Saturday, January 22, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History Week 4 - Homes

Week 4 Challenge: Home. Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?

Previously I wrote about the home I lived in between the ages of 5 and 10. I knew that my mother had lived in that house as a child and recent research showed that my mother's mother lived in the very same house when she was a youngster!

During the remaining years when I lived with my parents, we had two homes. I loved both of these houses because they were great party homes! All of our Lincoln homes were within one mile of each other because my Dad wanted to be within walking distance of his workplace.

This split-level home is where we moved to from Greenwood. This house was built in 1960. We moved there in 1961. The home's exterior was California redwood, which meant that the project of staining the wood was something that had to be done on a regular basis. The panels on the front were sort of a light rust color. My folks later painted those yellow.

In its day, this was really a modern house and was quite a showcase. It stood out because it didn't look like any of the other houses in the neighborhood. I remember that my folks paid $14,500 for this house. I bring that up because I just checked the current valuation information. The house sold for $193,000 in 2001, but when it was sold in 2007, it went for $72,000.

We lived here for five years and I have great memories of our time here. That's me waving from the stage, I mean, the deck. But it was my stage. Unfortunately, I could never sing worth a lick, but I knew all of the lyrics to Broadway musicals and Top 40 hits. I would take my record player outside, put my records on the turntable and lip-synch my way through my own productions. I would do about an hour show whether I had an audience or not. One Sunday afternoon I put on my performance of The Music Man (of course, I played all the characters) for my parents and grandparents. My grandpa Pete gave me $5, so I figured that a future in show business was inevitable. Ha!

We had great times here. Every weekend meant cooking outdoors on the grill (charcoal, not gas!). My parents entertained friends and relatives and I loved having my friends over to play or have parties. It was just two blocks from my school. This is the home I came to the Friday afternoon when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. This is the home where I heard the first chords of The Beatles' I Want To Hold Your Hand. This home absolutely represented what life was like in the early 1960s.

Here I am in our living room, posing, as always. I'm looking at the soundtrack from the film How the West Was Won. So this was probably late 1963 because after February of the following year, I would be holding nothing but a Beatles album. Those furnishings and accessories are so retro! It looks like Rob and Laura Petrie could have lived there. I'm sitting in front of our German made stereo. Mp3 players are really a lot easier to carry around.

I see a huge ashtray sitting on the end table. Both of my parents were smokers and I loathed (still do) cigarettes or smoking of any kind.

Here is the house today. Driving by, it no longer resembles the home I grew up in; it no longer has that WOW factor that it had 50 years ago. The California redwood exterior has been replaced with siding. The garage has been converted into living space and a carport has been added.

In December 1965, we moved from this house into a red brick ranch style home about a mile away. I don't remember the reason we moved, only that we did.

This photo of my parents in front of our home was taken in 1968. This is where we lived throughout my high school and college years.

This was a great party home as well. The basement was finished in knotty pine - very tres chic in the 60s! Friends and family would gather around the bar in the basement. Beer for the grownups and Coca-Cola for the kids.

This is where I lived when Bobby Kennedy was killed, when I graduated from high school and college, when Paul McCartney got married.

The basement rec room became a gathering and entertainment mecca. It was the site of the first meeting of the Lincoln Beatles' fan club one Saturday afternoon. I couldn't understand why Dad was so unglued when he first learned that the fan club was having a meeting in his home while listening to an announcement on the radio while driving home from his Saturday trip to the bank!

My folks liked to go out on weekends and when the bars closed, everyone would end up in our basement rec room.

One Saturday night, about 1 a.m., my folks woke me up to tell me that Tom Henry was downstairs sitting at our bar. At the time, Tom Henry was THE main anchorman at KMTV in Omaha. He was dating a woman one of my parents knew, they had run into them and the couple came over to our house to visit.

My folks told Tom that I was entering journalism school in the fall, so that's when they woke me up. I went downstairs - in my pajamas and robe, mind you - and spent the next several hours listening to Tom tell all of these wonderful stories about working in the real world of journalism. How many times do you wake up to find a news anchorman in your basement?

This house looks much the same as it did then. The shutters have been painted a different color, a new door graces the front and several years ago, the owners constructed a new garage. The last time it changed ownership was in 2009 for a selling price of $110,000. My parents paid a whopping $16,500 in 1965. This was my home until I left the nest after graduating from college.

I have such great memories of both of these homes. And as I think about it, it probably wasn't the structures that were so great. It was the loving environment and the great times that I associate with living in both places. I've taken many friends on the "drive by" of all of the places I've lived in Lincoln - these two have the most memories for me.

About 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Amy Coffin of We Tree Genealogy has created a third year of blogging prompts for genealogy bloggers.


  1. What a GREAT post! It brought back many memories of my childhood homes and what went on news-wise at the time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Mary. I'm glad my memories brought back some of your own!

  3. Nice post! Love the photos, especially the guitar pic. The knotty pine reminds me of my high school sweetheart's house. I have always loved the smell of that wood, but have never seen it in anyone else's house. I also love the pic of your grandmother in the header, Sina - what a pretty name :-)

  4. I love the "stage" - that looks like it could have been the setting for lots of fun for kids of all ages.

  5. Great easy to read interesting piece history well accounted.
    I looked this weekend for next topic, and didn't see it. where did you find it. I evidently am looking in the wrong place.

  6. Rootdigger: upcoming topics are listed on this page under Geneabloggers Events: