This blog is about both Marge and I, but to date most has been about our life from my perspective. I have quoted some of her letters and writing from the time we were dating, but nothing really from her when we were married. She did make some drafts of a biography though which I found recently when going through her files. I think she wrote this around 1983-85 as we had our first computer then, and Apple IIe and I recognize the font. This post will consist of sections of her final draft copied by me for this post, and perhaps where relevant, add some more later. Unless I specifically note that I (Bob) am commenting, what remains will be from her writings about herself.
There are two subjects which I need to discuss briefly. One is music. I began to sing in he church choir when I was 14 or 15. My sister Pat, whom I admired very much, had sung in it before me, and I enjoyed it very much. I didn’t know any music, but by singing I gradually learned a fair amount. when I went to Syracuse, the only activity I joined was the Chapel choir. I sang in it for 5 years, and left about 6 weeks before Ingrid was born. The singing, and being part of a group that had a single purpose was very satisfying and was the only emotional expression that I had which did not threaten me. Music doesn’t ask anything of you, it just is, and you are free to like it, dislike it, find it exciting or boring, whatever.You don’t have to have a relationship with music. I sang in choirs almost continuously until we moved to Pennsylvania in 1970, but by then something else had happened to me that changed my life.
In 1967, our second child, Louise, was born. In January of 1968 I heard some people talk about making a commitment to the Lord. I thought about it, and decided that if I had dome such a thing I would know about it and since I didn’t remember having done that, I hadn’t. So one day I sat in a rocker in Louise’s room and said “God, if You’re there, I haven’t made too good a job of my life and if You want my life, You can have it.” I happened to mention this to some people what I had done, and they befriended me, and helped me, and talked with me, and prayed with me, and generally kept me alive as a Christian for a year. I remember that I waited three weeks before I told Bob what I had done, because I wanted to make sure it was real. I had tried at various times to change myself, to pull myself up by my bootstraps as it were, but those attempts never worked. But that was real, something changed, and so I told him. Bob asked me what it meant, but I really know myself, so I couldn’t tell him.
(Bob here) I remember this conversation and it ended there, at least for a while. By nature and training, I am skeptical and analytical so I waited about another month before I brought the subject up myself. I said something like this “Marge I really do not understand what your personal experience has meant to you, but you have become easier to live with and more pleasant to be with and I appreciate that. Whatever your experience was, it has shown itself in an improved life together. Thanks for sharing with me, I certainly hope this change will become permanent.”
Back to Marge:
About a year later, I became involved with a Bible study group. These people, like the ones before, KNEW the Lord and had a daily, intimate relationship with Him. It was something I deeply desired. One of the things I heard about was the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I was afraid to do that too, but I got more hungry for Jesus and so I asked for that too, and it happened to me.
As you can see, this story no longer goes neatly in a straight chronological line, but jumps back and forth, picking up threads. I must now revert to music. After we moved to Pennsylvania we didn’t find a church that we felt comfortable with, although we went to several at different times. By that time I had become a Christian and gotten involved with what came to be known as the Charismatic movement. I had met people from Coopersburg PA through my Christian friends in Binghamton, and when we moved to Coopersburg I became involved in the group that met at their house.
(Bob again) There is more to Marge’s story on this but the chronology is getting ahead of some more posts from me about our life in the Binghamton area. Through her religious experience Marge did in fact make some very good friends there. I believe most were women of her age or older and there may have been some men in the group but I don’t recall exactly. This companionship with other women who shared her beliefs was the first for Marge since she had left women’s dorm living in college. This was really good for both of us. I had a few friends and many of my fellow workers at GAF whose company I enjoyed and now Marge had a group she associated with as well and was not confined to home being a housewife and mother, though she was that as well. All in all, we were slowly moving ahead.
This is a good time to end this post and finish later with details of our life in Vestal which we left in 1969 and moved to the Allentown PA area. Then I will pick up more of the threads of Marge’s personal history as well as my own.
Yes, I remember going with Mom to those Bible study groups in Pennsylvania. They were fun! Before getting down to the Bible study part we would sing songs, usually to the accompaniment of someone playing a guitar, and those who lacked instrumental talent could join in on tambourine, maracas, or just clapping. The music could get quite spirited–no pun intended! I do remember there being men at those meetings, too, although I couldn’t say with any certainty what the ratio was.