Ronald: (laughing) "I was just a baby, but I can remember everything, how you came out on the train and I was the baby and you had the children, and you came to this little depot where I live right now. I don't live at the depot, I live in North Puyallup, just across the river, not very far from mother today and and from where we first hit town. So she can start telling you now, about what happened when she got to the depot. Anything happen?"


"I got out of the train, and I thought, 'Oh, we're going to meet our daddy." We hadn't seen him for seven weeks. And lo and behold there was no sign of him around. So I went over to the depot, and it was closed. And then I saw a young fellow coming out from the house [nearest the station], and I said, 'Would you have any idea where I can find a phone?' And, 'Well,' he said, 'the lady of the house isn't home yet.' He worked for her. This Swiss lady had just lost her husband, and she was out delivering milk, for she still ran her family dairy called Lakeside. Here she came driving her pickup, and of course the children, the four of them and little Ronald the baby who was in his little buggy--a fold-up buggy which was handy--and here she came to me and she said, 'Oh, where do you come from?' 'Oh, we come from South Dakota. We've been on the train for two and a half days. And my husband didn't show up. He evidently didn't get my card because this is a holiday.' 'Well, no problem,' she said, 'I'll be glad to take you up to where you want to go.' I said, 'Do you know where Route One, Box 422 is?' 'Oh, ja, I know where that's at.' And here she had the kids get in the backend of her pickup, and were they happy! Of course, I had the baby Ronald in my lap. We drove on and had such a nice visit, and sure enough the first lady we met was Bertine Egge, up on the corner. I got introduced to her by asking her name, and she said 'Ja, I know where Inga Williams lives!' [Bertine Egge lives about a mile from where Pearl lives right now--Editors] I always think of Bertine as the first lady I met in Washington State, after meeting the one who took us in her pickup, of course. Sure enough, we drove down the road and met Inga Williams, and where we were going to stay. We saw the little house we were going to live in. We unloaded, and I wanted to pay this Swiss lady, but she said, 'Oh no, I won't take any money." 'Well, bless your heart,' I said, 'and I will come and visit you sometime.' She took off, and I walked out to Inga in the field where she was cultivating with her hoe in the berryfield. The berries had already been picked, you see. She walked with me back to the house, and she looked down and said, 'Why, your husband never told me that you had a baby.' 'He didn't?' I replied. "Oh, well, I have a baby. But he's a good baby.' Then we saw the house, but we couldn't be there that night since she was still in it, so we borrowed a bed in the cabin--she had two cabins close by there. Later, when Bob had come, and we were in the house and got the kids settled, I turned to him and said, 'How come you didn't tell Inga that I had a baby.' 'Oh, I was embarrassed about so many coming to live in the house, I didn't know what to do.' Well, Bob was out fishing when we first arrived, but when he came and saw us there in the house, he was dumbfounded. It was a big surprise to find us already there. He thought he'd have to go and pick us up, because I told him I'd let him know. He was great to catch fish and clean them like a whiz, but I'm not sure he caught any that day when he was fishing while we were looking for him.


We were there in Inga's house a year, but we needed to get out, because she let us use the house while she went to California for the winter. So when she got back she moved right in. Miss Eaton was the only one who could maybe let us have a house to live in, but she would have to live someplace else. But, you know, she never did leave, for we let her have a room upstairs since the other place for her did not work out. Miss Eaton's house was just about straight west of Inga's. She was elderly. We were renting her house while Bob was looking for another place for us. He had two little pieces of paper with two houses written on them, and he was coming down a road along the river from town, and he lost one of those pieces of paper. All he could do was to go to the one that was left, and that was the one we were supposed to have--it was the house at 915 9th Ave. SW in Puyallup.


It was just a framework. There was nothing done inside. No bathroom, just an outdoor toilet. So Bob got busy. There was an acre of ground, and we had a cow, but no chickens. We had two cows, two calves, and chickens up at Miss Eaton's place. I never will forget the time Miss Eaton said, 'The cows are eating off the trees, and we have pears coming on there.' Bob had put a fence around them, but they were still reaching over, trying to get ahold of those pears. And so she had sent her dog after those cows, and I said, 'What seems to be the problem?' She said, 'We can't let them destroy the pear tree.' But I said, 'You know, they should have never been chased, because one of the cows is going to have a calf.' It was Mr. Oren's cows that were in there in that field, and sure enough the calf was lost. Miss Eaton never had any church affiliation. She used to cook for people years back who were doing work along the roads. I told her, 'You know, we have to make an account someday for ourselves,' and she listened. After a while she had to go to the nursing home, and when I later got work at the home whom did she ask for when she was dying, she asked for me. I had prayer with her. So God worked in those situations [and others we had sharing the same house with her, so that at the end she was open to for me and also to allow me to pray with her just before she slipped into the next life.] [We had one strange time with her after another, it seems.] I'll never forget when we came home once, and we saw her sitting up in the stairway. She said, 'What in the world, what made him do what he did?' "What did he do?' I asked. 'Well,' she said, 'when I came home, I went to get my gloves, and there was a little duck laying there.' She put her hand on those feathers, and it just scared the life out of her, she told me. I said, 'I can find out what happened, if you want me to.' Bob said he found the little duck limping around, it was sick or something, so he just laid it on Miss Eaton's work gloves, [thinking that might help it], the ones she used to take wood in. She always carried it in, and kept us in wood. And here the duck had died, laying there. And she was so upset. It was dark, and she couldn't see it was there. She never did have a good feeling toward Bob, [for being unmarried her whole life] she wasn't used to having a man around. And we had a garden there, but we never had a chance to get any of it, for when fall came we still didn't have everything out, but we had to leave, and I just couldn't go back to get what we had in the garden. I was so tickled to be in my own place.


Our new place had a cook stove, but we had to get beds, second hand, at the store. We had just that one cow there, and she got sick and died. We were there on 9th Avenue not more than two years, then Bob wanted to move again. He found a property for sale on the side of the Valley up from 9th Avenue, and in 1946 he moved two cabins down to the property and nailed them together into one house. I was expecting Joyce at that time. We had a blackberry field below the hillside, and I had a young fellow hired to help me train the vines while I worked on the other side of the blackberry row. Time came when we had to harvest, and a man came and offered to take all our berries and transport them to the cannery without any charge. I was able to witness to him, too, for he was taking instruction at the Lutheran church, and so he listened to me a bit. He marveled at what I was able to do in the field, and the crop was abundant. I took some pictures. Oren sold us a horse to cultivate the berries. Bob worked cultivating for people for extra money. Shipyard work was over, and we made okay with the work he found. He had the house papered inside and everything, he fixed it up nice and clean. There was even a cookstove in the cabin he moved down. We moved our beds up there of course. There was a toilet outside. We had a little lean-to with a washing machine. We had a hot water tank. We had water into the house and went to the sink, but no bathtub. I washed the kids in the washtub. We had a bedroom at both ends of the house, the stove was in the kitchen and eating area. Yes, we had a lot of good times there. The kids loved it up there on that hill. I can see them yet, sliding on boards, especially when it was frosty they could slide that much faster. It was really fun, really cute.


Bob had bought all the lumber for a new house, and he had figured how he was going to build the house. He had the lumber stacked over in the garage of the Mattsons who lived next-door, and it was good lumber. He used a horse and scoop to dig the basement. He worked hard. One day he said, 'I have a huge rock to remove. I can't take time to dig it up, so I have to buy a couple dynamite sticks to shoot that thing out, because I can't possibly move it away otherwise. Then when he started getting ready for leaving for South Dakota, he said to make it safe [he had to do something about the still unused dynamite], so he took the remaining two sticks of dynamite and removing the caps, lit and and threw the first and as he threw it, it was okay. [It exploded, and nothing else happened.] But the second, he threw and a pebble came back and hit him right in the forehead [and some blood trickled down his face from the cut]. And I was standing in the doorway, and I said, 'Did it hit your eye?' 'No, it didn't.' 'Now what does that verse mean to you, that you read before we went up to see the Brendes in Des Moines?' He used to fly with Carl Brende. They bought a plane in Sioux Falls together, you see, [and so he wanted to visit him before this trip]. Now daddy was going to go back [to the Midwest] and find another plane, and sell it to the Orens, and Mr. Cain and the two Oren brothers were going to learn how to fly, so he was working to get everything in order at home before he left--so when that rock hit his forehead he had to recall how something else had happened on our way home from the Brendes. A horse came galloping fast down the road right toward where I was sitting in the front seat with Joyce. She was two years old, and the rest of the children were in the backseat. Bob swung the car into the ditch, tore out of there and drove right up into the Williams's driveway. 'What are you going to do now?' I asked. 'Well, I'm going to get that horse off the road, make it safe for others,' he said and [after he did that we continued home.] I turned to him and said, 'What does that verse mean now, 'The Lord campeth round about you,' that you read this morning?' And he said, 'If it wasn't for the grace of God, we'd all been killed.' So when this [incident of the pebble nearly striking his eye and blinding him] happened with the dynamite, I said, 'Now what does that verse mean to you that you read yesterday.' 'Well, it wasn't my time.' [Myself, I had to think], 'What is this all about?' [In his final preparations for leaving for South Dakota], Bob had even taken the little milk separator from the cupboard and put it away, for the cow had gone dry, and we didn't have to concern ourselves with the milk. Here the next morning he got his suitcase ready for going back to South Dakota. He said good-bye to all the children, kissed them good-bye, and he said, 'Pearl, I don't want to get after you, but I hope you don't leave the children at night very often.' I said, 'No, I won't do that.'And as we drove on and got down to the railroad, just as we were crossing, since there were no signs in those days, he said, 'Pearl, whenever you are going over the railroad tracks, look twice both ways.' I remember that to this day, it always comes to my mind. When we got down to the depot where now Ronald lives nearby, the train would be coming from Tacoma. He had all his stuff out, camera, suitcase, two coffee thermos jugs, you name it. I said, 'I'll carry this, and you carry that,' and here came the train, so we hugged each other and kissed. The train was coming real slow. The conductor jumped off, and I said I would help my husband get his things on the train, but he said, 'Oh no, lady, this train isn't stopping.'

"I was hoping to see him once more, see his face. But when he got on the [still moving] train had already passed and I didn't get to see him again, and it hit me like this: I thought, 'Is this the last time I will ever see him alive?' That is the first question that came to my mind. It wasn't natural. When that happened, I [had an uneasy feeling] and said, 'Lord, I can't go home right away."

"I stopped by the Evangers our friends, and I told Mrs. Evanger just what had happened. That eased it off a bit for me, and I went home to the family. In a couple days, I went down to feed the cow and the pigs, and when I went to feed the pigs in the shed, it was really slippery on the boards, with the pigs piled up over in the corner. Well, I fell, and when I got up off those boards I said, 'Thank you, Lord, that I didn't break anything,' and thought how wonderful God is. Then I went up to the house. I went to get something up in the cupboard, reaching through the curtains in front, and of the pictures laying up there what do you suppose fell down? It was a picture of our daddy with an airplane. I said, 'What is this all about, Lord?' All along the way, God gave me leading like this.


"Even on that day, when Bob was digging the basement down there, I thought of my Papa, and I said, 'Lord, that hit me so hard when I saw how my mother was suffering from what Papa used to be so upset with our Pastor [Peterson] in Bryant, South Dakota.'

"I thought, What is it going to take? So I said, 'Lord, I'd be willing to give up my baby if my Papa would turn his heart around and be the way we want him to be.' And, you know, as I prayed, 'But give me grace when it comes,' I got up off my knees, and the burden was lifted, it was gone. Then I knew that God would do something, but what it was I couldn't tell. But I left the matter with God, and the burden [of prayer] was gone.

"Here, after I had come up to the house and the photo fell out with the picture of Bob and the airplane, and I went to lay down and rest a while so the children would sleep easier, I thought, 'I wonder who is going to rap at my door today?' Just then there came a rap! I had my glasses off, and when I went to the door there was Pastor Gudmanson, and he said, 'I have sad news for you.' The first thing I could think of was something to do [with my oldest son] Darrell, that was the first thought I had. But he said, 'Your husband and your brother were killed.' 'Instantly?' I said. He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'I have the answer.'"


This TREMENDOUS True Life Story continues with:

Pearl's account of her loss of her husband

Links to other pages on these Websites:

Plain View Heritage Farm Home Page 1

Plain View Farm Master Directory

Pearl's Stories Central

Plain View Farm Road Map

New Main Linking

Papa's Letter of Events of 1946-47


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