a life well lived

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Homes Sweet Homes 01/11/01

When we were heading home from the hospital yesterday, John took a dodge to the left at the Pike and Welsh Road, then headed up Walton.  He had wanted to outrun a tanker truck to the Pike and Fettersmill, but I smiled my sweetest Mom smile and asked if we could go home through Bryn Athyn.  Instead of turning right back to the Pike - and the sweet smell of victory - he turned left and headed up Fettersmill. 
A strong sense of homecoming came over me as we headed up the steep hill, then as we crested and started to drop down toward Bryn Athyn.  Past Jamie and Julie's  - and Mara and Eyvind's - house, where Pete and I served as "houseparents" to Lynn and Edwin Asplundh's children when they were here for high school.   

Our Peter was the princeling of the household.  Elsa, Bee and Sonny would show off Master Peter's exceptional intelligence.  "He's only three and he can read already!" they would boast.  When their friends scoffed, they would "prove" it.  "Ask him to pick out a record album," the girls would say.  Friend after friend tried to stump Peter and all went away amazed at what a sharp little lad he was, not realizing it was the picture on the album that Peter associated with the name, not letters.  There are probably still friends of Elsa and Bee and Sonny who think that Peter was a prodigy.  The house today doesn't look all that different from what I remember way back when our little trio lived there.
We dropped down the second crest, into Bryn Athyn, past the house on the corner of Alden Road and Fettersmill, where Chara and Scott Daum live.  Sixty years ago, it was divided into two apartments.  One family had the bottom floor apartment, we had the upper.  All of our children, except Peter, were born while we lived there, until we moved – when our Elsa was four - to the little house perched above Alden Road.

Five children and two adults were a lot of people to live in that apartment, but I them as mostly  happy times.  The one blight on our landscape was the family that lived downstairs for several years, a family that none of you would know, so their name wouldn't mean much to you.  They were an unhappy lot.  When we heard them speaking kindly, we knew they were talking to their pets, because they never used that caring tone with each other. 

Dwayne, the son in the family, was what I would call a thug and a hooligan.  One spring, we found a nest outside our window, with a momma robin and several beautiful blue eggs.  Not a single one of the children - which included Peter, Michael and Mim at that point - breathed a whisper outside of the house about the nest - they knew that if the son found out about it, he would blast it out of the tree with his slingshot.  We all breathed a sigh of relief when the babies hatched and safely flew away. 

It was a happy day when the human family  moved.  Our new neighbors were Sig and Nadia (now Nadine) Synnesvedt and their own growing brood, the best downstair neighbors anyone could ask for!

We swung down the bottom length of Fettersmill, then swung right up Station Hill, then another right onto South Avenue.  We went past what was once Miss Carrie Hobart's house, where South Avenue meets the "Black" Path, where  Roseann and Peter Bostock live now.  We lived there - Betty, Mother and  myself - when Betty and I were in elementary school (Papa was holding down the fort in Baltimore). 
Betty was always a favorite with the boys and they would always go to great lengths to show off their "best" to her.  I remember playing with Betty on the porch one afternoon and spotting Steven Iungerich and Bryndon Heath about to stroll by.  Sensing they had Betty's attention, they started to have a bubble gum pulling contest, each one seeing if he could pull the greatest length.  I can see them still, sssttttrrreettttccchhhing that ribbon of gum out as long as they could. 

Then there was Ormond Odhner, another vassal of Betty's.  Ormond's parents died when he was young, so he went to live with his sister, Mrs. Otho Heilman (I will probably remember her name in the middle of the night, but it surely escapes me now).  The Heilmans lived near George and Fidelia (called Fiddle, for short) De Charms, where Betty and I often babywatched young Charles and Aurelle.  Whenever Ormie knew we - well, Bets - were over there babywatching, he would whip up a batch of fudge or cream puffs to bring over and lay at Betty's feet (so to speak).

It's funny the tricks of age - I cannot remember for sure which house the de Charms lived in, I cannot remember Mrs. Heilman's name or how which Odhner children were living with which brothers or sisters, but I can remember the taste of Ormie's fudge and cream puffs.

I was surprised to discover that Elsa - our Elsa - cannot remember ever hearing before that I lived at Miss Carrie's at one time.  We have talked about so many things from years gone past, things long forgotten and never before shared, all due to banging out these postings. 

Thank you to my dear “dist list” for your gracious being, which meant so much to me during my hospital stay.  Memories are lovely, but I am so glad to be home at last, tucked away in the welcoming arms of Squirrel Haven.  Am headed up the wooden hill. 

Good night, one and all  - Katharine Lockhart nee Reynolds 
By the way, at least 20 seconds after we stopped at the intersection of Alnwick Road and the Pike, that tanker truck went by, so John did get to find out he beat it. Virtue did not go unrewarded.  Oh, and I've got it - Mrs. Heilman's name was Ione.  I remembered before 3:00 a.m.!

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