Saturday, November 1, 2014

Big House on Q

Four of us fit nicely into the little house on N street, loved the big yard and the neighborhood, but with baby 3 on board, the tiny bedrooms left no where to go. Not sure how we got so lucky, but found a big house on the corner of 29th and Q. Back to 1/2 block from Gram and my Aunt and Uncle and family. There was no yard to speak of, just the space between house and street front and side and to the other side, a neighbor. But the house had a big porch, nice for sitting on hot days. As you went in, the hallway had a big bench seat and a stairway up to a landing, then another stairway down to the kitchen or on up to the bedrooms. The windows were leaded glass, quite fancy. The living room was big and opened to a large dining room. And a big kitchen to the side of that. That's all there was to the main floor, but we gained 3 upstairs bedrooms, a basement and an attic for storage. Brick sidewalks made for fun roller skating, you could create weird noises while bumping over the bricks while humming. The night my youngest sis was born, dad packed us into the car with mom in labor and headed to the hospital. He left us with windows cracked and doors locked and instructions to stay put and quiet til he returned. He just took long enough to get mom in side and settled then took us to our Aunt's house. She put us to bed, but in the night came in to tell us we had a sister named Pamela. When mom and Pam got home, we could not get near her as she had picked up impetigo in the hospital, so we had to gaze from a distance the first few weeks. Was so good when we could finally hold her. Those were my junior high and high school years, Whittier being the junior high. I did so want a bike but back then we had to earn our own things so I spent a year baby sitting and doing odd jobs til I saved up $20 for the bike. Dad took me shopping and we found an old green one in decent shape and took it home. What freedom, I rode all over the place with the wind in my hair., loving every minute. The one time I got smart and did a "look, no hands" ride, I hit gravel, came down on my behind and got a rear end full of gravel pieces. We had DPs or displaced person students then, and I remember a Latvian student named Carlos. We got to be acquainted and he spent time at the house, mostly playing ping pong. Back then people came to the US because they wanted to be citizens and take on our way of life. We never locked doors, and roamed the area all day as long as we were home on time for meals. One car per family was the norm, and the dad drove it to work leaving the rest of us to walk wherever we needed to go. We had a long walk to school, and did it no matter the weather. Snow days were rare, NE is always snowy in the winter. And no cell phones to check in with. The year I was 13, my gram got sick. She got cancer, likely from all the chemicals used in her beauty shop. She let it go too long, and even after surgery could not get better. Mom moved her to our house, we put a bed in the dining room and cared for her til her death. I had thought of being a nurse, but after those 6 months, I could not face the thought of watching people die. Gram was so close to me, I took it really hard and got sick myself after the funeral. She was a great lady. I thought she was much younger, she always had her hair fixed and looked so nice, and the year she was 76 she climbed a ladder and painted the outside of her big house, so I thought she was about 50. When mom told me she was in her late 70s I found it hard to believe. I had a penchant for stray cats dogs and people, was always dragging home something that needed(in my eyes) caring for . Don't know how mom put up with all that, we always had an odd cat or so around. Brought home a scruffy yellow kitten I named Pat, he got hit by a car which I didn't know til years later. I looked and looked for him, then one day my Aunt brought me a kitten that had a pedigree, a Persian. I named him after my dad's brother, Peter Wiser Bockoven Jr. He lived with us many years, always getting in fights and coming home beat up. Back then we didn't keep pets in the house much. Before I could think, I was high school age and the last chapter of life at home began.

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