Faye Boydstun’s home south of town brims with her creativity.
Hundreds of dolls — many she made, others she collected — gaze from glass-front cabinets her husband built.
Yet the house still has room for scores of quilts of all sizes, colors and patterns. Her latest work, depicting a 2012 trip to South Dakota, is spread across a work table, waiting for the binding to be finished.
Boydstun, 88, has lived in that farm home for more than 50 years. She and her husband, Frank Boydstun, reared four children there.
She recalled the family’s first few years in the house, which she said was built in the days of Indian Territory.
“A bachelor man had lived here, and we had to mow the yard to get to the door,” she said.
And the floor slanted, she said.
“First thing Frank did when we moved in was he went under the house and installed pillars,” she said. “Frank was real good with wood and working on the house. He wanted the kitchen to match the roof plan of the house.”
Frank and Faye Boydstun married in the waning years of World War II, although he had yet to go to war.
After the war, Frank Boydstun worked at Hogle Plumbing. Faye Boydstun worked as a beautician for 20 years. She also has worked in a department store and made alterations.
Meet Faye Boydstun
CAREER: Retired beautician, worked as a sales clerk and did alterations.
EDUCATION: Oktaha High School, 1944. Beauty College.
FAMILY: Two sons, Stanley “Max,” and Dudley; two daughters, Vicki Lynn Brewer and Susan Lewis.
CHURCH: Keefeton Trinity Southern Baptist Church.
HOBBIES: Doll-making, quilting.
south of Muskogee
Faye Boydstun knows the area around her home well. Her house is across from what used to be the rural Sequoyah School.
“I was raised in this area,” she said. “I was born and raised on Elm Grove Road.”
Elm Grove Road is a couple of miles north of her current home.
“My dad moved us around a lot to get closer to the river,” she said. Her father was a furrier who hunted mink and other fur-bearing animals.
Boydstun recalled having to walk to church and school.
“We walked four miles every Sunday to church,” she said. “That was wartime, and we didn’t have money for gas.”
She also walked a mile each way to school until she started high school in Oktaha.
“I was an outstanding basketball player then,” she recalled. “I played forward, and I had to be fast because I only weighed a little over 100 pounds.”
That was in the days when girls played six-on-six basketball, with three forwards on one side of the court, three guards on the other.
She graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 1944. She even earned an American Legion scholarship to play basketball in college.
“I was determined to get an education, but I couldn’t go to college,” Boydstun said. “We had no transportation, no gas, no money.”
Instead, she married Frank Boydstun as soon as she graduated. She went to beauty college, and he went into the service.
“We were married one month to the day he went into the service,” she said.
As full as Boydstun’s house is, it does not contain all the dolls she has made.
“I’ve made over 300 dolls,” she said. “Many I have given as gifts.”
Boydstun made the dolls on display at the Kiwanis Senior Citizen Center.
“We had classes at the center,” she said. “We did porcelain dolls, and we had ceramic molds for dolls’ heads.”
Making the dolls is a long process, she said.
“We would meet weekly at the center,” Boydstun said. “By the time you finish the dress, it takes about a month.”
The molded heads are fired, painted with a China paint, then fired again, she said.
“The arms and legs are also made of porcelain,” she said, adding that some dolls even have porcelain trunks.
Boydstun’s creations can be found in several rooms of her house. They stand tall on a bedroom dresser. They model red hats and purple dresses in her “Red Hat” room.
One doll, Angel Cheeks, sits in a high chair near the kitchen, wearing a deep red outfit.
“My granddaughter had that outfit when she was little,” Boydstun said. “She now teaches at Tony Goetz Elementary School.”
Boydstun also has restored antique dolls.
Not all the dolls are her own creation. She has a collection of Madame Alexander dolls, which are delicately handcrafted and highly collectible.
“I worked at Hunt’s Department Store before I retired, and they sold Madame Alexander dolls,” she said. “After they had been advertised for 24 hours, employees could buy them, but they did not get a discount.”
Needle and thread
creations fill time
Boydstun’s quilting roots run deep.
“I had a crafty mother. She was a quilter,” she said. “She had to quilt a lot of things for warmth.”
However, little Faye didn’t learn quilting from her mother.
“She quilted while I was at school,” Boydstun said, recalling that her mother would put the quilt frames away while the family was at home.
Boydstun said she got interested in quilting years later, through the Se-Ke Extension Homemaker’s club. She recalled watching a TV show that taught quilting.
“I’m a self-taught quilter,” she said. “I love hand-quilting. I’m a seamstress, period.”
She now teaches others. Boydstun said she has taught quilting at the Kiwanis Senior Center for 24 years and helped organize the Muskogee Quilting Guild 30 years ago.
Boydstun said quilting techniques have changed over the years.
“With the old cotton thread, you had to push from bottom to top,” she said. “But now we have polyester.”
Polyester thread, which is stronger, allows her to move the needle over and under the fabric, she said.
“You have to rock that needle,” she said. “You use a glazed thread.”
Boydstun said she could load seven to eight stitches on one needle before pulling it through the fabric.
She said she has lost track of all the quilts she has.
“Sometimes I have two or three going at the same time,” she said. “And I have 15 tops in my cedar chest waiting to be quilted.”
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“I was born and raised here. My parents came from Missouri through Arkansas, then up through Webbers Falls. Dad was basically a farmer and furrier. He hunted animals such as mink.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“I love it. It’s not too large, yet it’s large enough. When you get older, you can get around easily.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“There should be more opportunities for work for our young people.”
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
“Sewing. I do things around the house. I used to do gardening. I do volunteer work at the Senior Center. I’m the quilting coordinator.”
WHAT OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE?
“I have lots who I admire. Juanita and Chuck Jordan. I’ve known them for years and years. We were both busy in school activities. And Judy Croftcheck, my special friend and singing partner. She’s so outgoing and has done so many outstanding things at church.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“I have so many good memories. I guess learning how to quilt. My mother was a quilter, so it was in the family.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“It’s a wonderful place to live. I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve traveled a lot, but it’s always nice to come home to.”