Coming back from a trip to Oklahoma
to visit family seems to always be a little bitter, a little sweet. This year, all I had to do was go down main street to experience both.
I love the history of old towns, the signs and sights. The old stores that have been there for decades. The little pieces of my history. I was able to visit the schoolhouse my grandmother, who died at the age of 103 went to. These old places are not like the gorgeous deco palaces I get to spend time in in Los Angeles. But they are just as old, or older, and have just as unique of a story to tell.
The bitter came in the form of my brother’s girlfriend’s store burning down a few days before I arrived. In this old town’s main street, she had a bead and antique store in a building that dated before Oklahoma statehood. I remember fondly going inside and perusing all of the goodies and picking my favorites to buy (my favorite Harvey House 1930s turquoise bracelet came from here.) Then it was a pile of brick and rubble, and then a clean lot. Just tragic.
One of the sweets was just across the street. I remember from my childhood summers visiting the old movie theater called the Eagle. I don’t know how old it is, but my mother remembered going to the Eagle with my grandfather to see her very first movie when she was still a young girl – a Western. So I had to take my son as well. Only we saw the Avengers. The seats were as uncomfortable as I remember and it is pitch black and rather unattractive inside, not restored at all, but it was a piece of my childhood I enjoyed reliving again. The cool relief on a hot summer evening, flirting with boys when I swooped into town for the summer as a teenager. Lots of memories.
Visiting the Cherokee Nation cultural center and perusing the restored interiors of some of the heritage buildings, recreating scenes that I can close my eyes and envision at my grandmother’s old house.
And a final sweet – spending the afternoon with my brother. While this sweet didn’t take place on main street, it was still special in its old time simplicity. He isn’t much for words. But he has loved raising pigeons since he was a boy. He shared an afternoon with me watching his pigeons circle in the sky for an hour, swooping around the house. Shooting straight up into the sky and then slowly spiraling towards the house. We’ve never had much in common, but after losing our older brother, this afternoon together was a nice Oklahoma memory.
Next post, a visit to the 5 and dime and a haunted hotel.