By DAVID LLOYD JONES
GIVING BRIDE: Kelsy Jones, above, and soon-to-be husband John Eakin have registered for their wedding at Target and Wal-Mart, urging friends and family to purchase school supplies rather than the more traditional wedding fodder. The couple plans to give the supplies to the students at Celia Clinton Elementary School, many of which come from families with incomes below the poverty level.
JERRY L. CORNELIUS for GTR Newspapers
On Oct. 21, Kelsy Jones and John Eakin will be married.
As the bride-to-be, Jones was entrusted with the duty of registering for bridal gifts. She decided to register on-line with two chains one does not usually associate with fancy weddings: Wal-Mart and Target.
Her list of gifts also can cause some eyebrows to elevate. Instead of crystal, silverware, china and kitchen goodies, she thinks children’s shoes would be nice. So would crayons. How about some writing paper and pencils and books on a grade school level? If a few clothes suitable for four to 12-year-olds are added, that would be greatly appreciated.
Jones doesn’t plan to keep any of these things; she’s going to give them to the students at Celia Clinton Elementary School, just north of Pine Street on Harvard Avenue. Many of the students there come from families with incomes below the poverty level.
Kelsy comes from that kind of background. She is now doing very nicely with a marriage in prospect and a growing business of her own and she thinks its time to help someone who is in the circumstances she once endured.
“My father walked out on my mother and me before I was one-year-old,” she says. “I have no recollection of him. I’ve heard he’s somewhere in Oklahoma but I have no idea where.
“For about 11 years it was just my mother and I. For awhile we lived in a barn near Bartlesville, sharing it with the horses. I slept in a stall. If I needed a bath in the summer I would bathe in a horse trough. During the winter my mother would drive me to a truck stop in Copan so I could have a warm shower.
“After a year my mother could invest $200 in a tiny used trailer and we moved into that.”
If the accommodations were crude, the food situation was eased slightly by the fact that her mother worked part-time as a cashier in a grocery store.
“The store often had food in damaged or dented containers that couldn’t be sold, so mother would bring them home. We also got a lot of perishable goods that were about to go out of date. We ate well enough, but you never really knew what would be for dinner that night, particularly if you opened a can that had the label ripped off.”
About the time she was 11, Kelsy’s mother married a man named Jones, who moved the family to Sedan, Kan. “He formally adopted me and that’s why I’m now Kelsy Jones. He has been wonderful to me and I love him; he’s my real daddy.”
Kim (the mother) and Mark (the adopted father) now live in Sedan where they have a business called Kimarjos (for Kim and Mark Jones). It contains a U.S. Cellular franchise and a DISH satellite facility. For years there was a small restaurant attached to it. “I got into sales of information equipment and for about eight years worked as a waitress at the restaurant. I got a lot of experience.”
She also found out she was quite an athlete. Spending the first two high school years in Sedan and the last two in Caney, she became a track star excelling in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter dashes. She placed second in state in class 3A athletics.
When track wasn’t in season, she made the volleyball and basketball teams and was even made an All-American cheerleader.
“Four years ago I went to work for Eakin Exploration, an oil company that John owned. Soon we were dating. Now we’re going to be married.”
When an attempt to launch a singing career in Nashville didn’t pan out she moved to Chicago for three years and became fascinated by the information technology field. Last September Kelsy found herself in Tulsa. She wanted to get involved in the community, particularly working with children, and one day a cousin, Elaine Moore-Jones, told her about the Rotary Club of Tulsa and how it was working with Celia Clinton. Kelsy immediately adopted a class (which means she’ll help provide a number of materials from pencils to Kleenex) and is looking forward to serving as a mentor to a child.
At the same time she’s starting up a company called Keltech, selling and servicing computers and computer equipment.
Of course all this hasn’t left her much time for college so she is taking classes at Tulsa Community College and plans to eventually major in business with a minor in information technology. She can only take a class or two a semester, but she has enough on her plate, already.
As for that bridal list?
How about a box of crayons? Or some dictionaries? Or some story books? Or dresses or blue jeans or sneakers or sandals or coats or jackets?
Just what every blushing bride needs.