Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sooner, Part 1

Amarillo, TX--downtown
My brothers and I often went to that movie theater.
I've not ever posted about my boyhood dog, Sooner. For one thing, I had somehow misplaced the few pictures of him that I have (hard to believe in this OCD household I live in, I know). And ... there's another reason, too, but I'm going to hold off telling you what that is until I see where this goes.

Sooner entered our lives when we were living in Amarillo, Texas, in 1952-1953. We'd moved there, as I've written before, because of the Korean War. Dad--who'd been an Army chaplain during WW II, and then had transferred to the Air Force--had been called back to active duty, and just as he was about to be shipped out to Korea, the Air Force decided to re-open Amarillo Air Force Base, and so there we went. I was in second grade.

Waukomis Christian Church
A couple of strange things I've learned in recent years. Just a few months ago, I found in an old local history book about Enid, Oklahoma (where we'd been living before the Texas move), that in 1952 Dad had accepted a full-time position as the minister of the little Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in nearby Waukomis (wah-KOH-muss). He had been filling in there (the family always joined him for the services), and I guess they liked him enough to ask him to serve them. This meant that Dad would have had two full-time jobs (he was provost at now-defunct Phillips University) as well as a part-time one (he was in the Air Force Reserves and regularly had duties out at Vance Air Force Base in Enid). But the move to Amarillo ended the Waukomis gig--though Phillips held Dad's position for him.

(An aside: All those jobs of Dad's continue to pay benefits: My mother, 94, still collects some of his pensions from the Disciples of Christ, the Air Force, his teaching career. Dad, born in 1913, had lived through the Depression as a young man, and he knew what he had to do to offer security for his wife and family.)

Second strange thing. At Kent State, Joyce and I both had a grad-school professor (American lit) who meant a lot to us--Dr. Sanford Marovitz (we still see him and his wife now and then). Dr. Marovitz (I just can't seem to call him "Sandy") was a big help to both Joyce and me in our careers. Anyway, one night when we were having dinner, he commented that he'd been in the Air Force during the Korean War. "So was my dad," I said. A few more exchanges, and we learned that Dr. Marovitz had been stationed at Amarillo during the very time we were there. He didn't remember Dad--but I thought about the strange coincidence that put us in the same town when he was a young airman, and I was a second and third grader at Avondale Elementary School.

Okay ... time to get back on-topic.

My mom's parents--G. Edwin and Alma Osborn (the "G" was for "George," a name that Grandpa hated)--still lived back in Enid (he was a professor at Phillips), and since Enid and Amarillo are only 269 miles apart (thank you, GoogleMaps), we still saw them throughout our Amarillo exile. And here's something to show you How Times Have Changed: My parents, several times, put my older brother, Richard (he was 10-11 years old), on a bus to Enid, alone, to go visit his grandparents. Think of doing that today ...

Anyway, one day Grandma and Grandpa showed up in Amarillo with a passenger. A dog.


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