DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Eighty-Nine.
Thursday, 2009.03.19, 1:44 AM CST.
Lost Tulsa is one of the greatest sites ever.

Hello, everyone.

I'm sitting here in my living room, watching the video for Elton John's "Empty Garden" on YouTube.  It's not one of his better-known songs; it's a tribute song he recorded 1982, after the death of John Lennon.

I first saw this video around 1982-1983 on UHF channel 23, which eventually would grow up to become Tulsa's Fox 23.  Until I looked it up on YouTube this morning, I quite literally had not watched the video for over 20 years.  The song is still beautiful, and the video still makes me as teary-eyed as it did back then, when I was not yet even a teen.

Life is going okay.  I'm gearing up for the big Depeche Mode party on April 24th; I'll post more about it soon.  Work is good, and my son is getting smarter and smarter.  (He actually said "Einstein" a couple of days ago.  Lanna and I were thrilled.)

I've been busy with lots of stuff, some family-related, some not.  I even took a few moments recently to go out to the cemetary and visit my mom's grave.  My dad finally got her a gravestone a while back.  Along with all the standard descriptive information, there one special message, in big bold letters, that she had requested while on her deathbed:  "So long."  That's right.  My mom actually wanted the words "So long" on her headstone.  It was her little way of injecting some final joy and humour into something as dismal as her own passing, right up to the end.

That's not really what I want this entry to be about, though.

I want to tell you about a website called Lost Tulsa.

For those of you who are not familiar, Lost Tulsa is quite possibly the greatest online photographic resource dedicated to documenting the various things Tulsa is losing and has lost:  Businesses, landmarks, etc.  The webmaster, a gentleman named Tom, is very passionate about preserving these precious memories - mostly photographic sets of his own, with a few from outside contributors.

My favourite features on the site include:

  • The first Christmas at Woodland Hills Mall.
  • Eastland Mall, both abandoned and after its "Eastgate" transformation.
  • Bell's Amusement park, both reopening after the microburst of 2006 and being (senselessly) torn apart in 2007.
  • The Metro Diner, shortly before its (also senseless) destruction.
  • Two features on Peaches Records.

If none of these items are familiar to you, then you have either lived in Tulsa for a very short time, or you're just too young to care.  When I was much younger, I didn't realize how incredibly valuable and powerful photographs like the ones on LostTulsa would be.  These days, as I get older and older, and closer and closer to my inevitable demise, I find myself clamouring for memories like a guy in a puddle of quicksand, desperately reaching out for nearby vegetation.

I hope Lost Tulsa is never torn down like so many of its subjects.  As I told Tom in one of my comments in an Eastland photoset, his website is extremely important.  It is an archive of so many valuable places... pictures of venues and special events that brought joy to thousands of Tulsans as well as visitors, and will never be experienced again.

If you've never been to Lost Tulsa, the link bears repeating.  You may visit the site here.

Thank you,