Okie from Muskogee: Muskogee native finds her way home | Lifestyles

During Marcia Gideon’s Okie from Muskogee interview, somebody popped in and asked Gideon if she could use a clothes hamper.

Of course she could use it.

“People are giving me stuff all the time,” Gideon said. “I need tubs and stuff for clothes and for clothing events. Or they give me stuff because they know I’ll find someone who needs it and give it to them. ”

The Muskogee native has spent a lifetime helping and supporting others. Much of that help came through 39 years as an early childhood teacher – nine years in Sand Springs and about 30 in Stilwell.

GIdeon said her mother was passionate about children.

“I guess it was just born in me watching her,” she said. “She always taught 4s and 5s Sunday school class at Riverside Christian Church, where I grew up,” she said. “I was the artsy one. If she had crafts or posters or anything, she was always getting me into helping her make them. ”

She got involved with Boulevard Christian Church while living in Stilwell. She used to come and drive her mother to Boulevard. When the Gideons moved to Muskogee several years ago, Gideon got involved with the church’s Community Care team.

The church “adopted” New Tech at Cherokee Elementary. Members find ways to support Cherokee students and teachers.

“I love supporting the teachers because of the fact that the teacher is the number one thing in that classroom that the child depends on,” Gideon said. “If the teacher is happy, the child is going to feel supported in that classroom.”

Gideon and her husband are also involved with helping the Gospel Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity.

A lifetime

of teaching

Marcia Gideon sad she loved every one of her 39 years of teaching.

She taught kindergarten for nine years at Sand Springs. At Stilwell, she taught a 4-year-old class, then second-grade and a transitional first grade. Starting in 2001, she spent five years as director of a Head Start literacy program, then ended her career teaching kindergarten again.

“I just love that age,” she said. “Their minds are so open. They’re so motivated. My favorite experience is when they’re just focused in on everything you’re saying and doing because they’re so involved. You just see their little wheels turning, and they don ‘t want to stop, even when they go for recess. “

Gideon said her biggest challenge came when she had to face negativity, especially in most recent years.

“Not just any one certain people, but it’s almost like in media and lack of support from state and federal government,” she said. “You were all the time trying to defend yourself. It was just different at the end.”

She said one reason she retired was “they took all the fun out of kindergarten.”

Helping parents

clothe children

Gideon found other ways to help students since retiring. For several years, she was active in Boulevard’s school clothing giveaway. She said she began in 2014.

“It had been about getting clothing to the kids so that they can be ready for back-to-school,” she said.

The church continually evaluates the mission and might switch focus this year. She said the pastor challenged the church to adopt a low-income housing area and pinpoint their needs. They distributed clothes at Port City Acres recently.

“What we’re thinking about doing is changing from back-to-school to what we’re seeing from our families,” Gideon said. “When they need clothes is when the seasons change. That’s why spring is a good time to do something, to get kids ready for the warmer days.”

She said they plan to give out clothing at Cherokee during parent-teacher conferences.

“Seasons change, and children have outgrown last year’s clothing, so they need something this year, and a lot of them are living on a very limited income,” she said.

Pen pals

provide support

Gideon said Boulevard’s relationship with Cherokee began when they provided needy students with backpacks filled with nutritious weekend snacks.

“What we started out with is that we had a concerted effort at the church to pray for Cherokee staff and students and their families,” she said.

Gideon recalled asking the principal if she’d like the church to give teachers a treat each month. She told the principal the church could be a resource for the school if there were any needs.

“Like if a class needed school supplies or a family needed clothes or shoes for one of the students,” she said. “Based on whether we have the funds or not, we could meet those needs.”

The relationship has continued for at least two years.

“As they asked, we just try to do what they asked,” she said.

The church now has a pen pal program with Cherokee fifth-graders. An adult from Boulevard keeps in letter contact with the students. And the students develop writing skills.

“I’m the mailman,” Gideon said. “A side thing that we didn’t anticipate is how the people fall in love with the students. The pen pals are very supportive.”

HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?

“I was born and raised here, so I got here by the grace of God, I guess. We lived in Stilwell 34 years, but we have family here, so we were frequently making trips back over here. What brought me back over here was, as I was coming to church here, when my mother passed away, I had a nice talk with God and said, ‘should I stop going to church over here and find a nice church in Stilwell,’ and he said, ‘just keep coming to Muskogee. ‘ So I guess it was God that brought me back. “

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?

“It’s a smaller town atmosphere, but big enough that there’s quite a lot of variety. I love that you can see all around town that they’re doing a lot of revitalization. I love the atmosphere is more laid back and less hustle and bustle . “

WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?

“There are still a lot of improvements that need to be made as far as infrastructure. We need more businesses to come to town. And if we all come together as a community and are more accepting and forgiving of others and work together for a positive goal. I think we have the potential to do that. “

WHAT PERSON IN MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?

“I really admire Mayor Coleman. I think he is doing a great job. His predecessors before him built a foundation already. They headed us in the right direction. I feel our school system has a lot of Christian leadership in it, as well as the police department. ”

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?

“That is a hard question. I’ve had lots of friends.”

WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?

“I like to watch TV. I like to do artsy crafty things. I like to go out in nature, go to the lakes around here and walk on the trails. I enjoy going to Honor Heights Park, Spaulding Park.”

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?

“Come to Muskogee for a hometown feeling where you can still go walking in your neighborhood, visit parks, shop the boutiques. Get that experience that you’re not in a big crowd. You’re unique.”

MEET Marcia Gideon.

AGE: 70.

HOMETOWN: Muskogee.

EDUCATION: Riverside Elementary, Alice Robertson Junior High, Muskogee High School, 1970 class; Northeastern State University.

PROFESSION: Retired teacher; worked for VA education call center for three and a half years.

FAMILY: Husband, Robert; two sons, Chris and Randy; nine grandchildren. “One angel who has gone on to be with the Lord.”

CHURCH: Boulevard Christian Church.

HOBBIES: Spending time with my family, especially grandchildren. Travel. Community activities.

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