A Patchwork of Memories

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HELEN JUERGENS

I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on August 4, 1900, to John Henry Myers and Katie Myers. Successful as a business woman, I operated Helen's Cafe for 9 years and Brody Cakes by Helen for 25 years. As a senior citizen, I still enjoy planning and decorating; which I do for the Presbyterian Church, and the Southminister Senior Center. <complete>

TULSA TIMES

By Helen Juergens

My father John Henry Myers owned and operated a planing mill in Oklahoma City where I was born August 4, 1900. Dad heard there were new opportunities to be had in the fast growing town of Tulsa. He decided to move his planing mill and family to Tulsa in 1903. He purchased 1 block of land for the business, at 500 East 1st Street, with 2 houses for $1200.00. Here he built the planing mill. When the streets were paved they were using a sand base and laid bricks. Dad paid extra for them to use concrete base and laid bricks. He was right, it was more durable and that section of street still exists today nearly 80 years later.

The year of statehood, we moved to a home at 105 N. Victor. When I was ready for school, Dad was doing business with the Holy Family Catholic School on 3rd and Elgin. The nuns persuaded him to enroll me in the Catholic School for a tuition fee of $1.00 per month. Each morning, I boarded the trolley and road to school. Being one of only two Protestant children enrolled, I received less then adequate instruction. Two years passed and when the new Lynch and Forsyth Public School opened, I immediately changed schools. Although 2 years behind my classmates, I enrolled myself as a 3rd grader and worked diligently to catch up in arithmetic and reading. My hard efforts were rewarded with success, when I and 10 other students were to become the first Tulsa Junior High School class. Graduating from Central High School in 1920 our class was now 144 students. Because my mother was an invalid and needed my care, I remained at home after graduation. The following three summers were happy ones spent at A & N College, Stillwater, studying Home Economics and Art.

My first job was with Field's Stationery, where I taught classes in how to use Dennison's Crepe paper, making everything from gift wrap to window displays, flowers or costumes. That year we sold a half a boxcar load of crepe paper.

It was 1932 and the height of the depression, when I lost my job at Fields. Dad suggested, that I open a restaurant business in Tulsa, in a now vacant business location he owned. The First Street location was not in a desirable area of town, but we figured that I could serve breakfast and lunch to the businessmen in town. So I opened up Helen's Cafe, with red and white checkered tableclothes, 4 tables and 14 stools. The menu was one meat and three vegetables and a drink and dessert for 25 cents. At those prices the business was a success and 9 years later we sold out. I married one of my customers, Jim Sullivan. Sadly, Jim died of a heart attack.

The beginning of my life long career came one day when I was working at Kristina's Flower Shop. The Brodies had a wedding cake business "The Cake Shop", which they operated from the back of their home. The ovens were in the add-on section of the house. Mrs. Brody had had a heart attack and wouldn't be able to continue in the business. The business opportunity was offered to me. I went home and thought it over that night; a chance to use my talents in art, home economics, and decorating. The next morning at 10:30, I called Mr. Brody to close the deal. "I'll take it for $1,000.00." I said. Eventually we moved to a vacant grocery store at 1717 E. 17th Street and changed the name to Brodies Cakes by Helen . We baked only cakes and specialized in wedding cakes and reception planning. I ran the business successfully for 25 years until I retired. Today Brodies Cakes has passed on to other family members, who still bake from that secret delicious recipe, the beautiful cakes for any celebration.

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