Our Hometown Glory: Stillwater, OK

Our Hometown Glory: Stillwater, OK

More than textbooks and bar crawls.
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Stilly, Stillville, Still-H20.


Call it what you want, but this town holds a special place in our hearts, whether we gladly admit it or not. For some, it is their collegiate playground. For others, it is their forever home. Let’s bring the old dusty boxes out of the shed and talk about our favorite Stillwater past times, places and memories; or at least some of them.

1. Our unconditional love for Stan Clark Companies.

Eskimo Joes, Mexico Joes, Joseppi’s, Stillwater Bay and MoJo’s. Otherwise known as Stan Clark companies. What began as a small bar in the heart of Stillwater, is now a legacy within the community. Home of America's greatest cheese fries. Whether it is chips and salsa at Mexico Joes or a beer and a bowling alley at Mojo’s, you will feel right at home. RIP Joseppi's and Stillwater Bay, you are dearly missed.

2. The hidden pioneer wagon statue tradition.

An oldie but goodie. The tradition that tops any other. The hiding of the Stillwater High School pioneer wagon. Every year the seniors would hide the wagon and the upcoming seniors would have to find it before their homecoming took place. This tradition was shut down before I attended Stillwater High School, but it never fails to create conversation when brought up with numerous Stillwater alumni.

3. Chris' University Spirit

Originally known as the Balfour House, today is known as Chris’ University Spirit. Located in the thick of Stillwater and the OSU campus, carrying everything from OSU gear to Greek monogrammed items, it is a true gem. You can find me here whenever I am buying gifts for my brother, dad or grandpa.

4. Tumbleweed Dancehall and Concert Venue

Now this is a true legend in Stillwater. Growing up I always heard my parents make remarks about “how back in my day we would spend our Friday nights at the Tumbleweed”, so with no doubt, I spent my first few weekends in college at the Tumbleweed. I can promise you that most of our parents met at this little country music joint. Every year the Tumbleweed also hosts the big “Calf Fry” where the community, family, friends and mostly college students merge together and listen to live country music. It is definitely a golden keepsake of Stillwater.

5. 4th of July "Boomer Blast"

This hometown celebrates 4th of July like no other. You can find the whole community every year located at Boomer Lake, with their families, relatives, friends, beer and cameras. Or you can find a higher spot of land within the city limits and watch as the Boomer Blast show unfolds from afar.

6. Saturday's spent at Shoe Bank, Bath and Body Works and Hobby Lobby

Growing up, once every few Saturdays, my mom would take me into town and we would go roam around to our 3 favorite stores. We would smell every scent in Bath and Body Works, pick out some sporadic décor from Hobby Lobby, and spend way too much money in Shoe Bank. Side note for those who do not know what Shoe Bank is – you should. Shoe Bank carried some of the best and most wanted shoes in Oklahoma. Jana and David never failed to make you feel like family, but after 34 years of business, David and Jana Swain closed their doors. I will always remember Saturday's spent in this shopping center.

8. Kruse's Caribbean Ice

Once the weather began to get warmer, the first thought we always had was Kruse's Ice. Kruse's is a family owned, Stillwater loved, snowcone stand. You can find all of the Stillwater High alumni here every summer.

9. The treasured Wooden Nickel

The Wooden Nickel is a Stillwater, Oklahoma staple. The Wooden Nickel has had their doors open since 1976. The store carries the most trendy clothing for men and women, and literally everything else you could possibly want. They are now offering an online store, which makes my heart swoon but my wallet cry.

10. America's Greatest Homecoming

How could I leave this one off the list? I can promise you, that this is probably one of the most sacred traditions in Stillwater, and I do not see it leaving anytime soon. From the parade to the house decs, you can find the whole community and the college students at every homecoming event.

11. Washington St.

Preferably known as "The Strip" is the location of all things tequila, palm trees and dancing shoes. The Strip is a great place to create your collegiate memories. Other than the Tumbleweed, this is where the other 50% of our parents met.

12. Our obsession with Aspen Coffee

Aspen first opened their doors in 1994, and I don't see the doors ever closing. Aspen has 4 locations within city limits, and 1 located in Edmond, Oklahoma. Filled with roasted craft coffee, espresso and numerous baked goods. Besides the coffee, it is honestly the reason for the pep in this small town.

13. Coney Island

Established on The Strip in 1969, it holds the best late night food in Stillwater. I am sure that the atmosphere looks exactly the same as it did in 1969, which makes it a true keepsake in town.

14. The most obvious, Oklahoma State University

We sure do love our Alma Mater but it wouldn't be the same without the town it resides in. The university holds around 25,000 students and brings so much to our beloved town.


Thank you, Stillwater. Thank you for always being the place we can call home.

Go 'neers (and Cowboys).

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Wolfe Photography

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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The Shape Of The Monster: Depression

The second piece in a series about mental illness.

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The last thing I want to do is glorify mental illness, give it a platform, give it a name. But I need to talk about it, to work through it, to show that it's something many people experience.

It goes like this.

Hey! Sorry I haven't called you back. Everything has been so busy.

Every time I think about even picking up the phone and calling you, something heavy but familiar sets in my stomach like a weight.

You know how things get.

You know how easy it is to want to slip into absolute nothingness, right?

I've been trying to write, but my writer's block has been limiting me a lot.

Everything I write is so bad. The flow is off. It doesn't sound like me. It feels so crooked and wrong. I can't do anything right.

How are things? Has work been alright?

I hope you feel successful. I hope things are easier for you. I hope you are as happy as you seem.

I'm okay.

I don't want to be here. I don't want to be anywhere. I feel crooked and wrong like I just want to scream and cry and dissolve.

I've just been so tired!

I have been tired for at least a decade. Tired of never sleeping. Tired of never feeling anything more than either absolute devastation and absolute nothingness. Tired. Tired. Tired.

I hope I can see you soon.

I hope I can bring myself to get out of bed and out into the world. I hope I can force myself to shower, and get dressed, and be a contributor to society, to social obligations.

I miss you.

I miss you.

I love you.

I love you.

I promise to call as soon as things lighten up a bit.

As long as the chemical imbalance doesn't destroy me altogether, hopefully, I can feign vague interest for a short phone call.

Goodbye.

Goodbye for now, maybe goodbye forever, maybe I'll work up the courage to call you in another 2, 5, 7 weeks or so. My life is made of "maybes." Maybe one-day things will be better. Maybe one day I'll be happy. Maybe one day I won't be anything. Maybe.

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