Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20


Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Dad's story - Peter Voran, part 1

My father, Peter Willard Voran, was born on a farm in 1923 in Castleton Township, Reno county.   He was named Peter after his paternal grandfather who died when his father was only 7 years old.  

Grandpa Carl, Aunt Helen, Dad, Aunt Millie, Grandma Martha

He had 2 older sisters and 2 younger sisters; Helen, Mildred, Mary and Betty.  His mother says that he didn’t begin to speak until he about 2 years old.
He was sometimes called Petey, but they often just called him Boy.  His mother  had wanted to name him Willard but Grandpa Carl didn’t like that name.  She still called him Willard, not Peter, but he wouldn’t answer to that name, so she began to call him “Boy.”  And that became his nickname.
Grandpa Carl was very strict.  He had a razor strap that he used.  It was often  used on him because he teased his sisters and  because he did not do what he was told to do.  However, Dad remembers getting it a couple of times when he didn’t deserve it and blamed the sisters for lying about something he did.  At dinner time, he sat on his father’s right side.  He says he would get his ear pulled for being naughty.  Pretty soon they noticed one ear getting longer so they set him on the other side.
They moved to Pretty Prairie for a couple of years to help out an uncle at the hardware store and this is where my dad first attended school.  (below front right)

After they moved back to the farm, he and his sisters would walk 1 ½ miles down the road to the Zion country school, a one room school house with about 30 kids.  (below, front in the middle; 4th from left)
During the war, Germans were hated and my Aunt Millie remembers having tomatoes thrown at them.  Our relatives spoke German, having immigrated from Prussia in 1874. Grandpa Carl said it was time to learn the English language and speak it in the home.  
Their house was a one story home with 3 bedrooms on the main floor.  He slept in the basement.  They didn’t have a bathroom.  The toilet was outside and it was really cold in the winter.  They kept their house warm with a coal furnace.  They used kerosene lights and candles, then gas carbide for lighting the home.  When he was in high school, they finally got electricity.
They had 8 cattle to milk and they butchered chickens daily.  Dad learned to drive the tractor really young.   They had lots of chores.  They milked the cows, morning and evening.  All the children would milk the cows together.   They had to clean the chicken house every Saturday.  They mowed the lawn and pulled weeds in the summer.  And they had to take turns doing the dishes.  He did not enjoy doing the dishes. He remembers hiding once in a while to get away from doing things.  

A funny side note to that:  when he attended Shalom Church, he and mom served on the kitchen committee and Dad did many dishes!!  And he did the dishes for Mom regularly too!
Grandpa Carl always told him to clean up his dish whether he liked it or not.  He learned to like most anything, except cabbage.  A favorite dish was his mother’s Russian beet borscht made with red beets, green beans and potatoes.
Saturday was clean the house, polish the shoes for church, and take a bath day.  They took a bath in a tin tub in the kitchen. 


Growing up, my dad played with lots of cousins who lived in the Arlington and Pretty Prairie area.   They enjoyed roller skating at the community rink or on the ponds in the area.  In the summer they would swim in the rivers and ponds around the area.  They enjoyed hide and seek, hide the hankie, andi over and many games.  They made many make believe toys and played with sling shots.  He got his first bicycle in the 7th grade.
There was no tv but he remembers when they got their first radio.  Their favorite program was Fibber Magee and Mollie, the Long Ranger, Jack Armstrong and the All – American Boy.
They had lots of cats and dogs and a pony for a while.  One dog got run over by a car.  Another time a neighbor came over and claimed that their dog was killing his sheep so he shot him, right there in the front yard.

During the depression they got 5 cents to spend.  They were told not to spend it all in one place so they would buy candy for a penny or penny pencils.  They could buy an ice-cream cone for 5 cents, bubblegum was a penny.  Candy bars were 3 for 10 cents.  They would save their money and go to the movies for 10 cents, or to the Fox theatre in Hutch for 25 cents.  There were 4 movie houses in Hutch at that time.  They enjoyed cowboy movies and the cartoons too.  
Besides farming, they had a mechanic shop and their own Texaco station right there on the farm.  Dad often would deliver gas to farms when he turned 17.  Even the girls would help pump gas.  They gave that up at the start of WW2.  There was too much bookwork, but they always did keep the repair shop.


My father was accident prone.  One time around the age of 6, he wanted to be smart  and show the kids how a cat will always fall on its feet.  He went into the hayloft and when he went to throw the cat out, it clung on to his bib overalls and he went out with the cat.  He broke his wrist and sprained the other.

Another time, he broke his collar bone when he fell out of a tree.

When he was 12, he was fixing the catwalk across 2 tanks (gasoline and kerosene) and his mother called them in for dinner.  The walkway was 16 feet high and he stepped too far and it pitched and he fell and broke his front teeth.  He was crying and they asked what the matter was and he told them “Now I won’t be pretty anymore!”   
We always enjoyed it when he would stick out his false 2 front teeth.
 When asked about his decision to follow Christ, Dad said that his mother had such a love for people and was so kind and that they were in church regardless of anything.  His father  served as a trustee in the church and also a Sunday School superintendent and was always helping people.  This made an impression on him.
In the 7th & 8th grade, his school teacher, Miss Davis, had them memorize lots of Bible verses and he often won those contests.   He won this picture of Christ with one Bible memory contest.

Before Miss Davis left the school, she told my dad that one day he would be a preacher.  In a way, he told us, that was one of the best things she ever said, since he ended up one!  But at that time he didn’t want to be a preacher so he didn’t want to get too serious about church.
But he knew a lot about the Bible and his Sunday School teacher also told him that one day he would be a preacher.  No, No, he wanted to be a farmer.  He resisted making a decision for the Lord.  In high school, there was a preacher who came to the Castleton church and he talked to them.    He had a real impact on my dad.  But when the war broke out that preacher went to war.


In high school, he attended Castleton High school.  My  husband's mother also attended the same school and is on the far left.  Incidentally, they even had a couple of dates!  
My dad was a good student, making very good grades.  He enjoyed writing poetry, as did his sisters.  He continued to write humorous poetry for much of his life.


My father had a farm deferment and worked 5 years during the war, running the farm until the war was over.  His father was very sick at that time so he did most of the work.  He did some work in the fields and at harvest time for others.  The first money he earned was $3 a week.  Later as he grew older, he made $1 a day!


During the war, they would hire on German POWs to help with the farm work.  The Germans were probably quite happy with their internment and having to help out on this family farm where the family spoke German and fed them German food.  We are pretty sure the American POWs were not treated quite as nicely!  Dad recalls however, that one POW hung himself in the barn.  

Dad enjoyed driving his cars.  He learned to drive from his father when he was 9 years old so that he could help out on the farm.   In all he had 12 cars in his life, which included 4 or 5 in Japan.  His first car was a model A Ford 1928 that he really enjoyed!  He really banged around in it.  Then he got a 1934 Olds Coupe!
After high school, Dad was in a car accident.  He was going with a Stucky girl and was coming home from her place and hit a gas truck.  He was thrown onto the  road.  A farmer who saw the accident began to run to it.  The car was beginning to tip and fall on my dad, but someone in white pushed the car so it wouldn’t roll over.  When the farmer got there, this person had disappeared.  Dad's life was spared.  He was unconscious from Sunday through Wednesday.
His arm had been broken in the accident and they needed to set it.  They bolted it together in a fixed position so it would never move again.  They had it set in a way that he would be able to still milk the cows and carry the bucket of milk.  This happened during the war.  Each day, he began to pick up buckets of sand and slowly got the arm to move and after a long time, he was able to move that arm up and down.

After the war, the Castelton pastor came back and he told them the importance of being yielded to Christ.  As my dad was driving home that night, he pulled over and cried his eyes out.  He made the decision to follow Christ.  He drove home and woke up the parents and told them what he had done and that he wanted to become a preacher.   He had led a wild life and his father drove to Kingman to tell the pastor of Peter’s decision.  My father was told he should attend Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.  He was 23 years old.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Final blessing


We had my father's funeral a little over a week ago now.  
Since then, we have celebrated Thanksgiving.   

 I realized that last year, both of my parents came to our home for Thanksgiving!
The funeral was at my parent's church. 
 There were lots of flowers!
These flowers were from my brother in Washington who could not come. 
Very Japanesey (is that a word?)

We began with a prelude of Japanese worship songs.  One of the songs was "We shall gather at the river",   a song we sang often at our little church in Aburatsu, Japan.  Claire could not help but dance to the music!

video


After we were all seated,   Adam and Jill sang "It is not death to die."   The words were written in 1832 by Malan and translated from French into English by Bethune in 1847 and sung at his funeral at his request.

It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.
It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears,
And wake, in glorious repose,
To spend eternal years.
It is not death to bear
The wrench that sets us free
From dungeon chain, to breath the air
Of boundless liberty.
It is not death to fling
Aside this sinful dust
And rise, on strong exulting wing
To live among the just.
Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die:
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high.


After a welcome and hymn, my husband read from Ephesians 1, a passage that my father requested.   Adam gave a short message over that passage.

Our son, Josh and my daughter, Mindy, read the story of my dad while we played a slide show.  
(A blog post on that to come)
We had a video that Jill had made about a year ago.




The recessional was "The Lord Bless You and Keep You"  
I played this song for him several times while he lay in bed.




The church's reception committee had cookies and ice-cream for all.



Many dear friends came.
We had the tables decorated with Japanese things and with pictures of Mom and Dad's years.


Cousins

People shared stories.  One of my favorites was this:  One lady was talking with my Dad about the fact that he was losing his hearing and how hard that was.  "I'm not deaf!  I can still hear God!" he remarked.

Another funny - In Dad's story, he had told me that when he was young, he often tried to get out of doing dishes.  Yet, he and mom served on the reception committee here at this church and he usually did the dishes!  Dad had such a servant heart!



The car was jammed packed with plants to take home and enjoy!
So very grateful to everyone for their kind words and their sympathy!
Thank you also for meals provided!

Dad is HOME for the holidays!