The Wildwood Years

1408ne52.jpg (32716 bytes)In 1958 we built a new home on a nice wooded lot in Wildwood on 52nd. I designed the house myself. Ed, Dana and Pat had their own bedrooms while Jon and Kent shared a bedroom. They were all downstairs. We also had a bedroom for Mother Dorr upstairs. She would visit us each summer and at every meal she would make biscuits. We moved to the house in November. The next year we added a swimming pool because some contractor owed Dorr money. Up to this point we had always driven out to Twin Hills Country Club for the kids to go swimming. The move did not affect Ed or Dana, since they were already in high school. Pat, Jon, and Kent ended up at Millwood.

In August, 1959 we all went to Colorado for a vacation except for Ed who went to visit Don and Lemmah Perry.

The same year we moved my parents from Perry to Oklahoma City to a house on NW 24th. Mother fell and broke her hip and my father would wonder off and get lost. We had to put him in a nursing home. We found a lady named Mrs. Taylor to stay with my mother. Mrs. Taylor was the only person who could control my mother. My father died in March, 1963. Mother died in March, 1968.

The next year (1960) we took our first major overseas trip, a Chrysler trip with five days in Paris and five days in Rome. I had been an art major in school and just to be able to see all the art work that I had studied was overwhelming. As a child I had an intense interest in maps and geography. Even after I was grown I would dream of far away places I would love to see, but really never expected to. Over the next few years we were fortunate to go on more Chrysler trips, all of these were first class all the way. Most of the time we went with Carter and Joan, his partner. Some of the trips included Miami Beach, Majorca, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens, Naples, Pompeii, Venice, London and more. With five children at home this was amazing. I still marvel how we ever got out of town. (Believe me, it was not nearly as easy to go to Tulsa.)

In 1961 Dorr suffered mental exhaustion one summer and had 7 shock treatments  A week before Christmas Dorr came home and said he was going to Las Vegas and wanted to know if I wanted to go. I was not about to let him go without me.  We went to Las Vegas then we went on to LA because Dorr wanted to go to Disneyland. I felt so guilty about going to Disneyland without the kids that I just sat down on the curb and told Dorr I would wait for him. I did go in after he promised to take the kids the following year. So the next year (1962) the whole family went to Las Vegas and then to Disneyland. We took a helicopter from the airport to Disneyland. We flew out and returned on the train, stopping at the Grand Canyon.

We had quite a responsibility with three aging parents plus our children. I really wanted to be a good wife, mother and daughter. I nearly killed myself trying too hard. In March, 1963 I spent a month in the hospital recovering physically and mentally from a severe lung infection. The second day in the hospital my father died. It was truly a blessing; he was in terrible condition. I loved my father so deeply. The doctor was afraid this would throw me into a mental depression, but it did not. I picked up a book a few days later, Catherine Marshall’s "To Live Again" which spoke to me personally. I felt I was close to the kingdom of God, and yet when I came home I let someone else’s attitude cause a resentment inside me that blocked me receiving from our Lord.

1964 seemed to be a busy year. Ed graduated from OSU, Dana had a summer job in Seattle at the Swedish Tumor Institute and Pat went on a Presbyterian bus tour.

UncleDon.JPG (9717 bytes)I suffered a traumatic experience in the unexpected death of my brother Don in June, 1964. Before dying he tried desperately to tell me something and I just could not understand him. I prayed so hard that I would not break down and could be a help to his wife. I kept saying, "Lord, please don’t let me cry." After I was back home, the grief that I had not let out got the best of me. It was the fourth of July and all the boys were there along with their friends. I would cook some food, then take a sleeping pill, then fix another meal, then take another pill. I blacked out as I leaned over to kiss Dorr who was in the lounge chair reading. As I straightened up, I blacked out and fell backward, dead weight against a sharp corner, splitting the back of my head. It was several hours later before I regained consciousness in the hospital. Before I regained consciousness, I saw my father and my brother very clearly, sitting on a simple bench looking very natural and peaceful. I only remember noticing their faces and the bench. They were looking at me with so much love and compassion. They were shaking their heads saying, "This is just not the way." Then I awakened.

In 1965 Pat graduated from Northeast and Dana graduated from OSU. That summer Ed and Pat went to the World's Fair in New York and then Pat left New York on a YMCA trip to Europe and a conference at Moinou. In the fall we took Jon and Kent on a cruise. On talent night Jon gave his impression of Crazy Guggenheim.The boys loved the Italian waiter and wanted to bring him home with us.

Sailboat.JPG (23658 bytes)One day Dorr came home with a small styrofoam sailboat approximately ten feet long. The boat had been used in some type of advertising display, filled with paint or something. He applied epoxy to give it strength. We would go up around Guthrie to some small lakes (ponds?) so he could sail his boat. In 1964 he bought a 19-foot centerboard boat, which meant you had to climb over the centerboard every time he tacked. I did not like climbing over the centerboard so the next year he bought a 21-foot keelboat that he kept at the Oklahoma City Boat Club on Lake Hefner. He loved to go sailing and would take anyone that would go with him. Sailing was not something I enjoyed, so I seldom went. I think Dana went with him the most and they would go to regattas around the state. He was the commodoreDad'sSailboat.jpg (7801 bytes) of the Boat Club sometime in the 80’s. After the kids left home he did not sail that much and finally sold it to Ed.

In January of 1966 Dana went into Army basic training and finished  OCS in December, then went to Germany. In August Dorr, Pat, Jon, Kent and I went to Memphis to hear the Beetles. The next day we flew to Washington DC and visited all of the surrounding area. Later that year Dorr and I went to Mexico City and Acapulco and caught the sailfish that we had on the wall of the playroom.

Another special blessing involving a trip was while our second son was in the army in Germany. My mother had just died in March of 1968 after months of agonizing care, and I was so lonesome to see Dana. He had fallen in love with a little German girl and had become engaged to her. Being a mother, I could hardly wait to know her.

My husband let Kent, our youngest (who was then thirteen), and me go to visit Mike and to meet Anna-Marie. The other boys were working. This was the first time I had the opportunity to enjoy just one of our children alone since Ed had been a baby. Kent was full of ideas and energy. We bought a book, “Europe on $5 a day” and flew to Copenhagen, then on to Germany. It was really an adventure. No advance reservations; yes, we really used our book. Every other trip I had taken was very carefully planned and escorted. Dana took us around Germany for ten days. We loved Anne Marie, his girl.

Dad&Sydney.JPG (12689 bytes)At home we had a St. Bernard dog, so after leaving Germany Kent and I went to Switzerland and rode a postal bus up to Great St. Bernard Pass to get our dog Sidney a key to wear on her neck and to see the dogs there.

And our Lord was watching all the time. We were running low on money, and when we stopped in Paris on our way home, we decided we would go into a bank and asked to cash a personal check for $100. We had no real references and we were leaving the next morning so they had no time to check our bank. The fellow sat and looked at us a few minutes (I think in complete disbelief) and then he cashed our check. My husband and certain banking friends just can’t believe this. But there’s more.

We were flying to Chicago. Ed, who by this time was getting his master’s degree in Computer Science at Purdue, was to meet us and we were going to spend the night with him at Lafayette, then fly home the next day. Just before the plane landed in Chicago, Kent began to get a bad stomachache. He had an emergency appendectomy in Lafayette the next morning. What if that had happened in Paris or flying over the Atlantic? Anyway, we had some money. Praise the Lord!

On January20,1969 Pat and Kathy were married in Oklahoma City. It was a very happy wedding.   They moved into student housing and continued their education. Also Dana married Anna-Marie Becket in May in Wurzburg, Germany. Dorr and I went to the wedding. We flew to Luxembourg, took a train to Tititsee, then went to Wurzburg. Anna-Marie came at Thanksgiving and Dana started school at OU.

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