A Trip Down Mannford Lane
BY C.L. HARMON
As a reporter, I am always looking for story ideas. It never ceases to amaze me how some of them come from the weirdest places. I look at the world through angles This means I see or hear something and my mind automatically goes into a mode of converting my new found knowledge into a story of interest I can share with my readers. Here is one of those stories that just came out of no where.
In the spirit of a new year and looking back at the past, I stumbled upon a neat little story idea. But instead of looking back at 2015, which is still fresh in our minds, I thought it would be cool to look at another year. The idea came to me on Christmas day. My older brother Jene and I were visiting my dad and during the visit, my brother asked my dad about the whereabouts of the many scrapbooks his mother had made over her lifetime. She was an avid scrapbooker during her life and recently passed. She detailed her life methodically in those pages.
My dad mentioned that most were still in her house in Tulsa, but he did have one there. Jene began looking through its pages and came upon a pamphlet from 1972 about Mannford. My ears perked up and I went into angle mode.
“Let me see that.” I said. I looked over it and it was a sight to see. I thought it was an odd thing for my grandmother to keep since she never lived in Mannford. But then I realized the significance of the year. That year, 1972, was the year that my parents packed up their meager belongings and four children, left their life behind in Tulsa and moved to Mannford to make a new life with the opening of the body shop.
My grandmother must have picked up one of those pamphlets to remember such a bold move by one of her sons in years to come. I believe that possessions such as those kept to remember a specific event, etch out a place in our minds that keep part of that time pristine and clear of the distortion that most of our memories experience with the passage of time. It almost takes us back to the moment of the occurrence.
This pamphlet/brochure was put out by Mannford Realty Company as an enticement to draw people to the area. The cover has a charming and simple greeting across its top, ‘Welcome to Mannford’ followed by ‘Center of the beautiful Keystone Lake area’ across the bottom. There is also an arial photo of the entire region that encompasses miles and miles in between the greeting.
The back of the pamphlet is an illustrated depiction of the lake with all the points of land areas labeled. Examples include: Mannford Meadows, Salt Creek Point, Salt Creek Acres, Mannford Center, Mannford Commercial, Litton Trailer Park and Keyport Marina to name a few.
The most interesting part I think, however, is what’s on the inside. Various photos showing people and places in an early 1970’s setting. From fishermen to a sail boat and homecoming queen to buildings and locations of the era, it’s certainly a quaint reminder of what Mannford used to be. With Mannford growing in business and economy in recent years and the lake, a well kept secret fishing hole of my youth, no longer a secret, I thought a little reflection might be a bit refreshing.
In addition to the time capturing photos, there is also some interesting facts about the community back then. Beginning in 1966, there were approximately 380 students enrolled in Mannford Public Schools, according to the chart provided. That number steadily rose to about 650 in 1970 and to just over 800 in 1972. Today that number is 1613 with 52 students gained this year alone.
Although the pamphlet does not state how many buildings the district used at the time, it was probably not 11, which it uses today.
Other interesting tidbits of information that the pamphlet describes consists of Keystone Lake as being the “new home to the striped bass” with these fighters promising to go above 40 pounds. Their presence in the lake is sure to make Keystone the greatest fishing lake in the Southwest, it touts.
The information paints the picture of a simple life for young and old alike and the answer to 20th century suburban life and leisure living. In addition, it entices those of 1970’s life to an area that not only provides peaceful lake living, but to one of progress as well where only minutes away is a 12 acre shopping center and modernistic architecture to behold.
There are many small depictions that represent the life of the time and ones I am sure would recall the memories of most who lived here then. This article is just a little reminder that we always lose something in t, according to he past if we don’t carry a small part of it with us into the future.
It’s been 44 years and included the entrance into a new century since those charms of a different time were an enticement to those looking for a new home. But Mannford IS all of those things described in the pamphlet and much more. Sure, the bass may not seem as plentiful and large and many of those buildings that were modern architecture have become outdated, schools have been blown away, rebuilt and added to and old businesses have grown into new and modern buildings. But the charm of a community is never really in the structures or the landscape anyway, is it? Of course it’s not. It is , and will always be in the people who make it a home. I wish everyone a happy new year and the hope that the charms of yesteryear are never very far from your thoughts.