Friday, August 3, 2007

On the street where I lived

I'm glad to see the new Danvers Herald series: On the Street where you live. I hope many people respond with information about the history of their homes.

My childhood home in Danvers had a rather short history. It was built in 1940 and torn down less than 50 years later (replaced by a parking lot for an office development). It was a small Cape built at 120 Nichols Street on land owned by my grandfather, who lived next door and wished to have rental income in his retirement. Meanwhile his son was getting married and seeking a home. I've found some letters my parents wrote in 1939-40 as they were courting and planning their future. They intended to find their own house elsewhere, but as their June 1940 wedding date approached, no house to their liking had been found. So they decided to become the first tenants in that little house -- a "temporary" arrangement. Well... they were still there in July 1943 when I was born, and we lived in that house for 14 more years!

My parents did attempt to find a larger house, and did draw up some plans in 1944 for building their own, but they were Depression-era penny-pinchers who did not believe in borrowing money. By the time they had saved enough money to begin construction, I was a teenager. We moved into a 2-story house built for us at 121 Nichols Street, just across the street. I believe that house still exists.

Above my desk is this photo of the original house as it looked in 1941, taken by Bill Goding, a photographer visiting from Yonkers, NY. In January 2006 I wrote a short piece about this photo and brought it to my first day in the "Fun with Writing" group at the Holyoke Senior Center. That first tentative visit and assignment (to write about an old photograph) led me into the joys of writing about childhood memories.

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