Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Dutch immigrants buy a house: 1950

Back row: Teddy,  Dad, Mother.  Front row:  Gerard, Janie, Toni, Louise

The summer before second grade, my parents bought this two bedroom house on 8th South across from Roosevelt Junior High.  It had a long front yard with a ditch of rushing water along the side of the street.  This was long before 8th south was widened into four lanes, cutting about a third of the front yard away, along with the trees, and the ditch was covered over.

On the day we moved in, Virginia Garret, the girl next door, said to me, "Do you want to go play over at Rosie?"

"Who's Rosie?" I asked.

She giggled and nodded toward the school.  "Roosevelt Junior High," she said.  Indeed, Roosevelt, with its vast green lawn was to become our playground for years to come.  We chased each other on the grass, played baseball, hit tennis balls against the brick wall and ran up and down the fire exit stairs on the side of the building.

At first, the four older children slept in two bunk beds in the second bedroom, and Teddy slept in a crib in my parents room.  Soon, I slept on the sleeping porch in back of the kitchen with its own heater.  I slept in a three-quarter bed.  Did Janie and I sleep in that bed together?

Later, when they added two bedrooms to the back of the house, I slept with Toni on that bed, which was rolled into the kitchen at night.

This house was a move to normalcy.  I loved the pink climbing roses on the porch, the swishing of the sprinklers in the evenings, and playing hide and seek at night.  I loved playing jump rope and skating down the hill, going to the movies on Saturday afternoons to the Tower Theater and eating ice cream cones at the Garden Gate.  This was the house where I grew up.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the thrill days before the city put up a stop sign on the corner of tenth east and 8th south.


  1. How old were your parents at this time?

    1. I turned eight that year, so Mother would have turned 29 and Dad would have turned 34 at the end of that year.

  2. I love the winding rose bush and the columns and the stories you tell. I've always thought it would be wonderful to sleep in a sleeping porch, we generally don't have them where I live in Canada since many months of the year you'd freeze. Is it just me or were our childhoods filled with so much more magic and fun, or am I just getting old and nostalgic?