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Oklahoma - Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!

15 November 2011

There were really only two things I knew about Oklahoma.  

 Firstly the musical.  You know the one: 

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain

And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet

When the wind comes right behind the rain.

Oklahoma, Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I

Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk

Makin' lazy circles in the sky.

And 

Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends,

Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.

One man likes to push a plough,

The other likes to chase a cow,

               But that's no reason why they cain't be friends. Oklahoma O.K.

Yep there are still cowboys and farmers but these days agriculture comes third in the State’s economy to natural gas and oil.  Not that this stops the male population of Oklahoma City gadding about in fancy cowboy boots and huge hats.

It’s not exactly a tourist destination.  So why I am here?

The Womens’ Alliance (TWA), the umbrella group for organisations like Fitted for Work, is holding its annual conference in Oklahoma City.  The night I arrived, Fitted for Work’s Dear Gladys online store went live so I could show off our beautiful site and great products at www.deargladys.com.au/  Fitted for Work was applauded for leading the way, the first organisation to have an online social enterprise.  

The TWA conference is always hosted by a local organisation, in this case Suited for Success founded by Susan Walton.

Here’s the other thing I knew about Oklahoma City  - the 1995 bombing of the Federal building by right-wing fanatic Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 people and injured 680.  

One of the injured was Susan Walton, making a deposit into her account at the credit union.  She nearly died from a fractured skull, nerve damage to her eyes, multiple jaw fractures, a broken nose, a ruptured spleen, and two crushed legs.

What followed was weeks in hospital, 15 operations, years of physio, and months of terrible pain with metal braces pinned through her flesh into the bones of her legs.

On waking in hospital and being told what happened she said, “Good will come out of this.”  

She says, “I tried to focus on getting well and moving on with my life and helping others and paying back the society for the help that was given to me.\"

In 1997 Susan founded Suited for Success, which has since served thousands of  Oklahoma City women.  Truly a woman of valour.  

Our last night and the hotel starts rumbling and shaking.  No, not another crazy letting off explosives.  This time it’s an earthquake.

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3 comments

  • Nicci Clifton

    Nicci Clifton 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your OKC experience! While there, we talked about the power of story and you certainly made an impact with your words and relationships!

  • Giota Christopoulos

    Giota Christopoulos 7 years ago

    It was great getting to know you, Renata, as well as Trina, and Susan, and all the other great leaders of organizations dedicated to helping women by providing needed interview clothing and so much more. The Women's Alliance member agencies are moving and shaking, much like Oklahoma City when all of us gathered there. There was truly a whole lot of shaking going on! I enjoyed learning what was special about the city too.

  • Anna Ferguson

    Anna Ferguson 7 years ago

    LOL! Those are the two things I knew about Oklahoma before the conference too Renata! But I must say that Oklahoma was full of friendly people, good food and lots of history. Susan and Suited for Success were phenomenal hosts and spending time with TWA members is always a blessing. And how nice of OK to send us off with a shake, rattle and roll!