Billy Graham Center Archives

Collection 74 - Anna-Lisa (Beckman) Maderia . T67 Transcript

Click here to listen to an audio file of this interview (122 minutes)

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Anna-Lisa (Beckman) Maderia (CN 74, T67) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. Foreign terms or phrases which may be unfamiliar appear in italics.

... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.

.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.

This transcription was made by Bob Shuster and Paul Bartow was completed in July 2013.


Collection 74, T67. Interview of Mrs. Anna-Lisa (Beckman) Maderia by Robert Shuster on August 3, 2010.

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Mrs. Anna-Lisa (Beckman) Maderia (CN 74, T67) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. Foreign terms or phrases which may be unfamiliar appear in italics.

... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.

.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.  This transcription was made by Bob Shuster and Paul Bartow was completed in July 2013.

Collection 74, T67. Interview of Mrs. Anna-Lisa Beckman Maderia by Robert Shuster on August 3, 2010.

SHUSTER: This is an interview with Anna-Elisa Maderia by Bob Shuster for the archives of the Billy Graham Center. It took place on August 3, 2010 at 9:30 AM in Mrs. Maderia’s home in Cromwell, CT. So good morning!

MADERIA: Good morning. [Pauses] Nice to have you here.

SHUSTER: Thank you. Let me ask you when and where you were born.

MADERIA: Well, that will be 90 years ago this year. I was born in Cranston, Rhode Island. And I am still a strong Rhode Islander despite living in Connecticut [both laugh]. I have a lovely birthday day, 10-10-20.

SHUSTER: Oh, that’s easy to remember.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: Ten squared. So you’re a lifelong New Englander.

MADERIA: Lifelong New Englander. Loyal New Englander [laughs].

SHUSTER: And what years were you at Wheaton?

MADERIA: I entered in September ‘42 and was graduated in June of ‘45. I had come from Providence Bible Institute and that gave me forty credits at Wheaton. So that’s why I was finished in three years.

SHUSTER: Howard Ferrin was the president of the Institute when you were there?

MADERIA: He was the president, yes.

SHUSTER: Well, with all the fine schools in New England, why did you come out to Wheaton?

MADERIA: Because of the pressure of Dr. Howard Ferrin and Dr. F. Carlton Booth. They had been out there and had a week of meetings (I believe, as I recall), when they came back, they were very enthusiastic about Wheaton and they said I just had to go there. Well I wasn’t planning to go any farther I had...after graduation from high school. I was graduated in February, so we...everybody who was going on farther in school, we had a post-graduate course and it was a delightful six months of...five months of really relax[sic] while studying whatever you wanted to study. Then my father suggested (I wanted to go to Bible School right away), but he suggested I go to business school. He said you’ll never regret it. And he was so right because it came into my life in so many interesting ways. So...and then I went to Providence Bible Institute...

SHUSTER: What years were you at Providence?

MADERIA: I started there in ‘39 and finished in ‘42. And they just came back so enthusiastic as well. I mean we were neither ready economically. And I thought it was about time I began to do something. I had signed a...I had signed a little vow that wherever God wanted to put me, I would go there. But in the meantime, you know, I expected I’d be working or something until God led me to the next place. Well it was enthusiastic...

SHUSTER: They being...?

MADERIA: Dr. Ferrin and Dr. Booth. And so I talked it over with my parents who were so reluctant because they were not well off people to go to again you know? And....  SHUSTER: And why were Dr. Ferrin and Dr. Booth so enthusiastic? What were you planning to do? I mean what did they see?

MADERIA: Well...God gave me a lot of talents. And I think they thought it was you know, time to expand on them and find out a little more.

SHUSTER: Was it particularly your music talents that they were thinking of?

MADERIA: Well, musically, but I...I was interested in a lot of things. I did very well in all of the schools I went to. I’ll put it that way. They just thought that I ought to keep on going, get a degree, and see what would happen [laughs]. So finally, my father...I remember he said to me...I needed $25 to send out to apply...and I remember his saying to me “I found $25 in my pocket I didn’t know I had, so here it is” [both laugh]. So anyway, and it was a wonderful, wonderful three years with wonderful things that God did for me. Wonderful way of providing for everything. It was marvelous.

SHUSTER: These were the three years at Wheaton?                                  


SHUSTER: You mean the three years at Wheaton?

MADERIA: At Wheaton, it was just simply wonderful. After I’d been there a year, I...I first got a job in the music department and the next thing I knew I was in the registrar’s office. And the next thing I knew, I was secretary to Dr. Kamm...

SHUSTER: Oh yes! Richard Kamm, political science teacher.

MADERIA: Superb man. Yeah. And after I’d been there a year, I thought...I felt kind of....Well I should say that...that one of those couples (I won’t say whether it was Dr. Ferrin or Dr. Booth) but one of those couples paid my tuition the first year. That’s how enthusiastic they were about the fact that I’d be there. So now after one year, I thought “I’ve been out of school...” I mean “I’ve been just going to school, school, school and it’s not fair to my parents, you know to put them under.” So I was considering dropping out and Dr. Kamm’s wife came over to see me. And she said “we would like you to live with us free.” That was lovely of them. And I was just was just like family and I was so....So my last two years we were with them and...

SHUSTER: How would you describe Dr. Kamm as a person? What did he look like?

MADERIA: Well, he was very handsome. He was very dignified. He was dignified with warmth. Everyone who had him as a prof loved him. But he was respected across the whole campus. It was something so dignified but so warm at the same time and of course he was very brilliant. So anyway, I ended up being his secretary then for those three years and...

SHUSTER: say he was very dignified with warmth. Can you think of an example?

MADERIA: Well he also had a wonderful sense of humor. Just wonderful. You know, I mean there was something about him you knew this was a brilliant man. You knew he was a gentleman’s gentleman and yet he was warm and funny and...

SHUSTER: Can you think of an example of his warmth or his sense of humor?

MADERIA: [Laughs] I can think of one time when...he might have gotten very angry with me and he didn’t. And that was....I missed what they have in Rhode Island, is a coffee syrup. Rhode Island’s state drink is coffee cabinet which is the same as coffee which they call it in other countries....Coffee cabinet is milk, cream, ice cream, coffee syrup. And it’s absolutely delicious and nobody else had that but Rhode Island. So my folk’s sent me a box of twelve bottles of that syrup so that all of the New England kids at least could go to the Stupe [the college soda fountain] and say “mix me up a coffee cabinet.” Well, I went home for the summer and there was still plenty of that left when I got back [laughs]. Those bottles were in the camp cellar. And I guess it got hot and they were in the sun and they exploded [laughs]. All of that sticky stuff! And yet, he could laugh about that and tease me about this drink that I had to have [both laugh]. He was very, very nice. And she was lovely. It was the most comfortable thing for me to be in that household.

SHUSTER: Did you ever have Dr. Kamm as a teacher?

MADERIA: Oh yes! See that’s...I was a History major and Poly Sci minor so I had him for more than one course, yeah.

SHUSTER: What kind of teacher was he?

MADERIA: Excellent! Just excellent. I mean, he was top notch in everything he did. He just was that sort of man.

SHUSTER: What made him an excellent teacher?

MADERIA: Well he knew what he was talking about for one thing. I mean he was a student himself, thoroughly. So he got his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania. He wanted me to go there after I finished at Wheaton. But I’d had...I’d had enough of schooling. I got married instead.

SHUSTER: And you said that he knew his stuff, is that what made him an excellent teacher?

MADERIA: Yeah, he knew it and he had his goal where he was going to go with that lecture that day you know and.... He was a brilliant man and...he was highly respected by.... He was loved by those of us who knew him well and he was highly respected by the whole campus. He was a wonderful man.

SHUSTER: Now you were his secretary too, what kind of person was he to work for?

MADERIA: Very...very, I mean it was comfortable! I enjoyed it. We didn’t have a separate...I was in the same office. It was just a little office. And I remember he never used the word “Dr. Kamm” when he answered the phone. It was always “Kamm speaking”. He never used that. I thought that was very interesting. Well he was a pleasure to work for him.

SHUSTER: I mean was he well organized? Was it easy for you to know what he wanted you to do?

MADERIA: Oh absolutely. Everything was fun. He was a little annoyed with me one time graduation time in the days when the junior class and the senior would have know a little “to-do” at the end of the year, you know. Try to...the juniors tried to find out where the seniors were going to go on their little trip. They had to cut out stuff because...because students were...cutting other guys’ hair and all that sort of stuff. And I went one time to the office to get a scissor for somebody to do that. And that was the one time that Dr. Kamm rebuked me. He said “You don’t take scissors out of this office to cut any hair.” So that was the only time he was displeased with me. But not too. [laughs]

SHUSTER: Well let me ask you, when and where did you first meet Billy Graham?

MADERIA: Well, this was fascinating. There was a.... Billy was by the time I came pastor in that church, Gospel Tabernacle, in Wheaton that met in the Masonic Hall. And...there was a woman in that church who wrote...who knew Dr. Booth very well. Dr. Booth in Barrington. Magnificent tenor. I mean she could sing.

SHUSTER: Do you recall her name?


SHUSTER: Do you recall her name?

MADERIA: You know, I was trying to think of it because I also knew her not well, but I knew her through Dr. Booth. I can remember her son’s name was Joshua but I cannot remember her name. Anyway she...

SHUSTER: Was she a college person or someone from the town?

MADERIA: No she was a member of this Gospel Tabernacle Church.

SHUSTER: So she was from the town.

MADERIA: Yeah. So she wrote to Dr. Booth and apparently told him about the church that she went to. Billy wasn’t famous in that day you know, although he was certainly loved and respected all over campus. But she wrote to him and said that they needed an organist-pianist. Why she wrote to him, I guess it was all in God’s plan. She wrote and asked did he know anybody who might be coming to Wheaton who might fill that spot? So he wrote and said I was and I could [laughs]. So I was hired before I ever got there. And I didn’t meet Billy (I met Billy and Ruth together) I didn’t meet him until that Sunday morning when I arrived at the church to play. But that’s how we met. And they were so kind and so thoughtful to me. The Lanes always had people come over to their big, huge house for dinner on Sundays. [Mortimer Lane was a professor at the college.] And they were going there, and they invited me to go with them. So that was how our...

SHUSTER: That was how you met.

MADERIA: ...friendship began, yeah. And it blossomed pretty quickly.

SHUSTER: So what did he look like? What was his appearance?

MADERIA: Handsome. Handsome.

SHUSTER: What made him handsome?

MADERIA: Well he was...I don’t know! It was just know, he was a.... You knew when he went by, just like when Ruth went by, there was something about them that.... He looked gentlemanly. He was good looking, you know, and of course she was beautiful. could not help but notice that lovely couple when...whether they were together or not. And...I remember how beautiful she was because she (and how different) because she wore her hair very simply. No permanence, no nothing. Very simply and then in a nice, round, whatever they call (they don’t call that now because people don’t wear their hair that way).

SHUSTER: Like a bun?

MADERIA: A bun. That’s the word I’m looking for. She was regal. She looked like a princess. And there was something about her bearing. And it wasn’t that she was cold or anything like that. She was warm as they come and had a great sense of humor. But there was that beauty in her that you just noticed it right away. So the two of them together, they were pretty....You just had to notice them. And you immediately liked them because of the kind of people they were. I don’t think there was a person on the campus who didn’t have a lot of admiration. And a lot of them had love for them really. They were wonderful.

SHUSTER: So you...right off the bat you were the organist-pianist at Tabernacle.

MADERIA: Yes, yeah.

SHUSTER: Did you get a salary for that? Was it a volunteer position?

MADERIA: I think I got...I think I got three dollars a Sunday, I think that’s what it was. Yeah.

SHUSTER: And did you decide on the music for the service?

MADERIA: No, no. He picked the hymns and the.... I don’t know whether he went through the Christian (what was that called at Wheaton where they sent the young people out to, what was that...)

SHUSTER: Christian Endeavor or...? 

MADERIA: Christian...?

SHUSTER: Christian Endeavor?

MADERIA: No, no it was a...

SHUSTER: Christian Council?

MADERIA: Well let’s say Christian Council. That’s probably.... I don’t know whether they sent him musicians or he picked them. But I know the man who then became my husband, he was sent over to sing a solo. A gorgeous voice. And that’s who we got to know because I had to practice with him. And that’s how we got to know each other better later on he was in the Ambassador Quartet. And when I got that quartet going and we both were singing out at...Songs in the Night. So that’s how we really got to know each other.

SHUSTER: And your husband’s name?

MADERIA: David Maderia. David Lehman. L-E-H-M-A-N. He was brought up plain, plain people in Lancaster County. Yeah, his fore...(he had an interesting background) his forebears came from Switzerland in 1742 on both sides of the family because they were persecuted you know? They.... And the name was Nadori –A-D-O with the umlaut-R-I and I don’t...I suppose when they came here, nobody knew what to do with that umlaut so their name was changed and changed and changed and finally ended up being Maderia. And the other side of his family...this is getting off the...but I thought was very interesting. On his paternal grandmother’s side, they also had fled but they fled from France. They were French Huguenot. So it was an interesting background.

SHUSTER: Interesting combination.

MADERIA: Yeah, yeah.

SHUSTER: At the Tabernacle, there was a service where I guess you played music every Sunday.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: Were there other pro....I mean was there a Sunday school at the Tabernacle or were there other services?

MADERIA: You know I don’t know if there was a Sunday school. I think that was a very small membership and people maybe from middle age on up. But the church was filled every Sunday with students. Just packed every Sunday. But I don’t think the congregation itself was a big congregation. And so I don’t remember anything about a Sunday school. I don’t think they would have had room, see? I don’t know whether that still exists, do you know?

SHUSTER: Well, the building of course that you met in was of course the Masonic Temple.


SHUSTER: And that’s still standing.

MADERIA: Yes, but you don’t know whether the church still exists?

SHUSTER: The church hasn’t met there...hasn’t met for many, many years.


SHUSTER: But I mean it was an actual church. There was a member...there was membership and there was...

MADERIA: Yes. Yes. Yes.

SHUSTER: And did that consist of people from the town or was that something the college started?

MADERIA: No, no no. I think it was people from the town. Yeah, yeah. I don’t...well I didn’t know the membership that much but it was a small membership. You don’t know whether they exist anymore?

SHUSTER: I don’t believe so, but I don’t know. They might have combined with the Bible Church or the College Church.... 

MADERIA: Yeah, well there’s so many big churches there that...yeah.

SHUSTER: I know that the Tabernacle (according to the history of DuPage County that we have) was started in 1929.

MADERIA: Oh it did?

SHUSTER: So many years before of course Graham came there.

MADERIA: Oh, interesting.

SHUSTER:’s history.... There’s not a lot of information of the history of the church as a church.

MADERIA: Yeah, yeah.

SHUSTER: Besides Billy Graham, did other people speak at the Tabernacle?

MADERIA: I don’t remember that other people did. But I was there of course (what was I there...two years?) No, I was there three years. No I wasn’t there three years, because when Billy graduated in ‘43, that was the end of that. And...he became pastor at the other... 

SHUSTER: That was the end of what?

MADEIRA: That was the end of his being there and I...I don’t think I played there after that. Yeah. I don’t recall....

SHUSTER: Was that because they found another pianist? Or you stopped going because Billy wasn’t there or...?

MADERIA: I never.... Isn’t that interesting? I don’t recall that. I don’t recall. But of course I was very busy.


MADEIRA: I was in the Glee Club and I started this girls’ quartet. And I do not remember that at all. I wasn’t fired, I’m sure I wasn’t fired. But remember that... 

SHUSTER: Do you recall who became the minister after...?

MADERIA: No I don’t. I don’t know. Isn’t that interesting? I’ve never thought about that since.

SHUSTER: I know we have a letter that Merrill Tenney was preaching there for a time.

MADERIA: Oh well he was a great preacher. Now you know, I may have stayed on but I don’t remember [laughs].

SHUSTER: Well...

MADERIA: I didn’t stay on for three years, that much I know. That much I know.

SHUSTER: What kind of preacher was Graham at the Tabernacle?



MADERIA: Well he was good at everything. I mean you just had to listen to him. And you just had to listen because he had something worthwhile to hear. And there was no faltering, he knew where he was headed in his sermons. I can remember one of contrasts. I don’t remember the contrast, but I do remember this or that, you know. It was...

SHUSTER: You mean gesturing with his hands?

MADERIA: It was so...probably did. But it was so distinct and so impressive this, I think it was the contrast between being saved and not being saved. I remember thinking “man, he knows how to preach.” And it was evident because the church was full every Sunday. And it was mainly students, see. So...I call it the church. The auditorium.

SHUSTER: Did he move around when he preached? I mean what was his preaching style?

MADERIA: No, no. He didn’t move.... No he didn’t. He wasn’t stiff and stayed but you know, he didn’t do any prancing the way some fellows do. And

SHUSTER: Do you recall any particular sermons he preached or any anecdotes or is there any examples of his preaching?

MADERIA: No, that is [laughs] that’s sixty five years ago so I don’t remember that.

SHUSTER: You said when he preached you had to listen to him. How do you mean that?

MADERIA: Well...because he had something to say and he said it so well and you...I mean...his whole (and I don’t want to mean he practiced this) but his whole control of his voice and the crescendoes and decrescendoes that all went with that message you know, he...he was an enthusiastic preacher I would say. And I don’t mean “hey rah, rah.” He was enthusiastic about the message that he had to give and...well...the fact that the place was full every Sunday says something.

SHUSTER: Now did he give an invitation? At his sermons?

MADERIA: [Pauses] I don’t think he gave an invitation for people to come forward. I don’t remember that. I’m sure he gave an invitation about people within their pew, in their heart, but I don’t think he gave an invitation for people to come forward.

SHUSTER: What did the Tabernacle look like? What was the setup inside?

MADERIA: Well it was just a nice, neat hall. I don’t was just...a very plain, very plain. They may have had some of their own...symbols or something which they didn’t put out...

SHUSTER: Masonic symbols.

MADERIA: ...which they didn’t put out on a Sunday. They may have had something like that. It was very plain, but neat, clean, and comfortable.

SHUSTER: Were they benches or folding chairs?

MADERIA: I think it was folding chairs. Yeah, I think it was folding chairs.

SHUSTER: Did you have to help setting it up or taking it down, anything like that?

MADERIA: No, no. No, no.

SHUSTER: Do you recall anybody else who was connected to the Tabernacle besides yourself and Graham? Anyone else who was...? 

MADERIA: I wish I could remember their names. There were a couple of elderly Swedish ladies. And the fact that I could (I mean they spoke English and probably were born here)...but the fact that I was fluent in Swedish and they were kind of drew us together. But sadly, I don’t remember their names. But I do remember liking them very much. And I guess the liking know...ditto with them. But see, there weren’t a lot of people. I remember New Year’s Eve (we had a New Year’s Eve watch as you might call it) in somebody’s home. I don’t believe there were more than ten or fifteen people there...

SHUSTER: And these were all people who were actually members of the church?

MADERIA: Yes, that’s right. And what I do remember so distinctly was that I was feeling a little homesick because I loved our service back home (I was brought up Swedish Lutheran and had a wonderful Godly pastor) and on New Year’s Eve, when the bells began to toll, we would sing “Nearer, my God to Thee” every single New Year’s Eve. To me that was so impressive! So I told Billy about this, so he had us do that. We were on our knees singing that night. I so appreciated that. I think he liked the idea himself, but I so appreciated that he was willing to do that thing that meant a lot for me and I think it meant a lot for the others when you think about being on your knees and seeing that while those bells are going, you know? Very vivid in my mind.

SHUSTER: Is there anything else you want to mention about the Tabernacle? 

MADERIA: No, I think that’s it...on that....

SHUSTER: There was a J. W. Taylor who was supposed to be Sunday school superintendent, was that...?

MADERIA: Oh. I don’t know that name at all, no.

SHUSTER: I know too that of course Billy was sometimes away preaching in other states, holding meetings in Wisconsin, Indiana. When he was not there on Sunday, do you recall who preached instead for him? 

MADERIA: Well, you know you mentioned Merrill (I mean, what did you say...?)

SHUSTER: Merrill Tenney?

MADERIA: Yes, I’m sure that was true for him. But I do not remember that he was away that much in that position. I think more when he went over to...

SHUSTER: Western Springs?

MADERIA: Mmm. Then he began know, he really was an evangelist. And then that...I think in that place he was away quite a bit. But not that I remember in the Tabernacle. Maybe once in a great, great while. Yeah.

SHUSTER: Of course he was going to school too.

MADERIA: Yes, exactly, yeah.

SHUSTER: You said that, “he preached, he had something to say.” What were the topics of his sermons? What were the things that he preached about?

MADERIA: [Laughs] Oh dear, as I said, that’s sixty-five years ago. I’m sure you...well of course he preached about knowing Christ as your savior, but then his emphasis would have been the Lordship of Christ. I mean, too many people just get saved and nothing changes. So that was strong, the Lordship of Christ, and....

SHUSTER: Now the years that you were there of course were also the years of World War Two, the US in World War Two. Did any of the sermons relate to things that were happening in the world? Events in the war or anything like that?

MADERIA: I don’t remember. I really don’t remember.

SHUSTER: Some people also told us that Dr. Edman asked Billy to preach sometimes in Chapel. Do you recall that?

MADERIA: Yes. Well I’m sure that he did. I do not remember hearing him preach in Chapel but he may well have. You know, he was finished in ‘43. I came in ‘42, September of ‘42. So that was only one year. And I do not remember his preaching, but I wouldn’t put it past Dr. Edman at all to have him probably quite often. But in that span, I do not remember that. Yeah.

SHUSTER: It was in that span (his senior year) that he headed the Christian Council on campus.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about his work there?

MADERIA: No...I didn’t know...well it says his senior year....

SHUSTER: But you weren’t involved in any of the...?

MADERIA: No, all I remember is that.... That wasn’t his senior year because now he was over at the other church. I remember that we girls whenever we went out anywhere to sing, we were supposed to go to Christian Council and sign out and....

SHUSTER: We girls being the quartet you started?

MADERIA: Yes. Yeah. Or know any...if I went out to sing a solo or speak somewhere, then I had to let them know in the Christian Council.

SHUSTER: Why was that? Did they have a veto over whether you went or not?

MADERIA: Well, I think they watched over girls an awful lot. You know, they had to know where the girls were, what were they doing. And I do remember that [laughs] got in trouble with whoever the woman (well , I know who the woman was) who was sort of...I don’t know what her position was, but she was in that Christian Council office.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

MADERIA: And we were supposed to let her know every time. Well I didn’t always remember. But we went every single...we went every single Sunday. Everybody knew that’s where we were. But she tried to get me into trouble and [laughs]...

SHUSTER: Because you hadn’t signed up or...?

MADERIA: Yeah, because I missed once in a while. But...

SHUSTER: What happened...what was supposed to happen if you didn’t sign up?

MADERIA: Maybe you better [tape recorder turned off and on]...anyway, she tried to get me in trouble.

SHUSTER: She in the sense of...?

MADERIA: She was unsuccessful. She.... I had to meet with the Dean with her and...I won out [Both laugh] and I won’t go into anymore detail with that but.... Well I might tell you afterwards. But anyway, the Dean said, “you know, we know they’re going to be there. They don’t have to sign up every time.”

SHUSTER: And where was it you were going every week? Was that to Western Springs?

MADERIA: Yes. See and it was regular. That’s why it was ridiculous that I had to go over there every Sunday and tell her that. Because that’s where...they knew we were there every week so....

SHUSTER: Now did you have any classes with Billy?

MADERIA: No, no, no.

SHUSTER: I know...

MADERIA: I think that he was...I think he was a Grigolia....

SHUSTER: He was...That was his major? That was his advisor?

MADERIA: Yeah, I think so.

SHUSTER: And he was a...his major was in anthropology?    MADERIA: Yes.

SHUSTER: You mentioned Alexander Grigolia who taught anthropology. Did you have much contact with him?

MADERIA: No, just that little.... See I can’t remember whether I took that class or not. I...I think I must have or maybe I went in and got out of it know I remember going into his office, see...and to see him about something, and the first thing he said was “Beckman, what’s the matter with your eyes?” Just as quick as that because he had his own eye trouble, see.

SHUSTER: No you only have vision in one eye, is that correct?

MADERIA: One, yeah. And I almost didn’t have it in this. I just recently had huge cataracts...fifteen year old cataract removed but God answered a lot of prayers. Doctor wasn’t too hopeful that it was going to be successful but....

SHUSTER: And Professor Grigolia also only had one eye?

MADERIA: Yeah, I guess it was only one eye. I think the other one was artificial and wasn’t too great. You know, you noticed it right off the bat.

SHUSTER: And that’s the first thing he said to you, “What’s the matter with...?”

MADERIA: That’s the first thing! “Beckman, what’s the matter with your eye?” [Both laugh] In his own little accent you know. So that’s all I remember.

SHUSTER: No what did he say when you told him that you only had one eye? Did he...?

MADERIA: Oh, I don’t remember. We were just partners I guess [both laugh] in that regard. So....

SHUSTER: Anything else you wanted to say about him?

MADERIA: No, no. He was a pleasant man. He was well liked by the people who went to his classes. He was well liked. I’m not sure he was the world’s greatest teacher but [both laugh].

SHUSTER: How do you mean that?

MADERIA: Well I...I just think you know.... Of course one thing, he had his...language problem for one thing. So...

SHUSTER: So he had a strong accent?

MADERIA: ...He was an enthusiastic man. Very enthusiastic, but whether he could really get it across. Well he must have done pretty well or he couldn’t have a major, he couldn’t be.... But I think it was probably harder to listen to him than to some others, you know?

SHUSTER: Now in February of 1943, there was an Awakening on campus.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: Do you recall? Do you recall that?

MADERIA: Yes, it was wonderful, it was wonderful.

SHUSTER: How would you describe what happened?

MADERIA: Well it was a...the man who spoke was from Michigan...

SHUSTER: Harold Warren was his name.

MADERIA: That’s...that’s right. It was excellent. His was excellent his speaking was excellent and that one of the of the morning chapel meetings, this one young man asked if he could speak. He had apparently...I don’t remember what he said. But I think he had probably gone of to Chicago know...and wasn’t supposed to go. And wherever he went, probably wasn’t supposed to go. So he was very open. And that began one after another over a period of that week, people going up and telling where they had failed and where they had broken a rule or something like that. It was a very, deep and wonderful revival time. So...

SHUSTER: So did these meetings last all day? Did...?

MADERIA: I don’t remember that they did. I don’t remember that they did. I think a later one, when our daughter was there, I think they had one that was quite powerful.

SHUSTER: did the did the meetings on campus affect you personally? Or did they?

MADERIA: Well, I...sort of a re-commitment to Christ. I fifteen, I had heard a Russian missionary and that point, said “Lord, whatever you want me to do, I want to do what you want me to do.” And when I was twelve, I really had a wonderful experience. I...I grew up in a neighborhood where...there weren’t too many children in the neighborhood. But one of them, they didn’t send their children to church or to Sunday school until when they were about twelve years old, they sent them up to get Baptized [laughs] at a Baptist Church. But there was nothing spiritual in their life. Their language was pretty coarse, so on and so forth. Very nice people. But they.... And then there was another family of children. There were three households with children. And the others were the same way. There was no.... But in our home it was a very deep.... So I used to, instead of playing with the kids and playing school, we played Sunday school. And I was the teacher of course and I would teach them little songs “Jesus Bids us Shine” and stuff like that, you know. And when I was twelve, I couldn’t sleep one night because of the firecrackers going all night long July 3rd into the 4th, and that night I had a real experience. It was as if God said to me “You are too proud about your Christianity. You’re too proud about how spiritual you are.”

SHUSTER: And about how old were you then?

MADERIA: Twelve.

SHUSTER: Twelve.

MADERIA: And that was a very, very turning...strong turning point in my life. And so then.... And I kept that testimony in high school. I was well loved but they knew that I had certain standards that I wouldn’t cross (you know, I mean like not going to the movies and stuff which seemed so strange now). But until they...Tale of Two Cities came out and that time, that was my first movie. And we had just read it in school. And I...and my father didn’t have the same problem with going as my mother. She really thought it was wrong. And...but I had wonderful friends there. And their parents either read (there was some Baptist journal out in those days put out by some minister in Philly) and he would review movies and say whether they were worth seeing or not. So the parents would either read that or go to a movie themselves and then decide. And when my mother heard that, she was quite impressed. And those...those people that I went with to school were wonderful people and we went. I said you know, we’ve just read it. So that was my first movie [laughs].

SHUSTER: Going back to the Wheaton Revival, how did that affect you? How did that affect you personally?

MADERIA: Well just...just sort of a renewal of...just sort of a renewal.... See I did really want to do what God wanted me to do. I wanted to go where he wanted me to go. So it didn’t affect me in probably the same way. But it simply...simply...invigorated that determination want to live to honor Christ.

SHUSTER: Did the revival have an impact on life on campus?

MADERIA: I think it did. I think prayer meetings grew during that time, student prayer meetings grew considerably. And I suppose with each student, it had its own impact. But it did, it did have an impact.

SHUSTER: Now...Billy Graham has written that it was at Wheaton that he first had African Americans as classmates.  

MADERIA: Uh-huh. 

SHUSTER: Do you remember black students on campus?

MADERIA: I remember that...I think there were two. One girl and one man as I recall. What bothered me considerably was that they could not live on campus. And I had not been brought up that way. And we had...

SHUSTER: You mean they couldn’t live in the dorms?

MADERIA: They could not live in the dorms. And I thought that [pauses], well, it was terrible! It was terrible! And I was brought up so differently (I don’t want to waste your time), but really wonderful things in our family about that connection. So that troubled me. Now I think they can live there. They better! I think it’s law. I think it’s law now. But to me that was very amazing to find out that during the Civil War, there was that hideaway for these people on their way up to Canada or wherever they wanted to go. Then what turned them against...who decided they could not live on the campus?

SHUSTER: You mean that there was a...station of the Underground Railroad at Wheaton?

MADERIA: Yes, yes.

SHUSTER: Right before the Civil War. And so the black students had to live with a black family in town or something...?

MADERIA: Well they lived...whoever they lived with, they couldn’t live on campus. And they couldn’t live with students, I’m positive. So...that really.... That I did not like. And I was ashamed of it as a matter of fact.

SHUSTER: Do you recall the students’ names or did you have any contact with them?

MADERIA: No, I didn’t know them. I just knew...I knew there was a girl but she was not in any of my classes in the same way that if there was a boy at that time (and there must have been, I can’t remember that but) since Billy mentions it. But neither of them would have been in my class...were, neither of them were in my class. So....

SHUSTER: Now also during the war, there was a large school that Wheaton ran in connection with the Navy for providing some training for...Navy seaman. Do you recall anything about that or did you have any contact with that?

MADERIA: No I remember that there was some kind there. But there were an awful lot of fellows who just vanished off to war. So...

SHUSTER: You mean Wheaton students who went off to war?

MADERIA: Yes, yeah.

SHUSTER: So you didn’t have any contact with the Navy people on campus?

MADERIA: No, no. It was there on campus, but I didn’t have any contact.

SHUSTER: How was Graham regarded by the other people on campus? 

MADERIA: How was...?

SHUSTER: How was he regarded by the people on campus? Billy Graham.

MADERIA: Oh. Everybody respected him. And most people probably loved him [laughs] and I don’t thin there was a soul who found a flaw, you know. If anybody felt inferior in know in a negative sort of way, there wasn’t anything like that around. He was...he was respected. He was loved, he was fun! He know, he was...he had his own good sense of humor. He was warm, friendly.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples of his sense of humor?

MADERIA: [Laughs] No I saw another side of him that was very interesting. That’s when we get over to my being secretary so I don’t know if you want that now or not.

SHUSTER: Sure, go ahead.

MADERIA: Well...the reason I became his secretary was that in ‘44, all the Ambassador Boys graduated [clears throat] and now he had only Beverly Shea...

SHUSTER: The Ambassador Boys was the Ambassador Choir.

MADERIA: The Ambassador Quarter.

SHUSTER: The Ambassador Quartet, yes.

MADERIA: Yes. They had...he had inherited that from Torrey Johnson. When he inherited “Songs in the Night” Ambassador Quartet came with that because they were singing for Torrey. And then he got Beverly Shea [clears throat]. And then he asked me could our quartet sing there. And then in ‘44, all four Ambassador Quartet men graduated. Now he was without them, so he said to me “Could you stay this summer? Could this quartet stay on through this summer?” And I said “Well, the other girls don’t need a job, but I need to go home and get a job.” So then he said “Well then why don’t you be my secretary?” That’s how quickly that went.

SHUSTER: And that was the summer of ‘44?

MADERIA: Uh-huh. And we knew that was only going to be for the summer because I was going to back for my senior year. So one time [laughs] (I hope this guy is not alive right now but) one time when I was there, Billy was not there, he was out of town. This very lucrative man who had a position as a deacon came in and told me that Billy Graham had invited evangelist from down south, Alabama I think it was. I remember Billy’s mentioning his first name was...

SHUSTER: Was it...

MADERIA: Ponzi. Ponzi. I think the last name was Ponzi Parrington, I think.

SHUSTER: Yes, he was with Graham at Trinity Bible Institute. At Florida Bible Institute.

MADERIA: Oh, okay. Well...[laughs] Billy laughed about that name because that name was the name of a racketeer in Boston, you know? And he said “can you imagine a mother naming her son Ponzi? She thought it was a pretty name. She probably didn’t know anything about that boy up in Boston...that man...” So anyway, Billy had written to him and I had sent the let...I had written one.... And now Billy was not there and this man lots of this., ots of power.

SHUSTER: This was the deacon at the church who was...had a lot of power.

MADERIA: [Whispering] Money, money. And he came in and told me that the deacons had met and wanted that...wanted him crossed off. He was not to come.

SHUSTER: Cancelled.

MADERIA: Uh-huh. So I was sort of naive, you know, he told me to write this letter which I did. When Billy came back, I told him this (and I don’t know if this ought to be on) and he was not happy. And he said to me (he was very nice to me) he said, “Don’t write any letters for anybody but me.” Later on, the same thing happened in 1945. I got a letter from Beverly Shea saying that the music committee has met. They cannot afford to pay you girls. You know what they paid us total? Total fifteen dollars. And we paid our way in on the train. Fifteen dollars and we worked with Billy with the young people who were there with the evening service. We were there.... And I, who had the least money, I did not take any money. I divided it with the other girls. So [chuckles] anyway, got this letter saying that the music committee had met. And...

SHUSTER: And of course at that point, George Beverly Shea was the music director for the church? Right? That’s why he would have been writing...?

MADERIA: No, I don’t think he was at that point. He...not that I knew of.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

MADERIA: But he...he wrote this and said that these girls, three working girls, trio, they could not do it and they would do it for nothing. And we were shut off like that. Well I called another man that I knew was on the music committee and I said “Did you having a meeting and discuss this?” He said “no, I don’t know anything about that.” So I think it was the same man doing the same thing as he had done previously. When Billy came back, he told my...Dave. He said, “Ask Anna-Elisa to call me and tell me what happened.” Oh I never bothered to call. They had these girls and it was our last semester and our Glee club was going to California and we had big exams. So I never called him back. I did tell him years later what happened. And I think again it was power, see. I think that Bill...Beverly Shea was totally innocent. It was just like I was, you know.

SHUSTER: So why was the deacon doing this to save money? Or what was the reason?

MADERIA: [Whispering] He was loaded with money. Power.

SHUSTER: Just to exercise power?

MADERIA: Uh-huh, yeah.

SHUSTER: Going back a little bit to the college before we go onto Western Springs. You mentioned that your very first meeting was with Billy and Ruth at the Tabernacle. How did Billy and Ruth related to each other as a couple? I mean how did they...?

MADERIA: Well of course by the time I came they were a strong couple.

SHUSTER: So what kind of couple were they? What were they like together?

MADERIA: Well there’ just loved seeing them together. They were just so attractive. Both of them such lovely people. Such committed Christians. I mean they were just.... you couldn’t do anything but admire them and be thankful if you had a friendship with them. I don’t mean...I don’t mean that in the opposite way. Just to be their friend was almost an honor, you know. And that sounds like they decided that. I don’t mean that. They...they were just lovely people. And to know them as well as I know them was really a gift and...yeah.

SHUSTER: How do they relate to each other?

MADERIA: Well they were desperately in love with each other [laughs]. You know, there are those little funny stories about know about her wanting to go the mission field and he didn’t feel called you know that story.

SHUSTER: I don’t know that story, what is that?

MADERIA: Oh, so he made the (I wish I could say it just exactly because) he was strong about the mission field and he was strong about that God was using him in this other way. And so he said (oh, I shouldn’t quote him because I’m going to say it long, wrong). But it was something to the effect that “well, I’m going the way God wants me to” or something like that. But it...I’ve got it in one of my books (I’ve got so many books). But it was a very funny answer. It was a very firm answer. He knew that he was going to do what God wanted and he felt God called him to be this evangelist, you know. Of course...but she was wonderful. But it was a definite decision in other words. You go your own way and I’ll go mine. But that’s not the way it was said. But inferred that and that meant it was pretty strong for Billy to say it but he knew what he wanted. But then on the other hand, he had such a treasure in his wife. I mean how many wives could put up with what they, she had to put up with. Caring for those children while he was all over the world you know. I mean that was an ideal couple. Yeah.

SHUSTER: So, but you’re saying that basically at some point he said, “God wants me to be an evangelist and not a missionary and you have to decide what you want to do...”

MADERIA: Yeah, that’s right.

SHUSTER: Be a missionary or...

MADERIA: That was the...that was the implication of it, yeah.

SHUSTER: A lot of people told us that Ruth had a sense of humor was a practical joker....

MADERIA: Oh she was very funny.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples of that?

MADERIA: Well no because you know I wasn’t with her that much because they were together and I was busy in my own.... But she was very funny. And I visited them (not him, he was out of town), I visited her one time down in their home. And I don’t remember anything funny then. I remember she talked about difficulty raising the boys at that time.


MADERIA: And so forth and so on. But she did.... I did, when you read her books I mean she really had...she was very quick witted. Very quick witted. At the same time she had this beautiful vocabulary. This ability to see beauty in everything. Her poetry is just amazing. Just....

SHUSTER: Was this something that you found out about later or were you as a college student aware of this?

MADERIA: No, later. More reading the books you know. Yeah. Because again, she was a senior and I was a sophomore you know.

SHUSTER: Sure. As I mentioned before, Graham sometimes held meetings in other states, evangelistic meetings. And he took students with him to sing or lead the service. Were you ever involved in one of those off campus meetings?

MADERIA: No, I remember one church we went to [clears throat]. This is very interesting. He and Beverly Shea were going to go to another church, basement church somewhere in Chicago. I don’t remember. And he asked again for the girl’s quartet to go. And there, he asked me if I would sing a certain solo that he had not heard. It was an old Swedish song translated into English. And he had heard me sing it. And he really loved it (and I ought to send him a tape and send it down). he asked me there “would you sing this?” Out of the blue he asked me. Well this was a basement church and the piano was up against the wall like that. And I said, “Billy, I can’t do that because I’m going to be playing and singing against the wall. They’re not going to get the words.” I was dumbfounded. Beverly Shea said to me “I will play for you.” And I thought “wow, a lot of...a lot of people wouldn’t do that.” He was the soloist. A lot of people wouldn’t do that! But...and he knew the song. How he knew the song I don’t know. he sat down at the piano. I didn’t know that he (well I should have known that he played the piano but I didn’t). But that made such an impression on me that this man who was quote “the star of the music” you know would say “you sing, I’ll play.” It was very nice.

SHUSTER: Do you recall what the song was?

MADERIA: Yes “If I Gained the World But Lost the Savior.” Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: You’ve mentioned a couple of times of course your quartet which was called Carollers for Christ, right?

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: How did that come to be formed?

MADERIA: Well because, when I went to PBI, they had a program called...they...before they went to Providence, they were up in Dudley, Mass[achusetts]. And they called their group Dudley Carollers, their singing group, Dudley Carollers. So then, when we went to Wheaton and one of the girls in the quartet was Dr. Ferrin’s daughter...   SHUSTER: And what was her name?

MADERIA: Betty...Ferrin. Betty Mostrom now. She.... so when I formed that quartet...see I joined the Glee club and I could tell these voices and you know trios...

SHUSTER: This was the women’s Glee club of course.

MADERIA: The women’s Glee club at Wheaton. And know trios were frequent. But nobody put a girl’s quartet. But I’d been one in Providence. So I started I lost my track. What did you ask me?

SHUSTER: Well I was asking, how did you start it?

MADERIA: Oh, so then I took that name Carollers and called it Carollers for Christ. That’s how that happened.

SHUSTER: And why did you start the group? I mean how did the group come to be?

MADERIA: Why did I start a quartet?

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

MADERIA: Because I knew that quartets sounded a lot nicer than trios [both laug]. I mean they were more complete you know. And I had this very low voice so that know we could do the four. That’s why we were able to do it in Providence because of my low voice. Otherwise, we had plenty of trios around. Oh, did I do something?

SHUSTER: No, no, that’s fine. The mic[rophone] picks up everything, so...


SHUSTER: When the.... You mentioned Betty Ferrin was one of the members of the quartet. Who were the others?

MADERIA: Well it was Joyce...

SHUSTER: Supplee

MADERIA: No. Yeah, well, Supplee now, Tucker her name was back then. And Betty, Elizabeth (I’ve got their pictures right over there) and she’s married too. And she’s down in Florida. That’s why I forgot about those two other girls, Lorraine Houpt and...what’s the other one’s name?

SHUSTER: I don’t recall off hand.

MADERIA: I’ve got it over there.

SHUSTER: Jeanette Wilcox?

MADERIA: Yes, see I’ve forgotten about them because they were there such a short time. When the...when the fellows left in ‘44 and we were the only two left.... Now also in ‘44...what’s her name down in Florida? [Pauses] It’s terrible. Oh I can’ must have the names there.

SHUSTER: Was this a member of the quartet?


SHUSTER: Betty Joyce Ferrin, Betty Hyslop.

MADERIA: Oh okay, Betty Hyslop. She graduated also in ‘44. So there was also one quartet member. And Betty Joyce Ferrin was very much in love. And between her studies and her...she was...she was very much with her fiancé. So she dropped out. That’s when these other two girls...I asked them to come in. But I’d forgotten that because it was such a brief time with coming in in the fall and we got that little phone call that I spoke about. You know, getting it in February or March, so that was...that was the end of that so far as Songs in the Night was concerned. Yeah.

SHUSTER: We’ve been talking for about an hour now, why don’t we take a break for about five minutes or so.


SHUSTER: If that’s okay.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: And I will just.... [Tape recorder turned off and on] I will start again. So this is...we’re continuing now after taking a pleasant break and having some Danish...I mean Scandinavian puffs!

MADERIA: [Laughs].

SHUSTER: We were starting to talk some about the Carollers for Christ and after Billy graduated from Wheaton in the spring of ‘43 became pastor at Western Springs Baptist Church. And you have been saying how at first, the group on his radio program, Songs in the Night, was the Ambassador’s Quartet but then they graduated and he asked you...he asked Carollers for Christ to come sing.

MADERIA: No, we sang both.

SHUSTER: Sang together.

MADERIA: We, we.... No, both groups sang at each time. And then we did sing together in Wheaton, we gave a couple of concerts. But we were there, both of us together. But then it was in ‘44 when they graduated and we were all going to be gone for the summer. And that’s when he asked if we couldn’t stay and I said I couldn’t and he hired me. That’s how that.... but the two quartets worked together so....

SHUSTER: When did you you recall when you first started singing on Songs in the Night? It would have been sometime in the spring of ‘44 I imagine. 

MADERIA: It was before then. When did he start with...?

SHUSTER: He started...Graham started at Western Springs in 1943 but he began with Songs in the Night in January of 1944.

MADERIA: All right. Then he...then it was probably almost right away...


MADERIA: ...because...yeah. I’m sure it was right away then as soon as he took it over. That he...yeah, that he asked us. But he also inherited the Ambassadors. So it was both groups and Beverly Shea. Yeah.

SHUSTER: So there was a lot of music on the program.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.. It was a lovely program. He didn’t preach.

SHUSTER: What did it consist of? What was the program?

MADERIA: He sat very comfortably at a table. It was there was a congregation. He sat at a table, lamp there and everything. It was sort of cozy, sort of appearance. And he just talked. Or he read poetry. Or he read Scripture. And it was in and out, in and out. It was not a preaching sort of thing. It was...that was what made it so lovely. And I have an idea that Ruth with all her gifts and with all her savings of things like I do [laughs], that she probably furnished him a lot of material during that time. That’s what I think it was. I...that’s why it was so nice. Because it was in and out, in and out. Music and talk.

SHUSTER: Of course, the program was called Songs in the Night...

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: there would be a song and he talked and there would be a song and he talked?

MADERIA: Uh-huh, yeah.

SHUSTER: And how long, how long did it go for?

MADERIA: It was forty-five minutes.

SHUSTER: Forty-five minutes? Oh. And what kind of things would he talk about?

MADERIA: [Laughs].

SHUSTER: Does anything stick in your mind from his radio talks?

MADERIA: No. I guess because we were occupied with things know with our singing. But I just remembered, I think you know he would probably read something out of...what was that devotional book that was so popular...Springs in the Valley [perhaps Streams in the Desert was meant]. And you know he would read out of things like that. Lovely thoughts. Lovely poetry. Scripture. And it was just in and out. But it was just a lovely thing at that hour of the night. When you lived through the day and now you kind of relax in this beauty of what was read, what was sung, and I think that’s what made the program so popular. And my folks got it all the way back in Rhode Island. And...they loved hearing it of course [laughs].

SHUSTER: How did you know what to sing? Did you decide what you wanted to sing each week or were you told what to sing?

MADERIA: No, I...I arranged the music and we sang. I had everyone think...I think.... He didn’t tell us what his theme was going to be, we just so.... I have just always been exceedingly interested in hymnody and in good quality of text as well as good quality of music. I’m not wild about some of this humpity-scumpity thing [both laugh]. So I would pick out different songs and arrange them. And they were often Gospel songs but they were quality Gospel songs. Like, I will give an illustration of the very popular song [pauses] “Mercy There was Great and Grace was Free.” That song always bothered me. The music to that always bothered me because it’s talking about Cavalry and here it is “hip-hip-hooray” kind of tune. So I wrote a new tune to that that I think fits it. It’s’s more pensive and...and thoughtful about what that text says, see? So that’s the kind of thing I...I did.

SHUSTER: And what was a typical broadcast like? What time did you have to get there? 

MADERIA: Well we girls took the three o’clock train in because we...we were with Billy when he was with the young people before church (five o’clock or something like that).

SHUSTER: You mean you sang at the young people’s meeting at the church?

MADERIA: No, we didn’t sing. We...well, we may have sung. I think I played. We participated, not to any great extent.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

MADERIA: But I guess in order to get there and get there with all...everything else that was going on, for someone to pick us up at the station, we had to get there in good time. So we were there with him...

SHUSTER: At the what?

MADERIA: I’m sure that...I’m sure that once in a while he may have asked us to sing or you know play or something. And then we were there at the evening service and I can remember that...I can remember playing some for that and...

SHUSTER: So Billy...he also led the young people’s meeting at the church?

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: And so what time, you said you got there around three o’clock?

MADERIA: We took the...we took the train around three, so we probably got there around three thirty, quarter to four, something like that. Whoever picked us up, I don’t know. It was probably Billy. I don’t remember.

SHUSTER: And what time did the radio program begin?

MADERIA: At ten ten fifteen [clears throat].

SHUSTER: So you were there seven hours or more every day.

MADERIA: Uh-huh. Yeah.

SHUSTER: Unless it was later.

MADERIA: And the men, the Ambassadors they came from some other church somewhere and got there in time to sing for the program...For Songs in the Night.

SHUSTER: Who else besides the Carollers for Christ, the Ambassadors, Billy Graham, George Beverly Shea, who else was involved in putting on the program?

MADERIA: There was somebody on the organ but I don’t remember his name. But he was from Moody. And he was on the organ.

SHUSTER: James Staffstrom? Does that name ring a bell?

MADERIA: No, I think I would have remembered that because it’s so Swedish [laughs] but I...

SHUSTER: He was director of music at the church at the time.

MADERIA: Well that was later, then I guess. Yeah.

SHUSTER: Who was actually producing the program? Who was the engineer or who was arranging for the broadcast? Did you...?

MADERIA: I don’t really know. I don’t know.

SHUSTER: So you say it was about ten o’clock? Ten thirty?

MADERIA: Ten fifteen to eleven. Yeah.

SHUSTER: And what was the setup like? You mentioned that Billy Graham was sitting at a table?

MADERIA: Yeah, and then we would sing from a platform with a mic[rophone] at a platform. But he was sitting. It was sort of this very cozy kind of feeling about it you know? Very nice.

SHUSTER: And you said that there was a congregation there too?

MADERIA: Uh-huh. Yeah.

SHUSTER: And did they...?

MADERIA: Pretty full congregation. Yeah.

SHUSTER: How many people would fit in there?

MADERIA: Well it was a fairly decent sized basement...I imagine, I don’t know. But I would say at evening there were probably at least one hundred people there. I would say that.

SHUSTER: Now we’ve been told that Wheaton students came out for the broadcast. Do you remember that? Wheaton students being in the audience?

MADERIA: To be in the broadcast?

SHUSTER: No, to be in the audience.

MADERIA: No, I don’t remember that. But that’s very likely, you know that’s very likely because...because it was an enjoyable thing as well as a spiritual thing. It was very.... so I wouldn’t be a bit surprised that people came out on occasion.

SHUSTER: Was there an announcer? [Pauses] An MC or anyone of that nature?

MADERIA: Hmm...I’m sure there had to be. I’m sure, but it may have been Billy. You know, it probably was Billy, I don’t remember.

SHUSTER: You mentioned that your parents enjoyed listening to it. Did you get other responses from people who heard it who told you about their...?

MADERIA: Well I didn’t personally, but I found this letter that (either you’re going to get) that Billy wrote to my parents thanking them for (apparently they sent a gift and he was pleased that they could get it that way) it was a very sweet letter. And so I’ve made a copy of it for me. And you can have the original if you want it.

SHUSTER: Oh that’s great!


SHUSTER: I’m very happy to have that.

MADERIA: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: Did you hear any kind of reactions from anybody else about...about the radio program when you were singing on it?

MADERIA: No, I didn’t. But I didn’t have.... No I didn’t. I hear it all the time now, it’s still going [Shuster laughs] you know.

SHUSTER: Oh yeah.

MADERIA: And so this organist, here he’s so interested in the fact that I was involved so he’ll call me up. “Turn it on, they’re on now!” So my radio is down there, I don’t turn it on very much but I really should try it out. They come from Moody [Bible Institute] now I think.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh, that’s right. Do you recall anything about a particular broadcast or about any incidents that happened during broadcasts?

MADERIA: Well the only.... Well I loved them all but the one that stands out for me is one night I told Billy that my brother was leaving for the war...

SHUSTER: He was in the army?

MADERIA: Yeah, he was sent to Germany. And so I told him that he was leaving the next morning so he said “I think you should sing a song.” So I sang a solo. And I think it was that “If I Gained the World,” I think that’s the one that I sang. Yeah. It’s always very meaningful to me that...I was just telling him so that he’d remember to pray for him, something like that. I wasn’t expecting him to say “I think you should sing something.” So....

SHUSTER: And you were telling me when we took our break that “If I Gained the World” was a Swedish song that had been translated into English and he asked you to sing it again when he was speaking at a church. And you might have mentioned that earlier. Yeah.

MADERIA: I think what I’ll do is make a...make up a little disc for him and send it down.

SHUSTER: Yeah, I’m sure he’d enjoy that. Did you have any other incidents or stories in your mind from the broadcast?

MADERIA: Not from the broadcast. I...I don’t know whether you want to stick with this or I’ll tell you that we went to a.... He knew that I was very much interested in politics day he said to me (this was you know when I was working there) Ruth had taken their first little daughter and gone down to spend time with her parents. He had two tickets to the Democratic Convention.

SHUSTER: Oh, which was being held in...  

MADERIA: So he said to me “Would you like to go to that?” Well I was delighted to go to that.

SHUSTER: And the convention of course was being held in Chicago.

MADERIA: Yes. And...and...and the Republican was too, so I got to both of them because another friend at Wheaton had two tickets and he asked me. Well, so I was delighted [Shuster laughs] to go to both those was only one session we went to in each case. But the one with Billy was very exciting...because it was when Roosevelt was trying to get rid of his first vice president.

SHUSTER: Henry Wallace.

MADERIA: That’s right. And he was trying to get rid of him and get [Harry S.] Truman nominated. And...when it was at that point in the.... And I remember the...the congressman (I don’t remember his name) Paul something. He was something...he was from Massachusetts and he had that marvelous Massachusetts accent. And he was trying to quiet the group down because all of the sudden, from the outside came this torrent of people! And all they did was march around. They probably were each given ten dollars to do it to hold up that...session. To hold up...what’s his name from being ousted...

SHUSTER: Wallace.

MADERIA: [Laughs] And so they marched around and around and around and this Paul (whatever his name was) could not get them to stop. But finally after a long time.... So it was...

SHUSTER: That’s Paul Douglas?   MADERIA: I don’t think that was his last name.

SHUSTER: Well it’s not important. there was a big demonstration from all of this...

MADERIA: Yeah, a big demonstration that held them up for a long time. So it was a little exciting but...anyway. Eventually....

SHUSTER: So you were there when Truman was nominated as president?

MADERIA: Yes. That’s right. Yeah. That’s right. Then the Republican one wasn’t that exciting except that Clare Booth Luce spoke so that was sort of interesting to hear her you know.

SHUSTER: So at the Democratic Convention, did you or Billy have any reactions or...?

MADERIA: No. Of course Billy was a Democrat then you know and I was supposedly a Republican [laughs] since I was eight years old [both laugh]. But now I’m not. Now I’m ashamed of them to tell you the honest truth. It’s a terrible mess that we’re in in this country right now.

SHUSTER: Indeed.


SHUSTER: Now, of course you’ve mentioned several times that it was in the summer of ‘44 that you were Billy Graham’s secretary?

MADERIA: That’s right.

SHUSTER: Summer of ‘44. So what were your duties as secretary at the church?

MADERIA: Well mainly...mainly just write letters for him. Not much else.

SHUSTER: So what kind of correspondence did he have? What...what were people writing him about or what was he writing people about?

MADERIA: know a lot of these thank you notes for one thing. And of course we were arranging for that Ponzi Parrington to come [laughs] and writing to him again and say “yes, you’re to come” and that sort of thing. It was just routine. It wasn’t...wasn’t a heavy job at all. But he was very kind because, as I told you, he found me a place to stay to get my breakfast. And she must have packed a lunch for me, I don’t remember what I did for lunch. And then someone would take me in for supper. And twenty five dollars, that was pretty good pay for that kind of job at that time, you know. That was really.... Then I read somewhere in one of the books about him I guess, that that’s what his pay was. Was twenty five dollars. Well if I got the same as he did, that was an amazing thing.

SHUSTER: Especially because he was married.

MADERIA: Yes! Yeah, and now probably the church paid their rent, you know and a few things, gas and a few things like that. Undoubtedly they did, but...but to give me twenty five dollars when that was his salary [laughs] was an amazing thing I thought.

SHUSTER: Of course even from the beginning he had a very heavy schedule at Western Springs speaking at other places.

MADERIA: Oh yes.

SHUSTER: Were you involved with that at all? Did you help arrange that?

MADERIA: No, no that was.... No I don’t remember having to do anything with that. I think that came a little later. See I know...I was graduating in ‘45 and of course I was...I was just his secretary for that summer. So I think his going out as he got known by the radio and other manners...that’s when this began and of course. And then...Youth For Christ. They began to use him and...this obviously.... That’s where his ministry was. So....

SHUSTER: Well we have...newsletters from the church from like March 1944 saying “our much traveled pastor” and listing all the places he was traveling even then.

MADERIA: Yeah, yeah.

SHUSTER: So even then he was already in demand.

MADERIA: Yeah, yes, yeah.

SHUSTER: What kind of boss was he to work for?

MADERIA: What kind of...?

SHUSTER: What kind of boss was he as...your boss?

MADERIA: Well he was lovely. I mean, we were just...we were good friends you know? Even when he had to reprimand me for sending that letter out which was not for the deacon’s I’m sure, he was very kind about that. He just said “don’t write for anybody else but me.” So...that’s just the way he took care of it. But...

SHUSTER: What was the...

MADERIA: But he was annoyed, but he wasn’t annoyed at me. He just went and wrote back to him and said “you’re coming.” So...

SHUSTER: So you were his secretary for about nine weeks? Is that...?

MADERIA: Yeah about that. Yeah. Yeah. Then we went off on a tour. And I...

SHUSTER: Who is we?

MADERIA: The girls quartet. And I see that somewhere it said...somewhere in some article that we went with Billy on a crusade that he...he had no...he did not. I do not to this day figure out how I did that. I arranged this three week tour in churches in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New England...I don’t know how I did that! [Shuster laughs] And...

SHUSTER: Did you set this up when you were still secretary at the church?

MADERIA: I think I had done it before. I think I had done it before. I’m sure I had done it before. I wouldn’t have had time. I still don’t understand...the only thing is that when I was at Providence Bible Institute, I was [F.] Carlton Booth’s pianist. He was a fantastic singer! I don’t know if you ever heard him. He was a tenor. And so he was all over the lot and then our choir at PBI was all over the lot. And our...girls quartet...well we went wherever the choir went. So I knew all these churches, see. It’s still floors me how under the sun I made contact with all of these churches and nobody turned us down. So now, I couldn’t stay beyond that. We began with the September...we began with Labor Day Weekend I think it was.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

MADERIA: And so Billy said to me, “Could you get me some speaking engagements?” [Laughs] Well...I at that point...I couldn’t write to all these churches and say (because they knew this was going to be kind of a...Christian concert) I couldn’t write to them “could we bring this man...” and he wasn’t that well known at that point out in New England.

SHUSTER: Well yes I believe...I think it was you had said that he had never preached in New England up to that point.

MADERIA: No, he had never been in New England. And so he wanted desperately to do. So I said, “Well, I’m going to write to Dr. Ferrin to see if he can speak for the Labor Day Weekend for the youth.

SHUSTER: Dr. Ferrin.  

MADERIA: Yeah. And so I wrote to Doctor Ferrin and he said “well I’ve got all the speakers I need, but ” he said, “if he’s a great speaker that you say he is, I will fit him in.” And so Billy came all on his own by train and had a lovely weekend. He preached there and my father and my brother-in law...took their gas rationing [Shuster laughs] and used it to take him around and chauffeur him and get him to the beach and so forth and so on. So I think he was just in New England for that one weekend. And Park Street Church likes to say that he...he was...that was the first place he spoke in New England. But that was later. [Shuster laughs] So he spoke in New England in 1944. September 1944.

SHUSTER: And this was at PBI?

MADERIA: Yeah, uh-huh. When it was in Providence before it moved to Barrington.

SHUSTER: Now we.... He also...let’s see. He also spoke at PBI on September 4th, we have. And he was speaking in Philadelphia September 2nd and 3rd.

MADERIA: Then he must have gotten himself some...

SHUSTER: Okay, so that had no connection with the quartet...

MADERIA: No I didn’t do that. He must have done that himself.

SHUSTER: Okay. Do you recall anything else about that event, about his speaking? What did he speak about at the conference?

MADERIA: Well it would be something that would reach youth because they were all in their teens. They were all high school kids so.... And you know, I don’t...remember because he only spoke once. They had all these other speakers. But...

SHUSTER: Well now your quartet, you had said that you arranged all sorts of meetings for them.

MADERIA: Yeah. And as I said, I don’t understand how I did it. I really do not know...

SHUSTER: And that was before Labor Day?

MADERIA: No, that was beginning somewhere that first week and going through...well...we got out just in time to start school again?

SHUSTER: When did school start? It didn’t start...?

MADERIA: Late September.

SHUSTER: Late September.

MADERIA: Yeah. But we were in all kinds of churches and...I honestly don’t understand it because...because we took trains somewhere and we took buses. I don’t know how...I do not understand how we did it. But...but it was wonderful. Wherever we went we had full churches and enthusiastic people[laughs].

SHUSTER: Do you recall...did you go to the beach on that trip or...?

MADERIA: We did with Billy and the girls. We have some very funny pictures in an album which I’ve got boxes all around here with...which I just recently asked our daughter to bring from their house. I’ve got to go through all of this sentimental stuff and organize it and parcel it out to each of our children and so forth. But we have some very funny picturers of when were at the beach because it was so cold! [Both laugh].

SHUSTER: This was at Providence Rhode Island Beach?

MADERIA: It’s no...out of Providence. It’s towards Connecticut. I can’t remember the name of the beach right now, there was one after the other. I’ll remember it when I think about it a little longer. But it was one of the better beaches. Well they were all wonderful. And...

SHUSTER: And it was very cold? 

MADERIA: And he...but it was so cold! And I’ve got a lovely picture of him standing with old would Robert have been at that? Well Robert would have been four years old. My nephew...first nephew, first grandchild in the family. So he was with us. And they’re standing on the top of know lifeguard thing there. But you know, some funny pictures if I ever can find them. [Both laugh].

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about that beach trip or...? Just relaxing.

MADERIA: No...just saying it was wonderful of my father and brother in law use up their gas rationing things so that he could see around, you know. And...

SHUSTER: Going back to working as Billy’s secretary for those nine weeks or so, you said he was a good boss. How did he organize his work? I mean what was his average day like as a pastor?

MADERIA: You know, I don’t remember that he was...I don’t remember that.... He wasn’t sitting in the office all day, that much I know. He would dictate the letters that he wanted me to do, but.... I was sort of by myself. He was probably in other rooms studying, you know?

SHUSTER: Did you see much of the congregation coming into the office?

MADERIA: No. Just that one man.

SHUSTER: The deacon that you mentioned. Yeah.... You were also going to this church I imagine on Sundays too, right...?

MADERIA: Well not in the morning, no. In the morning the morning I guess we went to different churches. I’d go to College Church some and to...

SHUSTER: All the way from Western Springs to Wheaton for church?

MADERIA: Well go to the church in the morning in Wheaton, then take the three o’clock train in the afternoon to...

SHUSTER: So you were living in Wheaton and taking the train out daily for your secretarial work?

MADERIA: Yes that’s right. Yes that’s right.

SHUSTER: Oh I see. What was the congregation like at the church?

MADERIA: Oh now well when you say that in the summer, when I was living there, I didn’t go back and forth to Wheaton. [Pauses] So I must have gone to church there [laughs].

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about the church there?

MADERIA: No I don’t remember [laughs]. Isn’t that funny?

SHUSTER: What was the congregation like at the church? What was the people who made up the church...what were they like?

MADERIA: I don’t say that I got to know too many of them. They all seemed pleasant and they were more or less middle aged people...They, you know seemed pleasant. But I don’t remember too much about that. I remember Beverly Shea was very friendly. And we were invited to his home and so forth and so on. And some of the other people. This man who was on the music committee that I checked with who didn’t know about our...your resignation, I mean our.... They had a...different families we got to know them in that way. Many very kind, kind people. But I’d say they were early middle aged and a little bit beyond that. Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: And how did Billy relate to the congregation? Did you see that at all how...?

MADERIA: No, but you know. Everybody loved Billy. You couldn’t help but love Billy [laughs]. So I think they were very, very happy. Now as time went on and he was away, and he was away, and he was away, I think they saw the future.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Did you see any of that when you were secretary? Did you see any indications of that when you were secretary?

MADERIA: No, he was not...he was not moving that much at that point. That one church that we went that one night I told you about. But you know it was.... after I had been there a little while, that they began...and this Youth for Christ began to know form, and then they used him a lot. And then the die was cast, really it was once he began on that route. And I think that was right. I think there was no mistake about that. He is definitely an evangelist know...a pastor. For him to be a pastor might have been...too binding. I don’t know. He was...he is an evangelist. No doubt about that. And that’s how God got him going, by having.... Torrey Johnson I think had something to do with his getting out into that too.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Yes he was. Torrey Johnson hired him as his vice president for Youth for Christ. Um...anything else that you wanted to say about your time as a secretary?

MADERIA: No, I was just very thrilled to have the job. was an easy job and I enjoyed doing it. And it’s kind of nice to be able to say I was his first secretary [laughs] if I want to be a little bit proud. It’s kind of you’s kind of fun to be able to say that.

SHUSTER: So you were hired for the summer and then when you went on your tour, you left.

MADERIA: Yes, yeah. But not as the songs. We kept the songs when we got back. When we got back, that continued again.

SHUSTER: So how long.... And you were talking earlier how you had been cancelled at Songs in the Night sometime later in mid 1945 or something like that...

MADERIA: Yeah, yeah. Around March or so. February, March. But not...but by him. We were not...he did not know anything about it. And was rather stunned when he got back and found that we were not there.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh. And you said that was through the deacon at the church you believe.

MADERIA: Yeah, and I could have...well I’m positive it was. I’m positive. Because the letter business when I called that Mr. Bueller, I think his name was. And he had said no, he had not been in on any meeting and he was on that. So I think it was the same thing that happened before. But...and I know that if I had told Billy, if I had called him, we would have been back on the very next Sunday because he...he pretty strong, you know. And he’s also...he’s also right you know? So he...but...that.... But as I said we were so busy that the glee club was going to go to California and it was time for all our comps you know, our last tests and so...

SHUSTER: Comprehensives.

MADERIA: But.... But I’ve often regretted that I didn’t. As I say, one time when he was back in Rhode Island which was a different time, I did tell him then at that time.

SHUSTER: Any other stories or things about your time at Western Springs that you want...or Songs in the Night that you wanted to bring up?

MADERIA: No, I just throughly enjoyed it. I felt it was a gift from God and it was was very kind of him to even think about it. It was a sort honor to be asked that he thought the quartet was good enough to you know come on and....

SHUSTER: What kind of music did the quartet sing? Did you specialize in one kind of psalm?

MADERIA: Well they were more gospel...they were gospel songs, but I arranged them more so there would be four parts for women. And because I [papers rustling] because of my background in strong, Lutheran hymnody, I don’t go to the extreme on the gospel songs. I remember when I was about twelve years old or so, I was singing and playing the piano. I had been going to Dr. Ferrin’s meetings in the evening, and this Richard Oliver, he could play all over the piano! He was...I had never....

SHUSTER: You say Richard Oliver?

MADERIA: Yes. You know that name?

SHUSTER: Yes I do!

MADERIA: Well he...he was all over the lot on that piano. So I would go home and try to mimic him [Shuster laughs] and...and...and then I heard these gospel songs there that I didn’t hear in the Lutheran church so....

SHUSTER: You heard them there at Providence...

MADERIA: At Providence, yeah at Providence.

SHUSTER: ...Bible Institute.

MADERIA: And well before there was Bible Institute there, they used to come down from Dudley and have a radio program called Dudley Carollers. And Dr. Ferrin would preach in this huge church and Richard Oliver would play all over the lot. And my sister sang in the choir and so forth and so on. And...but they would put together the choir you know just before the service. Well anyway, I’d go home and I’d practice that on the piano. I tried to copy him on the piano, now I was singing some of these songs that were not particularly known to us but were getting known as we would go to the meetings and we’d hear those gospel songs. And...and one day my father who loved good music (and I loved my father!) He said to me “Anna Elisa,” he said “you are playing clink.” Well that meant that there was no depth to it. That’s what it meant. That was one thing. And then Eva said to me “do you all the songs you’re singing are I-I-I.”

SHUSTER: Eva is your...?

MADERIA: My sister. Whom I adored you know. So these two things coming at me from two people that I so loved was like a slap in the face. And it turned me around to begin to think about “what are these songs that I’m playing? What are these songs?” And so I got away from a lot of the “I-I-I” which so many...the gospel songs were about my relationship to Christ. Where the hymns were about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. And when we sing about God in that way, then we know how we are blessed. But it’s not the “I-I-I.” So, I got off on a tangent...

SHUSTER: Well I was asking you about the music the Carollers for Christ sang...

MADERIA: Yeah, so...

SHUSTER: they sang hymns rather than Gospel music?

MADERIA: No, so I would be very careful in what Gospel songs we sang and some of them would be hymns. But it was very careful that it wasn’t too jazzy, too empty, you know. So...somewhere I have the arrangements in some of these boxes that I have. But they were...they were Gospel songs but they were more solid than know just....

SHUSTER: You had told me remembered one time the Quartet singing on the day that Roosevelt died.

MADERIA: Yeah that was at Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Can you tell that story?

MADERIA: That was at Wheaton. And the two quartets sang together.

SHUSTER: The Ambassadors and the Carollers.

MADERIA: Yeah we did a concert together. We did some things by ourselves and we did some things together. But that was April 12, 1945. And...that....

SHUSTER: So you obviously hadn’t planned it for Roosevelt’s death, it just happened?

MADERIA: No, no. We had planned for that date. And then that afternoon came the word that (or around noon I guess it was) came the word that he had died. So it was quite a...shake up, you know at that point. [The] interesting thing was [laughs] I who knows so much. I had father was a Democrat, my mother was Republican. And my father was down in Texas doing business (I shouldn’t, you don’t want all of this).

SHUSTER: No, no please.

MADERIA: My father was down...he was an inventor. And he was down someplace in Texas where they needed help [rustling of papers] on a machine. And...I wrote to my mother from Wheaton and I said “Don’t.... ” She was getting nearer to liking Roosevelt you know as time went on. This was his fourth time around. So I said “Don’t vote for Roosevelt because...he’s got...he’s going to die. And what does Truman know?” Now everybody wishes they had another Truman [both laugh]. “What does Truman know?” And my mother shared all our letters with our father down in Texas. And he wrote me a letter, and I don’t know what it was. Because he said he wrote me a letter, he was not very happy that I had told my mother not to.... But he said “after I wrote it I thought ‘I can’t send that to my Anna Elisa.’” So he wrote me this letter and sent me $100! [Both laugh].

SHUSTER: Of course you had seen Truman nominated, was there something about him that you...

MADERIA: Well you know the news (you know how the news is) they said he was just so...what did he play...? He sold men’s....

SHUSTER: He was a haberdasher.

MADERIA: Yes, you know. So what did he know? And now everybody wishes that we had another one. I mean they did wish.

SHUSTER: The concert that you had on Roosevelt’s death, did many people come out that night?   MADERIA: Yes they did. Well, they liked music anyway, so yes they came out. By the way, I now have a picture of Billy and President Obama.

SHUSTER: Oh yes! That was in the news.

MADERIA: Did you notice it?

SHUSTER: I didn’t notice the picture. I’ve seen the...

MADERIA: It’s on that wall there.

SHUSTER: Oh yes, he visited...the President visited him at home.

MADERIA: Yes, yes.

SHUSTER: Which I think is the first time a president has visited his home.

MADERIA: That’s probably true, yeah.

SHUSTER: Then, let’s see, you had mentioned to me too that of course as you said, you graduated from Wheaton in 1945 and you married David Maderia and moved back to Providence.

MADERIA: We moved...well we got married in Cranston and we moved to Philadelphia...


MADERIA: ...because he went to a seminary for a while but then was called home. His father had died and his brother had come from Chicago to run the business and his brother got sick. They thought it was typhoid. They asked him if he’d come home. And so...

SHUSTER: Come home to...?

MADERIA: So he went back to Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. I stayed down in Philly. I was secretary of the editor of Jack and Jill. But then we heard...what was his name? Charles...who had that evangelistic?

SHUSTER: Charles Fuller?

MADERIA: Charles Fuller. We heard him asking for people to consider Wycliffe [Bible Translators]. And we were both interested in mission fields. So we signed up (his brother began to get better )and we went to Wycliffe for two Sundays...two summers.

SHUSTER: To the Summer Institute of Linguistics?

MADERIA: Uh-huh. And...out of that we.... And we loved it. We loved it. And we applied to a mission board where they had had missionaries in one area for twenty years who hadn’t been able to crack the language. So we felt that maybe we could go there. I don’t know if you want all of this on here.

SHUSTER: Well I guess what I was.... But you didn’t go to Wycliffe?

MADERIA: No, we didn’t go...because the mission was run by one man and we could not.... it was just a disaster. We couldn’t go.

SHUSTER: I guess what I’d wanted to ask you about that you had told me about 1950, you were in Providence and Billy Graham came to town for a meeting. Do you recall anything of that?

MADERIA: Not 1950, 19...he may have been there. But 19....

SHUSTER: ‘82 he was...

MADERIA: Yes, and I think also 1954. He was up in Boston. I’m pretty sure it was ‘54 because the next day after that I had an artificial eye put in. And so I did see him the night before. And...

SHUSTER: What do you recall about that?


SHUSTER: What do you recall about that meeting?

MADERIA: Well my brother was with me. My brother is...I dearly love him, my youngest brother...

SHUSTER: What’s his name? 

MADERIA: Carl Beckman and he’s a plantthologist [sic]. Well he’s retired now. But he himself has not...he’s very, very nice man, but he does not accept the Gospel in the same way I do. So...but he went with me and he...

SHUSTER: And this was at the Boston Garden?

MADERIA: Uh-huh, yeah. And I spoke with Billy there and I spoke with Beverly Shea there. And that was...I’m sure that was ‘54. I do know that the next day I got this eye. And I think it was ‘54.   SHUSTER: So what do you recall about meeting him there in ‘54?

MADERIA: Oh it was wonderful. It was so warm. I just went back to the room back there. And he was as glad to see me as I was to see him. It was lovely. Then he came around 1980.... Oh I know it was...

SHUSTER: 1982 it was...

MADERIA: ‘82, ‘82. And so he came up to the college and we had dinner up there together and...

SHUSTER: Up to the college?

MADERIA: Barrington College. Which had been Providence Bible Institute. And the tragedy was that he...was in to preach in Providence.... I knew that date, September 17th I think it was. And we...and they were going to have a lunch together, all the ministers that were on the committee and what. And we...

SHUSTER: Was your husband on the committee?

MADERIA: He was on the committee and we couldn’t go because we had a wedding.


MADERIA: And that’s where this big write up that gets done about us and Billy. And [laughs] we got this phone call from the journal the Providence Bulletin and Evening Journal, could they come out and interview us? They heard we were good friends of Billy. And I said “Well how do you know that?” And he said, “Well someone called us.” And I said “Well no, we’re not going to take advantage of that friendship.” I said “He’s got friends all over the place and...and we’re not going to take advantage of that.” Well he was very insistent. And finally I said “Look, I’m going to call the office” (where the headquarters where they were for the weekend) “and see if they approve.” And so lo and behold, the one who answered was the forerunner of Billy, the one who comes up ahead and he said “Of course you can have that done!” So I called the Journal and said....

SHUSTER: Was that Walter Smith that you talked to? Or Sterling Houston?

MADERIA: A black guy.

SHUSTER: Well, let’s that’s Howard Jones?

MADERIA: Well I don’t remember because I just talked to him on the phone. But I know it was a black guy who went ahead of time and planned things., anyway, he was very nice and very enthusiastic. So I called them and I said they could come out but I said, “you have to put it in that paper that we resisted this. That we did not want take advantage of that friendship.” So they very nicely put that note in there. And the funny thing is that the Saturday the morning paper came out and on the very top where they put things that are really important, here were Dave’s and my pictures [both laugh] above the title of the newspaper you know.

SHUSTER: Well that must have been nice!

MADERIA: I don’t have that...I don’t know, I had it and I think I put it in the wrong basket and threw it away’ve got the rest of it here. But anyway.... So out of that, we went that evening and they had prayer beforehand.

SHUSTER: uh huh.

MADERIA: And we were in this prayer meeting and all of the sudden someone did like this to us...

SHUSTER: Someone beckoned you with their finger.

MADERIA: Yeah, yeah. And so we went to find out and...Billy’s bodyguard. What was his name?

SHUSTER: Grady Wilson? 

MADERIA: Grady’s brother.

SHUSTER: T. W. Wilson.

MADERIA: T. W. Wilson. He said “Billy wants to see you back there.” So we went and he had drink and nuts and we had a lovely time together. And then he had his photographer come in and take our picture. I do have a copy of that somewhere I think. was very, very nice of him to do that.

SHUSTER: Yeah. Well, is there.... And as you told me too, your husband David and yourself ministered for 35 years in the church in Providence.

MADERIA: Yeah, he was the first pastor and...

SHUSTER: What was the name of the church?

MADERIA: Barrington Baptist. And he was the first pastor. They had organized about two years before. And they had looked over and asked him down a couple of times. But he could not have come sooner because we had just gone from Maine (where we loved it) and where we had three churches at a time and gone to New Hampshire. We hadn’t been there long when their first invitation for him to come down and speak. So had they wanted him then, we couldn’t have done that. But he was the first pastor and he was pastor for 32 wonderful years. And...and then when we quote “retired” [Shuster laughs] he was asked to coordinate the opening of the Seminary of the East in Worcester (that’s now an Auburn, Mass.) and he did a lot of interim preaching when they were looking for pastors. And then they called him back to the meantime they had called him...

SHUSTER: In Barrington? They called him back.

MADERIA: And in the meantime they had called me back to the organ and then they called him back to be visitation pastor. So it was wonderful. I did tell a pastor at that time “I think he has Alzheimer’s.” And he said “Oh he’ll be able to work for a while.” Well he did an awful lot for a while, but then.... And they kept on paying him, and I said “He’s not doing anything anymore.” And the word was that he’s earned this a long time ago, so they.... It was wonderful. It was just wonderful. We....  

SHUSTER: Well, praise God for that.

MADERIA: Yeah, and it was a wonderful experience. And they still...they still are very caring for us. Well my husband is in heaven now but they still are very caring and... So that’s nice.

SHUSTER: When did your husband pass away?

MADERIA: On November 29th, 19...I mean November 29th... what are we at?

SHUSTER: 2006?

MADERIA: Yeah, 2006. Yeah.

SHUSTER: Is there anything else you wanted to add on this interview? On this tape?

MADERIA: I...I don’t think so except that I’m very grateful for all the blessings God has brought to me all my life long. And one of them of course was getting to know Billy and Ruth and having that time. But...I mean it was a blessing. I’ve just been blessed. We’ve been through some very, very hard times as well. But God has been there for every you know. He’s been sufficient for every situation. But when I look back and think of the kindnesses that have been extended to us and the blessings and the lovely, you know the people who came to know Christ and grew in Christ and all that. Dave wasn’t the world’s most dynamic speaker, but he was a good speaker. But it was his life. His life was such a beautiful life. Such a...such a committed.... When his funeral was...his funeral was a very awkward time, two days after Christmas. We couldn’t do it before because our children all had their tickets bought. Anna Elise came from Ireland and had to pay $500 more because of changing the ticket. Although then somebody walked into their house that morning and handed her $500 but she hadn’t said a word about it. But we couldn’t do that. So it was an awkward time. Two days, a lot of people were away with their children. But what was I going to say about that? Now I interrupted where I was going...Oh! They came from Colorado, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, they came from all over for that funeral! Just because they loved him.

SHUSTER: Well, it’s a great testimony.

MADERIA: Yeah, and I don’t know how many notes we have. One of them is from this friend from Europe in Sweden. That they never knew a more Christ like man. Over and over and over we got notes like that. So that was...very nice.

SHUSTER: Indeed. Well thank you very much for this interview. I appreciate your sharing and it’s been very interesting and I know other people are going to benefit from it as well.

MADERIA: Well it’s very nice of you to come and take all of this time. I’ll show you what I have for you...

SHUSTER: Let me just turn off the...[Tape recorder turned off and on]. One last story, when we were leaving you pointed me out to your yearbook and you showed the inscription that Reverend Graham had put there. What did he...what did he write in your yearbook?

MADERIA: Oh it was a delightful thing. And I could enjoy it if it...well I do enjoy it. But I have an idea that he wrote it in everybody’s so it wasn’t that special. But he wrote... “I’m glad I metcha, and I bet I’ll never forgetcha.” And then he signed it Billy [laughs].

SHUSTER: It was a “I’m glad I metcha, and I betcha I’ll never forgetcha.”

MADERIA: Yeah, ok, can we do that again or can that be...?

SHUSTER: Sure! Why not? That’s fine. Yeah.

MADERIA: Well, in my yearbook, he wrote what he probably wrote in everybody’s book. But it would be nice to think it was just for me personally [laughs]. He wrote...

SHUSTER: “I’m glad I metcha...”

MADERIA: “I’m glad I metcha, and I betcha I’ll never forgetcha.” Well I’ll never forget Billy either. He was a joy to everyone who knew him and I feel privileged to have known him and Ruth and to feel that we were very good friends.

SHUSTER: Thank you very much Mrs. Maderia.

MADERIA: You’re very welcome and you can call me any.


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Last Revised: 07/17/13
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© 2016 Wheaton College. All rights reserved. This transcript may be reused with the following publication credit: Used by permission of the Billy Graham Center Archives, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.2013