Today and Yesterday
Chilocco Historical Preservation
March 4 has crept upon us
like a stealthy cat who has targeted a bird. This is the day the Historical
Preservation State Society who worked so hard to bring about the putting of
Chilocco Indian School on the list for saving the buildings and will be time
with the five tribes in ownership. These same five tribes who will receive
the benefits are having a celebration. There has been little communication
with anyone involved because we here have been buried in a life and death
fight for Mother who had a severe case of the flu.
“Mother, Mother are you still
with us?” My sister was anxiously inquiring of my 94 year old mother. The
frail little woman was ashen white, breathing with a laborious effort and
just generally seeming to be only steps away from total collapse. The little
car was zipping along but still within the speed limit. The little over
forty mile trip to the hospital at Stillwater, Oklahoma had to be made
without not one stop even from a highway patrolman.
“Mother’s oxygen level is
down to 70. She is very ill, we don’t know from what. She has a pacemaker.”
I informed the person at a round desk who was obviously in charge of
“Oh my! What is her name?”
The girl was focused on the machine in front of her.
“Velma Jones!” I was so
nervous but I could remember my own mother’s name.
“When is her birthday?” The
young woman was outstanding not as a nurse but just as a person. Her long,
softly curled, ash blond hair was caught up from her face by combs. She
could have been a model in a television commercial her skin was so clear and
“Is she Velma Louise
Pensoneau Jones,” the girl read from the monitor in front of her.
“Yes.....yes!” I answered.
Within minutes we were in a
small cubicle where nurses in ranks were around this very ill little Native
American woman. There was a young man who came in and spoke in Mother’s
native language. “Grandmother! I am the second son of Henman. Relax and
don’t worry. Those Ne-Shingahs are all coming. They will take care of you.”
Mother in her state of
distress smiled and asked, “Where’s the first son?”
The Native boy in braids
smiled back and said, “He’s still in university across the street.”
This was the thing to bring a
bit of color back to Mother’s face. After the doctor diagnosed her with
pneumonia and not a heart attack a drip of antibiotics began to bring her
away from that ashen look.
Now something over a week
later the March 4 celebration at Chilocco will be on schedule. I, after
years of work in so many ways would have enjoyed it, without doubt. However,
these people of my family have survived through my sister and my hard work.
Every night when I go to bed I am aware I could wake up with the flu even
though I, somehow or another, have been able to avoid it this far. I crave
nothing more than rest at this time.
It does my heart good to know
a bevy of students will be in attendance tomorrow and that this is probably
just the beginning of restoration for the old campus.. I know the five
tribes are providing a reception for the group. I don’t know if it will be
inside or out in this cold weather but wherever, this will be a good thing.
For my part, I would have slicked up the lobby of old home five with
balloons, space heaters and such but whatever happens will be good and
welcoming to all, I’m sure.
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