This and That Newsletter
A Weekly Publication
Vol 17 Issue 852 Circulation 5,000 May 23, 2013
PO Box 11
Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
email address: email@example.com
This week I received a surprise email from California from a Jim Gaskins.
"I was in Ardmore a couple of weeks ago to attend the class of 1955 high school reunion. Three of my classmates, David Dodd, Rae White and Tom Patterson, said I must go to your website because it had numerous comments about the Skyview Drive In, my Mom and Dad (Rose & Jim Gaskins) operated. Imagine my surprise when I did. I was taken back by the wonderful comments and photos sent in. After reviewing them all I would like to fill in some of the "rest of the story":
We were living in Norman in 1949, my Dad who managed the TG&Y store on the campus corner was becoming tired of working for someone else. He became friends with Elvin Anderson in Norman who owned the drive In just out side of town by the Canadian River. Elvin convinced my Dad to move to Ardmore and build a drive In there. They became life long friends and partners. Dad moved first to get things rolling. His original plan was to build the theater on highway 77 but soon discovered that Video Corp (a large movie chain), having got wind of this new theater coming to town, acquired the land first. So he decided to build the theater on the east side of town (old Highway 70). He also was going to choose the name "Starlite" but discovered that Video Corp had beat him to that too. Thus the name Skyview was chosen.
The Skyview had a unique feature in that the screen faced the highway whereas most drive ins the screen faced away from the road. We found that a lot of people would park across the highway and watched the movie for awhile then drive in and buy a ticket, because of course they could not hear it from there. I have attached some pictures of the original entrance sign, the original snack bar and the screen.
Also attached are two photos of the remodeled snack bar (around 1968). The screen was enlarged when cinema scope came out. About a month prior to the completion Dad sold our home in Norman and moved Mom and I to Ardmore. So begin the making of new friends and our family's love of the people of Ardmore.
One of the features of the Drive In was it's monthly calendar. They were always in great demand and I'm sure people remember them. I have attached a photo of one of them. Running the Drive In was a lot of work. It was open 7 days a week and the only thing that closed it was rain, snow, ice and fog. The show was closed the two week prior to Christmas and Dad always opened it on Christmas night, under the assumption that people were ready to get out of the house. He was right. In the summer when you could not start the show till around 8:30 it would sometime be close to 1:30, two o'clock in the morning before you could close up. Even then Dad found time to open a Laundromat in Sulphur and drive there three times a week to service it. I want to thank Bill Bow for the photos he sent in. We had a lot of fun working together. Boy did we love those chili dogs. I did drive by the site while there and saw that it is now a plowed field. Life goes on. One of your Readers mention the night my Mom was robbed. I have attached a copy of the newspaper article covering that event." -Jim Gaskins, Fresno California. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Jim for sending in the above wonderful Ardmore history of the Skyview!
First, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I never parked across the highway to the north side and watched a movie on the big screen for free.
Ok, now with that behind us, I remember going many times to the Skyview Drive In theater during my teenage years (1960s). There were summers I thought I was going to die of heat stroke from the heat. You'd sit in the car until you couldn't take it any longer and stand outside to watch the movie as it was a little cooler, and maybe even a breeze blowing, of course we fought the mosquitoes then. And then in the winters, wouldn't you know it, we'd pull up to a parking space, and the heater (it hung next to the speaker box) did not work, so we kept moving from one spot to another until we found a heater that put out some heat. I remember one time someone caught their car on fire somehow with one of those heaters. Sometimes we'd even pull up to a parking spot and the Speaker Box did not work, so we kept moving around the lot til we found one we could hear. Sitting in the chairs in front of the concession stand was always fun too. You know, as I look back to those days I wouldn't trade anything for those experiences at Ardmore's Skyview.
Here is a couple of aerial views of the Skyview back in those days.
In 2007 Bill Bow sent in some pictures he took when working at the Skyview.
And now what everyone has been waiting for, the photos shared this week by Jim Gaskins of California.
A piece of history that has been around Ardmore for decades is no longer as of a few days ago. Stan Key of Key's Grocery has been following in his dad's footsteps, making the best sandwiches in the county. Stan will no longer be offering the sandwiches from his grocery store on East Broadway. I have many friends who will hate to hear this, including me.
Speaking of Sandwiches.... I stopped by Farmers Market in Ardmore and bought a brick of chili. Sure tasted great with crackers, I even made a chili sandwich with it (with mustard)! But I do hate that inflation has doubled in price in 6 years.
I don't now if this was officially listed as a tornado that came through Lone Grove Monday evening, but it sure is close to being one, if it is not a tornado.
Below is a link to a photograph from years ago a Reader has in her possession. She does not know who the couple is, if would like to get it to any family member who recognizes them.
The local area Camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has started work on a new memorial erected to remember those who served during the Civil War. The memorial will be located at the Confederate cemetery in Ardmore, Oklahoma (Rosehill Cemetery).
For those who want to attend this year's Memorial Day service at Rose Hill Cemetery section for Confederate Veterans, here is the info I received this week from Terry Pierce:
"The Sons of Confederate Veterans annual Memorial Day service at Rose Hill Cemetery in Ardmore, will be on Monday May 27th at 9:30 AM. Program will be given by James Catron, Commander of the Ardmore/Madill camp. Brig. Gen Stand Waite # 149. Please bring a lawn chair, the location is by the tree at the east end of the Confederate section." -Terry Pierce email@example.com
Made a Boomer Sooner brick this week. :-)
This week I passed the 5,000 mark for friends on Facebook. Its all a humbling experience, and I do appreciate all of my Facebook friends. I sure didn't plan it this way 7 years ago when I started on Facebook. Thanks everyone.
Q. Which city in Oklahoma has the largest supply of oil in the world?
A. Cushing, Oklahoma
Q. How many counties in Oklahoma?
A. (answer in next week's T&T)
From This and That newsletter archives of May 27, 2000:
This week I was honored to have a visitor to my office from Ventura County, California. Harold Pittman was born in Ardmore. But since 1988 Hal has been the Treasurer/Tax Collector for Ventura County California. Hal has also published a book on Ventura county's banks and the money they were able to issue (before 1930). He has also published a book on the banks of Ardmore and their money (banknotes) issued before 1930.
Last week I had another honored guest come by..... the great grand daughter of Deputy Sheriff Bud Ballew. Ann Ballew is from Natchez, Mississippi. She and her husband had a lot of tales to tell about her infamous great grand dad, the right arm of the most famous sheriff of Carter County, Buck Garrett. Buck Garrett and Bud Ballew were enforcing the laws of this state when the meanest, roughest people lived in this county during the early 1900s. Oil had just been discovered in Carter county and the roughest, meanest people in the U.S. were coming here to work in the old fields. Yes, Buck and Bud were rough, mean, and fast on the draw. But they had to be, or they'd never been able to arrest one of those guys and make it back to Ardmore alive.
"Hi Butch. I would like to thank Mr Cavins for the information on Camp School near Ratliff City. Also let you know there is a bell in the front yard of a farm house located 1 1/2 miles south of Pinto Corner or 9 miles north of Ringling, on Highway #89, on the west side of the road."
We had a pretty bad storm come through Ardmore at 6:15am Friday. My part of town was without electricity for 11 hours because of downed power lines.
Gas prices today in the Ardmore area......
Check gas prices by town or zip code anywhere in U.S.
Some mail from this week's MAILBAG.....
"Years ago, must have been in the late 50's or very early 60's, I read an article in the Daily Oklahoman regarding an Arbuckle birdman. It even had his picture on the front page of the Oklahoman. It showed him holding a finch in the palm of his hand and the bird eating. I have searched the Oklahoman online archives and cant find anything about him. Have you ever heard of such a man? Would make for a good story, if I could find it." -Ken @ Wilson
Take time to go through all the pictures, Wonderful memories. Though I was a mere babe in the 50"s............lol
Satellite view of the Moore tornado on May 20, 2013.
"Butch, Glad to hear you made it ok in the storm. Thank goodness for the 'Hidey Hole' you and Jill planted last year! I've been aiming to comment on a piece I saw in T&T last year and now I've taken time.....
In Vol 16 T&T issue dated 11/01/12 #823 you had an article including a Houston Chronicle column written by Leon Hale.
Hale is a jewel of a writer, his span of coverage runs from his early days growing up in the Texas plains west of Fort Worth, and can be traced through his Blog, to include his service in WW2, flying in bombing missions over Germany, and subsequent return to graduate college and begin a long writing career, First with the Houston Post and then the Houston Chronicle. At 92 he is still writing a Sunday article for the Chronicle, and moderates a blog daily at, http://blog.chron.com/leonhale/
This site allows comment after it is approved by the moderator. Hale responds to individual bloggers from time to time. Someone referred to the social activity there as a bunch of friends on a front porch and we got tagged as, Porchenistas.
All are welcome to join in. Give it a look if you have the time.-Lewis McKinley, Spring, Texas
"Butch I always enjoy your weekly edition of this and that but the video about the steam powered box factory reminded me of when I was a kid I learned about steam power from the railroads that were near our home in New Jersey. The main line was the New York Central and every Christmas the railroad had a huge display of trains, steam engines, and some interesting facts about steam power.
Some of your Readers may not know how the saying "balls out" came about. If you watch in the beginning of the video pay attention at the starting of the steam piston. If you look at the top of the steam engine you will see a pair of brass balls. Notice as the engine increases speed the balls fly out by centrifugal force. This is the governor and when the engine reaches it required speed the balls regulate the amount of steam to maintain the set speed. Thus the term used to indicate the top speed was "balls out". -Bren Gila
RE: Albuquerque Rail Yard Tour/National Train Day,May 11, 2013
I had the opportunity to join a guided tour of the historic Albuquerque Rail Yards last week sponsered by the City of Albuquerque. The industrial complex was first established by The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad for steam locomotive repair shops and offices in the 1880's and were modernized and expanded by the Santa Fe Railway from 1912 onwards. Being one of Albuquerque's largest employers the Santa Fe shops had a peak employment of 1,500 in the 1940's and remained in full operation until the 1950's when Santa Fe transistioned from steam locomotives to diesel locomotives. The shops were closed in the 1990's and the 27-acre property was purchased by the City of Albuquerque in 2007. I put together a video of the tour and will be posting the photos I shot later on my Google+ albums." -Dwane Stevens
"Hi Butch, Ration stamps are from my memory as a very young child! I was born in 1941 ( before Pearl harbor) and as a very small child (didn't know I could remember that far back! ) I recall stamps, tokens, and rationing books. I remember discussions about the rationing of meat, other foods tires and luxuries.
I remember what the rational books looked like! (The leftovers were saved for Years later) My family was among the "elite " so I'm sure they had access to most anything. Too bad my mother discarded that historical memorabilia .....probably in the 50's as I recall. I also remember saving of 'tin ' cans. We had no victory garden as we were "the elite!". We made up little " care packages in school for the children in Europe containing soap tooth brushes, toothpaste, little dolls and toys and pencils and the like. And of course dinner table conversation was "eat your food...there are starving children in Europe. A nation joined in a war effort it seems. That was a long and not so long time ago!" -Gretchen Hart-vonKeller
"Hi Butch, again regarding Jay's Drive-Inn, Vicky Garner was in the AHS class of 1958 as was I. Kenny Bacon was in my infamous study hall. Also we were faithful patients of Dr. Boyd, sure brings back memories of life in Ardmore. Spent many hours at Whittington park in that pool and skating rink." -Jo Bradley
Postcard picture of Whittington Park swimming pool
"Hello Everybody: Every Senior Day is a good day at Winstar; that is: every Wednesday and Thursday brings a day when Seniors can strap on the feed bag, grab whatever suits their taste buds, sit down to a catered table, dance to some great music, or otherwise just enjoy the Highrollers on stage. It's free for those interested in a 'no strings attached' fun and food gratuity or any who might entertain thoughts of bucking the system. Either way, the buffet breakfast and talented entertainers are 'on the house.' Twice per week, The Highrollers, a six-member ensemble, performs a variety of golden oldies and more -- from Sons of the Pioneers classics to country, pop, jazz, blues, rock and roll, and even a little Cajun. They do it all. This Thursday, a rather large Ardmore, Oklahoma contingent gathered for an impromptu 'Happy Birthday Stephanie' fest and joined by many other breakfast-teers, to celebrate Highrollers' lead female singer' happy occasion -- followed by a picture-taking session. We won't give Stephanie's age, but she did perform in a High School auditorium -- a few years back.
I should add: the popular Highrollers group are in about their 140th unbroken, weekly run at the Winstar complex. As a testimonial: even after an extended run, they are more popular now than when first introduced as a Winstar featured production. As a side note, my daughter Schahara and husband Rusty are on a tour of Belize, NE coast of South America, on the Atlantic. They purchased property there and are not only taking a tour of Belize but inspecting their real estate as well. They report a beautiful, tropical paradise, very poor but friendly populace, and notwithstanding a great place to spend American bucks: the ratio being a bag of fruit for $ .50 Belize but $1.00 US; everything seems to be at bargain-basement prices but still x2 American. To those curious about foreign investment, as a means of escape, the duo seem well-pleased with their purchase. Speaking of the tropics, in the area between Winstar's hotels and the Casino proper; that is, northerly on its far east wing, the entertainment center steadily progresses with a huge outdoor pool and amenities -- which area, as I understand, not only borders the roomy new restaurant but the pool area will be decorated with palms and other tropical flora. A third hotel rises just beyond the second hotel; the second, now being finished, borders the pool on its northeast side. The grand design slowly begins to take shape. Still, a tremendous amount of construction awaits its turn in the orderly progression. The plans are for a much more grandiose (immense already) entertainment complex -- a fun place to visit.
Already, some are wondering: well, how did you do this week? Okay! Aside from the usual bounteous breakfast buffet, and great music performances by The Highrollers, Jo and I finally ventured out into the sights, glitter, and sounds of busy gaming choices and eager players. Again, we bypassed The Green Machine, in search of greener pastures. I think Jo looked toward that Mean Machine with a wistful eye as I hurried on past, with her in tow. We'll be back; I just wasn't quite ready. We finally settled into the Rome area. Lady Luck smiled on us a little late! Jo, who usualy wins, lost again for about the third week in a row. Me, I'm no quitter as you might know by now. Just as I was about to 'set my bucket down and go to the house,' I hit a jackpot. Lo and behold, shortly thereafter, I hit another. Already a loser from earlier misfortunes, I managed, with the two jackpots, to luck-out as I did last week. I managed to quit a small winner as well as reimburse Jo for most of her losses. I did bet a win ticket (in the Winstar Horse Parlor) on a horse at Delta Downs (night racing). So, I discovered it was a winner when I opened my home computer. So, all in all, it wasn't a bad week after all.You've probably heard the old adage, "A gambler is never satisfied until he loses." Well, that is not exactly true in my case -- or is it? I can hardly wait until next week -- good food, good music, and eagerly looking to try Lady Luck again." -Ben Winter
"BUTCH TELL MR. WILLIAMS THOSE GRAVES AT THE VAMOOSA, OKLAHOMA CEMETARY ARE SEMINOLE-CREEK INDIAN GRAVES & THE LITTLE BAG INSIDE IS ARTIFACTS THAT BELONGED TO THE DECEASED. ITS FOR THERE TRIP TO HEAVEN. THERE ARE MORE THAN 200 SEPARATE CEMETERIES IN AND AROUND KONAWA, OKLAHOMA. A LOT OF THE PEOPLE STILL LEGALLY BURY ON THEIR OWN LAND." -HERMAN KIRKWOOD FROM KONAWA, OKLAHOMA
Let us all remember the terrible tragedy from the tornadoes in Oklahoma this week. Moore, Oklahoma and other areas were turned into what looks like battlegrounds. Our prayers are needed for the 1,000s who must basically start life over with nothing.
The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense. -Thomas Edison
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 11
Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
Save on long distance calls, just a couple cents a minute!
Ardmore High School Criterions Online
Oklahoma Bells: http://www.OklahomaHistory.net/bellpage.html
American Flyers Memorial Fund - Administration Webpage
Official American Flyers Memorial Website
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Base Website
Mirror Site of the Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter county schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website
Ardmore School Criterions
All previous issues of This & That can be found on my Website.
Feel free to forward this free newsletter. Mailouts: over 1,600.
To be removed from my T&T mailings, just send me an email.
I do not sell, trade or give my mailing list to anyone for any reason.