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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Places from the Heart of the tree . . .

We live in this town -- Healdsburg -- which is about 85 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In this picture off in the distance is the Sutro Tower a few blocks from where my wife and I lived before retiring here. We don't get back across the bridge very often since 1999:

It all started though for me in the Midwest -- Chicago and the Chicago Suburbs to be specific. My parents having married in the early 30s made the move from the big city to LaGrange in the mid 40s. My father's employer was General Motors and they had a large plant facility in LaGrange. Post WWII homes sprung up almost in walking distance from the plant. Many of our neighbors were employed at Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. Our first house was entitled "The Little House" as can be seen as a small brick home that sold for about $6000:

This picture was taken in 2004 when my wife and I made our trip there. The house and the neighborhood have maintained a nice quality. My father had completed the upstairs and the full basement and had a high producing garden in the back yard. It was on the front door of this home that held the "quarantine" sign for the polio outbreak in 1949 that struck our family -- along with a few neighbor kids as well. We lived there, a family of six (plus we had two foster sisters) up until I was in the 2nd grade.

We made a move -- the first of many -- to "The Big House" a mile or so away. This house was a favorite in my memory because of the many "secret" places that we could play in and hide out. When Gail and I visited, the current residents invited us inside and it was a real pleasure to go through that house. I was able to supply them with a couple of things of which they were not aware. This house too has maintained a quality as well and as a matter of fact is listed as an "historical home" in LaGrange:

One of the things that I remembered was packing those front and side stairways with snow and sliding down during the many weeks of winter.The interior had a front and back staircase  which was a real kick in making a smooth run through the house. The full basement also had many individual rooms as I recall. We lived in this house until I was in the fourth grade -- my third grade teacher, Mrs. Ide was a favorite of mine -- she sometimes gave me a ride to school in her Hudson.

From here we moved to "the house on Edgewood" though it was not named as such at the time. It was here that I was a witness to a fatal traffic accident on our corner -- I remember the authorities asking me questions about "what I saw" -- the collision was between two commercial vehicles -- one the local milk man and the other from a local rug company :

We only lived here while I was in the 5th Grade. The house was a nice solid bungalow and ran fairly deep into the lot. I remember the dog "Sparky" that we had while we lived there. Sparky was a black Cocker Spaniel like the red Cocker Spaniel "Rusty" (we had when we lived in the Little House). The neighborhood was then as now a quiet one not that far from the Burlington station that many of our neighbors used to commute to the city . . . I remember I broke my arm playing "king on the mountain" while living here.

For whatever reason,  we moved away from LaGrange and my parents bought a home in nearby Hinsdale. The house was actually another of my favorites (like the big house) but it was not my Mother's favorite. For one thing the previous owner had been a pipe smoker for many years and that aroma never left it -- though that did not bother me at all. But the main reason that my Mother was unhappy with the home was the fact that she was sure that it was not stable and would eventually "slide down the hill" . . . also the lot next door at the time was filled with large oak trees and the slightest wind sounded like a tornado which in fact was not out of the realm of possibility in the Midwest:

When my wife and I visited -- she wondered about the hill . . . coming from California this street looked like a very level playing field, but to my mom it was too "hilly" for her to be comfortable. Sadly I spent only 6th grade while in this house. I did have a morning paper route though which paid me $4.75 per week -- if no complaints -- and the one Christmas spent there brought a couple of hundred dollars bonus from the subscribers . . .as you can see the house as well as the neighborhood has maintained quality.

Again, my parents decided that a move was in their best interests --  I know that my father took great pleasure in "working" on each house and then reaping a benefit when they sold -- he would have loved to have seen the boom in real estate a few years ago. Never-the-less my folks found a new subdivision in which they decided they wanted to live. It was also in Hinsdale and built around a couple of lakes -- Ruth Lake was one of them. They selected a small house about a block from the lake -- I had really wanted them to buy "on the lake" but my father was concerned with flooding -- which did happen once to my recollection. The house was scheduled to be built in the coming year -- so when they sold that house on Minneola we moved to temporary housing for several months awaiting the completion of the new one:

This is the townhouse that we lived in while I attended 7th grade. It was small but we knew that it was temporary so it was fine. I did not have a bedroom but slept on the couch in the living room which suited me just fine.  By sleeping in the living room I had access to the television which was one of those ancient big wooden boxes with a little tiny screen. My father retired early to bed each night and I would turn on the TV, the problem was that I could make no noise or "he" would be up and my TV watching would certainly be over. Also the channel selector was very noisy and clunky, so if I was to change the channel I had to turn it little by little and of course keep the sound almost off . . . I remember in those days I loved watching Herb Phibrick in "I Led Three Lives".

In the summer just before going into the eighth grade we moved into our newly built home. It was just my younger brother, my sister and I, besides our parents and while the house was small, the neighborhood was filled with kids my own age and also the lake (I had a small boat) was a huge attraction. I lived in that house through high school -- which at the time was the longest I had lived in any one house since the "little house".

This is where we moved -- to a house similar to the one pictured here. The reason it is one that is similar is because our house -- along with many in the neighborhood -- were recently upgraded and our house was replaced with a very large brick home and one that I was just blown away by when I drove up to our lot. Over the years the attraction of the lake and Ruth Lake Country Club brought in the high rollers -- with money . . .

That is the my journey up through the high school years as it has to do with real estate. In future posts I will address other real estate "from the tree" . . . in the meantime -- It again is Slider Saturday Night.

See you in a few!

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