Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

#221 Effie Alean (Groves) Gross: He Never Left Her

Effie Gross was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1944—the baby of the family (3 brothers, 1 sister). The family never had much money and Effie wore hand-me-down clothes or things her mother sewed by hand out of flour sacks or other cheap material. Her mother didn’t allow alcohol in the house, but her father was an alcoholic. Sometimes her parents would argue and her father would hit her mother. That’s when Effie’s sister would hold her and comfort her. Some of her happiest memories are going to the Grand Ole Opry with her mother and sister. In school, Effie always got good grades and she went to the library every week for more books. Every Sunday, Effie’s mother sent her to a Baptist church on a Sunday school bus. When she was 13, Effie realized she was a sinner and went forward in the church service and Jesus saved her. He has never left her. Effie got married at 16. She didn't have to get married, but Roland Gross was in the US Army at White Sands Missile Range and the only way they could be together was to get married, so they did. The first thing that drew Effie to Roland was his gentleness and she thrived with his love for her and their family. Over the years, Effie worked for the IRS, her husband's electrical contracting business, and was a freelance writer. Effie loved working in the family business—doing everything from accounting to pulling wire—and the family got to have a lot of lunches together, which was nice. Effie and Roland had two biological children (Mynita, an accountant; Kendahl, a pilot and then a photographer) and also adopted a son (Jonathan, who now runs the family business)—and, eventually, their three children gave them eight grandchildren. It was during this time that Effie decided to get her formal education—a BA in English and Education and then an MA in English from Drake University—but by the time she had her degrees, there weren’t any full-time jobs in high schools, so she taught as an adjunct at a community college (she loved the students—adults with a life outside of college), and has since taught English at many colleges and universities. Besides English, Effie has also taught Israeli folk dance. Plus, she has written, acted in, and produced plays. She loves the theater. Effie also loves the ocean, but she’s not much of a swimmer. And she loves Catalina Island, the RMS Queen Mary, and horses. Mostly, she loves the Lord and the Bible is her favorite book. It is prophetic and we have been told so many marvelous things. In 2004, Roland died suddenly of a heart attack. They had been married 43 years and he had never been sick. It was unbelievable. Effie prayed and read the Bible. She knew that she had to go on without Roland. The loneliness is the hardest part. Nothing is the same anymore. Right now, she’s writing a WWII novel called, Foxtrots and Foxholes. Writing is her passion and she’s started a new writing venture, Life Lines Legacy, where she teaches people how to write their own life story, one memory at a time. Someday, Effie will see her dear husband again in heaven. That is a comfort.

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