Remembering some rough times, I am counting my lucky stars that I was able to return to the land of my birth.
Years spent in California — from 1944-1979 — were good years with some good memories. One particular evening is not one of them.
I lived in an upstairs duplex just a few short blocks from city hall. My landlady, a widow, had raised her daughters in the downstairs apartment and, like me, a single woman, felt safe and secure in our quiet neighborhood. I became aware of some construction going on in the street as the sun set, I checked it out and confident I wasn't needed, resumed my routine, television, reading, writing, and retired for the evening.
It was dark when someone rang my door bell and, checking (a window in the front door) inquired of what the tall, dark young man needed. He sounded very sincere as he assured me I needed to vacate my apartment and respond to police directions downstairs. As an employee of the police department, I was confident as I thanked him and ignored his unauthorized direction, returning to my bedroom and my bed.
A few hours later, I don't know, maybe a couple, I received a telephone call from my very distressed landlady/downstairs neighbor. "Alberta, will you call the police, I'm in serious trouble." This 70-year-old, very independent lady, had been tied up, attacked, beaten, raped and after her attacker departed, managed to get free of her bounds and in need of an ambulance. The story was a terrible one. Apparently once the man left my door he went to her door and convinced her that 'the authorities' needed her to vacate her residence. Later she assured me, "when I realized you weren't going to heed him, I should have done the same, I was curious, I went out on the street, I left my door open and when I returned, he was in my house." She did recover, it took time, and she and I spent many visits to the department of police, looking over mugshots without ever recognizing this criminal.
This is just one reason of many that I am grateful for the opportunity to relocate to McDonald County. For 16 years I lived in the little duplex and, as was pretty typical, I never did meet the mailman who delivered my mail.
I had just purchased 20 timbered acres in the New Bethel area, a three bedroom log house built by hand from logs on the property by Ivan Drake and family, and found work at the Big Nickel Advertiser in Lanagan. My mail was delivered daily in my mailbox and imagine my surprise when I received a telephone call at work from my U.S. postman who delivered my mail. "Alberta, I delivered your mail today and when I attached a book you received on the outside of your mailbox the weather was good. Now it looks like it's going to rain and I would hate for your mail to get wet Do you have a neighbor or someone you can contact who can go and get your mail and secure it so it isn't damaged by the rain?"
Page 2 of 2 - Never met the man, have no idea what he had to do to get my work phone number, and somewhat speechless at this 'above and beyond' service provided.
It's true, criminals have been known to travel to and through McDonald County — it's true there are really good people in California. But, as for this senior lady, I count my lucky stars and thank the Lord I serve for the opportunity to live in the area where I can rest assured that my postman, my neighbors, my community, will be looking out for my welfare, check on me, and protect me and mine. It's a good place to be, this McDonald County.
Check your calendar, the McDonald County Historical Society (P. O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856) the next meeting will be third Sunday in March – 2 p.m. at the new McDonald County courthouse in Pineville. You will want to make sure you are in Pineville Memorial Day weekend — exciting things are being planned. This is one weekend you will not want to miss.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.