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Map project at an Oklahoma City retirement community illustrates the ties that bind

Several residents of the Fountains at Canterbury retirement community traced the locations of family members on a map.
by Matt Patterson Modified: June 26, 2013 at 11:09 am •  Published: June 23, 2013

When Darryl Woodson looks at the map in the library at the Fountains at Canterbury, he can't help but notice the contrast to the way things used to be.

Woodson, 84, recently took part in a project that maps the locations of the children and grandchildren of seven residents of the Oklahoma City retirement community, 1404 NW 122. The clear push pins represent the residents. The black pins represent their children and the red pins are for their grandchildren.

String and pins depicting where people live originate from Oklahoma City and crisscross the country, some extending off the map to Africa and Japan.

“As a kid we never got out of the county, let alone the state,” Woodson said. “Today in our society it scatters just like a bumble bee. Everyone is so mobile. Very few people in a small town stay there, they leave.”

The project has prompted much talk about family and its importance. Woodson graduated in 1950 from Northwestern State University in Alva and served in the Korean War. He had three children, including a son who lives in New Mexico with three of Woodson's grandkids.

“We keep up with each other,” he said. “We are a very close family. I have an iPad and a telephone and that's what we use. Letter writing isn't too frequent anymore.”

William Bennett, 77, grew up in upstate New York and graduated from Princeton University. His daughter served in the Peace Corps and married a man she met while in Africa. They live in Silver Springs, Md., along with his grandchildren. He visits them twice a year, and once a year they come to Oklahoma City.

Bennett moved to Oklahoma City 18 years ago to assist his stepchildren, one of whom was injured in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Like Woodson, he marvels at the way society has changed.

“My first flight was in 1958 and it had two propellers and you had to climb up to get into the seats,” he said. “It was loud. But I got to Rochester from Albany in less than an hour, that's better than driving.”

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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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