Thursday, August 4, 2011

Places Don't Suck, Your Attitude Sucks

Way back on or around June 22nd I rode my bicycle into my hometown of Bartlesville, OK. This was a curious arrival for me because I had never before traveled to my hometown via bicycle. It was curious indeed. I looked around and saw that things were different in places, as has always been the case, but I also saw things very differently because I was riding a bike.
This was the cul-de-sac I lived on from the age of 3 until I left home after graduating high school. I spent much of my very young childhood using this paved circle as my own personal race track and multi-sports arena.
There were many kickball games played in that small grassy island and my dad and I played lots of catch there too. I must have completed thousands of laps of this thing on my bike. I first learned to ride a bike here too. I remember the neighbor loaning me a tiny fixed gear BMX track bike with a number plate. It had solid rubber tires and it was red. My dad left for work that morning and I could not ride, and I remember him pulling into the driveway and when he saw me riding around the circle he smiled at me real big. I should have killed myself that day and gone out on top. That pine tree on the right side was just planted when I was a kid and it was shorter than me back then. The biggest tree on the island was on the left edge, but there's only a stump there now. It must have gotten too big and began to obstruct home plate.
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to ride my bike to the Sonic and park in one of the pull-up spots like I belonged there. I'd do this with my friend Zach and we'd pretend our bikes were motorcycles of course. This is the old Sonic now. It was a used car lot for a while and now it's nothing.
The old Sonic.
Hard to believe this is what Sonic is now, makes the old one look like a tiny joke.
We'd pull up right about here. This was the "cool side" to park on. Everyone who has a Sonic in their town knows there is a "cool side" and "the other side."
This old shed behind the main building has the only evidence of it being a Sonic. You have to look really close to see the white letters.
The gas station next door to the old Sonic was another of our favorite stopping points. I remember being in love with the drink Chocolate Soldier, which was unlike Yoo-hoo in that Chocolate Soldier was a soda flavored with chocolate. We'd buy candy and then go in the back and play Joust or Galaga until we ran out of money. The gas station is closed now too.
When they called it "Jack Griffiths" it was open, maybe they should change the name back because Gas n' Shop just sucks.
If you entered this door, walked straight back towards the restrooms, you would find the most awesome game in the world. Joust: riding space ostriches inside the volcanic center of one of the moons of Jupiter, how much more awesome do you need it?
Mmmm, Chocolate Soldier.
A few yards away was this building, which at one time housed the only independent record store I've ever known Bartlesville to have and it was called Clearsky Records & Tapes. There's a beauty salon in there now, right next to the tax preparation place on the corner. We kids used to have so many myths and legends about that record store, mainly because of the owner. He was young, in his 20's, very quiet, long-haired, and we'd concocted this idea that if you approached him and asked for this "special album" that didn't really exist because it was just a code word, that he would take you in the back room and show you the dead body he kept in a glass case. Also, somewhere along the line we decided he probably had Playboy magazines back there and all of the newest most awesome video games we would never get our hands on in real life. I can clearly see now that this was a fantasy produced by dozens of little boys about what the future and the unknown world held for us. Interesting how it grew over the years and everybody wanted to add their own piece to the legend so they could be part of it's creation.

I'm done nostalgifying for the day, I'll do more tomorrow I guess. The current world pisses me off.

Keith.

1 comment:

  1. nice tour down the roads of yesterday in your life.

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