Sunday, June 14, 2009


I am Kathy Bain Dunn, probably best known to most of you as Judy's little sister. John Inman invited me to this blog, and I am already hooked. Heavener represents so much of what is good in my life, not that life after Heavener has been bad. Not at all!! It's just that Heavener shaped what has made my life good. I read about Floyd Inman selecting his middle name as a requirement for the military. My uncle, Bo Roop, from Heavener had to do the same thing when he joined the Marines during WWII. Uncle Bo chose to be B. O. Roop, and to my knowledge he didn't ever have names for the B and O, just initials I think. When I think of family strength, I think about my grandparents, Tom and Bonnie Roop, and my mother June Roop Bain - how in the world did they handle the distress they were dealt during WWII?
Daddy Tom was a mail carrier in Heavener for over 40 years. During the war, it was his job to accept the telegraphs sent to families who had sons missing or killed in action. He would then deliver that somber news to the families on his route. He told of how hard that duty was to perform, and one day it became unbelievably hard when the message delivered the news that his own son, Carl, was missing and presumed dead. Daddy Tom ran his route that day, and kept that grief to himself until he got home to his family that afternoon to deliver their tragic news.
Uncle Bo was serving overseas at the same time, and so was my Daddy, Elmo Bain, who was my mother's fiance' at the time. My mother, June, was a student at OU where both her brothers had been going to college when they left to join the military. They had a precious little sister just 12 years old. Within 6 months of Carl's plane being lost at sea, the sister Edith came down with polio. Their home was quarantined, and the polio took her life. The funeral service for Edith was held in their home because of the quarantine and the fear that polio caused.
I can remember the Veteran's Day program given every year at Westside Elementary. Mrs. Fay Moore played the piano. Mrs. Hilda Grae Wynn led the singing as the kids recognized every branch of the service by singing their theme song. We students would stand when the song for our Dad's branch was sung, and all the parents and grandparents would stand as well to represent their loved ones. I'll never forget my grandmother, Bonnie Roop, during those assemblies. She came every year, and tears streamed down her face every year as she stood to represent the son that never came home. "Nothing can stop the Army Air Corps." (They changed the words to U.S. Air Force later, but while I was at Heavener we never changed it.) Every year at the same assembly, Mr. Keller would sing "My Buddy." I shall never forget his rich voice, and how much that song meant to my mother and my grandmother.
Many years have passed, and as a tradition at my church here in Midwest City we sing a "Salute to the Troops" in celebration of Independence Day. Men and women in the service stand when their branch's song is sung. And you guessed it - every year tears stream down my face when we play the Air Force song. I play organ and synthesizer in the church chorchestra (we aren't quite good enough to be called a real orchestra). Last year, my closest neighbor in the orchestra, the pianist, asked me why I cry every year, and sure enough she was moved to tears, and when neither the pianist or the organist can play - well it stops a rehearsal! Tears can flow, and we play on because that's what I learned from my parents and my grandparents. Already this year, we are practicing the Salute to the Troops, and tears have come - guess they always will! But the important lesson is to play on and to live on and honor his memory with living in freedom!
The strength in the Bain/Roop clan runs deep, and we have a rich heritage that has shaped us!


At June 14, 2009 at 10:23 PM , Blogger John Inman said...

Excellent blog, Kathy. I learned more about the Bain/Roop clan than I ever knew. But that's what these blogs are about, good and rich memories about growing up in Heavener, the best little town in the world, as far as I'm concerned, and the lessons you learned and the life you've lived since. I look forward to more blogs from you. Add one anytime you wish.

At June 15, 2009 at 6:49 AM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Glad to have your blog, Kathy. It has been 50 years since I really lived in Heavener but memories of those days are still clear in my mind.

At June 15, 2009 at 5:25 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

Thank you Kathy,
I knew so many of your relitaves that you mentioned. I sure do remember the "Polio years" watching several young lives totally dominated by such a devistating desease.


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