Two Tulsa Residents Share a Love Story

The Pine Street Hamburger Drive-In between Sheridan and Memorial has come and gone. Memories of this establishment survive in the history of Tulsa, but have been forgotten by the generations since 1959. Although it has become a forgotten stop, that drive-in has created at least one lasting heritage.

Army Specialist Wayne Ping, stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco, had returned to Tulsa on extended leave for a family emergency. Upon learning that his mother had exaggerated the importance of the emergency, Specialist Ping reported to his base for return. During the interterm Ping scheduled a night out with old friends.

On August 6th, 1959 Ping and his dinner companions stopped in to the Pine Street Hamburger Drive-In to place a routine order. During the visit Ping found a receptive car-hop who caught his eye. The car-hop, Sue Fanning, a native of Claremore that lived across the street, found Wayne to be as impressive as he did her. Through stumbled words and awkward glances the two unfamiliar souls found a common ground to advance their exploration to the following day. One day led to two, and two days led to the present.

On the second day, the specialist, knowing he was to return to California and not wanting to leave his new interest, asked for her hand in marriage. On August 8th, 1959, 72 hours after they met, they were married at the home of an uncle in Tulsa. That civic and holy bond has lasted to this day.

Love at first sight has meaning to many, but most of us have no real life experience of the phrase. Wayne and Sue however live the phrase to this day.

As the anniversary of St. Valentine approaches us, we seem to question the powers of love and attraction. Although these instincts can be powerful, often we find ourselves shying the facts in order to satisfy our own vanity. Wayne and Sue, on the other hand, have cast aside their vanity for over 50 years and proven that first sight love is a basis for a long term relationship.

Months after the chance meeting and courtship, Sue accompanied Wayne in California. As army orders continued, Sue followed Wayne through Panama, Peru, and locations throughout the . Finally settling in Claremore, Oklahoma in 1968 Wayne and Sue raised two children, saw both of them married, and now enjoy six grandchildren.

Maybe Valentine’s Day promotes new or unknown relationships. Maybe the holiday promotes the renewal of lost love, but the story of Wayne and Sue confirms that no holiday defines our relationships. After fifty years, there is no annual celebration that can define, nor divide, the true bond that has been shared and cherished by two adjoining souls.

Wayne and Sue still reside in Claremore. Their son Daryl has been married for 27 years. Their daughter Teresa has been married for 20 years, and three of their grand daughters are scheduled to be married in 2011.

Updated 02-14-2011

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