Monday, March 19, 2007

Good Times

We just had the garage door repairman over the other day. After chatting with him a bit it was funny to find out that he was from "the neighborhood". He grew up a couple of blocks away and went to the public schools in the area. Though he was a bit older we reminisced a bit and talked about the houses in the area.

Our house was built by Henry Doelger. His houses all tended to look the same and were built right next to each other. And I mean right next to each other. I can hear anything louder than a door slam at my next door neighbor's house. The houses were built to accomodate the need for inexpensive homes before and after World War II for The City's growing middle class. The majority of the houses were called "Junior Fives". They had 2 bedrooms and one bath and room downstairs for a mother-in-law apartment. They were well-built, with details like crown molding and hardwood floors and fireplaces, with small lawns in front. And were perfect for remodeling and adding on to, which is what many of the carpenters, and plumbers who lived there did.

Doleger was a prolific builder, building as many as 71 homes at a time, finishing 2 a day. He planned the look of each block, placing different house variations here and there like an artist carefully crafting a masterpiece.

The houses on each block looked the same, but had slight differences. So if you lived here you thought in blocks. Your best friend's house was one block down, 3 blocks up. Your aunt's house was one block over. The corner store was 4 blocks up and 2 blocks over. And the directions all started with your own block. Because somehow that block didn't look like all the rest. It was different and special. It was your block.

1 comment:

toners said...

Alma, another heartfelt piece of writing. Thanks for sharing :)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin