Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning

Grateful to God and Baptists

Darlene Springer

My mother divorced my father when my twin sister and I were 2½ years old. We had a younger sister too. My mother re-married quickly. My step-father resented we three children. He learned to accept our baby sister but was always extremely strict on my twin and I. Spankings were severe and his brother abused us. We were often left with different people for days and sometimes a week before mother would return for us. Our home was like a pig pen.

One day we were surprised by a man from the Baptist Children’s Home. Mr. Browning talked to us, showed us pictures of the Home and we three went to the Home to live on August 30, 1957. As eleven year old girls, my sister and I thought it was one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen. Our room, shared with two other girls, was beautiful. We had our own bed, clothes closet, chest of drawers and even our own inside bathroom. The food was great and we always had enough to eat. It seemed that we had gone from one extreme to another in life styles.

And what an array of clothes I received—I even had more than one pair of shoes to wear. New clothes, new shoes, even a new coat—more clothes than I ever dreamed I would have. I loved it.

Our first housemother had her work cut out for her. We were two girls who had never learned manners or morals. We had been accustomed to going to school when our parents would wake up on time to send us, usually in the clothes we had slept in the night before. Now things were so different. We had a schedule to follow every single day.

We loved it. We liked our school and studied hard. We made good grades. Mr. Browning called us to the office and told us how proud he was of us. Mrs. Golda Pitchford had a profound influence on us as a loving, caring housemother. I began learning about being a young lady, but most important how to become a Christian.

When I arrived at the Home I was two years behind in school. I only completed the tenth grade but when I became eighteen I left the Home to get married. After six years of marriage, I went to beauty school. My husband, a good father and a good husband, was in law enforcement twenty-six years before retiring. I completed my beauty course and opened my own shop. It was a good business. Over the next five years two children were added to our family.

My early married years I was not as active in my church as I should have been. After the arrival of our third child, we became more involved with our church. I returned to school and received my G.E.D. The night I concluded my last class, I decided to go to college. Following two years of college I did some work with multi-handicapped children.

I returned to my chosen profession, that of being a beautician. I operate my own shop and I am a fashion and color consultant. I like to work with people and I enjoy my work.

In September of 1997 I had heart surgery; I was shocked. I have recovered and I continue to be amazed at how the Lord has seen me through life’s difficulties. I love the Lord. I thank Him for a good husband, my children, and my home. I thank Him for my church and the good life I have come to love and appreciate.

I could never adequately express my gratitude for the care, the training, the love I received at the Baptist Children’s Home in Oklahoma City. Thank you, Oklahoma Baptists, for everything you have done to make my dreams come true.

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