Janette Stallings (1911-1991) was born in Illinois and grew up moving frequently among small towns in Illinois and Oklahoma. Just after her twentieth birthday, she met Ralph Stallings, and they eloped a week later. They were married 56 years before Ralph passed away.
After several moves, the couple settled in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where some of the poetry Janette had been writing in her spare time was published in “Arkansographs”, a column of the Arkansas Democrat newspaper that printed the work of local writers. The poems published here were written during that time, and the dates on the poems are the publication dates. Janette also read some of her poems on a local radio station’s poetry program.
In her thirties, Janette became the mother of two sons, and the family moved back to Oklahoma City, where she lived the rest of her life. She continued to write poems for birthday cards and other special occasions, but her hobby interests turned more toward crocheting. She became a prolific producer of afghans for her friends and family, for fundraising sales, and for competition in the Oklahoma State Fair, where she won several ribbons. Janette also loved music, from popular tunes to opera, and was very active for many years in the Oklahoma City Civic Music Association, helping to arrange for skilled musical performers to appear in Oklahoma City. She enjoyed crossword puzzles and became so adept at them that, in the final weeks of her hospitalization with cancer, she was able to guess the words without seeing the puzzle, by having someone else read the clues aloud and describe the spaces available!
Ralph often commented on Janette’s ability to “live in a beautiful world,” to see what is most lovely in nature, the weather, and people. After Janette died, her son Gordon collected and typed her poems and printed a small booklet for family and friends. We hope that sharing her poems will allow other readers to see the world through Janette’s eyes so that you, too, can live in a more beautiful world. Janette would have liked that!