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Page 19

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 not hear.

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 around him..

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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