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StoryCorps in Oklahoma: Keeping Close to Oklahoma from New York (Jul 22, 2011)

This week’s storyteller actually comes from Upstate New York. Julie Paige lives in Ithaca, and while visiting in November she and her friend Penny Pasque stopped by the StoryCorps Mobilebooth outside the Civic Center Music Hall to remember how her father’s roots in Boswell led her to family she may never have known otherwise.

JULIE PAGE: “When I was growing up, my father always said, ‘When I have a business convention in Dallas, I will bring you to Oklahoma, where I grew up, to meet all my cousins.’ And I didn’t realize how many cousins I actually had in Dallas. There were a few that I’d met in New York City, but I didn’t realize how many. I actually flew down to Dallas myself. My parents were going to a wedding in Milwaukee. We all took planes at the same time, and they were going to meet me in Dallas two days later. It was really exciting going down by myself. First of all, I love that I was going to meet all these people and my parents were still in Milwaukee for this wedding. So I went down and two days later I went out with my cousin Terri. She’s my contemporary, my second cousin, and Terri’s probably the one who’s been the closest to me since we first met. But what’s really significant about this is he waited until I was 22 years old for me to meet this whole side of the family. He died very suddenly when I was 24. And I’m just so thankful that we came down, because my guess is that if we had not met that family before we died, I would’ve not ever explored that side of my family or knew that side of my family. And I’m very close to them. Since 1976, I’ve probably come down many years at least once a year, pretty regular trips from 1976 to the present. And that wouldn’t have happened if my father had not brought us in 1976, and again in 1978. At one point I almost moved to Dallas.”

PENNY PASQUE: "And this is the same side of your family that after both your dad your mom passed away they said ‘Julie, you always have a home here.’ And I know it’s not bittersweet, but emotional in a way, to come back to Oklahoma, be 56, and your dad and the connection to Oklahoma itself, and all that. It’s kind of tough, in a way, but also real exciting and very connected. I can definitely feel you’re connected to Oklahoma always because of your dad."

JP: “Definitely very connected. It was really special to come back here. I really couldn’t wait to come back, and be here again, and think about our trip. My last trip with my father was Oklahoma.

PP: “It’s nice that you get to talk about your father. “

JP: “I feel so much of my life is connected to my mom because of New York, and so it does feel really good to talk about my dad.”

JP: “It’s clear that they loved you so much.”

Produced for KGOU by Brian Hardzinski, with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording and collecting stories of everyday people. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

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