Why Am I An Oklahoman?

Posted in: Club Newsletter, Featured, In The News, Reflections Articles

Why Am I An Oklahoman?


Paul Moore

At a traffic light the other day (we have a lot of those in Edmond), I noticed that the car in front of me had a Pennsylvania tag, and the one next to it was tagged in Michigan.  That got me thinking about how many people from somewhere else have become our neighbors.  Almost every day I see a car with California tags like the ones that hang in my garage.  And looking at social media like NextDoor, many of the questions are from people who just moved here and are looking for a church (wow, does that bring a lot of responses) or how to register their car.

I was one of those people in 1992, a Jersey boy with a Buckeye wife, a son born in Poughkeepsie, and a daughter born in Hickory North Carolina.  My wife and I, our two teenagers, and our dog arrived in a Dodge Caravan with Virginia plates.  As we drove into Oklahoma on Interstate 40, my first impression was bleak.  It was August, it was hot, dry, and dusty, and the Welcome Center/rest area was dismal.  But I was following my career.

We were quickly caught up a whirlwind of getting settled into an apartment, enrolling the kids in middle school and community college, a new job, and a job hunt for my wife.  Many things were different and we never did decide whether we were living in the south, the midwest, or the west.  We found a new house under construction, the house in Virginia sold, and we started to put down roots.  Our daughter led us to a great church, Club 29 was very welcoming, and my wife found a good job downtown in the First National Center.  And we grew to appreciate the politics of the state, the low cost of living, and the great people.  Eleven years later, my career called us to Salt Lake City.  Our son was in Dallas and our daughter was in Tulsa, so it was just Judy and me making the move in a Chrysler Pacifica.

The next five years went by fast, and the career came calling again with a move to Los Angeles.  Four years later, I was battling what we thought was a fatal illness, and I retired early to try to get well, and to get Judy settled in a place where as a widow she would have a support community.  It was an easy decision to move back to Edmond.  God brought together an amazing doctor at Mass General, a clinical trial, some chemo, and I was in remission.   Twelve years later, here we are, living a good retirement life, having twice chosen to be Oklahomans.

This month I turned 75 and that has led to a lot of thinking.  Yesterday I read a Facebook post in which two people who have served Oklahoma well, in very public positions, bemoaned the fact that our state is going downhill.  I was disappointed to see that they felt that way, and decided that I disagree.  The place we came to in 1992 was very different from the place we left in 2003, and both are very different from the place we returned to in 2012 and the one where we live in 2024.  I agree that we could be better, but I feel strongly that we are making progress, and a lot of people from other places see this as a promised land.  I’m committed to contributing to that progress.  How about you?

3 Comments for : Why Am I An Oklahoman?
    • Cliff Dougherty
    • March 4, 2024

    Great article and great observation, Paul. I agree with you.

    • Dick Hefton
    • March 4, 2024

    Club-members inviting the membership to know and understand them is fundamental to the purpose of Rotary. You do it well and remind us we have a fine home place!

    • Larry Wagner
    • March 4, 2024

    Paul… Your Reflections piece was right on target! It was very well written, and delivered some strong messages for all of us. The only way our community will improve is for those of us that live here is to make something positive happen. Doesn’t take much to sit on the sidelines and find fault. Hard work, focus, and respect for all of the stakeholders go a long way to make our community a better place to call home.

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