“This is a time to
remember,” Zona’s mother, Elizabeth Ann Brewer Collins told her husband,
Nathaniel Stewart Collins.
“It does my heart good to
see Bill has found such a good wife. She’s one of the best cooks in the
county.” Today even Elizabeth, the matriarch was dressed for this
occasion. Her long hair once auburn was mostly grey now but she had
twisted it up high on her head in a fashionable way. The dress she wore
was long, to the floor, of a silk looking fabric which was rich enough for
her son’s wedding.
Nathaniel, Zona’s father,
suffered from asthma and he was careful not to get that involved in the
festivities so as not to overtax himself. It wouldn’t be much later when
he rode a bicycle to town so he could pick up a letter from Elizabeth
while she was away on one of her visits to her grown children. The
exertion and dusty roads brought on an asthma attack and he died.
‘True to Elizabeth Ann’s
word, Fanny did become a mother to Bob and Paul Collins. Bob and Paul made
history with their music during the days when electronics allowed them to
record what they played.’
The next day after the
wedding found Zona up as usual at 4:00 a.m. They had to get ready for the
trip back home. She had lunches to prepare and pack, as well as clothes.
And, of course, the goodbyes must be said to her mother, father, brothers
and sisters. There was no whining among these people. They knew what had
to be done and they did it. With this attitude Zona started her day.
She closed the lid of her
fiddle case and paused for a moment and opened it again. The resin stored
in the little bag was there and, on a whim, Zona took it out. As the
little piece was turned over and over in her fingers her thoughts were
that she loved the feel of it. It had its own texture and somehow, it was
“I must ask Brother Bill if
he has any extra,” she thought while she was brushing the white flecks of
it off the dark violin wood. Carefully she put it back into the sack with
a drawstring which had its own small box before placing that at the top of
her violin case.
‘Years later while visiting
a glass factory she bought a piece of that amber glass which was the size
of a small football. The bottom side of it had been sawed off so it could
rest flat on the floor as a weight. For such a long time the glass that
looked like a huge piece of resin rested at the front door to hold it from
being slammed shut by the prairie winds. Her granddaughter, who had
inherited the home, kept it there and then, I, the author and her
granddaughter, save it here beside my computer at this door so the wind on
my hill house doesn’t blow the door, shut. For Zona the piece of glass
that looked like a huge piece of amber electrum which held a small charge
of electricity was, something like those that washed up on the shores of
the ocean in Prussia. It symbolized the love she had for music, her
brother and her family. Today, the glass is nothing more than a door stop
and weight that no one knows about or appreciates, except for me.’
“Are you getting ready to
leave?” Leatha, actually Aletha Artemis, Zona’s sister, came by just then
and poked her head through the doorway.
“It will be soon, I
expect,” Zona told her.
To my reader: Let us take
advantage of the freedom to flash forward to the year of 1943, September
19, for reading the obituary for the funeral of William Matthew Collins,
held at Stratford, Oklahoma in the Methodist Church with Pastor H.D.
Ragland, officiating. The nine children surviving were listed as: Mrs Hugh
Callen (Juanita), Paul Collins, Mrs. Tom Burleson (Thelma Collins), Silas
Collins, Jr. Collins of Stratford, Mrs. Noel Watson, (Bonnie), Mrs.
Douglas Griffin (Bernice) and Mrs. Cecil Klutts, (Maxine) of Stratford.
Bill Collins homesteaded in
Oklahoma in 1904. He settled then in Tyron, Texas Country. In 1927 he sold
out there at Tyron and went to Stilwell, Oklahoma where he lived until he
moved to Stratford, Oklahoma where he lived until his death.
Bill Collins had a love of
music and his home was a place of music making for his family and his
friends. He was at one time champion of the state of Oklahoma as the best
old time fiddler. He also was a watch maker and a farmer.
He was survived by his wife
Mary Frances (Fanny) and his three sisters: Mrs. Joseph H. Jones (Nancy
Bellzona) Foraker, Mrs. Nathaniel Hobson (Leatha) of Ralston and Mrs.
Elijah (Lidge) Dunlop (Parilee) of Tahlequah. The Dunn funeral home has
charge of the body which was interred in McGee Cemetery, Stratford. ‘Mrs.
James Griffith (Margaret) was not mentioned.
Pallbearers were: Sam
Eldridge, Charles Perry, Fran Grifin, Charles Adams, Arch Thompson and
End of obituary.
Zona stored this newspaper
clipping beside her brother’s wedding announcement, in her tin box with a
lid on it.