With high hopes and fingers crossed we left Harrah and went "1 mile east and 2 miles north from the bridge over the North Canadian River." Those are the words that would have been spoken to anyone trying to find the Carpenter Farm back in the day.
On the day we went farm hunting Anna Lilac was 88 years old and it had been 50 years or better since she was back at the home that was built by her parents when she was 2 years old. None of us really expected to be able to find the exact place where the house had been because we assumed it would be long gone. But, driving the old back roads she took us right to - THE FRONT DOOR! As we turned off of the "main" road and up a long dirt side road Anna Lilac exclaimed "That's it! That's the house!" What joy was felt by all in that car cannot be described.
This is the house my father, P.E. “Gene” Carpenter, was born in 86 years and 6 months ago and it was the day before his scheduled memorial service. I was in awe.
|Clay Tipton and Anna Lilac|
As we drove up by the house, but tried to stay a respectful distance away since we were trespassing, I volunteered to go knock on the door. A gentleman answered the door right away and I said "Hi, I'm Shelley Carpenter and my grandparents built this house." The expression on his face was first shock and then he was beaming and said "Come right on in". I explained that we had a car load of folks, main among those Anna Lilac who had been raised in the house and he was thrilled and wanted everyone to come in.
So began our visit with Clay Tipton. Clay has owned/lived/been the care taker of the house and several acres around it for the past 29 years and he absolutely loves it. Clay could not have been a better host.
Other than a small addition that has been added to the back of the house, it was pretty much as Anna Lilac remembered it.
The cellar with the concrete floor where she and dad roller skated was the same (except for the newer furnace). The cellar had been hand dug by Grandpa Carpenter and probably Uncle Ralph. The foundation of the house, on top of the cellar walls, was made of stone quarried on the farm by Grandpa and Ralph. But who actually laid the foundation? Why none other than Gladys Weekes Carpenter, my grandmother and her sister Lilac (Ralph's wife). AND they were both pregnant at the time, Gladys with my dad and Lilac with her son Buddy. Seriously - these women were pioneers and made of some hardy stock.
|The Cellar, showing the hand dug walls topped by|
the foundation laid by Shelley's Grandmother and Great Aunt.
The Family that made this house a home.
Anna Lilac, Gene, Gladys, Pearl, Crystal
Anna Lilac and Gene
Crystal and Anna Lilac
The Original - Crystal Carpenter
The re-creation - Crystal's daughter DeAnn
Gene and the watermelon. Pearl grew lots of watermelons.
The addition that can be seen in the top 2 pictures on this page
was put on by Pearl and Gladys. There is another small addition
at the back of the house that was added later.
The "Hebco" brought electricity to the farm.
Another stucture built by Pearl Eugene Carpenter Sr.
And he hand dug a well which still exists
and still has water in it!
Michaela, Anna Lilac, Cheryl, Shelley, DeAnn
In years past DeAnn and I had talked about trying to find the farm but we just never seemed to find the time when I would be in Oklahoma. Now, we are happy that we never found the time because it was so much more special to be there with our Aunt Anna Lilac and our cousins Cheryl and Michaela.
The old adage of "You can't go home again" just might be wrong.
We are not done with Oklahoma Days yet!