American History Clean Up, Chilocco,
April 23, 2005
A huge thank-you must go out
to the folks who turned out for the Chilocco clean-up day even if our
efforts were like a drop of water in an ocean. The covered patio where we
were to have our pot luck meal is at least twenty-five feet wide by 100 feet
long. My brother, Dennis Michael Jones, brought his power washer on the back
of a truck at 8:30 in the morning. The streams of the powerful jet made
short work of the debris cluttering the cement floor. I can't imagine the
effort to have gone into finishing the floor with the slick texture it has.
The next task had to be the
sweeping of the water off as quickly as possible so that when people began
to arrive no one would slip and fall on the slick surface. Garland Kent's
wife, Lucy, Garland, Charmaine Billie, Grace Klinger helped with that. In
not too long the floor was clean and good enough for any picnic. The large
tables were also hit with the power hose. The total length and breadth of
the patio was too big to comprehend. But with part of it clean and table
clothes spread across the heavy table the place began to take on a pleasant
feel, ready to welcome guests.
Gates to the arch were opened
at ten and folks began to arrive. The coolness of the day was okay. We
weren't so worried with flies, bugs, insects and such and that was good.
The volunteers for the work
on the Historical registering went right to work. Their job was to do
filming and recording of data on the conditions of the buildings, no small
undertaking on a campus of such proportions.
So many thanks must go out to
the people who came. Louise Redcorn from the Tulsa World News was there and
we appreciated her enjoying the day. Louise has been a world traveler.
Seeing Chilocco even in its state of disrepair impressed her.
Dorcas Williams drove in from
Tulsa. Her being there was nice and we enjoyed the positive attitude she
Marlys Thurber came to enjoy
the day and her jovial ways were refreshing. She added to the group with her
love for restoration and her broad knowledge of this field.
Dewey and Eve Wilson was
there by my invitation and I was particular glad to see them. They always
give a gathering “down home class.”
Bret Carter and Heather were
busy going about their work with historic preservation. Such dedication is
so commendable. A big thank you goes to all the volunteers with them. Betty
Durkee from the Kaw tribe was there and that was encouraging. Betty is a
pillar in the work with projects for the community.
Thanks to the Kaw tribe for
having their police cars and officers on duty looking so sharp in their
uniforms and having such helpful personalities.
Ponca City Chamber of
Commerce was represented and that was a pleasure as well.
Ira and Kay Davis Brown drove
in from Minnesota. They must have come the greatest distance. However,
Vincent Billie, Seminole, drove in from Hollywood, Florida. We were so
pleased to see him among the ranks of interested people. From friends of his
we learned the Seminole's bring in 500 million dollars a year revenue from
their gaming. What an ally this could prove to be for the old Chilocco
School, who is tattered and torn and in great need of such a well-heeled
friend. This might put to rest some of the nervousness of area population,
who like us all, worry about taxes, and as well the five tribes who are not
having this sort of revenue.
Anna Eddings from Norman lent
her lovely, gracefulness to our group. Anna is an architectural historian.
She was particularly special since she willingly volunteered to help older
folks carry heavy left over food pots to our cars. What a jewel this clean
looking young lady who possessed beautiful, clear skin, stylish hair-do, and
quiet ways was to us. And this is not to mention her well-known
James and Jeanne Edwards,
Chilocco Alumni president and his wife, were present and accounted for after
their drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They are steady and willing leaders.
Forgive me for leaving out
one of the men who works with Heather in the historical research. His solid
frame of study stature gives a background and feel of support. My leaky
vessel of a brain forgets if I don't write things down. Everything was
moving along so well I didn't have time to write anything down and for this
I apologize. At any rate you all know who you are, those of you who took
time from your busy lives to come and offer support to those of us who
commit our hearts and minds to dreaming of what might be.
My face is beet red from the
sun, we are all tired but it is such a good tired. It was a wonderful day.
May we ever remember the joys of our association with each other. My
grandson Ross, caught his first fish in the Chilocco lake. Was he ever
happy? On the other hand he was furious when his Dad made him put it back in
the lake because it was too small to keep. The moving of my son's R.V. so we
could have a generator to keep our food hot was part of what made the meal
Once again during my lifetime
I drive away from the campus. Strong in my mind are the blooming pink
wisteria and the white bridal wreath in great groups of blooms dripping to
the ground. The rich green of the grass was impressive even though it was
unmown. The deer were scampering across the edge of the campus as if they
wanted to see what the humans were doing today. If some of the older former
students there were “picking up their tracks” while they held far away, long
looking visions of yesterday in their eyes this made all the work
worth-while. They would walk up to me, look out across the campus, smile and
not say a word. No words were needed. I knew their gratitude was that of the
Native American who can communicate so well without speaking.
Today when I say the word
Chilocco my grandchildren will know of what I speak and I am thankful for
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