stories from the book
by James V. Browning
A Grateful Heart
Rachael (Capps) Blevins
I was born one of 11 children—six boys and five girls. My parents, Luther and Geneva Capps, named me Rachael Mae.
On October 11, 1941, I was born down by Sallisaw Creek near Sallisaw. My dad was a farmer. It was very tough to make enough money to raise a large family. We were very poor.
I do not have many memories of my early life, but I do remember moving into a log cabin my dad built himself. It had no floors. I am not even sure how long we lived there.
Eventually, we left Sallisaw and moved to Foss, a small farming community in western Oklahoma. Our family chopped and pulled cotton to help with the living expenses. I recall Dad making 60 cents an hour. Our school always closed during these times and after harvest, would re-open.
In 1955, my mom died during childbirth. My dad was left with nine children to raise. One brother died at childbirth and my sister, born when Mom died, went to live with my dad’s parents in Arkansas. Dad tried to take care of us, but it was too much for him. He went to our school and talked to the Superintendent, Mrs. Harrison. She went to see a judge in Cordell. When it had all been settled, they believed the best place for us was the Baptist Children’s Home in Oklahoma City. Eight of us went to live there in the summer of 1956.
It has been 41 years since that day, but I will always remember my first impression of the Children’s Home. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen—inside and outside. It was so well kept.
I lived in the Potter Cottage the first four years I was there. I was a freshman in high school. Lola, my sister, was my roommate. We were a good support system for each other. I loved living there from the very beginning. We had a wonderful place to live, great food to eat, excellent health care and above all else, lots of love and care.
Mrs. Huffman was my houseparent. She was a very unselfish person. She made me beautiful clothes to wear, helped me with my algebra and nursed me back to health when I was sick. She was also fair and consistent in her discipline. I experienced God’s love through her! She did the same for all the other girls in my building.
Another role model was Mr. Browning. He was always there for support, encouragement, advice, wisdom and love. Even today, we are really close and keep in contact with each other.
Miss Mildred was another very special lady who gave me much love and support. I was given everything I needed to be happy and successful.
I went to John Marshall High School where I was allowed to participate in sports. I was a good athlete and being good in athletics gave me some much-needed self esteem. Even though participating in sports put an extra burden on the Home because I had to have transportation to and from games and practices, they saw the need and allowed me to participate.
I graduated from high school in 1960 with honors and was name the Outstanding Female Athlete. I was state champion in badminton three years and I was selected to the All-City Basketball team in Oklahoma City. I was accepted into Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, where I graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education. My first teaching assignment was working for the Tulsa Public Schools as an elementary physical education teacher. Thirty-three years later, I am still working with children. I have taught kindergarten through twelfth grade. I have been a librarian, and at the present time, am a counselor for K-6th grade in Sedan, Kansas. My husband, George, is the Superintendent of Sedan Schools. We live on a very small ranch and raise Angus cattle. We have two daughters, two sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.
Of course, I know now as an adult, that God Himself was engineering each part of my life. I can see how He worked it out according to His divine will and purpose. Looking back, the very best thing that ever happened to me, besides knowing Christ, was being placed in the Children’s Home. There, I was able to get an education with all expenses paid. Most of all, I learned about Christ and His unconditional love for me.
I am really grateful to all Oklahoma Baptists who gave so generously so that young children like myself could become successful, for I have lived a rich and successful life.
May God richly bless each heart that has made this all possible for children today. May your reward be great in Heaven!