Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn [email protected]
Fall is a time we often think is going back to school time. And while we may or may not be going back to school with continuing education, we can all recall the tactile feelings of note books, pens and pencils (do kids use pens and pencils anymore?) and the anticipation of new experiences.
Memories of Grammar School, those school years of first through sixth grades, are engraved in our memory, when our heads were only anticipating what comes in the next hour or so.
With Oklahoma City author, Bob Hammack’s, books, “When Magpies Ruled Th World” and “Two Years In the Doghouse,” your arm chair travel will take you back to the simpler times of the 1950s and your allegiance to your school’s mascots. In Bob’s case the Magpies referred to Madison Elementary and the Bulldogs of Cleveland Elementary. While my days were with the Linwood School Lions, it’s easy to identify with the characters Bob grew up with and elaborates through his narrative. Maybe my book of memories would be “When Lions Roared,” however my recollections are not as good or as colorful as Bob’s.
Magpies, has a thread of mystery of a young boy’s disappearance and Doghouse includes a parallel life of a gentleman much the senior of Bob.
I had to ration my reading time with both books as it was too good to rush a comforting a time by reliving a simpler time with landmarks and cultural icons were familiar to me.
Bob recalls a car trip with friend Sally and a journey down memory lane. “The day long journey would provide some quality time for small talk about “remember when”, or “whatever happened to old so and so,” sprinkled with stretches of quite times for thoughtful recollections. Traveling with a fellow baby boomer, we both understand we have more past to talk about than future. Still, the thing about nostalgia is that it is an illness, with only one cure.”
“As the mile markers flew by, I smiled as I realized how simple and predictable life seems to a child. This was especially true during the fabulous fifties, a time in American history when schools followed a predictable pattern, Each year was cleaved into a set of recurring annual events, etched in stories such as Trick or Treat, Thanksgiving, Christmas, ‘89 Day or Valentines day.”
In only a few words you are whisked back in time to Roy Rodgers, Howdy Doody, the Mickey Mouse Club, or Superman. While I lived in relatively the same neighborhood as Bob, his recollections of landmark buildings, attractions and stores, along with a history of the area is fascinating. I had no idea the Shepherd Mall area was once so expansive before development. Wished I could go back in time to see that long gone large Victorian style house of the Shepherds. I do recall having hamburgers with my Dad and brother at a railway style car in a grill called “Cherry’s” that faced NW 23 street, where my Dad teased me with, “Need some help eating those fries?”
Bob has an easy going writing style reminiscent of great Southern writers. To end your nostalgic trip, Bob finishes each book with a what happened to them, in a brief bio of the children’s life as adults. This brings us back to reality and is a comfort to find the childlike escapades that shaped the grown up to their future accomplishments, or not.
Bob’s impressive resume includes being a 1971 Graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in journalism, Past Board members of: Oklahoma City Board of Education, Oklahoma City Zoological Trust, Alliance for Women in Media, Oklahoma Zoological Society, Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Red Cross, Oklahoma City Arts Commission, Omniplex Science Museum, Oklahoma City Advertising Club, Downtown Oklahoma City Rotary Club, Oklahoma City Arts Council and Goodwill Industries.
In between his civic involvement it’s a wonder he has time to write his infectious books. But I hope his educational tomes continue as he might move on to the Royals of Taft Junior High and then to Northwest Classen Knights, when maturity
really heats up the escapades.
I suggest you contact Bob by way of email where you can order books by mail. [email protected]