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StoryCorps in Oklahoma: "Mom loved to go any place... all the time" (Aug 12, 2011)

This week on StoryCorps in Oklahoma two sisters, Sara Loosen Otto and Lisa Loosen Mullen, share stories of their recently deceased mother, Susan Loosen. Joining them is family friend, Edith Dougherty. The sisters, led by Sara, begin by commenting the place they called home.

Sara: She was from a small town in (Beloit) Kansas of about 5,000 people. She always made a comment… When she left to go away to high school she packed her bags turned her back and said, “I will never move to a small town again.” And then she married my father and ended up in a SMALLER town.

Lisa: And I think that’s where I wanted to start. Edith, can you tell us the first time you met Mom?

Edith: We moved out to Okarche from Oklahoma City. My husband was a dentist and we lived about seven miles west of town. When we moved there, almost everyone was my husband’s age and my age and our children were all the same ages. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun and comradery we had.

Sara: Mom always made the comment about how she was so fortunate (when she moved to Okarche) that she moved into a ready made group of friends.

Edith: And you didn’t have to call anybody, you didn’t have to say I’m coming by. You just went to wherever the cars were parked. That’s where all the women would gather to have coffee. And this was almost every morning; we were either at Borelli’s or Mary’s or Susan’s house.

Sara: We were talking on our way over here about how you and Mom became closer and spent more time together the older you got.

Edith: Well we had more time. Before that we were both working full time.

Lisa: Didn’t you go to Kansas City?

Edith: We went to the Nelson Museum and we went to Topeka to the Andrew Wyatt exhibit.

Lisa: Mom loved Andrew Wyatt.

Sara: Remember we went to the Francis Bacon one down in Dallas? Edith hated it.

Edith: Yes that was a little too…

Sara: Disturbing.

Sara: Mom loved to go any place all the time.

Edith: We went to Zihwatenejo for the men to go fishing.

Sara: You guys went to Mexico a lot!

Lisa: Don’t you remember, Edith spoke Spanish to Mom even when she was dying.

Sara: Oh you’re right!

Lisa: I remember you’d walk out of Mom’s room even when she was dying and you’d say “adios amigo”.

Edith: I didn’t know you heard me. Yeah… Any way.

Lisa: People always… thought it was crazy that mom was always going…

Sarah: Going someplace every chance she could get someone gave her the opportunity and she said “Yup, I’m there. Let me throw some stuff on the car.” But she always loved coming back home.

Edith: That’s right.

Lisa: I remember when Mom found out she had cancer she said she’s been really fortunate in a lot of ways but one of them is she’s seen the world. She wasn’t waiting until she retired. She was fortunate to be able to go and see the world and see some places twice. Who gets to do that?

Lisa: Edith you were with mom a lot in the end when she was dying, how was that? What do you take away from that time?

Edith: I just had the most wonderful time being with her. Perfect, patient, no complaints, no nothing at all. I enjoyed every minute of it. I really did. That’s life. Don’t you think? I mean it’s sad, but that’s life.

Lisa: Yeah. I think so.

Edith: This is the part where she said you can cry.

Lisa: I just want to thank you for coming.

Sara: It’s what we always wanted to do with her but...

Edith: I know.

Sara: I think she just missed the deadline.

Lisa: We got the next best thing.

Edith: Aw thank you all so much.

Produced for KGOU by Jim Johnson, with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording and collecting stories of everyday people. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

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