When I was thirteen a good man named Jack Boggs entered my life and that of my mothers. They were married for 40 years until dad’s death two years ago. I miss him terribly and mom even more so.
When I first met Jack he drank Budweiser Beer all weekend long, he was a happy drunk. He never yelled or raised a fist to mom or anybody. He spent his money liberally. That year the fair came to town and Jack spent $200.00 on me winning many stuffed animals. I had never experienced that before. Mom was just as surprised, and I treasured those animals until my step-mom made me give them away. Jack was a nice man to me, he set boundaries, and on occasion threaten to spank my butt; but never did.
Jack dad would take us tent camping at Red Rock Canyon and other places. He loved fishing and would go hunting with my brother, Tommy. My sister GayNell was already married at age 16 and divorced at 17; she was pretty wild on life.
I would live part of the year with mom and part of the year with father Earl and step-mom Marie. My grades were good with mom and dad, I was well nourished, clothed properly and a happy child. The opposite of Earl and Marie’s occurred. I was looking at childhood memories and pictures just the other day; on the backs of the pictures were my name, year, and age. When I got to age thirteen, I noticed that I had written in my weight. Little did I know that the picture would encapsulate a life long trend in me. I weighed 103 pounds for my 5′ frame and Marie compared me to a 500 pound woman and friend Albina. Marie said I was well on my way to becoming like Albina. I was compared to my step-sisters and found to be grossly over-weight, that’s when the dieting began for me.
Life was happiness at mom and dad’s home and hell at Earl & Marie’s house. For delicate reasons (taxes) I had to live with Earl for part of the year. It was on a visit that drove me to elope with Robert at age 15 years old. prior to that mom & dad moved around the state of Oklahoma to where the Union Hall IBEW sent him. I stayed in Okmulgee, Weatherford, Warr Acres, and Bethany, OKlahoma for a few months out of the year. I met some really interesting people. Jack never knew a stranger, he was likeable. and able to carry on a conversation with anyone.
When my nephew Tell was born, dad Jack decided to give up the Budweiser for good. And he did. He began going to church with mom and was dedicated to GOD for the rest of his life. The big idea behind Jack Boggs was that he accepted and loved all three of us children. He would stay on the phone with me for all hours of the night when I was pregnant and re-living the past with Earl and Marie. Many nights he would turn the alarm off and go straight to work. When I was pregnant with my daughters the flashbacks were terrible and I was so afraid that Earl would harm my baby girls. Jack laid and listened and tried to calm my fears.
When I think back over the last 40 years, I see that Jack was a big part of my life, he was a dad to me and not a step-dad. And mom took everything in stride. And now dad has gone to be with the Lord until eternity- and I miss him like crazy.