World War 2, Writer's Life

A Life Update and a Story of Spies

“Wild Bill” Donovan- there’s a link to a fascinating podcast about his life at the end of this post.

First, Some Personal Stuff

My last principal encouraged me to take the Clifton Strengthsfinder test. Essentially, it’s an online standardized that claims to be able to pinpoint one’s personality strengths by analyzing their answers to a various questions.

I found my results interesting. Two of my top five strengths fit in with my love of history, and the third was “Positivity.”

Well, it’s pretty obvious how those first two have manifested in my life. And I do tend to be an optimist, though this year has proven that maybe I’m a little over optimistic.

I really did think that, once the school year started, I could get back into a blogging routine of some kind.

The fact that September is nearly over shows how well that went.

Mind you, we’ve had some…let’s call them adventures.

As we prepared to move, the housing market in Washington was crazy. Any house—even ones with significant problems—were going for tens of thousands above asking, and going immediately.

We finally got to the point where we were ready to list our house…and the market stopped.

No, stopped is too dramatic, but it did slow down significantly (unless you were selling waterfront property or an acreage, which we weren’t.) So, we moved our three kids and multiple pets to Wisconsin with our house still sitting on the market in Washington, which meant that we didn’t have enough funds to put a down payment out here.

No problem. The new church where we’d be teaching had a connection to a house on a local college campus that was used for ministry purposes. It was vacant until the next school year. We could stay there until our housing situation was sorted out, or at least until the next school year started. Surely, our nice little house in Washington would sell well before then, though!

We settled into our temporary lodgings as best we could, grateful to have a roof over our heads. It was a massive old structure with some…interesting features. We caught a stray cat in the basement during the first week and, despite my kids’ pleas to adopt “Marty,” got him dropped off at the local Humane Society. Mercifully, no other creatures (that I know of) entered the house, but after that we did block off that basement door.

Even though the house in Washington was STILL sitting, we had connected with a realtor in Wisconsin and were hunting the area for a new home, all while trying to get settled into our new classrooms and learn about the new curriculums we’d be teaching. It didn’t go particularly smoothly. Also, the kids were missing their friends and familiar surroundings terribly, but they got time with grandparents on both sides, which helped.

Time ticked by, and the deadline for our removal from our temporary lodgings loomed closer. I started looking at rentals in the area. None wanted more than two pets. Stress levels started rising. We checked, and found out that if necessary we could continue to use the upper part of the house we’d been staying in, so at least we’d have a roof over our heads…

Finally, in just about the 11th hour, we found a house that would work for us. We put in an offer…and the sellers let it sit until it expired. HOWEVER, our pastor knew a neighbor of the sellers who mentioned our situation to them. They said, “Well, they could try again.” We did, and on the same day that they accepted our offer we were FINALLY able to accept an offer in Washington. (Praise God!)

SO, we closed on both house sales two days before school started, and it’s been a scramble to try to manage a new school year and moving into a house ever since. Still, in the midst of the scramble, we’re awfully grateful to have a roof over our heads. Someday we’ll get through the boxes and get to see the floor. 🙂

In other words (to make that loooooong story a bit shorter) life has been nuts. I finally made time to sit down and write today because my entire family got sick this week, so we are confined to home for the moment.

But, in spite of the craziness, there have been many bright spots.

While the process was stressful, we have a beautiful new home.

The people here have been nothing but kind.

Being back in farming country means access to wonderful local produce.

From a stand just down the road. The sweet corn was AMAZING.

My first graders are a joy to work with, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know their families.


A little 1st grade Art: “Warm and cool color sunsets.” Didn’t they do a nice job?

AND while I haven’t even managed to visit any local memorials since my post on The Hiker or read a bit of history, while I was scrubbing out our temporary lodgings, I had a good time listing to some history on Our American Stories.

A Spy Story

Going into World War II, America didn’t have much of an intelligence network. “Wild Bill” Donnovan changed that. His story is a fascinating one, and well worth a listen!

Here is the link.

I hope you enjoy it! And while it’s been a struggle, I’m still hoping to get some fresh history articles of my own up here for you sooner rather than later.

Whew. That’s enough about my life. How are you all doing? Any exciting stories to share? I hope you’re all well, and thanks for your patience.

17 thoughts on “A Life Update and a Story of Spies”

  1. What an amazing story these past several months. You must be an optimist to get through it and still have a smile on your face. My wife opines that if anything, my glass is always half empty — or if not that, then I’ve misplaced my glass altogether. It probably comes from my military training where, on more than a few instances, people are actually shooting at you and where, if it could get worse, it would. So, I’ll send you my best wishes for much happiness in the future. Thanks for sharing … and for the link to America’s spymaster.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t claim that the smile NEVER wavered- there may have been a day where you might have caught me tearing up in another teachers classroom because I didn’t know where we were going to live- and I certainly never had to test my optimistic mettle against the sorts of situations you faced! Thank you so much for the well wishes- I appreciate them! And I hope you enjoy the podcast if you gave it a listen! Didn’t you do a post on Donovan? I’m thinking I recall reading an excellent one on your site- is my memory working correctly?

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      1. Yes ma’am, I did a two part post on the OSS. I deeply admire Donovan and his network, but as deeply resent what the CIA has done so often to despoil the reputation of our country and it’s patriots. Colonel John Paul Van was right.

        Be well …

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you’ve certainly had an adventure getting settled in Wisconsin. Glad it’s done for now. We too have a nearby farm stand where we buy what we don’t grow ourselves. The sweet corn was especially good this year. I miss it already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are grateful it’s done, too! Even though we’ll be shuffling boxes around for a while and I had to borrow a pair of my kids’ socks today (mine must be somewhere…) it’s a relief to be in our own space.
      Mmmm – sweet corn in WA was pretty inferior. Wisconsin wins for that and the cheese curds, no doubt! I drove past our stand today on my run to the drug store for more ibuprofen and they still had corn out! I might have to try to snag some this week…

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    1. It’s been wild, Joy, but dare I say that things are looking like the horizon might be a bit smoother sailing? I guess we’ll see.
      They’re a great crew of kids. Eager to learn, love singing and crafts- its been a great start to the year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have the book called, “Wild Bill Donovan” by Douglas Waller. I recommend it, just as you do to his story here.
    Understandable that you haven’t been around, but I’m glad you’re happy where you are and still optimistic!
    I sure know you’re eating well with a produce stand down the block!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What providence! Glad your housing problems are solved. Good to see you adjusting well to your new environment and that the people are welcoming. All the best in the new school year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Anne, your move was much tougher than ours. Our house sold relatively quickly in a market that was no longer red hot, but still hot, and the efficiency apartment our Daughter and Son-in-Law have provided for us in Virginia fits us perfectly. I consider it our base camp as we continue our explorations of North America and the world. Right now we are in western South Dakota exploring the Bad Lands and the multiple other sites this section of the state offers. Sounds like you are starting to dig out. Take care. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I empathize with your struggles with the move, a new house, a new job, etc., having gone through it myself. I hope things settle down for you quickly and that it ends up being a good year for you as both teacher and writer. Interesting story about Donovan, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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