Friday, June 18, 2010

Butterflies and Memories Part 2

Butterfly on Abelia, 2009

Although I am unsure of the exact date, but probably in the summer of 1942, we moved to Albuquerque after my father went to Grand Junction, CO. Other than remembering that we came on the Trailways bus, I don't remember anything about the trip, nor of moving into the furnished house at 706 N. Second St. (now disappeared forever, along with many blocks surrounding it, to make way for big banks and other commercial buildings.)  The address, 706, placed the corner lot on which the red brick house stood at seven blocks north of Central Avenue, or Route 66, which was the "Main Street" of Albuquerque.  Mama's place of employment was also on Second Street, probably in about the 300 block, so it was very well placed so that she could walk to and from work.

 About all I remember of the house itself was that it had a few steps leading up to an open front porch, a living room which contained a piano (to our delight), probably a couple of bedrooms (although I remember only one), a kitchen, bathroom, and back porch.

 The bedroom that I remember contained a brass bed with a tall headboard. That bed is where I spent a great many days during my "Childhood Illness" about which I wrote at length last year.

My memories of "706" are somewhat limited, probably due to my being so sick most of the time we lived there.  But, I wasn't sick the entire time, and the memory butterflies have left me with a few snapshots.

At some time after moving from Las Vegas, we must have acquired a "wringer" washing machine, which was housed on the back porch.  I was too young to participate in the laundry process, other than probably hauling dirty clothes to the machine, but I do remember that I was fascinated by the wringer.  So much so that, at age 8, I considered it an appropriate instrument of punishment for the younger sister who simply would not mind me when I told her to do something. This torture (as she now describes it), which was applied only once, was to have her hand and arm inserted into the turning wringer until she agreed to comply.  I thought it was a dandy way to bring about cooperation, but she squealed on me, and my mother applied suitable persuasion upon another region of my body, which compelled me to abandon the practice.

It was in the yard of this home that I first explored smoking.  Real tobacco not being available in our house, my friend Helen and I discovered that Rabbit Tobacco, which grew in profusion, could be picked, dried, crumbled and rolled up in toilet paper to create a substitute cigarette.  This practice was not long continued because my father, upon one of his visits to Albuquerque from Colorado, caught us.

Another memory is of my mother's "Jewel Tea" dishes.  Jewel Tea dishes were a free gift, or at least of very low cost, that came with the purchase of Watkins products, such as vanilla, spices, and other food stuffs.  Watkins products were personally delivered to one's home by "the Watkins Man" who drove a small commercial van with "Watkins" emblazoned on the side.  I suppose Mama had been buying Watkins products for some time, for she had quite a collection of Jewel Tea "Autumn Leaf" dishes, probably a service for six. The dishes were glazed pottery, with red, brown, orange and gold designs.  I understand that they are quite "collectible" these days.  We used the Jewel Tea dishes on Sundays; I don't remember any other dishes, although we must have had them.
Example of "Jewel Tea" ware

On one fateful Sunday afternoon, Mama had washed the Jewel Tea dishes that had been used for dinner, as the noon meal was called in our household, and as she dried them, had placed them on the "drop leaf" kitchen table prior to putting them away in china cabinet.  Said table had the leaf extended and the leg to support the raised leaf was in place.   Younger sister, full of energy from lunch, was running through the house at breakneck speed, probably being chased by yours truly, and was just short enough to run under the table in her getaway efforts.  She ran under the table, all right, knocked the supporting leg from under the leaf and all the Jewel Tea dishes came crashing to the floor.  There may have been one or two surviving pieces, but that was it.  For all intents and purposes, Mama's hard won collection of Jewel Tea dishes was gone, gone, gone! 

Same sister had a penchant for playing with Mama's dishes, some of which, I learned later, were wedding presents.  At least two pieces that I remember suffered disaster at my sister's hands -- a platinum banded stemmed compote, and a peach-colored crystal sugar bowl.   She maintains to this day no memory of these occurrences, but I do!

Another thing I remember was a huge fire at a lumber yard which was located perhaps 6 blocks from the house.  The fire started after dark, and I recall standing outside in the front yard, hearing the fire truck sirens, smelling burning wood, and watching burning embers and smoke shooting into the sky.  The lumber yard was completely destroyed, and the fire believed to be arson.

One last memory before I wrap this segment up.  After my "illness" I was occasionally allowed to walk my sisters and baby brother, who was about 2 years old, to the neighborhood park. about three blocks away.  Exposure to sunshine was deemed to be a contributor to my recovery.  It was on one of these excursions that I found, lying next to a trash barrel, a copy of "Sunshine and Health" magazine, which had some very interesting photos in it.  Turns out it was a nudist publication.  I took it home with me, where it promptly disappeared.

It's funny what one remembers.

We moved from "706" to 607 N. Second during the summer of 1943, before I entered the third grade.  The new house was somewhat larger, and it was closer to Mama's workplace.  We lived there for over two years, and I have lots of memories of that place to share.

Until next time, I leave you with a few more 2010 lily photos.


Anonymous said...

Lovely reminiscences Pat. Do you remember things from your childhood, crystal clear, yet don't for the life of you remember what you did on thursday of last week?
Imagine the value of a set of those dishes today.

Snap said...

I have one piece of Granny's Jewel Tea. How about the green glass that came in laundry detergent? Too much fun, Pat!!!!!

Countrygirl said...

Love your stories and your pictures!!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, I love these butterfly memories!!! You were quite a character!! Simply delightful! And your photos are fantastic! Such brilliant color and crisp composition...I am in awe of your photography! Love you, Janine XO

rhymeswithplague said...

I am thoroughly enjoying your reminiscences! The most difficult move we ever made occurred during out second year of marriage, from 2606-1/2 Hancock Street (basement apartment) to 2608-1/2 Hancock Street (basement apartment in the house next door) in Bellevue, Nebraska in 1964. Nothing was "packed" -- everything had to be carried up the stairs, through the back yard, and down the other set of stairs. We must have completely forgotten how much fun this was when a few years later we moved from P-6 Colonial Gardens Apartments (first floor) to P-7 Colonial Gardens Apartments (second floor) in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Not a childhood memory, but you reminded me of it with your move from 706 to 607.

I hope there will be a Part 3!

Arkansas Patti said...

I checked your older posts about your ear and it just reminds us how far we have come medically.
What an ordeal you went thru and how it would have been so different today.
Good thing water boarding was not known about in your day for your sister's sake:)) I do remember those "wringers".

NitWit1 said...

Does your sister speak to you today??? My arm through a ringer. My great aunt took in laundry. we spent summers with her. I'd like to have put my brother's head through the ringer but aunt seem to read my mind. I wasn't allowed near the washing/ironing etc. area. I remember her using blueing in the rinse to make things look brighter. can't believe that was any good for the skin

jinksy said...

Beautiful 2010 photos to add your own collection of jewels - never mind the tea set!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just stopping by to see what's happening around here! Hope you have a WONDERFUL week!!! Love you, Janine Xo

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hope all is must be out enjoying the sunshine! I'm glad! Sending you love, Janine XO

Suldog said...

I'm sorry I missed this for so long; don't know why I did. I think we had some of that same sort of ware. There is one dish left now - faded, chipped - which I use for my "bachelor plate" (that is, when MY WIFE is out, I eat from that plate as it is one of a kind and holds nice childhood memories.)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just wanted to wish you a wonderful 4th of July!! Love you! Janine XO

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Just stopping by to say HELLO and wish you a happy 4th of July, Pat... Looks like you are too busy for blogging these days. Hope life is GOOD for you...


Peter said...

About the worst thing I ever did to my sister, was to empty a can of paint over her head, I feel bad about it now, but there had been a lot of provocation at the time! We didn't have a wringer washing machine at the time...! The Jewel Tea set jug that you show is rather nice. Quite an interesting design too, I should have a go at making something like one!

Sorry to be so long with my comment, it's been an odd sort of a month all awash with work and weariness, and I had been putting off reading your Part 2 until my brain had cleared enough to really do it justice. Lovely to read your memories of childhood, you paint pictures with your words.

rhymeswithplague said...

Pat, your public is waiting to hear more of your memories!