Foy and Odela, the Story Continues

So, today, my parents are celebrating their 82nd wedding anniversary in heaven, I know without a doubt there will be coconut cake, as that was my dad’s favorite.
They were married January 13, 1934, during a time in America that was bleak and chances of success were seemingly nonexistent. They beat the odds, they worked together for a good life for themselves and their children. They didn’t attribute any of their success to luck, they attributed it to God and hard work.
I know on this day, in the past, I have told their courtship story and how they came to be a couple, but today I’d like to tell about their journey across the United States during the Great Depression to find work and keep their family together.
After they were married and after they had two children, Foy and Odela had a conversation about the future welfare of their growing family. There was no work in Oklahoma and it was the dust bowl of America at the time. Crops were not growing, there was no work, Foy knew there was work in California, so they packed their family up in the old Model T Ford and started their journey.
It wasn’t a straight shot, it didn’t take several days, it took months, as they worked their way across the nation towards a better life. You see when Foy and Odela started the journey, they had no money for gas or food, so they had to work their way towards the future.
They found farms along the way that needed migrant workers to help bring the crops in. Foy and Odela picked cotton, they picked tomatoes, they picked green beans, they picked anything they could to make the money for their next leg of the journey.
Their car broke down in New Mexico, there they were, on a dirt road, knowing no one, with a toddler and a baby. There were no cell phones in those days, not even phone booths on every corner, and it wasn’t a well-traveled road.
Foy flagged down the first car he saw, it was filled with other migrant workers, ones that did not speak English. But by hand gestures and the looks of panic on Foy and Odelas’ faces let the family in the other car know something was wrong. The man took a look at the engine and somehow conveyed he knew someone who could fix it, however, night was coming and it could not be fixed in the dark.
The other family gestured that Foy and Odela should ride with them to their house, the family was very literally dirt poor. Odela would later recount how the floor was dirt, but the house was somehow clean, the family shared what food they had with them and made sure they were comfortable for the night.
The next morning, true to his word, the man went to get the mechanic and they fixed the car, gave Foy and Odela some food from their meager supply and sent them on their way.
Odela later said it was the first time she had ever encountered people who were different from her and God taught her a valuable lesson. All people, everywhere, just want to provide for their family and make sure their children have better opportunities than they had. She would say that day she had been humbled in the presence of grace and generosity.
They finally made it to California where my dad worked in a gold mine, my parents painted houses, had another baby and then my dad landed the job at McDonald Douglas, which after a few years allowed him to transfer back to Oklahoma, where they landed in Owasso.

2 Replies to “Foy and Odela, the Story Continues”

  1. Love these stories. They were the sweetest people and meant so much to me and my family. I have many fond memories of the many things they taught me.


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