JESSICA SEZ: We just crossed over the Oklahoma-Texas border. Yee haw!
(ANDREW SEZ: please ignore the fact that this is being posted weeks later–lets all pretend were in the present, since thats when this post was written…)
In Norman, OK, our host was Scott Gurian, another talented radio producer. He gave us the most comprehensive tour of any city we’ve had so far. In one day we covered Oklahoma City, pretty much ENTIRELY!
- Federal Bldg bombing memorial & museum
- OK State Capital Bldg (senate & house chambers AND supreme court room)
- OK History museum
- Myriad Botanical Gardens
- The Art Museum (feat. Dale Chihuly glass exhibit)
- Asian section of town with largest Asian grocery store I’ve ever seen
- Centennial celebration (2007) humongous bronze sculpture garden (incomplete)
- And we saw the local animal-shaped public art sculptures: Buffalo!
The site of the federal building bombing (April 1995) has been memorialized with a really amazing park and museum. I’m sure I never would have thought to see it at all if our guide Scott hadn’t taken us there. Parts of the destroyed structure are still standing, and there is a field of “empty chairs” representing each of the people killed.
The museum tells a riveting story of a normal, beautiful morning that quickly changed into the largest domestic terrorism attack in our nation’s modern history (I’m not sure of exactly when & where, but there have probably been larger massacres of native people). People’s stories of death, survival, bold rescue, and comfort are told as you wind your way thru the museum’s 3 levels and thru the park. Half of the 7-story building was blown away instantly, hundreds of local buildings were damaged, and a whole bunch had to be totally demolished. It was one monster bomb. And a very thoughtful, serene, and engaging memorial. I gotta give props to the architects and engineers in Oklahoma – they really did it right.
Besides that, the main observation to relate about OK is it is REALLY HOT! Over 100 degrees with lows in the high 80s. And that’s in the middle of the night. But you know, what they say about humidity is really true. I was sweatier and stickier in New Orleans and Tampa than in 100+ degree weather in the dry mid-west.
Thanks to Scott for the hospitality—better late than never right?.
Check out this award winning radio piece he did about an Oklahoma tradition—fishing with your bare hands for catfish—its called noodlin…
I was interested in what I learned about the story of the land rush—they had all this land with no body on it(Injuns didn’t count of course) and they just set up a startin time, shot off a gun and let everybody grab what they could get.
Im sure it was ugly then, but lord have mercy if they tried that nowadays…
Onwards to the great Southwest…