There is an attraction about Pawhuska that seems to beckon the return of many native residents. Ray Anne (Walker) Cocanower is no exception.
A 1965 graduate of PHS, Ray Anne has lived in Fort Worth, Texas, for the past 42 years. Following graduation from the University of Oklahoma, she and husband, Bob, moved to Texas where he set up a CPA practice and they reared three children.
Initially, Ray Anne had no intention of working alongside her husband in his business. For the first eight years they were in Fort Worth, Ray Anne served as Director of Education for the Easter Seals Society. When her husband’s secretary was expecting twins, Ray Anne volunteered to fill in for her. Turns out the woman’s husband was a military man and received transfer papers, unexpectedly launching Ray Anne’s career as an accountant.
The road to Ray Anne’s return home began three years before her husband’s death in 2010. They had been on the wait list for OU football tickets for years. When they finally got them, they never missed a game. While in Oklahoma, Ray Anne would occasionally make a side trip to Pawhuska to visit her sister, Judy, and best friend Carrie Ann (Conley) Watters. Although her children and grandchildren live in the Fort Worth area, she began experiencing a void after her husband’s death.
“My kids couldn’t have done any more for me – I found myself missing my roots,” said Ray Anne. “Last year following an OU football game, I drove on up to Pawhuska, bought a house and haven’t had one regret. My sons spent a week helping me relocate. It was a little challenging downsizing, but I love being home. At first my children had a hard time with my decision to return to Pawhuska. Seeing the joy this move has given me, they now understand. There is something about Pawhuska that brings its people home. I will be keeping in touch with my children and grandchildren who love visiting Pawhuska, especially the fishing.”
Ray Anne’s dad was beloved veterinarian Doc Ray Walker. Her love for antiques began as a child when her parents would go to estate sales. “Dad was really into copper and brass – anything really rustic,” said Ray Anne. “Every time we would go antiquing, Carrie Ann and I talked about opening up an antique store in Pawhuska. We kept trying to think of a name. I was in Fort Worth when this commercial came on about a soldier coming home from the war. In the background was the song, ‘Comin’ Home.’ That light bulb came on and the rest is history.”
With the name confirmed, the duo began searching for a store location in Pawhuska. Carrie Ann had previous experience with a shop in Sedan and two Dewey antique malls. Both are very pleased with the rustic appeal of their refurbished quarters which are located at 120 E. 5th Street — west end of Hank and Patty Benson’s Osage Market.
“Hank had purchased the property housing my Dad’s old clinic, salvaging a number of history-related items,” said Ray Anne. “When we began restoration of the old warehouse, Hank began bringing me items that held special memories to me. These items are allowing us to integrate my family’s history into this store.” Some of the artifacts include the vintage scale Doc Walker used to weigh his patients. The weather-worn tin ceiling of the south room came from his horse stalls. Iron horse feeders have been repurposed into planters adorning the outside of the building. One of the most unique additions to the store is a hand-made crazy quilt Ray Anne and her sisters made from Doc Walker’s colorful and comfortable Dickies. “Dad went to college on 4H scholarships because he won the American Royal with his steer,” said Ray Anne. The quilt is embellished with a life-long collection of his 4H ribbons, buttons, and pins. My sisters and I also embroidered many of Dad’s favorite sayings.”
Wanting to include something from her mom in their new store, Ray Anne recalled Hollyhock seeds she took to Fort Worth following her mother’s in 2008. She brought some of these seeds back to Pawhuska and planted them last spring. “Hollyhocks are biennial,” said Ray Anne, “you have to give them a year to bloom. This summer, that plant is seven feet tall and covered in blooms.”
Carrie Ann is the daughter of Merle and Ann Conley and sister of Johnny and David. Brother David and nephew Matt both used to work for the Journal Capital. Carrie Ann and husband, Bo, live on Copan Lake. He is a coach/teacher in Independence, Kansas. They have a son and daughter, Brian Young of Claremore and Shelley Young of Ocheleta who were reared in Pawhuska. Carrie Ann is currently working part-time for Phillips 66 in Bartlesville. She also worked for Phillips Petroleum and ConocoPhillips. As a designer and antique specialist, her forte is vintage kitchen wares and linens. “Carrie Ann has enough kitchen linens to supply twenty families and still have some left over,” laughed Ray Anne. “Shelley mans the store for us when we go antiquing.”
Comin’ Home is open year-round Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and “by chance” on Sunday afternoons. In addition to a unique assortment of collectibles, Comin’ Home is the distributor for Canus all-natural goat milk products – lotions, bar soaps, bath wash. For more information, call 918-214-6287.