Andy Rieger mug

Andy Rieger

The New Yorker magazine is not always a household read for me. Siblings who moved away often call attention to articles. The writing is often smug and makes no mention of our flyover zone state.

But this past week’s issue includes a personal history from former resident Rivka Galchen, who reminisces about growing up here in the 1970s and 1980s. Her late father was a meteorology professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Unlike some child tell-all pieces, she describes a happy childhood with a father who had multiple quirks. He sat in the car for 45 minutes after coming home. He went jogging in button-down dress shirts with a size 17.5 neck and wore an Izod belt with the alligator upside down. Tinted black bifocals, too.

He spent considerable time at the Greek House, a small cafe on Jenkins Avenue. The place reminds me of a Cheers bar where everyone knows your name and your order. A share table allows customers to dine together if they wish.

At night, the professor was obsessed with American detective shows like “Colombo” and “The Rockford Files,” starring Norman’s own James Garner and “Cannon.” The author watched “I Dream of Jeanie” and “Bewitched” and compared the woman’s role in each. Should women be like Jeanie or Samantha.

The article casts mostly positive light on growing up in Norman. It’s one of two national publications to spotlight our community in recent weeks. Norman has taken its share of hits in national publications.

Who can forget the February, 1989 Sports Illustrated cover highlighting Charles Thompson and other Sooners criminal charges?

Money Magazine listed Norman as the 45th best place to live in America. It won out after magazine editors looked at 1,300-plus places to live.

“We believe the town, which is the only city in Oklahoma to make the list this year, is a charming place to call home for all kinds of folks,” the magazine says. “With a population of just under 130,000, Norman is the third largest city in Oklahoma, and it offers the best of both worlds: It punches above its weight class in terms of amenities (largely thanks to the university) while maintaining a small-town feel.”

It gives our median home price just under $215,000 and a 2.8 percent unemployment rate. Median household income is listed at $65,638, bolstered by the university, state entities, and manufacturers like Johnson Controls, Hitachi and Avara.

Entertainment and cultural activities are highlighted as is Lake Thunderbird State Park for camping, biking and boating.

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