Over the years I have had
many friends who have been beacons of understanding and helpfulness. To
these, and you know who you are, I wish to say, thank you. So many times,
a note, a call, an email message or some expression of caring has been
extended to me from a friend and it has been the comfort to carry me
through the darkest of times. My truest friend, was my mother, who never
left my side as I cared for my disabled daughter.
Velma’s time with Oklahoma
for Indians Opportunity was not totally different from having to work for
a salary all her life. The only difference was that the office was in her
home and that gave equal time with her family which she had not been able
to enjoy before. This was late in life, but nevertheless, brought a
delight of shared family experiences there in the old house, that had
belonged to her mother.
We lived in her rental
house at the back of the property. The house was very small but the joy of
family and the lovely yard made up for the small size. Rodney, my husband,
enlarged the space to take in what had been an attached garage which gave
us a second bedroom. It was a little like camping out but there was no
rent. We enjoyed meals mostly in Velma and Lee’s house which was little
different than the way we had always lived. Mother and Dad always had to
work on public jobs so this left me at home to pick up the necessary
cooking and seeing after brothers and sisters. My husband, Rodney, came
from a small family and he enjoyed the association with our larger family.
Rhonda intense therapy was my job.
Ura May, of the Osage told
me she did not want me to live where we had grown up on the cold, wind
blown space of the prairie. I felt guilty over the loss of the beautiful
home place for many years as it gradually tumbled down. I am at peace in
my remembrance of my cousin-sister’s love for me. She was wise. The Osage
tribe has replaced that home with what we have now. Velma visits daily and
I, along with Rhonda, my disabled daughter, my husband, Rodney, live in
this place closer to town and the Ponca tribe. Not to use the word,
“proud” rather we are thankful for our Native American heritage and for
Velma, of the Poncas. Her work to preserve the disciplines involved we
have noted. I raised my son, and other daughter here and have enjoyed my
grandchildren while their parents exercised extended education.