Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Visits and Poignant Memories

When I was little, my father loved living in Pawnee, Oklahoma. We lived there until I was 8 years old, then we moved half a state away. We would go back to visit every holiday or family event. I would often spent several weeks with my cousins during the summer. We would go to the Indian Pow Wow's and fish, and go to the movies. It was always fun.
On the left you see my son, when he was 18, we went back to visit the old town again.

One of the sights to see was Pawnee Bill's Museum. My dad told me he knew Pawnee Bill and that when he was about 8, he would play with Billy, Pawnee Bill's son. He said they would play cowboys. He had lots of fun with him. It was after one of his visits that Billy accidentally hung himself from an old windmill. My dad always remembered the fun with Billy and the sadness of Pawnee Bill and May, who closed up Billy's room and never reopened it while May was alive. I checked out the dates recently and I know that my father was there at the time of Billy's death and that they were of the same age.

The old theater is still there. My father worked next door washing dishes after his lost his leg in a logging accident. He worked to put my mother through college. I can remember going to the movies here. I particularly remember a movie about werewolves and that I got so scared my dad had to take me home.
This was a neat place to take my children back to visit because there are so many historic ties of their family to this place with wonderful stories.


  1. What a great story. You are lucky you can take your kids someplace with a special connection to the family history.

  2. Hummer,
    I enjoyed reading this. Your dad sounds like a special man, especially the way he found a way to work after his accident to help your mom go
    to college!


  3. Hummer,
    I too was a friend of Mr. Lillie (AKA Pawnee Bill). He was in his seventies, I was in my pre teens. He and May Lillie were family friends. Your dad undoubtedly worked in the restaurant of the Graham Hotel just north of the Buffalo Theater. My grandmother worked there as well. Contact me at Bill