The photograph is almost exactly the Route66 path this writer remembers. Bike riding barefoot to the TG&Y, Humpty Dumpty Grocer and Veazey Drug. Gas for the mower at the Sinclair Station out of the view just East, on 23rd and Hudson, where Tucker's is now. This writer's aunt was the dressbuyer for Katherine Lipes, the premiere dresshop for women, teens and girls, where now is going in a multi-use, multi-level innovation at the corner of Walker and 23rd, just out of the eyeview of the picture on the NE corner.
My Mother about fell over years later when I told her that my much loved 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Stone, (who died mid-term in the school year from cancer), would send me from Wilson Elementary School, down to the diner, which is now a gas station, at 23rd and Walker on the SE corner to buy her lunch.Being a 'young' 4th grader, I was probably 8 or 9 at the time. The order from the teacher was always and only grilled cheeze, which was like 10 or 15 cents, plus a nominal tip. The teacher could see me walk to the business from the classroom window on the second floor of the school. A simple slip of paper with the order was given to me, along with dimes given, and instruction to give it to the person at the register, and wait. The waxpaper wrapped sandwich returned in a white paper bag it just fit in. I always finished my work first, which was why I was enlisted to go. I have no idea if another kid was ever asked to do the same. The shop was not a place my family ate. It had a long lunch counter, and booths, and was mostly aqua, silver and white, so classic for the 1950's-60's.
Burgers, and ice cream were available at 23rd and Dewey, at a drive -in where Big Truck Tacos is, but my family for a within walking distance such, went to the Dairy Queen, at 23rd and Harvey. Footlongs, slushies made to order and dipcones were the order of the day, the pride of simple change in our grade school pockets bringing on good fortune. Laughing in 100 degree heat, crunching chocolate crust, chasing the escaping ice milk down cones, hands and arms with our tongues. Sans parents to chide..."Where are your manners? Use a napkin!"
This writer saw at least 2 movies at the TOWER Theater, 2001 a Space Odyssey and Cabaret with sibs and parent, apparently just after the theater was first renovated since it's 1930's construction. My family did not go out to movies often and my Father was told to entertain us, because my Mother was studying as a graduate Social Work student at OU. That was his pick, historic as it was on all fronts.
This writer's family moved into the Uptown area in 1968, with the realtor telling the parents, " this area is going down, and noone is moving Uptown, everyone is moving out." And they were. Putnam City. Edmond. Norman. Midwest City. White flight. This is one of the saddest things this writer knows about OKC. White flight era.... had a spike just prior to 1968 and another by the early 1970's. mass exodus of housing and the downtown area... much of downtown or Eastern OKC being removed by urban development and abandoned by rushing thrusts of racism and classism functioning as one. A personality extraction for the city in some ways, that OKC is only recently recovering from.
However, despite the warnings, this writers parents and many others moved in, partnering readily with longterm residents to make the first historic preservation district in the city.
Heritage Hills, they finally renamed it. http://www.heritagehills.org/hh/. This writer's parents living there for 40+ years, exemplifying longheld the long held family philosophy of attending local public schools, shopping locally and worship within walking distance. Mavericks more than pioneers, the whole family.
Today there is an event blocking 23rd Street from about now until early evening. The regular shops and restaurants http://uptown23rd.com/ have joined with http://openstreetsokc.com/ to provide an event that offers mixed use of space, a number of options regarding healthy living and community building.
The area has had ideas of renovation at a much bigger scale, and eventually surely those will be realized. http://rwarn17588.wordpress.com/2006/04/26/okc-theater-may-be-renovated/ This writer's brother, the tapped into the universe cool one in the family notes that developing the Tower, and then other spots along the street will allow this current daytime only district to be a nightlife district, proper for music festivals and events that can move between venues, like a progressive dinner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_dinner ( oh so 1960's makes this writer want to look for a fondue pot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fondue).
Today's event is modern, free and open to the public. All ages show with many, many kids activities. Local businesses will be open, along with other vendors and the all famous trendy food trucks.
This area deserves a revisit and more peaceful invigorating moments and family life recognition like this. Again. Hope you will come with.
Other related material... family connections to Del Paseo, now known as the Paseo Arts District. http://www.examiner.com/article/del-paseo-old-and-new and this person is looking for a curator for the PASEO right NOW. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/joy-reed-belt-ph-d/7/282/a30