Everything that happened, step by step, confirmed over and over again to us, that we were to go ahead. We bought a cast iron stove that we could set up in the bus - to use for cooking and heat. We bought sleeping bags and blankets; I sewed our sheets into something like pillow slips, to put inside the sleeping bags, so I could wash them and not have to do the sleeping bags too often.
Mike sold his aluminum boat that he had won, we had a garage sale of everything we weren't taking with us, which was nearly everything. Some neighbors came in early and nearly emptied the place out. We gave a few of the things to people at the Ware Farm; they came to get them.
We had written to someone at the Graham River Farm in British Columbia, Canada; it was a new farm and that's where we felt to go. Right when Joe was preparing to cut a hole in the roof of the bus, for the stovepipe, the mailman came with a reply letter saying that they would have a cabin for us to live in for the Winter - we wouldn't have to spend the Winter in the bus. It witnessed with the elders at Graham River Farm, for us to come to live there, and they were looking forward to seeing us.
Joe gave his notice at work, told the realtor when we would be out of the house - August 1, 1972. Now, he began to build the 3-high bunks on either side, in the end of the bus (this would sleep 5 boys and Lisa). We put the port-a-potty between the bunks, near the back emergency door. We put a draw-curtain to close off this room, for potty-privacy.
In the front of the bus Joe built the 2-high set of bunk beds (for Rose and Mary, Joe and me). The top bunks folded down in the daytime, making the back for the sofas that we would sit on while the bus was moving. We had no kitchen facilities, although we did take a cooler, we didn't have a stove. I had made a huge batch of granola and had a large, plastic container for it - but left it in a kitchen cabinet and didn't even think of it until it was much to late to get it.
When the bus was completely finished, we all got inside and were going for a dry-run, to try it out. Joe had me back the bus out of our driveway and into the road (our house was on a steep hill). He was out in the road, looking for traffic - and motioned for me to come ahead. Well, I got out into the road and the breaks went on the bus...like, completely! I knew enough to steer into the bank in front of the house, and that stopped the bus. Joe hopped into the bus and took over.
Later, we got in touch with the Schofield Garage (on the street next to us), and they sent a truck over; they put the truck in front of the bus, and using their brakes, eased the bus down the hill and to their repair shop. This is the same garage where Mike had found a tire to replace one that was no good (on the bus), in their pile of tires behind the garage. After our successful trip to Canada, we sent the Schofield family a postcard thanking them for all their help and saying how we had to use the spare tire in Manitoba somewhere, when we got a flat tire. (They were sure they didn't have the size tire we needed, but we had prayed about it and Mike found one in their yard that they were happy to sell to us.)
The Rotondi family also felt to go to the wilderness. They were preparing to make the trip at the same time as us. Martha Gibbs' sister, Mona Gendreau also felt to come. We had all received very confirming visions for our big move. Rotondis sold their house and two cars; they bought a new truck with camper that actually had a shower in it. Mona gave her notice, she was a nurse in a doctor's office - she sold her car and would travel with the Rotondi family.
About this time Andrew took another one of his "infamous" trips out of the tall maple tree we had in the back yard. I was shopping and Joe took him to the Emergency Room at the hospital. I didn't know what was going on when I got home - the children told me. I asked them why they weren't on their knees praying for their brother. So, we all got on our knees until Joe came back home with Andrew - which took awhile, because they didn't get to stitch up the back of his head for over an hour. (It was time to remove the stitches just about when we started out on our trip to Canada – Mona, the nurse removed them.)
Al Rotondi had to wait a few days into August, to get his money from the sale of his house, so we drove the school bus over to their house, to park it there and wait about 3 days until they were ready. Their "friendly neighbor" wanted to know what was going on, and couldn't contain herself any longer - she came running over when she saw the bus pull up. We invited her inside to look around. She didn't understand just why we were going, but she wished us well. Some of the brethren had us over for a "good-bye" meal, it was nice of them.
One of the brethren, June Parker, had ministered a Word about the salmon and his swim upstream every Spring. This spoke to all of us about the natural and spiritual journey each one of us has to make. Through the years, the Lord gave June many beautiful songs - one of which is, "Come on Brother and walk with me, I need you and you need me - down this road of life I see, God's great plan of harmony." Another song is, "We're in the army of the Lord...we're in the army of the Lord - close in your ranks Brothers and Sisters, we're marching to victory...in the army of the Lord."
And, so we left Massachusetts - a caravan of one school bus and a truck-camper; 5 adults and 10 children, following the Lord.
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Pen Name: Aimee Love
The school bus that would take us to Canada.