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This is the story of Meka-Thee-Ing-Gay, Little Bright Moon, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Little Cook.   Her first marriage made her Mrs. Narcisse Pensoneau. Her second marriage she was Mrs. Enrique (Henry) Emillio Hernandez.  Lizzie was of one Native American tribe, Ponca. She was born to Esther Broken Jaw and Samuel Little Cook. Sam's Indian name was OO-Hah-Shingah. In 1884, when in the area around Ponca City, Oklahoma his Christian name became Samuel or Sam.

Lizzie's Indian name,  Meka (star)  Thee-Ing-gay, literally translated Stars There Are None, which becomes  "There Are No Stars,"  or "There Is A Bright Moon."

Sam's name was OO-Hah-Shingah:  OO-Hah means Cook and  Shingah is Little. The realities of this name is not known. It could mean he did little cooking, or to the opposite, he was a cook who wasn't very tall which is what the interpreters may have put on him. In a tribal way the cook is treated with respect because they are hard workers who can feed great numbers of people.  They become trusted dividers of the food. Since Sam was of the straight path (Rain) clan, this was a possibility. It is known his daughter's were hard workers because a picture shows them with a mark on their forehead. The white society called this the mark of the chief's daughter, but in actuality, it meant "she has earned this mark by her hard working ways."

Samuel owned a lumber mill and worked as a business man who dressed in suit, white shirt and tie. Therefore, he may have had the money to purchase food in the white man's world. As was the custom, the dividing of food could have earned him his name, "OO-Hah."  This makes more sense to me, knowing the ways of our folks. This is still practiced to some degree among our people.

Lizzie, Sam & Esther's daughter, died September 13, l963,  at Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is buried in the Catholic section of the I.O.O.F. cemetery.

Elizabeth was what would probably be known as someone who was given special favor and mercy during her time. She stepped from one set of circumstances to another which was a completely different lifestyle. Her Native American family became successful in what was a totally strange world for them.

While the Anglo society was pioneering the land around her, "Lizzie" was learning their culture.  She learned very well and was  a secretary in a law office, a court reporter, a notary republic, and an interpreter. She helped to establish an orderly society.

This story is written by her granddaughter, Donna Colleen Jones Flood (Mrs. Rodney Flood). The material has been taken from the many hours spent with Lizzie in the years before her death in 1963. The grandmother shared the information willingly and lovingly with her granddaughter. Grandmother's foresight is shown by her choosing one of her grandchildren who graduated out of Chilocco Indian School and was also a student of journalism.  At the time Lizzie was not sensitive or shy about sharing such intimate information with her granddaughter and this is the way of the Native American. They were not hampered by any morals put upon them by the Victorian society dominating women's values at that time.


I Want a Chintz Covered Chair

Grandmother had a special place in her home where she lingered more and more often as she grew older. The room was small and because of this she used a twin bed that had four slender posts at each corner which saved it from looking plain because of its half size. Only one picture was placed on the wall behind her bed and it was when she was a girl. Her Gibson girl poofed hairstyle and high necked blouse of a soft fabric gave away the year as having been around 1910. A necklace of pearls in their elegant luster was around the neck of the blouse she wore.

Across from the bed was a very old-fashioned dark piece of furniture that had drawers and a mirror inside a small cubby hole cabinet on top of it. Gramma always kept her face powdered so there were continually small flecks of the colored powder on the dark wood.

But the nicest part of the room was the large over-stuffed chair sitting beside a window so a guest could look out across the large pleasant yard where roses, sweet smelling honeysuckle or other flowering vines flourished.

Old shade trees had limbs drooping to the ground in places. The chair was there for the guest because Gramma always was seated on the edge of her bed. She must have preferred this because then it was possible for her to recline on the bed when she was tired. A coziness about this modest little room had been created. The view through the window certainly gave the guest a good feeling, too.

Really, the chair was quite a homely thing of a drab brownish color but some industrious lady had covered it with the most beautiful floral print in a fabric of chintz. The glaze of the fabric with its sheen made the chair look fresh, modern and clean and with the light coming in through the window the piece of furniture became a kind of centerpiece and focal point for what otherwise would have been a drab and plain decor.

This chair held the guest who took time for listening to Gramma as she reminisced over her life and many were the hours I spent with her while I heard the wonderfully strange happenings of her childhood. Maybe there was no picture in my mind at the time of some one or another thing such as button up shoes but later I would see a picture or something in a museum and think of the story my Gramma told me around and about the article.

Iím but ten years away from the her age at the time and I must look for a Chintz fabric and an old overstuffed chair to put beside my window here.The stories Iíve already written and published that Gramma so lovingly told to me. It was at a time when she was surely feeble and even ill, although I did not know it. There was a girl like charm about her and if her skin was less than perfect while she tried to cover splotches of color with the powder that didnít matter to me. I felt it was quiet elegance with a soft manner that was so beautiful and made her seem warm and youthful. Maybe this is where we all first learn of true love; the kind that accepts us just as we are and by learning this we are able to love throughout our life in such a way.

There are those who were too busy for Gramma and that was no crime for them to feel guilty for being involved in more exciting endeavors. Their lives kept them centered on one or another necessary part of living. I donít know if she would have been alone if I had not taken time with her. Someone else might have spent time with her. All I know is that every time I walked into her room the Chintz chair was always vacant and Gramma was seemingly waiting patiently for someone to take their place in it.

Here is a picture of an overstuffed chair similar to Gramma's in a room with a feeling about it, like hers.

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