Elsie Lenora Remy Baker
1907 to 1991
" In Remembrance of Mom "
by Dave Baker
Did you know our mother? Let me tell you about her. What a great life. She was born on August 10, 1907 at Sand Creek, Oklahoma. Tucked away in the bowels of the United States in a place that was probably one of the most difficult states to live in. A place her father worked extremely hard to make a home. A part of the country so difficult to survive in that it took the life of her mother when Elsie was still a young girl, under seven years old. It was a place her father would never leave and he would never marry again because his true love was buried there.
After Elsie's father was able to bring his little family of two girls and one boy back together, Elsie only seven years old was a little girl no more. She was thrust into the awesome responsibility of caring for her sister and brother as a mother would. She was a helper to her father in trying to make a home they could enjoy living in. Let me tell you our mother did a magnificent job. She virtually helped this family survive.She raised two very young children and helped one very young man live through an extremely difficult period of time. At a place where her government put wild Indians to live.In spite of all the difficulties this young lady would display the tenacity, the will and the strength to survive. Virtues that would serve her well for the rest of her life. This is the nature of our mother that I have drawn from to help me through a lot of difficult stages in my life.
Did you know that Elsie was swept off her feet by a handsome, flamboyant Indian bachelor? She fell in love and married this wild Indian when she was seventeen years old. This began for her, another but continuing phase in her life. Now she was a wife and to become a mother to her very own children. Twelve of them to be exact. She also had to take care of her husband's family, including a woman who was blind. At this time she had what anyone would consider an impossible responsibility. She had a father, brother and sister still to look out for. She had a husband and future children to care for.And she had her husband's family to help care for. Talk about impossible. Not for this Lady! That word was not even in her vocabulary. From my remembrance, this lady did not let anything get in her way to do the job she set out to do.
Did you know about our mother's married life in Oklahoma? I don't know very much about that period in her life. I do know she had six boys and four girls while she lived there. Later she would have two more boys in California. I don't know what kind of life it was like for our mother then. I can tell from my brothers and sisters that Elsie must have been a very good mother and wife. Can you imagine the responsibilites this lady had. She had to nuture and care for so many people. Thank God for such a woman. If all human beings had ten percent of this lady's character, what a great world we would have.
Our mother's life took another road when she was thirty-six years old. She and Butler brought their whole tribe to California. She kept her whole family intact. They worked on farms and other jobs to survive. Thet eventually bought a little place in Calway, California. Dad helped build a little house there for us to live in. Our mother always worked very diligently to help her family survive. I remember her making a bunch of lazy boys get out into those fields and work. She was the leader. She was dedicated to her principles. When we went to work, she showed us the way. She would not let us play when it was time to work. She gave her very best effort to the people she worked for and taught her children to do the same. This was a very hard working lady. She had a lot of mouths to feed. I remember a story I heard. Our mom would prepare meals the best she could with what little she had for about twelve people. She would get it on the table and then busy herself in the kitchen while everyone was eating. She would wait until everyone was through, then she would clean up the dishes and eat what little if any there was left over. I am sure she did this more than once. This lady was a survivor and taught her children to be survivors too. Mom protected her family like a lioness would protect her cubs. I remember many stories of our mom going after someone because they were trying to do injustice to her family. I remember her standing up to dad when he would get in a cantankerous mood and get out of line. She was tough and tenacious. "I can't" is something I never heard our mother say. I believe those words did not exist in her mind. "I can" is a philosophy our mother lived by. I know this is true by the life she led.
Elsie lost her husband when she was about fifty years young. What a time to be left with four teenagers to raise. Can you imagine the misery she must have been in. Can you imagine the love that must have been needed at that time. One girl and three boys. How does one woman on a meager income care for teenagers. I'll tell you. She worked at many jobs to provide money. She disciplined her children. She kept her faith in God. She was consistent. She paid bills on time. She provided laughter in a dreary situation.(I loved my mom.) She was a friend to many people. Even under the conditions our mother was living in she still gave to others. She gave a portion of her income to her church. She gave food to those in need. She gave love to her family and friends.
Our mother successfully raised an exceptionally fine group of children. She made many friends. She gave of herself in a manner that is not common in every human being. I can imagine when mom walked through those gates in Heaven. There was Dad and Teresa and all those people she loved waiting there to greet her. And there was God saying " Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into thy rest."
I will love you forever mom.
Your son, Dave
I was fortune to meet this lovely lady on one of her trips to Texas to visit my mom and stepdad, Lee and Bill Baker.I wish we had spent time, talking of Butler and the kids growing up. I would have loved to hear about Kinkehee and Rebecca Jane and how she fell in love with their son.
A "Celebration Service" was held for Elsie Lenora on November 20,1991. She was survived by eight sons and four daughters, her brother and sister, thirty-five grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
She will continue to be loved by all.
If you would like like to see Elsie Lenora's ancestors, please use the link below. This information was provided to me by William Kinkehee Baker.
The Baker Family Journal
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