You Can Never Go Home Again, But We Did

I found U. S. Flag t-shirts for everyone on sale on July 5. Posing from left to right are newlyweds Tracey and my sister Nicole, Chihuahuas Max and Sierra, my wife Abby, Chele, Tom, and me. Paul was already asleep, but you can see his image in this picture behind me.
I found U. S. Flag t-shirts for everyone on sale on July 5. Posing from left to right are newlyweds Tracey and my sister Nicole, Chihuahuas Max and Sierra, my wife Abby, Chele, Tom, and me. Paul was already asleep, but you can see his image in this picture behind me.

My sister Nicole and her new husband Tracey came from New Orleans for a long weekend, along with Abby’s daughter Chele, husband Tom, and their baby, our grandson Paul, who flew from Baltimore.

Our grandson Paul plays on his rocking horse in our living room. The horse is a family heirloom.
Our grandson Paul plays on his rocking horse in our living room. The horse is a family heirloom.

Some highlights include a big lunch with guests and other family from around the area, shooting some of our firearms, which Tracey had never done, and firing off a family pack of fireworks at night. Abby and Chele got to go shopping together.

Tracey and Nicole pose for an image atop Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains, the first stop on our Lawton, Oklahoma area nostalgia tour.
Tracey and Nicole pose for an image atop Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains, the first stop on our Lawton, Oklahoma area nostalgia tour.

Of course there was much playing with the grandson, who is 18 months old. He is fast and strong and ultra-curious. Photographing him was challenging because every time I got on the floor to make pictures, he wanted to play with me.

The coolest thing about the weekend was our trip west for lunch at Meers, Oklahoma, near the Wichita Mountains, followed by Abby, Chele, Tom and the baby going to Abby’s hometown of Ryan, Oklahoma, while Nicole, Tracey and I headed to Lawton, Oklahoma, where Nicole and I grew up. Nicole and I told stories from our childhood more or less nonstop, and Tracey listened attentively. We drove around to all the schools we attended, along with both houses where we lived.

Aside from a name change to "Middle School," Eisenhower Junior High in Lawton, Oklahoma, hasn't changed so much as a brick in 35 years.
Aside from a name change to “Middle School,” Eisenhower Junior High in Lawton, Oklahoma, hasn’t changed so much as a brick in 35 years.

At the bigger of those houses, where we lived from 1978 until going off to college, we were stunned to find that the property had been trashed and abandoned, a victim of the housing crisis currently ravaging America. A nice neighbor next door told us it had it sat empty for a year. She told us that while it was trespassing, she’d look the other way if we wanted to go inside. Not only was it full of trash, it had been oddly and destructively modified with walls and closets where non were before, essentially ruining the floor plan. Even the kitchen cabinets had been painted black.

Tracey and Nicole look around in the house we once called home, a victim of the housing crisis and some poor home decorating choices. Mom and Dad moved to Florida in 1987 and sold the house shortly after that.
Tracey and Nicole look around in the house we once called home, a victim of the housing crisis and some poor home decorating choices. Mom and Dad moved to Florida in 1987 and sold the house shortly after that.

Tracey and Nicole drove home on Monday, and I have just returned from dropping Tom, Chele and Paul at the airport. As I wrote this, I got a message from Chele saying, “The pig is in the poke,” meaning they are home safe. Everyone had a grand time.

Tom, Paul and Chele pose in the same position as the photo to the right, which I made 13 months ago in Baltimore.
Tom, Paul and Chele pose in the same position as the photo to the right, which I made 13 months ago in Baltimore.
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7 Comments

  1. Wow, that’s sad how someone let the home fall into disrepair…

    I’ve driven past some of my childhood homes before but have never been back inside. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to…

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  2. I dig the shirts! Such a pleasant family time you all had! I’ll have to go by your old house soon. I have gone by there a few times, but I have never seen it so dilapidated. I know that it had been changed on the outside. I think I remember that y’all had an entry gate but I don’t remember seeing that the last time I drove by it. Oh the challenges you must have had in your attempts to keep me quiet in your room during those midnight hours after work! I remember sitting on your bed while you penned entries into your primitive spiral notebook “Lord Byron.” Sometimes I sneaked into your kitchen (or should I say snuck)to get a coke out of your fridge. I remember your dark room and watched you develop your photos the old fashioned way. And I remember your scanner and how I would get on the radio at work and say “Call the office please.” You knew that was for you! I remember a time when Nicole was with you in the press car when Rick Brink told me to send you to a shallow grave. He was telling me what to say word for word. I said “Go down Lee.” Rick Brink was all excited and said “Boulevard!! Boulevard!!” So I came back on after a pause and repeated “Boulevard!!!” You told me that Nicole found that quite amusing!! And I remember the signal nines!! That’s what we called the fake assignments a certain city editor would send you on to get you out of the office. I treasure the memories I share with you and your friends from those days!!

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  3. Your grandson is adorable. The camera situation is one Wil is very family with by now. Every time he goes to take a picture of Rebecca she has to move and try to play with the camera.

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