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Monday, August 29, 2005

My Town

TODAY'S QUOTES:

"I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests."

~ Pablo Neruda (Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, 1971) 

"...Where I was born, where I was raised, where I keep all my yesterdays...this is my town..."

~ Montgomery Gentry, My Town (Now Playing)

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Inspired by the "Grownups with Content Worth Being Featured" blogring, the following is my post for the "My Hometown" theme.  To find out more, go to this exceptional site .

Bartlesville, Oklahoma is where I keep all my yesterdays. 

Though I was not born there, it is the only home I ever remember.  It's where I grew up, played, learned, dreamed, wrote my poetry, went to school, met my husband (A.K.A. Childhood Sweetheart) married him the second time around, had kids, met my Savior, found myself and learned the value of family - not necessarily in that order. :-) 

My parents and grandparents still live in Bartlesville, as do my brother, sister and her family, as well as my husband's family.  It is also where two of my children live with their mom.  (I am blessed to have married into two wonderful children, in addition to the three wonderful children I brought with me.) 

I return to Bartlesville at least once or twice a month, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There's nothing like the feeling I get when I come over the rise where you can get your first glimpse of the town...I am home, coffee is waiting at Mama's table, and if everyone is not there, they will be before the afternoon is out. 

Everyone gather's at Mom and Dad's!  We've been known to all show up on a Sunday afternoon, with no warning, and Dad (who is the cook) has enough Sunday dinner to feed all sixteen of us.  (Mom, Dad, Grandpa, my brother, my sister, her husband and three kids, my husband, my five children and myself.)  Their kitchen table has seated as many as sixteen at Christmas or Thanksgiving, with about ten the kids sitting at the 'kiddie table' in the living room.

Bartlesville is an oil town in the middle of  Indian Territory, with a rich history.  Founded in 1907 by Jacob H. Bartles, it found its beginning on the bank of the Caney River, where in 1870, Nelson F. Carr built a grist mill, the first business establishment in what would become Bartlesville.  Jacob Bartles purchased the grist mill in 1875, for $1,000, and built a store nearby.  Bartlesville was born.

Here's a photo of the present day spot where the city was born.  The stones you see are the foundation stones for Nelson Carr and Jake Bartle's long-ago business venture.  If they could only see her now!

Bartlesville was the first town in Indian Territory to have electricity, natural gas, running water, and telephone service.   Not far from this bend in the Caney River, you can see Oklahoma's first commercial oil well - the Nellie Johnstone No. 1.

The company that brought my family to Bartlesville from West Texas when I was but a babe of two years, was, of course, the Phillips Petroleum Company.  My father started working at a Phillips gas station in Texas, and has worked for the company (now ConocoPhillips) ever since.  Here is a shot of the old Phillips building downtown.

Some of the favorite local tourist attractions are pictured here:

Frank Phillips Home, now a fascinating museum.

The Price Tower - designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, now a upscale hotel and an art museum.

 

The Johnstone & Keeler General Store, restored and now home of Oklahoma's own Red Dirt Soap Company

The old train depot, which now houses the Chamber of Commerce, the Development Corporation and the Community Foundation

And, of course, the nationally famous Bartlesville Community Center, renowned for it's annual "OK Mozart Festival"

I loved growing up in Bartlesville.  Those were really good years, although I didn't know it at the time.  There used to be two high schools in Bartlesville.  College High, and Sooner High.  They combined in the eighties, when the Sooner High building housed the mid-high grades 9-10, and the College High building housed the high-school grades 11-12. The Sooner High Spartans and the College High Wildcats became the Bartlesville Bruins.  Good, bad or indifferent, we survived the merge.  My graduating class was the first to attend all four years in the new system.  Here's a pic of the high school today.

We were proud to be Bruins!  Although I wasn't athletic, I did letter in Choir, and go to state in Speech and Drama.  Funny how you spend anywhere from two, to four, to as many as twelve years with the same people, and then after graduation, you never see them again.  I often wonder about some of those really awesome friends with whom I spent my high school days.  I see some of them occasionally.  They seem familiar, yet different.  But the ones I really wonder about are those with whom I celebrated graduation, one warm almost-summer night in 1986, and then never ever saw again.  Life is a mystery.

I am also a proud mom and aunt to four current and/or future Bruins who live in Bartlesville now, and are or will be football and basketball players or cheerleaders.  I can't wait to go to some of the middle school and mid- high games this fall and cheer my nephew and son as they play for the old blue and white!  My youngest daughter, whom I gained by marriage to her father, will be down there in her cheerleading skirt and tennis shoes freezing and jumping and yelling her guts out, while her mother, her father, her grandparents and I (the other mother) are in the stands doing the same! 

It will be so nice to go home to those games again!

Well, if you were in my car, and we were in downtown Bartlesville, we couldn't leave without stopping by Murphy's Steakhouse.  I recommend the 4 oz. open-faced, junior hot-cheese-burger with hand-cut fries and brown "gravy-over-all".  It's what Murphy's has been famous for, for more than fifty years and is the very best!  Of course if you're really hungry, you could go with the full size instead of the junior!  Oh, and if you get the salad, try the house-blend garlic salad dressing.  We eat the dressing on club crackers while we're waiting for our food!  The other thing I will never forget about Murphy's as long as I live is the candy drawer.  All little guests of Murphy's Steak House get a trip behind the counter to the candy drawer.  It holds such treasures as Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy, mini Chick-o-Sticks, Peanut Butter Logs and my favorite-- Sixlets!  I miss the days when I was young enough to leave Murphy's with a fistful of candy!  Now I have to settle for two peppermint patties for a quarter from the jar by the cash register.  Oh well, you can't stay young forever.

So, I hope you enjoyed my tour of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

It's "where I keep all my yesterdays...This is My Town."

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Montgomery Gentry's "My Town"

There's a "For Sale" sign on a big old rusty tractor.
You can't miss it, it's the first thing that you see.
Just up the road, a pale-blue water tower,
With "I Love Jenny" painted in bright green.
Hey, that's my Uncle Bill, there by the courthouse.
He'll be lowerin' the flag when the sun goes down.
And this is my town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Hey!
Where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cos I got mad,
An' it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
My town.

There ain't much goin' on here since they closed the mill.
But that whistle still blows ev'ry day at noon.
A bunch of us still go down to the diner.
I wonder if that interstate's still comin' through.
Come Sunday morning service, at the Church of Christ,
Well there ain't an empty seat to be found.
And this is my town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cos I got mad,
An' it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
My town.

Well, I bought and painted up that rusty tractor.
You can't miss it, it's sittin' right there in our yard.
The County came and took that water tower,
And that's Jenny, with a baby, in the car.
Ah, we're off to Sunday service at the Church of Christ,
And if we want a seat, we better leave right now.
And maybe later, me an old T-roy will show you around,
Our town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cos I got mad,
An' it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)

Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
My town.

2 comments:

MidnightMom said...

I love the play "Our Town", enjoyed your post too. Your family sounds wonderful! I enjoy a big family as well, but we've outgrown my folks' house :) Anyway, good writing prompt, made for an interesting post with great nostalgia--ahhhh, the joys of small town, America.

Frank's Place said...

Thank you for your kind words about the Frank Phillips Home. We love having company and hope to see many who read your posts. We are especially excited to be celebrating the 100th birthday of the Home during 2009!

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