Reclamation Party

Last week the demolition of homes along Skelly Drive began in earnest. These were the first houses in the Patrick Henry area to come down to make way for I-44’s expansion. Each evening a hardy few gather to glean plants, fixtures and lumber from the area. It all has an uncanny party atmosphere about it.

Wandering around the rubble I was struck by the sheer waste. With copper and aluminum prices soaring, the valuable scrap being hauled to the landfill was the first thing that caught my attention. Copper wiring, plumbing and air conditioner units had barely been touched. There is literally tons of building materials, doors, windows and fixtures, well worth salvaging, being wasted.

Most of these are duplexes that appear to have been abandoned in a Pompeian manner. Many still had various artifacts of life still present- cookware, cleaning supplies, even furniture. Some yards are well manicured and landscaped. We rescued several loads of plants.

A neighbor stopped by while we were digging up some particularly lush monkey grass. He had asked the workers if he could salvage a ceiling fan from a house soon to be razed. Not no, but hell no was their response. The foreman explained the Oklahoma Department of Transportation requires anyone on the premises to have insurance. So the ceiling fan left in a dump truck with the wood, bricks and porcelain that had once been a home.

The heavy machinery is parked for Memorial Day weekend, so I bet the reclamation party will continue. Party on.

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