Life was sweet in house at a very cool location

Our family home in the heart of Seattle was fine and dandy decades ago with plenty of room for five kids, as well as visiting friends and neighbors. It was near Denny Way and walking distance to Pike Place Market.

Describing that same property as it is today would likely bring a response of, “Cool, Very Cool.” To our family it was just home. Much later it became a significant place and few, if any, know this personal history -– until now.

Our house sure wasn’t fancy, although it was very friendly. We five kids had fun and school friends who regularly stopped at our house on the way home from school. Mom wasn’t much for baking cookies, yet a pot of good old baked beans and biscuits were usually in sight for hungry kids. The butter was in a cooler icebox built into a kitchen window.

Mom was a lady born before her time and was often found fixing the engine of her car or doing a good deed for someone, frequently for people we hardly knew. I think most folks from that time period gave from their heart to help others in need and without thought of recompense.

Watching the happiness Mom’s help brought to other people by giving them food, clothing and money, if she had any, was a lesson in living, even though sometimes she gave money we needed.

Mom quoted Scripture, “Give and it shall be given to you.” Somehow we did squeeze by. I don’t know if I believed that then, yet it has become a lesson not forgotten. Today, individuals access help from food banks and other organizations.

The Great Depression left revealing, indelible, footprint of authenticity by demonstrating how human nature draws people together in common tough times. In war and tragedies people generously share help.

While all that is true, I want to share a little of my personal growing up and family time. I am a native Washingtonian, born in Seattle, and long time Des Moines resident –- and getting older daily.

My life journey began when I was born in a little Ballard beach house, 12 minutes after my twin brother got out of the way -- so I could get out too. (That’s suppose to bring a smile) Dad said, “The Stock Market crashed and Mom gave birth to twins, what a day!” It was also the day the light company almost turned the electricity off at the house. Times were tough.

My twin brother, Earl, and I were the youngest with one brother 12 years older, one sister 8 years older and another sister nearly 4 years older. Our home with five kids guaranteed a myriad of lively living activity.

Childhood was at a rental home owned by the Bartell family (Bartell Drug Stores) on Queen Anne Hill at 1st Ave. North and Upper Valley Street. Later we bought a house at 17 Lower Valley Street, near the steep “counterbalance.”

When we later moved closer to the Memorial Stadium you could find me on any ballgame day, looking under the fence watching the game. My sister and twin brother would climb over the barbwire fence but not me. At about six years old I was belly-down on the pavement and saw the game fine. A position that was easy then and impossible if I tried now.

However, it was when we bought a house next to Grandma’s at 1st Avenue North near Denny Way that things got interesting.

Today, if you looked at what is now built on, or near, that last family home you would see the spectacular Space Needle in its place. Small wonder that’s “Cool, very cool”

It’s remarkable to feel part of that history knowing the magnificent Space Needle is recognized worldwide as the city of Seattle’s architectural identity.

So, life is sweet. Toss in lots of kids, lots of friends and smiles and that house brings Space Needle memories. The beautiful city of Des Moines has been, and is, my home of many years. How lucky can one gal be? Two terrific cities and I’m still here to see them! Amen.

Today’s Thought: One of the deepest secrets of life is, all that is really worth doing is what we do for others. (Lewis Carroll)

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