NORMAN — Paul and Cindy Updegraff hosted a party Friday that brought the house down. The Norman couple's house at 641 E Brooks St., where Paul Updegraff had lived since 1971, was demolished Friday morning. The low-lying house next to Bishop Creek was ruined in August by flooding that followed inland of Tropical Storm Erin. Instead of feeling despondent, the couple decided to throw a going-away party. "We've had a lot of fun in this house for a lot of years,” said Cindy Updegraff, who had 23 flower gardens on the property. "We wanted to invite our friends on over for a final good-bye.”
"When my dog started swimming in the house, I thought it was time to get out.”
‘Worthy of a party'About 20 people joined the Updegraffs to watch M&M Wrecking of Blanchard use a trackhoe to destroy the house. The leveling started at 8:45 a.m. The group let out "ooohs” and "ahhhs” while watching the house's 10-minute destruction from across the street. Minutes earlier they were chatting together, with coffee and refreshments. The scene was new for trackhoe operator Jeff Mason. "I've seen them cry their house away, but I've never seen them party their house away,” Mason said. Jane and Ben Benedum of Norman have known the Updegraffs for about 20 years. Jane Benedum said the house's transformation into rubble was like something in a cartoon. "This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but it's worthy of a party,” she said. Paul Updegraff said he had no qualms about leaving his longtime home. The couple moved to a new house in Norman in March. The old house was always in danger of flooding, he said, and they would have had to add more than three feet of dirt before they could think of rebuilding. They decided it wasn't worth it. "When my dog started swimming in the house, I thought it was time to get out,” he said.
Paul and Cindy Updegraff's home at 641 E Brooks is demolished in Norman on Friday. The house was damaged by flooding in August. By STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN