My Grandfather Hawkins relocated to Oklahoma from Springfield, IL and was a farmer in the Nowata/Watova area. An uncle also made the move and ran a drygoods store in old Alluwe, which is now under Lake Oolagah. My Hawkins grandparents and their family of 9 children were fortunate to be able to farm and support themselves in the tight times of the depression, and they installed in my father a pragmatism and a sense of humor. Also,since my father was the oldest boy in a house filled mostly with girls, he enlisted in the Navy as soon as he could, to escape the tattling and oversight of older sisters. My father spent WW II bobbing around the Pacific in a minesweeper, helping plunk mines from waterways abandoned by the retreating Japanese.
My mother's parents met in Oklahoma City in the 1920's; my grandfather had studied music in Europe and was music director at St. Joseph's Cathedral; he also taught music lessons near the Colcord Building downtown (an art deco-ish landmark in Oklahoma City). My grandmother kept the books for several downtown business. She also hand made doll clothes to sell in the department store, especially around Christmas time, to help support the family of ten children. Both of them met as residents of the same boarding house, which is the kind of place young people lived back then, around the cusp of the Depresssion when, in any case, there just weren't as many subprime loans available as there were until recently.
My father joined the Air Force after WW II and met my mother in Enid, OK. My mother had moved there to work in the Catholic hospital and had been sentenced to work in the records room in the basement where, as she told the nuns, she would never meet a man, That may, in fact, have been a part of the nuns' design, but in any case, she successfully circumvented it, or I would not be here.
My father went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam, attaining the rank of Chief Master Seargent and overseeing the maintenance of half the US B-52 fleet - his expertise was in radio, radar, and navigation systems. My mother was geared for her own kind of warfare, raising six children, of which I am the third, ostensibly the peace-maker/mediator (according to Adler), though I am more headstrong than that template. Actually my mother is the most peaceful and kind person I know. She is devout and humble and jolly and pious - she still laughs at my bad jokes, because she was my teacher and my first audience. I am grateful to both my parents for giving me a good education, a questioning temperament, and a sense of humor - from my mother, a love of wordplay and absurdity; from my father, irony.
I was born in 1963 in Georgia but grew up in Oklahoma City, went to Rosary School and Bishop McGuiness High School, and watched Catholic clergy and lay folks go through the usual post-Vatican II wackiness. I distinctly remember the men of our parish staging a walkout of Mass when the music director decided to weave some tunes from "Jesus Christ - Superstar" into the service. Those tunes promptly disappeared from the playlist, never to appear again.
Growing up Catholic in Oklahoma made me a member of maybe 4% of the popluation at the time, a fact I distinctly recall from walking home in my school uniform past public school kids who once or twice called me that most vile of names "You-you -- Catholic!" I was nonplussed. I was what I was, and I've since learned that most Oklahomans have a core set of values in common - but back then, it was just the uniforms standing out amidst the "I get to wear regular clothes to school" kids.
I grew up in a middle-middle class family, having a view of both the inside and outside of "conservatism," - fiscal, cultural, religious, party-line and assembly line. I watched my dad work for Reagan's campaign in 1976 when Ford was the annointed candidate. I suppose some of his temperament rubbed off on me.
Recent and Now
I completed a BA in English, an MA in English, 30-odd grad hours toward a PhD, and then switched into a second MA in Scientific and Technical Communication so as to marry and start a family and make a liberal arts degree "marketable" - that is, pay the bills. That is my profession to this day - I work with many people getting facts out of engineers' heads, putting them on paper and the internet in formats that lay users can uderstand, and managing a small team with the same goal. And I like doing it.
My wife and I have three young children who are very smart and good-looking (if I may be permitted to brag). God and nature were kind enough to pull together the best traits from both of us, I think.
Part of my family is from Northeastern Oklahoma and its history has always interested me.