Your own backyard

A few weeks ago I missed my turn when driving home from work. I took an exit off 1-35 to a street I was unfamiliar with, and while trying to recalculate my route I drove past a field littered with old tanks, helicopters and jets.

Now, I’ve lived in Oklahoma City for twenty years and I’ve never seen or heard of the 45th infantry division museum.

It’s state run, admission is free, and it’s staffed by a bunch of retired vets who love to tell stories.

One such vet who I met today when I finally decided to pay the place a visit told me all about how he’d been stationed at Dachau soon after its liberation by Allied Forces.

From Wikipedia:

The 45th Infantry Division was an infantrydivision of the United States Army, part of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, from 1920 to 1968. Headquartered mostly in Oklahoma City, the guardsmen fought in both World War II and the Korean War.

I got a firsthand account from someone who was there, and being somewhat of a history buff, Nazi Germany/WWII in particular, I was very grateful for that. These people are living history books and I listen to what they have to say at every opportunity.

Another delightful fellow who reminded me of Howard Sprague from The Andy Griffith Show (That is not an insult; I love Andy Griffith and that’s just who he reminded me of.)was eager to explain the origins of the museum’s formidable collection of Nazi artifacts, including many of Hitler’s personal possessions.

I even took a selfie in the mirror that hung in Hitler’s bunker where he shot himself. The guy who took it, Howard Sprague told me, had kept it in his house, in use as a mirror for decades prior to donating it to the museum. They looted Hitler’s shit! I love it.

There is a staggering amount of stuff to absorb, and one could spend an entire day soaking it all in. Everything from the revolutionary war to current Middle East conflicts is covered. It’s all about Oklahoma’s role in American Military history, as well as that of Native Americans.

This absolutely breathtaking jewel of a find was right here in my own backyard, and I’d never even heard of it, to my knowledge. As we drove to lunch afterwards, we passed a Railroad museum. I see another afternoon backyard adventure in my future.

9 thoughts on “Your own backyard

  1. Oh man! That’s awesome! I’d definitely be going back. What a great find. (And the railroad as well…!!) Two very worthy gems indeed. (Slightly…. okay, VERY jealous.)

  2. See, in my mind, just from perusing your page, The picture in my head is that you live in some cozy little cabin in the wilderness with a roaring fire keeping things nice and toasty, insulated from the frigid temperatures outside. Step outside your front door and it’s all mountains and and crisp, clean air with wildlife roaming the vibrant green landscape undisturbed by man. I step out my door and I see a skinny methhead chick throwing her boyfriend’s shit out on the lawn and screaming at him, and instead of the northern lights, there’s the faint glow of fast food restaurant signs in the distance. 😂

  3. Patrick, your description isn’t too far from the truth. Although, I live on the Kenai Peninsula where the mountains are across the Inlet or the Bay or inaccessible. So, while I can see the mountains and volcanoes from any window facing west and my front porch, I don’t live IN the mountains. I can’t see any neighbors. Trees and distance prevent that. The air is indeed crisp and clean and it’s so so quiet. I have wild rabbits all around my house which I absolutely adore (except they decimated my garden and flowers this autumn which was a bummer but they’re just being bunnies). I also have moose. Not to mention all the little birds and owls and eagles and small mammals. The auroras are frequent and spectacular and the stars are bright. So, your image may not be too far off base. I love living here. It’s a slower pace of life and suits me quite well.

  4. I grew up in a lovely wooded area of Michigan until I was 7, when we moved to Oklahoma. The town we lived in, Lawton, has a wildlife refuge a few miles out of town. It’s full of elk and buffalo, rocky hills and one big mountain(but we called it all “the witchita mountains.” People loved to point out that there was only one tall enough to be called a mountain, official, but that’s a moot point to me, as it’s a beautiful place. Picture a rocky California desert used as a filming location for 1950s westerns and you’ll get the picture. Cacti, rattlesnakes, lizards, all that stuff. It took me a few years to adjust to the climate and my surroundings, and I talked as much shit about it as anyone else but it’s a nice place. Now I live in Oklahoma City and it’s far less picturesque, but Lawton is trash, the wildlife refuge is all they’ve got going for them. The rest is drive-thru liquor stores and boarded up windows and probably by now, vape shops. 😅

  5. I’m very much an earthy person myself. When I go into town, which has 5,000 people about 45 miles away, I always get in and out as quickly as possible. So much motion and movement and, my god, the constant noise all the time. I go into town 1-2 times a month and that is quite enough for me. I’ve lived in the States but it’s just not for me. Then again, not everyone would be satisfied splitting firewood and hauling their water in and living off the grid. I am. It’s quite lovely. Now; I’ve known quite a number of people from Michigan over the years and they all say it’s quite wonderful yet I notice they move to AK and stay here lol. I will say, I am one to find beauty just about anywhere. I love the desert. The plains. The oceans. The rainforest (at least the Alaskan and west coast rainforests I’ve been in). The mountains. Hard to see beauty in the city though. For me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s