A Host of Descendants
by John C. Westervelt
Jewell Thomas was my ninth grade Latin teacher at Harding Junior High School in Oklahoma City. The high school curriculum for college preparatory required two years of foreign language, so I enrolled in Miss Thomas’ class. We became good friends. When I graduated from high school, Miss Thomas gave me Will Durant’s book, “Caesar and Christ.” This copy is still on my bookshelf and was used extensively while I was writing “Malchus – A Historical Novel.” Miss Thomas and I remained Christmas-card friends until her death.
Grace Deupree was my math teacher at Classen high school in Oklahoma City. Miss Deupree would give a couple of my math buddies and me extra-credit trigonometry assignments to fully challenge us. She instilled in me a love for math that steered me into a career in engineering, and for that I am grateful.
Blanche Holland was my “zero” hour history teacher at Classen High School. During World War II, Classen offered a class at 7:00 a.m. before the eight o’clock first hour. With no study hour, I was finished with classes at noon. This let me join the war effort with an afternoon job at the telephone company.
Blanche Holland taught much more than history. If you were tardy three times, you were out. She covered personal hygiene and personal relationships. Those that stayed the course loved history and loved Miss Holland. She and I became good friends. I am reminded of Miss Holland when I pull from my kitchen shelf a worn, blue, hard case with working clasps and hinges that holds a carving knife and fork from Sheffield, England. This was her gift to me when I married. We remained Christmas-card friends until her death.
Grace Garten gave up a good teaching job to become Youth Director at Wesley United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City when I was in high school. After I turned sixteen, Grace let me drive her car filled with boys and girls, and Grace, of course, going across town and as far as Chickasha for youth meetings.
On my visits to Oklahoma City and Wesley over the years, I would spend some time with Grace. Years later, I visited her at the Methodist Epworth Villa retirement home in Oklahoma City. Our friendship continued until her death.
None of these four women married, so they had no direct descendants. Since my life was molded in part by these women, you could say that I am their descendant.
This story will find its way to my web page. Any genealogist searching for one of these women by name and school or church will find this story and will realize that each woman has a host of descendants, namely those whom they taught and nurtured.
Return to Table of Contents