Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Yesterday, a customer checking out groceries in the supermarket where I work as a cashier said her family would be moving soon. When I asked where, she replied, “Lawton, Oklahoma.”

A shock of recognition flashed me into my own history. I said, “I grew up in Lawton!”

She was surprised, having not met anyone around here who knew of Lawton. She said her family is moving there where a home still is very affordable. I listened while remembering my childhood days.

I lived there from my fifth year to my fifteenth. I was not a happy child, so many of those years are blurry, but they have high points. I loved movies, especially Westerns, which Lawton’s two theaters constantly ran. A single nickel got me inside, to experience my favorite, Roy Rodgers, in action, and enjoyable others, like Wild Bill Elliott.

During those years, my family owned three separate businesses. The first, an old style tavern called “The Rag Mop Inn”; the next, a fruit and vegetable stand on the outskirts of town; and the third, a small grocery near downtown. I remember little about the Rag Mop, but as a child accompanied my stepfather in a pickup driving slowly through neighborhood streets and hawking fresh watermelons. We’d “plug” melons in order to demonstrate ripeness and sweetness.

My memories of the grocery store are clear because I was older, and we lived in an apartment behind it. It was near downtown which became my play area. I knew all the stores and their merchandise. In nearby neighborhoods, I knew all the alleyways, and upon finding an open garage would get into mischief.

Early today, I rummaged online for old photos of Lawton. Those available renewed many memories! I couldn’t find images of my Washington Grade School or what (in those days) was a newly-rebuilt Lawton High School. Maybe there are photos in my old scrapbook, now among items stacked and stored until my flooring change is complete. I’ll look for that scrapbook and will write again about Lawton.

Dear Friends: Those long-past years are so ingrained into the mature me. Diana

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