After a recent trip to my hometown of Ponca City, OK I was reminded of how much things change yet stay the same. As I drove into Ponca on Highway 60 I came to the stoplight at the Waverly intersection. I made one of the spontaneous decisions to take a quick, unplanned trip down memory lane. I decided to head east past the baseball fields at Dan Moran Park where I must have hit hundreds of home runs in little league. Okay, so maybe it was only one but hundreds sure does sound better!
Next, I came to the underpass for the railroad tracks on South Ave. that always seemed to flood, much to the delight of folks who lived in that part of town. Then, a turn to the north took me to Grand Avenue. Perhaps many of you are familiar with the kind of street I am referring to. Grand was the main drag, also known as the place where teens find a way into trouble! From the smell of burning tires to the sounds of guys whistling at the girls, Grand was one of the favorite places to celebrate on a Friday night. The downtown area was full of a wide variety of stores, and although the names are much different now I still remember them as they were.
Then, a turning down fifth street I passed by one of my favorite restaurants, Grand Café. This location also happened to be near the end of the parade route where I marched and played "Oklahoma" many times. Now driving north, I passed by Hutchins Memorial and Ponca City High School. Again, many changes have been made, but most of the buildings are still there. Like the Fine Arts center where I arrived at school at 6:45 am for band practice or full orchestra and ended up staying until 5 pm the same evening for jazz band rehearsal. Music was definitely a huge part of my childhood.
Finally, I decided to head to the house, but this isn't just any house. You see, my mom still lives in the house I came home to as a newborn baby. So, when I go home, I truly go home. I am still amazed at the different stories I remember each time I pull into the driveway. I truly believe the saying there's no place like home. I sometimes wonder to myself how many of you are able to return to the exact same house where you grew up.