September 29, 2012: This entry was updated to reflect new Google imagery since first publication.
Here are most of the places I lived as viewed through Google Maps. I thought this might be one of those fun things that would catch fire on Facebook and everyone would do it, possibly to raise awareness by irrelevantly connecting it to knee cancer or earlobe disease.
I don’t know how to find the addresses of the places I lived as a young child, so the Google Maps images start with our first house in Lawton, Oklahoma, where we moved in April 1971. Before that we were in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, which my cousin recently told me is now the most dangerous city in the United States. Many of my most important childhood events, some of them wildly comical, happened during that one year we lived in St. Louis…
- My sister Nicole drinking poison
- Getting on the roof at my dad’s insistence even though I was terrified and almost fell
- Playing in the pine trees so much that mom had to cut the pine tar out of my hair with scissors
- Stepping in road tar and having the tar guy remove it with gasoline
- Playing in the shoulder-deep sinkholes in the front yard
- P. G. Phillips discovers masturbation
- Tommy getting stuck in the storm sewer
- Tommy’s broken arm
- Playing street hockey during the ice storm by wearing slick dress shoes, since we didn’t have skates
- Pink belly on Christmas day wearing my new St. Louis Cardinals football uniform
- Spilling the cement mixer
- P. G.’s day sitting on the porch on rainy days with his guitar, performing “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head”
- Swallowing the refrigerator magnets
- P. G. spending the night, but was so hyper at one point he got on top of me and spit on my lips
- Mowing for the first time, but only allow to go downhill
- Peeing in the kitchen trash can
- The “bouncy tire”
- The eye patch I wore for ten days after getting hurt on the “bouncy tire”
- “Big trouble, boys!”
- P. G. fires me from the club
- Spider on Nicole’s head
- Mud fort in the field
- Playing in the creek until way past supper time
- Manhole cover popping off in rain storm
It was a pretty eventful year.
A couple of notes about that year…
1: P. G. “discovered” masturbation while we were playing war. I “hit the dirt” to avoid some enemy fire from the neighbor’s German light infantry, and he fell on top of me, then after a pause said, “Ooo, that feels good.” It was pretty gross. 2: Tommy and I spilled the cement mixer of the neighbor around the corner, then ran and hid until Tommy’s mom came around and they found me under the car in the carport. 3: The “bouncy tire” was a tractor inner tube that lived in our back yard.
Prior to St. Louis was a short stint in Omaha, Nebraska, where that same cousin and I believed there were bodies hidden in the attic. My three most vivid memories from Omaha were being afraid to sled down the biggest of the three hills behind our house, watching as my parents tried fruitlessly to get the car out of the downhill garage after an ice storm, and fantasizing about getting shot in the arm, rolling into the front yard, drawing my pistol and returning fire, all in my favorite red plaid shirt. I was six at the time.
The move in 1971 to Lawton, Oklahoma, in my mind anyway, ushered in the modern era. My dad drove from Missouri a month before we came, to get settled into his job and buy a house. On the drive to Oklahoma, I recall my mother making a big deal about how red the soil was in Oklahoma, like it was morally or culturally inferior somehow. My sister claims that when she, Mom and I arrived, the first thing Nicole said was, “When are we going to go to the house where we’re really going to live?” It was at that house, by the way, that I whacked Georgie Jones in the forehead with the hoe. Read about that here.
We lived in that shag-carpeted paradise, watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and eating from fondu pots, until the spring of 1978, when we fled the green shag for a house with red shag and mirrors on all the walls. It was a pretty cool house, where I lived until I went to college in ’81.
I lived in the Adams Center dorms at Oklahoma University, where, as is the subject of another entry, my “night crowd” friends and I infiltrated the maintenance tunnel system under the sidewalks throughout campus, calling ourselves the “Mole Patrol.”
After leaving the dorm scene, I got into a rooming house in Norman, Oklahoma, that we affectionately called “Caddell House” since it was on Caddell street, where I met and hung out with some lifelong friends like David Wheelock and Robert Stinson. Caddell House was where we filmed the notorious “Kamikaze Badminton,” which you can watch here.
For a short time after the owner of Caddell House kicked us all out for remodeling (though it was actually repurposing), I moved in with my friends Michael and Chris, who lived on the south side of Norman in a tiny apartment. It was while I was there that I landed my first full-time news photography job in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and not long after that, I moved to Shawnee.
Two and a half years later, the Shawnee newspaper laid some of us off, and I moved in with my girlfriend at the time. She had a small place on the north side of Shawnee, and while I was out of work, I either hung out at the college or drove to Norman to hang out with my gang.
From Shawnee, with the promise of being joined by my girlfriend, I moved to Ottawa, Illinois, to work for the newspaper there. She didn’t join me and we eventually broke up. Instead, I found my current job at the Ada Evening News, and moved to my wonderful little apartment in downtown Ada, where my landlord never once raised my rent in 16 years there. When I moved out, my next door neighbor offered to pay my rent to keep me there, saying good neighbors were hard to find.
When I got married, of course, I moved to my home today, our bucolic patch of 12 green acres in Byng, Oklahoma, which is about as close to paradise as I can imagine.