Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | January 17, 2013

My 50th High School Class Reunion

Recently, I attended my 50th class reunion and as I returned  home I had many reflections on my classmates and our journeys in the years since 1963….oh my, what we have experienced in these years since graduation day!  First I must tell you that I grew up on a Kansas wheat farm in south central Kansas and attended all 12 years of schooling at Oxford, Kansas.  It is located on the banks of the Arkansas River and the town was named Oxford because the settlers had to cross the river….therefore the horses and oxen had to “ford” the water, thus “Ox Ford”!  The town is located between Wellington and Winfield on highway 160 and has a population of about 1000 people—-often called a bedroom town for Wichita since it is about 30 miles south of this air force/Boeing city.  There is one stoplight, a post office, 5 churches, a funeral home,  one bank, a drugstore, a liquor store, two restaurants, a convenience store/gas station, a sheriff,  laundry mat,  swimming pool,  library, and three schools……elementary, middle, and high school.  There used to be a grocery store, a doctor’s office, a hardware store, a furniture store, and a  mechanic, but they are all gone now.  I started to school in 1951 along with 27 others and we all graduated together 12 yrs. later.  It is a very stable farming community and we all knew each other well.  There were 34 in our graduating class…….here are some of their stories.

As I arrived on Friday afternoon, there was Freeda with her clipboard giving us instructions, making sure we had our tickets for the banquet, handing out the schedules, and making sure we knew where to meet on Saturday afternoon, and giving us directions.  She has always been an organizer…..we let her keep us on our toes.  She never had children of her own, but taught Kindergarten for over 30 years…..so she had many children to teach and did it well.  She has been my best friend since we were 5 yrs. old.  We spent every birthday  together for at least 13 years and we still call each other on “our day”!!  We are just six weeks apart in age.  She has always “taken very good care of me”!  When she handed me my nametag…..she said:  “Oh by the way, I made your room reservations at our hotel for you!”  I think she thought that I’d forget……I’m sort of a procrastinator and she is a planner!  I smiled and thought:  It’s so good to know that some things never change…….

As we gathered at Judy’s  (our own Miss Oxford) I couldn’t help but be amazed and grateful for these wonderful, lifelong friendships.  These were people I loved, respected,  and trusted.  We had already lost 12 class members, so we have learned not to take each other for granted……we don’t get any garantees.

There was Phil….. our class president.   He had laughed his way through high school……always has a big grin on his face.  He was probably bored in school since he didn’t have to study……he’s retired now from Sony where he was an executive……he spends many hours playing golf and traveling……lives close to his son and grand children in Atlanta.   We grew up across the road from each other……so proud of him.

Then there is Ray…..our own overachiever.  He’s been a loan officer, investment counselor, county agent, etc. He’s run for public office and won all manner of awards and trophies.  His resume looks like who’s who.  He was one of those:  ‘get her done guys’ and he has.  Made us proud to have known him.  He brough his wife and she was lovely.  Glad they came.

There sat sweet Sherrie.  She’d come from Colorado…..clearly to tell us all goodbye.  She has pancreatic cancer and it was obvious that she was in pain and oh, so tired.  Her brother & sister in law had brought her in their motorhome so she could sleep much of the way.  I so admired her for making the trip…..she was always a favorite and we hated to see her like this.  So sad!

Pam came……direct, funny, honest to the core…..she’d been a teacher for about 35 years and recently retired.  Got so tickled at her telling us about taking care of her 94 yr. old mama.  She said:  “I tell her every Saturday: ” Put in your teeth in and put on your hearing aides  or I’m not taking you to the store!”  and she yells back at me:  “WHAT??”  Oh, it’s so much fun!! ” Guess all of us  have experienced the role reversal that takes place when we become the parent to our parents and they become the child.  Not something we want, but a fact of life……such a hard transition to make.

Trisha, another favorite…..she also had been a teacher for 35 years…..as had her husband, who now had Lou Gehrings Disease……such a hard assignment for them to endure.  She had asked me to pray for him at the last reunion and he has often come to mind over the years since then.  They have moved closer to home now as they wait for the inevitable.  My heart goes out to her as she watches this wonderful husband slip away.  She has two grown children and lots of family members near Oxford who give her great support…..so she isn’t alone on this journey.
Linda, beautiful lady….still.  One of the Homecoming queens.  She was always our fashion baramentor and set the bar for being one of the prettiest in the class.   Her dry sense of humor carried us through the rough times.  She brought her husband who clearly adores her and we decided we all liked him……he is worthy of her and takes special care to show it.  She has three grown children and many grands……it was fun to get to be with her three sisters again too……Judy, Sandy, and Betty.

Gearld came and brought his wife.  I was overwhelmed when he told us that the youngest of his seven children just made parole.  I thought:  Oh my!  What a brave thing to say…..and he trusts us with this information.  I was so glad he could tell us.  When we first started meeting after high school…..we didn’t have a reunion for 15 yrs…. That was the one where we were still trying to impress each other with our education, careers, homes, cars, spouses, and kids……next one, we were just maintaining, but now:  we are family again……reality and the bare bones truth.   Thanks Gearld for bringing us all home again and making it REAL…..and we are so happy for you and this victory for your family!

Teresa, she didn’t come……but we missed her.  I had dinner with her three siblings and they told me she is in rehab again.  She has been fighting her demons for many years.  She was our talented, funny, artsy gal who was gifted beyond belief.   She sang, wrote songs, played guitar, acted in all the plays, and made us  laugh…..she was a little bit country.   Bless her heart!  My prayers are with you wherever you are……

Janis, our own sage.  She kept us grounded with her dry, wicked sense of humor.  She made us all laugh at ourselves.  She didn’t come but it was understandable.  She is already a widow and this year she lost one of her twins to cancer…..Julie.  You aren’t supposed to bury your children.  I don’t think she is ready to be social right now and we all understood that.

David, the only doctor in our group.  He was always so studious and smart.  Likeable, fun, and personable……has been on a journey of seeking answers to his health issues for many years.  He still had that great smile, but you could also see that there was a great deal of pain behind it.  He spoke highly of his son and his family…..so there are some bright spots in his life.  He was our voice of reason when we got a little out of control…..he could always see the big picture.

Sunny Jo……her real name is Sonja, but if you ever met her you would know why she is called Sunny…….a little bundle of joy and spontaniety.  She can still wear her cheerleading outfit…..and that is just wrong!  But she looked adorable in it.  She led us in our alma mater……and amazingly we knew all the words!  She became a dietician and married a dentist.  One son who is still single…..who loves to ski.  She spoke longingly of someday having a daughter in law and grandchildren, but it doesn’t seem to be on his agenda yet.  She was my sewing partner for 3 yrs. and we got in lots of trouble for talking. (I know that is just hard to believe!)

Kay(not in our class, but a special friend) brought all three of her prom formals!  They each one cost about $25.00 in the early sixties……we figured that they would probably cost around $400.00 each, or more by today’s prices.  Still beautiful dresses…she managed to take good care of them!  Who knew??  That  never entered my mind……I took mine to Goodwill years ago…..

Bob……our local football star!  I didn’t know him and  said:  “TALK TO ME!”  I  finally got it by recognizing his voice.  In high school he had piles of black curls on his head…..now, not so much…..not a hair on his head…..it is completely bald, so he shaved the rest…. said it sure cut down on his shower time.  He is now a graphic artist and gave all of us beautiful stationery.

Jerry……sweet, funny and always wondering if “you are doing okay”??  He was the “go to guy” for encouragement, a big smile, a hug, or a last minute date.  Always available and easy to hang out with.  We always knew we could depend on him and his easy going ways.  He married a very nice lady and has spent most of his life in Wichita.  His mom was our school secretary and loved each of us like her own.

Larry…..always involved in whatever was going on and had a supportive, pleasant, positive personality.  He loved sports (probably still does).   Lived in Florida many years but has recently moved back to Wichita.  He brought his wife and had pictures of the grands.  Happy guy as usual and his wife told us quite a bit about her experiences in banking…..so glad they came.

Mary…..married a preacher and raised 9 children.  Mercy!!  She had to leave early because one of her 34 grandchildren was having a birthday party and her attendance was required.  She said there is a birthday almost every week and some times two…..I believed her.  She always had such a steady, unchangable personality…..with a quick wit and big laugh.  I remember that she was really smart and made great grades…..without really trying.  She loved to read.  We did 4-H together.  Great memories of our Model Meetings and going to the county fair together.

Judy……special lady.  She was pretty, smart (honor society), highest score on the ACT, Miss Oxford, cheerleader, very musical….band,sang, and played piano, ……we even played a duet for graduation.  We had part of the reunion at her house overlooking the river.  She lost the love of her life a few years ago, but spoke often of her twin grand babies.  She lived in California for awhile, but came back and has lived most of her life in Oxford.  She keeps us informed about our classmates if there are things we NEED to know.  She always set the curve in our classes and that was okay……

Kathy……blonde, beautiful, sweet, and funny.  She married a pastor and has been all over the world on mission trips.     She has taught hundreds of students to play the piano.  She is now retired in Kentucky…..where she has lived for years.     I can still see her making silly faces in Home Ec when Mrs. Montieth got after us for “drawing attention to ourselves!”       She sometimes failed to understand our need for a little ‘comic relief’ in our classes…..may she rest in peace…..

Diane……our resident tomboy.  She was one of our best athletes.  I can still see her playing ball or running the bases.    She vowed that she would never marry…..but she did.  A few years ago she was trying to put out a fire in a field with a tractor and drill……but it overcame her and she spent months recuperating from the burns.  She is a trooper and continues to be an example of making lemonaide out of lemons.  She is one who knows how to accept the things we cannot change…..one of our heros.

Janet ……beautiful lady.   She taught us girls how to wear make-up.  We all admired her.  She was our own Marilyn Monroe.  The boys gravitated to her and she could have been on Happy Days.  She is now a widow living in New Jersey where she runs a big concrete operation with her three adult children…..it’s a familybusiness.  Miss seeing her….       she has only been back once, but it was wonderful to get to be with her again.

Judie (Beeman), (we had 3 Judys)……has done a little bit of everything.  Traveled the world, got her doctorate, had some kids, some husbands, written a book (I’ve read it!), and learned to dance! (for real).  She’s always been everywhere at once…..and to think she started in Oxford!  Oh my!  Always innovative and creative.  Remember when she and David had to kiss (alot) in Arsenic and Old Lace??….I always wondered how much of that was acting?  The last address we have for her was Hawaii…..such a deal!   But who knows…..Judie was always one of a kind.

Yvonne……pretty, vivacious and full of fun.  She was always popular with everyone and had a big smile to go with her red hair.  She became a nurse and lives in the Tulsa area.  Her brother Leroy often hung out with us…..he acted like he enjoyed our class more than his own….she   was always up for anything we were about to do and I remember staying up all night with her at the Kaynette’s slumber party…..she has a son and several grands now that make her life more interesting.

The ones we lost still live in our hearts.  Johnnie Jean…..killed in a car accident.  Delbert and Ralph both had heart disease.  Joe died of kidney failure.  Judy G. had complicated health issues.   Greg left us reeling right after we graduated……our class clown & prankster..   Don just sort of checked out.  Johnny gave life his best shot and lived into his thirties……he was a “little  person” and  we loved him……his vocation was disc jockey…..he sounded like Woolfman Jack!  and he always had a joke or a story to tell.  He was another one of our heros.  Jessie……handsome, gifted, and fun-loving left us too soon….and we had voted him the most likely to succeed……we miss you Jess!

Michael doesn’t want to be with us anymore apparently……..he has managed to miss every reunion…….so has Lynda.  We would love for them to join us, but that probably isn’t going to happen.  We don’t know where Rhonda and Vicky are.   Lu lives in Florida and runs a very successful cleaning business and is just “too” busy to come back ….. miss her too.

My own life has been pretty predictable.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I had polio in 1952 and missed my entire lst year of school.  My Grandmommie home schooled me, before it was fashionable and made it possible for me to graduate with my class.  Mrs. Brown was my advocate and brought me my lessons every week.  Because of polio I was left with a limp, so I could not march in our very infamous marching band, so I took piano instead.  When I won lst place in the contests….all of you cheered me on like it was a personal victory for you too.  I will always be greatful for your unconditional support.  It was fun to give each of you a CD that I made for my 3 sons and 8 grands.  I loved seeing your looks of appreciation…..    Pam even asked for another one because she said she wore the first one out…..smile!  You people are the only ones who can still get away with calling me :  Sexy Drexy……imagine!  My sons think that is just too funny!!

Do any of you remember when Phil put a stray dog in the home ec room during the noon hour…..then when he came by to pick up the attendance slip he asked Mrs. Montieth if she had seen his dog Hazel because he was looking for her……the dog was in the closet….whinning and who knows what else!  She just about lost it.  We almost never got back to focusing on sewing and cooking that afternoon.  Poor thing!!

Well, it has been quite a journey hasn’t it?  We survived the sixties and endured lots of experiences.  I saw Robert at the banquet and I must have looked at him funny or something because he said:  “Drexell, don’t look at me like that……  I’ve been down lots of roads and some of them weren’t paved!”  I think we can all agree with that…..  God has been good to us and kept us through it all.  So grateful for the part you have played in my life.  I wouldn’t be who I am if you had not been a big part of my story……and I’m sure you agree.  Don’t think any of us    really knew what a special time in history we shared.  We lived out: Leave It To Beaver, Happy Days, and Father Knows Best.  We just didn’t know we were living it out.  We were blessed!!

We had our ups and downs…..spats,  practical jokes, sadness, some drama!  Remember the night Udall blew away during the tornado?  Remember when we ditched school and went to the hide-out together or walked up to the old mill?  How about all those games we played with Belle Plaine?  What a rivalry!!  Bus trips!  Remember when some of the kids would sneak out to their cars and pick-ups during the lunch hour and SMOKE!  WOW!  It wasn’t even politically incorrect then….it was just BAD!!  Do you ever think about Mr. Mercer, Band Contests,  Group Sixteen?  Black Was the Color of My True Love’s Hair…. Remember Mrs. Williams, Mr. White, Mrs. Ward, Mr. Wofford, Mr. Nicklus, Mrs. Montieth, Mr. Bentz,  and don’t forget Mr.George or Mr. Davidson.  They used to say we were a handful, but we were also a favorite class because we were SO ONERY!  and let’s not forget our Senior Trip to Oklahoma City where we bought and tasted pink champagne!

Mrs. Williams once gave me an assignment to read Gone With the Wind and the book report had to include a good quote……I chose:              “With enough courage……you can live without a good reputation!”  Scarlett O’Hara       That cracked her up and she said that only Drexell        would choose that quote.  It has helped me a few times when justifying certain actions/attitudes…….I think Scarlett was right!!

There was never a dull moment in our 12 years of schooling……almost all my memories are good ones and I hope yours were too….  So, until next time…..                       Every man a WILDCAT……NOW LET’S GO!!!

Now for the disclaimer:  I know this is not completely accurate…..but it is how I remember it.   It also includes a couple of reunions, not just the last one.   I left out many who attended with us but who were only there for a short time…… just included the major players.   There was Carol Pittman (deceased), Robert Mooney, Joyce Miller, Bobby McClure, Bob MacKenzie (deceased), Dale,  Roy Beaushaw, who  now owns a guest ranch in Colorado.  Then there were the triplets and Lila from Gueda Springs…….think that Karen Chevront was also in our class for awhile……the tall, blonde  girl with the beautiful voice……I know there were more……these are the ones I thought of.  Feel free to make corrections in your relies…….my best regards to all of you…..may you live in health and abundance in 2013…..Your scribe,  Drexell

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Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!


Hello, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one,
Thinking about you as we get ready to celebrate the coming of God’s son.
Our year was full, but often seemed like a bumpy ride, you can run but you can’t hide.
We made it though and once again, He showed us that He always provides.

In January we had a sad farewell as Blake took his family to live in Nashville.
He is now a pastor at Crosspoint.tv.  They love it there—but it’s further to drive than ‘just over the hill’!
They bought a big house out in the country and got a dog named Bentley…….
Looks like they will be there for awhile as the Lord has made it clear & simply..

Barry’s family recently moved to be closer to Chesapeake where he works each day.
The girls are also closer to the schools they attend & the friends they enjoy for play..
Tammy is faithfully there to direct traffic and keep everyone on time & on track,
They are a busy group and we are glad they live so close–20 minutes there & back!

Brett is also in Nashville right now……we saw that one coming somehow.
Blake always likes to have him close and he & Ally have been great hosts.
Brett is planning to go to school in the fall…..he’s heading out west …..it calls.
He’s looking forward to learning a trade…sure hope he’ll study & make the grade.

Dennis and I still do our own thing—-we just do it slower than before—that’s plain.
He still remodels in rain and in fog…..I still lease houses….looking for princes among frogs.
We go to lots of ballgames to keep us entertained,
Easier to watch than to participate and avoid a sprain.

My summers are now spent in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in a place called Estes Park.
I work at the YMCA answering the switchboard is a lark.
“Guest Services, how may I direct your call??” It’s interesting and I really do give it my all!
Dennis still endures the heat & humidity of Oklahoma—roofing,
But when August gets here–he quickly heads west–a hoofing!

We enjoy our church and it’s many activities—-Dennis ushers and I still sing in the choir.
We enjoy entertaining our friends and our fireplace often has huge fires.
The grandchildren enjoy coming to Poppy and Nana’s house to play..they make us laugh at what all they say.
They keep us on our toes and we may even this week need to use the slay….they say that snow is on the way.

Hope all is well with you and yours.  Hope you are finished with shopping & going to the stores.
May 2010 be one of your best years, no matter the forecast we are not supposed to have fears.
With e-mail, facebook, cell phones, and such….. we really have no reason not to stay in touch.

We are looking forward to hearing your news and we’ll even listen to your political views…..
May the Lord be at all your celebrations with friends & family.
Come to see us this year and make it a reality.

We wish for you a merry Christmas and a  happy new year!!

All the best,
Dennis & Drexell

Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | November 2, 2009

Technology is not always your friend…..

Last week my life took a weird turn….my e-mail was hacked, my account frozen, all my contacts were told I was stranded in England and needed $1500.00 to get home—-please send money!  In the process I lost all my contact addresses as well as all my folders and their content.  Then the calls started coming—both good and bad.  People who knew me recognized that it was a hoax since I don’t ever write in lower case and it just wasn’t my style…..several believed it and were either insulted that I had asked them for money or else wanted to  help.  A friend from an old neighborhood even brought over $100.00 to help with the cause.

It was an interesting experience.  My mother even called my brother to tell him that he would have to send me the money since she didn’t have it.  I said:  “Mother, do you really think I would go to England and not tell you?”  Her response was:  “Well, I never know what you are going to do next!”  Thanks Mother!  One lady told me that I should ask relatives before I asked friends to help.

But the upside—-I heard from 10 people in 7 different states by phone who were all concerned…..both coasts….and everywhere in between.  That part was fun and I enjoyed all those conversations.  Made me feel loved and cared for.   One friend in Oregon even told me she was really flattered that I might think she had that kind of money just ‘laying around’!  There were all kinds of responses.

This experience gave me just a little glimpse of the incredible power of the internet as well as how distructive it can become in the wrong hands.  My privacy was compromised, my reputation was made questionable, I lost valuable information & saved articles that I will probably never be able to retrieve, and it stole my sense of security when using my computer.

There are lots of crazies out there and we think we are somehow insulated from them in the comfort of our own homes…..not true.  Now I know.  From now on I will change my passwords often, use firewalls and virus protectors, be sure I know whose e-mails I open, and choose carefully the sites I visit and explore……hope you will too….learning from others mistakes is a good thing…..

Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | October 21, 2009

Brett means Covenant Promise!

Mrs. Bergstrom, you’re pregnant!   I stared into space as I tried to comprehend the doctor’s words to me.  That would account for the weight gain and the cravings of late.  A baby!  WOW!  I sure hadn’t seen this coming.  I was forty-two years old and had just started teaching Creative Writing at a local college.  My students had really been my focus for the past year along with my two boys ages eleven and thirteen as well as my husband of eighteen years.  How did this happen?  Well, I knew how, but why….I’d been on the pill for eleven years….it had always worked before.  Oh my!  What would my husband say and the boys….my students….and my parents.  All at once I heard the doctor talking and he was asking me if I’d like to get an abortion.  What?  I looked at him and all of a sudden I got very angry.  He was saying that since no one knew that it could be our secret because it was going to interrupt my career and change the componets of our home, plus the risk of an “over-forty pregnancy” with the possibility of Downs Syndrome, etc.  He would get me the name of the doctor that I needed to talk to about this “delicate problem” right away.  He walked out of the office to retrieve those numbers.  When he came back I was armed and animated.  I told him that I would not be having an abortion….that if God wanted us to have this baby he had gone to great lengths to make it happen.  Besides, even if I did end the pregnancy it wouldn’t be a secret since I would know and God would know and that was not acceptable since the Bible said in Psalms that “in my mother’s wound He knew me and scheduled each day of my life!”  I didn’t even know that I could quote that scripture.  I reminded him that my mother had told me when I was a teenager that if I “danced then I had to pay the piper!”  It was my child and I was responsible for raising it whether or not it was healthy or unhealthy.  He was taken aback to say the least.

Now for the hard part—telling my family and friends.  It was embarrassing for one thing…..didn’t I know how to keep this from happening after all these years.  What was I thinking about……

On the way home from the doctor’s office I started thinking about my situation and lots of doubts and fears began to take over my thinking.  I started to cry till all of a sudden I heard the music on the radio…..Carol King was singing:  “Let me be there in your morning, let me be there in your night, let me change whatever’s wrong and make it right!”  Somehow the Lord got through to me that everything was going to be okay with me and the baby……

That night I made sure my husband was in bed before telling him—–he’s big and I didn’t want to have to drag him anywhere in case he fainted.  His response was:  “We can’t have a baby, we’re 42 years old!”  But that didn’t change the facts…..  We decided to tell the boys that Sunday after church.  They were surprised, but thrilled and immediately said:  “He’ll be our little brother and we’ll name him Brett Cody!”  We didn’t know why they chose that name, but decided to let it stand.  Later we learned that Brett Cody means “covenant promise” in Hebrew.

My girlfriends were hysterical and out of control…..they gave me a baby shower and 88 women came…..the average gift cost $25.00 and I asked them why they were so generous……they all told me it was because they were so glad it was me instead of them.  Our Sunday School class labelled us “Abraham and Sarah” and got us a walking stick and carriage……it was fun.

Brett Cody was born in the fall of 1987 and so I quit my job and stayed home to raise this child that God had given us as a special gift.  He was a joy to have around and I marvelled at how his presence gave a whole new dimension to our family.  He defused most crisis and made life a whole lot more fun and we all doted on him.  His one disadvantange was that he had four “parents” instead of two.  His brothers were much harder on him than we were.  They often told us that we let him “get away with murder” but we would smile and say that it just wasn’t that big a deal this time around…..we had a track record and we decided not to sweat the small stuff.  They took him with them everywhere and he grew up pretty fast.  He proved to be a mix of both of them and developed a delightful sense of humor, a strong musical ability, and a heart for God.  We often thanked God for sending him and letting us be his parents…..we’ve been blessed.  We never know what is wrapped up in a child…..only the Lord knows.

Brett turns eighteen this week and will be graduating soon.  As I look back to that day in the doctor’s office I can smile and know that God doesn’t make mistakes.  He’s always in control…..even when we question the circumstances and situations we experience.  As the song says:  God is in every tomorrow…..and we know who holds tomorrow.

Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | October 16, 2009

My Good Friend Helen

Long Lake Chugach Mts.

We met in the spring, in Colorado,…I remember because the snow was starting to melt.  Dennis and Jon had building in common as well as loving the great out-doors……Helen and I just enjoyed each other and could talk for hours.  They were new to our church and had just moved here from Chicago, so we asked them over for dinner.  We had an instant friendship that thrived.  Neither of us had children yet, so we were free to do and go and enjoy our times together.  Helen was pixie-like, cute  and so funny.  Jon was serious and loved trivia.  One night he spent a half hour telling us about the life-line of a cockroach.  I remember his last line of that conversation: “And do you> know that an average cockroach can live on the glue of one postage stamp for a whole year?” He always won when we played board games…..especially Trivial Pursuit.

We also had a lot of hot “Rook” games as the years went by when the snow was deep and we were enjoying a roaring fire in the fireplace—-drinking hot chocolate.  We both had black cock-a-poo dogs, Caesar and Wendy, who became great friends and loved to roam around in the mountains surrounding Jon & Helen’s beautiful home in the Rockie Mountains. Jon had built it himself and was always doing something to it…..he was a creative perfectionist.

We enjoyed taking the dogs on long walks and we often solved the problems of the world as we talked.  The guys sometimes came running in from their hikes—-sure that they had been chased by a bear or Mt. Lion.  They had a tendency to stray too far from their vehicles or forget that it was about to get dark.  They almost got caught the night they decided to chop down our Christmas trees…..we finally decided to buy them…..they were pretty sure they had been chased by a bear and didn’t want to risk it again. They could not prove that theory, but they believed it.  Helen & I teased them about that for quite a while. Our times together were always interesting, fun, and we ate lots of good Italian food together.  She always made the best spaghetti.  I taught her how to make”Tex-Mex” and they introduced us to Chicago cuisine.

Eventually they had a daughter they named Kim—–we had a son named Blake.  Then we had Barry and they had Jon Jr.  I went to see Helen when he was born and we were so excited to have four healthy children between us.  We anticipated them all growing up together as great friends and playmates.
I also did something that I’d never done before— I went over and hugged Helen.  I told her how much she meant to me and what a huge difference she had made in my life.  She was leaving the next day for a month in Chicago to visit family and friends.  That seemed like a long time for her to be gone, but she had not been home for quite awhile.  Jon couldn’t go with her because of work responsibilities.  We too were going on a trip—-to Kansas to help Mother & Daddy with the wheat harvest.  We usually did that every year and enjoyed the change from our usual work routine.  My brother and his family and my sister and her boys would be there too.  It was something we all looked forward to every year even if it was hot,hard work.  So that June afternoon found us getting supper ready when the phone rang.  It was my good friend Shirley in Colorado and the first thing she said was:  “Drexell, you’d better sit down, I have some bad news.”  All kinds of things were going through my head about a mile a minute……She said,  “There has been an accident.   Jon picked up Helen and the kids at the airport this afternoon and they were on their way home when they got hit by a train.  Helen and the baby were both killed.  You better come home as soon as you can get here!”  All I could think was:  THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!  But it was.  So we drove back home for the funerals and tried to process the grief.  Jon could hardly function.  He went on auto pilot, but eventually just wanted to be by himself.  He gave us Caesar.  I continued to mourn for my good friend and could not get any peace for a very long time.  I could not sleep and when I did—I’d wake up crying and feeling worse than when I went to bed.

Then one night about a month after the accident, I had a dream……a vivid, beautiful dream.  I saw Helen sitting under a tree on bright green grass in front of a crystal blue lake, under a bright clear sky  holding little Jon.  She was talking to my grandfather who had died when I was in college.  We were always very close and he called me Snookie.  She was telling him about my little boys and how we had been very good friends.  Grandaddy said,  “You mean my Snookie  is a Mother?!”  They laughed and talked for what seemed like a whole afternoon.  I got to watch and to listen.  It was wonderful! When I woke up, I felt so good and wondered why…..then I was able to recall the dream in vivid details and knew why.  Never again did I cry or mourn for Helen, her baby, or the huge loss I had felt when she left us.  I knew she was happy and contented.  I knew she was safe.  She was at peace, whole, and happy once again.  She had found my grandaddy and they were friends.   I also had great peace knowing that I would see her again and we could renew our friendship on the other side.   But until then I would rest and be assured that she was fine, enjoying herself in a better place.  I still think about her, but now with a smile, not tears.

Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | October 15, 2009

Story of Young Love

young loveThere was a boy, there was a girl—-in the sixties they were teens,

He was her handsome high school king and he treated her like his queen.

They met as children & grew up as friends—their families knew each other well,

Her daddy was a wheat farmer and his father preached to save people from hell.

Their first date was at church camp as were many others,

Both were glad for those times—away from little brothers.

Their romance grew as the months went by even though they lived in separate towns,

Letters, cards, phone calls and occasional trips kept them both from wearing a frown.

They enjoyed long walks on country roads, holding hands and sharing their dreams,

Young love, first love is always special, kisses are sweet in the moonlight beams.

He took her to the prom in spring and they declared their love would last forever,

On his graduation date, they talked all night and watched the sun come up together.

In the fall he left for college and they agreed to dating new people,

Before too long he’d found new love and married under a steeple.

She came to college later vowing to remain calm, she married a soldier after VietNam,

She studied music and literature and became a college teacher—

He became a cop instead of following in dad’s footsteps to become a preacher……

Their lives were busy reaching goals and raising children right,

They both worked hard to do their best and spent some sleepless nights.

He learned to fly, she learned to write, and they traveled all over the land,

Ocassionally they would stop and remember an old friendship that was grand.

Then one day when they had reached their sixties a surprise e-mail arrived,

She answered quickly with a smile on her face as the old memories were revived.

They spoke of old friends, family, grandchildren and places that each of them had known,

God had been faithful to keep them both as over the years they had grown.

Life is short and goes swiftly by as we travel this road to the end,

Choices we make when we are young lead us to wonder at what might have been….

Maturity dictates that we accept that which we cannot change,

But a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | October 15, 2009

The Ten Dollar Bill…

10_dollar_bill

It was one of those breezy (with gusts up to 50 mph) days of spring in Oklahoma.  I had to drive to Lawton to do an interview with a student who was applying for our small college.  It was about a hundred mile trip, so I got up early, fixed my coffee, and headed out the door.  It was a pleasant drive and I found the student’s home without too much effort.  The interview went smoothly.  We finished about 2:00 p.m. and I headed out—-feeling good about getting home before dark and back to my family.  That’s when I decided to stop for a quick lunch and to fill the car with gas.  I reached for my purse..it wasn’t there.  It wasn’t where it was supposed to be at all…..it wasn’t even in the car.  Then I realized I had grabbed my “to-go” cup of coffee and my brief- case instead of my bag.  What had I been thinking…..

The gas needle was pegged on empty.  A sense of panic was about to set in.  This was before we all had a cell phone.  Here I was a woman alone, no money, I knew no one in this town…..what was I going to do???  I prayed one of those bullet prayers:

“God, please help me.  Don’t let me panic….please supply my need.”  So I decided to go to a filling station and call my husband who was home with our two toddlers.  How he could help from there was a puzzle, but he could at least share my concerns.  So, as I got out of the car I had to hold onto the door to stand up since the wind was about the knock me to the ground.  I looked down and there by my foot was a crisp $10.00 bill—-just laying there like it had no other purpose.  I laughed out loud.  Why can’t we learn to really trust the father?  He is always faithful, but sometimes we just forget……

Posted by: oxfordgirl63 | October 15, 2009

Childhood Story from the farm…

Walnut-Hill -Hwy-99-Wheat-Farm_01

By nature I am not an outdoor person.  I prefer to stay inside because the heat bothers me as well as the cold…..the wind bothers my contacts….and then there are the insects.  Most of my life I have preferred to read a good book, watch a movie, sew, bake something wonderful, talk on the phone to a friend, or play the piano….all indoor activities.  But there was a day in my life as a teenager one summer that my dad needed me to drive the tractor and disc our south field on our Kansas wheat farm.  Okay, I can do that, I thought.  It was going to take most of the morning.  Things had gone pretty well for a couple of hours and I was about to finish up one section when I got too close to the fence row.  The disc caught the fence and connected which I failed to notice.  About that time I saw my brother running toward the tractor yelling at the top of his lungs:  “Get her off that tractor before she gets close to my car!”  Then mother came out with her hands on her hips just shaking her head.  About this time both dogs started barking.  I caused quite a stir that day on the farm—–all innocently thinking that I was just doing my job.  From that day on I noted that most of my assignments were inside the house.  Even now, years later….I’m usually asked to cook rather than disc.  My farming skills are still discussed for a family laugh while eating one of my cooking endeavors, like:  blueberry/peach cobbler, banana bread, chocolate cream pie, chocolate chip cookies, Italian cream cake, or maybe a plate full of chicken enchiladas.  I might never have learned to cook if this chapter in my learning curve hadn’t happened.  That could have become a problem since God saw fit to give me a husband and three sons.  Seems like they are always hungry and always grateful for something good to eat.  He works in mysterious ways….He has also given me seven grandaughters.  Maybe I can help them learn to be good cooks too.  That is one skill that just never goes out of style.  What is it they say about the way to a man’s heart if through his stomach.  These girls may want my help someday…….. 

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