HAWKINS: What a long strange trip it’s been remembering Odessa when… - Odessa American: Home

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HAWKINS: What a long strange trip it’s been remembering Odessa when…

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Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2011 12:00 am

It’s been almost two weeks since the “Remember in Odessa When?...” page came into our lives. And now, for many of us, it is part of our lives – reconnecting us to our past and to people, places and things – we haven’t thought about for years.

And it’s been two weeks since Michele Alexander Snell, the Fort Worth teacher who was just taking a quick Facebook break from her grad studies, decided to start the page. I posted a question last week asking all of the FB lovers how they felt about the page.

“My mom and I love it, she started laughing just to have something remind her of the good ole days,” said Keri Ruth Black.

As of Wednesday afternoon, almost 7,200 friends had signed on to the open page. There is a closed page too, dubbed “Remember in Odessa, Texas When,” with about 250 friends.

Having to reach back, clear away the cobwebs and actually remember something has been a challenge for some of us more mature folks.

I mean if you remember actually seeing movies at the Scott theater (or Theatre?) downtown – you might be well, oldish. If you remember buying your Red Snap jeans in all colors of the rainbow at the Army Surplus store and wearing wooden platform sandals – guess what? You’re …. I’m not going to say it.

But so what? We’re proud to remember these things that are in “the back roads of our memories…ever smiling ever gentle on our minds.” And, “what a long strange trip it’s been…”

Wait a minute, those are lyrics to songs. It’s all coming back to me now.

Oh, sure, posters are still asking folks to remember places like Day’s Drive-In, Speedway, A&W Root Beer on Eighth Street and Otto’s on Dixie Boulevard (by the way, no one has mentioned Ham Yankee, on 42nd Street —  I remember that place), but the topics are running a little deeper.

The rememberers are getting more specific, asking folks to recall favorite teachers, football rivalries and even weather events.

For example there has been some question as to where the “drag” was back in the day. In my day (I say with a quivering, feeble voice) it was 42nd Street. But there was also a drag on Andrews Highway and the two drags seemed to converge at the Ector County Coliseum parking lot. Kids in souped-up hot rods and giant cars on loan from their parents, circled the lot until police showed up and shooed us away. Ahhh, the good old days.

And since the young’uns started commenting on the page (by that I mean anyone who was born in the 1970s and thereafter) old age has pinched some of us pretty hard. But we are glad to oblige and answer any historical questions, such as (one I haven’t seen yet) “How many folks could you cram in the trunk of your 1974 Pontiac Catalina to get in to the drive-in movie?” The answer: four.

That meant you could comfortably get 10 to 12 of your friends (eight in the front and back, four in the trunk) in the movie for $2 a carload.

So keep reading all you youngsters, it’s all about history.

Some of the more senior members have joined in the fun too perusing the page with wonder and nostalgia. And they are teaching us less senior folks a thing or two. One post asked “where were you when JFK was killed?” Some answered “in class at Permian” and remembered being out of school for a few days. Some younger folks answered “in my crib.”

So folks, put away the Ginko Biloba and all the memory vitamins. Grab a cup of coffee and log on and take a trip. Michele says she’ll keep the page up as long as folks are enjoying it.

“The neat thing is everybody has a different memory from a different time,” Michele said.


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