I’ve lived in Oklahoma since I was 15, and I moved to Oklahoma City two months before my 18th birthday. I have lived a lot of places, but it feels like I’ve been here my entire life. My sisters went to college here, which means I’ve been coming to visit Oklahoma City since 1976. My sister Faith took me shopping for my first real bra at Penn Square when it was still an outdoor mall. We shopped at Streets.
Man, I miss Streets. I really do. You can see photos of it (and much more) on Retro Metro OKC, a website that officially debuts tomorrow. The site is an online exhibit of Oklahoma City past. Images, documents, postcards and more will carry you to a city both familiar and foreign. I’m hoping, along with the amazing people who have worked for more than a year to put this site and future 501c3 together, that people with stashed history in their attics will share their goods. Retro Metro OKC has volunteers who will scan photos and memorabilia, etc. at your home or business. You and your stuff never have to leave and they take nothing with them. They’ll even give you a digital file of your stuff for your trouble.
I miss a lot of things from Oklahoma City past like the red S on top of 50 Penn Place; the red phones at Kennedy’s and the big red W on the Woolworth’s sign at 63rd and May. I miss Harrigan’s, Sullivan’s and Christopher’s, and I miss this place nobody ever talks about. It was a store called J. Brannan where in the early 1980s I lusted for a pair of counterfeit Calvin Klein jeans.
There is so much to be gained from preserving history. In addition to all the academic reasons, viewing old photographs and documents is just fun and entertaining. Retro Metro OKC has made this activity especially accessible by using everyday technology to provide content online.