Native Tulsan and Internationally Famous Broadcaster Paul Harvey’s reflection on Tulsa from the Congressional Record

PAUL HARVEY’S HOMECOMING — HON. PHILIP M. CRANE (Extension of Remarks – August 05, 1994)

 

[Page: E1664]

 

 

HON. PHILIP M. CRANE

 

in the House of Representatives

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 1994

 

 

  • Mr. CRANE. Mr. Speaker, they say you can never go back.

 

  • And for many that is true.

 

  • Things are not what they used to be and no amount of trying is going to make them exactly the way they were. Times have changed, people have come and gone, lifestyles have undergone transformation, and whole regions have altered their very face.

 

  • Trying to turn the clock back will not turn the tables on change. But taking a stroll down memory lane, revisiting our old haunts, and getting in touch with our past can help us adjust to it.

 

  • Plus, it can be a very rewarding learning experience.

 

  • For me, recalling the days of my youth, growing up in the Midwest, brings back a whole host of fond memories–of a family so dear; of an era so different, of a world less complex, and of a particular window to that world.

 

  • Back in those days, there were no TV’s to watch or computers to access if you wanted to find out what was going on in places near and far. If you wanted to hear the latest, you turned on your radio and tuned into your favorite newscaster, in my case, Paul Harvey.

 

  • Then, as now, Paul Harvey gave his listeners the best of the news and `the rest of the story.’ And he did it in a way that made you feel right at home and right in touch with the basic, fundamental values that have made America great.

 

  • Over the years, I have often wondered how Paul Harvey came by that knack. Now, having read a speech he gave not long ago about his own trip down memory lane to the place he first called home, I have a better idea. And I am both the richer and the wiser for it.

 

  • With the thought that my colleagues might likewise wish to benefit, I insert Paul Harvey’s April 2, 1994, speech in Tulsa, OK at this time.

 

  • The speech follows:

Over my shoulder a backward glance.

The world began for Paul Harvey in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ever since I have made tomorrow my favorite day. I’ve been uncomfortable looking back.

My recent revisit reminded me why. The Tulsa I knew isn’t there anymore. And the memories of once-upon-a time are more bitter than sweet.

Of the lawman father I barely knew.

The widowed mother who worked too hard and died too soon. And my sister Frances.

Tulsa was three graves side-by-side.

Recently I came face-to-face with the place where a small Paul Harvey’s mother buttoned his britches to his shirt to keep them up and it down.

Tulsa is a copper penny which a small boy from East Fifth Place placed on a trolley track to see it mashed flat.

It’s slingshot made from a forked branch aimed at a living bird an the bird died and he cried and he is still crying.

That little lad was seven when he snapped a rubber band against the neck of the neighbor girl and pretty Ethel Mae Mazelton ran home crying and he, lonely, had wanted only to get her to notice him.

 

 

  • Somehow he blamed Tulsa for the war which took his best friend, Karold Collis * * *

 

  • And classmate Fred Mrarkgraff * * *

 

  • And never gave them back.

 

  • In Tulsa, Oklahoma, he learned the wages of sin smoking grapevine behind the garage and getting a mouthful of ants.

 

  • Longfellow Elementary school is closed now; dark.

 

  • Tulsa High is a business building.

 

  • The old house at 1014 is in mourning for the Tulsa that isn’t there anymore.

 

  • It was in that house that a well-meaning mother arranged a surprise birthday party when he was sixteen; invited his school friends, including delicate Mary Betty French without whom he was sure he could not live.

 

  • He hated that party for revealing to her and to them his house, so much more modest than theirs.

 

  • Tulsa is where the true love of his life waved goodbye to the uniform that climbed aboard a troop train.

 

  • She was there waiting when he got back but they could not wait to say goodbye to Tulsa.

 

  • Tulsa was watermelon picnics in the backyard and a small Paul blowing taps on his Boy Scout bugle over the fresh grave of a dead kitten.

 

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma used to be the fragrance of honeysuckle on the trellis behind the porch swing.

Mowing for a quarter neighbors’ lawns that seemed then so enormous.

Only Tulsa’s delicious tap water is as it was.

That and the schoolteachers * * *

Miss Harp and

Miss Smith and Isabelle Ronan. These I am assured are still there somewhere–reincarnated.

In a sleek jet departing Tulsa’s vast Spartan Airport at midnight, I closed my eyes and remembered * * *

When Spartan was a sod strip * * *

And a crowd gathered * * *

And a great tin goose landed * * *

And Slim Lindbergh got out * * *

And a boy, age nine, was pressing against the restraining ropes daring to foretaste fame–and falling in love with the sky.

No * * *

The Tulsa I knew isn’t there anymore. But it’s all right.

A new Tulsa is.

I’ll not be afraid to go home again.

I have made friends with the ghosts.

 

 

[Page: E1665]

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About oklahomafed

Greg Guthrie has held positions at the Library of Congress and the World Bank, taught the course ‘Environmental Issues in the Mediterranean” at Georgetown University where he wrote his thesis: “Labor Unions: Champions of Social Justice”, which has been cited, among others, in Labor Law Journal, and in the book ‘ American Labor: A Documentary Collection’ Ed. by Melvyn Dubofsky and Joseph A. McCartin. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Currently, he is with the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) of the US Department of Commerce. He has been a guest on the radio program, Georgetown University Forum, where he has spoken on the virtues of Organized Labor. He is a native Oklahoman.
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