I drove to Tulsa, my hometown, on Saturday. I have fewer and fewer reasons to go, reunions and funerals mostly, but I had a couple of things to take care of so I made the four-hour drive there and back in a day.
“Why don’t you spend the night? See some people?” encouraged Bill, assuring me that all would be well here.
“I don’t really have people there anymore.”
I drove through my old neighborhood, by the park where I did “Walk for Mankind” and by the house of the boy who gave me my first kiss. (The last was coincidental, but the house was pretty terrific, which I did not appreciate at the time.)
And I went to Philbrook, which is one of Tulsa’s museums. It was the old Phillip’s estate and I spent some time there in junior high and high school. I didn’t take refuge there nearly as often as I do at the Nelson, but its cool, hushed halls and high ceilings sheltered me on several occasions. I hadn’t realized it before, but the house, on twenty-three acres and with seventy-two rooms, was probably the first grand house that I ever saw and I wondered if it infected my spirit for good.
Villa Philbrook was designed by Kansas City architect Edward Beuhler Delk; the gardens were designed by the Kansas City firm Hare & Hare. Funny, huh? You can find a little more on the house itself here.