Filed under: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
Week 4: Home. Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?
I lived in 3 different houses during my growing up years. I appreciated this topic to help me share some of my early memories.
This is the house my family was living in when I was born. It was about ½ a mile from town, you drove down the street past the grade school, turned the corner, headed down the hill to the train tracks, then up to the top of the hill. Our farm was on the east side of the road, and there was a huge lone pine in the front yard. The house was about ¼ of a mile from the road. It was a 2-story house. The downstairs consisted of a kitchen, bedroom and a living room. There was a small room at the end of the kitchen for storage. The upstairs had 2 bedrooms; with the stairway in the center of the house. We did have a telephone and electricity, but not running water or indoor plumbing.
baths in a square washtub on Saturday nights. I don’t have a lot of memories of this house.
had the chicken pox. Most of my memories are related to the photographs taken at Mankato.
As you can see I was quite a bit younger than my siblings.
One of my favorite stories from this house is when my sister rearranged our brother’s room with out telling him. My bother and sister each had a room upstairs. One day she decided to clean and rearrange his room, he came home late that night, and decided to go to bed with out turning the light on. When he got to his room he decided to take a running leap to get into bed. OOPS, this flying leap landed him in the middle of the floor, as the bed had been moved.
We moved from this house in the spring of 1955. Today the land is owned by the city and a sanitation processing unit is on it. There is no sign of the house.
From 1955 – 1964 we lived 2 miles west and 2 miles north of Burr Oak. Again we had a house that set on the top of a hill. Again there was a single pine tree in the front yard.
The porch was a cement base filled with dirt, but it had never been finished. There was an entryway, kitchen with pantry at the end, dining room, living room, bedroom and a bathroom downstairs. Upstairs were 2 bedrooms with and open area between that could be used for a bedroom. I remember my brother being so excited because we had a bathtub, even though the H and C were reversed on the faucets.
In entry of the house was the cream separator. After every milking my mother would separate the milk, so we always had fresh milk and cream. The separated milk was stored in cans in a cooler and sold. Also stored in this room was the wringer washing machine. It would be pulled out into the kitchen on Monday morning to begin the weekly wash.
Our first phone was a crank phone on a party line. Our ring was two longs and a short. Several years later we were updated to a dial phone, at first it was on a party line, and if you talked over 15 minutes you were cut off. You would get a beep that your time was almost up and if you didn’t complete your call in time, it cut you off. When you are a teenager that can be a little irritating. Before we left Burr Oak, we had a private line.
The kitchen was a long narrow room, with cabinets and sink on the west side, at the end were some cabinets and the refrigerator, then there were 2 doors, one to the pantry and one to the bathroom. The bathroom door to the kitchen was usually closed and we entered it from the other side. In front of the bathroom door was the egg cleaning station, with the pan of water, eggs and crate to store them in. Next came the gas cook stove, and the kitchen table. It was a green laminate table with chrome legs and trim, and 4 matching chairs. There wasn’t much room in the middle. The pantry held the freezer, canned goods, and other kitchen supplies.
The dining room and living room were separated with a square arch in the middle. There was a round table, with chairs in the corner, the sewing machine, daddy’s rocker with a lamp and the card table beside it, and the heating stove. This heating stove in the dining room was unusual because it vented to send the heat out of the front not the top. There were always papers stacked on top of the stove, which amazed people when they came to our house. Across from the round table were the china cupboard and a wash chest that held the radio.
Behind the heating stove was a closet under the stairwell; it was where my mother kept her canned goods. Next to the stair well was the hall that separated the bathroom from the stairway. The door for the stair was at the end of the hallway.
The living room had a couch that made into a bed, a sideboard and the piano. Later when we did get a TV it went into this room. After my sister left home, the piano was one of my favorite activities, the only time I could not play the piano was when my father was listening or watching the news. In time we did get a carpet for this room, and I wore a hole in the carpet using the foot pedal.
Off of the living room was my parent’s bedroom; it held their bed, a chest of drawers, a built in closet, a dresser with a mirror and a cabinet for hanging clothes.
After my brother and sister moved away from home, I got to have a room upstairs. There was a small room that had a door, and that became my room. There wasn’t a closet just a rod to hang the clothes on, a dresser and bookshelves. The center room upstairs was more like a livingroom, it wasn’t very private as the stairs were open to it. It was where we kept things stored, and although there was a bed up there.
The 3rd room was extra small and had a small closet that was under the eaves. This was my brother’s room until he left for college. It just had room for a single bed and a small chest.
When we sold the farm in 1965, the house was sold, and moved about 3 miles away. I do not know if it is still standing.
In 1965 we moved to Manhattan, Ks This house was only 3 blocks from the Kansas State University Campus.
The house we moved into was in the middle of the block and was the only one that had a driveway from the street to the alleyway in back. The house had a front porch with a swing. The living room/dining room stretched across the front of the house. The small kitchen extended off the dining room. There was a bedroom, a small closet and staircase on the first floor. The staircase (there were only 9 or 10 steps) went up to the bathroom and a large bedroom, with 9 windows.
This room had a very unique feature; I haven’t seen one since. These 9 windows were very frustrating because we could not open the windows more than 2”. After the first year there, a friend who was living with us, decided that she was going to get those windows open, no matter what. Low and behold, with the window up a couple of inches the sill pulled out, then window dropped into the wall, the wall was a pocket for the window, the sill was put back in and window was completely open. When all the windows were open it was like a screened in porch. The roof overhang over this room was so deep, it took a very strong wind, to bring rain into the room. On a rainy afternoon, with the windows open, it was like setting in a shelter safe from the rain.
When you got to the top of the stairs you turned around and pulled down another staircase and it took you up to the unfinished attic. When the stairs were open you could not get down the first floor with out closing the staircase.
There was an attached garage, although there was no way to drive a car in, and a basement, it was somewhat finished. The back yard had a clothesline, and usually 3 or more cars in the driveway. No matter how we planned, the car that was needed was always in the middle. The driveway to the street was quite steep and you had to be careful or you would scrape the front or the back end getting out.
This is where I lived with my parents to finish high school through my college years. Then I moved on to places of my own. My parents lived in this house until they died. The house has been sold, but you can still drive by when you are in Manhattan, KS.
These are the homes of my childhood. Each house brings back different kinds of memories because I was at different stages of my life in each one of them. Some people only live in one house, and others live in many. But where every you are, is HOME.
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