Thursday, April 22, 2010

Land Run Day

As most of you know, I live in Oklahoma. Not The Pioneer Woman Oklahoma, but normal everyday city Oklahoma where we have a lot of things but a Crate and Barrel is not one of them. Love it, am very proud of it. And because many of you DON'T live here, I feel the need to tell you a memory that only a child born and raised in Oklahoma can share.

Today is Land Run Day. In case you didn't know, Oklahoma as a state began formally (albeit not officially) on April 22, 1889 with the Land Run. And we celebrate this as part of Oklahoma History. This is the day the lands of Oklahoma were opened up for pioneers to stake their claims in a massive run that established such great cities as Oklahoma City in a matter of hours.

'Round these parts, 4th grade is (was?) the year for Oklahoma History. Later in high school we had a semester of Oklahoma History as well, but in 4th grade you spent a year studying the vast amounts of Native American and land thief roots that brought this state to reality.

The pinnacle of 4th grade Oklahoma History was Land Run Day. This is what we spent all year working toward. 4th graders got to reenact the Land Run. We spent weeks with our assigned "families" building covered wagons after school out of Radio Flyers and chicken wire. Our moms made (or bought) bonnets and pioneer woman dresses. The boys wore their cowboy boots. And every single elementary school in Oklahoma roped off plots for claiming on their playgrounds each April 22nd morning.

Since every school did it, every child under 4th grade spent years waiting for their turn. And when it finally came, it was the BEST. DAY. EVER. We lined up, a whistle went off, and we took off for the best land plot. I remember getting close to what we wanted. Thought it wasn't fully shaded by the one shade tree on the playgound, it did have some shade and we enjoyed our day of snacking on our bagged lunches for the afternoon.

We built our covered wagon at my friend Amber's house. April 22nd is actually her birthday. All these years later and I can still remember her birth date because it's Land Run Day. And I remember wearing a blue pioneer dress that looked a lot like my American Girl doll, Kirsten's dress, with a pink bonnet just like her.

It was just a fun day. Maybe I'll find pictures. But now you can all be jealous that you did not grow up in Oklahoma during 4th grade. It was awesome, I assure you.

The Land Run also gave my great alma mater (University of Oklahoma) both it's mascot name (Sooners) AND it's fight song ("Boomer Sooner"). And if you just clicked on all those links, you really DO want to be an Okie like me!

Thanks for letting me remember this historic day!


Leah said...

I feel so much more informed on Oklahoma now. Wow. And what an awesome tradition you guys had in the 4th grade. :)

Julia said...

My "family" had Little Caesar's for lunch. Friggin' awesome. Everyone else was super jealous.

And I definitely wore that same dress and bonnet, too, five years after you! Gotta love the hand-me-down Land Run costumes!