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LONGTIME RESIDENT CHERISHES MEMORIES.

Byline: Bettie Rencoret Senior columnist

Dorothy Parker Oakes grew up in Lancaster as a priest's kid.

Her father, the Rev. Boyd C.L. Parker, pastored St. Paul's Episcopal Church for 20 years, and she and her only sibling, the recently deceased Boyd C.L. Parker Jr., called the manse her father built behind the church their home.

``When we first came here we lived in a house on Cedar Avenue, right next door to the water tank, before my father built the house behind the church,'' she said.

That was when the church, now located at 502 W. Ave. K, was on the northeast corner of Cedar Avenue and Milling Street, where Lancaster Fire Station No. 33 is.

Oakes displays with pride an oil painting of the old St. Paul's with the parsonage behind it. She cherishes the painting not only for its historical value but because of all the memories it brings up.

She was born in Milford, Mass., where her father was a steel worker before he felt the calling into the ministry and moved his family west to Utah. He attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, then moved the family to Santa Clara, Calif., where he attended seminary.

``It takes as long to become a minister as it does to become a doctor,'' Oakes said.

``When we moved here in 1929, Lancaster had a population of 800, not including the ranchers,'' she said, ``and there were 11 churches.''

``We didn't have a lot of things to entertain us,'' she said. ``We didn't need them. There was only one real swimming pool in town and that was in the old high school. Of course, the farmers had reservoirs where we could go out and swim.''

She attended the Cedar Avenue school and some of the friendships she made then, at age 9, she retains today.

She belonged to the Rainbow girls and became a past worthy adviser. She is now a 52-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

She was graduated in 1937 from Antelope Valley Joint Union High School, then, in 1939, from Antelope Valley Junior College.

The streets all had numerals for names then, she said.

``Milling was 11th Street, Newgrove was 12th, Oldfield was 13th, Pillsbury 14th. Avenue J was 15th Street and beyond that there was nothing,'' she said. ``The view was unobstructed all the way to the San Gabriels.''

In her youth she worked for four or five years at Ward's Dime Store on Lancaster Boulevard.

She married Howard D. Oakes, a handsome firefighter, on Oct. 12, 1947, and they lived in other areas where he was assigned, until he became ill and they moved back to Lancaster in 1963.

They did fun things, she said, like traveling to Trinidad in northern California for the salmon fishing, or going down to Mexico for a month every year.

``We had a trailer, and we met so many wonderful people,'' she said. ``I still keep in touch with the people we met up in Trinidad.''

During the years they were raising their two sons, Lon Parker Oakes of Fairfield, Calif., and Greg Carl Oakes of Lancaster, she and Howard were actively involved with the Boy Scouts, from which she received an award for outstanding service.

``We put 12 years into it,'' she said. ``For a couple of years I trained den mothers. Lon became an Eagle Scout. He's now an aerospace manager. Greg is an engineer for the Kern County Fire Department, stationed in Mojave.''

She has six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren of whom she feels justifiably proud.

Howard retired in 1971 and died in 1985.

When Lon was little, she worked for the Edison Company here and in Pasadena, then took a hiatus to have Greg. After that she spent four or five years with the water company.

``That was nothing permanent,'' she said.

``Years ago, in the 1960s I was an American Red Cross Gray Lady,'' she said. ``I worked the blood drives and things like that.''

Among her current activities she loves doing needlepoint. Even though it is evident, from examples she has in her home, that she is quite accomplished at it, she attends a weekly needlepoint class at the Antelope Valley Senior Center.

She's an avid collector. Among her treasures is a collection of cups and saucers started from two that belonged to china tea sets she had as a little girl. Other collections include spoons and cow cream pitchers.

``But one of my favorites is my collection of miniature outhouses,'' she laughed.

She is a regular volunteer at the Assistance League of Antelope Valley's Heartline thrift shop; lunches with longtime friends, The Lunch Bunch, on Mondays; and participates in The Daughters of the King organization at St. Paul's.

She also belongs to the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary, which is dedicated to earning money to benefit children who are fire victims. A recent auction held by the group will fund campers to the group's Champ Camp.

``My sister-in-law used to say, you're doing too much! and I probably am too busy, but I can't think of anything I want to give up. Now she's gone, and I'm still here,'' she said.

There is one other thing that takes up her time now, she said.

``Mostly I go to the doctor, but I feel fine,'' she said.

Menus for the week at the senior life nutrition sites in Lancaster, Palmdale and Pearblossom have been announced. All meals include bread, margarine and coffee, tea or milk for the suggested donation of $2.

Monday: Chili, corn bread, peas and carrots, garden salad, orange juice, cookies.

Tuesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn Niblets, carrot-raisin salad, banana.

Wednesday: Sweet and sour chicken, rice pilaf, green beans, coleslaw, pears.

Thursday: Swedish meatballs, parsleyed potatoes, Normandy vegetables, marinated beets, Jell-O with fruit.

Friday: Macaroni and cheese, spinach, lettuce and tomato salad, juice, ice cream.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO Dorothy Parker Oakes holds a painting of Lancaster's old St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Bettie Rencoret/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1999 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 14, 1999
Words:1010
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Cherished Memories.

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