Cherokee Connection Chapter 1 page 1
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The Cherokee Connection
Chapter I


"I leave my love to all of you because I am not rich."
-- El Dora Keith Titchenal (my mother)
and Grandmother Anna's secret
after an accidental visit to the Cherokee Nation
and the 1893 birthplace of my mother

The closing line of my mother, Dora's last note was very sad. It was written just before she died on December 10th 1988, three months before her 96th birthday. The note dated June 1988, was written in a shaky hand with a scratchy pin and was difficult to read. As best we can tell, it read:

To my children, two boys and your sister have been nice to take care of me when I needed care. So I also put names in the things (I want you to have) because (then) you know I will rest well.
Two other lines that can't be read, one line about the bears.(her bear collection)
I leave my love to all of you because I am not rich.
From Mother Dora Titchenal

Our mother, Dora, did not consider herself rich because she didn't have property or money to leave to her children. Of course, she really was rich. Rich with what counts the most "Love and Compassion." She left much more than money.

One of my nieces (Dora's granddaughter) told me, "Dora was always so cheerful and so interested in life and helping others." In her seventies, Dora started making and repairing dolls for the Crippled Children's Hospital. She became known in El Cajon as the doll lady. She had a large collection of several hundred antique dolls, which she had repaired and dressed. They were worth thousands of dollars. Later, Dora sold her dolls to pay for a cataract operation. She was too proud to accept money from her children. Everyone gave her teddy bears and she began an equally large collection of Teddy Bears.

Dora was well liked. Many of the people who had crossed her path over the years, sent flowers or cards expressing these feelings. The store clerks always took the time to chat with her. Dora's hair dresser even came to the funeral parlor to fix her hair. She wanted to be sure Dora's hair was just right for the funeral. Dora's postman was always glad to bring mail to her and came to the funeral to express his feeling.

Dora had been living alone in her little rented home in El Cajon, California for almost twenty years since our father, Charles died March 25, 1969 at the age of seventy-nine. It was after her funeral when my sister, Alice my brother, Don and myself (Oliver) were going through her things that we found the note. The last sentence brought tears to my eyes. I could only hope that she had realized, we all knew, loved and appreciated her for the many things she did for us over the years.

Our mother certainly left her children (and her many friends) much more than love. We knew she left her love because she had always shown and expressed her love for us in many ways. It was true that we were never rich, not with money. But she had left us rich with much more than money, we were rich with her many examples of how to live.

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