Just Jeri: Half a Century in Lawton/Ft. Sill Oklahoma
Wow, when you say it like that, it seems that I have been here forever! 50 years as a resident of Lawton, Oklahoma. (with the exception of a crazy time when I thought I could live somewhere else! Came to my senses and right back home!)
My dad was in the military, and his final duty station before retiring was right here in Lawton, Oklahoma at the Fort Sill Military Installation. I'd like to say that as a military child I got to see the world, but mostly on Army bases, and a two-year tour in Japan. People that aren't from military families probably would think that it was a tough life, uprooting the family every 3 or 4 years and plopping kids in a different neighborhood and different school; but I like to think that being a military child made me who I am today. A Talker.
1972. I really do remember that far back. I started 7th grade halfway through the semester at Tomlinson Junior High School (Currently the Life Readiness Center), but we bought a house one block to the East of where we lived, and I finished my Junior High Career at Central Junior High School.
So many memories of Junior High School, now called Middle School. I met some of my lifelong friends in the halls of what is now City Hall. In fact, that is where I met my husband James. At the time I was 'dating' his best friend, and he was 'dating' mine. I had to use quotations, because does anyone under the age of 16 'really date'? We just hung out together the four of us. Fast forward to now, and we will celebrate our 2nd Anniversary in October.
My first job in Radio
When I say I feel like I've been at KLAW all of my life, it's sort of true. I started at KLAW Radio way, way back in 1980 ish, when they were still on the top floor of the old Security Bank Building at the corner of 6th and C Ave. (It's now BancFirst). Bill Shoemate was the station manager, and I was hired as a copywriter. I basically wrote the commercials from copy points that the salespeople brought in. From there, I learned how to complete traffic logs (lists of where commercials played in a day) by hand. All of that is computerized now, and our production department does all of the production and copywriting. It was the best job ever. Radio was a different beast in those days. Huge promotions, huge personalities, and tiny tiny paychecks. But the love of the job has stayed with me all of these years. I have worked in several other stations from then until the time I came back to KLAW in 1999, but this will always be my home!
My Little Girl with the Curls
Lawton is where my first child was born. Ms. Whitney Ann was born on December 22 at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. Her dad was halfway here from Illinois and one of my dear friends was my labor coach. Three days before Christmas in 1983 on what I think could still be the coldest day in history in Lawton, my little girl made her arrival. My mom and dad picked me up at 2:30 in the morning and drove me to the hospital with ice over an inch thick on all of the roads. It took an hour to get to the hospital and Whitney wasn't born until 11 am. One of the best memories of that time was getting released on Christmas Day, they brought her to me in a fuzzy red Christmas stocking. She still has that stocking today. Maybe that's one of the reasons that I love Christmas so much, and where my nickname 'Jeri Christmas' came from.
Half a Century in Lawton
Lawton is and will always be my home. James & I bought my Momma's house after she passed, and we renovated it in a way I'm convinced she would have approved of. Living in her house, where she raised her own kids and kept mine, makes me so happy. I just love this family home and the history that comes with it. I love Lawton!
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