11-21-1913 - 11-24-1993

"All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
~~~~Abraham Lincoln

Lorene Crittenden Thomas


hearts hearts hearts

My mother was very interested in genealogy and the keeping alive of one's ancestry. Mama's Family
With this in mind, I share the following information about her life.

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Written by my mother on September 17, 1973:

Thomas Louallen Crittenden and Obie Nancy Cox
had five children, namely:

Lurine, later changed to Lorene, born November 21, 1913;
Mattie Beatrice, born December 20, 1914;
Nathan Louallen, born June 25, 1918;
Viola Agnes, born January 28, 1921;
and Robert Stuart, born April 15, 1922.

Robert S. died at age 2. Obie Nancy died the first week of July, same year.

I, Lurine, was born in Dawson, Texas, near midnight on a stormy night during a cloudburst. My mother delivered me, a 12-pound baby, alone, as my father had gone in the buggy to get the doctor and was late getting back due to the swollen creek they had to cross.

In 13 months my sister was born, so I became Daddy's "big" girl. I walked at 7 months, never crawled, sucked my food 'til I was old enough I can remember being scolded and told to chew since I now had a mouthful of teeth.

Most of my childhood was spent in babysitting, though we didn't call it that in those days. It was "tending" the baby. Oh - how I hated washdays! It was an all day job for me. Mama had to draw the water from a well, rub the clothes on the rub-board, boil them in an iron pot and rinse them through three tubs of water, then hang them on a line to dry. The next day was spent in ironing, but at least Mama was in the house to talk to us.

She sang a lot, always church songs. She was a devout Christian, Baptist-style.

She and Grandpa Crittenden, (Robert Stuart Crittenden) who lived with us, took us kids to church every Sunday. Daddy went sometimes but was not as fanatical as Mama. Neither of them cursed or said ugly words. Daddy was better educated than Mama, but she was much more practical than he. If she had lived, he would not have died poverty-stricken.

When Viola was a baby, Daddy bought a victrola. I was the official record-changer, winding it up each time. Those were my happiest days. I loved school and couldn't stand for anybody to make better grades than I.

Mama built my ego to the sky. She thought there was no limit to what I could do, and made me believe it. But then she had another baby and her health broke. He had a bad heart and became my special charge for two years, and when he died, my heart broke for the first time.

little R.S. Crittenden
Little R.S. Crittenden

Mama died two months later and I became "Mother" to the three left. Nine years old. Some "mother!" I could make biscuits, cook meat, beans and potatoes. Grandpa could cook when he was there. He was a blacksmith. He worked days at the "cooperage" doing the ironwork for kegs and barrels.

Daddy worked nights at the depot for American Railway Express.

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I really think my mother started out to write a book about her life, but when she got to that point, the times got to be too bad for her to remember and keep writing. A few years later she did make some cassette tapes so that her family would have a record of her life and times.

And the times did improve, though they were never easy until late in her life.

She was dedicated to giving her children the education that was cut short by the tragic events in her life, and this she did accomplish.

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Below is an article that appeared in our local paper, 1988.

flower bouquet Great-grandmother Goes to State Contest
by John Ardis Manry

A gray-haired great-grandmother will represent the Council on Aging from Bossier Parish in a statewide spelling bee in Baton Rouge in May. She is Mrs. Lorene Thomas, widow of the late Buddy Thomas.

Lorene represented her hometown in the parish-wide elimination held Friday in Bossier City. She outspelled representatives from other neighboring towns.

Included were some of the best spellers in the parish, one being a former school headmaster now retired.

Lorene, in a low voice outspelled the runner-up with the word "asceticism." Both will represent the Council on Aging in the state meet.

She plays a "mean" game of billiards at the local center. Her outdoor sports are pitching horseshoes and washers.

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Mama had many other interests. Books were her #1 form of entertainment. She would rather have been reading than eating (almost). She enjoyed mysteries and stories about the South. Historical novels were her favorites. Quilting occupied many hours of her time after my daddy's death in 1979, and she made many beautiful quilts that she gave to her children and grandchildren.

She was always very active in her church serving in many capacities. She liked all kinds of craftmaking and shared her talents with all the children in her life: her own, those of the church, and then the grandchildren. She made something called "chris-mons" (religious symbols), which the church continues to use in decorating their Christmas tree.

She enjoyed going to garage sales with me and she was the map-reader. I drove and she directed.

I thought I could never bear to lose her. But the autoimmune disease, Sjogren's Syndrome, that she had from 1981 until her death made her so uncomfortable that we knew she was ready to go and that made it more acceptable and easier for us to give her up.

God prepares us for the difficult times that come to us in ways that we don't always understand at the time.

trust in the Lord

heart heart heart

bouquet Read my mother's favorite poem,
"Each New Day"

bouquet Read "Precious Golden Grain",
a poem that was inspiring to my mother
when her four children were small,
during the depression.

Try my mother's Chicken and Dressing recipe.

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One hundred years from now
it will not matter
what kind of car I drove,
what kind of house I lived in,
how much money I had in my bank account,
nor what my clothes looked like.
But the world may be a little better
because I was important in the life of a child.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."

Mama and Daddy
Buddy and Lorene Crittenden Thomas
My Father and Mother

Another loving tribute to a mother was made by
Pulitzer-prize-winning author, Rick Bragg, in his book,
"All Over But the Shoutin'".

In the words of the late Lewis Grizzard
who has a book by the same title,

JACK, My Brother
JANELL, My Sister
JERRY, My Brother