One Voice of the Oklahoma Prairie, Conclusion

Kenny, Emma Lee's eldest son, playing the guitar sometime around 1967. Terry, her younger son, can be seen on the far left.

Mom was born March 16, 1891 near Ashland, Kansas. Her parents were William Tecumseh Sherman Crouch and Atlanta Bell Kitchen Crouch.  The both came from the areas near Ashland and Grayson Kentucky.  Grandpa homesteaded in Kansas where mom was born; they lived in a dug out.  Later they moved to Lahoma, Oklahoma where mom and Papa were married, then after that moved to Tuttle, Oklahoma where Papa farmed.  After farming in Tuttle, then moved to Bethany, Oklahoma (near Okla. City), to Waukomis, OK near Enid, OK on Highway 81 then back to Tuttle when Terry was a year old (1944). Mom moved to Fayetteville, AR helped cook in a girls dormitory, then she and Robert moved to Okla. City worked in O’Mealy’s cafeteria. Later she moved to Tulsa to help my brother Charles in a restaurant, then when Charles moved to Arkansas Mom and Robert moved back to Tuttle, OK. (Editors note: I count ten separate locations where “Mom” [Bessie] called home at one point or another.)

Mom was a real sweet person, she always wanted to do nice things for people.  She loved to study and read the Bible. Every Saturday she prepared dinner for someone; her food was so good and attractive.  Mom could always write the sweetest notes for all occasions. She lived to the age of 84 – died November 30, 1975 as she was taking a bath, getting ready to go to church.  She had a heart attack on Sunday morning.  On the Friday night before she died, she felt her days were numbered, so she got up in the night and wrote the instructions for her funeral.

I remember at one time in 1987 there were six of us in our 60s.  J.C. 69, Catherine 68, Charles 66, Emma Lee 64, Mary Elizabeth 63, Willa May 60; imagine having that many children in ten years!

My family has grown now.  Kenny married Gwendolyn Louise Yates September 7, 1962; they have two children – Kelly Marie born December 6, 1963 and Quentin Wayne born August 26th, 1965.  Now Kelly is married to Kyle Mickey Roberts August 10, 1985 they have two daughters, Rachel Jordan Roberts born May 3, 1987 and Rylee Jessica November 15, 1991. Quentin is going to school at OU Norman (updated – now working at Konawa for OG&E, lives in Norman); taking mechanical Engineering.

Terry married Juanita Marie Morris on August 23, 1963 – they have three children. Dale, born February 16, 1967, is going to a Tech school taking airplane mechanics in Waco, Tex. Angela Marie born December 21, 1973, is in the 8th grade. And Timothy Lee born Sept. 16, 1976 is in the 5th grade.

Each of the grandchildren are special to me in their own special way; I love them all dearly.

Kenny and Terry were both Salutatorians of their graduating high school class; both went to college at OSU in Stillwater, Ok. Kenny took a course in Electronics and Terry in Mechanical Engineering.  Kenny lives at Tuttle, Ok, and Terry lives at Burleson, Texas.

I feel I am most richly blessed by having a Christian family. Both boys their wife and children have all obeyed the Lord in Christian baptism.

When Quentin and I were married he wasn’t a Christian but went to church with me.  On September 13, 1942 he was baptized, and was faithful to the Lord until his death, November 15, 1956. He & I worked with the youth of the church; he was an elder.  It was such a shock when he had to leave us, our life was beginning to be as we wanted it. He told me at different times “the longer we were married the more he loved me.” We had truly become one so when he had to go I felt a part of me left also. One never forgets something like this but gets easier as the years go by. (*see notes after the conclusion)

Three years later Frank came to the Post. office, asked me for a date to my surprise I accepted.  I was rather disturbed when we planned to be married because Frank wasn’t a Christian; the Bible says, “if a widow marries, marry only in the Lord.” The preacher talked with us, and on Wednesday night before we married, November 18, 1959 he was baptized.  Frank and I were married November 21, 1959.  Frank has been helpful to the boys and a good grandpa to the grandchildren and good to me.

I learned to drive an old 1929 Dodge that Papa bought in 1937.  It was such a hard car to handle, and had such dim headlights one had to drive it slowly or it would shimmy all over the place. It never had brakes so it could hardly stop. One time I drove it to church, then after church I drove it downtown and started to park but I couldn’t get it to stop so I told mom to grab the emergency brake. By the time she got a hold of it I had run into the curb and knocked the bumper off on one side. So, we got some baling wire to tie it up.

My sister Mary and I got to where we could fix a flat.  We would jack up the car, take the wheel off, pry the tire off the rim, pull the inner tube out, take tire patching and repair the tube, hand pump it up with enough air to then get to town.

One Sunday papa drove the old car to Weatherford, OK to see my sister Catherine while she was going to college. There were six of us who went and we stayed to go to church in the evening. We drove home 75 miles after dark; that was a nerve racking trip! The lights were so dim papa could hardly see to drive, so he had Mary and I to help him watch the road. I almost wished he would let me drive, but we made it home safely.

Back then one didn’t have to take a driving test to get a driver’s license, all a person did was apply and pay 50 cents to obtain one.  I didn’t do that, so in 1949 I had to take a test to get a license.  This was after Quentin & I bought a new 1949 Ford. Were we ever proud of that new car!  Until then we drove an old 1934 Ford called; we him “Rupert,” and he was ready to be retired after 16 years.  I don’t know how many times the motor was overhauled or a rebuilt motor put in him.  We lived ¾ of a mile east of Sooner. That road got so muddy and had deep ruts, which was hard on a car; it would take an hour to go that distance without chains. Many times Quentin had to walk to the house to get “Elmer,” the little Allis-Chalmers tractor to pull us up the hill.  After Quentin got the job of sub-rural mail carrier on Route One, the motor went out of Rupert. Quentin and Gail, his brother, worked all night to get the car back together so he could carry the mail the next day.  They finished barely in time to get to the Post Office for work that morning.

My mother always said I was the “Peacemaker” in the family.  I couldn’t stand to see any of the brothers and sisters fight or quarrel; I tried to bring everyone together with no hard feelings.  I always got along with them all, and still do.  Charles & J.C. would wrestle. I was afraid J.C. would hurt Charles.

Additional notes: My family continues to grow, Dale married Kim Harris March 19, 1994, she had two sons Michael & Chad Harris.  Kim was born August 1, 1959, Michael June 3, 1983 and Chad June 24, 1986, Dale and Kim have on daughter Morgan Kay born January 25, 1995.  Angie married Cody Ledbetter on November 18, 1995, and they have three daughters: Cheyenne June 11, 1998, Cherokee and Shawnee twins – October 18, 2001.  Tim married Suzy Bennetch June 19, 1999 they have one son Oscar, Sept. 20, 2008.

Last note: Here I am 88 years, me, myself and I living in the house Frank and I had built in 1984.  Frank died February 20, 2009.


Final notes from the Editor – * I recall many of Grandmother’s stories she told us as children, and to this point have not added any voice other than her own.  Indeed, if I added all those from our family members, I’m sure this collection would be very rich and full.  However, I was so struck at a snippet my father (Emma Lee’s first child) shared with my brother and I on an Easter Sunday a few years back, I am sharing it now.  My dad recalled for us what he could remember of the events around the death of his father, Quentin.  He said….”that good jobs were very rare in those days, and for his father to get the full-time position with the Post Office was really quite celebrated in their family.  He recalled that on the day his father experienced the brain aneurysm, he finished the mail route, came home and began a project to clean out the basement of the home.  He filled a trailer with trash and pulled it to a dumping spot on the farm property.  When he returned, he told them that on the way to the dump, it felt like ‘something had hit him on the back of the head.’  He rested that evening and went to work the next day.  After he finished his mail route, he started home but stopped to help a neighbor with a cow that was out.  He threw a rock at the cow and fell to the ground.  Our neighbor sent his wife to get my mother so they could drive him to the hospital in Chickasha.  The neighbor later shared with me that when he fell to the ground, he was conscious and said, ‘it’s such a beautiful day for something like this to happen.’  That was the last complete sentence he said, as he did not make it to the hospital.”

I appreciate Grandmother’s willingness to share her story with a larger audience, and am hopeful that the readers were able to gain something from her work.  All the Best, “Kelly Marie Bomgardner” Roberts


Here are a few photos I found from my parent’s photo album to help you have a visual for some of her stories:

Emma Lee at her mother-in-law's (Hattie Porter's) 90th birthday party.
Frank, her second husband, around 1967.
Emma Lee and Frank with their two daughtes-in-law and children, 1967.
Kenny and Terry playing guitars in Emma Lee's home, around 1967.
Emma Lee mentioned her brother-in-law, Gail, a few times in her notes. Gail is the gentleman with glasses on the far right. His brother, Merrill (to Gail's left) with the tie and sweater, was also mentioned - having been called to serve during WWII.

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2 thoughts on “One Voice of the Oklahoma Prairie, Conclusion”

  1. I found a painting and written on the back it says “Painted by Emma Lee mother of Robert Porter”. It is a painting of a lake w/ a snow mountain in the back. Just wondering if this could have been painted by your family member.

    1. Hi, Linda:

      Unfortunately, Emma Lee had two sons – Kenny and Terry. There was no Robert Porter, even in her step-family’s children. Therefore, I would doubt it. It was very cool to get your question, though, and I hope you find the original artist for your painting! ~ RDK

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