Our Life Through Your Eyes

A few days ago, I asked for photos for my 44th birthday.  I am putting those photos in album on my Facebook page and a few of them are pretty cute if I do say so myself and some of them I wish hadn’t made it through the years.  lol.

However, as people began to celebrate the first twenty-three years of our lives: I began to get more than I could have hoped for…thoughtful and touching memories shared by friends

Be warned these are shenanigans and good times that celebrate happy moments and maybe even touched a heart or two.

I will add more as I get them in so check back from time time. This is a project I call:  Our life through your eyes.

Aunt Alta Crandell

When you and Paula were born, we came to visit your family. Paula and you were on a quilt on the floor. Your mother was feeding you jello-water She said, ‘It was for the protein.’ I got to help her and fell in love with both of you. I think you and your sister had a special connection and probably still do. Another memory is you guys loved of sports. When you came to stay with us for a week, you watched the 1984 Olympic games on a little TV we had. We were proud of you guys for the job you did of basically putting yourself through school and helping to take care of your siblings and yourself. I liked your mom a lot and had a lot of respect for her. She had a hard life. Like all of us, she made mistakes and choices, she regretted later in life but she was human you know. I also know she loved All of her kids a lot; we used to talk a lot about that.


Twila Self Bickford

Poteau, a childhood friend

You guys were always teaching me something about living. I remember you calling yourselves Oreo’s and Dana was the cream in the middle.

I remember coasting down water-tower hill in your car with you and Paula to save gas. You guys would shut off the car and start it back up at the bottom.


Kaori Driskoll Flanagan

Poteau, a childhood friend

I had a slumber party where I invited Tonya, Lavonne, Paula and you. I have a picture of the five us on the couch. It’s a pretty blurry memory, I remember going outside and running in the streets and Tonya doing some probably inappropriate but hilarious things. Then we were inside and decided to have a photo shoot. I am sure I have pictures of the photo shoot somewhere. Tonya and someone was trying to fix the curtain behind us when it got yanked too hard and came crashing down behind the couch. Inexplicably, and with no communication between any of us, we all ran and hid under the kitchen table. I will never understand why. We waited until we were sure no one was getting up and then quietly taped the curtain rod to the wall with masking tape. That masking tape was still holding that rod up when we moved a year later and my parents never noticed. That’s my favorite memory of all of us together.

So I sent this memory to Tonya Gregory McKibbon and she wrote:

I always loved Kaori… She was a really, really, really sweet person. I remember that slumber party at her house…Her mom cooked octopus and we wound up ordering pizza!!! lol

Kaori went on to share her testimony. I am humbled.

I remember the two of you inviting me to church and church camp. And while it probably didn’t seem to anyone, including me, that anything was going on, God was using you to plant and water seeds. Through you and Paula and eventually Karen and Sharon Baker, God was showing me community, healthy relationships, and stability. Maybe not in perfect form but in imperfect progress. I know Jesus now. I am redeemed and washed clean and love serving Him in ways that I never dreamed were possible. I have been so blessed by God through my children (my husband and I joke that we did our best to ruin them, but God in His perfect grace had other plans) that are learning to serve Him and I finally have the stability, healthy relationships and safety in friends that I always wanted.

Probably I was super awkward and hard to be around, I was terribly shy and weird. Maybe we didn’t spend that much time together but God used it to bless me.

Thank You


Penny Rowton
Cameron, Cameron Elementary

(This was a truly special message that I received on my birthday.)

Hi Penny, I saw the names Penny and Paula on a photo that Kaori Flanagan was tagged in and it made me remember my friends Penny and Paula that attended Cameron School for a short time. I thought you were my special friend because we had the same name. I remember you two looking like your cover photo, so it couldn’t have been too long after you were at Cameron. I always thought you both had the prettiest smiles. I was sad when you moved away. Do you remember me? (Penny Sweeten)

I remember y’all being Raggedy Ann and Andy. Y’all were so cute. I need to find my yearbook. I am so so sad and sorry to hear about Paula; it makes my heart hurt. I know that was a terrible loss for you. I’m not sure if you were the twin, but I was thinking it was…at recess, we would swing and sing the Grizzly Adams theme song? Lol I know Kaori through our home-school group. We both home-school our children.

Also I found Paula’s signature in my yearbook. For some reason, I didn’t get yours.


Tiffany Rodatz

Poteau, Pansy Kidd Middle School

I can always remember Jr high basketball and one of you chipped your front tooth. But most of all the way you were both so nice and funny. Nice and funny all the time.

Paula’s chipped tooth and Wendy Holman Gniech explains:

I totally remember that!! I felt so bad!!

Paula was skating backwards and I was trying to skate fast and turn around and skate backwards and well I collided hard full body on Paula her mouth hit the floor… I cracked my tailbone! Lol couldn’t sit for weeks!!!!


Linda Elkins Younger

’93 NSU, lives in Berryhill and graduated from Westville

I can not believe it’s been 21 years!

My favorite memories are having class with the two of you and one conversation we had after one of our classes. You both had me up against the wall. You two were going 90 to 0 about something. The two of you were finishing each others sentences without missing a beat!!

My eyes were huge. I had never experienced anything like that!! LOL

I fell in love at that moment.


Amy Allcorn

NSU, Teacher at Westville

I had class with Penny and Paula. It was like Intro to Mass Communications or something. As an English major, it was an elective for me. You guys made it fun! The next time I saw you was when the Victims’ Impact Panel came to Westville where I teach. (I graduated with Linda at Westville.)