Many of you know that I grew up in the small town I now live in. I graduated from high school in Locust Grove in 1980 and went to various places, none far away. In 2005, I moved back here and began teaching at Pryor Junior High. My mother was a teacher at Locust Grove High School for thirty years, and her family and my dad’s family have lived in Locust Grove and Rose for more than 100 years. This community is important to us.
When I was growing up, we lived on Snake Creek for many years and then moved to town when I was in junior high. I spent some happy times riding my bike all over town–visiting the sale barn on Thursdays, talking to Charlie and Jerry about their fishing success, working at Cook’s Cafe every Saturday and Sunday, playing foosball at the rec center across from the funeral home. In the 70’s Locust Grove had a downtown, like most small towns did. Main Street had the post office, two grocery stores, Charlie’s In and Out (of course!), two “dry goods” stores, Ford’s Variety (the kind of store Dollar General and Family Dollar can never be), diner, funeral home, lumber yard . . . everything, basically a town needed.
Now Main Street downtown is quite changed, which is not to say that a town has to stay alive with downtown activity, but it does seem to be a sign of its vitality. Still, the major component of a community is the community–the people who comprise it. And Locust Grove has chamber members who are working to bring activities and opportunities for the community to thrive. Businesses, schools, and organizations continue to keep the town alive. It is very encouraging.
Like in many small towns, the school’s sports teams provide most of the entertainment to the area. What I hope the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry can continue to grow and be is a place where the community can also find pleasure and entertainment in the arts. We can be a very well-rounded little town. I have so many ideas, and now I have an opportunity to see how those ideas might come to fruition.
The Oklahoma Arts Council has an award-winning Leadership Arts program that trains people to develop and expand the arts in their community. Unfortunately, the Council does not fund the training, so I am looking for help to cover the costs of motel, food, and gas for the training dates. I have a campaign going on Indiegogo, and am already 1/4 of the way to my goal of $1,000.
If you can help, please do. Or if you simply have comments and suggestions, please leave them below!