|Wichita Falls Times, 17 Dec 1967, pg 38|
Any woman who has been married for 70 years deserves to be interviewed in her own parlor, with her feet on a velvet cushion.
But, it was more in keeping with the simplicity that has characterized Mrs. R. L. Baldwin that she should be interviewed in a modern laundromat while she waited for her clothes to be dried.Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin, who lives on Route 1, Randlett, Okla., celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Dec. 12 following their usual daily routine. A small family dinner had been held on Dec. 4, when their three surviving children could be at home with them, and during that afternoon many of their neighbors called to express their good wishes.
Robert and Martha London Baldwin were married in her father's home in Throckmorton County, Texas, in 1897. Although their family farms were only about 10 miles about 10 miles apart, they did not meet until about a year before they were married. Of the witnesses to that long ago ceremony, only three remain, her sister, Mrs. Emma Hale, her sister-in-law, Mrs. Bennie London, and a niece, Mrs. Osee Parks.
Like many Texans in the early years of 1900, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin were on the lookout for greater opportunities, better land to farm and a better life for their children. So, they loaded their two children and belongings on a wagon and moved north. They stopped at a camping ground at Charlie and heard a man named Nowlen had a farm to rent over the river in Oklahoma territory.
The new frontier sounded good to them and Nowlen proved to be a good landlord and a good friend. Friendship was important in 1903, for neighbors were scattered, one to each 160 acre tract.
The importance of friendship was soon to be very apparent to the Baldwins, for their third child chose to arrive during a February storm that left about three feet of snow on the ground. There was no doctor, but with the help of the nearest woman neighbor, the baby was delivered safely, Mrs. Baldwin remembers that the weather continued to be so severe that the snow stayed on the ground for over a month and that her kind neighbor made daily trips to check on the welfare of the little newcomer.
Friendship was important in other ways, too. The farms grew wheat, cotton, feed, garden stuff, just about anything a family would think to plant, but some items of family use had to be purchased in stores. For quite a few years after the Baldwins moved to Oklahoma there were no towns, except Wichita Falls and Temple. The neighbors took turns hitching up their teams and plodding to down to get the mail and shop for the whole neighborhood.
Before moving to their present home near Randlett 43 years ago, the Baldwins lived in the Rabbit Creek community. They were charter members in the Rabbit Creek Baptist church and their six children attended the Rabbit Creek school and turned out to be pretty good students. [unreadable] ...there was about 60 students in school and only one teacher.
Baldwin was one of those who bid for land when the Big Pasture was opened, but he was not successful, later buying his present farm. Like most wives of her generation, Mrs. Baldwin made her home the center of her affections and interest, so that the discovery of oil in Burkburnett and the many tall tales which accompanied the boom are just legends to her.
Now, at 92 years of age, Mrs. Baldwin's life still centers around her home, which she maintains with the help of a part time housekeeper, Mrs. Gertie Green. The weekly trip to the supermarket and the laundromat are a regular ritual; so regular that the laundromat attendant could say with conviction, "If this is Wednesday, Mrs. Baldwin will be here" Mr. Baldwin, going on 96 years of age seldom leaves the home place.
Mrs. Baldwin thinks that modern washing facilities are just great, remarking that they really beat the old tin washtub she had to put on the wood stove and the washboard on which she has scrubbed hundreds of items.
She jokingly declared that about the only inconvenient modern utility was the dial telephone, which took all the joy and neighborliness out of the rural party line.
Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin have three children, Mrs. W. R. Carswell of Burkburnett, Frank Baldwin of Ingleside, Tex., and Wilbert (Bud) Baldwin of Randlett.
by Marjorie Kauer, Burkburnett, Tex; Wichita Falls Times (newspaper), Wichita Falls, Texas, 17 Dec 1967, Sunday, pg 38