I wish I had written Jennifer’s post today. Then my next task would be easy – submitting my first ever “blog” contest entry. I have an ego – a healthy ego – and I’m no stranger to competing in contests. But this one has me stumped, and upper management wants me in the game.
What makes a “great” blog post? Again, I really wish I had written the one today. But plaguarism is a bad thing, and I like and respect Jennifer and she might get upset if I stole her stuff.
So once again I’m demanding something of you. No, it’s not enough for me to expect you guys to engage in a healthy, smart discussion every day (which you do). Nope, now I’m asking you “regulars” to tell what I should submit into this contest.
Here are the options:
- The “planning for the future” series where I delved into basic planning issues, past planning failures and new urbanism.
- The “Mike Morgan incident.”
- The live blogging from the unveiling of plans for the new Devon tower.
- My “feisty” side – posts like “Tough Questions for everyone,” “Questions Have Been Asked, Names have Been Named” and “The Dance.”
- My “humorous” side – posts on Jessica Alba and Conan O’Brien.
Learn about this sweet addition to Bricktown by reading this.
Oklahoma City’s Cinderella story began nearly 20 years ago, when the youngest members of my generation, Generation X, were 10, and the oldest were 30. Today, those Gen Xers (according to researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss, those born between 1961 and 1981) collectively possess an important part of Oklahoma City’s institutional memory. We are the last generation to remember what it was like to live here when there was absolutely “nothing to do downtown.”
Our collection of experiences and facts can’t compare to those amassed by the generations that have gone before us, and yet, for a generation that has hardly entered its professional prime, our institutional memory is impressive nonetheless. For those of us who graduated college and stayed in Oklahoma, who turned down jobs in Houston, Washington D.C. and Denver, who could not, for whatever reason, bring ourselves to leave, this memory is critical to Oklahoma City’s future success.
As the current generation of leaders age, plan their retirements and pass the baton to Generation X, our institutional memory will serve as a guide, helping us avoid making certain mistakes like undervaluing or squandering resources and underestimating the power of the citizenry.
Generation X cherishes Oklahoma City, and we’ll share our stories over and over again with younger generations so they’ll know how much went in to making Oklahoma City what is today, and all that I know it will be tomorrow.
The oral history of Oklahoma City’s Generation X bears witness to Bricktown when it was still an abandoned piece of scrap metal in need of environmental remediation. I remember an art museum located a stone’s throw from where the carnies called out to pop a balloon and win a sawdust-filled puppy. I remember a downtown library where you could see everyone present with one quick scan of the room. My daughter will know nothing of this.
I remember when the only thing open in MidTown was Kaiser’s, and one day, we showed up to find that it had closed. In college, we ventured far into The Paseo for adventures at the Spaghetti Factory. And one day, we showed up – and it was shut down. We filled our restless weekend hours at the $1 movie and played Echo and the Bunnymen on gigantic boom boxes as we drove in circles, going nowhere in someone’s Cutlass Supreme or CRX.
Back then, Automobile Alley was just a long dark street you drove down as you meandered your way to the indoor fun fair at the Myriad. The only canal we had back then was the fountain in Kerr Park. We nearly got arrested trying to swim in it one night. For thrills, we’d drive all the way up to around 90th and Western just so we could see a gigantic concrete bunny in someone’s yard and read their weird address: 123?
Then one day, we drove up there, and even the concrete bunny was gone. We drove back downtown and ran through the nearly abandoned tunnels of the concourse, dank and musty.
My generation saw the Skirvin open and close and open again 20 years later. After college, two of my friends got jobs in the federal building. In 1995, one of them died and one, who had guard drill that day, lived. We will forget none of this. Preserving the Survivor Tree is personal.
This institutional memory is one of Oklahoma City’s most important commodities, and Generation X has great affection for it, like 100 Saturday mornings spent watching Scooby Doo and munching on Frankenberry and Cap’n Crunch. All we have witnessed, the highs and the lows, will inspire and shape our contributions as Oklahoma City’s next leaders. We aren’t about to let the momentum die.
These days, I take my three children to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and they marvel at the Chihuly. We frequent the ballpark and the old Kaiser’s building for a Buffalo burger or homemade ice cream. The concourse! Who knew it would ever be anything at all? The Skirvin is my kids’ version of Eloise’s The Plaza Hotel and, the finely clipped turf of the National Memorial. My son thinks it’s a big park, but someday, I’ll tell him. These are my memories. They are not borrowed. They grew organically.
Generation X numbers fewer than 50 million people nationwide and is sandwiched between nearly 80 million Baby Boomers and nearly 80 million members of Generation Y. We came of age with the Cold War, divorce and AIDS. We’ve seen major U.S. institutions meltdown and witnessed three or four wars and endless corporate and religious scandals. We’ve survived one recession and are enduring another. We have often been referred to as latchkey kids, and worse, slackers. Today, we’re abolishing these stereotypes, and doing so to the advantage of our city.
Nationwide, Generation X has taken all their disappointments and thrust them into family. It’s not like we worked in coal mines as children, but sociologists still refer to us as a neglected and abandoned generation. Maybe that’s why they now say we are the most family-focused generation they’ve ever seen. We deeply crave work-life balance. After all, there is so very much to do in downtown these days. Oklahoma City might quite possibly be the most attractive city on the planet for Generation X. Everything it has to offer aligns with everything Gen X wants. It’s been an unpredictable journey. As the 80s song warns, I can’t hold back, I won’t back down. It’s too late to turn back now.
Last fall I lost a good friend. The death of Mark Schwartz wasn’t unexpected – he had been battling cancer for a couiple years. A mutual friend reminded me that life goes on, but that there’s still a legacy with Mark that can’t be forgotten.
I agree. In the absence of a city history museum, it’s difficult to really figure out how such legacies are preserved and remembered.
Yes, I’m rambling a bit. I did all the writing last fall about Mark’s accomplishments and his mark on this city.
I miss hanging out at Mark’s house, listening to his tales as he made old school Jewish chicken noodle soup. I miss the political debates and the heated discussions about this city’s future.
My connection to the old style of City Hall ward politics and civic service is gone. Someday, hopefully, we’ll figure out a way to make sure Mark and folks like him aren’t forgotten.
What’s the downside if we put Core to Shore on hold for a decade? Get comfortable, pour yourself a cup and talk amongst yourselves.
The DA decides not to press charges and what does Jessica do? Oh Jessica! View photos of Jessica Alba being mischievious traveling back in time here.
I’m hurt that nobody believed me when I quoted a top deadCENTER Film Festival source as saying people would “see” Jessica Alba over the weekend. Fortunately, my network of downtown sources caught “her” up to “her” old tricks again and got this photo.
I was sent an email Sunday night about this incredible story that appeared in the Sacramento Bee. This, folks, is very, very significant.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Fleeing the Great Depression and a drought unprecedented in American history, a vast wave of Oklahomans and Texans dubbed “Okies” loaded everything they could onto crowded vehicles during the 1930s and headed west for California. Today, in huge numbers, their grandchildren are moving back.
It doesn’t take Loren O’Laughlin much time to come up with a reason why, in between bites of a burger at an Oklahoma City diner. “There aren’t really people lined up on the streets here competing for a few scraps,” said O’Laughlin, 23, who grew up in Sacramento but recently graduated from Oklahoma Christian University and opted to stay put. “Small businesses thrive here because networking is so easy.”
To read the entire story, go here.
Also, be sure to watch the attached video. The folks at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber are, without a doubt, high-fiving each other today.
Over 700 runners are expected to slip on their running shoes and head to Downtown Oklahoma City tonight, Saturday, June 13 for the first annual Downtown Dash, sponsored by St. Anthony Hospital. The Downtown Dash includes a USAT&F certified 10K and 5K run, as well as a one mile fun run.
The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with entertainment and a fitness expo located at the Devon Energy Plaza (between 9th & 10th on north Walker Avenue) at the east entrance of St. Anthony Hospital. St. Anthony will provide sports medicine experts on site to offer information on how to properly exercise and stay fit and therapists providing massages. The 10K will begin at 8 pm followed by the 5K at 8:15 pm and the one mile fun run at 8:30 pm.
The run is sanctioned by USA Track and Field and the 5,000 and 10,000 meter courses through downtown Oklahoma City are certified as accurate by the Road Racing Technical Council. Proceeds from the Downtown Dash benefit Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives, Inc., a non-profit whose purpose is to support revitalization and beautification projects in the Center City.
The Downtown Dash is produced by Downtown OKC Inc and the Downtown Business Improvement District. For more information regarding the Downtown Dash, contact Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. at (405) 235-3500 or visit www.DowntownOKC.com.