Columbus was my mother’s girlhood hometown; our family moved there in my 3rd grade year, after my grandmother died. It was 1951, and in those days, a widower did not live alone. So my parents chose to move from their life in Detroit to Columbus, Ohio, to accommodate my grandfather. My mother would become the lady of the house in her parents’ home.
Papaw and Nanaw moved to Columbus when Mom was a teenager. She graduated from East High School among new friends as well as old friends who had also relocated to Columbus. Marrying my dad took her to Detroit in the early 40s.
We settled into the big house on Mooberry Street; it was twice the size of the small apartment that we’d had. My six-year-old brother Tom and I loved tip-toeing up the stairs and sliding down the banister when no adults were in sight. There was a laundry chute in the upstairs hallway. We’d open the square door, pitch the dirty clothes in and watch them fall and land in the clothes basket that sat in the basement below the opening. A huge ringer washer stood nearby, mute on its four legs, waiting until Monday morning to do its work.
As kids, our time in Columbus was carefree. Tom and I played in the back yard, ate fresh tomatoes from the bushel basket that sat on the back porch, and roamed the neighborhood with our band of buddies. Neighbors were friendly but to be obeyed. We had no fear of being harmed or kidnapped and were free to be kids, to explore life, learn important lessons, and have fun.
Taking a cue from
the westerns on Saturday morning television, a posse of neighborhood kids would
grab our stick rifles and pony up on our Schwinn two-wheelers, heading for the
end of Mooberry Street. There we would relive the stories we’d watched on the
screen. Good guys, bad guys, we all rode and played hard, practicing life on
|Reenie and me in our matching "sister dresses"|
Columbus was an important place in my growth and development. It’s where I learned some important life lessons, like “Don’t smoke” and “Always tell the truth” and “You can’t fool your parents.”
Living in Columbus, we got to know more of our family on both sides. Evenings, our uncles on our mom’s side were close by, tinkering with cars out back in their garage. We spent every Saturday with our four cousins, watching a weekly circus show and western serials. Some of our dad’s siblings lived nearby, so we were able to spend time with those cousins, too.
|Tom, Reenie, and Aunt Lucille (circa 1953)|
Our sister Reenié was just a toddler in those Columbus days, but Tom and I still remember them with fondness.
~ xoA ~