Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Obi-Wan Tour

I've had this idea of taking Obi-Wan out for a drive through town and seeing all the places he's lived, worked at and hung around during his 53 years in the fair mother city. It finally happened today and was a smash hit.

I had no idea that he'd enjoy this outing as much as he did. He even wanted to celebrate with hamburgers from GW's (excellent burger joint in the fair mother city).

I learned a little more about his life in addition to some historical data on Abilene from a 89 year old black man's perspective.

a few highlights:

(Obi-Wan worked exclusively as a service station attendant from the time he arrived in 1953 until his retirement around 1986...)

1) The site of Homer Mann's Gulf Station still stands at N. 1st & Grape. Obi-Wan worked here in the late 1950's.

I got him to sit and have his photo taken in the exact spot of the photo from this previous post. Also noteworthy...this is the site of the huge explosion where Obi-Wan was serverly burned. I wrote about it here.

I think he spent many weeks at the hospital due to that explosion...back in the 1950's when Hendrick had a "special" wing just for black people. How thoughtful of them.

I'm still hoping to find an old newspaper article on the explostion at the library on microfish. But he doesn't remember the year or date.

2) This station at N. 13th & Treadway was another work site of his in the late 1960's.

This is Obi-Wan with his boss R.E (Polly) Pollard.

This station is still in operation as a mechanic garage. But I don't think they sell gas anymore.

3) Shortly after his arrival in 1953, Obi-Wan lived on the NW corner of N. 6th and Mesquite. Currently, a credit union sits on that property. Only one house still stands on this block of Mesquite that's mostly city government buildings and businesses.

Across the street from where his house once stood is city hall..."which use to be a feed store and a cotton gin".

It was a fun outing. And we had no idea he'd enjoy it that much, even though the city's changed so much since the last time he's seen many of these places.

Goofing off at his N. 6th & Mesquite residence...

Obi-Wan with a mentally handicapped girl he and his wife raised at their N. 6th & Mesquite home...


Deana said...

I swear this could be a story on NPR or something...I love reading about Obi're life is truly rich Agent B.

miller said...

thanks man, i'm with deana, i love these stories.

i wonder if you could get stories like these from your other neighbors.

there's a book in the making here

or a documentary


james said...

what an awesome post. Loved especially the Obi Wan photo of him on the rocking horse. Yee Haw!

ahbahsean said...

Yes I agree. I liked this a lot. I love all the pictures. :)

Agent B said...

Deana - I haven't felt very rich these days. But thank you for reminding me where my wealth should (could?) be.

All - Yea, I know. Pictures are fun.

Sorry the agent b files hasn't been much of a gallery in the past. I've always been paranoid that I might be expoiting my friends by posting their photo on an anonymous blog. It's a fine line I'm learning to cross.

But it's nice to prove that I'm not making these people up.

Mike Exum said...

Very touching. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy it too.

I recently took my self-described "x crackhead friend" Elizabeth around town running some errands before she left for drug rehab treatment. As we were driving along she would say, "I used to work this street" or "I used to live in that crack house."

Then on one of these trips she suddenly said, "I gave birth to my son in that house all by my self with no one around to help." I was stunned. I u-turned and went back and snapped a few pictures. She began filling me in on the story. She used to be a hooker doing her business under "that street lamp over there" etc...

I found myself sucked into her world, her story, her life to touch it and remember and care. I hate to somehow compete or try to upstage yours with mine in these remarks. But I think I know your experience, after a fashion. It is really cool.

I like the idea of telling Obiwans story on NPR or a book. Ask him what he thinks. If he is for it, then just continue to make your friendship more important than profits and you will not exploit him. Meanwhile his story needs to be told.

And one more thing, I am now terribly curious to know what the "special" wing at Hendricks was like. Did they have white nurses caring for black people? I mean doing the terribly personal and, for many, begrudging dirty work of a servant in the realm of personal care for people who were treated as second class? And was it begrudging for those nurses, or maybe not? Lots of curiosity about that part of the story, among others....

This is a wonderful post, B. You really love the guy, huh? It shows. Thanks for sharing...

Many blessings...

agent wife said...

There is something magical (I don't like that word really), spiritual, powerful happening in my heart towards Obi-wan and uncle Kurt. I'm really trying to love as Christ told us to and to live in the moment and to put their needs above mine (that's the really hard part), but I realized after the fact that the day we toured was grandparent day. Obi-wan has really become a grandparent to our kids and our friend Kurt, really is like an uncle. They spoil our kids and our kids and pets go nuts with joy when they come by. They give everything they have to us and we try to do the same. I'm growing a new heart that really does hurt when I find out how they have been wronged, not hurt as in "that is so bad, so unjust", but hurt as in, "I can imagine myself in their shoes", as in, "I love this person, how could anyone do that to him", as in, "this is my friend and family, that was insulted and belittled so it belittled and insulted me too." I don't know how to explain it, but I want more.

Agent B is more advanced in this than I. He's been living this love reality for years with people we've befriended, I'm just starting to really enter in as I need to, as Christ has called us to.

Jason & Nicole said...

This is still my favorite blog read. Thanks for sharing about Obi-wan.