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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What fun to see all the places you lived in Seattle and take a trip down your memory lane. Looking forward to our trip to Seattle soon.