Saturday, March 21, 2009

Half a double

A white wood frame, two story double house stood on Pleasant Street.  It was a one block long, one way street.  The double was at the bottom of the hill with an alley beside and behind it.  Two young trees stood in the little front yard that (one in front of each side).  The trees would grow along with us.  The back yard was long and narrow with a sidewalk dividing the two sides.  Number eight's side had a porch on the back with a door exiting the kitchen.  At one time I can remember a wringer washer sitting out there.  On the backside of the house was a cellar.  A cellar with a door at ground level to enter.  A scary dark dirty place with cement steps leading into it.
A small patio made of bricks lay on the ground below the back porch.  The yard had two gates, one on the side of number eight's backyard.  Another was at the end of the sidewalk at the back of the yard.  I remember well swinging on the gate and getting in trouble from grandma.  The other side of the double I would assume would be number ten Pleasant Street (I don't remember the house number on the adjoining double) had a broken down wire fence on it.  Broken down because us kids climbed over it all the time.  The broken down part was under a great big tree.  The boys next door often sat up in that tree aggravating us.

The front of number eight and number ten had one long continuous connecting the two sides as one.  Inside number eight three rooms and a pantry made up the downstairs.  The living room with  a green linoleum floor lead into a very basic kitchen.  A gas stove which many hot dogs were cooked over an open flame on the end of a fork.  Eventually, a washer and dryer appeared in the kitchen.  The telephone hung on the wall next to the pantry which came in handy to hold private conversations or eavesdrop on the neighbors talking on the party-line.  The telephone number began with TE7-whatever, whatever.

Up the stairs from the living room (the steps where between the living room and bedroom) at the top to the right two bedrooms that was connected by a doorway-no hall.  That meant walking through the first bedroom to enter the second bedroom.  To the left at the top of the stairs set the only bathroom with a tub and no shower.  The linen closet set on the diagonal in one corner.  Past the bathroom was a bedroom.

The front connecting bedroom on the right had a unique feature a square floor vent that lead down to the bedroom below.  Meant for heat circulation, no air conditioning while occupying the double at number eight Pleasant.  One could look down the vent and see into the bedroom below or flip a lever and the vent could be closed.

The clothes hamper sat outside the bathroom door in the hall way.  Push button light switches controlled the hallway light.  A wooden banister lined the hallway at the top of the wooden steps.  Bunk beds graced the back bedroom of the two connecting bedrooms.  No closet for that bedroom.  The connecting front bedroom had a single closet with a square vent inside it backing up to the bedroom across the hall.  The furniture was modest through out number eight.

The Alley

The gravel alley curves to the right and left behind number eight on Pleasant Street.  The alley has a whole different life than the street in the front.  It leads to the barn next door to the left or the barn and Main Street to the right.  The barn to the right belonged to Joe's Hardware Store on Main Street.  A two story green building with a full length porch on the front, dark and old inside.  The owner Joe, a quiet, white haired, older man lived upstairs above the hardware store.  Bows and arrows in the sporting department caught my eye, I dreamed of  trying to shoot an arrow from the bow.   The old gray two story barn on the left has stories to be told.  The loft came in handy in the fall.  The neighbor boys and I jumped out of the second story loft into a big pile of the leaves many times.  No one was ever injured jumping as best I can remember.  The side of the barn facing number eight had a basketball hoop.  I can still hear the sound of the wooden screen door slam and a basketball being bounced on the sidewalk.  

The gravel alley was lined with garages or barns.  Mid block another alley crossed, at that point started the base of the hill.  A garden grew on the right side of the alley mid way up the street.
Hide and seek was played in the alley behind the house on Pleasant Street.  Out front games where kick ball, kick the can and on Randy's porch: King of the mountain.  King of the mountain contributed to the Ross's putting guards on the sides of the porch.  The porch was three steps off the ground so we all gathered on the porch and pushed each other off, hence King of the mountain.

I held firecracker's between my index finger and thumb and let it explode in the alley (luckily I still have my fingers).    Across the alley from the house I took baton lessons at the Boyer Dance Studio.  In later years a girlfriend lived in the apartment next door and across the alley.

All the memories of the alley are in the summer or warm weather.  I don't have any recall of the snow covered alley.