Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Aunt Nunie was a career missionary to the Congo, which was also called Zaire for much of the time she was there.

She has been a missionary everywhere she has lived, reaching out, ministering, sharing the gospel wherever she goes.  Her heart beats for Africa, but she loves the United States, too.

When she retired from the mission field, Nunie moved in with Grandma at 2715 Wingfield, which Grandpa had bought way back in 1931 and paid for in cash, $400.  It came with a pump and an outhouse.  Over the years, they've added plumbing, electricity, and a furnace, among other things.

Last June, Nunie turned 90 and we celebrated.  Now she is nearly 91, and the time has come for her to give up caring for the charming antique relic that 2715 has become.  She mowed, dug and planted right up to the end.  On Saturday, she will move to a senior apartment where she will live near friends in a community where she can relax and enjoy the fellowship without having to concern herself with home maintenance.

It will be good, but it has gone shockingly quickly.

Jon took me up to visit her this past weekend.  The house is already coming apart as Nunie packs for her move.  At one point when we stopped by, she took a break from her work and brought out a CD of piano music recorded by one of my cousins and her husband.  Jon got the music playing, and Nunie sat down on the floor, pulling her knees up like a teenager as she lightly bobbed her head to the jaunty piano rhythms.

I took a few raw photos for posterity.

Jon greets Nunie as we arrive.  (See her coming out the porch door?)

The front of the house, and a sun spot.

Nunie under the numbers: 2715.  I'm going to have to learn a new address.  

The house is on a historic registry.

I have so many memories of long conversations out on the porch, swaying in this porch swing.

This is the chair I remember Grandma sitting in, always.  
It was red, and it used to be in the living room, against the back wall.

The fold-open desk where they'd set us to color, the little kitchen table, the corner cabinet.  (I realized after I got home that I never took a picture of the dining room, I suppose because the table was full of packing.  I hope someone has a picture of it.)  I have vivid memories of that window between the corner cabinet and the refrigerator, and watching the birdhouse, watching wrens and bluebirds, accompanied by the scent of lilies of the valley and lilacs wafting in.

I was always amazed and maybe a little bit frightened by the trap door to the root cellar 
in the center of the kitchen floor.

Such a sweet, tidy little kitchen, even as it's being packed.

"Grandpa's Secretary" -- the one really fine antique.  
Everyone has always spoken of it with reverence.

The "old kitchen" was turned into a laundry and furnace room, 
but this amazing antique sink remains, pristine.

The back of the house.

The storm cellar.

Catching rainwater right up to the end.

Backyard with garden and clothesline, of course.  Beyond, there is a golf course!

Aunt Nunie and me, on the sofa she reupholstered herself.

So many memories.  So much to be grateful for.


Priscilla said...

Changes like this can be hard. I've experienced some of them myself. She sounds like a wonderful lady. A very dear friend of mine grew up in Zaire. Her parents were missionaries too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ruthie:

I really enjoyed reading about "Aunt Nunie". I have known her all of my life, and have always thought so much of her! She is a wonderful lady.
Again, thank you show much for writing about her and sharing the pictures.
Terry Wesp Askren

Anonymous said...

Love this "blog".....Eunice is precious and I'm glad that you could be with her again (in the house). I remember her from the time we lived in Anoka ('69-1976). How interesting -- we prayed for her involvement in Zaire and now I have great grandsons from the DRC! Our time in Anoka remains vivid in my memory because of your family and many others and the weddings of our three eldest to 1st B kids. You are a blessing to me, I follow you carefully .... keep on writing! Pauline Askren

Ruthie said...

Thank you, Priscilla, Terry and Pauline. Change is never my favorite, but it is sometimes good anyway. I'm learning: one key to happiness in life is learning to keep the good memories while discarding the bad ones. This is a powerful way that we can form our hearts and our histories into something positive and godly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth.

Thanks for your recent comment on my blog regarding The Horse and His Boy. I decided to come to your blog and ask you whether or not you have read C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. I have not and am not normally into Science fiction. As you probably know, I am a librarian at a public High school. I have gotten rather alarmed by the amount of garbage in typical YA Fiction...which is not surprising. The world pushes its agenda and it shows up everywhere. The most recent trend is that many of the newest and most popular YA books have some push for the LGBTQ community...be it ever so subtle. If it is not that, then it is literature that includes casual sex or language, etc...I cannot really keep it entirely out of my collection here. (Actually...there are still some good clean reads...but they are getting harder to find)

I am trying to add Christian literature to my collection. (We actually have The Chronicles of Narnia in our collection...) I thought maybe The Space Trilogy might be appealing to some of the boys who like Sci-Fi...and then wondered if you had read it. I keep praying about how I can add to this collection and honor the Lord at the same time.

(I am at school right now, so this comment will be anonymous. I tried to make the comment with my google account...but the school's software blocks me from doing so.)

Ruthie said...

Hi Priscilla,

I'm sorry to say that I have never made it through the Perelandra books. I have always fallen asleep a few chapters in, and then given up. This may be because I was trying to read them at a point in life when I was exhausted. I keep meaning to try again.

When you would like to discuss particular issues with me, you can always email me privately. My email address is listed under "contact" in the horizontal bar across the top of my home page. I check that email 1-2x per week.

Thanks for writing!