52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee,
the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Describe the house(s) in which I grew up... whoa! Another thinker...

Oh, my! I've lived in a lot of houses, so I didn't really 'grow up' in any one of them; but, all of them. I'm going to post in list form, to start. Then, I'll expand on them. This will be the ever-changing post!

 The first house I remember was in the Rainier Beach area of Seattle. It had a long front porch, and I can remember running across it and jumping off one end into my dad's arms. I remember the big back yard, and I had a bedroom in the front part of the house. If I understand it correctly, my parents sold this house when I was about four years old. Apparently, the sale fell through and we moved back here by the time I started kindergarten. I attended Emerson Grade School for all of kindergarten and the first part of first grade. {UPDATE: Since posting this, I have learned that I didn't attend kindergarten. This explains why I could never remember two different teachers while at Emerson! I guess the levy failed the year I would have been in kindergarten, so I only attended about 1/3 of the school year at Emerson - that being first grade.}

Between the two times living in the Rainier Beach house, we lived in an apartment in Wallingford (all of our homes were in Seattle or the Seattle area until we moved to Sandy Hook). I think it was an old house divided into apartments. I'm pretty sure Jaci was born there because I remember watching JP Patches in the morning with Rich and knowing our mom was upstairs with the new baby. My only dramatic memory from this home is that a baby bird, too young to live on its own, fell from a nest in a tree in the front yard and died. I remember being very sad.

Also before moving back to Rainier Beach, we lived in a cute yellow and brown house somewhere in Ballard. While we lived there, I was the flower girl in my Uncle Fred's wedding. I had a babysitter there named Beth. She was really nice and I think her dad made sausages and hung them in the basement. I also fell out of our car on the way home from church one Sunday. I had bandages on my face, elbow and knee. I still carry dirt, or something, in my right knee from that little adventure.

When we left Rainier Beach permanently, we went to a  house in Highline or White Center. I went to Highline Elementary for the middle third of first grade. I don't really know why we moved; I was just a kid and didn't ask. I remember the house was nice, but I have bad memories of mice. :( It did have a pretty cool closet. From the living room, it was the coat closet; but, it also opened into my bedroom. I thought it was neat that I could go into the living room from my closet.

Then, before school was out that same year, we moved to a house in Loyal Heights. I think this is near Ballard. I went to Loyal Heights Elementary School. One of my memories of living there is of when my Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary came to visit. They were always a lot of fun. Another memory from Loyal Heights is of when my parents brought my little brother, Gary, home from the hospital as a newborn. I thought he was the hugest baby I had ever seen!

That summer, 1962, my parents bought a home in the Wallingford district of Seattle. It had two floors with a full 'daylight' basement. We lived in this house for six years. So, if I 'grew up' anywhere, it was here. Jaci and I had a bedroom upstairs that overlooked the Lake Washington Ship Canal. We loved to watch the boats. We also watched as they built Interstate 5. They had to build a double-deck bridge over the canal. Even now, when I drive or ride on I-5 over the ship canal, I look out to the west to find our old home. I have many good memories from living at 3618 Meridian Avenue North.

In June 1968, we moved to the Sandy Hook community on the Kitsap Peninsula. We were very excited. Our property had two small vacation cabins on it, and for the summer months, we lived in both of them. During the winter of 1968-69, which is one of the snowiest I can remember, we all lived cozily together in the cabin with the fireplace. It had exposed beams on which we displayed numerous pieces of melted Tupperware called 'Mom's Masterpieces.'

We only lived there one year, but I loved it. My favorite memory is probably climbing one of the tallest trees on our property with my school bag full of books. I would climb until I could see the water, which must have been Agate Passage. From my perch, I did my homework, read books and wrote poetry. I really missed Sandy Hook. I think I still miss the peacefulness of that home.

We then moved to a house on the waterfront in Suquamish. I loved it there, too. Our house was at the top of a 100' bluff overlooking Puget Sound. We could climb up and down the bluff, but we usually walked down the street to the public path. The view was phenomenal! We could see Bainbridge Island to our right, downtown Seattle and all the way north to about Richmond Beach. Closer, to our left, was Jefferson Beach and Indianola. It was especially amazing during a storm and on Independence Day.

The house had a deck on three sides where we could sunbathe. It wasn't the safest deck, being very narrow on the longest side. But, we spent a fair amount of time out there when it was warm. There was a basement with two bedrooms and a large 'family' room. Our piano was down there, so I liked to be down there for musical relaxation. We could walk out onto the front yard from the basement. The main floor had the living room, with windows facing the water and a fireplace. There was also a narrow kitchen, a bedroom (our parents'), a bathroom, an enclosed porch that became Jaci's bedroom later, and a 'wreck' room. There was lots of space for our family.

The yard on the street side was fairly large. We had apple trees. I loved climbing into a tree to read and eat.

I lived in this house through the last four years of school and right up until my marriage in September 1973. My parents moved from Suquamish in 1974.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CARS (or - a can of worms!)

My very first car, the first one I bought, was a 1963 Rambler. I had to get a $150 loan at the Navy Credit Union to be able to buy it. Wow! It was a three-speed (three on the tree). It's color was white. I was living in Suquamish and commuting to Seattle for work. I needed a car so I could get from home to the ferry boat. While I was at work one day, my fiance hot-wired it and blew the clutch. So, I was carless (or, is that careless?), again.

I have tons of memories of cars. My dad had many, many different vehicles during the years I lived at home. We made a list one time of all the cars he could remember. It numbered well over 50! I think I need to get that list from him again.

Here are the vehicles that come to mind first for me:
  • One-ton red farm truck - I'm sure we were the only family in our neighborhood with a farm truck. We packed our family of six into the cab. Dad let us take turns shifting. Sometimes, we got to ride in the back. I remember one time when our washing machine was broken. We loaded our laundry into the truck and drove through the city. Poor Mom!
  • The Cun-O-Car van - Dad was a 'mobile' accountant. His 'office' was in a van, sort of like a bread delivery van. We loved going in it with him.
  • Blue Fiat - it caught on fire one day when we were near 45th and Wallingford. The fire department came.
  • Mom's T-bird
  • The little, very old, black truck - Dad gave me a ride to school in it one day and all the kids on the playground ran over to the fence to see it.
  • 1951 Ford three-speed I drove around Suquamish before I had a license
  • Volkswagen bus - I was helping my mom with Avon deliveries right after we got it. Neither of us knew how to get it into reverse, but my friend, Dean Belgarde, happened to walk by just then. He drove a VW bug and showed us how. Embarrassing!
  • Dad's Mercury (I think) - the headlights went out when the car was off, so when we were really low on fuel and Dad turned the car off to conserve, the headlights went off, too!
  • GTO!! (but, I was married by then)

Just a beginning....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Memories

I don't remember winter having much of a particular impact on my life. I spent most of my childhood in Seattle where, admittedly, we have rain quite often all year 'round. When school started, true, it was still summer; but, we always got sweaters and heavy skirts. Then, of course, we would have an 'Indian Summer,' and have to switch back to our old summer clothes until autumn and winter came along. By the time we went back to school after Christmas Vacation, the sweaters and skirts were quite useful.

I remember my dad telling us that when our grandparents first moved to Seattle, Green Lake would freeze over enough that cars could be driven out onto it. I couldn't imagine that. It hasn't happened in my lifetime, as far as I know. We did, however, get at least some snow each year.

One year, when we lived in Wallingford (I was probably about ten years old), we had enough snow to build a snowman in our front yard. We drank hot chocolate and I remember going to our neighbor's house during that snow, also. Her name was Judy Davila. We lived on a city street and had a few families with children on the same block. We all played together. When we were too cold and wet to play out in the snow anymore, we gathered to play games and drink more hot chocolate, usually at our house. My mom was a fun hostess.

During the winter of 1967-68, after we had moved to Sandy Hook on the Kitsap Peninsula, we had a lot of snow. We were living cozily in one of two vacation cabins on our property. We had a huge stone fireplace  that always had a fire to keep us warm. It was very rustic. Dad had acquired some surplus powdered chocolate and we made our own hot chocolate mix in a big, green Tupperware bowl. We had a cup and bowl set for each member of the family (all different colors). I remember lining the cups up on the counter and making hot chocolate for everybody. I've never, I mean it, had better cocoa! That year is one of my favorite winter years.

EVERY year, I prayed and prayed that it would snow on my birthday, December 15th. I honestly don't remember if it ever did! I suppose if it had, I would have a memory of it. I have since modified my birthday wish to having my Christmas tree up and decorated on or before the 15th. Winter, Christmas and my birthday have always combined to give winter a magical feeling for me.

New Year Traditions

When I was a child, my dad's side of the family gathered for New Year's Eve celebrations. All of the ones I remember were at our house; maybe so the kids could go to bed? Our family had the most children, six. We have just two cousins in Dad's family, and one of them wasn't born until I had my third child.
Anyway, we gathered together. There was always an abundance of food and laughter. Uncle John, 'Big Bad John,' always took the time to entertain us at intervals during the night. We squealed, literally, when he made faces at us, and made silly noises. He was, as we would have said then, a hoot! We played games and ate. I remember watching the adults play 'Pit,' still a family favorite.
At midnight, each person being armed with a pan and a spoon (or some other object with which to beat), stood on the porch beating on our pans and shouting "Happy New Year!" We thought it the most fun thing ever! The weather in western Washington was always relatively mild, so we could go on beating and yelling for quite some time. I don't know if Mom ever had to stop us.
I do know, that once we returned indoors, we had a toast to the New Year. This was the only time in my childhood that I was allowed to taste alcohol. Mom had some beautiful crystal goblets in which she put a small amount of wine (for the children, at least). Each of us raised our glass to help bring in the year, then drained it quickly of its contents. We went to bed immediately thereafter.
The traditions of games, food, banging pots and yelling, and toasting the New Year have survived into my household. We always did this with our children, minus the wine. Was it Kool-aid?  Maybe sparking cider? I can't remember. Some of our children continue this tradition with their children, some prefer sleep.
This last New Year's Eve (2010), I started the new tradition of inviting all of my grandchildren of the age of 12, or over, to spend the night and ring in the New Year with Grandpa and me. It was frigid! We had a lot of fun, and very little sleep! Given the weather in Missouri, this may be a hit-and-miss tradition, but we'll try, nevertheless.
New Year's Day? One word - recuperate!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!