Eighty-one years ago, January 23 was a Tuesday. Now what could be the reason I would be pointing out that bit of trivia? Because it was rather an important date to me because, although that January night was quite cold, I was warm and snug – well, at least I think I was! It was the last night I was in my mother’s womb. After midnight on January 24, I was yanked out into the world where I had to do my own breathing, crying, eating. I turned out liking the breathing and eating all right but the crying was rather exhausting.

I was a first-born of a first-born of a first-born so I was special. My nursery was in the same room my father prepared for his new bride about a year earlier on my grandfather’s estate. Well, actually it was a farm. And my nursery consisted of a cradle in the corner of the 20 x 24 foot dugout. My cement dugout probably made Lincoln’s log cabin look like paradise but I was happy enough.

This article is to tell my reading audience about me. I’m reminded of Edith Bunker who was asked by an old school chum what she had been doing since high school. She began by saying something like “Well, I worked for two months at Lawson’s hardware, then I got a chance to go to Benny’s grocery where I was a checker for 6 weeks. After that I got a job at the drugstore and worked there for 3 months —“ The memory of her bleary eyed questioner makes me think I should skip some details, so I have set myself a challenge to see if I can remember what I was doing at the beginning of each decade of my life.

I have a picture of my family when I was ten. There are my adoring parents still – however, at this time they are adoring my little sister who came along that year. I always hated the picture because there I sat on the ground with my brother – horrible picture of him and me. But precious of the baby! I hated the picture, but I loved the baby. Another thing happened that year that seemed to make the grown-ups happy. World War II was winding down. For some reason, they made a big deal of D-Day. I think it was June 6th or something like that but it couldn’t compare with April 28th the birthday of my little sister!
In my twenties I had two babies, sons, to adore. I had a “state” job – at Services for the Blind. I resigned there shortly before time to go to the hospital to give birth to my first born. My husband was working and going to college. So my parents rescued us by picking me up from the hospital and taking the baby and me home to Colo. for two weeks. My husband came and returned us to our cracker box trailer house which we soon disposed of and got our dream home – a Spartan trailer. Most of you don’t know what that is. It looked like a bullet or an airplane hull – something like that. I returned to Services for the Blind and worked there unil my second son was
born. I guess motherhood had become routine; I don’t remember all the detail. I worked at Tinker Air Force base; it was a good job – but only drudgery, endless typing of job descriptions.
I graduated from college on my 31st year. Bachelor of Arts in Education! What a dream was completed! Our family of four lived in a one room college apartment in Alamosa, Colorado. Cold, cold, cold. Sammy was high school principle in Sagwatch, fifty miles away. Wasn’t great but we didn’t expect things to be great in those days. We lived for reaching goals, and I had reached mine. That year we came back to Oklahoma. I started teaching that fall in downtown Oklahoma City, a job I loved dearly.

Forty! Is that supposed to be over the hill? My sons were 14 and 20. They were our reason for being. Our social life was wrapped up around our sons, ourchurch and SW college on Tenth Street where Sammy worked. I was teaching elementary school in OKC. Our careers were blossoming.

Fifty! Boys are grown. We live in Claremore. Riding high with bills paid finally.

Sixty! Retired and back in Oklahoma City, adjunct teaching at local colleges.

Seventy! Still working. When I quit full time work, I went on staff at my church with the responsibility of loving and visiting senior members of the church who were confined to homes. After a life time of good health, I faced tough health situation in this decade.

Eighty, even eighty-one! So I count my years in decades now. There has never been one that I would have chosen to swap back to a previous one, well yes, back to seventies pre illness.
What will the future bring? I don’t know, but to show my optimism, may I share a chorus that I wrote a few years ago. I goes like this:
I’ll count it all joy, my King; I’ll count it all joy
I’ll follow in everything and count it all joy.
My steps are all ordered by thee, my foot shall not slide,
By faith I don’t have to see, with you as my guide.


  1. Hayley says:

    Sorry to hear that you are facing health troubles 😦 I loved hearing your life in decades and I hope you have at least two more left in you yet! Heck – why not push it to three more? 😉 wishing you all the best xx

  2. oneta hayes says:

    Okay, Hayley. You push, I’ll pull. We’ll go for three! Thanks dear girl. I’m doing very well health-wise. Spent last week taking care of 3 to 5 10 months to 7 year olds. I made it! In fact I’m going for it again tomorrow. Their house also has a flight of 14 steps, so you might not have to push too hard to move me into more decades.

  3. SarahC says:

    Enjoyed this very much. I was youngest of youngest and next to youngest, meaning dad 87 now and I m still learning history through family. Raised with same values for sure!!!!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks, Sarah C. We are blessed, right? I wish I had asked questions and listened more. As time was going by, I didn’t really realize how different things were going to be. Now I want to record some truth about a family and church lifestyle like I had. There is much mocking of the “times” that made me. I am much happier than almost any young person I know. My heart hurts for their loss. But I claim responsibility for my part in the change. Maybe I need to go blog. This is getting long!

      • SarahC says:

        Just found reply…..learning the ‘app’ since must share computer. No problem I love replies! I think simpler is better and now we need to learn some from bygone days!!

  4. Trail Walker says:

    Great idea, sharing your life in decades. Thank you, Oneta.

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