“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

The weather prediction is for cloudy and maybe rainy through Sunday. A couple of sunless days don’t bother me, but a string of them makes me lethargic. I loll around the house with little ambition. A sunny day gets me active and the floors get washed, the cabinets cleaned and the world looks to be a better place. Later, I’ll drag myself upstairs to shower and make my bed. They will give me some small sense of accomplishment.

We lived in what was called the project. The houses were wooden duplexes, not brick and not high-rises, and there were eleven or twelve of them on Prospect Street and up the hill around a small rotary which made the street a circle. Each side of the duplexes mirrored the other side. We had a kitchen, living room and three bedrooms. The cellar was huge, and it was where we often played and where we stored our bikes and where my mother’s washing machine stood. The big, black oil tank was against the wall on one side. I don’t remember where the furnace was. All the backyards faced each other, and all of them had below ground garbage bins with metal tops right beside the stairs and lines for laundry, three for each family. I have the memory of white sheets blowing on those lines. My mother had one of those hanging cloth clothespin bags. She moved it down each line as she hung the laundry. The backdoor was wooden, and it always slammed in the winter when the storm windows were on it. Our house was white with green trim, all of the houses were. My father kept care of his lawn and the front flower garden beside the stairs. A giant grassy hill stretched across the backyard and separated us from the duplexes on the top of it. Each of the fathers in all the duplexes facing the hill mowed his part of the grass on the hill. We used to roll down the hill so we’d get dizzy.  I remember a slip and slide one summer that everyone used.

Only families with children could live in the duplexes and one parent had to be a veteran. We moved to our first duplex, one with two bedrooms, in 1951. We had lived in the city, in a high-rise brick apartment building. After my sister was born, we were granted a larger duplex, and we moved down the hill from 37 Washington Ave to 16, and that’s where we stayed until 1964. All of my childhood memories were made on Washington Ave.

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11 Comments on ““Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    That area sounds very much like the area my mothers parents lived at. The house was much the same size too 🙂 But it was my grandparents that build that house.

    I grew up in what was called the slum of Gothenburg 🙂 🙂 🙂 I remember it as idyllic though.Ok some of those apartment hoses didn’t have central heating and many of them had outdoor toilets. We lived fairly modern with cold water and toilet in the apartment. A shower was available in the big washhouse on the other side of the building and we had to place a lock on a board on the time we wanted to use it 🙂

    But all women hang out their laundry in the big yard we kids played at and on those days those women were dangerous. They would kill us if we made their clean laundry dirty again 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I figure we have a pretty idyllic view of our childhood homes if we loved our childhoods. It doesn’t really matter where we lived, whether the house was big or small or an apartment. Living in a project meant little to me. It was my home.

      My mother too would kill us if we dared walk through the laundry on the lines. We always thought it was fun to hide in the sheets. She was never amused.

  2. Bob Says:

    When we moved to Dallas in the early 1953 we lived in an apartment complex that had two story buildings with apartments upstairs and downstairs. They were called “Garden Apartments”. We lived in a downstairs two bedroom flat. It had a living/dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. My sister and I shared a bedroom until my parents bought a ranch style house with three bedrooms, two baths and both a den and a living room a couple of years later.

    We didn’t have air conditioning and the summer of 1953 and 54 were among the hottest on record. My father bought a window unit and installed it himself in the living room window. The place was so small that the window air airconditioner could cool the entire apartment if we left the bedroom doors open. The complex had grass around each building and a driveway along the back where each apartment had a carport for one car. My father washed and waxed his new Buick Special four door sedan in the carport. It had three ‘Buick holes’ along the front fender and a straight eight engine. It also had an air conditioner which was mounted in the trunk. The cold air would enter the car through vents in the package shelf and directed upward through a clear plastic tube on each side. That air conditioner blew a tremendous amount of cold air into the car. My mother always wore a sweater while riding in the shotgun seat. You could easily hang meat in our car.

    We moved to two other apartments in the next couple of years that were very similar until my parents bought their own house.

    • katry Says:

      Bob.
      I hated sharing a room but we had no choice, I shared with my sister, five years youner, and my brother shared with my sister seven years younger then he moved to the cellar. I didn’t get my own room until we moved to the cape. My brother and I were on the first floor in our own rooms, and my parents and my two sisters each had one of the huge bedrooms on the second floor in a dormer.

      I loved the description of the air-conditioner in the car. I haven’t ever heard of one like that. I only kneow of those where the air came from the front.

      We never had an air conditioner in our house. When I was grown and living on my own, my parents bought them for the bedrooms in the hosue where they lived. I hadn’t ever lived there. Both my brother and I were on our own when they moved from the cape with my two sisters. My house here now has central air, and I’m pleased!

      • Bob Says:

        My dad bought the car in New York before we moved to Texas and the air conditioner was installed after market. In those days only Cadillac and Lincoln offered factory installed air conditioning as an option. He traded it in for a 55 Buick Century and had the air conditioner transferred to the new car. When he bought his 58 Buick it came with factory air conditioning and the air came from the front vents. My dad was a salesman and he drove to customers in cities in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri Arkansas and Louisiana. Our house had central air as has every apartment and house I have lived in here in Texas since 1965.

  3. Zoey & Me Says:

    We moved from Fort to Fort until everyone was home from the war and then off base housing was popular. The townhome we lived in was my favorite, similar to your description of the duplexes but our backyard was one of three that bordered a creek with woods behind it and a hill that led to the elementary school. The hill was fun when it snowed. But the townhome had three levels and a basement. I stopped and did a sign call on one for sale back in 2004 and they were asking $159,000. My Dad remembers offering Dr Bruno, a Dentist, $17,000 for ours back in 1963. In 1966 he bought a new house, a bi level corner lot for $50,000 with three times the square footage. We teens never had it so good.

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      I would have loved a house which bordered woods and a creek. We had woods and a swamp but they were beyond the fields near where we lived.

      My father paid $12,500 for our hosue on the cape. He sold it 7 years later for bouble what he had paid. My house mortgage was half my salary when I first bought it. I lived my first few years scrapped for cash then my salary rose and my mortgage stayed the same. It is now worth so much it seems staggering.

  4. Bill S. Says:

    When I Google Earth the two childhood homes I lived in in Connecticut, they look so much smaller than what I remembered.

    As you know, our house in Ghana (Tafo) was on the second floor: four rooms, one overhead light in each room, one electrical outlet (in the living room), no plumbing, no kitchen sink or bath sink, no toilet, no faucet, just four rooms, no window screens, no fans or a.c.
    The floors had been painted with water -soluble red paint, and if Kevin’s (cloth) diaper was wet at all, it wore off the red paint as he crawled across the floor. Latrine and bucket-bath rooms were downstairs. Those were the good old days (?).

    When Kev was born in Ghana, we were told by P.C. that he was the first P.C. baby born to a Volunteer in the world. A few years ago I was told by someone on the internet that was not true. I don’t know what to believe, but whatever…..

    In 1978 we had saved enough money to buy 4-1/2 acres here in Mont Vernon, N.H., and built our own house with no mortgage. In 1986 I added a two-car garage with bedroom and bath over it so my parents would have a place to stay when they visited; in 1990 I added a sunroom to replace the rear deck. As the kids moved out and I added on, the house grew exponentially. Now as we get older, we wonder how much longer we will be able to stay here and maintain the place. The bedrooms are on the second floor, so if we want to avoid stairs, we will have to add another b.r. on the first floor, or move.

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      When I go visit my sister, I often get off an exit early so I can ride through town. It is still the same size but all my stores are gone. I then drive by that duplex. It is the same as in my memories though it could use a coat of paint. It is still green and white.

      I remember that house in Tafo. I don’t know if you remember when I came to visit once. I had taken Lomoyil so I could travel but when it wore off I took residence in one of the latrines. As I was sitting there I heard a sound below me and jumped up. A head appeared, said hello madam and took the bucket. It was a visit from the night soil man.

      I don’t know about first baby, but I suspect it was Kevin. We were the first group to train overseas, and I think that a pregnant volunteer would have been easily sent home when training here or in Puerto Rico, another training site.

      Why Peg and you were allowed to stay was because Whit Foster’s wife was pregnant and they let him remain a staff member so it was only right that they allow a pregnant volunteer stay. I also think our training group would have had a lot to say about the inequality had you been sent home. We were never a silent bunch about problems during training.

      • Bill S. Says:

        Not only Bev Foster was pregnant, but also Dr. Manahan’s wife, although she did end up going home because of a blood issue with the fetus. On Ghana Wikipedia I made the claim about Kev being the first Volunteer baby in the world. Shortly after, I received an email from some guy with his drawers in an uproar, claiming that he knew of a Volunteer who had delivered in country prior to 1970. Life’s too short to worry about things like that.

        I do remember that story about the night soil man–something we will never forget.

  5. katry Says:

    Bill,
    You’re right about life being too short to worry. I swear we were told that Peg was the first pregnant volunteer allowed to stay, but who knows!

    The night soil man story is one of my favorites! When I’ve told it, people love that the name of his occupation.


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