Ronda is the little girl sitting on her Daddy's lap.
By: Ronda Nissley
A year ago, I gifted my 92-year-old father a Storyworth subscription for Father’s Day. Each week, he was given a question to which he could respond or simply write his own story. Although we’re still working on completing and editing the stories into their final format, I’m sharing one that has given me a renewed appreciation of the huge responsibility he carried providing for a family of nine children.
Question Prompt: “What are some memories from your married life and raising a family”?
Levi Miller: Since I was eight months shy of being twenty-one when I got married, I did not get the customary cow from home. I also had turned over my paycheck to my Dad – as was customary – until I got married. I received my first employment check that December. We started our marriage journey with no vehicle and no money. But I did have a good paying job. And of course, I had a great wife.
After we were married, I began working at the Kalona Lumber yard, owned by Cora’s [my wife’s] father. The hours were shorter and the pay was about the same. I believe I was paid $200 per month and received one percent commission on gross sales. In addition, we were living in her parent’s basement for a number of months, and I doubt we paid any rent.
During the summer of 1952, I began experiencing chronic back pain. I spent about a week in the hospital in traction. I was told that I would not be able to do any manual labor for the rest of my life. With our first child on the way, the decision was made for me to enroll at the University of Iowa. While in school I supported the family with summer employment painting. Cora’s brother Herman taught me the trade. During the first summer I also worked as an orderly at the University hospitals.
By the time I graduated in 1956, we had four children and were expecting number five. Numbers six and seven came along shortly thereafter. After a nine-year break, we had two more for a total of nine children. Financially, sometimes I wonder how we ever did it. We tried not to spend more than we earned.
Several of us here at Encompass, have given a Storyworth subscription to our parents as a gift. Really, it is has been a gift to us, as we get to soak up all of our loved ones' meaningful moments and memories. Follow the link below to learn more about how to preserve your loved one's memories in a keepsake book.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.