Although my memory is challenging frequently at 72, I do remember driving from Omaha to Oklahoma City in 1954. It seems a long drive and the weather is unseasonably warm and humid, even for Oklahoma. At the time, I am 7 years of age and in the last couple of months of first grade. Undoubtedly my parents and little brother were in the car also. Vividly, I recall stopping at a traffic light at N. May Ave. and W. Britton Rd.
Peering over my shoulder, I see tall wheat growing in a field surrounding an airplane runway and hangar. The bustling little complex is called Wiley Post Airport. In 1935, Wiley Post pilots an airplane named “Winnie Mae” that crashes in Alaska, killing Post and humorist Will Rogers. Seventeen years later, I assist in the probate of the estate of “Winnie Mae” Fain, the plane’s namesake. At that time, I was a young trust officer at the First National Bank & Trust Company of Oklahoma City.
We drive 2 miles farther south and come upon a wonderful, and long gone, amusement park called Wedgewood. It is located near the corner of N. May Ave. and N.W. 63d St. Journeying a mile or so farther, we slow as May Ave. is not yet fully paved. By then, the map to our new home becomes secondary. My Dad rolls to a stop and assesses our location. Of course, he doesn’t ask anyone directions to 1412 Sherwood Lane, given a history of seemingly knowing the answer to every question. Dad has my complete confidence, however, and I did not offer any input as that would have been a mistake.
By now it is mid-afternoon and my parents assume the moving van arrived earlier in the day. Undoubtedly,the movers are waiting for the young family to appear. Another 20 minutes, a mile north and a mile east and we arrive at 1412 Sherwood Lane in Nichols Hills, a suburb of Oklahoma City. In the next day or so, I will begin the remainder of first grade at Nichols Hills Elementary School. I remember arriving in Oklahoma City, a journey of 65 years ago, as clearly as if it was yesterday. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year too. Oh, by the way, today I live half of a mile south of the former Wiley Post Airport.