The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 January 2005

Saturday spottings (southern exposure)

First, a housekeeping note: The Soonerland and Spottings categories were re-merged, and things that were deemed OKC-specific were then broken out into a new category called City Scene. If you were goofy enough to bookmark any of these, consider yourself warned.

The emphasis around here lately has been on the city's southside, so that's where I started today's jaunt. Along SW 15 east of Portland, the earthmovers have started clearing the way for the new Dell Business Services Center. The empty space, occasionally interrupted by mounds of dirt, looks a lot more impressive at street level than it does from the I-44 bridge over the Oklahoma River.

I took Portland south to SW 44th, which is one of the streets I used to hit regularly when I lived out that way but haven't seen much of in the past couple of decades. From the looks of things, I haven't missed much. I did perk up when I saw that Penn 44 Lanes, my bowling alley of choice in those days, was apparently still around. And I was slightly disturbed by the (probably accurate) signage at a body-piercing place identified as "House of Pain."

I swung down Western and headed west on 74th, where a large mound of broken concrete and bent steel sat in the parking lot of what once was a Wal-Mart. The upscale center planned for this area seems an awfully long way off.

Back up Pennsylvania, and then east on 59th, which I remembered as being a traffic nightmare, especially around Blackwelder. This memory, at least, was correct. And I detoured into the residential area to see if I could find the old rock house where my younger sister had lived circa 1978. It was still there, and it looked even smaller than I remembered it; the official documents report 785 square feet, a number rather higher than I expected to find, and a recent (August) sale for $20,000. It may be uninspiring, I reminded myself, but it's somebody's home.

I returned up Walker, where starting around SW 29th the most common phrase seems to be Nosotros financiamos — "We finance." Same signs that were there thirty years ago, just translated into Spanish.

And on the way home, I took Harvey through Heritage Hills, where I saw something I'd never seen before: a mother/daughter (I assume) team on a Segway, whirring along at a brisk 12 mph or so. It almost looked like fun. Not that you'll ever get me on one of those contraptions.

Posted at 6:42 PM to City Scene

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