Howard "Porky" Cutter shares some stories about his recent trip home to Oklahoma for a class reunion.

A young Cutter stands beside his old motor scooter.

Cutter built this Ford winch truck from a wrecked truck back in 1960. This photo was taken in 1966.
A short time ago Bess (my wife) and I returned home to Covington, Okla., to our first school alumni reunion to find friends of long ago, renew family ties and revisit old memories with relatives. Bess and I were classmates throughout grade school. This also was our first visit back to Oklahoma in almost 45 years.

Since I sleep very loudly, one of my cousins offered us her recently purchased old home in Covington to stay in while we were there ?minus her. She had purchased only enough furniture for us to be comfortable. Having no television, we listened to the radio a lot (boy, did that bring back memories). We listened mostly to the weather because it was the stormy season. Several evenings we experienced heavy rains, constant lightning and strong winds. Large limbs were blown from a tree in the yard, barely missing our rental car. This brought to memory why we left Oklahoma years before after a tornado destroyed our new 45-day-old home.

It's unique how after so many years, some things stay the same while some things change. My former girlfriends had become old, Bess's class boyfriend (my cousin) was bald, our schoolhouse was gone, my folks' home had been moved to another town and many of our friends had passed away. However, my dad's machine shop and gas station buildings were still standing and being used for other purposes. An old two room concrete jailhouse across from Dad's machine shop still was standing. This old jail hadn't been used in many years before my dad built his machine shop in 1945. A shop building that I built near Enid in 1966 was still standing and had not changed.

Many of my school buddies were still living in Covington and many had married my cousins. Two buddies (brothers) had a restored Model "T" Ford and drove it all over town looking for us to take us for a ride. It looked and ran like a new one.

The winch truck still stands tall in 2001. Cutter accidentally located the truck during his recent trip back home.
While driving down the highway, I spotted an old 1954 Ford winch truck at a farm home. I told Bess that I had built that truck from a 1952 wrecked truck back in 1960. I stopped to see if I could take pictures of it. Driving up to the farm home, a woman met us and I asked her if I could take some photos of the truck. She advised me that she was sure her husband wouldn't mind, so she called him and handed me the phone. He was a classmate and buddy whom I hadn't seen in probably 55 years. Of course he gave me permission to take pictures, and later when we visited his home, I showed him how I knew that this had been my old truck and he was convinced. He touched the starter and it started right up. He led me to his garage where he had a 1947 Ford pickup, two other old cars in excellent condition and uncovered a Cushman motor scooter. He had bought the scooter because it was almost like the one he and I had ridden all over and around Covington when we were kids.

Another friend and schoolmate had married another of my cousins and continues living in Covington. We were able to spend a lot of time with them and exchange old stories, most of which our wives had never heard. His wife and her sister were my wife's best friends in school.

Upon receiving personal invitations from found classmates before scheduled alumni events, we crashed one funeral reception and one family reunion in surrounding communities. This provided other unique opportunities to meet with many other old classmates and friends from many distant states.

We went to Enid, then traveled on to Wichita, Kan., to visit other relatives, some whom we had not seen nor communicated with in many years.

Traveling back to Oklahoma City to catch our plane, we saw oilrigs being rebuilt and several actively drilling. It is obvious that oil drilling is picking up again.

I guess that the most enjoyable thing about our trip home was seeing our relatives, friends, my old truck, the scooter, the Model "T" Ford and the oil drilling again. I don't know if ever we will move back home, but we will never forget the times that we enjoyed there as schoolchildren.

They say you can never return home (I guess they mean to stay). We did, we loved it and are looking forward to the next school alumni reunion.