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Some Homecoming History

May 29, 2013

By: Verne Jackson

The Pushmataha County Historical Society is preparing for some busier times. The Society will be rearranging some of their displays due to the Chamber of Commerce getting a building of their own. They are now located in their old location in the old PSO building but they now own the building. You will still be able to get several types of information from the Historical Society at the “Old Frisco” railroad depot. The RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers will be glad to help and to show you through the Historical Museum.

The Historical Society RSVP volunteers will be hosting the OK Free Wheel Bicycle Club riders on Sunday June 9th from 11:30am-3:00pm. There will also be refreshments available for the riders as well as some friendly faces to show them around the museum. The Annual Homecoming event is right around the corner. It will take place on June 14th & 15th (Fri & Sat). The depot will be official Registration point again this year from 9:00 am-4:00pm each day. Visitation to our museum and with our RSVP volunteers will be greatly appreciated.

For those of you who have been paying your membership dues annually and all who wish to join our organization the Membership is coming due on July 1, 2013. Our membership system is of a fiscal year type, July 1 to June 30. We are able to operate from use of funding by membership dues, gift shop & book sales, donations and the help of many RSVP Volunteers.

While perusing some past issues of the Antlers American on microfilm along with the upcoming Homecoming planning, I was struck with the questions of “When did the first Homecoming take place and what did it consist of “? I found the first event was held on May 27, 28 &29, 1961 (Sat, Sun & Mon Memorial Day weekend). Registration was at the Chamber of Commerce office on W. Main on Sat from 9:00-5:00 with receptions on Saturday evening at each High School. Sunday was reserved for all who desired to attend the church of choice with friends and family. Festivities began on Monday at 4:30pm with the parade that featured many oldsters as well as most of the organizations in the county and Class reunion floats going back to 1919. In 1962 the event date was changed to mid June on Friday and Saturday with Sunday still reserved for church. Registration was on Friday at Antlers, Finley, Moyers, Hall and Rattan. Over 400 letters were sent to attendees from the previous years event. The theme for the parade was “novelty” and included a kids decorated “Bike Brigade”. The after event stats were 265 registered at the Chamber office and over 1,500 fed at the barbecue on Saturday. After the barbecue a dance was held across the highway in the Army Reserve Center parking lot. Mrs. Marie Everidge Smedley of Honolulu, Hawaii received recognition and a prize for traveling the greatest distance. Dr. Edwin Sanford Patterson of Broken Bow was honored for being the oldest. The 1963 Homecoming will held June 14th & 15th (Fri & Sat). Receptions, parade, bands, old timers, dancing and visiting were all included in the plans. the parade had 44 units registered including classes, scouts, floats, bands, round-up clubs, etc. The parade started at 4:00pm with the reviewing stand located on N. High in front of Hix Photography. June 19 & 20, 1964 had receptions held in Antlers, Nashoba, Moyers & Rattan. In charge of registration were Judy Knapp, Chole Ann Smith, Jan Welch, Neta Williams, Renee Wynn and Vickie Land. The 37-piece Air Force Band led the parade from Whichita Falls, TX. The dance for 1964 was held downtown in the block north of City Hall to Main St. All the previous years dances were held at the Army Reserve Center parking lot. For the June 18 &19, 1965 Homecoming event the committees and the chairmen expect an estimated 2,000 former residents, relatives and families to attend. The parade will begin at 4:00pm on Saturday followed by the barbecues were free with the provision for donations but in 1965 there will be a charge of 50 cents per plate. The statistics for last year (1964) were 2,250 persons consumed 2,700 pounds of barbecued beef, 67 gallons of pork & beans and more than 2,000 soft drinks. This year the parade formed on “Standpipe Hill” and proceeded down N. High St. The dance was returned to the Army Reserved Center parking lot.

This is only a short summary through 1965 but I found it quite interesting in how much things have changed and also how much they stay the same. I still have a number of questions in my mind so will part with more information I find it. In any case I do encourage all to get out and help with Homecoming event and make every effort to attend the festivities.

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