“Time has passed I’ve forgot you
Mother Nature does wonderful things
I guess that it’s true for me and you
‘cause time changes everything.”
When Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan teamed in 1940 to record ‘Time Changes Everything’ they were referring to some lost and faded love. Actually the King of Western Swing would use the faded love words for another huge hit 10 years later.
What do these songs have to do with today’s column topic? Nothing really…except to point out time does really cause changes.
Claremore continues to grow each year with new businesses. This shows the local Chamber of Commerce and the city officials are out promoting the area to newcomers.
At the same time we can add our town is also seeing certain types of vocations disappear. To demonstrate the fact all we need to do is go back some years. Let us drift back to 1982 for an example.
Today if something breaks or wears out the common practice is to throw it away and buy a replacement. Times were different back then.
Thirty-seven years ago one of us might have needed a blacksmith to repair a metal piece. Drop the broken object off at Joe Wagoner Machine Shop in the morning and he would probably have it ready the same afternoon. Try to find a blacksmith today.
Miss your daily Tulsa World or Tulsa Tribune? All you had to do was call Kenneth Delozier at the Cherokee Street office and a replacement was on the way. To be fair, this didn’t happen often. Carrier Jim Finley just didn’t miss his morning and evening customers.
Don’t try catching a cross country bus here today. Greyhound Bus Lines had a station stop at 614 W. Patti Page once, but no more.
Anybody needing an alcoholic beverage a little stronger than a beer, needed only to drop in at the After Dark Club, Allen’s Alley, the
Baron Club, Galaxy Club, Country Keg, Country Palace, or Downtown Club. There was also Iron Horse and Lazy D Club at Oologah. Or the Twin Pines and Midway House east of town were handy. On Saturday nights the Will Rogers Round Up Club was also available.
Individual family operated grocery stores were still common in’82. East Side Grocery, John’s Quick Shop, Keetonville Grocery, and Lewis Grocery out at Sequoyah are now no longer. The same can be said about the larger chain stores Humpty Dumpty, Giant Discount, and Family Market, formerly known as Warehouse Market.
Claremore is known as a community of museums. In our featured year the town could also claim Long’s Museum and Hotel and The Doll House Museum. Both have moved on.
Eating establishments seem to come and go on a carousel fashion. One of the missing ones today is Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. It was on the Will Rogers Turnpike, but a special gate was installed for the Claremore regulars. Who can forget “catfish Fridays”?
How many of us can claim Jim Marshall, John Henry, John Battle, John Green, Jr., Jack Marlar, or Richard Perryman as our dentist ? All have retired.
Need some good reading material from the pocket-size paperbacks… or a bicycle wheel…or how about a used kitchen table? On any day one could maybe locate all and a thousand other items at Chief’s Swap Shop.
What about needing an old family clock to work again? Call up or visit Warden’s Antique Clock Shop. Any type of office supply could be purchased or ordered at Max Milner Office Shop. Larry Arrowood could fix all broken windows. Don Jordan was the man with the needed auto parts. Fred Ott was an auctioneer in the ‘old South Colonel’ style. Russel Bradshaw was an electrician deluxe. Gene Blevins was the same when it came to appliance repair.
Michael Keller operated his photography business out of his home. Bob Shelton stayed busy repairing shoes and leather goods in his shop inside Don’s Barber Shop on Claremore’s Will Rogers Blvd.
Other main street retailers included Mickey, M.C. and Rose Walker at their corner furniture store, Phil Smith’s Furniture, Edwin’s Gift Shop inside Haddad Variety, Dave’s Indian Shop, and Tommy McClurg’s Claremore Pawn.
Maybe the only Claremore location to purchase one of the nation’s latest fads was Burrows Furniture, around the corner from the Mason Hotel. Water beds were the leading buy for a time.
The Rogers Drive In was still showing summer movies in ’82, but the Yale and Cadet theatres were only memories. The drive in would soon be missing too.
Little did most of us realize at the time another long lasting business would disappear along with the downtown movie houses. The full service gas stations like Willa and Licia Barger’s Texaco, Everett Bryant Kerr-McGee, Bob Froman Skelly, and Obie Hixon DX would close doors for the final time.
There is one other “change” time has brought forth. According to the Yellow Pages of the 1982 Claremore Oologah telephone directory, the Mexican Chef at 201 S. Brady was the ONLY south of the border eating location.
In closing I must disagree with the song’s words in the first line. Time has passed, but I and so many others will not forget the businesses and wonderful people mentioned here.
Larry Larkin is a columnist for the Claremore Progress.