Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Memory Lane Part III

In order to talk about the last house on my tour of our old houses, I have to give a little family history along the way....

This is my mom, Susie Erskine. She grew up on a farm close to Scio, Oregon...the youngest of eight children. In 1935, when she was eight, her mother died of spinal meningitis. Her father decided to send her to his oldest sister Minnie, who was living in Seattle. Minnie's first husband Will Parr was an early builder in Seattle. Will purchased property on the top of Queen Anne Hill, and built three houses there. He died just before the one for he and Minnie was completed in 1923. They were never able to have children, and Minnie finished the house by herself and moved in. She married again in 1927 to George Kuentzel...then in 1935 they took my Mom to live with them.

This is a photo of Minnie and George in front of their home on Queen Anne in the 1960's, the same home my Mom came to live in. She had a hard time adjusting to life as an only child in the house, and life in a very big city.

This is the grade school she attended just down Bigelow Avenue from where she lived. My brother and I again parked our car and walked all around the old building. It is not part of the Seattle school system any longer, but is used as a private school. Don't you just love the details on the old buildings?

This school was first through eighth grade, and a BIG change for Mom from her one-room country schoolhouse. As you can see the building is in good repair generally, and it's nice to see these old buildings kept up and used.

This is my mom Susie in high school. She also attended high school close to home, on the hill at Queen Anne High.

In the 1980's the high school was closed and sold. Fortunately, it was purchased by a friend that I graduated with and remodeled into nice Condo's.

Here is the entire building, which is a beautiful one, with a spectacular view. They did a wonderful job on the remodel.
My mom left Queen Anne when she married my dad in 1946 after the war. They left Seattle for a while ( I was born in Oregon), but then returned when dad got a job in banking there. While my brother and I were growing up, we spent a good deal of time on Queen Anne with Aunt Minnie and Uncle George. They had become my mom's surrogate parents, although she remained very close to all her brothers and sister. They adopted my mom when she was 27, so they would have a legal heir. Uncle George died at age 94 in 1964, and Aunt Minnie continued to live on in the house, as she had NO plans on ever leaving. After a few months of quick trips across the city to check on her, my parents decided to sell our house and move in with her. So in 1965, our family moved to the house on Queen Anne Hill. I'm quite sure that it was hard on mom again, to move in under Aunt Minnie, to a house that wasn't really hers. But they did take care of her there until her death in 1968.

Here is the house today, at 404 Comstock Place. When my Dad retired in 1980, they sold the house and moved to Oregon. They sold it to a friend who worked with Dad, and she still owns it. She has done a great job of restoring and maintaining it. My brother and I again had a good time walking around the house, and chatting with the neighbors. All three of the houses Will Parr built are still there and are worth more than $1,000,000 each. I think my Dad's old saying of 'location, location, location' proved correct in this case, and I can just imagine what Will and Minnie would think of that today.
Here is one of the views from the house. If you go to the left there is a view of Lake Union and the boats from our old dinning room. If you go to the right there is a view of Elliott Bay and the ferries crossing to Vashon Island from my old bedroom window. I used to love seeing the ferries at night all lit up on the water. If you look close enough you can even see Mt. Rainer in the background of the photo, although the smog keeps it from being clear nowadays.
Joe and I had a grand time viewing our old homes, schools and even mom's schools. We drove all around Queen Anne, which is a wonderful community all in it's own world, and relived a lot of old memories. What a great blessing it was.
When we finally headed home, it was late and Joe spotted one of his favorite hamburger joints, Kidd Valley. We enjoyed hamburgers, cheese fries and milkshakes (I think everyone I was with all week wanted hamburgers!) and it was so good to spend time, just the two of us.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Memory Lane Part II

After I had started the 6th grade, my parents decided to buy a new house on the outskirts of the Ballard area. This was quite a step up for them, from a wooden house to a brick home. It is larger than it looks as it has a full daylight basement. We moved here in 1961. The lot sizes were larger here, and there is a beautiful park-like yard with this house, which suited my Dad as he was the gardener in the family, and would work off stress when he came home in the evenings. Off to the right in the photo is a slope down to a little stream, and the slopes were beautifully landscaped with a little gravel path down. The house itself was interesting in that it had a 'new-fangled' heating system, with hot water pipes in the ceilings of the rooms. Dad didn't like it because the floors were always so cold. The bedrooms all had built in wooden beds and shelves and closets. We only stayed here for about 4 years, so I don't have too many memories. One special one though, is that I was baptised at church when I was 12, and we had a party in the basement here afterward. I remember it so clearly...and since I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was five, it's the baptism that has stayed with me and provided me assurance all these years.
This was the street corner we lived on. We also had a peek-a-boo view of Puget Sound that my Mom was thrilled with. Since Ballard was a primarily Scandinavian neighborhood in those years, we had Swedes and Norwegians all around us at home and at our new Church, Sunset Hill Baptist. I remember some wonderful holiday baking from them.

This was my new school, North Beach Elementary. It certainly lacked the charm of the old Bryant School! It was almost new in 1961. That's me out in front during my week in Seattle. On this day, I met up with an old friend of mine, Trina Hegge Patrick. When I moved here, her family was attending Sunset Hill Church and she lived only a few blocks away. So technically speaking, she is the friend I have known the longest (and greatly value the connection). We attended sixth grade together here, and so we drove to our old houses on this day and walked back to school just like we once did.

This is the view from the school...isn't it great? I have to admit though, that I don't remember valuing it at the time. Trina and I walked to the spots where we used to be on 'safety patrol', safely crossing the little ones across the street. This photo was taken from one of those spots.

This is Trina herself, a Norwegian whose Dad was a halibut fisherman in Alaska. She is standing in front of the trail we used to take to school from our neighborhood. We walked the old trail together for the first time in 46 years...and really had fun doing it and laughing about the good memories. Trina's lovely Mom passed away this past March, leaving behind her old home. Trina and her siblings are in the process of cleaning it out but it remains in the family for now. We spent the morning sitting on folding chairs in the big picture window of the house, which has a view similar to the one from the school. What a treat, after all these years to walk back into the house, basically unchanged, and re-live our memories and fun times. Later, we had a hamburger at an original drive-in in Seattle, 'Dick's'...and I got to see where Trina lives now and meet her two youngest children. Truly a memorable day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Walking Down Memory Lane

One of the things my brother and I did during my week in Seattle, was to visit old neighborhoods and schools. My parents first bought a home in West Seattle in 1951, but moved into a bigger house in 1953. The house below is how it looked when my parents bought it. Our address was 5040 38th Ave. NE. I was three when we moved here, and my brother was born in 1954 and came home to this house. (My Dad and I roasted hot dogs in the fireplace the day he was born, so I have always remembered it.) Now, here is the same house as it looks today, with my 55 year old brother out front.

The current owners have put in windows in the roof line, a very smart idea as I remember how hot those bedrooms were in the summer! This house is fairly close to the University of Washington on a very typical city block. We found a parking spot on the street and walked the whole block around, remembering neighborhood bike rides with all the neighbor kids, and fun games of hide-n-seek or tag we used to play through each other's yards.
Then we drove to the grade school we attended, Bryant School, and again got out and walked around the school and playgrounds. (Something you can do in the summer.) These old memories were lots of fun to remember together.

This is another view of the side of the school. The architecture of these beautiful old school buildings in the city are just wonderful, complete with street lamps. The windows above the bay alcove shows the class where I attended first grade. Every spring a seagull we nicknamed Gulliver would come back and live on the roof of that bay area. We would all bring leftovers from breakfast (his favorite was pancakes) to feed Gulliver...no wonder he came back every spring! I'm not sure how old seagulls live to be, but that same seagull came every year that I attended school there. I started kindergarten there at age five and stayed until I was eleven. My parents moved the year I started sixth grade, so we switched schools that year. Tomorrow I will show you our next school and house.
This trip was such fun to do with my brother, it will be a very special memory.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Farmer's Market Goodness

A few weeks back I went to the local farmer's market and came home with an amazing array of fresh produce. My kids were ecstatic and wanted to take a picture. Afterwards I thought it would be fun to post it here and then do a series of posts about the things that I made from all of it. The only trouble is that my camera broke part way through. So, I have a few pictures to share, but it isn't exactly what I had intended. Above we have: regular and rainbow carrots, beets, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, green onions, kale, fennel, leeks, apples, plums, peaches, pears, corn, cabbage, rhubarb, spinach, bell peppers, mixed salad greens, swiss chard and a huge head of celery. I love to cook and so these are the kinds of things I get pretty excited about.

A good deal of the produce was actually intended to become baby food. This is a mix of turnip, beets and carrots being boiled in preparation for puree.

Here is the actual puree, which although it tasted pretty good, didn't really compare with the enchiladas that the rest of us had for dinner.
This is one of my favorite meals. Very simple enchiladas with a a plain filling of chicken, cream cheese and onion, served with fresh salsa and homemade refried beans. I'm pretty sure that I'll be eating this in heaven.

The salsa was made from our homegrown tomatoes and red onions, along with the jalapeno from the market and cilantro from the store.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Underground Seattle

After my niece's wedding, the insurance man flew back home Sunday afternoon so he could work while I spent some time with my brother and sister-in-law.
My brother Joe and I decided to take an afternoon and do something we each had wanted to do for years...take an 'Underground Seattle' tour. Having grown up in Seattle we were interested in the history. My brother now lives in Lynnwood (a north suburb of Seattle) and rarely visits the city due to way too much traffic. We bravely tackled the freeway, and found a parking spot right on the old Seattle waterfront under the Alaskan Way Viaduct...just like old times. After walking just a few blocks we arrived at Pioneer Square, our destination spot. We paused to admire the Smith Tower, newly refurbished. This building was opened on July 4, 1914 and has 42 floors. At the time it was the 4th tallest building in the world, and it remained the tallest building west of the Mississippi for 50 years. It has survived three earthquakes. Of special interest to us however is the story that our Uncle George climbed the steel frame during construction to the top because of a 'dare'. Quite a feat!
Pioneer Square is constructed on the original mud flats of Puget Sound harbor. This was the early settlement and center of town for Seattle, known originally as Pioneer Place. A large fire leveled the whole area in 1889, and Seattle rebuilt on the site, but fixed several of it's earlier problems by regrading and building 'higher'.
Seattle hosted the Alaska Yukon Exposition (World's Fair) in 1909, and the above Victorian Pergola was constructed at Pioneer Square to welcome incoming dignitaries.
This is one of the buildings that was constructed after the fire...and reflects the architecture of the area, Romanesque. It is a really beautiful building, and is right next door to where we started our tour.
We found out that upon rebuilding Seattle, the city fathers decided to regrade the streets and raise them several feet. The building owners however objected to the cost of raising their buildings, so for a while a very strange situation existed. The doors into the buildings, along with the sidewalks, were much lower than the streets. Ladders on each street corner were used to climb up and down from street to store. It was a very unsafe situation, so ultimately the store owners agreed to have the streets and sidewalks level to their 2nd stories. The original bottom floor of each building was abandoned, and doors were built into the 2nd stories (now first stories). As it stands today, each building owns the old first level and each has done different things with that. Some have opened them up as basements for retail use, and one is used for a library. Most have just remained shut, but our tour has permission to enter three of these old first stories and that is what they mean by the 'Seattle Underground'. I am only including a few photos here, as they did not turn out that well. But I did think maybe my grandsons would enjoy seeing just a little of these old buildings.

Here is an original bathroom left untouched.

Natural light is provided by these skylights. These small panes of glass were installed in the sidewalks and are still in use today. If you look close you can see people walking on the glass. The glass then had a lot of magnesium in it, so the glass turned purple in the sun and looks beautiful both from the bottom and from the top when you are walking on it.

There was a bank building here originally. The men from the Alaska Gold Rush would come here to deposit their gold or cash. They needed to have a safe place to put it at all hours, so the bank had an outside vault deposit. It is marked here...
and shown here. They would open the bottom of this and put their gold or cash inside. Very wild west!
There was a real problem with Seattle's early water/sewer system. It was above ground in wooden pipes and the tides coming in and going out interfered with it. It just worked with gravity going downhill...but? Anyway, here is a sign from the original company, and then....

one of the wooden 'pipes' below that. I'm sorry that it turned out so blurry...but it is really interesting to see one of the original wooden 'pipes'. A lot of things were just thrown down into these newly formed basements, and a lot of old garbage is still around down there.

This is where we ended our tour, and the man in the blue print shirt was our very entertaining guide. Joe and I were both glad we did it, and we found out much more about the founding and building of Seattle than we knew before.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Saturday of the Seattle Trip

In July I took a week, and spent it in Seattle with my brother Joe and his family. While I was there I got to do a variety of fun things, with Joe and also re-connecting with some old and dear friends. I meant to post some photos on the blog, but just haven't had the time. Julie reminded me last week that she would still like to see some of the photos, so I am going to take the time to post a few blogs from the trip. The first thing we did upon arriving (and literally it was the first as we jumped from our car to my brothers pick-up who was waiting for us) and sped to my niece Emily's wedding. This is Emily and her new husband Brent Wheeler. They were married in the backyard of Brent's parents out in the country close to Lynnwood, Washington. Emily's mother-in-law had done such a nice job of getting the garden all pretty for the wedding. It was a beautiful day and a very nice summer wedding.
Emily made a beautiful July bride....

They used flowers from the garden, and were so vivid and pretty. I think both Emily and Brent had a very fun day. It was was a priviledge to be with my brother and sister-in-law at this special time. The good beginning of a wonderful week for me!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flavors of Fall...Apple Salad

Photograph by John O'Hagan, Victoria Magazine, Sept/Oct. 2009

I found this photo and it looked so good that I just had to try it out on our camping trip. I made a few modifications, but here is the general idea. This makes enough for 4 salads.

  • Slices of two cored apples (I tried two different varieties, one red and one green and both were delicious...and new apples from this years crop)
  • Chopped celery (The magazine recipe used curly lettuce or endive)
  • 1/2 C. halved red grapes
  • 1 C. Toasted pecans (I substituted Oregon hazelnuts)
  • Shavings of Asiago cheese (I substituted slivers of provolone for the cost)

Toss the apples, celery and grapes with 1/4 t. of salt and 1 t. of lemon juice. (I found I didn't need the lemon juice with fresh apples as they didn't turn brown.) Pile this mix on plates. Top with cheese and nuts. (The magazine recipe also added fresh dill on top and although that sounds good I didn't have any on hand this year.) Drizzle with dressing of choice. I used my all-time favorite 'Vermont Country Salad Dressing', and it was absolutely delicous!

For Julie, here's the recipe for the dressing:

  • 3 T. Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 t. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 C. Vegetable Oil of Choice (I use Safflower)
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • Sprinkle of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t. minced fresh garlic or 1/4 t. garlic powder

Julie, I would double this for your family, as it goes fast! I got this recipe from Nancy and it has been my favorite ever since. Fall produce, there's nothing quite like it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Purple Plums In a White Dish

I was fortunate enough to find these last plums at the farmer's market on Saturday. When I put them in this favorite antique white dish, I knew they had become the table centerpiece for a day or two. They looked so pretty!

Labor Day at Delintment Lake

*This blog is for Aunts Wilma and Elna, along with Julie....so you can see what we were busy doing over the week-end.

We packed up our trailer and pick-up and headed east to meet the insurance man's parents at Delintment Lake for a fun Labor Day Week-end. They left Burns on Friday morning, and were waiting for us when we got there about dinner time that evening. This is their 5th wheel camper. They thought we could both fit in one camp spot (and save money) but when we got there we realized that we could not both fit on the gravel area. The camp host very graciously let us have a spot across the road for no additional charge.

Dad and Mom came over to supervise the backing in and setting up of our trailer.

Here we are, all set up and ready for some relaxation. Why is it we celebrate 'Labor Day' with no work? This was the view of the lake from our trailer...pretty isn't it?

I had made up menus before we left, shopped and done most of the cooking ahead. I love this time of year with all the fresh produce available. I made up an apple, blackberry cobbler which lasted us all week-end, and was really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I also made up a zucchini chocolate cake for our daughter JoAnn to enjoy while we were gone, since she had to work. I had some zucchini from a friends garden since we are in a garden transition year, and this is our favorite way to use extra zucchini. I also made up some Cobb Salads for lunch one day...and Nancy if you are reading this, your lemon cucumbers were just delicious.

The insurance man does the breakfast cooking, if the breakfast is a heavy one...and here he is making up some sour dough pancakes from his Uncle Art's starter. Boy, they tasted good.

We enjoyed a variety of quiet pastimes, and took a walk around the lake with Dad and their dog 'Ami'. Some of the lake is surrounded by typical Eastern Oregon sage and bitter brush,
and some of it is marshy with reeds and grasses. This time of year was pretty brown and dry.

Along with the sagebrush are the juniper trees, and I thought the root system of this fallen juniper very intriguing. People make some very beautiful things from this gnarled wood.

There were also some beautiful ponderosa pines, a few of good size. I love the smell of the sun on the pines, and the sound of the breeze blowing through the needles.
There were a few wildflowers left, amidst the brown grass and twigs...

This was the common view on the north side of the lake...among the pines. There is a lot of dead wood down in the forest.
You can just see us walking along here can't you? A view from every side of the lake.

I found a few wild rose bushes next to the water...and the red spots are the rose hips. Pretty color against the water.

It was a pretty cold week-end so we didn't get to eat outside as much as we would have liked. But we did enjoy a couple of meals next to the firepit.

The insurance man brought along his 4-wheeler, and enjoyed several good rides into the surrounding Ochocco hills.

There is a small dock on the east side of the lake, and it almost always has a few people fishing. We didn't fish this trip, but we did walk around the lake every day, and Ami always enjoyed the outing.

Mom and I read, played scrabble and enjoyed a few indoors activities. I put some recent photos in an album, and she got to see all our summer pictures.

Hooray for campfires! They smell good, they cook the food, and they kept us warm! A very fun week-end, and we came home refreshed and blessed.