Category Archives: Tulsa

Observations After a Class Reunion

1. I’m glad I went. I think.

2. I’m glad that the God of my salvation does not judge me as mere mortals see me. That my worth to Him is not appearance based, or on what kind of house I live in or my education or job or social standing.

Because all those things are not in quite as good shape as they were 40 years ago when I graduated from high school.

The group photo proves that.

Ouch.

One of my few regrets from the party is that I allowed Gayla to drag me over for the portrait.

Bit a of reality check for me.

3. A mild correction of an old problem.

Remember the kid who sat alone in the cafeteria? Much of the time, that was me.

What I’ve regretted about that, was not that the others didn’t include me in their group, but that I didn’t use the opportunity to keep someone else from being alone.

What was so great about me that I couldn’t have been the one to reach out?

So, on Saturday night when one of the guys who used to have the same problem came up and started chatting, I chatted back. He made the first attempt (which I thought very brave because we’d never known each other), and I responded. And, then, I tried to overcome my nervousness and started a few conversations, too.

4. There were a few people who’d been popular (and though not enemies, weren’t friends either) who are now friendly and welcoming and that always pleases, but shocks me.

5. And there were some who’d never spoken to me in school,and who wouldn’t even crack a smile for me on Saturday night.

Stupid, stupid, stupid that it still stings. Time to grow up, girl.

Norma Davis, me, Richard Crawford, Nicole Wright

6. How valuable kindness is. Thank you, Gayla and Shirley and Carolyn and Kathy and Don and Jim and Joanna and Ray and Mike and Alan.

7. I’m glad I went.

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Filed under 1970s, Faith, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Vicissitudes of Life

Make New Friends

Carla and Sandra

Make new friends
But keep the old,
One is silver
And the other gold.

That’s a tune we learned in Girl Scouts about 1964 and it’s still true. My Mingo friends are absolutely precious to me Some of them are the same ones I learned the song with.

And I value the new friends I’ve made over the past few years, like Patti, Blanca, Geneva, Pat, Donna, Mo.

Now I can add Sandra to the list.

For a couple of years we were internet friends but hadn’t met face to face until last weekend.

Almost 3 years ago I discovered her delightful blog Add Humor and Faith…mix well through kind of a hop, skip and a jump around the internet. Coffee, Tea, Books and Me was where I started; actually one of the first blogs I ever read, back when I wasn’t really sure what a blog even was. A very interesting sounding lady posted a comment there and I followed the link to the blog she shares with her childhood friend, Stick Horse Cowgirls. Such an evocative title.

Well, C & V featured one of their reader’s comments in their sidebar – which finally brings me to Sandra. My first visit there was a delightful journey into her archives and stories about growing up in Springfield, Missouri and Indiana, crinolines, a brother and his car, older sisters and loving parents.

It surprised me how much we have in common, including visits to Tulsa. (Her grandchildren attend my old high school.)


So, this past weekend, we met Sandra and her husband at a Panera and had a wonderful visit.

The internet can be a scary place and not everyone you meet online is someone that you can safely meet in person.

But Sandy and her husband are real, salt-of-the-earth people, the kind that are also salt and light in the world and I’m so glad we met them. Joe and I had a marvelous time visiting with them.

They are shiny new silver friends.

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Filed under Faith, Tulsa

The Monkees, The Wrecking Crew (Studio Musicians) and Leon Russell


Remember the big hoopla about 1966 – 67 that the Monkees didn’t play their own instruments? Boy, I do. And it raged for years. The Rock and Roll snobs were really ugly about it.

The Monkees never pretended that their origins were anything other than a massive casting call at Screen Gems. I was a member of their fan club and lots of articles included the original ad that began “Madness: Wanted four ….”. The years have taken their toll. I used to could quote the whole ad.

They were the brainchild of Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. Their idea was a television show about a loony rock and roll band, with music videos. Marketing began … at the beginning. According to Wikipedia (and if I remember correctly a pre-1968 article in TV guide) the story about the group using studio musicians broke when Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork put their collective foot down to be allowed to play their own instruments. Part of the reason they were hired was that they all actually were musicians, except possibly Jones. He was a professional singer, having played the Artful Dodger in the London stage production of Oliver! and had recorded a solo album.

Fast forward a few years to 2007. While looking through some old issues of American Heritage magazine, I saw a piece on the Wrecking Crew (click here for the article online. Note: as of 3-1-2012 this link has been updated). Up until then, the only Wrecking Crew I was familiar with was the movie with Dean Martin. One of his Matt Helm, pseudo James Bond type things.

The article had pictures of people playing instruments during recording sessions. I think the only one I recognized was Glen Campbell. And even though I’ve always liked Glen Campbell, I’m not really a fan so I just skimmed through it; a couple of years later I was looking through old magazines and sat down to actually read it rather than just looking at the pictures.

(Even though I love to read books and really love magazines, there’s this quirky thing about not reading articles in them. Like a kid, I look at the pictures. I have years worth of Victoria magazines that I’ve never read, just looked at. National Review is an exception. There are very few photos in it and I usually read it cover to cover, often on the day it arrives – except for tax and libertarian pieces.)

Well, lo and behold. The Wrecking Crew was a group of studio musicians in Los Angeles. And yeah, they played the instruments on the Monkee’s first 2 albums.

But they also played for The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Byrds and a whole lot more. They were Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. They played everything from jazz to rock and roll to jingles for television commercials. They were fantastic.

There was an interview posted online with Tommy Tedesco’s son Denny, which has been removed.  Tommy was a studio guitarist. Denny made a documentary titled “The Wrecking Crew”, here is a video interview with him. Wish the whole film was on youtube because it looks fascinating.

Glen Campbell and Leon Russell were the only names I recognized. A more complete list of Leon Russell’s keyboard backups is here at Tulsa TV Memories. (Leon Russell is a Tulsa native.)

The Funk Brothers backed up Motown. here

For those of us who still like the Monkees:

Go here for a review of a Micky Dolenz concert. Nice article. Micky tells of being in the Abbey Road studio with the Beatles.

In this Wikipedia article on Davy Jones, it mentions that he was on Ed Sullivan the same night that the Beatles debuted, February 9, 1964.

Oh, my. Mike Nesmith is 68. Ouch. Here’s his bio on Wikipedia. My husband saw the current photo of Mike and said he looks like a senator.

And here’s the Wiki article on Peter.

Ah, memories.

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Filed under 1960's, Music, Oklahoma, Rock and Roll, Tulsa, YouTube

Go Go Boots a la 1966

My parents bought me a pair of white Go Go boots about 1965 when I was in the 5th grade, a year before these were featured in the 1966 Fall/Winter Catalog. I loved them and felt so stylish and teenagery.

Go Go boots were absolutely the In Thing. I remember seeing lots of pairs of them unevenly lined up under the benches at The Wheel on Friday nights. The Wheel was the roller rink at the edge of Mohawk Park in Tulsa and my friend Judy would pick me up to go with her. When you rented the skates, you simply put your shoes/boots under the bench – not in a locker. Our friend, Carol had her Go Go boots stolen one night. Carol’s boots were probably a big temptation because her family had more money than the rest of us in Mingo, and I’m sure that her boots were probably more expensive.

It was always a little scary there to me because we were just about 10 years old and the greasers were there, too. Remember how the kids looked in “The Outsiders“? That’s them. Something about how they just looked made me uneasy – and I never ever saw anything worse than somebody smoking outside the door. But the boys did have the greased back hair and and wore pointed-toed black shoes (kind of like the ones that the band members are wearing in the Pretty Woman link below). The girls had lots of eye make-up and would crowd into the tiny girls’ bathroom. Roy Orbison’s played on the p.a. (public address system) a lot. The kids seemed to really like it.

Whenever I hear that song I don’t think about the hooker movie; no, I’m back at The Wheel.

Perhaps Susie Hinton was there, too. She went to Rogers High School and was writing “The Outsiders” at that time. These are the people she was writing about.

Aren’t these knee socks and stockings just the coolest thing?! We wore lots of them.

Here I’m striking an embarrassingly silly pose on the back of my dad and brother’s work truck in our front yard. This would’ve been about 1966 (not ’65 as I tagged the photo) and the knee socks look just like the ones from the catalog, so Mama may’ve ordered them from that very page.

But I confess, I even wore them with my cowboy boots – no photo of that (and you should be grateful)!

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Filed under 1960's, 1965, 1966, Books, Books, Boots, Entertainment, Ephemera, Fiction, Mingo, Movies, Music, Oklahoma, Rock and Roll, Sears, Shoes, Tulsa, Vintage catalogs, YouTube

Memorial Day

Family was very important to my father and mother. In fact, Daddy quit school just after the 6th grade to help take care of his mother who was dying of TB. She died when he was 13, and then his father died about 3 years later.

When I was a girl, my family observed Memorial Day by driving to the Mount Hope Cemetery in Afton, Oklahoma. Daddy would buy flowers to put on his parents’ graves. Oh, how I wish I had written down the stories he told. Oklahoma was a new state – only 2 years old – when he was born. In fact, he was the first Edens to be born in the state of Oklahoma. It was still Indian Territory when they came by covered wagon from Missouri. What a bumpy ride that must have been.

Travelling is still a bit exhausting for me since the surgery but I wish we had been able to be in Tulsa this weekend. We would’ve placed a gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers from our pasture on his grave, as we have done in the past.

It’s an honorable act to acknowledge our loved ones who have passed away. That’s the term Daddy and Mama always used. I guess the word “death” seems a bit harsh to us Southerners. We believe that they have passed over the Jordan to be with Jesus.

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Filed under 1960's, Family, Memorial Day, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Vicissitudes of Life

Tradition

What a crazy mixed up world this is. Our society has become so complicated; but then there are magazines and television programs and books, ad nausem focusing on simplification. Most of them are trying to get us to buy even more products. Somehow I don’t think they’re getting the point that they say they’re trying to make.

Sandra’s comment on the Nurses’ Uniform post started me thinking about this. Thanks, Sandra, because it’s good for us to review our life and why we do things.

However, it’s best to use some wisdom when reviewing and making decisions. When I was in high school and thought I was so smart, I rejected a lot of tradition. Through 17 year old eyes, tradition looked tired and out-dated. I remember saying that it was not a good enough reason to keep doing something just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. And while there may be some truth in that, it’s not enough to say that just because this teenager doesn’t understand the origins of something, that it’s passe. Thank the good Lord above that I did not reject all tradition: Joe and I were married at our church, we both worked, we still valued family ties.

Our wedding ceremony was a mixture of traditional and not. I wanted a “practical” wedding dress – something that I could wear again and not have people thinking that I was like Grandmother Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof (she was ancient and wearing her wedding dress in the dream sequence). So I chose an evening dress pattern from the Vogue catalog and some aqua crepe fabric. No bridesmaids, groomsmen, my father didn’t give me away. Joe and I entered together, singing “To Be Like Jesus” a Capella; we wrote our own vows.

The church we attended was a small group of believers (New Life Fellowship in Jesus). Our pastor, Ray Vogt, was a former Mennonite. I think there were former Baptists, Mennonites and Catholics in our congregation. Going by appearances it was untraditional because we met in a YMCA building. Actually, those buildings had family history connected. The YMCA was only leasing them from the Tulsa Public School system. My brother, sister and I had all attended school there; it was the original campus for East Central High School. When I was there, it was Lewis & Clark Junior High; East Central had moved to the new building on 11th St. by then.

It was wonderfully New Testament fellowship, but it didn’t look like a “church” building. This was before the advent of the steel building mega-churches. Most church buildings up until that time, were wooden, brick or concrete block and they were all identifiable by simply looking at them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the new style, but I confess that when I visited the Congregational Church in Middleboro, Massachusetts and saw that soaring spire and the huge columns, it made me wistful. Here was a place that was set aside from the world – identifiably so.

Hopefully all this gray hair is not in vain. I would like to think I’ve earned it.

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Filed under Aging, America, Faith, Family, Music, Oklahoma, Tulsa

Vegetarian Chili

It’s not as bad as it sounds, although it won’t fool a meat lover, but then again it’s about as close to the real thing as I can get. Some vegetarian chili recipes have things like carrots, etc. in them, which I don’t understand. Mostly I make this when our vegetarian sons are here, but I have made it for just Joe and me, too.

Vegetarian Chili

*1 package Morningstar Farms Crumbles (or 4 Boca Burgers thawed and cut into 1″ pieces)
*1 onion, chopped
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*2 T. olive oil
salt
pepper
~
1 can (I think it’s about 12 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cans (or more) pinto beans
1/4 t. comino
Chili powder (at least 2 T.)
Oregano – dash

1. Saute crumbles, onion and garlic in olive oil. Crumbles will not get real brown or crisp, so just cook until the onion is translucent. I use the dutch oven for this step. There’s no reason to wash an extra skillet. Just keep stirring it to keep it from sticking.

2. Add canned ingredients and spices. We use quite a bit of chili powder. If you’re not sure, add some and taste, then adjust to your own preferances.

3. Cover and heat over low heat for 30 minutes. It really doesn’t need more time that that, and much longer and the soy products change texture somewhat.

4. Serve with fresh chopped onion and possibly a little sour cream and grated cheddar on top, or cheese slices and saltines or cornbread on the side.

Variation:
Three Way: add cooked spaghetti to your bowl. I love it this way. When I was a girl Ike’s Chili Parlors in Tulsa sold Chili, Chili with Beans and Three Way (chili, beans and spaghetti).

This post linked to Food on Friday @ annkroeker.com

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Filed under Cooking, Family, Tulsa