I didn’t post anything about this before, but I went down to Oklahoma City over the weekend. That’s where I grew up, and my sister still lives there. It was wonderful to see her again, and be able to hang out and talk (we don’t seem to ever do that), but the whole trip just had this weird feeling to it because both Mom and Dad died earlier this year. Normally, Hims and I would have arrived at the hotel, slept for a few hours, then gone over to see my parents. The whole trip would have been a balancing act between visiting my parents and goofing off, showing him different places where I grew up and all. Instead, we were meeting my sister and her husband over at the house our parents lived in, going through things, deciding what I would take home with me this trip. (There is still more to go through in the house.)
I feel very fortunate that there is really nothing I wanted to tell my parents that I didn’t get to tell them. Even though it might have sounded silly sometimes, I would just pop off with “Dad, I want to let you know how much it meant to me that you took me out to see Halley’s Comet that one night. Thank you.” or “Mom, thank you so much for teaching me how to cross stitch when I was a kid. I love doing that now.” I miss them like mad and wish they were still here. So many times I think “I need to call Mom and Dad today” before I remember I never can again. Even so, I’m grateful I told them silly things like I did.
On the way home, I tried taking some photos. It’s hard to do from a moving car!
I love the way the Oklahoma prarie looks in the morning. Especially when you have that nice, ethereal touch as the fog sits in the low areas and hovers over ponds and creeks.
This is now called the Will Rogers Archway as of last year, but this 1957-era building is still said to be the largest McDonald’s in the world. It was originally a Glass House Restaurant, employing people from Vinita and the surrounding area in the late 50s and through the 60s. I was looking through the news reports about the updates to the building, and found the perfect comment, made by Lavon Hightower Lewis:
The Glass House was run by Host International restaurant company in the 60s when I worked there as a waitress in the main dining room called the Broiler Room. It was sit-down dining with real home-cooked food, and waitresses in dresses with fancy bibbed apron and a bow in our hair. The food was great. Even the employees ate it. There was also a cafeteria and a snack bar that stayed open all night. Many Vinitans worked there, many before going off to college, and then returning to work during their breaks and summer.
Charles Phoenix has a small write up about the Glass House Restaurant, plus a photo on his site circa 1962. This photo, coming from Wikipedia, is how I remember the place:
Now they had to go in and “improve” it. Everything is grey and stainless steel and glass now, not nearly as cool as it used to be. I know it used to look run down, but that was part of the charm of the place! (Okay, minus the asbestos, but couldn’t they have tried to keep the kitsch?) Now there’s a Kum and Go gas station and mini mart on the first floor, and a Subway is in there, too, along with the McDonald’s and the souvenir shop – which isn’t nearly as cool as it used to be. They’ve moved the statue of Will Rogers inside from where it used to greet travelers coming from the north, too. I’m glad they kept that!
All along the highway for miles in Missouri, you will see that kid in the red and white shirt and ball cap, jumping out of signs for a candy factory, a souvenir and gift shop, and I think even bathrooms. Finally this time we stopped, just for the hell of it, to see what the hype was about. It is a pretty large candy store with more taffy than you could ever want, and lots of hard candy as well. Off to the side there is a small, glass-enclosed factory, with one lady making candy inside. (Not that you could see much for all the machines!) On the other side of the parking lot is a huge building that houses the “World’s Largest Gift Store”.
Lots of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Stuff everywhere. We picked up a few postcards and a Route 66 mug for me (I have a weakness for cool mugs), but that was it. But if you want stuff, there’s definitely stuff here!
I think this is the best shot I’ve managed to get of the St. Louis Arch in St. Louis, MO – and of course it’s through the far window of the SUV we were driving. Just imagine the vehicle isn’t actually blocking the shot! One thing I like about St. Louis – we go over the Mississippi River, the “line” between the East and the West.
Sunset in Illinois. I loved the autumn colors, just so warm and pretty, with the cool blue sky above. (Please excuse the bug splats on the windshield, though!)
An Illinois rest stop West of Effingham. We thought we might actually see Effingham in the daylight this trip, but we were just a little too slow. Again, loving the pretty colors, and happy it wasn’t too chilly.
The moon was just gorgeous on our drive home. Full and huge, skimming across the sky as we rode along.
By the time we got home, of course, we just wanted to flop into bed and sleep for ten hours. Actually, I think that’s just what we did! I love road trips, but they can really be exhausting, too. Maybe when we’re finally able to totally take our time driving from one place to another it will be even better.
Thanks for looking!