Here is my story and reasons I decided to start this blog. My name is Freddie Johnston and I am from Norman, Oklahoma. As a young boy I could not imagine a better place to grow up. It was a friendly and peaceful community, a very small town with only a few shops, a grocery store, a couple schools, and a great, small town feel. I loved it and met a lot of people whose friendship I will cherish the rest of my life.
I graduated from Norman High School and was conscripted into the service, where I served as a Marine for eight years, including a forgettable stint in Vietnam. When I returned from there, I decided to get a college degree so I enrolled at Rose State Community College. My grades in High School were not stellar, so Rose State was a good start. There was no way I would have been accepted at the University of Oklahoma, which is located right here in Norman. The military instilled the discipline in me that was previously missing, so I posted a 3.9 GPA my first year at Rose State, and decided to apply to a major university and thought I might be better served getting out of Norman for awhile, so I ruled out OU.
I applied to Ohio State and Perdue, was accepted at both, and opted for OSU. At a loss for exactly what I want to do long term, I opted for a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Real Estate and Urban Analysis. The Computer Science degrees are far more advanced now than what was available when I was there. I always had an interest in real estate, and the Urban Analysis option was brand new at the time, so I decided a minor in that would give me some additional options.
While at OSU, I met a lovely lady named Lynn (also from Norman but someone I never really had any interest in when we were growing up) who I eventually married. We settled in Omaha, where I worked for General Dynamics as a programmer. Lynn started out as a secretary at a small local accountant, but once she got pregnant with our first, became a full-time mom. At the time of this writing, Lynn and I have three boys and six grand children.
We always had a special place in our hearts for Norman even though it had changed tremendously during the decades we were not there. We both still have a lot of friends in Norman and went back whenever we had the chance. Over that time, it went downhill but was eventually revitalized with a number of Aerospace, Biotech, Logistics, and Energy companies locating there.
After the youngest of our boys graduated from college, we decided to return to a simpler life and headed back to Norman. The need for a big house was gone and prices were far lower there than in Omaha, so we got a real nice home in an upscale neighborhood and began pursuing our passions; Lynn, who developed quite refined cooking skills, as a part time pastry chef at a local restaurant and me dabbling in the real estate business, buying, renovating, and flipping or renting a few properties.
Along the way we both decided it would be a wonderful pass time to develop our own Norman blog and here we are. We have a lot of pictures and memories we would like to memorialize and a lot of stories to tell. My intent is to update it weekly, but I’m not sure I will have the energy long term to keep that up, but that is my intent. Hope you enjoy it.