Dad Sawyer was in partnership with his brothers in the Sawyer Brothers Feed and Milling Company. The facility was located on San Fernando Boulevard in Glendale, California, and included a retail store. It was hard, heavy work, but Dad was the kind of hard worker needed to make it go, even during the great depression. To help with family expenses, Alva’s mom salvaged damaged feed sacks by making them into underwear for the kids. Of course the Sawyer Brothers logo usually appeared somewhere on the garment, and they didn’t like those Sawyer Brothers drawers.
The Sawyers were totally involved in the church. Alva’s mom, Mom hereafter, was devoted to the Christian Education ministry. It involved Sunday School classes and a lot of crafts. Almost from infancy Alva was involved with her Mom in learning all the facets of Christian education and helping with all the work.
At an early age, Dad took her to the feed store and taught here the business. She loved it, showed a real aptitude, and became a genuine help to her Dad in the store.
During all this interaction with her parents she was shown a great deal of love, affection and approval, and even though the whole family lived according to strict Christian principles, she was a very secure child and was persuaded that she was her Dad’s favorite.
When Alva was eight, she felt the wooing of the Holy Spirit, responded to an altar call and was baptized. The Lord Jesus Christ made Himself so real to her and she was so moved that through her entire life she testified it to be her greatest spiritual experience! Though coming down from this emotional high, the sense of Jesus presence never left her all the years of her life. She didn’t wear it on her sleeve, but she genuinely felt that she was God’s favorite!
Alva did very well in school, and was regarded as a model child by her teachers. What they didn’t know was that she was the invisible source of some of the disturbances that occurred in class now and then. She liked action, and if there wasn’t any when she entered a room, she set out to generate some, but in doing so she managed to escape detection somehow. I could see the mischief in her eyes as she confessed this to me one time.
Not only that, but this little angel (God’s favorite) had a strong will (rebellious streak). Can you believe it? I discerned this soon after I began dating her and all through our marriage, but this childhood evidence she confessed to me probably when we were experiencing rebellious attitudes in our own children. She generally obeyed her parents as God’s favorite should, but when she felt that their rules were too strict she went into an evaluation mode. This is the way she put it, “I would weigh the pleasure of the disobedient act to see if it was worth the penalty for disobedience. If it was, I did it. If it wasn’t, I didn’t do it.” Come to think of it, I seem to remember something like that in my childhood.
To be continued…