Yesterday, after we figured out we have an apartment to rent, we took some time and did something I have been wanting to do since I got here just to relax a bit and have some fun. I wanted to do it before, but haven’t because we have felt so compelled to accomplish. I went to a year of junior high school and two years of high school to Choctaw Middle School and High School. I graduated from Choctaw High School. We lived out on a country road in Choctaw. We decided to go looking for the road and see if the house was still there.
We found McDonald Road off of 23rd street, and I was pretty sure it was the same road we used to live on. As we turned, I told my daughter, there should be a rail road track soon on that road, and there was, so I was pretty sure I was right. My daughter said, “The legendary place of teenage stupidity!” Yes, she was right! My cousin who was only six months older than me, and my sister who was about six months older than her, and I used to walk up and down that road bare footed to the rail road tracks. We walked along the rails balancing on the rail road tracks getting our feet completely black. Once, my cousin’s boyfriend left a really racy book there for her to read hidden at the railroad tracks. I took one look at her book and knew I didn’t want to read it. We also walked up and down that road in the summer rain getting wet on purpose.
As we drove along, there were horses and cows grazing beside the road out in the field as they always have. My daughter reminded me that I had told her that we used to climb those fences, then go out and swim in the cow ponds. A group of us also snuck out of the house one night and went down to the pond playing in the mud with our bare feet making up poetry. We were really full of nonsense and fun. We were part of a group of teenagers who lived up and down the road. We would stay out late in the summer and play Steal the Flag. Sometimes, we put hammocks and mattresses in my cousin’s yard and slept under the stars. We spent a lot of time playing Scrabble.
We talked about how my aunt and uncle who lived out this way had a horse. One of my other cousins used to run the barrels on her horse out here. She set the barrels up in a figure 8 and ran back and fort around the barrels making a figure 8 going as fast as she could.
Our house was still there. The color had changed. They had added a two car garage, and they had a beautiful lawn that we didn’t have when we lived there. My mother had had the house built on a vacant lot next to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. Bill Gentry, the builder, built our house when I was in middle school and high school. My dad was in Thailand when the house was built during the Vietnam War. We looked for my Aunt Billie and Uncle Lewis’ house that was next door, but it looked like someone had torn it down and built a much larger house in its place.
As we drove back into town, we went by the old high school that is now the middle school, and then back out on 23rd, I saw a familiar sight. I am pretty sure this restaurant, Harley’s Café, is one of the restaurants I where I used to work, but the name has been changed. I worked at the Choctaw Inn, a restaurant, for a while, and then I changed and worked at the Dairy Land. The Dairy Land was an old drive in restaurant, and it is no longer there.
None of my other kids have ever seen this place. We have been too busy traveling the world, but finally, one of my kids has seen the high school where I graduated, my old house, where I used to play a lot, and one of the places I worked. It was fun. It was a lot different from when my mother took me to where she grew up out at Stony Point in the middle of the country in South Eastern Oklahoma. They lived on a fruit farm out there in a two room house, drew water out of a well, and used an ice box instead of a refrigerator. When I saw the house where my mother grew up, it was broken down, and no one was living there. She found a needle that she had left sticking in the wall paper.