The Norman Transcript

Features

October 13, 2013

‘Welcome to Whizbang, Ruby Trotter’ is Griffis’ latest book

NORMAN — Author Molly Levite Griffis sets her newest novel “Welcome to Whizbang, Ruby Trotter” in 1964 Whizbang, Okla.

There actually was a small Osage County town called Whizbang that grew quickly, fueled by an oil boom in the 1920s, but by mid-century, it was largely abandoned.

The story involves New York hairdresser Ruby Trotter, who comes to the rural South and brings women’s liberation along with her.

Griffis introduces us to Whizbang’s prominent citizens, who represent caricatures of the day’s social norms, tending to be either exultant or adamantly opposed to the change that Trotter represents.

The townsfolk often seem to be cartoon characters.

However, the buffoonish reality when these cultural clashes actually occurred, which they did throughout America in the 1960s, would probably be difficult to exaggerate.

Griffis liberally takes extended detours early in the novel, detailing Whizbang’s small town quirks.

These include a mystically malfunctioning traffic light, a feline with supernatural powers and a character obsessed with numerology and horoscopes.

Nevermind that Betty Friedan’s seminal “Feminine Mystique” was published in 1963 and wouldn’t be common on college campuses until years later, a “well-thumbed copy” is being passed around among Whizbang women during church services disguised as a Bible.

Griffis doesn’t miss an opportunity to make reference to colorful details from the 1960s, but those frequently stray into future decades. Hula hoops and troll dolls definitely of the era, drug testing for marijuana not until the 1980s.

Trotter’s minor character’s brother is described as a “hippie” with tattoos, but that word wasn’t in common usage anywhere in 1964, and skin ink didn’t become popular in counter culture circles until much later.

Those may be nit-picking details but distracting nonetheless.

And Whizbang is chock full of details. It’s seldom just a plate of eggs, it’s a “… red Fiesta plate …” with two enormous unblinking eyes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Parents urged to research ADHD

    Q: Our son has just been diagnosed with ADHD, and we have been told he may need social skills training. He is in third grade, and this is all very new and foreign. Do you know anything about this training, and what does this mean for his ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Eggspectations

    You may or may not be aware that for many people Easter Sunday is a greater and more important event than Christmas Day. On Easter Sunday the purpose which began with His birth, celebrated on Christmas Day, was fulfilled. Nevertheless, in ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Biting protocol for puppies

    Dear Dr. Fox: My puppy really likes to chew on my hand when I pet him. I am afraid he might get more aggressive when he gets older. His sharp teeth hurt, and sometimes he runs at me and jumps up to paw me. I push him away, but he comes ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Norman volunteer recognized for work at Veterans Corner

    Each week, we recognize a volunteer who makes that extra effort to assure that a veteran or surviving spouse receives VA benefits. Shirley Clark-Cowdin has been with us four years. During that time, she and her crew of ladies have helped ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Here is how reverse mortgages operate nowadays

    Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about reverse mortgages? I was considering one last year, but now I hear they are more difficult to get....

    April 15, 2014

  • Annual Norman Iris Show set at library

    A tradition of the Norman Area Iris Society and Norman Public Library returns this spring with the annual Norman Iris Show from 1 to 4 p.m. April 27 in the Lowry Room of the library, 225 N. Webster Ave....

    April 15, 2014

  • Allan Oehlschlager, family celebrating 100-year milestone

    From Kansas City to Norman with stops in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Yale, Oklahoma City and Edmond — looking back as he prepared to mark his 100th birthday today, Allan Oehlschlager termed it a “glorious ride.” Born April 13, 1914, in ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Single parents to be honored

    Five Oklahoma single parents and two adult children of single parents will be honored with awards at the Single Parent Support Network black tie fundraiser, “An Enchanted Evening,” on April 29 at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Dreams for the next 14 years

    On Monday I’ll be the proud aunt of a 14-year-old niece. For 14 years, I’ve had the chance to get used to her being 14 someday, and I’m still not there. Maybe in another 14 years, I’ll realize that she’s not a baby anymore....

    April 13, 2014

  • Midwest City reunions set

    Midwest City High School class reunions for 1970 to 1979 will be hosted in June at the Midwest City Community Center....

    April 13, 2014