By MATT CRANE
The community of Oktoc takes center stage at the latest speaker series in honor of the Starkville’s 175th birthday.
Located just over 10 miles south of Starkville, Oktoc, formerly known as the dairy capital of the South, is home to Mississippi’s oldest community club: the Oktoc Community Club. Established in 1927, the club has not missed a meeting since its formation.
Oktoc residents Warren and Frances Oakley will speak at the event Wednesday, and while they’re marriage may be relatively new, they are certainly familiar with the community of Oktoc. The event, “Growing Up in Oktoc,” will be held 7 p.m. in the Starkville Public Library.
“Warren is a lifelong citizen of the Oktoc community, and they asked him to share his stories and memories of his childhood,” she said. “He’ll be talking about going to school, which was before paved roads and school buses and really before there were a lot of automobiles.”
Although the Oakleys have only been married for three years, Frances Oakley said she and Warren knew each other from when they were teenagers.
“I was Warren’s first date,” she said. “But we didn’t date again until 70 years later.”
Warren Oakley said he and Frances met at the Oktoc Community Club when she would go with her brother who led the square dances.
“When I turned 15, I got my driver’s license and she was my first date,” he said. “Both of our spouses passed away in 2008, and after a class reunion in 2009, we went on a couple of more dates and not too long after, we were married. It didn’t take us long to make up our minds.”
As a lifelong resident, Warren Oakley said the Oktoc community is the only place he has known.
“It’s my hometown, and I grew up on the farm out there,” he said. “We’ll both be telling some humorous stories as well.”
The Oktoc community also boasts the annual Oktoc Country Store, an event sponsored by the Garden Club for decades where the men cook and sell Brunswick stew, and crafts are sold to benefit renovations and groundskeeping efforts for the Community Club.
Most recently, the community has seen a rise in development thanks to the Browning Creek subdivision, which offers lakeside retreats and the opportunity for quiet country living with a modern style.
For more information, call the Starkville Public Library at 662-323-2766.