I’d like to thank you for entrusting your piano to myself and the many other Poughkeespie “groupies” out there. It has been an honor and taking it out in Oklahoma City was more fun than my mom and I could have expected. Yours and Livia’s love story is one for the ages. I have thanked Debra many times for sharing your story with us and allowing us to be such a big part of it by putting your cardboard piano “on tour.” I hope you enjoy the stops I have chosen.
When my mom and I started our adventure on an absolutely beautiful Oklahoma Sunday afternoon, I knew the first stop had to be The Santa Fe Depot, the train station in downtown Oklahoma City. It originally opened in 1934 and its main service was from Topeka, KS to Texas. It was later bought by Amtrak and traveled from Chicago to Houston. It was closed in 1979 and was reopened, renovated and ready to start transporting its passengers from OKC to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in 1999. The Heartland Flyer (the train itself) is a fun and unique way to travel to TX. And now when I have the opportunity to go down to the station you can bet I’ll be looking for someone handing out sandwiches to all the passengers, just so that the one person she wants to give one to will accept.
On April 19th, 1995 at 9:02am, the state of Oklahoma was changed forever when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was the sight of the Oklahoma City bombing. The lives of 149 adults and 19 children were lost in this tragic event. Their loved ones and the survivors of the vicious attack, needless-to-say, are still greatly affected by this tragedy. It was if the world stood still the days following the bombing. It was such an unfathomable act, people repeatedly asked “How could this happen on U.S. soil?” Rescue workers and aide came from all over the world and Oklahomans will be eternally grateful for the support they brought the state during this time. It was without question when your piano went on tour that I would bring it to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. I really could have just taken pictures at the memorial and could talk about it for this entire post. The memorial is a beautiful tribute to those lives lost, the survivors and the endless aide we received. The large entrance gate you see behind the piano is one of The Gates of Time. There is one at each end of the memorial and the inscription at the top of this one is “We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.” The memorial not only serves as a place for to people to honor those directly involved with the attack, its serves as a reminder that in times of true crisis the world can unite and it is possible that we all work together for the greater good.
St. Joseph Old Cathedral is located directly across the street from the Bombing Memorial. The day of the attack the old cathedral sustained tremendous damage. However, throughout the explosion, the tabernacle candle remained lit and the old life-sized crucifix remained unscratched by all of the flying debris. The cathedral was closed for almost two years, and reopened completely renovated in 1997. The monument behind the piano is yet another tribute to the ones involved in the attack. They also erected a statue of Jesus entitled “And Jesus wept.” This cathedral reminded me of Cole so much. I could see him here ministering to his old people. This cathedral is known to even have a midnight mass on occasion Cole could visit.
When my mom and I were driving around OKC looking for great places to stop, we wanted places that would pay tribute to Blake, Cole, Beckett and Mouse. We drove through some seedy parts of town looking for the perfect place Beckett and Mouse would set up their “enterprise” and still couldn’t decide exactly what the next stop should be. Then it hit me…tattoo shop! So I chose the first licensed tattoo shop in Oklahoma. Yes living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, tattooing did not become legal in OK until 2006. However, knowing Beckett, he would have seen to it that whomever needed a tattoo prior to 2006 would have been taken care of. Also the shop signifies the importance of the brother’s tattoo in the book, and Mouse adding his knitting needles. *sniffs and wipes a tear* As soon as I can, I plan on getting the Poughkeepsie tattoo, following in my dearest friend Jillian’s footsteps and the other fans who now have one.
Finally, I’d like to once again thank Debra for giving all of us such a fantastic book. For bringing the lives of Blake, Livia, Cole, Kyle, Beckett, Eve and Mouse off the pages of a book and into our hearts. Jillian Stein pimped Poughkeepsie to me and I have continued keeping my pimp hand strong, pimping it out to everyone I know. This final picture is of me and the ladies at my office that have read this wonderful book. We all loved it and all signed the piano before it was mailed off to North Carolina for its next exciting tour stop. Debra, you rock! THANK YOU from (pictured left to right) Me, Mom (Linda,) Nancy, Susan and Cozetta.
Isn't that amazing? I cried when I read this special Blake's Piano Stop. This tour is really letting me explore the world with friends. Thank you Tiffany, you and your mom are so gorgeous! Please tell the work ladies, Nancy, Susan, and Cozetta I said Hi! and that I would love to have lunch with you all one day. We would have so much fun.
If you would like to join in the tour please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll put you on the list.