The time has come for our family to leave Norman, Oklahoma. My husband and I are about to start new chapters as Assistant Professors in the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Department at Purdue University in Indiana. We were reluctant to leave Norman, severe weather capitol of the world, after 13 years, but were presented with an opportunity that was just too good to pass up. Dual tenure track positions only come along once in a blue moon! We’ll also be much closer to family. Of course, we’ll miss Norman, but we plan to be back – often. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking stock of the things that make Norman a special and unique place to live.
Things I will miss about living in Norman, Oklahoma:
- The dryline. (Duh!)
- Watermelon Slim concerts
- Watching planes take off and land over roadhouse toast at Ozzies
- Imbibing Swirls on the patio at The Mont
- The Weekend Blues on KGOU
- Steak houses where you can drop peanut shells on the floor while Joe Diffee plays in the background, and whose cooks know what “medium rare” means.
- Mild winters
- The Oklahoma Mesonet
- Fried okra
- The Oklahoma Food Coop
- Having other severe weather geeks next door, upstairs, downstairs, across the table, across the street, and across town.
- Clear Bay Cafe (I hope they re-open soon!)
- Radomes on the horizon every where I go.
- Annie’s Ruff House
- Tex-Mex and BBQ done right.
- Scissor-tailed flycatchers
- Catching up with friends over brunch migas at Abner’s
- All the friends and professional connections I’ve made here. (At least I get to take my husband with me!)
Things I will NOT miss about living in Norman, Oklahoma:
- Blast furnace summers
- Being used for target practice while cycling
- Game day gridlock
- That weird Prairie Kitchen on Main St. that sat there for over a decade, apparently vacant, but with its lighted sign glowing, like a post-apocalyptic apparition.
- The not-so-subtle flavor of Lake Dirtybird turning over
When I moved to Norman in 2002:
- From my first apartment (at Apple Creek), I could look across I-35 at an empty strip of land west of Max Westheimer Airport, punctuated by a large mound of earth farcically called Mount Williams.
- Target was located at Main & 24th.
- OU’s School of Meteorology was still housed in Sarkeys Energy Center. The National Weather Center was on the drawing board, but hadn’t yet been built.
- Coach’s was still Coach’s (and still standing), with patrons of the Vista sneering at them from high above.
- There was still a DQ on Main.
- Smartphones didn’t exist. When our group needed internet connectivity while chasing, we actually had to stop the car. Then, we would either commandeer a public phone for AOL dialup, or mooch free wifi from motels.
- House of Hunan was still in business. It was located down the strip from the now-defunct-but-maybe-not-for-long dollar theater.
- I was single. One fateful day, I wandered into Alan Shapiro’s Advanced Dynamics I class, and sat down next to a guy wearing fishbowl glasses and a giant wristwatch sporting a popup anemometer. I thought, “Who is that dork?” The rest, as they say, is history.
I have big plans for continuing my research at Purdue. (We’ll see how well they square with the reality of faculty life!) I’m sure we’ll be making plenty of trips back to Norman… particularly in the springtime!