Mystery at Lone Oak Ranch
I was born in Cedar County, Missouri, and live on an ancestral farm that has been in my family since the 1800s. I am a psychologist and Vice President of the Cedar County, Missouri Historical Society. It is inspiring to see the labor of love which has gone into this work.
Ledra’s Book is a collection of memoirs, woven through poems, songs, and recollections. Beginning in the 1900s, the journey of life travels from Missouri to California. The author, Luanna Leisure has enlisted the narratives of three generations in honoring her mother’s memory. She includes colloquialisms of the time that may still be heard today as clear as a Dinner Bell on Sunday.
Judith Cain, PsyD
VP Cedar County, Missouri Historical Society
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Do you enjoy genealogy, history, poetry, ballads, and old photos? You may not know Ledra, maybe you do. Positively you will know more about her and what made her such a dynamic roll model to everyone she embraced in her life. She had strength, determination, and it affected all those around her.
She ran away and married at the age of 15 and stayed married through good times and bad. How many would do that today? Her life was not easy, in fact, it was extremely difficult at times. She suffered hardships but you would not know it through her positive, “Get out of my way and let me conquer the world,” attitude.
She was intelligent, full of energy, and loved to write and recite. In Ledra’s Book you will get a glimpse of this dynamic lady through her poetry, songs, jingles, and photo history. A genealogy of sorts with a touch of humor, and lots of love. Love also expressed by her grandchildren through their memories. Ledra would be so pleased.
Reading Ledra’s Book is like being welcomed into the kitchen of a large, loving family, seated at their table, and served a heaping plate of chicken and dumplings followed with a slice of peach pie, all while being entertained with a poem and a song.
Luanna Lynch Leisure has crafted a book rich with character and spirit, filled with photos, family reminiscences, and her mother’s poems and songs. Ledra’s book is a loving tribute to Ledra Lynch, and a pleasure to read.
Mary Miller Chiao,
Author of Death on the Funeral Yacht
How Ledra Earned Her Book
Women would like to leave a symbol of their work as wives and mothers. They think in traditional terms – being famous for their recipes, their name being chosen for a new baby, selected as a godmother, or even having their name engraved on a church pew.
Ledra Lynch could have left her legacy in all those ways but there was something about Ledra Lynch that was over and above all those things. She had a streak of creativity that set her apart.
While performing her housewifely duties Ledra lost herself in another world. She sang songs and recited poems much to the delight of her family. One of her children, Luanna, decide to find them, decide on whether they were originals or out of Ledra’s own memory, so they would not be lost to her family.
In the second grade, Ledra’s teacher selected her for a recital contest and had her memorize a portion of a book called Mary Cary. Ledra won second place but it was a part she played all her life. In addition to her own creations she loved to recite to the end of her life. She played the part of Miss Cary in Senior Centers.
Ledra, although she wanted to, could not attend high school because it was too far away. That didn’t hold her back.
She treasured the lives of all those grandparents and families in a sparkling “genealogy tree” much to the families’ delight. These were completed by Luanna’s photos of the individual families in her family – all the members. All the photos are bright, brushed, clean, and sparkling. “What beautiful pictures.
Then there are pieces of verse by Ledra about the environment in which they lived – “Railroad Crossing,” “Little Man from Durham”, “Miss Mary”, “Ojai Valley”.
Ledra captured beauty and nature in her work but she was aware of other phases of life. Religion was a strong source of comfort and her hymn “Mother’s Prayer” reflects how it influenced her own life. There is a picture of the gentle Jesus protecting a lamb in her living room and she pointed to it for comfort when there was problem in the family.
Ledra was a realist who spoke about all the phases of life. She wrote a stirring ballad about “Annie and Sam”, a man who killed his wife for being unfaithful to him. Luanna even interviewed family members for information about the tragedy.
Luanna, Ledra’s youngest child, has researched and protected by copyright her mother’s original work. She has also confirmed material by her mother in the public domain.
Luanna Leisure followed her mother’s example and became an author, a photographer, a publisher and a genealogist. This book, a final gift to her mother, shows the talents the two shared.
The book will remain as a final and perpetual gift to Luanna’s mother. It will give readers a glimpse into a farm family’s life in Missouri; Ojai, California; and Visalia, California. It will show how they weathered life’s storms with a strong faith and a sense of family unity.
Their mother, Ledra, wove it all together with her own creativity in songs, poems, and recitations. Her daughter, inspired by her mother's example to explore her own creativity, has created a gift for all the future generations of her mother’s family. Not only is it a wonderful gift for her mother but for future readers.
Dr. Audry Lynch,
Retired High School Counselor