1920 Pow Wow Yearbook & Floris Patterson
"I want to thank Tami for making sure that Grandmother Floris' painting was returned to
her grandchildren. What a lovely gesture.
In a time when so many people seem to be thinking of only themselves, you reminded everyone that most people are still kind and thoughtful.
Lora, my baby sister, was thrilled to get the picture. It appears that Floris had her sister, Elberta, pose for the picture. Interestingly enough, My sister favors our Great Aunt Elberta and is named after Floris' other sister, Lora.
You might enjoy knowing that Floris was considered a child prodigy. She was sent at a very early age to attend the Art Institute in Chicago, Ill. and from there attended the Grand Central Art School in New York City. She returned to Laverne, Oklahoma as a young lady and taught art in grade school. She painted almost all of the church baptismal murals in her little town. Her gift to all who wed was an original painting. She was married to Jesse Aldridge on December 21, 1928 and moved to Shawnee for a few years before returning to Laverne. They had a son, Lawrence Eugene, soon after moving back to Laverne. Jess was the Superintendent of the Laverne Light and Power Plant. Ten years into their marriage and at only 32 years of age, Jesse died of a severe asthma attack on his birthday on October 9, 1938. He never knew his wife was carrying his second son, Donald Ray Aldridge.
Floris continued to teach with the support of her community and family. She died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1946 while talking on the phone with a friend. My Uncle Eugene remained in Laverne to finish his education. He was sixteen and had a good job and family to live with. My father was only six. He was adopted by Floris' brother, Frank W. Patterson and his wife Pauline Gilliland Patterson. They took him back to El Paso, Texas to raise him with their son, Burton. I tell you all of this that you might know a little bit about a woman that lived a very short time, suffered some deep tragedies, and still left beauty in many, many homes and churches across the area she loved to call home. She could have stayed in New York. She had the potential to stand with the greatest artist of her time. She was educated with fellow students like Norman Rockwell, but she chose Oklahoma.
My brother, Jesse Eugene Aldridge, my sister, Lora Aldridge Thompson, and myself, Paulita Aldridge Hayes all returned to Kentucky in 1971, but we remained very close to our Oklahoma heritage. Through the years we have received some of our grandmother's lost art. It is the only tangible connection to a grandmother we never got to know personally.
Tami, thanks so much!" -- Paulita A. Hayes - Okielegacy Comment
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