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Mother of Bomb Victim Starts Anew

December 18, 1997

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The mother of Baylee Almon, the toddler who came to symbolize the Oklahoma City bombing when her lifeless body was photographed in a firefighter’s arms, is keeping the child’s memory alive through a new business.

With its six small tables, Miss Baylee’s Deli and General Store opened last week and bears the nickname of the year-old daughter of Aren Almon Kok.

``We always called her Miss Baylee,″ Mrs. Kok said. ``Sometimes I can talk about it and be OK. Sometimes, I just cry.″

Mrs. Kok, 25, is expecting a child in February, a daughter she and her new husband, Senior Airman Stan Kok, plan to name Bella.

``She’ll always know that Baylee is her sister,″ Mrs. Kok said. ``Baylee is a very, very big part of my life still. She always will be.″

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Baylee on April 19, 1995, was captured by an amateur photographer and transmitted worldwide by The Associated Press.

Mrs. Kok, who now lives in suburban Midwest City, had lived with Baylee in the downtown apartment building where she and her mother, Debbie Almon, opened the deli on Dec. 11. It is just a block from where the federal building once stood.

Mrs. Kok said she used private donations. It’s the first job she’s had since the bombing that killed Baylee and 167 other people.

The deli has a painting on one wall that shows Baylee in a pink dress and angel’s wings. Publications from bombing memorials are displayed and she sells an assortment of made-in-Oklahoma products.

``I don’t feel like I’m starting over. I’m moving forward,″ Mrs. Kok said. ``I’m moving on. That’s one of the main things to getting better. I’m happy again.″

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