Christian college. As January came, I was confused over my eagerness for the new experience, yet realizing that I was leaving home.
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