FEBRUARY 26, 2023



I received a very good response from readers on my last blog, revisiting my childhood experiences in Tulsa in the 1940’s. So, I decided to expound on that, for two reasons. Number one, folks liked it, and I like it when I get positive response from my efforts. Number two, the world is so damn depressing, I’m tired of writing about it. I’m sure I will resume my bitching and complaining soon, but for now, I just wanna do “feel good” stuff.

By the way, my mother hated the term “okie”. She was born and raised in Oklahoma and damn proud of it. She and my father struggled through the depression and the dust storms of the thirties. The term “okies” was given to the migrants that left the south central states during those horrible years, headed to California. The Californians weren’t happy about all of the new arrivals and gave them that derogatory moniker. So, the people in the south central area fired back at California, and gave the derogatory nickname, of “prune pickers”.

Later, the south-central folks carried a little further, saying California was like granola. Take away the fruits and the nuts, and what you have left is “flakes”. If you’re a Californian, don’t be getting all mad at me for writing this, I moved to Southern Cal when I was 23, and lived there for the next thirty years. I loved California in the sixties through the eighties, then it got way too weird for me.

So, in 1949, I-40 took out the home I was born in, and grew up in. I was eight years old, and really upset I was going to have to leave my house and move to another home. My dad and mom built that house from the ground up. Every nail in it was driven by my father, while my mother worked alongside of him doing whatever a tiny 4′-10 woman could do. In reality she was a tough little gal, never heard her whine once. Her favorite saying was “can’t never did anything”. She lived by that; no task was too big for her. By the way, she didn’t allow any whining either.

Our new home was about 3-4 miles north. After we lived there for a couple of months or so, I was pining away for old home, had so many good memories there. So, one day without telling anyone, I got on my bike and rode back to the old home. It was early summer. In Oklahoma during that time of the year, vegetation grows like crazy. So, when I rode up to the house, all of the weeds were growing up around it, the grass was very tall, and those big scary garden spiders were hanging around everywhere. I walked around the house, and through the back yard where we had so many good times as a family, but it looked sad and abandoned. The spirit of the family home was gone. At that moment, the sadness and homesickness left me, and it was gone forever. As a nine-year-old, I knew it was time to move on with my life.

The old neighborhood was small, not many kids to hang with. Our new neighborhood was a housing tract filled with young parents with lots of kids. New adventures with new friends, and that was exciting. Now we had a really big, wooded area to explore, and we didn’t waste any time getting to know our way around.

On the south side of our new home was a huge pasture with a few head of cattle. The south property line of the pasture was the Frisco Railroad. Beyond that another 100 feet or so was the old Route 66. North of our new home was a large hill named “Lookout Mountain”, that ran for several miles, probably about 200 feet high. Heavily wooded, for great adventures. At the highest point was the local TV station. More on that in a later article.

Being ten years old, and much more mature, when we went on our adventures, we were armed with Daisy BB guns and real honest to goodness hunting knives we wore on our belts like Davy Crockett. There was quite a large tree in the pasture close to the railroad. My neighbor buddy and I used to climb the tree with our knives and BB guns and terrorize small animals and birds. There was a large Herford bull in the pasture with the cows. He had quite a large pair of testicles. We tried to hit them with our BB guns numerous times, but he never showed any response. I can only assume we missed. Needless to say, we were shooting while sitting in the tree, we were young but not stupid.


The neighborhood to the north of us one block was much older, with large mature trees. There was a vacant lot on the corner, very overgrown, where we played. Someone came up with the idea we should build a cave. How do you “build” a cave? Well, you arm about four or five 10-year-olds with their family garden tools and start digging a really big hole about two or three feet deep, about five foot long. Then you go around to everyone’s home and find as much lumber as possible, and cover the hole, then cover the wood with dirt and weeds, leaving one end open for access. You lay cardboard on the floor, dig out little holes in the walls for candles. We created a very cool hideout.

When the novelty wore off of the cave, we built a tree house in Bubba’s tree. It was pretty awesome. Looking back on it, it’s hard to believe a bunch of ten-year-olds built it. It was about 15 feet above the ground. Bubba came up with the idea of spending the night in it. My mom said no. They took kerosene lanterns up in the treehouse and let them burn all night, and nearly asphyxiated themselves. At about 4:00 am they were all hanging out sick and throwing up. My mom was probably the smartest mom ever. She had a sixth sense for stuff like this.


Summer nights are awesome in Tulsa, we loved to play “kick the can” at night. One night we all met a Bubba’s house, and the can was located in his front yard. The game started and lasted for maybe two hours. We always made sure everyone was accounted for when the game was over. Gene never showed up. We all fanned out an looked for him for probably an hour or so. No Gene. We were terrified that something bad had happened. So, we all went down the street to Gene’s house and told his parents we had lost him. Gene’s mom informed us that Gene had came home and went to bed probably an hour and a half ago. Every neighborhood has one kid that is just a little different, that was Gene. I re-connected with Gene some 55 years later at our High School reunion. Much to my surprise, he was quite normal. Bubba was a little strange though.


Having grown up around farms and animals, I was very used to seeing the internal organs of butchered animals. So, I wasn’t fazed by blood and guts. One day while my friends and I were running around playing, we heard sirens and saw a lot of activity on the railroad tracks. So, naturally we had to go see what it was all about. Seems some guy was hit by a train and his body was virtually ripped apart. By the time we got there they had already pick up the large parts of his body, but his internal organs were still scattered about on the tracks. As I looked at the guy’s insides laying on the ground, I remember thinking they looked just like any other animal. We all went back home, and nobody ever mentioned it again. It always made the think that kids probably aren’t as affected by stuff like that as adults think they are.

I am forever grateful for being able to be a kid, without being burdened with a bunch of adult nonsense. TV was totally sanitary, as were the movies, except for a lot of folks getting killed in cowboy and gangster movies. Anyway, it was OK, the bad guys were getting killed. Besides, we knew it was make-believe. Our parents aided and abetted our childhood adventures. God Bless their souls.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s