... our house for thirty-seven years
Catherine and I were married in 1953, lived at 10 Warren Street and the Veterans Housing in Everett, MA and in 1963 we bought our first house in Melrose, MA, 350 Washington Street. When Catherine walked in the front door, looked around and said, “This is my house; I feel like I know where everything is.” I felt like I was home, too.
There was a long porch at the front door. As you entered there was a long corridor that led to the kitchen. Catherine was breathless at the size of the huge kitchen. There were two widows on one side and one on the other. A whole bay of cabinets was on the far side and on the other side stood the stove and sink along side of each other. Cabinets were above and to the side. There was a large space between making it easy to see how we might arrange seating for our large family.
From this kitchen there was an alcove with a side door to a porch outside, closet, and a half bath. Then, just beyond was a room that will be the bedroom, a little later, for our two boys. Back through the kitchen took us to the dining room and to the left was a large living room. From the living room and through the corridor were stairs that led to bedrooms above.
Upstairs there were four bedrooms and bath. The large room in front was the master bedroom. On the back of the house there were two small bedrooms and beyond the bathroom was another bedroom. For now, Ellen (9) and Liz (8) would take the bedroom on the street side, Michael (7) and Peter (6) would be in the smaller room and Maura (7) and Amy (4) were in the end room. Catherine and I took the front room.
(The picture shows all the kids late teens)
(I got the bedroom with the built in bookcase bcuz I was the reader in the family. Ellen Boyd McIntosh)
A lot to do in this large house. There was no heat in the side room on the first floor. I don’t remember when we got Ralph Turpin (Do you remember him?) to take the old radiators out and make baseboard heating in all the rooms. Our baby Martha came along a few years later, the two boys took the side room now that it had heat. For a time this was a five bedroom house.
(Friday night was the best night, because it was candy night. My dad had a great way of making everything fun. We had to guess what kind of candy my dad brought home that night. Maura Boyd Feener)
When first there I kept looking at the front of the house, it looked so bare. I went to Sears and bought three shrubs, brought them home, dug three holes in front of the porch and tossed the shrubs in. I did not know what I was doing. Just a little water every once in a while and they would grow. You can see the picture from the front how those little shrubs have blossomed in the 37 years we lived at 350 Washington St.
(At Christmas my mother always made sure we had plenty of beautifully wrapped presents to open. Maura Boyd Feener)
In 1987 I became the Executive Director of a program with forty staff and eighty disturbed and learning disabled children. I asked one of the board members for the program who was an architect to give some ideas of how I could get forty staff comfortable in my house. The architect came to my house looked at what we had and later sketched a drawing for me that showed taking the corridor wall down in the front room, making one big space, and in the side room making a sliding door leading to a small deck outside. This gave a kind of flow that I was looking for.
I got the contractor who did a lot of the work for our program and he said the corridor wall could come down as it was not a bearing wall and he could put a sliding door in and make a deck outside.
This was in the days were everybody was conscious of fuel consumption. I bought a wood stove and the contractor put it in for me. He built a pad to place the wood stove on. Here we are fourteen years since we sold our home and I still miss sitting in front of that stove. I would get the Sunday papers, stack wood in the stove, light it up and be soothed by the warmth it gave.
After the boys moved on I made the room into my office. I had the same contractor take the closet out of the hall which gave sitting room for clients. The half bath was easily accessible with a toilet and sink. Clients could come in the side door and exit from my back door, if they wished. With my psychology credentials, I treated mostly adults for a few years. Mostly the counseling I offered was in the evening or on Saturday. I did this, off and on, for a few years.
In 1999 with all the kids gone we could feel the emptiness of this huge house with all the necessary work that it occasioned, we decided to sell the house we came to love. In 2000 we bought a condo at 51 Melrose Towers, the middle building of the three condos that are the Melrose Towers. The condo has two bedrooms and two baths. There is a large space used for dinning and living space, all in one. We have been here for fourteen years and feel like this is our second home.
No need to look back but I do miss my wood burning stove.
March 7, 2014