The Neighborhood

Memories of an Oklahoma Boyhood

by Robert E. Clark Jr.

The Neighborhood


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About the Book

Citizens of Ponca City, Oklahoma, located in the north central part of the state, enjoyed a cacophony of boys' voices as the youth ran through the backyards and across the mossy creeks, wooded areas and polo fields which skirted the Acre Homes neighborhood located near the Marland Estate. Not altogether typical of surrounding towns, which depended mostly on agriculture, Ponca City's history cannot be compared to other towns in Oklahoma or the nation. This prairie town had Ernest Whitworth Marland, an oil baron who sought to create a haven for himself, his employees, and the community he called home.

The Neighborhood: Memories of an Oklahoma Boyhood describes what life was like when the town was growing by leaps and bounds and then, with the fall of E.W. Marland in 1928 and the Great Depression hot on his heels, its screeching halt in growth as its citizenry reeled in shock. In the following decade, a great global war claimed more than its share of these young men. Still, the author of this visit to the past journeyed deep into those dusty, cobwebby bins, rummaged for a time midst the seasons of his youth, and with considerable relief, came out smiling.

Robert E. Clark, Jr. was one of these boys. As he reveals the history of his birthplace and the people he knew, he paints a colorful cast of characters whose stories remain an important part of a world which has faded into the shadows. These loveable, fun-loving, intriguing, generous, and devoted boys and girls deserve to be remembered. The book details the warmth and exceeding hospitality of Oklahoma families as they went about their day to day activities in the pretty little Oklahoma town. It also provides heartwarming flashbacks of a world many people still remember, whether they lived in Ponca City or one of the many other towns of that era.

About the Author

The author, Robert E. "Bob" Clark, a native of Ponca City, Oklahoma, was born in 1925, the son of Robert E. and Ruth McDowell Clark. Ruth McDowell's family moved to Ponca City in 1905, a few years after the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. Friends of Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Marland and their two adopted children, Lyde and George, the Clarks and their sons resided in the newly created Acre Homes addition developed by Marland in the 1920s.

Despite the Depression, Bob Clark enjoyed a happy boyhood there, graduating from Ponca City High School in 1943. He participated in World War Two as a member of the United States Army Air Corps and later graduated from Oklahoma A&M College. He has worked for The Daily Oklahoman and the Oklahoma Times in sports and advertising, and enjoyed a 30 year career in oil exploration for Continental Oil Company. He concluded his career working as an independent in the oil business.

Mr. Clark, the father of one son, Christopher, now deceased, resides in Oklahoma City with his wife, Carol.