We first told you about Oklahoma Poet Laureate and Claremore native Charlie Allton in this moreClaremore story. Here are some of his words about the times, from 1971. Happy New Year.
Well folks, I guess we’ve gathered here,
To lay our plans for another year;
And see just what we’ll have to give
To make Claremore a better place to live.
It’s moved way ahead since I was a kid;
In fact, the town that I knew is almost hid.
A lot of new buildings stand today
On the vacant lots where we used to play.
In a few short years it seems,
There has sure been a change galore.
Where Tom Patterson had his wagon yard,
Is now a Safeway Store.
In the middle of town on main street,
A new Bank building is rearing its head.
Where my Dad used to run a butcher shop
In an old native lumber shed.
The blacksmith shops have long since gone,
And the wagon sheds we used to know.
And the only livery stable left,
Is now a moving picture show.
The horse trading spots have vanished,
And so have the horses too;
Their places are full of used car lots,
Beware what they’ll do to you.
In those days we lived on a pretty scant wage,
And we worked mighty hard to make it;
But there was one thing I liked,
If we had any left, the government didn’t take it.
A young man starting his married life would
Work like a one-eyed mule.
But the wages he was living on then,
Today wouldn’t keep one kid in school.
When we started to school we learned our A-B-C’s,
And two and three is four.
And then we learned to read and write a bit,
And never did learn much more.
They teach today in a different way,
And tho I don’t know how to tell it.
They got kids that are studying science now,
And half of ‘em can’t even spell it.
When I was a kid, it would take all day,
To get twenty miles from home.
Now a man can eat breakfast in Claremore
And have his dinner in Rome.
No matter where we’re going,
We move at a furious pace,
As tho we’re ‘fraid that when we get there
Somebody will have our place.
But while men seem to be in a hurry,
The women don’t go for that.
They still take an hour to put on a wig,
Like they used to, to put on a hat.
Tho’ men are speeding up their work,
The females don’t seem to keep pace,
Why I can paint two sides of an eight room house,
While a woman is painting her face.
The kids of today have changed from then,
Along the way they have switched, per chance.
The boys are wearing the long hair now,
And the girls are wearing the pants.
I believe that the gals are the smartest,
For when they go to shop.
They always go to a beauty salon,
But the boys can’t find a barber shop.
The gals sure are cute in those little pant suits,
They look just like a baby chick,
Their dresses start off to be pretty too,
But man they sure end quick.
But the things that they’re working for today,
Are the same that they were back then.
They want to live in a better way,
And have a better world to live in.
And that the thing that we want to give them,
And we can all help in this cause.
We’ve got a mighty good town to live in,
Despite a few faults and flaws.
We can’t all help with money,
For money some of us have not.
But every one in town can roll up their sleeves,
And give a little of what they’ve got.
To those who are blind and cannot see,
Just put a song bird in very tree.
Give the beautiful hues that the rainbows wear,
To those who are deaf and cannot hear.
To the crawling babe at the start of his day,
The joy of an awkward puppy at play,
To the young ones who tire of blackboard and book
A grassy shade by a babbling brook.
To the youth who is flexing of muscle and frame,
The right to try at his favorite game.
To the lad and lass in their first puppy love,
The right to spoon ‘neath the moon above.
To every loving young spouse and wife,
The joy of a baby upon their knees.
And to those in the twilight of their life,
The joy of a million memories.
Sell the beauty of Oklahoma,
For no matter where you may roam;
There’s no other place in all the world,
With the beauty we have here at home.
From the shifting sands of the desert,
To the water’s glimmering sheen,
From the tops of craggy mountains,
To the valleys in between.
From the wandering creeks and rivers,
‘Cross the prairies and the swales,
Over miles of ribboned hi-way
And thru quiet country trails.
From blissful country solitude,
To the shops of industry,
There’s something here for everyone,
Whatever his tastes might be.
And could you ask the angels
Where they would build an earthly home,
They’d say the hills of Coo-wee-scoo-wee,
Where the dogwoods are in bloom.
Yes, beauty we have in abundance,
But beauty just plays it’s part,
The thing that makes you love a county,
Is folks with a smiling heart.
It don’t take a skyline to make a good town,
Nor a high rise, nor a steeple.
Folks just love to stay in a town,
Where there’s a host of friendly people.
The greatest joy you’ll get on earth,
From life’s start til its end,
Is to meet a man as a stranger,
And make that man your friend.
It’s easier to smile than it is to frown
And what’s true of a man is true of a town,
So as the new year ’71 gets birth,
Let’s make this the friendliest town on earth.
It can be done by people like you and I,
And it don’t cost much. Let’s give it a try.