What are you ...? with Joanie Stephenson, Steve's Sundry, Books & Magazines
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, November 08, 2012
11/08/12 at 3:56 AM
Joanie Stephenson says that most people know her as the woman behind the counter at Steve's Sundry, Books & Magazines or as "The Book Lady" at community events selling books for authors and guest speakers sponsored by Tulsa Town Hall, Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers.
"Those don't define who I am," she said. "I am a Tulsa native, a daughter, sister, Bishop Kelley graduate, OSU alum, wife of 39 years, mother of two exceptional grown children and friend."
Steve's Sundry was founded in 1947 by the late F.W. "Steve" Stephenson, and Joanie remembers her younger years visiting the book store with the old-fashioned soda fountain.
"Steve's was the hangout for neighborhood kids in the '60s, not unlike today," she said. "We would ride our bikes down and spend our hard-earned cash for a cherry Coke, shake or comic book. I was a regular and my stool was third one in from the right. I have bubble gum underneath the fountain countertop along with a million others.
"Steve, my future father-in-law, had the occasion to uninvite me from the store once, something he denied doing in later years. Even though my husband, David, worked at the store, we didn't meet until our sophomore year at OSU. Once we moved back to Tulsa I went to work at Steve's and bought the business 10 years ago so it would stay in the family."
We asked Stephenson about a few of her favorite things.
What are you ...
... listening to on the radio or music players?
My days are usually hectic and full of noise, so when I get in the car I like quiet. However, when I do turn on the radio I like listening to Coach Jones and Big Al on their sports talk show, NPR for news and KRMG for peak drive-time traffic reports. When at home, I have my Pandora station set to a Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble station. I'm an old soul.
... hoping to see happen in Tulsa over the next year?
I am looking forward to an upswing in the economy. Hope springs eternal! The last five years have been trying in the retail world, especially the book world. If not for our loyal customers who prefer a "real book" or magazine to an electronic reader, we would be in a world of hurt. I am a big sports fan so I am looking forward to TU basketball under the leadership of Coach Manning and continued improvement of Tulsa Shock.
... reading right now?
Currently on my nightstand are "Grace Interrupted" by Julie Hysy, Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants," Brinkley's "Cronkite" and an advance copy of Rilla Askew's "Kind of Kin," scheduled for a January 2013 release. Depending on my mood, I pick accordingly. My future reads include "The Paris Wife" and "Proof of Heaven."
... doing for fun when you are not working?
Family is No. 1 when I'm not working. Sunday night dinner at home is a family tradition. I also enjoy being outside and working in our yard.
... eating in restaurants or at home?
I love to cook and grill. And some of our favorite Tulsa restaurants are McGill's, The Chalkboard, Elote, Ricardo's and Duffy's. We are looking forward to dining at The Vault this weekend.
... thinking are Tulsa's biggest assets?
The people. I am so pleased to see young adults move (back) to Tulsa and take part in the leadership and revitalization of Tulsa. Tulsa has so much to offer without the hassles of a major metropolitan area. Who knew that Tulsa had so many orange traffic cones? I must remind myself daily that those bright cones are signs of improvement, but who knew that to get to Utica Square, you had to go through Bartlesville?
Original Print Headline: What are you ... ? with Joanie Stephenson, “The Book Lady”
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
Joanie Stephenson poses at Steve's Sundry on South Harvard Avenue in Tulsa. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World