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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
The Collins - Maude E. Cox


Maude E. CoxMAUDE E. COX teaches at Sorghum Ford, close to Ralston, Oklahoma 1908.

The first boy on the right seated is Lee Otis Jones. The boy in the back row with his arm in a sling is possibly Dennis Jones, Lee's brother.

Third grade was all the formal schooling Lee Otis received. The family lived in the country and he had to ride a burro to school. Lee said he would get half way to school and the burro would throw him off. He would simply walk back home and not go to school that day. He suffered the same malady as Bellzona as far as asthma and it was no secret Bell pampered him. There was no treatment for asthma then, and this may have been what bound Bell to the Osages. They knew of herbs and edible plants. They showed her the plants to gather that gave her son relief from his illness throughout his lifetime.

Although, Lee did not have formal education, he had a strange and strong love for learning. When he was a child he gathered and identified all the plants and trees around them. There wasn't a plant he wasn't able to identify and list as to its uses. Just before his death he wanted me to take him in the car in order to show me one of the small trees growing wild so I could learn of its benefits.

How he understood the ecological balance of nature before it was well known is a mystery, unless, of course, the Indians taught him.

Before he died, every day, he sat on the back patio of their apartment so he could enjoy watching a hawk who came daily to hunt in the bare field behind the complex. He loved nature. Anytime a new book on this subject came into the house, he was completely removed from the world around him until he had absorbed it.