The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 19

Imaginary Family Project Week 19

External Photo Clues:

Luelinda Rogers Fluornoy is shown here delivering the cake she made for Granny Wescomb’s 64th birthday party in Shidler, Oklahoma circa 1954. Leulinda’s boyfriend (and Daddy’s farmhand) Robert Ashcraft who chauffeured her here in her daddy’s truck, is off to the side as he didn’t feel he had come properly dressed for such a photo. He said he, ‘never dreamed they’d be a takin’ pictures and such…’

The Fluornoy’s ran a cattle ranch in Osage county for three generations. Luelinda was not keen on continuing her portion of the family ranching tradition but Robert and her daddy had been slowly making headway on her change of attitude.  Her older brothers continued ranching on their parcels and eventually one took part time work at the Pawhuska Post office. It was a solid family but not close knit.

Eventually her change of heart effected her change of attitude and she and Robert Fluornoy were married in the Fall of 1955 at grandma’s W’s house. 

This time it was Granny’s turn to bake the cake.

In due course she and Robert acquired her share of the family ranch and over the next fifty odd years she buried her momma, daddy, her grandparents and last year, Robert, there in the Tall Grass prairie. The ranching life had been good to her and the family all these many birthday cakes, wedding cakes later.

John C. Rogers, Luelinda’s granddaddy, had acquired the ranch in 1880’s in a transaction that was never made exactly clear to to anyone after the fact. It was deeded to him …….and that was the beginning- and end- of the story. There were rumors of gambling, murder, bribery but no one ever dared ask while John C. was living. He never said a word about it. Not that he was ever proven a mean or dangerous man but he carried himself in such a manner that no one ever questioned him any further than he voluntarily offered, on any matter. 

He had ridden here from Ohio after suffering a broken heart when the apple of his eye married the local pastor’s son and never looked his direction again. A serious blow to an ego that never knew it existed until then. He never forgot it afterward.

Rogers was not fond of church, preachers or women after that.

Well, until he happened to meet Constance Beemer at a barn dance near Pawhuska, Indian Territory a few years later. After meeting her and after several, serious long night rides by himself along the river he took a second look at the fairer sex.  

They were married in mid winter and began their life together in a dug-out shelter on the sunny side of a big hill on the south side of the ranch.  

Time, hard work, and God (according to Constance) rewarded their efforts with two sons and a daughter, lots of cattle and many fine horses.  

‘A good life. That’s what we had, that’s what we built,’ she would often say. Constance died right after the end of WWII, having suffered a heart attack while hanging laundry on the line.  

John died in 1952 right after Eisenhower took office. Same day. Some in the family said it was a telling moment in national politics and Oklahoma history but no one ever explained why. Just didn’t seem important at the time.

Seated with Luelinda on the screened in porch one evening a couple of months before he passed away he briefly let down his guard and confided in his granddaughter.

‘Preachers……….fine for those sort of folks I guess. But my money’s on dogs and horses……

…and your grandma!’ He was quick to add.

‘ Dogs, horses and her,’ he nodded winking in the direction of the cemetery, ‘I’m safe with them.’

Today Luelinda looks through old photos as she sits on that same screened in porch with her big Irish Setter. Sunset approaches and as she sees her two grown grandsons in the distance hauling yet another big round bale out to the pasture. The old, weathered, pinto pony in the corral by the house paws the ground lightly as if giving his stamp of approval.

About The Author:
Rick Reiley …in his own words: “I’ve written a column for the Show and Tell Times in Cushing for 30 odd years, been a songwriter longer than that. I write a music entertainment column for the Corridor magazine based out of Stroud. I recently released my second CD ‘Mud and Bone’- listen to clips at Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes etc. I also co-host the Tuesday Night Music Club here in Cushing and last year proposed a similar project among those brethren (sistren?) – with song- concerning old photos I collect/accumulate. Sad that these lost largely unnamed family photos go voiceless and unclaimed.”

The Imaginary Family Project on Facebook

Authoring For The Imaginary Family Project:
Are you interested in “finding” one of our lost vintage photos by authoring a story?
Please visit this link:
Imaginary Family Project Author Request Form

About The Imaginary Family Project:
The 2011 Imaginary Family Project is a year-long collective art endeavor coordinated by occasional amateur artist Quentin Bomgardner and co-sponsored by The Red Dirt Chronicles.  This project is based around “lost” vintage photographs, which have been acquired at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and eBay – heirloom collections, with no heir.  Every week a different author will “find” one photograph by creating an imagined history around one of its subjects.  At the end of the year, the collection will be compiled and presented as a group.

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