The fur coat in my hands costs $185,000.

The price tag states it clearly—the coat costs the same as a three-bedroom house in this town.

But then the lady with heavy pink lipstick whispers at me, her cupped hand hushing the secret that only the two of us know, “I could probably get you half-off for this thing.”

The thing for which I am now apparently bartering is a full-length cloak of pure sable, tawny and seamless and softer than anything my fingers have ever known.

I can’t stop touching the fur coat, which might be making the saleswoman a little nervous. She tugs at her pink skirt, which incidentally matches her pink lipstick and the pinks stripes in her blouse.

(Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

(Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

“No, sir,” she says politely, “It’s 7/8ths length—not full.” I stand corrected. I did not even know there was such a thing as a 7/8ths cut for a coat. (Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a coat?)

Our host at Miss Jackson’s is generous and polite, her elocution that of any grand lady in Oklahoma. I wonder if she attended a local finishing school, but before I can ask, she’s helping Andrea with a black mink cape that’s been laser cut to express zebra stripes in relief. This one costs less than a house, but more than a car, and the lady in pink is warming our hands for the big sell.

I assume that she assumes we’re getting married. That’s the only reason young couples show up at Miss Jackson’s and browse the shelves with such eager curiosity—past the crystal and china and counters of fine perfume. She thinks we’re here to register for a big Tulsa wedding and just maybe, today, I’ll buy my bride a bit of black mink.

National Geographic Travel Producer Andrea Leitch stands on the Route 66 seal on Tulsa's Eleventh Street. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

National Geographic Travel Producer Andrea Leitch stands on the Route 66 seal on Tulsa’s Eleventh Street. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Surely, we must be a disappointing commission. Andrea is my producer at National Geographic and we are not engaged. Furthermore, the only fur I’ve ever owned was a misshapen coonskin cap from Kazakhstan where the bullet hole showed quite prominently.

I doubt Mrs. Jackson’s would keep my damaged fur for me, but should I ever choose to care properly for my hat, I could pay to have it added it to the 3,000 furs they store on their top floor. Every privately-owned fur is treated like a museum piece, stowed away at a steady 50˚ F and 55% humidity, ready to be shipped upon request back to the owner just in time for ski season or a Christmas party.

I suspect Miss Jackson is on the top floor of her store right now, sifting through other people’s furs and passing quick judgment. Already, I feel some affection for this lady I will never meet—a lady whose legacy lives on in the Tulsa department store she created over a century ago.

“Miss Jackson still walks these floors,” beams the saleswoman, and though Nellie Sheilds Jackson passed away some years back, all three of us go suddenly silent, waiting to see if we hear any footsteps from above. But there is nothing but the bing of the brass elevator doors opening, and Andrea and I back out of buying any of last season’s fur at a discount.

I always love a native guide, which is why I wanted my producer, Andrea Leitch to join up with me in Tulsa and show me her hometown. Miss Jackson’s was the first stop on Andrea’s tour.

“Every Christmas we came here to see Santa and to look at the window displays at Miss Jackson’s,” explains Andrea. The window displays are famous across the country—even Bergdorf’s studies Miss Jackson’s for ideas in their notorious window displays on Fifth Avenue in New York.

A bartender shakes up a cocktail at The Vault, an old bank-turned restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

A bartender shakes up a cocktail at The Vault, an old bank-turned restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Indeed Utica Square is Tulsa’s Fifth Avenue, full of fine shops and ladies who lunch at any of the fine al fresco restaurants around the block.

“We love patio dining in Tulsa,” says Andrea, right as we stumble upon a table of businessmen eating messy ribs at the Stonehorse Café. Behind them sits an old British telephone box, shiny and red with a working payphone inside.

Utica Square is ridiculously pleasant. Plump bundles of lilac-colored wisteria fall from the portico above, heavy with raindrops from an earlier shower, now glistening in the morning sun. A bakery bell rings over and over as families and shoppers steal away with bags of bread or cookies and cake boxes, too. It’s as if the whole city is getting ready for a party.

A man walks past wearing an Oklahoma hat and a big heart stitched over Tulsa.

(Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

(Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

“Nice hat, man,” I say and he laughs, leaning over to show me his Tulsa pride. We talk, and he tells me how he moved away to New York City, but that he came back because, “It’s a lot easier to make friends in Tulsa.”

“See?” Andrea says as we head downtown. “Everyone here is so proud of this place.”

“But why?” I wonder. “What’s so great about Tulsa?”

“We’re 918ers!” she exclaims, as if the area code makes it the greatest city on the planet. Andrea is riding shotgun in my car, directing me past highlights (the hospital where she was born) and down to Eleventh Street.

The oldest section of Route 66 draws a straight line through the heart of Tulsa, like an arrow pointing west. We park beneath the massive Meadow Gold sign, which was only recently saved from demolition by a team of concerned Tulsa citizens. Raised high on a metal scaffolding, the neon words of the Midwest dairy brand seem clean and new, while the street below is about as gritty a place as I’ve seen on this trip (and I’ve been to St. Louis).

Saved from demolition, the historic Meadow Gold sign shows travelers the way down historic Route 66. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Saved from demolition, the historic Meadow Gold sign shows travelers the way down historic Route 66. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

I’m afraid to ask Andrea is this is the bad part of town for fear that she will insist Tulsa has no bad parts. Andrea is about the proudest Oklahoman I know, and she shows me around the historic parts of her city as if we are touring Rome in the Spring.

Of all the ruins we see, my favorite is the Eleventh Street Bridge, which was closed to traffic more than a decade ago. Kneeling down I can see the crabgrass pushing through the cracks in the old pavement that once carried cars across the Arkansas River. The defunct bridge sits between two larger and busy roadways, reinforcing the redundancy of Old Route 66.

The original Mother Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Eleventh Street Bridge is now closed to traffic. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

The original Mother Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Eleventh Street Bridge is now closed to traffic. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Before us stands a monument to Cyrus Avery, father and founder of the Mother Road. As commuters tear past, we gaze up at the eight state flags whipping against eight steel flagpoles lined up in a slight curve, as if this was the United Nations for Route 66. Below the flags, a sculpture shows Cyrus Avery with wife and daughter driving west while spooking an eastbound team of horses. In the early days of Route 66, such run-ins were common with horses and cars headed in opposite directions on narrow paths. In the end, the cars won.

The memorial to Cyrus Avery remembers the father of Route 66, who lived and worked in Oklahoma and gave birth to the idea for a highway across America, from Chicago to Los Angeles. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

The memorial to Cyrus Avery remembers the father of Route 66, who lived and worked in Oklahoma and gave birth to the idea for a highway across America, from Chicago to Los Angeles. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Avery’s road was the long thread that pulled eight disparate states together, and Tulsa is the final knot in that stitch. This is really where Route 66 began. The papers got signed in Springfield, but the idea was born in the Oklahoma heartland from one man’s vision to connect his state to the rest of the country and beyond. Cyrus Avery loved his city so much, he dedicated his life to putting the place on the map and making sure that America’s first highway passed through it. This fondness for one’s hometown continues today, and it seems everyone I know from Tulsa feels the same way.

The Oklahoma flag portrays five feathers representing the five Native American tribes that were relocated to Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

The Oklahoma flag portrays five feathers representing the five Native American tribes that were relocated to Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

“The hardest thing I ever did was leave Tulsa,” Andrea tells me at lunch. “I was so happy here,” she adds, remembering her past life in Oklahoma.

We both live in Washington, DC now, half a world away from this deli in the Blue Dome District. The eponymous blue dome was the roof of a gas station across the street—a funky little round brick building that stands humble against a backdrop of big oil skyscrapers.

An old lettepress shop in the Blue Dome District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

An old lettepress shop in the Blue Dome District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Most of the buildings in this town remind me of the Hall of Justice from all my comic books—the urban capital where all the Super Friends gathered to report their crime-fighting misadventures. In the blazing sun of the Oklahoma afternoon, I half-expect Superman or Wonder Woman to zoom in between two giant edifices and land their red boots for a chat, but they never do.

Instead, Andrea leads me into the citadel of art deco architecture and mirrored glass, up and over a non-descript overpass to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

“I want to show you this thing,” says Andrea, cryptically. Grabbing my shoulders, she positions me on a small concrete circle in the middle of a ring of bricks out in the open sun. I stand obediently, facing north, knowing that below me, beneath the bridge, the railroad runs all the way to Santa Fe.

“Now say something,” she commands, and so I say, “Huh?”

My voice sounds strange and echoes weirdly.

“Hello, hello?” I say louder, and my voice calls back robotically, “Hello, hello?” From the outer circle, Andrea looks at me, a little bewildered.

“Just say anything,” she prompts me. My producer is offering me a live mic, a blank page and an open stage, but I have nothing clever or deep to say, only, “Hello, hello?” followed by that ghostly response.

We trade places, and she checks to make sure the phenomenon still works. She calls out, but I barely hear what she’s saying.

“What?” I ask.

She steps out of the circle.

Andrea steps on the Center of the Universe in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Andrea steps on the Center of the Universe in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

“They call it the ‘Center of the Universe’,” she explains. “If you stand right in the middle of that circle, you can hear your own echo so loudly, but anyone outside the circle can’t hear you at all.”

Andrea is describing the plight of every writer on Earth. And here it is, the artist’s struggle, embodied in concrete in dear sweet Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I step back to the middle of the circle and bellow, “Welcome to the Center of the Universe!” like a Sooner cheerleader at the final game of the season. My vocal message shoots out on all sides, wraps its way around the Earth at light speed and hits my ears ten times louder: Welcome to the Center of the Universe.

The two of us take turns talking from the magic little circle until more tourists arrive for their turn at the game. Maybe it’s a silly little thing, but there is nothing like it anywhere else on the globe—not that I’ve ever encountered.

Historic buildings like Cains Ballroom still line Route 66 right through the center of Tulsa, Oklahoma (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel).

Historic buildings like Cains Ballroom still line Route 66 right through the center of Tulsa, Oklahoma (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel).

Andrea and I depart from the Center of the Universe, and after wandering the city, we try to find parking in North Tulsa. She shows me the signs from old motels and introduces me to old friends—friends that have never left Tulsa. Together, we all go up to the roof of the historic Mayo Hotel, built in 1925, around the same time that Cyrus Avery was plotting our Route 66.

Twenty-some stories above the rest of Tulsa, the wind is strong but the view is clear. The sun is setting and the whole city changes with the light, like a chandelier of glass buildings that hang upwards from the earth. I can see a motherboard of oil refineries across the river, making the stuff that America runs on.

I am glad to have seen my friend’s hometown through her eyes. No matter where you travel in the world, that place is someone’s home, and you will only ever understand it when you see it that way.

Tulsa was Avery’s hometown, too. He believed it was the greatest place on earth and he wanted the world to know it. He loved Tulsa so much, he made a road to get here—to the Center of the Universe.

Before it gets dark, I drop Andrea off at her childhood home and say goodbye.

“Thanks for an amazing tour of your hometown,” I say.

“See you back in DC,” she answers, though that’s still a long ways off. Tomorrow she is flying east and I am headed west, and there is more of Route 66 left to drive than I have driven so far.  Like Avery’s monument, we are traveling in opposite directions to opposite ends of the country.

Maybe that’s what makes Tulsa special—apart from the shopping and good schools and great steaks. Tulsa is still the crossroads it was in the 1920’s, where friends can say hi in passing knowing they will meet again.

That’s what this means, I think, driving solo now—the whole Center of the Universe. It’s a gathering place of friends and family, and it’s the place where you can say whatever you like and the universe will echo back, like the voice of God in your ear on a sunny day in Oklahoma.

Producer Andrea Leitch enjoys an Oklahoman cocktail on the roof of the historic Hotel Mayo in downtown Tulsa. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Producer Andrea Leitch enjoys an Oklahoman cocktail on the roof of the historic Hotel Mayo in downtown Tulsa. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Travel)

Comments

  1. Connie Anderson
    Tulsa
    May 5, 8:56 am

    Great article! Lived many places but there is no place like home! Lived in Dallas, Toronto, New Orleans and now back home for the last 22 years. No better place! We love ya’ll!

  2. Gene Chaney
    Carmichael, California
    May 5, 11:00 am

    What fun to dance long ago to “Honey Hudgens” band at Cain’s Ballroom. Brother Herb Chaney returned from Korean duty to do the same—the best think he could do for himself after the horrors of Heart Break Ridge, where the Communists sent citizens up the ridge to attach American troops, armed only with wooden clubs. Herb was diagnosed as schizophrenic from the experience, but returned with the Medal of Honor as medic for saving the life of a soldier wounded and fallen, still in the line of fire, unable to to save himself from continuous fire, but carried to safety by Herb, also under fire, and already half saved to death from a “dud” artillery round that hit the ground near his feet. The dud was one of the 35 per cent that did not explode. Herb returned home and married Billie nee-Wise who helped enormously in his recovery. They went on to own their own Authur Murray Dance studio, and became excellent ballroom dancers. Herb lived a bit longer than Billie, to the age of 82. Billie was his biggest loss in life. Herb, nicknamed “Lon” by same-age neighbors, was stuck with the new name, but we, his family, never stopped calling him Herb. Having encouraged me to learn ballroom, I also trained to treater level and taught a good while to earn tuition through the University of Tulsa, studying radio and TV production, and working 30 years at KCRA-TV in Sacramento, California, and through dance, met Patricia Kelly, who eventually became Mrs. Gene Chaney. A super-slueth genealogist, she a lot of Chaney ancestors, some of whose decedent Chaney family we have met after Pat located them in Oregon. We are both 77 now and still dancing weekly as our schedule with choir and other matters permit.

  3. Gene Chaney
    Carmichael, California
    May 5, 11:03 am

    THEME; KEEP ON DANCING.

  4. Denny Gibson
    May 5, 11:23 am

    I’ve never before heard Tulsa’s Center of the Universe described as an embodiment of “the artist’s struggle” but I like it.

  5. Jordan Winn
    OKC
    May 5, 12:46 pm

    I grew up in Tulsa and go back often. It’s a beautifully unique city with such good people everywhere. Thanks for writing this article… love your perspective.

    • Andrew Evans
      May 5, 12:53 pm

      Thanks so much Jordan. Really appreciate your comment. I had a great time in Tulsa and really felt the friendliness of the city.

  6. Jillian Marina
    Tulsa, OK
    May 5, 5:12 pm

    I went the other way — moved from DC to NYC to Tulsa about 6 years ago. The way you described the way she saw it is exactly the way I feel about this place. I could never imagine going back to the east coast for more than a visit, though I love it there too. This place is just different. It’s home.

  7. Steve Schuller
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    May 5, 6:06 pm

    Delightful article by an obviously gifted writer! I need to look for more of your work. I’m a transplant from Chicago who came here 40 years ago, and I’ve never been sorry. Tulsa is one of the easiest cities in the U.S. to live in, and you may not have been here long enough to enjoy all that it has to offer, besides the warmth of its people. I hope you’ll come back through Tulsa on your way home, as those of us who live here would love to show you more.

  8. Sarah Henry
    Tulsa
    May 5, 6:48 pm

    Great article. However, there is another Center of the Universe in Portland, OR (but I can’t remember it’s name). Tulsa is a cool city!

  9. Deby
    TULSA!
    May 5, 6:53 pm

    The best article I’ve read in years!!! Andrew dear, you do know you are family now….. Don’t you? My friend and I worked in the office at Miss Jackson’s in the early 70’s! We had a 25% discount…. I only bought Godiva Chocolate’s & Chanel No. 5! Giggle….. Smooches

  10. Howard
    Dallas, Texas
    May 5, 7:04 pm

    I grew up in Tulsa and couldn’t wait to move away. I don’t understand the lure. Maybe it’s nostalgia for a time and place that may have existed but probably didn’t. Tulsa has less of everything good I need in a city and more of everything I couldn’t care less about. Give me New York, Washington, DC or London any day of the week. Even Dallas isn’t up to par but is getting there.

  11. Jeri Brown
    May 5, 9:26 pm

    Oklahoma sounds like a great place and somewhere I would never have thought to visit until now. I also enjoyed reading about your producer too. Kudos to Nat Geo for sending you across Route 66 – your road trip has been great for me to follow

    • Andrew Evans
      May 6, 7:58 pm

      Thanks so much Jeri. Glad you’re enjoying the trip as much as I am.

  12. Jessica Robinett
    TULSA!
    May 6, 7:42 am

    I loved this! Well done. As a Tulsa native, I want to say a hearty ‘thank you’ for writing this!

  13. Natasha Ball
    Tulsa, OK
    May 6, 8:36 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Andrew.

  14. Charles Clough
    Owasso, OK
    May 6, 8:55 am

    I moved here from SoCal back in 1999. At first, I felt out of my circle per say. I didn’t know hardly anyone but I wouldn’t change it for the world now. Tulsa is home for me.
    Andrew:
    This is a great article. It symbolizes unity in our neck of the woods and is a great place. Thank you for your perspective of Tulsa. It’s refreshing.

  15. Eileta Creekpaum
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    May 6, 9:06 am

    Great story and the world has nothing on the people and places in Tulsa and the surrounding cities. People are caring, loving, and helpful. There are many unique and interesting places to visit here and it is a wonderful city to raise a family. I began my career here in 1967 coming from an Edna, Kansas farming community. I am thankful for Tulsa and the wonderful people who helped me as I began my teaching career in Tulsa.

  16. Daniel Williams
    Oklahoma City
    May 6, 9:06 am

    As someone that grew up in Tulsa and still has friends and family there, it sounds like you had an excellent tour guide that allowed you to see the soul of Tulsa…and to a greater extent, all of Oklahoma. While there are major differences between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, I’m proud to call both places my home. And you’re right, when I leave Tulsa to come back to OKC, its never a “goodbye” to my friends and family. Its a “see you later”.
    Thank you Andrew!

  17. Nancy Hermann
    Tulsa
    May 6, 9:33 am

    Breezy and enjoyable article! One thing people don’t realize about Tulsa is its breadth of culture. The performing and visual arts in Tulsa are outstanding. There are numerous decades-old arts organizations like Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Ballet, Chamber Music Tulsa, Theatre Tulsa, American Theatre Company and Theatre North that offer an exceptional arts and entertainment experience.

  18. Jana Coley
    Tulsa
    May 6, 9:36 am

    Gene Chaney, I hope you see this, but I think my dad may have worked for your Dad. If your Dad owned an auto repair shop in Tulsa, I know he did.

  19. Anonymous
    Tulsa
    May 6, 9:55 am

    Thank you for this post. I’ve had the good fortunate of traveling from coast to coast of the United States, and discovering much of the world outside of the USA. The list of places I would love to return to and spend more time discovering is long, but not one of them quite lives up to Tulsa. Sure, some of them are bigger, sparklier, busier, more famous, with more to see and do, but Tulsa is one of a kind and I feel so fortunate that I’m one of those lucky enough to call this great place home.
    I’m so happy you enjoyed your time here. Hurry back!

  20. Dee
    Tulsa
    May 6, 10:30 am

    Thanks so much for painting our town in a positive light. Anyone who is from Tulsa is truly passionate about living here, and it’s nice to finally have some outsiders recognize that. I wish you had gotten to the other parts of Tulsa but all in all this is a fabulous article and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it.

  21. Sharon Williams
    Tulsa
    May 6, 10:36 am

    First off, thank you for this piece! I am a transplant here from Detroit. When my husband (then boyfriend) told me he was getting a job here, I said “Why would you go there?” I thought it was nothing but tumbleweed and cowboys! Imagine my surprise to see a bustling and beautiful city arise from the horizon as we drove up. That was 2007, and we have been here since, even got married and started a family here. We have watched the city develop and grow over the years and we are amazed at how much it has changed just in the past 7 years. When family and friends come to visit, I am always proud to show them around and they are equally impressed with the city. I really do love Tulsa (except when its 100+ degrees!) and I am so happy we came.

  22. Patricia Lawwill
    May 6, 10:39 am

    Thank you for this beautiful article that embodies the passion that many Okies feel.

  23. BK to Tulsa
    Brooklyn, NY
    May 6, 11:02 am

    Thanks for this piece. I went to college in Tulsa and always have soft spot for the place. Although I’ve only been back once, the city has never left me–it lives in my heart.

  24. Stacy
    Tulsa, OK
    May 6, 12:12 pm

    Loved the piece. There is also place similar to the center of the universe at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Its an area that was built as an alter in 1530, and I have had the pleasure of standing there as well. I guess I need to also visit the one in Portland.

  25. Michael Jordan Dunn
    Los Angeles, CA
    May 6, 1:46 pm

    I’m a Tulsa transplant to the West Coast, and I’ve got to say, this was one of the most genuine articles about Tulsa I’ve read. It made me miss all the Oklahomies I left behind to pursue my dreams in a bigger, faster paced city. Not only is the night life in Tulsa a cut above the rest, it is so easily accessible. Our artists, musicians, and philanthropists make the small city seem a lot larger than it is. Talent is in Tulsa. I hope you make it back to the city. It’s actually on the forefront of race relations too. All colors of people, denizens of a historically racist town, have now banded together to make Tulsa a home where everyone can excel and prosper.

  26. Curious
    May 6, 1:53 pm

    Is the city still racially segregated from South and North, like it was when I lived there? Or has that changed? This post makes no mention.

  27. Jordan
    Chicago
    May 6, 3:44 pm

    Go to 61st and Peoria around 10pm and stand there for 20 minutes. If you haven’t been shot or robbed then you can proclaim that Tulsa has no bad areas.

    • Andrew Evans
      May 6, 7:51 pm

      Well, every city has its bad areas. I live in Washington, DC so I think we could get Tulsa a run for its money. Fortunately, I am not a crime writer, but a travel writer. Thanks for reading! AE

  28. Mike
    Tulsa
    May 6, 9:13 pm

    NGT did a great feature on Tulsa 20 years ago, be interesting to see that again. The city has really changed in the 20 years. Thanks for the article.

  29. Jessica Turner
    Tulsa, OK
    May 7, 3:26 pm

    Such a great article. I’m so glad you got to enjoy our little place we call home. From one writer to another, you are a great writer. I really enjoyed it. Thanks!

    • Andrew Evans
      May 10, 6:18 am

      Thank you Jessica. Much appreciated.

  30. Curious
    May 8, 7:22 am

    Again, zero acknowledgment that this city is still racially segregated from North to South in the 21st century. Why is that not relevant?

    • Andrew Evans
      May 10, 6:26 am

      Thanks for reading. Racial demographics is always relevant, but not really the point of this story. Most American cities still bear the signs of racial segregation, including the city where I live, Washington, DC. As a travel writer, I really am looking for what makes a place unique.

  31. Christina
    Tulsa
    May 11, 11:49 pm

    What I’ve always found fascinating about Tulsa is, it turns ‘six degrees of separation’ on its head. It’s really more like two.

  32. David
    Sydney
    May 13, 1:25 am

    A friend directed me to this article since I was born in a small town to the south of Tulsa. My brief time in Oklahoma seems a very distant memory, having since been a permanent resident on five other countries on four continents. I am not even officially American any more, and may very well never return to Oklahoma. And there are ways in which it is a place which remains rather inhospitable to me, especially as a gay man. And yet elements of your story brought a smile to my face through the sheer power of nostalgia. I remember well the last time I was there, for a traditional fourth of July celebration, having marveled – now as an outsider – at the quiet contentedness and fundamental warmth and sense of community of the people. So Oklahoma is indeed a special place, and not just for tarantulas and tornados.

    • Andrew Evans
      May 13, 10:32 am

      Thank you for your comment. As someone who grew up in the Midwest with a fair amount of prejudice, I completely understand your emotions. Fortunately, I feel like America is changing for the better, and part of that change is that our country is becoming a more tolerant place. There is good and bad in all places, and it is our job to help the good grow and get rid of the bad. Thanks for reading! AE

  33. Karen
    Tulsa
    May 13, 3:44 pm

    Thanks for showing what a great town Tulsa is. I am a native Tulsan, love the town and I also enjoy showing it off. I have traveled a lot in my life, but always love to come home. Great article. Come Back and See Us, Ya Hear!!!!!!!

  34. Robert
    Dallas
    May 14, 10:56 pm

    I love Tulsa, but it does not have a million people in the city. The area does. Just a slight correction.

  35. Wednesday On The Web
    May 15, 8:00 am

    […] For those who wonder why I chose to live in Tulsa (or think it’s just where Chandler is from on Friends): read this […]

  36. Pam
    Pleasanton, CA
    May 26, 1:43 pm

    I was born and grew up in Tulsa and the city will always hold a special place in my heart. Though I’ve lived in several states and love where I live now, when I land at the airport or see the city spread out before me as I drive into town, it always brings a smile to my face. I go back often to visit.

  37. Jim Elliott
    Claremore Ok.
    May 29, 3:43 pm

    Lived in Tulsa and environs for almost 72 years. Attended Eliot School, Horace Mann Jr. Hi and Tulsa Central High School.Love Tulsa and will never leave this area. Wonderful memories of riding the bus downtown, eating at Bishop’s, going to the Orpheum and Majestic theaters, and venturing over to Greenwood to hear great rhythm and blues !,

  38. Kay Simmons
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    July 10, 7:12 pm

    That little blonde girl was in my first grade class and I taught her to write. I am as proud of her as her parents are—In fact I taught the entire Leitch clan-the other 3 as well and they are all great!! I loved what Andrea showed you. Did she show you Eliot Elementary School where our friendship started?