Stay Gold, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Once upon a time... many moons ago, I was blessed with a friendship that could only be described by the words of S.E. Hinton... "If we don't have each other, we don't have anything". There was only 1 book that Jerry and I would read cover to cover multiple times and only 1 movie that we would watch repeatedly.
I had the unique fortune of meeting Danny Boy O'Conner a few years back (well more like 22, but who is counting?) when he was performing in Daytona... So him being in a rap group and promoting the Irish colors kind of made him a Music Hero for Jerry and I. When Jerry died, so did my love for House of Pain. It hurt too bad to go to those places... those memories. And because of my own guilt, from not being able to save Jerry - like he had saved me so many times before - I blocked all of House of Pain from my memory.
Flash forward 18(ish) years... I am now living in Oklahoma, a place Jerry always said he wanted to move to. He wanted to have a cattle farm, dude was from Daytona JUST LIKE ME... What in the world did he know about Cattle Farming? and how did he come up with having one in Oklahoma??
Scrolling through FB one day I see that the original Outsiders house has been bought by Danny Boy... WHAT?!?!? What are the odds that I would be living in a state that Jerry wanted to move to when we grew up, and that a member of "our" band would by the original house from "our" book? I immediately reached out to Danny... I had too. I had to set up some kind of shoot. After traveling an hour and a half to Tulsa, meeting Danny once again, walking through the house, standing in the same place that Ponyboy had stood, I left with a huge aching in my heart once again.
It took me a year of working through it all and coming to grips with my guilt.
And when I was ready, Christy Love made it possible for me to go back to Tulsa, for the Outsiders Ball.
I took it all in... the music, the people, the vibe, everything... the only thing missing was my very own Pony Boy - Jerry. You see he always said I was Cherry and he was Pony Boy. He had assigned other characters to our other friends too, and we would sometimes talk about them in their assigned names around other people just to confuse everyone around us. As the years have faded into the past... so have my Outsiders... Until this night. For the first time in so many years, They were all with me once again... and we were dancing and laughing. Christy and I met Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell as well as Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats and Robert Romanus. We had an epic breakfast at Ihop at 3 am.... and then a personalized tour of all the Outsiders sites.
It was surreal being in those places, and while I knew physically Jerry could never be there with me to experience it, he absolutely was there with me in spirit.
I knew that I would never be the same as I was packing up my car. I had been to the scene sites of "our" movie, I had been to the Center of the Universe, I had screamed at the top of my lungs as the train passed by - just like when Jerry and I were in high school. I cried ALOT as I relived all those memories to the fabulous Christy Love. and I finally began to feel and release my guilt.
Leaving Tulsa, I heard Cherry saying "Maybe the two different worlds we live in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset".
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