Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Breaking News of My Own

It took E.R. a while to get to the point of telling us Dr. E.R. had left him for the Rocky Mountains, temporarily. Now he seems to be getting with the program and is imagining himself actually living there too. (See his blog: E.R.'s Rocky Mountain High )

Well, I've been sitting on a secret of my own for a few months. Today I can tell you that I've been offered a job as an education/government reporter at my hometown newspaper in Ponca City, OK.

I've had mixed feelings about this since the beginning, but I'm pretty excited about this opportunity now. One of my major notes in the "pro" column is a sharp reduction in the amount of driving I'll be doing.

The town has a population close to 26,000 and the paper's circulation is 10,000. Both are considerably smaller than I've been used to since 1976, when I looked at it through the rear-view mirror of my 1971 Datsun station wagon headed south.

The newspaper is in the heart of downtown, surrounded by an old residential neighborhood. I've been scoping out houses within walking distance since I first learned there was a job opening there. One house I'm most interested in is an old Victorian about three blocks from the office. Yes, I would WALK to work and use a COMPANY CAR!

Here's a link: First Mayor's Home.

The house is directly across the street from my favorite park, straight across from the bandstand where community concerts have been held every Tuesday evening in the summers for decades (I remember going to the concerts when I was 5, so that should tell you everything!)

This house is also within walking distance of a magnificent public library, the YMCA, the town's old downtown shopping area and banks, City Hall and the Civic Center auditorium, the Poncan Theater and one of the four Methodist churches in town. I'll have to see which of the four churches I'll attend. I'm leaning towards the one where I grew up, because it looks to be a very mission-oriented church and it still feels like home. But I want to check out all the churches so I don't just return there out of habit!

There are several other houses on my "look at" list, and I'll keep shopping until I find the right place. It's the chance for me to find a home with some history - the Victorian I'm looking at so strongly was the home of Ponca City's first mayor. It was moved to its current location to make room for the city hall!

Another home I'm lookiing at was built in 1930 for George Miller of the historic 101 Ranch. It has me all a-quiver just thinking about it! Here's a link: Miller house.

I cannot believe I have to pack all this junk and move! So much to do -- first move would be to call and accept the job and find out when I have to start!! I'll do that in the morning after I have a chance to talk to some friends and sleep on it. I have to have a garage sale. SO MUCH TO DO!!! What have I gotten myself into?????? AGH!


Anonymous said...

Oh my! That IS news! Congrats on being offered the job.

Personally, I think the mayor's house is adorable. But then again, the tudor is probably newer with fewer things to go wrong with it.

Not much help am I? ;)

drlobojo said...

Don't pay attention to ole Tom Wolf, you can go home again, except it won't still be home like you knew it. Left PC in 76 huh? Did you ever run across a bearded wierdo named David Young? He ran the Ponca City Playhouse from about 71 to 74-5 or so. He was my best friend for 25 years or so.


Oh, now that you are in the Ponca City realm, see if you can find out where Standing Bear got that Jefferson Peace Medal that the artist hung around his neck. Seriously, there were very few of those made and almost all were given out by Lewis and Clark (somewhat before Standing Bear's time, but the tribe is correct). I ask the "banker" behind the statue project about it when the designs were being considered but I think he thought I was just being a smart ass. Truely, if Standing Bear had an L&C Jefferson medal it may be traceable to one in a museum somewhere. It would neat to make the conection, and perhaps return it to that museum. Or is it already there and I'm just behind the curve.

Sarabeth said...

Congratulations, Trixie. That mayor's house is adorable.

Oh, yard sale. So good for beginning anew. Someone will love what you once had.

Trixie said...

Both the Mayor's house and the Miller house have some serious history behind them. I don't think Miller ever lived in the house. His father, Col. George Miller, founded the 101 Ranch, which covered 110,000 acres in north central Oklahoma, in 1893. The 101 Ranch Wild West Show traveled the world from 1901 to 1931. The ranch was a pioneer in filmmaking and filmed some of the first westerns. It was an incredible operation. But it fell during the Great Depression and was sold off in parcels in 1936.

George Miller (the son) died in a car wreck in 1929, two years after his brother Joe died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Their surviving brother, Zack, tried to keep it going but couldn't.

A personal note: I may have the very last photograph taken of the 101 Ranch company store building. I stopped one afternoon while traveling to Ponca City to get a photo. The next day, the building succumbed to a fire.

I had noticed a bare lightbulb shining through a second-floor window. I was surprised there was still electric service to the building, I recall. There's no telling who had turned on that light or when, or what role it might have played in the destruction of the store.

Trixie said...

Drlobojo, thanks for the tip. I'll see what I can find out about Standing Bear's medal. He's one of my favorite historic characters.

Can't say I remember a David Young. I graduated in the class of 73, but Ponca remained "home" until I graduated from OU in 1976 and started working in OKC. Good lord, I've lived around here 30 years -- one year I lived in Enid but hurried back after my bank closed during the oil bust.

Trixie said...

Sarabeth, I'm REALLY looking forward to shedding the old in a garage sale. First I'll have to figure out where I'll live so I know what I need to keep. Then I'm going to shake off everything else and try to live lean in this next phase of my life.

I'm thinking my beloved baby grand piano may be one of the first things I shed.

Erudite Redneck said...

Why would you get rid of the piano? You're going to have room for it once you get moved and settled, looks like. If it's beloved, treat itlike a fambly member: Make it work. :-)

drlobojo said...

Yeah, give the baby grand to ER and let him lug it up the mountain to that house on the side of a hill.

Trixie said...

I know Ice-T would love to have it!
Truth: I'll wait until I see where I'll be living before making a final decision on it. The cost of hiring a piano mover will also be considered. Those guys aren't cheap.

Teditor said...

Now that's funny, Dr. Lobo.

Trixie, congrats on the gig. I do not envy your move, but the timing may have been right on. Given that you gradiated high school in 1973, you're closing in on retirement age and can set up shot in your retirement home ... er ... house. :-)

I've been in the field better than 20 years, and the intrigue of the newspaper industry at this phase of my life is lost on me. So the fact that you and ER have a need to stay (or get back) in the biz leaves me at a loss. I figure with the talent you two folks possess, the sky's the limit for you.

Of course, the burnout factor hit me years ago, and I ran back to the industry because it's what I knew. Now I'm thinking working the counter at McDonald's looks good. The pay's about the same at the small newspaper level, and you don't have the headaches. :-)

Of course, I spent last weekend in the Oklahoma Panhandle hanging out with rodeo folk, and that's what I'd prefer to do for a living.

I still love journalism and love writing, but I pray there's a way to feed that aspect of my life without the overwhelming stress.

TECH said...

Woohoo! Congrats Trixie! This is wonderful news. I'm excited for you. I've been to Ponca City many times, and I've always enjoyed my visits. It's a good town.

And yes, I vote on taking the piano with you.

Trixie said...

Teditor, I hear you. I've had my burn-out melt-down. The news biz ain't what it used to be, for sure. I'm hoping this gig is a little more like the journalism I know. Well, I think it sort of has to be, considering this is the newspaper that got me into journalism in the first place. It's the one that turned me into a newspaper reader, and the publisher sponsored me for scholarships back in the lead type days. I would walk past the print shop of the old building just to smell the ink wafting up to the sidewalk when the basement windows were open. When I went for the interview, that same smell was permeating the newsroom and I felt at home.

And don't think I didn't notice that "old" remark!! Grr.

Trixie said...

Tech, you'll have to come up and see me some time. I'll meet you at the Pioneer Woman! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, you need to keep the piano! After watching a friend moving her chamber grand, it looks easier than moving a spinet or an upright. You sure you can't do it yourself with a couple of big, burly friends? :)

Trixie said...

No, I wouldn't even try. I watched them move it in -- the legs come off as well as various other pieces, including the pedals. Then the body is wrapped, tipped on its side and moved out on a special dolly. The soundboard is too vulnerable to let hefty helpers do it, and the pros come with their own trailer and padding. I should call and ask what their rate is for moving that far. When I bought it, the piano was delivered to me from a Tulsa showroom.

Trixie said...

BTW, our symphony orchestra has lost two 9' Steinways because they were moved by stagehands during a performance -- the pedals got snagged on a threshhold; they pushed harder and the upward standards on the pedals split the soundboard on the pianos. I couldn't believe it when it happened the first time, much less the second time!

Anonymous said...

I didn't even think of the piano movers actually moving it that far. I was thinking they just moved it out of your house and into whatever truck you're using. Couldn't they do that? Hire movers at both ends and it gets moved with the rest of your stuff?

Trixie said...

I think the movers I've known actually have some internal supports in their trailer to keep the piano in place while it travels.

Erudite Redneck said...

I was moving an old upright piano that a girlfriend had bought from a church. At the corner of Fifth Street (maybe it was Sixth Street) and Garrison Avenue, in downtown Fort Smith, Ark., in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, I turned a corner too fast, even though I was being careful, and the thing tumped out of the back of the truck (yes, it was tied down). It dang near turned the small pickup over. She cried. I freaked. It shattered into a gozillion pieces of wood and wire, in one still generally cohesive wad. I stopped, ran back and tried to lift a piece of it, but it just seemed impossible to deal with, so we just left it there in the middle of the street. Some street crew hates me. I was very, very bad.

Trixie said...

Yes, and that is similar to the horror that led me to having the baby grand today.

I had an antique player piano that my parents bought for me when I was 4, from the neighbor across the street. That piano stayed with me until I was in my 30s, when my Uncle John offered to take it to his house and try to work on the bellows.

Well, after some passage of time, he got tired of tinkering with it and called my mother to see if he could donate it to his local cemetery association for a fundraiser. WITHOUT ASKING ME, my mother said "sure!" (That was the first wound.)

So some fine citizen paid $300 for MY piano and went to pick it up at John's shop. Did NOT tie it down. Took off out of the driveway and of course, first thing, it falls out of the truck and creates a scene like yours.

I didn't even get the $300. I don't know where the money wound up -- don't know if the cemetery association got it or not.

I still have really hurt feelings about that.

TECH said...

Trixie, I have a photo of me by the Pioneer Woman and her Pioneer Kid somewhere. My brother used to pastor a church in Ponca.

Genevieve said...

I'm a little late, but better late than never, I guess. Congratulations on the new job, best wishes for a smooth transition, and definitely keep the baby grand. You know you're going to regret selling it.