Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Guardian Angels - 4700 Terrace

On Sunday morning I had time to go for a drive around town. The Country Club Plaza is about a 10 square block area (correct me here if I'm wrong). From the hotel on Main St. to Terrace St. is probably a 30 minute walk. I know this part of town like the back of my hand and I used to hang out on the Plaza as a kid. Some things never change. I read the streets as I drove but always one step ahead of the signs. My dad started out as a postal carrier and I still remember the huge street map he had on a board in the basement where he had to memorize the streets for the big test before setting out to be a carrier. Even some small businesses are still there after 40 years. It just amazes me. The four-story building on the corner of 47th used to be a giant to me and after it was built we would ride the elevator up and down a couple of times acting goofy and jumping up and down until the doors would open and we'd act like nothing was going on.

So I get to the house and it looks even better today than it did when I lived there. Oh the things we did in that house. First off, it is a three bedroom one bath house and up to 11 people lived in it at one time. Three girls in one bedroom, four boys in another, and two in the downstairs bedroom. I slept in a day crib in my parents room until I was six. I remember dad throwing a light see-through blanket over the crib at night just before lights out.
In the front of the house on the second floor was the attic window. Neighbor kids believed we had a crazy sister tied up in the attic. My brothers would go up there and make sounds and the kids would scream and run away. One Christmas (I don't think my sister reads this blog very often so she can kill me later) my sister was cleaning the attic. Yes, all ten of us maintained the house as if it were a military installation. We had just put the tree up and I was laying underneath looking at the big old fashioned Christmas bulbs. Man those were neat. The two old maids from across the street came over to see the tree and say hello. No sooner had they come to the door and stepped in and ole big foot up in the attic took a a wrong turn and stepped between the rafters. Next thing I knew sheet rock, insulation and dust were pouring down in the corner and I could see a leg dangling in the mess somewhere. Physically hurt, no. But that old ego to this day hates to hear the story.

So I took a picture and went two blocks up the street to 4546 Liberty. There on the corner was one of several hideouts. My Aunt Ann had lived there and would invite me up to her house once in awhile to kind of get away from it all. She lived alone after my grandparents did. She worked for the Social Security Dept. She always knew how to cure my ills. If I remember correctly it was tuna casserole and tapioca for dessert. What I liked the most about my Aunt Ann was she would always make me lift up my shirt and she would thump my belly and say, "oh that watermelon is getting ripe". She was a good egg. She went to mass at Guardian Angels church everyday.

On Christmas Eve it was wine and homemade fudge at her house after midnight mass. Nobody made fudge like Aunt Ann.

Further up the street about four blocks is my church and grade school. The school in the picture below is the new building built in 1955. The other school was built around 1930. The church was built by the Germans who didn't have a place of their own to worship. My grandpa was one of the founders. On top of the church you can see an angel. One of my dad's wishes in his will was to redo the statue and we had it bronzed and put back up on top. My dad did a lot of work for the church. Each Christmas we would be in charge of buying the Christmas trees at the Farmer's Market down by the river. Dad would get a tree for us for free. Aunt Ann was a treasurer and helped to keep the books while Mom worked with the Altar Society keeping the church linens clean and pressed. All of us boys were altar boys. I remember they would look for me in my classes whenever there was a funeral or wedding. I loved to volunteer as I always received some compensation for what I did. Plus, I got to ride in a limo every now and then and felt like a big shot. I thought it was the only way I would ever get to know what it was like to be rich.

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