Claremore Daily Progress

July 16, 2011

Moving Into New Century

Larry Larkin
Progress Correspondent

CLAREMORE — It appears my family has been successful while dragging me into the 21st Century.  After must urging and a few light threats, I finally gave in this past week and became a “Facebook” member.

There were many reasons for not wanting to join.  In the end it just seemed to be easier to give in than to continue making excuses not to do it.

Okay!  It is confession time.  The move has already paid off several times over.   I realize now I am going to like it.  Messages have come in from friends I haven’t seen since high school.  Due to a brief note about some extra sports tickets, we sold them within hours of the posting.  It is also fun reading what others are thinking about.

This “Facebook” business is becoming more and more popular for me. 

I reckon there are other directions to go, but here at the start I am enjoying a section called “You might be from old school Claremore if…”  Someone will write in asking if anybody else remembers a certain old local business or locations like the Palace Theater or the Wigwam Chicken Hut.

Before you know it several others will join right in on the subject.  You and the others are then off and running.

This was the case when Facebook veteran Don Hill asked Thursday if anyone remembered Tiawah Gene.  He was noted for walking every place he went.  It didn’t matter how close or far, he walked.

I remembered a fellow know as Zeke who also walked around the Collinsville area.  I was working in my aunt’s hamburger stand in the summers of 1963 and 1964.

Could this be the same person, I asked.

“No,” was the knowledgeable reply from Don and some others.

Maybe they were cousins, then.  Both apparently had the same life style.  If around today they each had the appearances of the homeless.  When seen walking they were always moving at a fast pace.  Where they were headed was no other’s business.

Writing about Tiawah Gene, Don said a friend once stopped his car and ask Gene if he needed a ride?  His answer was “no thanks, I’m in a hurry.”

I only remember seeing Tiawah Gene a few times.  Zeke was a common sight when I was working those summers.  He would come by every day or so.  He was a legend along Highway 20 as he walked through Claremore, Collinsville, Skiatook, and points beyond.

It didn’t matter if it was the hottest summer day or the coldest day of winter, Zeke also would not accept a ride from motorists.  Regardless the time of year he always appeared to be wearing the same clothes.

It makes one wonder how many other towns had colorful characters like Tiawah Gene and Zeke.

According to my dad when he was a youngster growing up in Osage County, there was an old Indian who lived in a hole in the ground inside a cave.  His name was John Stink.

That’s another story, however.