Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 
James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning


Memories of Boys Ranch

Robert Hamilton


I do have a lot of memories of Boys Ranch. I was sad to see the old cottages go, but the new places are nice.

My family was split up. My sister went to the Children’s Home and my brother and I went to the Ranch. They said it was because there wasn’t enough room at the Home for all of us.

I can’t remember my first houseparents’ names. I can picture them in the Gensman Cottage. The Jones were my houseparents at Johnson Cottage. It’s kind of funny. After a year or two, they put Russell and me in different buildings for our own good. That created some interesting incidents.

There are a lot of people I can remember only by their faces. The names I remember now are Plummers, Capps, Stevens, and Charles T. Boldin. Even though Mr. Boldin wasn’t a houseparent, his decisions on incidents involving me and only me are still with me today.

I remember once after the Ranch separated my brother and me, a bunch of the boys camped out without approval. There used to be a place we called “The Falls” just east of the Ranch. It is under water now. After a day or two, Mr. Boldin and the houseparent went and got us. Oh, what a deal. They said my brother was the organizer. He has been independent ever since—so much for separating us. I wonder how many times they were watching us when we would slip out and go swimming at night in the ponds?

We used to go once a year and buy clothes for school. Once I got a shirt that was made of wool or cotton. The first and only time I wore it, I put it in the laundry to be washed. That night, I couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere. Then I noticed a shirt the same color and design, but several sizes smaller. We all forgot to read the label. That shirt looked just as good on someone else.

I remember hauling hay, cleaning chickens, the work crews on Saturday, feeding the animals. I raised chickens for show a couple of years. I raised pigs for show, through the Ranch, for FFA at Edmond High School. I went to different County fairs and showed animals. I had some winners and some losers.

Falls Creek each year was a great time. Going with the Ranch was okay, but it was a lot more fun with our church sponsors. Capitol Hill Baptist Church was my sponsor. The church I first attended was the Edmond Church. I remember all of us sitting on the back row. I used to wash dishes at the church for some kind of church dinners. With the money I earned, I bought a necklace for my first girl friend.

The Ranch, or whoever, split up the cottages and sent us to different churches after a while. We went to the Village Baptist Church. Johnson Cottage was still going there when I left the Ranch.

We had a football game once between the Ranch and the Home. We gave those guys a lesson in football. We could out-do them in everything!!!

Having older guys and guys my same age around was a big plus for me. It was like a big family. I can remember faces, but not names. It is kind of nice to have good memories like those. There were a lot of good time and difficult times. But I am grateful.

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