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14th Anniversary

Anniversary Interview

On April 10th, 2023, we enter our fifteenth year of recording many very interesting Oklahomans. In this anniversary special, you will learn how the project began, which places we traveled, the surprises we have experienced, and what we have learned.

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Chapter 01 - 14th Anniversary

Announcer (A): April 10th, 2010 the oral history website Voices of Oklahoma was launched. We began collecting stories in 2009. So, on this, our 14th anniversary, we would like to share the history of Voices of Oklahoma as we relate some of our experiences in collecting over 270 oral histories of Oklahomans.

We will talk about how the concept originated, the many places we have visited for these recordings, and what we have learned: that teachers make a difference, that the gifts of talented artists are apparent at a very early age, and there are defining moments in all our lives — some more dramatic than others.

We also want to give credit to those behind the scenes who have made this project successful. Our website is being used as a resource for education and research, providing primary source material for historians, scholars, and educators.

Thank you for taking time to listen to the history of Voices of Oklahoma.

John Erling (JE): My name is John Erling. Today’s date is March 24th, 2023. On April 10th of this year, 2023, we will be entering our 15th year of recording many very interesting Oklahomans — their oral histories. It’s fun to hear the voices. Many of them have died, but we do have their stories.

On the phone we say, “You know, it’s really good to hear your voice.” And so it will be good for future generations to hear the voices of those who have been recorded on VoicesOfOklahoma.com.

So at this point in time, in the history of our project, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the backstories to all these stories, some of my experiences, reflecting on this journey. What have I learned?

And so, for the record, I have asked the long-time broadcaster Dick Schmitz to come in and help me tell this story. First of all, I should say thank you, Dick, for coming.

Dick Schmitz (DS): Thank you.

JE: Dick is a long-time broadcaster. You were one of the original “Big 7” deejays back on KAKC days. You dominated the ratings. Number one station for almost a decade. You were program director of that station. And then, eventually, as you moved onto another station, you became very production-oriented and you became one of Tulsa’s top voice talents. And then you formed your production company, Irving Productions. In a fast journey through your life, is that about accurate?

DS: I would say that’s probably close.

JE: Right. And you’ve received many, many honors. Ad Club with their highest honor, the silver addy in ‘72, the Ad Club’s lifetime award, Tulsa Press Club radio icon — I’m actually skimming some of this. And then, both of us, are members of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.

DS: I was afraid you weren’t gonna mention that, but I wanted to say: You were just as much in there as I was or maybe more.

JE: No. And, so, it’s my honor to have you here. But you did voices for many famous commercials. And we’ll just zero in on one — was OTASCO.

DS: Yeah, exactly.

JE: And what did OTASCO stand for?

DS: Oklahoma Tire and Supply.

JE: And how did that commercial end?

DS: Well, it actually ended with the phrase: “Thank you; here’s your change. Remember: You’ll always save at your friendly OTASCO store — your home of better values.”

JE: (Laughing) You can’t take that out of you, can you?

DS: No, you can’t. I’ve identified myself more times than you can imagine if I start to say that line at the end.

JE: I’m quite certain. Alright. Well, let’s get started.

DS: I’d like to know some things about you that I probably know but others might not and it certainly would be looking into. How did you get started with the Voices of Oklahoma?

JE: VoicesOfOklahoma.com. It’s a website dedicated to oral history. Alright, Dick, this is the way it started. Walt Helmerich and I were friends for many, many years. And once a month, he would call — or his secretary would call — and say, “it’s time for your monthly lunch.”

Well, during the course of those lunches over a period of 10 years, he kept telling me stories about his life: his family, his business, he was politically involved. Then one day I said to him, “Well, Walt, why don’t we record these stories? I shouldn’t be the only one who hears them, and your family… The public would be very interested.”

And he said, “Well, I think that’s a good idea.”

He went away to Florida and then he came back and we recorded and I said — and I get some of my best ideas by driving around, by the way — I was in my car and I thought, “Well, maybe if we put his story and others like it on a website geared toward educators, research students, and the general public to hear your story, Walt, what do you think?”

And you never knew what he was going to say and he said, “Well, I don’t wanna do a book.” He says, “My grandfather, Calcord, did a book and nobody read it, so I don’t wanna do book.”

I said “No, no. I’m not trying to do a book, I just want to record your stories.”

He said, “I think that’s a good idea.”

So, then I said, “Okay, would you get your friend Henry Zarrow?” Because they were close friends and they actually lunched about once a week.

He said, “I will.”

And so I got the Henry Zarrow story. But then their foundations were the first ones to come in and support Voices of Oklahoma. That’s how I got started.

Let me just say: I am not a historian. I never majored in history. History was not interesting to me way back in my younger days. And, so, I was not trained for what I am doing in any fashion. But I always enjoyed interviewing people. This website is unique in that it’s dedicated to oral history. There are many institutions that do oral history — Oklahoma State University, OU, and others will record, but it’s probably mainly for research and it’s not as readily available to the general public.

Well, when I did it, because of radio and I want everyone to hear everything we do, I set it up so that with one click, you can listen to now over 270 interviews and the general public is listening. So it’s for research and for the general public.

You know, Dick, sometimes not being trained has its advantages because you don't’ know that you’re breaking the rules, or the unstated rules, or the norms. And if I had been in the mindset of those historians or those oral history historians, I may never have done it this way. So, sometimes, ignorance is bliss, right?

DS: (Chuckling) Correct.

JE: Right.

DS: It seems like… Now, you just mentioned two-hundred-and-some people that you have interviewed, and I presume all of those — and this is a presumption — got on your program.

JE: No. They’re not and I wish they were. I’m always behind about 30. The thing that set me back was in 2009, now 15 years ago, I started recording and I recorded 30 interviews in that year. Then, when Wilma Mankiller died, we decided to hurry up and get the website going and on April 10th, 2010, we actually launched.

Well, I keep adding inventory. I record, and then I keep … (chuckling) … and then I produce. So there’s about, generally, there’s about 30 that aren’t on and I’m hoping to close that gap. But good question.

DS: No matter how many people you have to talk to — over 200, as you mentioned — where do you do all of these recordings? Do you travel a lot? Do you do them on the phone? Or how’s it work?

JE: I want to do them in person as much as possible. So, I go to offices, I’ve been in many boardrooms. I’ve been in many, many homes. Here in my own house where I have studios, I’ve done them here. So that’s basically where I do them — in person.

I rarely want to do them by phone and I’ve had to do them by phone, sometimes to get somebody immediately, travel became a necessity and I just couldn’t make that work. But during COVID, I then resorted to the phone. So, COVID, beginning in 2019 and ‘20, ‘21 into 22, then I did them by phone but then we also explained why were doing them by phone and so we have a lot of COVID stories as a result of that. So that’s basically where I set up studios.

DS: Well in all of this involvement with people and the number of people that you have talked to, where have you traveled to get these interviews?

JE: Well, interesting… I have traveled to New Mexico, Senator Fred Harris — former senator of our state. That was in Sandoval County, New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande river across from Albuquerque.

And I’ll never forget: He said, “I told my wife John Erling’s coming to interview me today. And she said ‘Oh, that ought to be good because you are your favorite topic.’”

DS: (Chuckling)

JE: And, so, we interviewed him and he did a great job. Now his former wife, Ladonna Harris, who lives not too far from him and they are very good friends, I interviewed her out at the University of Tulsa.

I went to Washington D.C., James R. Jones. He was a former congressman and Ambassador to Mexico, on the staff of LBJ, he was an appointment secretary, Chief of Staff. He was also Chairman of the American Stock Exchange. That was definitely a worthwhile trip to go to Washington D.C. to interview him.

Henry Bellmon. I went to his farm, his home place, 7 miles east, 1 mile south from Billings. And he just enjoyed it so much. His hand was shaking after a while and I said, “Do you want to quit this now?”

And he said, “No, no, no.” He says, “I want to keep doing this.”

Bart Conner, his facility in Norman, Oklahoma was at the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy. Interviewed Fred Drummond up in Pawhuska, which is the center now of the book, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

David Green, Hobby Lobby, was in his office in Oklahoma City. I’ll never forget he says, “John, I’m not too into the computers and all. I keep my own books over here.” And he reached back and he grabbed out books and he had entered — made pencil entries — he said, “Yes, I have other people who do this in computer. But, for me, I just use pencils.” That was fun.

DS: (Chuckling)

JE: Oral Roberts. Interviewed him at Newport Beach, California. That was an interesting experience. Thomas Gene Gilcrease, the grandson of Thomas Gilcrease Sr., in Nacogdoches, Texas, between Houston and Dallas. Chope Phillips, son of Waite Phillips, Elliot in Virginia. They’re dear people. “Chope” means “shorty” in Spanish, by the way. I went to Amarillo, Texas in their office. Curly Lewis, he played fiddle, as we say, for Bob Wills and all on the stage of Green’s Ballroom. Scott Momaday, poet, artist, teacher, storyteller, novelist. I went to his condominium in Sante Fe, New Mexico on the north side of the city. George Nigh, I interviewed him at Grand Lake. He was a big Grand Lake-er and promoter of that. We did that at Cherokee Yacht Club. And then, finally, one of interest: Lloyd Noble. We all know of the Lloyd Noble Center on OU campus. Well, I interviewed his daughter, Ann Noble-Brown. She was going to go fly to Colorado for an extended stay. So two people from that foundation joined her and they flew to the Will Rogers Airport. I met them there, then I got on the plane with them and we flew to Gunnison, Colorado and actually did the interview there. And then, of course, back, all in the same day. And Lloyd Noble was very influential at OU in hiring a very young Bud Wilkinson. So those are some of the places that I have ventured in my travels for Voices of Oklahoma.

DS: There must be some stories behind those stories and I’m not sure that you covered those at that point, but if you’ve got some thoughts about how you did it and the stories behind stories, that’s gotta be an interesting aspect of what you’ve done.

JE: Yeah, yeah. It is. And there are surprises, too, along the way. Marian Opala. He was the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court. I interviewed him in 2010 and he was 89 years old and he was looking forward to his 90th birthday. And he died 4 days after the interview.

DS: Oh, my.

JE: And his accent is so pure and so wonderful, you know? He came out of Poland. When the Germans invaded in 1939 — Lodz, Poland — he was there. Worked for the British and we have his story. And so that was a major surprise to have him die. Now, remember John Williams of the Williams Companies?

DS: Oh, sure.

JE: He was such a big, intimidating guy, really, in a way. You probably were around him. Well, I was fearful of him. And Walt Helmerich actually put me onto that story and when I called him, he says, “Yeah, I can do this. But don’t ask for any money.” Well, I didn’t ask him for any money.

DS: And wouldn’t have.

JE: And wouldn’t have. Right. Well, it turned out that he couldn’t have been nicer. And when we finished the whole interview. He said, “Well, sit down. Let’s just visit.” And he showed me his office and so forth. So this guy who did so much for our community, was just a nice, sweet man. So that probably was a surprise.

Here was a big surprise. I interviewed Bill Warren of St. Francis Hospital. We talked about his father coming to Tulsa and all. And Bill stands up at the end of the recording and he says, “So what are your financial needs?” Well, I’m just a North Dakota farm boy, disc jockey, radio guy.

DS: You weren’t ready for that, right?

JE: Well, I had to prime myself real fast. And I said, “John, if you don’t ask this man who has the money for what you need, you’re a wimp. You’re a loser.” So I said, “Well, Bill, we’re just now finishing out building out our website and that’ll cost $20,000.” And I said, “That’s my financial need.”

So he says, “Well, okay.” He says, “I’ll be back.” He comes back and he says, “No, my assistant is gone. I’ll get back with you later.” So I’m putting my equipment away. He comes back, “No, no. Sit down.” If Bill Warren says sit down, you sit down. I sat down and he walked in and he handed me a check for $20,000. Is that amazing?

DS: It is amazing.

JE: Amazing story. I hugged him. I didn’t kiss him, but I hugged him. And I thanked him. And that $20,000 was so timely at that point. So what a wonderful surprise on the part of Bill Warren.

Bob Kurland was a 7-foot basketball player. He played at OSU for Henry Iba and then he ended up in Bartlesville and he worked for Phillips Petroleum and he played for the club team Phillips 66. He was 7-foot tall. He also played against George Mikan, then playing for the Minneapolis Lakers, now the Los Angeles Lakers. And so it was a big story to have these two big men play against each other. Bob Kurland in that interview said, “Actually, maybe we were fudging. Maybe neither one of us were 7,” but, boy, they were sure 6’11” or something like that.

Well, the reason I bring that up is when I came home I didn’t have a thing on my recorder. I was devastated. And I called his wife immediately. I said, “I am so sorry. I have to come back because I didn’t get anything on my recorder.”

She said, “No problem.” I came back and he actually did a better job the second time around. Then I started traveling with 2 recorders — one as a backup — to make sure that wouldn’t happen again and it hasn’t happened again.

Alright. Here is probably the most embarrassing moment of all these stories. I interviewed Wilma Mankiller. What a special woman she was. And I finished the interview in Tahlequah at the Cherokee headquarters and Chad Smith came into visit with us. I had known Chad from way back and, of course, Chad and Wilma were friends. And I had just finished talking about, with Wilma, how her family came on the Trail of Tears. The federal government had forced them to come to Oklahoma. And then there was the federal relocation plan. They wanted to remove Native Americans to other parts of the country — to Chicago and elsewhere. And so she had just finished telling me how her family moved to San Francisco and she said the federal government dropped them off in a red light district. That’s how they were treated by the federal government.

Okay, this is the embarrassing part. I said, “Well, my grandparents came from Norway and the federal government gave them 160 acres to homestead and I am here because of that homestead act by the federal government.” And, Dick, as I said it, I was embarrassing myself and they both just stared at me. They didn’t say a darn word. They didn’t say, “Oh, that’s good,” or anything like that. And I knew I had stepped in a big pile. How embarrassing that was. I should never have done it. So, you know, these stories are good, but you have to be careful when and who you’re telling them to.

You will appreciate this. Mel Myers has been editor since the very beginning. Mel “Radio” Myers, Mel In The Morning. He was on KMOD, Z104.5, STAR 103, and most recently, on The Drive on 92.9. He has a passion for music as a musician himself and, like you, a production voice of several accounts in Tulsa — still is doing that, by the way.

There aren’t many people who can reprimand me without me fighting back. And he’ll say, “Well, you were in a room and it sounded hollow,” or, “there was buzz in the room,” and “you shouldn’t have done that,” or whatever.

Well, I say is, “Yes, sir, Mel. You are right.” And he has rescued, through technology, many of my interviews. When volumes were low, he was able to increase the volume; he saved many, many an interview. So, Mel, you listen to this: I am very grateful to you; I’ve told you many times how grateful I am. And then he helped me with the editing of it as well — can hand it off to him, who wasn’t there, and then he did the editing. As much credit as we get in the end public, behind the scenes is the basement…

DS: The key to the whole thing.

JE: Oh, there’s no question about that.

DS: That’s wonderful. Wonderful idea. Wonderful thought that you recall all that and be able to pass it on to other people who might really be interested in that idea.

JE: Right.

DS: What was done.

JE: Right.

DS: Have you learned anything specific from this? I mean, is there some one particular thing that’s triggered your thoughts about things?

JE: Well, I feel like I’ve had a 15-year crash course in Oklahoma history.

DS: (Chuckling)

JE: And certainly there are historians out there who have dedicated their life to document the history of Oklahoma and know more than I do. But I sure know a lot of stories. I look at it like this: Like I’m a drone overlooking these stories, looking down, viewing these stories. I think, maybe, they call that anthropology, the study of humanity, the study of human behavior, anthropology — that’s what they do. And so, yes, you can see a path — a line, if you will — on how their lives played out. Some with a specific talent at birth, others found their way. And the connection they made, unknowing to them, but in looking back, it made sense.

What I have learned is that teachers make a difference. Clayton Vaughn, who’s no longer with us, who actually interviewed me for VoicesOfOklahoma.com, and you hired him out of Kushing. Well there was a local radio station looking for someone to help them on the weekends and the station asked the speech teacher if she knew of a candidate. And in that moment, she went to Clayton. And now you know how he became a newscaster at 6 and 10 on Channel 6. But you were the one instrumental to bringing him to Tulsa.

DS: Yeah. Thank you for that credit.

JE: Right.

DS: Thank you very much.

JE: Bart Conner, the gymnast. There was a teacher by the name of Les Land and he said, “Bart, I think you have some potential to do something in gymnastics.” Bart, of course, is an olympic gold medalist and he said, “I walked into that gymnasium and I knew in an instant: this is where I belong.” But it was a teacher who did that.

Guy Logsdon, an expert on Woody Guthrie — western music and a musician — gives credit to Arthur D. Harrison, a teacher in Ada, who he says is the greatest teacher he ever had. He taught him grammar and encouraged him to write.

So teachers listening — not that you needed to validate it anymore — but, you do make a difference.

Alex Adwan, editorial writer for The Tulsa World — Ms. Bessie Lee Harris interested him in politics and then his grandmother had a poem and published in the Maud newspaper and that’s how he started getting into writing and he became a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

And, one more: Frosty Troy, founding editor of The Oklahoma Observer, Tulsa Tribune he worked, had his commentaries on KRMG, and he was influenced by a catholic nun — Frosty Troy.

So those are teachers who are influential. That’s what I have learned.

Also, generally speaking, artistic gifts are apparent at a very early age. The noted artist Charles Banks Wilson — he painted our murals in our state capitol — he drew Will Rogers from life and he also drew Robert Taft, the former senator Robert Taft, from life. And he said, “I was drawing when I was tall enough to reach under the table and draw.” That’s when the artistic ability began for him.

Wanda Jackson, was known as “Rockabilly Queen,” born in Maud, Oklahoma. She was 4 years old when her father bought her a guitar.

Jay O’Meilia, whose artwork, painting, works, sculptures — seen in galleries, Smithsonian, National Academy of Design — he said, “When I was in the 3rd grade, I remember the nuns would call my mother and said, ‘Well, you boy’s hard to handle because he doesn’t follow classes too well. He’s always sitting there drawing pictures.’”

So, and then, Jana Jay and Joanne Bacohns, known for her blue violin, at 2-and-a-half years old, they put a violin in her hands and she began to make sense out of it and I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

John Brooks Walton, a well-known architect, published many books about mansions. He said he was a 3 or 4 years old when he knew that’s what he wanted to do.

So, when I cite these examples, I think it’s important for all of us. If we notice something in a young child and an interest. Say, “Wow, maybe they’re interested in that. We need to encourage them as much as possible.”

Now, I’m going to blab on one more time here, Dick. There are defining moments in all of our lives when something happened, either to change the course of our history or add to it — to extend the journey we’re on. Defining moments. Quik-Trip: Burt Holmes meets Chester Cadieux on the sidewalk in Tulsa. I said — and Burt was looking for investors — I said, “Burt, if you hadn’t met Chester Cadieux on that day, would you have thought to go to him?”

He says, “No. It was just spur of the moment.” A defining moment for Chester Cadieux and now his family.

Billy Parker was working at Quik-Trip when he heard an ad on KFMJ saying they were looking for someone to join their staff. He dropped the mop, got in his car, and drove out to the radio station, and that changed his entire life.

The real estate man, John Hausem, was in the Korean conflict — staff sergeant, he was leading his squad on a path and he happened to step off the path, and those who didn’t were blown up by a bomb — a defining moment for him.

Betty Boyd, TV personality, Channel 6 and 8. Her defining moment came when she was asked to audition for Channel 6 because she had been a spokesperson for The March of Dimes. They said, “Would you come in and just audition for us?” Well, we know what a personality she became and went on to be elected to our state legislature.

Tommy Alsup, the story of “flips a coin,” with Richie Valens on the Buddy Holly tour and flips a coin and he doesn’t fly on that plane that crashed. That was his absolute defining moment.

So those are pretty dramatic. For many of us, they’re not as dramatic as that but as I’m in this drone looking down on all these stories, that’s what I have.

DS: Incredible highlights.

JE: Yeah, yeah.

DS: … of your involvement, really.

JE: Yeah.

DS: Did you get any turndowns or conflicts or simply non-approval of doing this interview?

JE: Good question. I have chased a couple of people. One died recently. But, for the most part, I would say 99% of them have been very willing. Dick, it helped me enormously to have been on the radio because people knew me here and in Oklahoma City.

DS: How long were you on the air?

JE: I was 30 year here on KRMG. So, when, you see this is almost like this was meant to be because I can call somebody — “John Erling is on the phone here.”

“Oh, yes! John!” You know?

So I wasn’t a stranger asking them to be interviewed. Only one asked if we could re-edit what he said and we accommodated that. But beyond that, there haven’t been any major issues.

DS: That’s interesting that you just said that because one of my other questions was: After recording these people, do they have the option to change, or re-do, or eliminate any of the material that they gave you?

JE: Absolutely right. Yeah, of course. I want them to be happy because, Dick, I want you to know, that their families are going to be listening to this and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. And so, I would absolutely accommodate them in any way and most of them have just done it and I’ve never heard from them again. I’ve never been a note writer, but after every interview, I write a hand-written note and I send it to them, thanking them for their time and for their participation in this website. They deserve at least that kind of attention. So I have written well over 200 thank-you notes and I’m not a note writer (chuckling).

And people say, you know, “Are you going to run out of stories?” Well, Dick, you know, there are 4 million people living in Oklahoma and so I’m just scratching the surface with what I’ve done now.

DS: Well, you covered a big bunch of people that you’ve had an opportunity to talk with. Are there any special people or special things that have come your way that you may be haven’t touched on at this point?

JE: Right. I call them “special nuggets.” Ponca Nation, Cynthia Warner walked about how her father was forced to walk from Nebraska to Oklahoma. Kenneth Renberg, World War 2, came from Germany to fight Hitler. Barbara Santee came from a tarpaper shack at 71st and Memorial to be a leader in women’s issues — first to address AIDS. Porter Reed, he was a black baseball player in Muskogee. Jackie Robinson actually came to his house when these negro teams would come through and Muskogee was a big area where they actually played ball. Carrie Dickerson, her daughter tells her story how Carrie protested the Black Fox nuclear plant — I know you remember that.

DS: Mhmm (in agreement).

JE: Norma Eagleton — first female city counselor, first female corporation commissioner.

DS: I knew Norma.

JE: Yeah. And I interviewed Katherine Kingsley, World War 2, she was a cryptographer. She helped break the code of the Japanese; she worked directly for J. Edgar Hoover. And then you remember Steve Steveson and Steve’s Bookstore?

DS: Sure.

JE: And he played tennis into his 90s. I had to schedule around his tennis schedule. And Reverend John Wolf of the Unitarian Church. Clayton Vaughn actually joined me on that as we talked about civil rights. Bill Vanderver talked about J. Paul Getty.

But, you know, I talk a lot about names that people know. I’m really happy when there are people who they’ve never heard of somebody that I’ve interviewed. This is not just for the rich and famous. This is for everybody. So when somebody says, “Hmm. I never heard of that person before.” That makes me maybe happier than anything. “Oh, good! Then I’ve introduced you to somebody who, then, have told their story.”

After all these years, I never thought this would happen to us. We have published two books now. John Hammil and I, together, put these two books together. John Hammil is a great writer. I have provided the material for him so we have volume 1 and volume 2. We are now on the podcast platform where we put our interviews on podcasts. People enjoy that as they’re walking, running, biking, in their car. So we’re on the podcast platform. I never thought that was going to gonna happen 15 years ago when I started this in 2009. Now we’ve developed a learning center on the website where you dive deeper into Oklahoma history and we have certain topics — holocaust survivors, philanthropy, lessons from entrepreneurs and business leaders, artists of Oklahoma, sit-ins during the civil rights movement — and so we write deeper about that than maybe came out in the interview and then the stories that we’ve interviewed, those storytellers are laced into that in the learning center. A far more sophisticated presentation than I ever thought was going to be possible when I started this in 2009.

But I’m also happy to tell you that we’ve entered into a partnership with The Oklahoma History Society. They’ve been very helpful by suggesting interviews, financially supportive, and promoting our interviews to their enormous following. Trey Thompson is the executive director; he helped make this happen, and I want to thank him for this great partnership between the VoicesOfOklahoma.com and The Oklahoma History Society.

And as we wrap up here, I want to give credit to the foundations that have been with me all along: George Kaiser Family Foundation, Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation, H.A. and Mary Kay Chapman Charitable Trust, The Helmerich Trust, William S. & Ann Atherton Foundation, and the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, and the Williams Companies Foundation as well.

And so they have been with me, and of course, everything takes money, but it’s also a tribute to those foundations because they believe in the collection of Oklahoma history. I should give credit to the media partners: Tulsa World and Tulsa People.

As I do at the end of every email blast, or when I speak in public about this, my mission is to tell everybody to record their family’s stories because your offspring, your great grandchildren — whatever — 10, 25 years from now are gonna listen to your voice. You know, eventually, when people die, the voice fades away and we can’t remember the sound of it; and so it’s important to have the voices telling the story. So I encourage everybody who listens to this, anybody who listens to VoicesOfOklahoma.com, to record your story. You’ll be glad you did.

And, Dick, that’s for you as well.

DS: (Laughing) Thank you, John. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of your renewal of the past.

JE: Yeah.

DS: Thank you.

JE: And thank you. I was honored to have you with me at the table. We’re just a couple of old-timers here.

DS: (Chuckling)

JE: You’re 88 years old. I’m 81. Couple of old radio guys just sitting, talking about preserving history. Thank you, Dick.

DS: That’s great. Thank you, sir. Thank you for asking. I appreciate it.

Announcer (A): Thank you for listening to our history of Voices of Oklahoma. You’re invited to visit our website, which is filled with many interesting stories told by Oklahomans. As we enter our 15th year of preserving history, we encourage you to share this website with your friends and family. It’s an entertaining way to learn about our great people.

Preserving Oklahoma’s legacy, one voice at a time. VoicesOfOklahoma.com



Production Notes

14th Anniversary

Program Credits:
John Erling — Interviewee
Dick Schmitz — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor
melmyershonestmedia@cox.net

TurtlePie Solutions Website Team
turtlepiesolutions.com

Date Created: March 24, 2023

Date Published: April 10, 2023

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Tags:Voices of Oklahoma, 14th Anniversary


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Cite This Work

14th Anniversary. "Voices of Oklahoma's 14th Anniversary" Voices of Oklahoma, April 10, 2023, https://www.voicesofoklahoma.com/interviews/14th-anniversary/, Accessed April 21, 2024
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