Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Used to Live Here...

Prudom Avenue and 6th Street
I used to live here, not in the church van or the parking lot, of course, but once upon a time, long, long ago....Hold on! It wasn't that long ago. I'm only sixty-five myself. But once, a great, white house stood where this parking lot is today. The lot appears so much smaller with the old house gone, yet I know it must be the same size. The house occupied only half though, for there was an empty lot just south, between the house and the alley.

The east facing front of the house sat back about twenty-five feet to the west from the curb. That front was what we called the front door, but there really was no back door. We called one door the back door but it was actually on the north side (i.e. a side door) of the house, opening onto 6th Street, the trail that led downtown if I went west, and I heard "Go west young man." I did not know which way west was but four years in the navy and thirty years in the oil industry eventually taught me to think in terms of directions. But I knew which way to turn when I exited the side door and I could find my way to the end of the block.

There was a porch in front and two wooden steps that led up to it and about five adult strides led you to the door. There were often lawn chairs on the porch for two or three people to sit, but sometimes it was empty of chairs. Sometimes, we might just sit on the porch by the steps. The porch was made of wooden planks, probably one by four inches, that ran north and south and the porch and the columns on each end were painted gray; there were two columns on each side of the steps. The front room, as we called it, was ample but not overly large. The air conditioner, once we got our first one, was suspended from a window on the south side and the television antenna lead came in there, forever condemning the television to a place in the southwest corner of the room. There was always a couch against the east wall and a large chair, which my grandmother claimed, against the northwest half wall. I say half wall because the wall extended only a few feet since there was a large doorway that led into the next room which was the dining room. There were only the living and dining rooms, the kitchen, and a small back porch downstairs. It was a two story house with bed rooms and bathroom upstairs. Many people assumed it was a large house from its outward appearance but the house was divided in two and the west half was a single story, second apartment with a living room, bath, kitchen and two bedrooms. It was always rented to another family. Had it been the original house without the division, it would have been large. We moved there in about 1950 and I lived there with my mother and grandmother until March 9, 1961 when I enlisted in the United States Navy. My grandmother, Louisa Victoria Lessert, was outgoing and generous and the house was often filled with Revard and Hardy family members; for dinners, card games, drop by visits and for a drink. People rarely called to say that they were coming and just stopped by. My friends were often there to share games and play with toys. We raided the icebox and cupboards for anything to snack on and ice cold pop was kept in quantity. When I stop for a few minutes and let my mind wonder, I don't see a parking lot. I see a house filled with people, sharing wild stories and laughter, kids I knew, often Bobby Hughes and Donna Poulton, and my mother and grandmother. I see my dogs, George, Mitzi and Patsy, all terriers that were my best friends. I see the old Cocker Spaniel, Skippy who chose to live with us but would only come inside for visits, and one dog, Patrick, who followed me home and stayed for years. There was a cat who blessed us with kittens and entertained the kids of my fourth grade class as we counted the days until their eyes would be open. Those who are new to Pawhuska, those who have forgotten; they will see a parking lot, but I will always see and remember the old white house where I grew up.

1 comment:

  1. And this is where Sally lived that she talked about...it seems that was when Andrea was small...before she had her place?