It was the summer of 1930 when they met. She was a farm girl and he was a city boy. Their lives were worlds apart, as different as it was possible to be. The attraction was strong, as it has been said, “Opposites attract.”. The love they had for each other endured many years and much pain and sorrow, as well as joys.
Nin graduated from high school the summer of 1930 . She was preparing to go to nursing school in a nearby town. J.B. was the son of a business man in the biggest city in the state. He was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps after he graduated. But life has a way of changing the best laid plans of man.
J.B. was a handsome young man, sure of himself, or so it appeared. He liked a good time and he liked good looking girls. When he and Nin met, he was smitten. She was tall and slender, a sweet girl with soft, pretty blue eyes. Having been raised on the farm she knew how to work and was a great help to her folks.
Nin was the oldest of three children, her siblings a girl and a boy. The family was solid and respected in their community. They were church people with a reputation for being caring and helpful. J. B. on the other hand had lost his mother when he was fifteen years of age, his father had remarried and he soon found himself out of the house at sixteen because he butted heads with the new wife. He had two sisters, the oldest married right after high school and the younger sister still lived at home.
Moving in with a family who lived across the alley from his home, he became a full on rebel against the expectations of his father. America had come out of the Roaring Twenties and Carrie Nation had caused quite a stir resulting in a time of prohibition of alcohol; there were rumblings of war in Europe and Japan; America was in the throws of change. it was a very unsettled time, especially for the young.
J.B. and his friend Casey were like many young people of that day, heady and rebellious against authority, hence when a neighbor began making and selling “bathtub gin”, they were his delivery guys. Of course, in that process they both began to drink a little on the side.
That first summer after graduation J.B and Casey decided they wanted to have a little adventure, so they hopped a freight and headed south. Avoiding the railroad “Dicks”, whose job it was to get rid of freeloaders, provided many narrow escapes for them. When they returned home J.B. began to work for his dad at the shop.
J.B.’s Dad and his friend owned a shop that was called Crown Iron Works. J.B. learned to weld and he was very good at it. But, he was restless. He and Casey got involved with the Golden Gloves boxing organization, and while they never went very far with it, it put within J.B.a combativeness that never left him, he loved boxing
Nin was being courted by a young man from a neighboring town when J.B. came to work on the farm for the summer. From that point on she had no interest in her suitor. J.B. flirted with her, told her how pretty she was, all the while being careful not to do it under the watchful eye of her parents. He was a ladies man, and he liked having a good time. A little drink now and then with the guys in town didn’t hurt either.
Nin’s parents did not approve of the relationship with J. B. they told her that she knew nothing about alcohol, she had no exposure to it, it could create a lot of heartache. The warning was given because they saw danger ahead, but she would not listen. Their hopes were that she would forget about him as soon as she began her schooling, but it was not to be.
Summer ended and J.B. went back to the city to work at the shop and Nin began nursing school. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, the school closed its doors and Nin was left with a decision. Life took a dramatic turn for her.
She moved to the big city and began to work as a domestic for a wealthy family. It was hard work, but she was there and she began to see J.B. regularly. This began a relationship that ended in their marriage in 1937. Her parents were opposed to the marriage, warning her again about J.B.’s drinking, but she would not listen. She was in love.
A year after their marriage a little girl was born. She looked like her dad, people said. Her hair was dark, her blue eyes were large like her dad’s, and her little mouth drooped down at the corners. She looked like a doll in her pink satin dress. They were so happy. She was their joy.
What followed in the next years were times of elation and times of great pain for Nin, as J.B.’s addiction began to take a toll on the marriage. America was at war, the iron works was converted to serve the war effort, another child was born, a boy and then another girl.
Many times Nin took the train from the big city to the small country town, getting away from the pain of wages lost at the bar, other women and constant fighting over alcohol consumption. At the beginning, Nin had tried to go with him to the bar, she even tried to drink with him, but soon found she could not do it. The babies came, and though she would bring the two little ones with her to visit the couple at the bar, who had become friends, she came to the decision that she needed to be home caring for her children. She would threaten to divorce J.B. and leave only to return when he would beg her to come home and promising that he would change.
In the summer of 1946, the oldest girl went to live with her grandparents, she was 10 years of age at that time. It was very hard for Nin to let her go, though she felt it was the right thing to do as she was a sensitive child and struggled with the fighting between her and J.B.
In 1947 the family moved to a town that was close to the farm where Nin was raised, here she had the support of her family, the help of her mother and she would be able to see her daughter. J.B. promised to quit drinking and was sober for two years. It was good during that time. However, it didn’t last.
A neighbor kept pestering J.B. to have “just one drink J.B, it won’t hurt!” Just one drink opened the flood gates and as the years passed the problem worsened. There were four more children born, a girl, two boys and another girl, the youngest was a down’s syndrome child who died when she was nine years old.
Alcoholism is a terrible master, it destroys not only the life of the victim, but the lives of the victim’s family. It has been written that “no man is an island” and where alcoholism is concerned that is certainly true.
The youngest child was still a toddler when the family was being served by the state welfare society. At this point J.B. was not able to hold down a job because of his acute alcoholism. A case worker came to the home and demanded that a choice be made as they could no longer support the family while J.B. was in the house. The ultimatum was divorce him and we will continue to assist you or if you chose to stay with him we can place the children in foster care.
At this point, one of the daughters and her husband brought Nin to the courthouse and divorce proceedings were begun.
Nin continued to live in the town and with the help of the welfare department and her mother she managed to raise the children. It wasn’t an easy life. When the two youngest were still at home she went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant. She continued at this job after they left home. Eventually Nin was to live with each of her three girls before she died.
The children grew up, met their spouses and began their lives in that area. That is, all but the oldest daughter. She moved to Colorado, then to California where she met her husband, eventually moving back to the big city.
J.B. moved to North Dakota after the divorce, where he eventually remarried. He was divorced by his second wife and was talking about remarrying her when she died. During this time he and Nin met at the home of a son who lived in North Dakota. All of this was too much for J.B. He went back home and went on a two week binge.
It was at this point that the manifest intervention of God began. I am the oldest girl of this family. I write this blog.
I received a call from my brother in North Dakota that our Dad was in the hospital and I needed to come. I picked up my sister on the way and when we arrived what we found was very unsettling. The doctor was pressing us to make a decision about what to do with Dad. We did not know that he had cancer and was on tranquilizers when he binged out, the result of that was immediate senility dementia.
The doctor wanted us to put him in an institution and advised us to do so, he told us to forget about him. Dad’s reputation in that town was not good, and to the doctor he had no value. However, that was not God’s opinion; He does not throw people away, if only someone will care and believe He will rescue them. At this point, the only one in the family who belonged to the family of God, besides me, was my next youngest sister; we went into Dad’s room and closed the door. We knelt down by his bed and prayed; we begged God for mercy, we asked for his salvation and for direction. It came.
I called my husband and asked him if we could take Dad to live with us. His immediate answer was, “Yes”. God bless him!
If you don’t believe in God, if you don’t believe that God exists, I pray that “the rest of the story” will convince you as you see the miracle of healing that God did in my Dad.
My husband and our two sons lived in the big city, our house was a four level split. There were three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, the main level was the living room and kitchen, half of the next level was above ground the other half underground; it had a bedroom and bath and a family room, below that was a basement.
I will never forget the day the brothers brought Dad to our home. They brought him and his meager possessions into the house. He was prattling on and on about things that made no sense whatever, it seemed his mind was on stuff that happened many years ago. He had no idea where he was and could not relate to us in a meaningful way. He was gone.
I stood in the kitchen and said, “Dear Lord what have I done?” This answer came, “All things are possible, only believe.”
The days and years that followed were filled with many fights against the enemy of my soul to disbelieve the word of the Lord, but I chose to believe and I saw the wonderful works of God.
The first stand that I had to take was against conventional and professional wisdom. I took Dad to the doctor for a check up shortly after he came to live with us. When the tests came back that the cancer was in remission, it was a happy day. Dad was a smoker, the doctor warned, “You can’t have him live with you, he will burn down your house. You need to institutionalize him.” I said, “No, I have angels that will watch over him, that will not happen.”
My Dad could swear like a sailor. He cursed just about anything or anyone. This was the next stand I had to take. Many times a day at the beginning, I would go to a place in the house where I could take my stand against that spirit and demand that it get out of my house. It had to yield to the name of Jesus and it did. My home became a curse free zone.
Several years later we moved to another state, which happened to be a dry state, a real blessing because when we lived in the big city Dad would say, “I am going for a walk.” he would stand outside trying to figure out how he could get to the liquor store he had seen on the way home from shopping that day. The Lord told me to take different ways home so he could not figure out how to get there. I prayed confusion many times when he would set out for a walk and I would see him turn around and come back.
Gradually, Dad became more and more cognizant. The healing of his mind was not a sudden thing, but rather a gradual progression. It came to pass that I could converse with him as I would with anyone. He read the newspaper and was interested in current affairs.
One of the things he loved was books about the west, cowboys etc. There was a bookstore in town that sold used books, you could return what you read and get more. He would go through a grocery bag of “westerns” every two weeks or so. He watched T.V. while he lay in bed and was generally a joy to have around. He appreciated good food.
I talked with him about his life, because I was not raised up in his household I knew little about him. It was God’s plan for me to be with my grandparents as a child, but it was also God’s plan for me to be with my Dad in the last years of his life. I thank God for both.
Since we lived in a “dry” town there was no concern about Dad getting alcohol. You will witness the fact that the spirit does not leave a person even if they do not have access to the substance, even if years have gone by. Spirits must be resisted or they will not leave. The evident truth in the story I will tell you next illustrates my point. It is funny, but true.
One day Dad asked me to get some Nyquil for him as he was having a little congestion and thought that might help. A second bottle was bought as well, by the third request I began to suspect something “fishy” was going on. When I read the label and saw the alcohol content, I laughed. Yet how sad that the thirst is still there even though it is not satisfied, and if there is a possibility of getting a drink the spirit of alcohol will drive the person to do so at any cost. I recall my grandmother telling about hired men who, when they would get desperate, would drink the wood alcohol from the tractor, which could be deadly.
Another time I had to return an item I had purchased at a mall nearby. He asked if he could go with me and that was fine. He quite often would go with me shopping. I did have to be careful about saying I liked anything though, as he would want to buy it for me. He told me that I was the dearest thing on earth to him. Interesting, as there were times over the years when I would be with him, when there was anything but love coming from him towards me. I know now that this was not my Dad, but the spirit of the enemy that controlled him.
Anyway, I didn’t think anything of his asking to go with me. I should have though because the mall was not in a dry town. When we got to the store he asked if he could wait for me on the bench just outside the store, and as I knew I would only be gone for a few minutes I said yes. When I returned Dad was not sitting on the bench. Looking to my right I saw him coming out of a bar restaurant wiping his mouth. The alcohol spirit is a thirsty devil!
After a few years Dad began to get sick. The doctor confirmed that the cancer was active and aggressively moving. At this point there was nothing they could do. I was concerned about Dad’s spiritual condition. He didn’t want me to talk with him about that, so I respected his wishes, but I prayed. God marvelously answered my prayer by sending his sister who had prayed for her dear brother since her own conversion. It was fitting that she should be the one who would lead him to the Lord she loved.
I called Mother and asked if she would be willing to come and help me care for Dad as the cancer was taking its toll on his body.
I had friends that were nurses at the local hospital and they were able, for a time, to give him shots to keep him comfortable. Mom took days to care for him and I took nights. When the time came where the pain was too strong and narcotics were needed, I had to place him in a nursing home. I hated to do that, but I had no choice.
Mother and I would go to be with him twice a day until he started sleeping most of the time. There were some poignant moments during that time as my parents interacted with each other. I could see the love they had for each other. I shall never forget the day when Mother asked Dad if he felt bad about what had happened during their marriage. He hung his head down and said, “Yes.” She patted his hand and said, “That’s okay Daddy, I forgive you.” Restoration is a beautiful thing.
Mother and I would come into Dad’s room, kiss him on the top of his bald head and tell him we loved him, he would almost always tell Mom to ask me to take him home. It broke my heart that I had to have him there. Now that I am older myself I can begin to imagine how he felt. The native people have a saying something like you should walk a mile in my moccasins; Identifying with people can be an eye opener.
J.B. died and was buried next to his youngest daughter in the city where the children were raised. Several years later Nin died and was buried next to her husband. Together at last in Heaven, they await the rest of the family. Hopefully, it won’t be long.
I hope that my parents story, though in abbreviated form, has caused you to ponder your own life story. God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. Our part is to yield, submit and surrender to Him. A proud man will not do so. Neither will the proud man inherit Heaven.
Consider the words of the Lord: “He who comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”. And this word: “Who (God) would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”. And finally this word: “Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden (loaded) and I will give you rest.”.
Jesus is the answer, but you have to ask the right question.
I am thankful Father God for my husband, our sons and their families, I am thankful for my parents, my siblings, my grand-parents, my aunts, uncles and cousins, I am thankful for all of the people who have been a part of my life, who have influenced me whether negatively or positively. All of them have helped to make me who I am today. Bless the memory of those who have gone home and bless those who are still here on planet earth. Thank you Lord! Amen!
I love you Lord!