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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
Chilocco - "Lizzie"

"Lizzie"When the owner of this photograph opened the trunk to pull the picture out of its storage place she found it had been shattered. Probably, by the dampness of the basement, the fragile paper and the weight of the things on top of it. Rodney Flood, the author's husband, repaired the photograph via the computer. The photo is included because it does show the differences in her life between the youthful time and this one as a young working woman. It also shows the contrast between Lizzie and her sisters, Annie, Fannie, and Creth. The older girls spoke their language only. They worked in the fields with their father, providing sustenance for their growing families. It is strange to see the pictures of her sisters remain intact while hers was damaged. She worked as hard as they did and certainly at a greater emotional drain as to having to leave her home as a child of five. She had to endure isolation from her family in the strict discipline of boarding schools.

Although she did return to her tribal custom of wearing her hair parted down the middle and pulled back in a bun, here, she has a Gibson girl hair style of the day. The ribbon catching her hair back is soft and attractive. Faintly one can see a strand of pearls around the soft ruffled neckline of the blouse. This picture was probably taken when she was working for the lawyer, A.W. Comstock in Ponca City. It was said she was the first woman to be a notary republic officer in the state, and one of the first to get a divorce. When the lawyer pointed this out to her she said, "Oh well, I'm not concerned it is going to damage my social standing, as to attending any garden parties." She was witty and could make statements like this with no change in expression making the situation all the more hilarious. It will never be known just what she did endure. Lizzie was very close mouthed about her life and if one was not an eye witness, it would not be known if she did or didn't suffer. Her children were her whole reason for living. She was closer to them than most. They were schooled by her as a single parent after her second husband and she was divorced. She moved from her farm home to a small house in town. Because she didn't have money at first for utilities she went to the fire department and received permission to build a small cooking grate on the ground and this is where she cooked their meals. She went to work in a laundry, walking there every day in order to bring in the money she needed to keep the family intact. Each child was working for wages also. Lizzie was early to rise in the mornings and was up before dawn praying for her son who was in the heaviest of battle on the islands during the second world war.

Through wise management of her land and through sales of surplus land she was able to purchase a very fine home in Ponca City, just a couple of blocks from the finest part of the town. She furnished the house very well by making agreement with the merchants to pay, fifty cents a week toward her purchases until her land sales were completed. Weekly she made a daily walk through the town, paying each one of the merchants. Lizzie lived out the last days of her life in this very lovely location. The yard was flanked by spreading Native elm trees whose rich dark green branches dipped to the ground in places. Red roses bloomed off the fence on one side of her lot outside her bedroom window. The honeysuckle growing there along with the flowering hedge lent a fragrance to the backyard pleasing the senses of any who shared a visit. Those tall arrow straight Poplar trees planted along side the silver leaf maple also lined the fence row where the roses grew.

The house itself had been built by a contractor and it was filled with little surprises to make living more pleasurable. The builder seemed to anticipate every whim of the tenant and included some gadget or function to make a pleasant life for the occupant.

The sunroom on the back of the house was one of the very pleasant nooks. It was furnished with a large pink and white flowered chintz fabric covered chair and a small bed. The room served as a guest room. To awaken surrounded by the windows which were just above the edge of the bed was a most pleasant morning with the sounds of the cooing doves and many other birds making their early chirpings.

The aroma of Lizzie cooking breakfast always filtered into the room and gave the person there a sudden desire to arise.

The house set only a long block down from the oil millionaire E.W. Marland's brother-in-law, Sam Collins. This gave the area a feeling of mystery for the children who were only vaguely aware of the era gone by. The wealth and glory days of the oil refinery town lingered in the fine old homes of the neighborhood.



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