The Diligent Life of Levi Arther

Obituary: Abby Huckelbury

The Diligent Life of Levi Arther

It’s six a.m. and Levi Arther has just arrived at the Sherwin-Williams company warehouse. They won’t be open for another hour, but he’s diligent, always coming to work early. He sets his lunch aside at the little break table and makes his way over to the same forklift he’s driven for 40 years.

Levi Arther was a simple man whose soul was satisfied with diligence and a strong faith. His callused hands were a testament to his passion for hard work and his heart was marked with scars of great love and triumph over living as a black man in 18 century Oklahoma. His life was one that proved true to who he was and what he held most sacred.

Arther died Feb. 9, 1929 at age 90. He is lived on by his small colony of three grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 37 great-great grandchildren.

His life began in the tiny town of Atoka, Oklahoma. Arther and his brother were raised with a simple life as two country boys. For the most part the brothers were close and fought only the healthy amount that any siblings would. Being the little brother, Levi had a since of admiration towards his sibling. This relationship help foster the leadership in his character.

Just before graduating from Douglas High School, Arther was offered a job at Sherwin-Williams paint company in 1948. The manager at the time was looking for someone to take on the extra handy work that needed to be done around the store. Arther worked there every day after school, mixing paint and driving his pickup down to the railroad station to load the new gallons into his bed. Arther enjoyed working with his hands. He liked hard labor, which was part of the reason he never wanted to work within the business side of the company.

Shortly after landing a job with Sherwin Williams, Arther found another stumbled upon another season in his life, marriage. Love was never something Arther was searching for. He believed that love was something God gifts to you when you’re ready. That the people you meet are specifically placed in your life at the right time and the right moment. It was a Sunday morning when he met Harriett. The two caught eyes at church, and he knew she was someone special just by the extent of her beauty. Arther and Harriett married in the following year 1949.

Newly married Arther worked at the paint store until he left for Korea. Just as love suddenly appeared in his life, Arther was bombarded with a call to war. In 1950 Arther left Oklahoma to serve in the Korean War. His service lasted from 1950 until the end of the war in 1953. Arther never enjoyed speaking about this season in his life. Bering witness to the death of so many weighed heavy on his heart. Arther was never one to have any regret towards the decisions he made, but the horror that occurred in Korea was not something he liked to remember.

As a testimony to his diligence, the manager of Sherwin Williams told Arther not to go looking for a job when he returned from the war because his job at the store would still be waiting for him. Arther stayed at the Sherwin-Williams paint company in Oklahoma City for 71 years of his life. Most of his time was spent driving a forklift in the warehouse. Customers would meet him at the garage door where they would give Arther their order, and he would proceed to drive into the back and bring out the order to be loaded up. For almost 80 percent of his life he drove that forklift. His hands would glide over the gear shifts, his feet having memorized the movements of the pedals. Off and on Arther would hop down from his machine to load the many gallon paint buckets. His body never once showed his age as his wrinkled hands would grip the skinny metal handles attached to the buckets of paint, and effortlessly lift them onto the forklift. Customers would linger to strike up conversations, but there was never any time for small talk, there was always work to be done in his mind.

“He was a hard worker for sure,” said Sherwin Williams Oklahoma City Commercial Branch Manager Chris Cope. “Levi was the type of guy who was just really honest and all he wanted to do was get his work done. He always came to work with a big smile on his face.”

Part of Arther’s diligence at work was attributed to his longing to provide for his family. Harriett gave Arther two daughters, both became the lights of his life. He knew that kids were a challenge in life, but Arther learned that the hardest challenges often times became the greatest rewards. Being a father was a gift in Arther’s eyes. He cherished every minute and never took a second for granted.

His heart shattered when he lost his children. Both daughters passed before Arther and his wife, and their family seemed broken. Yet again, Arther’s determination to be a good man prevailed in 1969 when his eldest daughter passed away. He acted as he always did in a courageous manor and told his three grandchildren that he would raise them. Arther always said that he raised two families-what diligence he truly had.

Dealing with this kind of grief was not foreign in Arthers life. Part of his character was built by the effects of loss. Loss built Arther into a man of solitude, one who swallowed his sorrow alone and learned to keep moving forward. After losing his children, his brother also left his on this earth in 1995, followed by his wife of 52 years in 2001.

Even through these troubled times in his life, Arther had faith. He was a spiritual man who held on tight to the promise that God had a plan for his life. He considered himself a very lucky man to have been blessed with such a long and exciting life. He was a man of contentment. Arther lived his life with diligence. His heart went through many trials, yet he always prevailed, determined to follow through with what was expected of him and never any less.

Social Media is More Than Entertainment

Trend: Abby Huckelbury  

It’s 4 p.m. as Caroline Molloy walks through her garage, flings her Vera Bradley backpack into her room and plops down on the couch. She lays there, endlessly cycling through her social media feeds. Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat repeat. She does this for hours just trying to entertain herself and relax after a long day at high school. But for some, social media is not just a way to keep the mind busy. These apps have now become a source of income, a way to pay for rent and groceries. For Adam Stanley, social media helps him make some extra spending money. But as for Evelyn Wall, these apps help her to afford college.

Social media is one of the most controlling factors in today’s world. Apps such as TikTok and Instagram have made it onto millions of phones. People spend hours shuffling between apps, going through their different feeds. However, social media has now become something other than a source of entertainment. These platforms have created a way for people to make money.

Although social media has been primarily used only for entertainment, users can now earn money through these apps by promoting companies on their personal accounts. Creating these advertisements has created a quick way for busy people, such as students, to make money.

TikTok is an app where users can film videos of themselves lip-syncing or acting out comedy sketches, up to 15 seconds long, and choose from a database of songs, effects or sound bites to post onto their account for others to see. Users also have the ability to leave a caption under their own video, or comment on others. After founding the app, Zhang Yiming has become the ninth richest person in China, according to Forbes.

The app has quickly become popular since its launch in 2016, especially among younger generations including ages 11 to 18. With approximately 500 million users strong, according to The New York Times, TikTok is among the fastest growing apps.

Caroline Molloy is a sophomore at The Academy of Classical Christian Studies, a high school located in Oklahoma City, and has used the app almost every day since she downloaded it in 2018. Still living with her parents, as well as off of their paychecks, Molloy was looking for a source of entertainment. Something that would make her laugh and keep her updated on the latest social trends. Once the app became popular among her friends, she had to download it.

“I pretty much go on TikTok every day,” 16-year-old Molloy said. “Most of my friends have it downloaded and we’re always sending each other funny ones.”

Although Molloy does not create her own videos, she still uses the app to watch videos made by other users.

While TikTok remains a platform for expression and entertainment, it has also become a source of employment that allows users to post advertisement videos.

Although he no longer lives under the same room as his parents, public relations senior Adam Stanley continues to be funded by his parents while he attends the College of the Ozarks. Stanley had no intention of making any money from his content on TikTok. He only wanted to use the app for his own entertainment. However, it only took one video for his mind to be exposed into the world of advertisement and after that he was hooked.

“I downloaded it originally just to watch videos,” Stanley said. “I ended up posting this one video that just took off, so I kept posting more. Plus, I just really enjoy posting stuff.”

After creating more and more of these short 15 second videos, Stanley’s audience quickly began to grow. He currently has 560 thousand followers. As his account gained more followers, Stanley began gaining more recognition from companies looking to sponsor people.

“The companies I have done sponsors for have all reached me through an Instagram DM (direct message),” Stanley said. “Once I tell them I want to do it or not, they typically send a contract through my email.”

Stanley has promoted the companies TC Social Club, PinkHippo and KickBack Phone Stand and Grip. After agreeing to do a promotion, companies mail Stanley a few items of their merchandise and ask for it to be used in an advertisement video. He is often told that he can keep what is sent to him.

“I received free merchandise from every company that paid me,” Stanley said. “They send me their products, then I make a TikTok promoting it.”

After creating an ad, companies require Stanley to send them the video for review before posting it on his TikTok account. Some companies also include a caption to be included with the video as well.

“They like to view it first, that way they make sure you won’t bash their products,” Stanley said. “I usually ask what they want me to caption the video because most already have a caption in mind.”

When he first downloaded the TikTok, Stanley was unaware that he could get paid for videos he posted. He has now received a total payment of $400 for the six ads he has done.

“I started off getting $50 per post, but now I charge at least $100 per company since I have a larger fan base,” Stanley said. “I wouldn’t mind working with more companies in the future as long as I agree with their products and their services. I don’t want to represent something I wouldn’t morally stand behind.”

Just like Molloy and Stanley, University of Oklahoma sophomore Evelyn Wall is also funded by her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Wall pay for Evelyn’s food, her car, her phone, her education and even her sorority bills. Realizing all that her parents do for her, Wall felt guilty. She wished that she could take on a job to help pay for some of her expenses, but unfortunately as a nursing major she was far too busy. That’s when she received a message on Instagram. Just like Stanley, she was about to have her mind blown. Wall discovered that being sponsored on social media would fufill her hope of heklping her parents and she would be able to play a part in funding her own education.

According to Forbes, “the annual costs of textbooks are about $1,300 per year.” Just like many other students at OU, nursing major Evelyn Wall was going to need some aid in purchasing her textbooks.

“Textbooks are literally just so expensive for absolutely no reason,” Wall said. “I just feel bad because my parents are paying for my school and so I always want to help when I can so I’m the one who pays for all my books every year.”

After being noticed on Instagram, Wall was asked to promote some items on her account for the company Packed Party.

Instagram, yet another app created for primarily entertainment purposes, has included more advertisements over the years. Because both TikTok and Instagram cost nothing to download, both companies have flooded their content with ads. According to The New York Times, after opening their feed to all advertisers, Instagram began “cranking up its money machine,” meaning “a lot more ads in your photo feed.”

For some, such as 16-year-old Molloy, having a lot of advertisements pop up while you are on an app can be irritating as they disrupt you scrolling through your feed.

“The ads can kind of get annoying,” Molloy said. “I mean I understand why there are so many, but I do wish there were less of them.”

However, for students such as Wall these ads helped her find the money to purchase her textbooks for a semester.

“Packed Party sent me a direct message on Instagram asking if I wanted to work with them,” Wall said. “They just wanted me to take a picture with this confetti pencil pouch and they sent me a caption to go with it.”

With the money Wall received posting the Packed Party ad on her Instagram, she was able to purchase two of her required textbooks for fall of 2018.

“I was really happy when they asked me to do it,” Wall said. “I decided to put the money towards textbooks for school because education is something that is really important to me. Doing the ad also kind of gave me the opportunity to help my parents in a way because I was able to pay for my books on my own.”

Yellow Love Letters: Abby Huckelbury

By Abby Huckelbury

Every morning for the past three months, Mathew Huguez starts his day off bright and early weaving through parking lots leaving yellow envelopes on car windshields.

Huguez is a parking control assistant at the University of Oklahoma, and from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. he spends his time searching for cars that are parked illegally, issuing parking citations.

“I like it,” Huguez said. “I came here, to Norman, when I was in high school as part of an Upward Bound program and I really liked the atmosphere, so I looked into getting a job here on campus.”

Although Huguez is content with his current form of employment, most of the students at OU would prefer that his job cease to exist.

Everyone knows of these yellow envelopes. Their distinct Tuscan yellow coloring haunts those who take on the challenge of parking on campus. When spotting one having been slapped under the windshield wipers of your car, the common consensus is to groan and curse the parking gods and their parking control assistant minions.

Upon discussing if students responses are negative, Huguez vigorously shook his head in overwhelming agreement.

“I was told we could be the most hated man on campus,” Huguez said. “There is just a negative perspective that we just like to give out tickets to everybody.”

The reputation of parking control assistants among students is repugnant. It appears to be a commonality throughout those on campus that for some reason, these monsters have nothing better to do with their time than run around parking lots whacking ugly yellow letters on some poor kids’ car window.

“I literally hate the parking people, it’s like they enjoy pissing everyone off all the time,” junior Abby Bailey said. “It makes me so mad when I get a ticket. I don’t have time to drive around in circles and look for a spot, I have to get to class.”

Huguez was brand new on the job when he was issuing a parking ticket to a vehicle with an expired meter and was met by a student slowly clapping their hands, making rude and sarcastic remarks towards him.

“A student got mad for getting a ticket after leaving and claiming they paid the meter,” Huguez said. “Just because of the fine they do get upset.”

Yet, contrary to the online comments, parking control assistants and the human beings within the parking and transportation department do not contain the repertoire of evil and spitefulness that the student body at OU has assigned them with.

Just before my interview with the Director of parking and transportation services, Kris Glenn, I quickly found a parking spot in front of a sign that read, 2-hour parking, pay meter. I then realized that I just so happened to forget my wallet. I had no choice, I simply had to cross my fingers and hope no one noticed. 

As I stood across the street searching for the parking and transportation office, I slowly watched as a man slipped a little yellow envelope right under my windshield. Great.

Despite this minor setback, I finally found the office after Kris offered to meet outside to walk with me. Upon meeting him I explained the recent tragedy that just occurred, and without hesitation he kindly offered to waive my ticket. Sure enough, as soon as he sat down at his desk, he logged in and told me that it had been taken care of.

“I feel like somebody in this role needs to understand what students are going through, needs to put themselves in their shoes and you know, I was certainly there myself,” Glenn said. “My mom always jokes, ‘I’m glad they didn’t look at your parking record when you got this job!”

Kris graduated from OU with a degree in journalism in 2005. After falling in love with the university, he decided to pursue a job on campus. He soon landed a job with marketing and public relations for the parking and transportation department and has been in the department for close to nine years.

“It’s my dream job,” Glenn said. “I may not be the most popular person on campus always, but I love my job, I love what I do.”

The parking control assistants do not have the objective of handing out tickets for fun. There is no bitterness or wicked intention attached to that yellow letter. In fact, it is the opposite of their unfortunate reputation. The OU Parking and Transportation department is intended to help the students. This starts with working hard to maintain their own expectations for the department.

“They try to hire people with a good demeanor, that are professional and productive people who fit our culture,” Glenn said. “We don’t want to be a culture of just being aggressive and out to get people. That’s not who we are.”

“There’s a part of me that does feel bad because I hate getting a ticket,” Huguez said. “But when we have to enforce it it’s also for safety because we don’t know whose vehicle that is, we don’t know who it is, so it’s also a safety measure for the students and staff.”

Safety is not the only concern the parking and transportation department has for students. Parking also plays a role in determining a student’s attendance in their class. If there are no spots for students such as commuters to park in, they are at risk of not being able to attend class.

“I’m not just here to enforce rules, I’m here to help students go to class,” Glenn said. “That’s really my goal, I’m here to help students go to class. That doesn’t mean that were not going to write parking tickets, we are, that doesn’t mean that were not to charge for parking violations, we are, we have to charge and we have to follow the rules and we have to generate revenue but you can do that with having lots of empathy and sympathy and understanding.”

Although the community within parking services values the safety of OU students and their education, they do not value their rude comments made on Twitter. The culture of hiding behind a comment online truly comes to play concerning student parking on campus. These comments are more commonly targeted towards parking control assistants, them being the ones doing the dirty work.

However, these remarks have no effect on anyone in the department, making it difficult to shoot the messenger when the messenger couldn’t be bothered with any pettiness.

“I know that’s what I’m going to deal with regardless of where I go, so it’s just something you just have to push to the side and keep going,” Huguez said. “It is a job and we have rules that we have to follow. Inevitably you are going to have people who aren’t going to like you.”

Ignoring the curse words yelled and the one finger salutes, they understand that no one is appreciative of the letters they leave behind. Despite the continuous hate thrown at them through the gossip on campus and online, parking control assistants continue to show compassion and understanding towards their bullies. This sympathetic attitude is a continued trait from the director of parking services.  

“I just feel like somebody sitting in this chair should be more empathetic,” Glenn said. “We’re lenient. If it’s somebody’s first ticket, we void it or if someone’s in a bad spot we try and help them out. If students are willing to come in, we’ll work with them.”

Huguez is in agreement with Glenn’s comment.

“We try to be lenient,” Huguez said. “If we see someone parking in the wrong spot, we try to let them know before, so they don’t get a ticket.”

The parking control assistants are here to do their job, including maintaining the safety of the students, and they do not deserve the current reputation that has been burdened unto them. It’s important to remember that they are human beings, just trying to make a living. 

Abby Huckelbury: Story Behind the Story Misha Wilcockson

By Abby Huckelbury

            Because my passion lies with photography and not writing, I chose to interview Misha Wilcockson, a wildlife photographer who is currently filming a project for National Geographic.

            One thing I took away from our conversation was the importance of networking. Misha stressed that reaching out to people and making connections is vital in his world. His advice was to “reach out to as many people as you can, be willing to work for free for a while and just as people for opportunities. The worst they can do is say no.” Another key thing I took away from our conversation was the need for ambition. Misha said to me, “if photography is really what you want to do, then go after it.” I think it is important to keep ambition alive in ourselves and never stop driving for what we want.

            His journey to his career began his junior year of college, managing social media accounts for As the following grew, brands began to reach out and him and his partner and they started taking any and every opportunity they were presented with. They then started reaching out themselves to work with charities. Misha headed up that operation, working with Charity:water, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and others. His senior year two guys he knew from Stanford asked him to come and meet with them in San Francisco about a job they wanted to offer him. He took the meeting more as a courtesy to them, expecting to turn them down, but they offered him a $300k salary to be their chief financial officer and Chief Operating Officer. They also said Misha could continue working with brands and as a photographer as much as he liked. Eight months after graduation, he found himself in India on a shoot for Traveler. It just so happened that a team from National Geographic was staying where he was, filming the black panther that lived in the forest there. He decided to take full advantage of the situation, staying up into the early hours most evenings, drinking and chatting with the guy who was leading the team. Towards the end of his stay the guy said Misha should come and work with them on a couple of projects that they had coming up, and he jumped at the chance. He quit his job in San Francisco and began working with a National Geographic team in South Africa a few months later. He has been working for National Geographic for seven months as a freelance photographer and cinematographer.

            Misha was given this opportunity to shoot these animals in his Namibia series through his project for a baby animal series for National Geographic. Every morning he would wake up 45 minutes to sunrise and go out in search for the animal of the day. For the wild dog pups, his team knew where their den-site was so they would drive straight there every morning and shoot until dusk. He also has good connections with the people at the reserve considering he has been before.

            Misha aimed to have a very natural style in these photos. He likes to become as low to the ground as possible and he chose not to mess around and edit his pictures heavily. He wants to capture the reality, allowing his viewers to see what he sees.

            Something I learned that could apply to our class is the advice to be picky and to not settle for adequacy. Also, Misha tells himself to “be as objective as possible,” and I think this is something we need to be reminded daily as journalists.

The Passion of Helaina Hefner

By Abby Huckelbury

Q: Tell me about the city where you grew up.

A: I grew up in Dallas, Texas which is something I have always been grateful for. I am a big city girl and I feel like Dallas is just the right mix of city and suburb.

Q: How has growing up in a city help shape your character?

A: I think growing up in a big city has allowed me to be exposed to so many different things. Growing up my parents would always take me to museums and I think that is something that helped me grow into the person I am today and helped me find my sense of individuality and love for fashion.  

Q: Is fashion something that plays a big role in your life?

A: A huge role. Fashion consumes my life every day in the best way possible. I am constantly online reading about the latest fashion show or the newest trend. I live for it. 

Q: What do you find most powerful about fashion? What makes it worth ‘living for’?

A: Growing up, my parents let me choose whatever I wanted to wear, even if it was a princess dress to school, and that has always stuck with me. Fashion allows me to be an individual and be creative. I think sometimes people struggle with showing who they are and I think that is why fashion is so powerful, it gives you the tools to express who you are. 

Q: How do you use fashion to express yourself?

A: It’s funny because whenever I tell people I love fashion I always imagine them being like ‘ya right’ because I wear a sweatshirt almost every day. When I’m not in class though I spend time thinking about outfits I want to wear or organizing my closet. Personally, I try to find clothes that not everyone has and are a little bit unique, which I think expresses my style and creativity. 

Q: Do you think even a t-shirt can be a piece that people use to express themselves?

A: I definitely think so, even if it’s a white t-shirt there are so many ways you can wear it that express who you are to the world. 

Q: What’s that one piece in your closet that best expresses you?

A: This is so hard to answer but I think I would have to say my white Comme des Garçons converse because they can be worn every day but also can be dressed up really easily. 

Q: What do you want your future to look like with fashion? 

A: I really hope to graduate and move to New York City where I can one day hopefully write for a fashion magazine like Vogue. That would be a dream come true. 

Q: Have you ever been to NY?

A: I have, but only once! I loved it though. 

Q: Why only once?

A: I had never had the chance to go before last year and I was lucky enough to go for an entire week. 

Q: What did you do while you were there?

A: I actually got the chance to intern at a showroom during fashion and market week which was probably the coolest thing I’ll ever do. 

Q: What made your internship so memorable?

A: It was my first time really getting to experience the fashion world. I was sort of just thrown in the mix but I learned so much that way. 

Q: What’s the most important thing you took away from that experience and how do you want to implement that into your future?  

A: The most important thing I took away was learning how to interact with the buyers that come in. Each buyer is different, they want to see certain clothes that other buyers might not care to see and it’s important to know who your client is. In the future, I think I will take my experience and remember to research my client and be prepared for when they come into the studio, or wherever I am.