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Love is a Circle

By Theresa Green

Growing up in the depression was not easy for Helen Rice.  It taught her important lessons though. She learned about sacrifice and the things that mattered most in life. At the top of that list was family.

“My momma was the oldest of seven children. Her life wasn’t easy, but they all worked hard,” said Debra Rice, Helen’s daughter.

Though they didn’t have much, what they had they shared and that included the work. As oldest daughter Helen learned to cook at an early age, pulling a stool up to the kitchen counter so that she could reach. 

“We reaped the benefits of her experienced cooking growing up. My momma could whip up a full meal out of seemingly nothing,” Debra said.

Those early experiences taught Helen how to stretch a penny too. 

“She could take my daddy’s paycheck and make it clothe, feed and keep a family of six. There was rarely money left over for frills, but we didn’t feel deprived.” Debra added.

Debra will tell you that Helen is more than just mom. Over the years, she became a friend, confidante and mentor. She was Debra’s “rock,” always willing to listen, mentor and just be there. 

Helen is 95 now and had dementia. She lives at Rebold Manor in Okmulgee and the roles have reversed.  So it’s Debra who is there for her mom. Debra is the constant in Helen’s life, visiting often, providing support and sharing memories while they still can.  

They say life is a circle and for this mom and daughter, so is love.

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