When learning more about the Marland Mansion in Ponca City and the 101 Ranch, I grew more and more intrigued by the 1920s. It was an era of early films….daring cowboys (like Tom Mix), dashing sheiks (Rudolph Valentino), new American music crazes in jazz and blues, more independence for women, and new the birth of new fragrances like Chanel No. 5 and Shalimar. I’m intrigued by the black and white aesthetic and dramatic style of silent films, that say so much without words. It was an intriguing and exciting era, and I wanted to create a character to embody it….
…Enter Betty the Flapper. I started posing as the character in a few posts on Instagram. Clad in a black diaphonous robe and a long strand of beads, she loves to chat about the trends of her era. Is she a living breathing person? A ghost? The answer is open to interpretation. But she represents a specific time and place: Ponca City of the 1920s, when the oil boom brought great prosperity to the area and the E.W. Marland was the Gatsby of his time. She also reflects some of what I’ve heard about my grandmother Hetty. Though I never met her, I heard her colorful Oklahoma expressions repeated throughout my life, and later learned of her time at Ponca City’s 101 Ranch and wanted to portray some of her persona in the character of Betty to help keep her adventurous spirit alive.
I hope you enjoy the first “Betty the Flapper” talk; you can see it on the Honeysuckle Roads YouTube channel soon!