The Story of Our Childhood
by the Children of
Donald Graham Dick and Bertha May Neisinger Dick"



The tiny wooden shack on the edge of the forest outside the town of Shelton, Washington, looked peaceful as the evening shadows grew long.  Warm light shone out of the windows onto the dirt rode that ran beside the house.  The tall evergreen trees all around looked dark and forbidding in the growing darkness, but the light and the smoke rising from the chimney of the small house made it seem like a cozy haven.


Inside the house, however, there was sorrow.  The house had only one room, and in the middle of the room was a wooden chair on which sat a small but husky young man who was crying.  His pretty wife stood beside him trying to comfort him, even though she too was grieving.  I was there also that day, observing their grief, for that young couple was my father and mother, Donald and Bertha Dick.  I was 4 years old at the time, and my little sister, Sharon, was only 1 year old, but that scene was indelibly written on my mind.


The year was 1947.  Daddy had just been discharged from the army because of  his asthma.  When he was still in the army in California, a doctor had given them the news that he would probably die within six months because of his severe asthma.  Now he was without work or any money for expensive treatment.  Though short in stature, only 5 feet 6 inches, he had always been a strong and healthy man and had worked at many different jobs which required physical strength.  He had been a farmer, a carpenter, a logger, and a mechanic.  Now he could do none of them.  My grandparents, Grandpa and Grandma Dick to me, who lived in a two-room shack a little ways down the road, had allowed us to live in this little shack in the woods.  The doctor said that the only hope for help for Daddy was to get special injections to help him develop a resistance to the allergins that triggered his asthma.  Somehow they managed to get enough money to pay for the injections and the doctor in Shelton started the allergy shots.  But Daddy didn't get better like they had hoped because of the pulp mill that belched out so much sulpher into the air.  In fact, he kept getting worse.


Unknown to my parents, God also saw that scene in the little house and He had a plan.  Grandma Dick had a friend, Mrs. Moore, who lived in a big house in Seattle with her husband and son.  Somehow she learned about Daddy’s situation, and invited our whole family to come and visit her for a few days so he could get medical treatment.  Soon we were settled into her guest room and Mrs. Moore became Grandma Moore to my sister and me.  Although she was blind, she took good care of us.  Mother helped her with the cooking and housekeeping.   


Sometimes in the afternoons and evenings, my parents and Grandma Moore would sit in her living room and visit.  I remember it was a comfortable room with big soft chairs and couch, but without a lot of light.  Maybe that was because light didn’t really matter to Grandma Moore since she was blind.  She said that the only color she could see was red, and that only vaguely.  She liked it when I wore my red dress.  


I don’t know all that they talked about during those days.  I preferred going outside and playing in the yard.  It was especially fun to balance and walk on top of the narrow cement wall that ran along the front and side of the yard.  Inside the house, Grandma Moore decided that every day she would read to Mother and Daddy.  “How could she read when she was blind?” you might ask.  She read with her fingers from a special Braille Bible for the blind.  She would pass her fingers over raised bumps on the page. The bumps were organized in different combinations to represent letters and then put together to form words in the same way that our letters form words.  In this way she could read the Bible. 


Each day as they read, Grandma Moore would explain to Mother and Daddy some of the wonderful things that God was saying in His Bible.  They were things that they had never heard before.  When Mother was growing up, her family never went to church.  In fact, her father would not let them listen to anyone preaching on the radio.  “Turn that off!”  he would yell as soon as he heard a preacher’s voice.  Church had never been very important in Daddy’s family, either, so when they were married, they didn’t think about going to church.  However, when I was born, they decided that having a Bible would be good.  They bought one and put my name in it.  They even started reading it, but soon they came to many lists of names, and they didn’t want to read any more. 


What Mrs. Moore read, though, was not a boring list of names.  It was an amazing story about God’s great power and glory in creating the whole universe and all living things, including humans.   It was a beautiful story of God’s loving care of his creation.  It was a sad story of the first man and woman’s disobedience, and how their sin brought a curse on the whole earth.  My parents learned that they too suffered from the effects of that curse, because the Bible said that everyone on earth is a sinner and the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God in hell.  Finally, Grandma Moore read to them the wonderful love story of how God sent Jesus to take our punishment for us.  Since He is perfect and holy, He did not need to die for his own sin.  But because He loved us, he was willing to give His life to die on the cross so that we could live with Him forever in Heaven.  What love!


Mother and Daddy were amazed.  They had never heard the story of God’s love before and had many questions.  Grandma Moore thought it would be good if they could read for themselves some of the answers from the Bible.  They certainly couldn’t read her Braille Bible, so she called a friend, Margaret Nelson, who knew and loved the Lord, to come and talk to them.  Mrs. Nelson explained again to them what God had done in providing salvation for anyone who would believe and accept Jesus as their own personal Savior from sin.  She showed them verses in the Bible to read so they could see for themselves.  Then she asked them, “Are you ready to accept Jesus as your own personal Savior?”


“Yes, we are,” they replied.  So she showed them how to pray and confess their own sin to God and their need of a Savior, to tell Him that they believe in Him, and then to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior.  What rejoicing there was in that house that day, and what rejoicing in Heaven, because these two had become part of the family of God!

After a few days we all went back to Shelton, but eventually we had to move away from the pulp laden air.  In February of the following year we moved to Lilliwaup near Hoodsport.  After that we moved to Seattle.  Grandma Moore again took us in  for about six weeks until we were able to move into our little house on 8th Ave in White Center.   It took a few more months before Daddy was well enough to work, but Grandpa Dick helped them with a down payment for the house and monthly payments until Daddy was well again.  Finally the cleaner air and the allergy injections my father received helped his body to recuperate, and he began to feel much better.  He continued to have periodic bouts of asthma, but never as bad as those first months, and he lived for at least another 45 years.  Looking back I can see that God had allowed this difficult situation in our lives so that my parents would need help.  Grandma Moore was obedient to God’s prompting to take them into her home, and God used her to tell them of His wonderful plan for their lives.

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