It was with great sadness that I attended the memorial service for Eunice Freeman (still known to most of us as Eunice Brooks) at Quail Springs Baptist Church this past Tuesday.
Eunice was one of the last great “old school” antiques dealers here in Oklahoma City, and so the memorial service was (for me, especially) quite bittersweet.
I guess in a way I had always assumed that Eunice would just live forever. (After all, she was less than one month shy of hitting ninety-six when she passed away!)
Now only George Haney and one or two other human vestiges of a bygone era remain above ground. Wow.
Like Eunice’s children, Bruce and LaJune, I grew up around the antiques trade here, and remember many, many happy days spent with my mother (and my grandmother from Arkansas) as we would “go antiquing” and spend HOURS wandering through the Andersons’ shop over by Bishop McGuinness, Thieves’ Market (just south of NW 23rd & Robinson), Mary Miles-Clanton’s elegant shop on Classen (and later on Riviera), Trader Jean’s over on south Klein, Jeannie Thompson’s shop, The Whatnot Shelf, and so many, many other places now long gone.
It was “Miss Eunice” who showed me my first piece of Gallé art glass, and it was “Miss Eunice” who made sure that I always got an ice cold Coke back in the little kitchen area of her shop, The Antique House, whenever Mother and “Ma” (my maternal grandmother) brought me along on their many, many shopping expeditions.
Eunice had been born into grinding poverty in Virginia, and was one of fourteen children. She had known hunger; she knew nothing but hard work.
She had started her antiques business out of the trunk of her car here in Oklahoma City, and had, like so many in what Tom Brokaw dubbed “The Greatest Generation” made the decision early on to work like a dog so that her children and grandchildren could have what she herself had been denied when she was younger.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Paul, Bruce, LaJune, Shane, and all the other members of Eunice’s family.
You had a great run, Miss Eunice.
Enjoy your much deserved nap.