In doing this blog, stories come up in ways I least expect. Like earlier this month when I was talking on the phone with the Amos Boys and the conversation drifted from one thing to another. It often happens that the guys say they don’t remember things. But inevitably what one forgets, one of the others fills in.
And so it was when Duane wondered if he’d been baptized.
“I don’t remember any of us being baptized,” said Duane. “Do you know anything about it Bruce?”
“You and I were baptized down in Topeka,” answered Bruce, definitely. “At the Methodist Church that was across the corner from where Grandpa and Grandma lived when we were down there. We were baptized there.”
Bruce was referring to his grandparents Wm. Arthur and Beatrice Amos, who he and Duane lived with in the later 1930s.
“Later we went to church for a little while at the Salvation Army,” said Bruce. “It was on East Allegen Street. That was when we came back to Lansing. ”
I asked Jerry if he went to church when he lived with his grandmother Maggie and her husband Jim.
“No, they never went to church,” said Jerry. “My grandmother was her daddy’s little girl and he didn’t like the Catholic Church. Her mother was a die-hard Catholic, but her father didn’t like the priest for some reason. So my grandmother didn’t have anything to do with it either.”
Since then Duane’s been wondering more about his baptism. He still can’t remember being baptized, so I offered to call the Topeka Methodist Church and verify their records.
Here’s where it gets really interesting.
I contacted Pastor Tamra Gerber, of the Methodist Church, and it turns out she grew up in Topeka. When she was a girl, she and her twin sister often visited Arthur and Hazel (Arthur’s second wife).
“I remember as youngsters going to sing for Art and Hazel Amos,” writes Pastor Gerber. “Art was a big man as I remember him but then I was quite small. Our mother would play the piano and we would sing for them. They were Christian people and active in church.”
Talking with Pastor Gerber on the phone was really fun. When I asked about the piano, she described exactly where it was when she was a girl—the same place against the wall, to the south of the front door, just as I remember it.
Then I told her I have that piano now. I sent her a picture of it, sitting right here in my dining room. I feel a bit of a bond knowing we both have made music on this very old instrument. Pretty cool, don’t you think?
But what about Duane and Bruce’s baptism?
Pastor Gerber said their records only go back to 1943, a few years after Duane and Bruce lived in Topeka. If they’d like to, she welcomes them back to reaffirm their baptism. And she welcomes all of us to visit her church.
“The sanctuary still looks the same,” said Pastor Gerber. “It really hasn’t changed.”