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Donna's Journal
January 16, 2004

Yesterday Mother was ninety-one. She made the statement, “I was born over behind Aunt Creth's house in the timber edging their farm land. They had a teepee up there and that was where Mother was staying. She wanted to be near Gramma DeLodge who was a midwife for the tribe. I was born around three o'clock in the morning.”

“Not too many people were born in a tee-pee,” I was thinking.

Mother reminisced about the changes in the Ponca tribe. “In my youth the leaders were the elder men of the clans.  That was then and now is now. Today the tribe is more like a business than a tribe. There is the bingo hall, the health clinic, and the housing. I know other tribes have more industry but for now, these are the sum total of our “businesses as far as I know. Of course, the funding for education, personal emergencies and so on is part of it too.”

Some of the things my  Mother enjoys are socializing, sewing, expensive cologne, nice clothes, her own car which is now a Buick. She enjoys her children and grandchildren.   Velma  had a job until she was way over eighty and says now, “I want to get to feeling better so I can go back to work.”

Social activities” These were the meat in my mother's sandwich. There was never a time when she wasn't planning some event. Some events I remember from childhood. 1. Dances for way out places in gymnasiums where whole families brought their food and bedding for the children to sleep under the benches against the wall while the parents danced  2. Private parties at the ranch home 3. Indian hand games. 4. All the pow-wow entertainment regarding cooking for visitors on the campground. 5. In fact anytime there was a  need to provide all the arrangements around meetings and group association she easily organized this.

Sewing: I personally believe my mother's sewing of the garments for regalia of the many stunning creations helped keep traditions alive. The blending of colors in intricate ribbon work designs she sewed for maidens as well as matrons caused the women to look their best. This while in contest  when  enjoying an evening or afternoon of dancing. She sewed men's regalia as well. The beautifully styled men's shirts, leggins, or neck scarves were equally as attractive as the women's dress.

Cars: All the years Velma worked she was always sure to keep a nice looking car.  When she was around sixty her dark wine colored Mustang was a thing of beauty. Once they owned a flashy Buick my father enjoyed so much. One year I went with her while she drove a brand new bright red sports car while her's was in the garage for repairs. This was the year we visited all the graves of her family. It took all day. There we were in our blinding red car while she took time to put a flower and weep a few tears over each grave.

There were years when she was struggling to see her children through different crisis situations but somehow she always managed to keep a bottle of expensive classy perfume.

Mother was never a clothes horse but she always managed to have a few very nice new dresses of a quality cut. When I was younger I easily wore them as they were passed down. My friends all thought it was my good taste and choice.

When Dad passed away in 1986 I can't remember exactly the number of great-grandchildren but it seems there were twenty-two grandchildren. There are many more by now. She was always sensitive to each one's needs. Even Dad's grandchildren from his first wife came to her when they needed help.  She was willing and able to be there for them.  Never did she fail them.

When I was in high school Mother worked double shifts back to back, sixteen hours a day, cooking in a restaurant. She went to school at Oklahoma University and then went to work for Oklahoma for Indian's Opportunity where she worked as a social worker. The work she did for them was of a broad spectrum. Just a couple years ago she was recognized at a meeting attended by national leaders.

Her love and steady pushing of her family has been an experience for each one of us. I'm sure all would  have different memories to add.

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