My Dad; they don’t have to be perfect to be loved.My Cock-fighting, Wolf-hunting, Boxing/fighter, and Tender-hearted Dad.



Oh, he was far from perfect; wouldn’t set foot in a church and angry at God after his mother passed away from tuberculosis when he was 5. He was sent to live with relatives in Arkansas after a few years due to anger-management issues with his step-mother.  Eventually, he was taken to the gate of his relatives house by his aunt, on a rainy day, and given a shove landing face down in the mud. He was  told he was “on his own now, and he was. He was 12 years old. (*Told to me when he was 70, in the first talk we had ever had in depth about his childhood.)

It coincided with my question “is there anything I can do for you? ”  He answered rather shyly, “I’d like to be buried in Morris Cemetery and I’d like to be able to go see where I will be before I die.” I went straight away and purchased 2 plots; one for him and one for his wife, my step-mother, should she choose to be buried there considering she had been a widow and might choose that option if Daddy died first. It turned out he did die first and she chose to return to live with her family, and ultimately to be buried there. So, when my sister Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) died, she was laid to rest beside Daddy.

Lloyd J. Godwin birthday tribute posthumously.

Lloyd J. Godwin birthday tribute posthumously. Pictured with his brother Lemon, his father would add to the family three girls and another boy. The sibling rivalry was fostered by more than the normal amount of challenge and there was great resentment that he had to accept discipline from her as he had been a “favored child” of his mother for the 5 years they had together. He also was an absolute “image” of his mother.

 

Lloyd's mother Estella Frances Hill Godwin and Lloyd and Leman Godwin (father Agrippa Wesley Godwin)1

The first time I saw his mother Estella’s picture, I thought it looked like my dad “in drag” because it was the very image of my father. The strong likeness of my father to his mother caused my Grandfather to protect his late wife’s memory. It was enough to make him exempt my father from many punishments or disciplines causing friction with the new wife and the children who followed. 

Daddy Lloyd

My father battled tuberculosis twice in his life. In his early years as a young husband in his late twenties, and again in his 40’s when he had a surgery to remove one lung and part of the second.  It was almost a life ending surgery which demanded a year of recovery. Told he could never weld again, (his adult life trade skill, and his personal pride tied to his uncompromised work record for excellence and fidelity to the job, ) he defied the naysayers and continued to work as a welder for the Oklahoma Union.  He was sent all over the U.S. and Canada until his retirement.

 

 

graves lloyd

Dead at the age of 74, this New Year Baby had lived a life of great poverty, loss, and heartache. He lived as an “Okie” steeped in the culture of his era. He went through life as a skilled wolf and coon hunter, renowned for breeding the  best fighting cocks and an expert fighter and handler. His hunting dogs were also sought after, and he often narrated the hunts using a small battery powered cassette tape recorder. Definitely a life before animal rights became a national issue. And always a contrast to his tender heart and love for his dogs and their welfare. He also took great pride in his fighting cocks, but he viewed them as  great warriors in the arena, bred for greatness, and they lived up to it winning, winning and winning.  While at his funeral I helped field calls from out of state breeders who had not heard of his death and wanted to know if he had cocks available. And at 74, he raised them but didn’t fight them, still had hunting dogs from his favorite “lines”, and had developed a love for beagles (had a couple of dozen) and Chihuahuas.  

 

My father was a handsome man, once mistaken and arrested as "Pretty Boy Floyd" the famous outlaw, bank robber from Oklahoma"

My Dad, Lloyd J. Godwin of Okmulgee,Ok.  At his death we found the plaque he was given to honor his 60 years of cock-fighting.

My dad LLoyd Godwin with one of his game cocks.

Many stories are told about the childhood adventures of my sister, Daddy’s girl, and her love of the chickens and helping to feed and groom them. I am most remembered in those stories for stealing his prize eggs used for “breeders” and making mud pies from them.

 

 

 

 

In his life after leaving Arkansas in his teens, Lloyd was a boxer, fighting under the name “Red Fight ’em Godwin” **not sure if the red was to indicate his temper or what, as he had coal black hair and piercing blue eyes which are best described as “Paul Newman blue”.  This was undoubtedly a natural extension of his need to fight and get his anger out.   He also loved to play cards, dominos and always “for money”.  He loved to gamble.

The Godwin Girls

Marguerite Marrs Godwin, daughter Joyce Marie (R) and Trula Ann standing (L). Sunday was always the day we dressed for church and rushed home to Fried chicken, gravy, and beans in some form. My mother was an excellent if frugal cook.

However, when he married my mother she was only 16 and he was 21. The combination didn’t really mesh. Theirs was a tumultuous “love affair” filled with passion but lacking the discipline, role models, or backgrounds to make a marriage that worked. Domestic violence became a the thread that would eventually unravel it all in divorce and my father’s increasing dependence on alcohol sealed the deal. His ”  looks” were too good and  led him to appreciate the “too” many women who appreciated him. Once he was due home from an out of state job welding and had to call because he was in jail. The charge was lodged by a woman who said he “proposed marriage” then was leaving town without marrying her. Yes, it is a jail-able  offense, or was in those days. He lost his wife and never had the privilege to live with his daughters again.    

 

Daddy Lloyd with his wolf hounds and buddies.

Daddy Lloyd with his wolf hounds and buddies.      Lloyd in the middle wearing his trademark hat.  

 

Maarguerite Elizabeth Marrs Godwin and Lloyd Jewel Godwin

Marguerite Elizabeth Marrs Godwin (approximately 26) and Lloyd Jewel Godwin (26)

 

My father was in his 40’s by the time his connection to his daughters began to heal and return to a healthy approach after years of sporadic contact. There was minimal connection restored to my mother and her new husband but enough to make it amicable on the occasions they were together for needed events. It took a crisis of life threatening illness to bring him to reconciling with God and then finding the second love of his life during his recovery,;a nurses aide named Loyce. Yep, it’s spelled correctly. She was a beautiful spirit, a widow, and she was kind and stayed with him to his death.

Sister Trula at age six

Sister Trula at age six. None of the family strain shows in this picture and yet she was suffering great hardship entering school with a hearing deficit that would affect parts of her speech into adulthood. and how she interacted with teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the yard, or at play, I listened for that signal.

I love my “innocent” look at that age of 3 ; it was about to be lost for while my parents did battle with each other, my sister and I were  living through childhood sexual abuse. The perpetrator kept us quiet with threats . ,

 

On this Father’s Day 2016 my father would be 101. I am now 72 and I have lived and learned about life from the hard days of childhood, which I tell people left me feeling I had sobered up more drunks by the time I was 10 than many people meet in a lifetime. I am now in my own debilitating years of decline and can empathize with what my dad was going through in our last visits. I can see  now that nothing in my parents marriage was black and white.  The “he said, she said” often should have been taken with a grain of salt to understand the complexities of their marriage and my life. Distance has allowed me the grace to understand that both parents were involved in a life of overcoming the pain and ills of their childhoods, early marriage, and heart-breaking losses. My conclusions would be somewhere between “They did the best they could with what they knew,” to “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Who am I to sit in judgment? 

Let me end this  saying that a child realizes early on that they are an extension of their parents union. It is difficult for them to take sides. What I will always cherish is that I found out the kind of man my daddy had become in the small community of Morris, Ok. where he retired and had roots and a marriage with no domestic violence. 

At his funeral I was overwhelmed by the many people who told me stories of my dad and his “funny ways” of being nice. Like the one neighbor who told me he would drive up unannounced with a load of garden produce, swear like a sailor acting all mad and fussy saying, “Well, hell, you know my wife. Loyce just has to plant a garden too big for the two of us and we aren’t the kind to let it waste, so I was hoping you could take it off our hands before it spoils.” He would then unload the food for the family which was in dire need and they would know he was all bluff. They would also know as soon as he went hunting, they would have fresh meat. Many shared such deeds and told of his kindnesses. Young and old loved and respected him. To this day he is remembered in the small community and just last year when his great-granddaughter visited from Wisconsin, she met people who asked about him and told her stories. He still lives in the eyes and hearts of many all these 27 years later since his death.

My dad visiting in Okmulgee, Ok. My sister Trula on the right, and me on the left.

My dad visiting in Okmulgee, Ok.  with his new Oldsmobile bought at Baily’s. My sister Trula on the right, and me on the left.

I end this as I reveal  that I know where my roots of being an advocate for victim/survivors, a worker in street ministry, an author of novels that champion the down trodden, abused, and loving people of all walks of life, comes from. I know how to love people “Just as they are, and where they are.” I am not demanding they have their lives in order and their spiritual ducks in a row. I acknowledge where many of my stories and characters for my writing comes from. My DNA genetics don’t mean near as much as the “character” I developed as a result of my parents when I grew old enough to absorb the “lessons.”

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Another “Sunday after church picture taken at my grandparents, Arthur and Rhoda Marrs, Morris, Oklahoma.

 I proudly tell you I knew about every bootlegger in our area of Oklahoma as a child. . Yes, I was that cute kid sitting next to the small sack of groceries, usually filled with bread, in the front seat of my dad’s car so he could pick up his white lightening or other liquor and slip it into the grocery sack. What kind of law officer would ever think to check that sack next to a young child out with their dad?  Oh yes, I am sure that created some of the domestic violence episodes in our house; yet my dad would never spank or discipline us until the time we walked home from the movies at night thinking our folks forgot us, but we scared the bejeebers out of them. When they got home my mother insisted Daddy spank us and handed him a belt.  Finally he gave a faint whack to which I screamed dutifully and that was it. Yes. my mother had “power” some of the time, but I never once feared my dad when it concerned me. He never gave me reason.

author 2016 2

In summation, I love my father and love him more today than ever. I often say I have lived 5 lives in this 1. I realize now that in his life, he did the same. The last one was, for him, fulfilling and he finally knew what it meant to have family and to tell me that he loved me.  So thank you Daddy, for the love, the protection, the laughs, the pride, the ability to change and to find the Lord. I only wish you had more years like those than not, but my gratitude is un-ending. See you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About joycegodwingrubbs2

Some call me retired: I am RE-FIRED. I have written 15 books, plus 3 were written as a "ghost writer". I no longer offer them as printed books having them only available as Kindle Ebooks since my retirement as a novelist. Twelve books are on Amazon.com Kindle eBooks: collectively they are known as The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series.They are real cases fictionalized into suspense stories to protect identities..( no victim/survivor names were compromised, and workers and locations were protected.) I also co-authored a non-fiction book: Footsteps Out of Darkness: The Annabelle Kindig Story . It is available on Amazon under the name of Annabelle Kindig. I have traveled, written from the heart, and found an audience that appreciates my "platform". The catalyst to writing the novels was the realization that if I died, I would take all my amazing experiences in these real cases with me; and believe me few have lived 5 lives in one. It would "silence the voices" of the victim/survivors whose triumphs are written into these novels. The suspense series was written in part with the collaboration of police woman and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin. In addition to the novels, I have written as a ghost writer for a World War II veteran who fought in the South Pacific aboard the USS Maryland in all the major battles. I have also written a non-fiction book recording oral history stories of my family members beginning with the 1930's to present. There are sixty-six "legacy" stories with pictures. It was recently published as a private printing for family and close associates only. I am a published photo journalist having won the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for internet freelance news articles and pictures of the Cedar Rapid's Iowa flood victim accounts and their personal struggles.. My husband and I are in our 52nd year together (only one blip on the marital radar together), and we have adopted three greyhounds; Dex, Big Buddy and Baby Doll. These were the inspirations in the Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series We have eleven grandchildren, 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. My three children live in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
This entry was posted in Death of a child, Divorce, domestic violence, Domestic violence, escape, Family claims, Family Legacies, Father's Day Salute, fathers, Happiness, hard times, Life lessons about prejudice., marriage, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Dad; they don’t have to be perfect to be loved.My Cock-fighting, Wolf-hunting, Boxing/fighter, and Tender-hearted Dad.

  1. Pat says:

    Joyce, thank you for sharing your story. No matter who there were or what they did we loved them to the end and beyond. Dad’s are special and I loved and miss my dad every day!

    • I do thank you for your response; I believe fathers do make choices based on their experiences in their own childhoods, and I often tell others that until you can truly understand the “tools” or lack of them, that they have to parent, imagine their lives then explain to yourself how they could have done better given those experiences. I think it took my dad years, but he did “get there.” And he was still “trying” along the way. HE NEVER GAVE UP.

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