The Norman Transcript


September 9, 2012

City built Teen Center to keep kids drug-free

NORMAN — The 1970s were tough times for Norman’s youth. The drug culture that filtered down from college students into the high schools scared parents stiff. Something, they said, must be done.

That something was construction of a place for teens to just “hang out.” A drug-free zone where kids could relax, away from their parents, far from the police and their teachers.

The “Teen Center” concept had been tried in other communities. Churches and YMCA’s had experimented with the concept but it never really took hold. But that didn’t stop the Norman’s City Council from building one on the south side of Reaves Park.

The building, designed by RGDC, Inc., was built at the corner of Jenkins Avenue and Constitution Street. It included pool and ping pong tables and had an “early cave” design, meaning there were few windows. It’s now used as a garden center.

It was next door to the old “Building 92” recreational hall left by the Navy. Now that was a teen hangout. It had a gym floor and a cavernous design that included crawl spaces, hidden closets, stored Navy leftovers and lots of equipment, books and photos that no one knew what to do with when the base shut down.

n n n

Keith Parman has a treasure trove of similar artifacts, albeit these are family ones. He is going through photos, 8mm movies, newspaper clippings, old advertisements and other such memorabilia left behind by his late mother, longtime Oklahoma school teacher Lauretta Parman who died in 2010 at age 96.

“I’ve got pictures, pictures and more pictures,” Parman said.

A homemade movie, “Super Keith,” made with Parman and a sister made it to Youtube. A play script, “Oklahoma town,” was adapted by his brother Frank Parman and performed at the Renegade Theater on Main Street in 1976. His father, the photographer and educator, loved to incorporate visual aids in his teaching. His mother taught in western Oklahoma before coming to Norman in the late 1950s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014