Lizzie had not heard from
Narcisse for these years. Now, it was like she was to receive adeluge of
letters. They came first from him and then from his family.. He begged her
not to go through with the divorce. He pleaded with her not to take his
children away from him. If she must have a divorce then wouldn't she
consider letting him take his son to raise. Lizzie carefully read the
letters, refolded them and tucked them away with other papers to be put
away. When she went to town to make a payment to Mr. Comstock, she was
surprised by the information he revealed to her.
"Elizabeth, I must tell
you, Narcisse has been into my office. He has discovered your plans to
marry Hernandez and he is very much upset. He threatens to fight us in
court over custody of your children."
"Lizzie, seemed to stop
breathing with the shock of the news. These were the days before no
default divorce in Oklahoma. Narcisse, according to law, had a legal
position. He could have brought the issue of Lizzie's association with
Henry before she and Narcisse were legally divorced. This would have cast
a shadow on the mother's reputation making it possible for the court to
call her unfit as a mother.In this way she might have to turn her
children over to their father.These were the laws in the early
1900's. Lizzie knew this.
"Mr. Comstock, I cannot
believe what you are telling me. Why? Why would he go to all this trouble,
after he has been gone all this time, and without a word."
The marriage was ended
though. There was no real strong effort made by Narcisse to stop it. .
Some letter writing continued, but that was all. He did tell Lizzie he
would like to raise his own son. Of course, these requests Lizzie would
The Spanish-Aztec man had
stepped into her life at a time when she needed him and she was content to
accept the love he had to offer .Lizzie moved into a marriage with a man
who was totally Latin. He was as opposite from her as any person could be.
He was quick thinking, quick acting, and schooled in good manners.
The Andalucian Flamenco was
danced to the strumming of a classical guitars. Traditional Spanish songs
liltingly executed were totally opposite from the steady beat of the
tom-tom. Indeed, Enrique Emillio Hernandez and Meka-Thee-ing-gay,
Elizebeth, Little Cook, Pensoneau, Hernandez were like day and night.
However, Henry's customs now became a part of Lizzie's life and she
enjoyed watching her children learning the lovely Mexican music. They were
worlds apart, this was true, but then, what of her life had been like
anyone else's. She felt no remorse in marrying this charming eloquent
man. She took delight in all the small ways to distinguishing him.
She watched him seal the
letter to his family in Mexico. He dropped hot wax on the back of the
envelope. Into that wax he pressed his signature ring. She didn't fully
understand the implications of the act but she did appreciate it as rare.
The return letters from Mexico in the same flowing Spanish penmanship he.
received and they had the same stamp upon them. Quietly she reached for
his hand, folded the gentle long tapering fingers between her own and told
him, "Henry, so much about you is truly delightful."
Lizzie loved her husband,
Henry, who really was her Prince in so many ways. His Catholic belief gave
him a reverence for life she respected. Narcisse had been a hard working
person with rough and tumble ways, and even though Lizzie had known he was
basically a good person, it was hard for her to accept some of his habits
he had picked up from the intermingling with different cronies. These
various relationships came as far as his work and recreation was
concerned. Today, one would say, they partied together.
Lizzie appreciated the
depth of Henry's commitment to their home and family. The wisdom of the
Spanish man Lizzie was glad to have. He knew about farming, something
Narcisse could not enjoy. Somewhere, before in Henry's life he had been
exposed to people who were excellent farmers. The many things he knew
about growing things would surprise and sometimes, mystify the people
This year was the test as
far as Henry was concerned because the dry weather settled on the land
with a hot claw like hand squeezing the plants and people until they could
both be brought to a weathered existence, .trying the staying power of
the people. Lizzie and her children were faced with living through the hot
dry days while Henry worked and looked for work away from their own dry,
parched land. The water they had to bath with was sparse. Of more
importance than cleanliness was to have drinking water.
Lizzie couldn't be
sidetracked in her goals of keeping clean. She used the same water for all
their baths, starting with the bathing of the babies first, going through
the family and finally to herself. There was one wash basin of water used
all through the day for the washing of their hands. Water was not to be
wasted in any way. Towards the end of the day after the dust of the winds
settled many evenings found Lizzie walking toward the sand bar of the
close by river where she sat with her feet in the water while her children
played themselves clean in the low slow moving waters of the river. This
was an easier time of the day for them. Earlier, during the day, she kept
them all together with her on the poster bed. Over the posters of the bed
she draped sheets wrung out and moist to catch the ever blowing dust. This
way they stayed until the wicked dust filled winds decided to subside
enough so they could at least breath air not filled with the silty dust
Upon returning home, Henry
.was the one to encourage Lizzie. These were the times to soon pass he
would tell her. Encouraging her he reminded his wife of how most of the
time the weather in Oklahoma was pleasant and this was to last only a
short duration. He reassured her, telling her of the very hot and
uncomfortable climate where he lived in Mexico before coming to this land.
Oklahoma's "dust bowl," did
end. Once more they were able to begin their work and look to the future.
One wishes Lizzie's story
had a happy ending. It is true she lived out her life in a beautiful home
she purchased from land sales. She saw her children around her up until
her death and she enjoyed many grandchildren as well.
But, today in the Month of
October, the twenty-first, 2003 Lizzie's great granddaughter, Elizebeth
Cookie, Pensoneau died from having been in a tragic car accident. Cookie
was thirty and she leaves two young children. These are sad days for our
family. To this young mother who had to leave us before she had a chance
to live her life through I dedicate this material.
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