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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It is 1951, the summer before I enter sixth grade, and we are moving into the big brick house on East Washington Street. It is to be our family home for almost forty years. We are the third owners of the house, coming after the Brantinghams and, before that, the Roses, the original 1910 owners. Every once in a while, even after we have lived there, we hear some old-timer refer to it as "the Rose house". We ourselves sometimes refer to it as "the old Brantingham house" when defining it for strangers.

This is to be our REAL house - my mother's dream house - the reward for putting up with all the strange wartime rentals, the two-bedroom starter house on Grove Street purchased by my father for his bride in 1939 but abandoned or rented out for long stretches during the war years, and the slightly larger but no longer adequate Olive Street house where we moved right after the war, the family size having increased from three to four with the birth of my sister in 1945. There are five of us now.

My mother has an ambitious and comprehensive interior decorating plan that is carried out over several months during that summer before we move in. New furniture is bought, though there is considerable discussion about WHERE it should be bought. My mother, the transplanted New Yorker, wants free rein to shop in Chicago, where there are "good" stores. My father feels that there is a political need to buy some things from the Bloomington merchants who may be or employ his patients or potential patients. They compromise, my mother winning on all the important points.

Walls are painted and papered. A door is relocated. A new closet is built for me in the large attic room which I have been persuaded to accept as a very special and unusual bedroom. ( It is too hot to sleep up there in the summertime, so my "summer" bedroom is the small sleeping porch off the back hall, opposite the huge walk-in linen closet.) And in the "study", a large dark knotty pine paneled room over the attached three-car garage, halfway up the back stairs, there are new built-ins to accommodate my father's medical books, his stereo system, and a black and white television set - the first we've ever owned. This room, much to our amusement, is referred to as a "ballroom" by a local society reporter a number of years later, in reference to my parents' annual New Years Eve party.

It's the last move the family makes. I go East to college in the fall of 1958, but return many times for vacations. My husband and I are married in the house in 1963. We spend summer vacations there with our young daughters just as, a generation before, my sisters and I were all packed off to the Adirondacks. When my mother dies in 1976, my father remarries and stays on for another eleven years, until his death in 1987. The house is finally sold in 1990. I haven't been back since then.

It would be nice to think that it's sometimes referred to as "the Price house" now. Or that someone might remember us.


Blogger ibby said...

These stories are my favorites! They always leave me wanting more.

3:30 AM  
Blogger AlexanderTheGreat said...

Yes very nice.

4:23 AM  
Blogger SuperMom said...

I love them too! I always love comparing your recollections with Mom's memories; it's interesting that you both focus(ed) on much of the same things.

But yes, more, more, more!

12:39 PM  

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