Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More Memories Jogged

Susie's post brought back many more memories of spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. I don't think I ever knew the address of the first house they lived in. They always had a post office box for a mailing address. (PO Box 222, Kalama, WA.) When I was last in Kalama, I drove by the little house on the hill. It does look very little. I wanted to see how it had changed. It looks run down now and that made me sad. The front door no longer opens out on the street. It was right on the sidewalk, as I remember it. The sidewalk was just gravel and a little lower than the street. Across the street was an under ground garage, the side yard had a Bing cherry tree with grass planted around the bottom of it. In the back there was an old garage. Seems like we used to play in the garage. There was a bed in the corner. Maybe that was a spare room in the summer for one of the kids. The house had to be a little crowded inside, but there was always room for everyone. Susie talked about sleeping with Charlene. I think Aunt Mary Beryl, and Aunt Jacquie also shared that room. I remember an old metal bed and there was gum stuck to the bed post. Reminds me of the song "Does Your Chewing Gum Loose It's Flavor on the Bed Post Overnight". I swear, that song was written about the Jansen home of the l940's! By the looks of the size of that house now, there probably was not much room for many beds in that bedroom. The bedroom on the other side of the hall was even smaller. It was the width of a bed and there was a bed at each end for Uncle Bobby and Uncle Pete. Their door was right at the head of the stairs with just a small landing. There was about a 1 foot ledge alongside the steps up there. What that was for, I don't know. They sure could have used that extra foot inside their bedroom. I don't remember any closets up there, but there must have been one somewhere. There were only those 2 rooms upstairs. Not much room for those sleepwalkers and talkers. Several of us do or did that, you know!

Downstairs there was a living room on the left as you walked into the house off the sidewalk and the dining room to the right. From the living room you walked into grandma and grandpa's bedroom after passing the big stuffed deer head above the heating stove. The living room had one light bulb in the middle of the room that hung down on its cord. Not too fancy of a light fixture and it did not really give off much light either. After great grandpa Jansen passed away grandma and grandpa bought a TV set that set near the deer head. Before he passed away great grandpa sat there with his cane that he would hook around our ankles as we passed by to tease us. On the wall was an oval picture frame with a picture of grandpa's mother and father. Aunt Martha has the frame now with the 1968 pictures that were taken for grandma and grandpa's 50Th wedding anniversary.

To get to the kitchen, you could either go through the dining room pass the stairs and through the door or you could go in from Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom. I remember the kitchen had metal cabinets. I would help grandma dry the dishes. She always told me that a good dish dryer would get what the dishwasher missed, so the dishes looked clean when they went into the cupboard. In the corner of the kitchen, by the dining room door was an old wall hung wooden phone with the mouthpiece on the phone box, or whatever they call it, and the ear piece was on a cord that you held up to your ear. There was a crank on the side that you would crank to ring the operator so you could make your call. I remember my dad calling Aunt Shirley one day and telling her that she should put a paper bag over her phone because he was from the phone company and they were going to blow out the lines and might get dust all over her house. She knew the call came from grandma's house and realized it was a prank call from my dad when he hung up the phone, because that phone would make a dinging sound on the other end of the line when it was hung up. I think Uncle Kenny made a lamp out of that old phone. I wonder if he still has it!

I don't know how much space the kitchen had because it had a door on all 4 walls. One from the bedroom, the dining room, the porch and the utility porch where there was a bathroom and a pantry. The porch off the kitchen was a square area. May have been a patio, but could have best been used as a room if it were added into the house. We used to sleep out on that porch or on the grass. I remember one night Charlene and I were sleeping outside watching the falling stars while in sleeping bags. We had the old black dog, I think her name was Lady. She crawled to the bottom of Charlene's sleeping bag and threw up. Seems like that ended our sleep out for that night. Charlene had a cat named Mouser too, but don't know if Mouser lived in that house or in the house higher on the hill.

I think the utility porch was an add on to the house when they put plumbing into the house. It had the bathroom on one end. I may have described the bathroom in one of the other posts, but will do it again because this bathroom was unique. The toilet sat up on a platform and so you had to step up to it to sit on the "throne". The water tank was hung high on the wall with a long pull chain that you pulled to flush the toilet. Interesting. I have only seen one other toilet like that since in an old hotel in Portland, Oregon. The bath tub was footed. (Sat up on feet) The room was not heated except with a space heater, so was a mighty cold room in the winter. As I remember, it was only heated if you took a bath, not if you were just going in there to do your bathroom business. Those were the only things in the bathroom. No sink, just a tub. The door locked with a square iron box with a lever that you pushed on the top of the box. That house must have been built a long long time ago.

I also remember the firetruck coming around on Christmas Eve. Santa rode the firetruck and I was as impressed with him as much as Susie was. He could remember our names. Imagine, Santa remembering all us kids names, boy were we special. Never mind the presents, Santa knew each and everyone of our names!

We were special, we lived in a family that got together allot. Grandma and grandpa's house was where the action was. From the looks of the size of that house today, it must have been busting at the seams. Grandma was happiest when she had her family all together. The bigger it got the better. I don't know about anyone else, but I felt a lot of love during those times. Still go to Kalama for hugs, 'cuz I know that is where I can get them. I still feel special there.


K & N said...

Okay, showing my lack of years on this planet . . . I didn't know G'ma and G'pa lived in more than one house in Kalama. The only one I remember was with the lawn that was perfect for rolling down in the summer.

Sondi said...

They lived in a little house down the hill from where their "new" house was. If we ever get to Kalama at the same time we can drive up there and see it. I think I may have some pictures of it too. At least pictures of parts of it.

The "new" house up on the hill above Uncle Kenny and Aunt Shirley's house was built by the kids, mostly. I remember my dad working on it. Your dad probably helped build it too. Aunt Martha and Uncle Bill built a house just down the path from it.