Happy Birthday, Dad!

Ken Wahpecome circa 1953

My Dad, Ken Wahpecome from 1953 -- just after he had joined the Navy.

Happy Birthday to my amazing Dad, Ken Wahpecome! He would have been 77 years old if he was still here! Wow!

As many of you know, my Dad was born in Oklahoma and was a member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. He spent his growing up years in and around McLoud, Oklahoma. Like most Indians at the time — he grew up dirt poor and luxury was something you saw at the movies.

Speaking of movies, my Dad used to go to an “budget” movie theater in downtown Shawnee, Oklahoma called “The Jake.” They used to show his favorite cowboy, crime dramas and thrillers. The Jake was a place where the kids would tear up the seats and the farmers were most likely to relieve themselves in the aisles. Hey, don’t want to miss any action on screen!

As Dad got older and suffered from arthritis, he would dispatch me or my sister to the local Blockbuster (remember those?) and rent a movie. He called it his own version of “The Jake” — because the movies there were never first run!

When I sit down at my TV these days with a Netflix DVD (remember those? AAY!) — I think of my Dad saying, “What’s on at the Jake?”

I’ll never forget my Dad and his irrepressible spirit and humor. He had a tough road — but he could always come up with a smile and some wry humor just when we all needed it.


Happy Birthday, Dad! — 2 Comments

  1. On the Nez Perce reservation, which is located in Lapwai, Idaho, our movie theater had old squeaky seats and was without a roof. In one corner there was a small roof just big enough to keep the rain off from an old wood stove. This was in the early 1950s. My older cousin Janice Murphy was the usher, and she was the envy of all the younger girls.

    The teenage boys, my older brothers included, would climb the tall locust trees behind the theater, so that they could see the movie free. This of course, brought out the law. The policemen spent the whole movie time beneath the locust trees with flashlights and police car spot-lights trying to locate the boys. The boys usually just got a good scolding.

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