One Voice of the Oklahoma Prairie, Cont. (4)

Quentin Bomgardner shown in a park, holding his first son, Kenny.

Quentin started working as a substitute mail carrier and later (about 1949) started working as clerk in the Post Office at Tuttle so we started having a little more money to spend. In February, 1956, he got a rural mail route at Amber, Oklahoma.  He carried the mail until November 15th, 1956 when he died of a brain hemorrhage; age 36, he lacked two weeks being 37.  This was a sad day for Kenny, Terry and me.  I didn’t know what I could do to make a living.  I didn’t know how to do anything but clean house.  I carried mail for 3 months at Amber, in Quentin’s place, until they appointed a carrier.  We got $125.00 per month annuity, $4,000 insurance from the Post Office, and $1,500 from Universal Life Insurance.  Since the place we lived in belonged to Grandmother Porter, we bought a house in town for $3,800. And spent $700 on it before we moved in.  Uncle Gail and Uncle Dwight helped use fix it up.  We were very comfortably situated.

Quentin in his younger years, possibly junior high or high school.

Quentin Bomgardner, Emma Lee's husband.

The fall of 1957 I started to the college at Chickasha, then called OCUO.  In November of that same year I went to college of a morning until I finished the semester then worked in the Post Office at Tuttle as clerk in the afternoon.  When I finished the semester, I started working five hours each day at the Post Office.  I had worked there for almost twenty-five years when I retired April 2, 1982 age 60.

I married Frank Bennett November 21, 1959.  I knew him quite a few years, in fact we rode the same school bus when in high school.  He farmed; I continued to work in the Post office.  His parents moved into my house in town, and we moved into their house on the farm since Frank rented their farm.  We built a new house on a 30-acre place that Frank owned and we moved into that location February 8, 1984.

I want to mention something about each of my brothers, sisters and parents:

Ashton Woodrow is my oldest brother born 1912, November 28th at Lahoma, Oklahoma.  He liked to work with radios, work on cars and went to live with my grandparents in Tuttle to go to high school while we still lived at Waukomis.  He married Agnes Brown of Tuttle, OK Oct 29, 1935.  He ran a Phillips 66 gas station and did mechanic work. Later, he moved to California worked in a defense plant, then moved to Forth Worth, TX and worked for General Dynamics Consolidated Air plant until he retired in 1975.  Ashton and Agnes didn’t have any children, but in Feb 1953 they had a baby girl who was stillborn.

J.C. or John Crouch was born April 18, 1917. He was quite a hyper child; he was smart but was always getting into trouble.  One time back when we lived at Waukomis he had worked for some farmers.  During harvest he borrowed Papas Model T Ford truck to go collect his money, Charles was with him and JC was only 12 or 13 at the time. They took off down the road, hit a sandy spot, turned upside down over into a culvert, and sure messed up the truck but didn’t hurt the boys.  Papa gave the truck to JC and Ashton to work on. They made a “strip down” out of it.  JC always caused trouble in school, never did graduate.   Said he “was smarter than the teachers.”  He married Reacie Knight April 17, 1937.  They had two sons, Gary and Jimmy.  JC went into the Navy.  Later he and Reacie were divorced; he was married twice after that and was living with his wife Sally when he died December 27, 1987 of a stroke.  He was an auctioneer.  JC never did well financially.

The next child was Catherine Bell, born February 8, 1919.  She was a very particular person: real neat, good seamstress, kept everything neat and in its place.  She cleaned house and read a lot.  She went to college at Weatherford, Okla. Took a business course and went to Fayetteville, Ark. She worked a while in 1944, and then she went to Washington DC to work for the Navy Department. She married John S. McLees Feb 1, 1952; they made their home in Alexandria, VA.  She was a secretary for several Senators at Washington DC. They had two girls Suzanne and Melissa.  John passed away November, 1983.

Charles Edward was born October 12, 1920 at Tuttle, Ok.  Guess I was closer to him than any of my brothers; closer in age also.  He always had a weight problem, everyone teased him saying he ate it all from me because I was skinny.  I can remember one time he cut his foot on an old boiler we used to put cobs in that we had picked up out of the pig pen to use in the stove to burn.  Papa put a tourniquet on his foot put a rocking chair in the wagon, hitched the horses to the wagon and took him to the doctor to get it sewed up.  Charles was in the Marines and on a South Pacific Island when the Japanese bombed it in the 2nd World War in 1941.  We were all so worried until we received a telegram saying he was all right.  He took many different jobs after getting out of the Marines. Finally decided he’d go to college at Fayetteville, Ark.  He met and married Audrey Appleton August 26, 1950.  They lived in Tulsa, Okla.  While there, their two daughters were born: Laurinda and Marcia.  Later they moved to Springdale, Ark where they now live. Note – Audrey died of Lou Gehrig’s diseas a few years ago.

I’m next in line enough and have said about me previously.

Mary Elizabeth was born at Tuttle, Ok. Oct. 15, 1923.  Mary and I were close and always played together.  She was always quite a talker. Even when we were younger, when anyone asked us a question I always looked to her to answer-  even though I was older.  She married Dwight Marion Ferguson August 11, 1941.  They have four children: Ernest, David, Diana and Gerald.  They live in Midwest City, Ok. Note – Mary Elizabeth has died since this entry was written.

Willa May was born March 2, 1927 at Waukomis, Ok.  We were all proud of our little baby sister there hadn’t been a baby in the family for a few years.  I remember one time we thought she was lost when she was about three years old. We hunted and called couldn’t find her. I finally went into the garage – there she was playing in the corn feed!  She married Robert Wallace August 11, 1951.   They lived in Tulsa, Ok for awhile then moved to N. Little Rock. They had three children: Theresa, Phillip and Ronal.  Willa May passed away March 20, 1987 at N. Little Rock after a long illness.  She was a school teacher and had to quit when she became ill.

Robert was born at Tuttle, Ok. December 5, 1934.  He provided a home for mama. He never married, lives at Tuttle, he likes horses and dogs. Works at Braums Dairy N.W. of Tuttle. Note – Robert has died since this entry was written.

Mom and Papa were married at Lahoma, Ok. September 24, 1911.  They both worked for Grandpa Crouch in his store.  Papa kept the books; mom always said he kept a neat set of books.

Papa’s parents’ names were John H. Coward, born at Rotherham, England, Feb. 23, 1861. Papa died December 26, 1947, at 86 years old in Fairview, Ok.  His mother’s name was Lavina Catherine Reeder Coward, born at Watseka, Ill.  She was born October 14, 1856 and died July 30, 1920, 63 years old Fairview, OK.

Papa was born at Watseka, Ill. January 15, 1886.  He was an educated person; he had a degree in business was also a barber.  He was a nervous, high strung person – not very well all the time I knew him.  He was always on a bland diet and claimed other food hurt his stomach.  He died in a hospital at Norman, Ok of a stroke June 5, 1949 at the age of 63.  He never made the kind of living for his family that he would liked to have, and that kept him upset.  Times were hard in those days and it wasn’t easy to make a living.  It has been said of him he was a true gentleman.  A few years before he died he wrote this letter to the children:

To the children

Dad is sorry that he cannot be the father that he would like to be, that I cannot see you successfully situated in some honorable task of life to your choosing.  Make a special effort to be honest upright men and women and try to make the very best of the opportunities that come to you.

Do all you can to make things as well for mother as you can.  She will be doubly proud of your efforts to please her I am sure, she will always be your best friend though she may not be able to do all she would like to do for you, but remember that her prayers are for your success in all your honest efforts, and may you all work together to make her declining years ones of joy and comfort.

And though you do not always possibly reach the goal you have sought, be men and women in Christ Jesus always striving to do that which you know to be just and right in the sight of God.



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