Early Years in OKC

After Dorr completed all the books of pictures, he took a job with C. H. Guernsey & Co., a local engineering firm. Dorr rented a room and I would go down to Oklahoma City on the weekends to look for a house. He was supposed to be designing sewage plants which he did not know about and he left after several months and took a job with OG&E. 2401ne27th.jpg (57873 bytes)We bought a little two bedroom home in a new residential section called North Creston Hills. We joined the little neighborhood Presbyterian Church. My first church - I was delighted. We had a church! And I loved it. We didn’t always go to Sunday School although we took the boys. The houses were small two bedroom homes, but the neighborhood was great for raising kids. Next door to us were Red and Esther Ellis who had a son, also named Mike. Bert and Helenita Wagner lived across the street with their children, Jay and Patty. All the kids loved to play with Bert. When it snowed he would pull the kids on a large sled with his car. He later became the office manager for Dorr at Comfort, Inc. There were a number of other kids in the neighborhood. Back then we did not worry about things like we do now and the kids would stay out at night playing games like run sheep run and hide and seek. We had a television the day that the first station came on the air. This was the only television in the neighborhood and in the evening there would be a number of kids lined up on the steps going down to the kids’ room watching TV. Also we had the first room air conditioner in the neighborhood. It came from an army surplus sail.

A year later we had another little son , Nini,Mimi&Pat.jpg (71054 bytes)Patrick B., a little baby this time. We just knew that this was going to be our little girl, but Patricia became Pat. I was baptized again, in consciousness this time, along with my little sons. This was a noisy time. It was also good for our injured son. Eddie Max did not talk or walk until he was four. He could only walk a short distance without falling so we would put a football helmet on him for protection and let him go. We all learned from him.

motorscooter2.jpg (11275 bytes)Buying a car after the war was almost an impossibility. We had sold our other car when Dorr went into the service in case I would need the money. Dorr had bought a motor scooter with a large box in front where I would get in with Ed and Mike. He rode to work with a friend who lived a block from us. Our first car was a little Austin Healey. When Pat was born he made so many trips down NE 23rd to the hospital and then back to check on the boys. This car stood out and he was once stopped by the police, who thought he must be running booze.

I took Ed to the Crippled Children’s Hospital twice a week for thirty minutes of physical therapy and thirty minutes of speech therapy. I would put Ed in the stroller, carry Pat (the baby), and Mike would hold on to the diaper bag. We would walk five long blocks to catch a city bus. Then we would have to transfer once or walk two long blocks to the hospital. While they were working with Ed, I would feed Pat while Mike would look at books or color. Thank goodness in bad weather a neighbor offered to care for Mike and Pat.

By the way, we even had a fourth and fifth son over the next few years. Jon Real arrived.  He weighed 10½ pounds and he took 10 ½ months to get here. He turned out to be our character. The Lord was toughening me up for battle. Our last son, Kent Anthony, arrived 2½ years later; unusually beautiful; the doctor said perfect. We were really blessed that morning. The two hours Dorr and I spent together just before Kent was born was one of the most precious times my husband and I ever shared together, and the closest the two of us have knowingly shared with the Lord.

I had thought I wanted to be an art teacher, but I knew now I was needed at home. I was happy having our children; I loved and enjoyed them. I wanted so much to be a good wife and mother. I worked so hard at it. When things didn’t go as I thought they should I was sure it was a terrible mistake. So I spent a lot of time and energy fighting my circumstances.

I loved our little church where we were members. It was such a CrestonHillsPresbyChurch.jpg (152909 bytes)warm, caring church, where each of us knew one another and really wanted to share each other’s problems and joys. We recognized God’s grace in our lives, but we were missing the relationship with Him. In fact I do not believe I had known this was possible. Anyway we were missing it and sad to say going to church each Sunday wasn’t helping it. Now I believe the Lord cares more about relationships than almost anything; first with Him, and then with one another. Prayer back then had been a hurried call for help. In-between times I said thank you when I remembered. We tried so hard to stay on top of everything, not knowing it is impossible and certainly exhausting. We thought that if we worked hard and tried to show God we were good guys, someday we could just relax and not have any big problems. We just did not understand the life or the Gospel.

My husband was a very ambitious, quick thinking, energetic person. Since he was so poor as a child and was starting out with nothing, he wanted very much to be a success. And success to him then meant money, a business of his own, a nice house, at least two bathrooms, vacations, etc. Besides his regular job as an engineer, he always had two or three sideline businesses going. He was even an elder in the church. It was hard for him, even though he loved the boys, to understand how to be a father, since he never had one. He did not understand that besides being a material provider, that in God’s order, he, my husband, was to be the authority and spiritual teacher to his family. I guess I didn’t understand this either. But then we really didn’t have Christ as the head and center of our home either, did we? Anyway, the boys were sort of dumped into my lap, my responsibility. I had no choice. I believe now, sincerely, that this is the reason for so many problems in our families; that we are not following God’s rule of authority in our homes. Christ as head, then the father, then the wife and mother. I believe we as woman can help to keep this order. We must learn to listen closely because I believe God speaks to us through our husbands many times, even when he is not aware of it, and even though we may feel that he is not as close to our Lord as we are.

The days were very full! The boys were active and noisy. I became quite skilled in making butterfly bandages. I had Cub Scouts running out of my ears for years. I was den mother so many times I wanted to hibernate (and I should have). There was baseball, basketball, football, tennis, organ lessons, drum lessons, yes, and church. Does this sound familiar to anyone? We had two tonsillectomies, four hernia operations, broken bones, pulled ligaments, two operations for me and psychiatric help for my husband and myself. A broken hip, arthritis and other serious problems for three aging parents. I guess these were all to let us realize that we weren’t running the show, even though we thought we were. The days and nights were busy, busy, busy. We were happy most of the time, but there never seemed time for the peace, joy and contentment that I began to hear about. Several times over the years I would be completely overwhelmed by a feeling that I was completely missing the boat. But something would distract me and I would forget.

I would have loved being part of a Bible study, but there just didn’t seem to be time. Then out of the blue I was asked to give a talk about John’s gospel for a special Women’s Presbytery meeting at our church. I had never been to these meetings before and it was hard for me to get away from home. I declined the invitation as courteously as I knew how, but they would not accept my no. I knew after I had studied, written out my notes and stumbled through the meeting that I had touched something awesome. (I didn’t know it was Someone who had touched me.) I loved the book of John. I couldn’t throw my notes away, so I tucked them away and saved them. I had been utterly fascinated as I studied. It seemed the words “God is love” just wouldn’t leave me.

When the phrase “Let go and let God” became somewhat popular I even painted it in script in a soft orange color over the inside of our back door. I liked the way it sounded and looked, yet I was still missing Him!

Over the years Dorr enlarged the house, doing most of the work himself. First he converted the garage into a bedroom for Ed and Dana. He then added a large family room to the back of the house and built a double car garage.

dorrboysicecream.jpg (124774 bytes)Dorr set up Ed and Dana in the business of selling ice cream when they were about seven. He built them an insulated pushcart and we had a freezer in the playroom to store the ice cream. We had a very nice ice cream man before the kids started and he quietly disappeared. The one trouble was the boys would get into fights and leave the ice cream cart unattended. I would have to go out and find where they left the cart, ice cream and money. Luckily it was a rather small area that they covered.

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