Some people, including me, get a feeling, an aura, or a vibe from houses. The house across the street from my boyhood home always had a warm and friendly vibe. It seemed to attract wonderful families and that house helped raised lots of kids, especially boys.
The homes on either side housed my two best buddies in grade school. But, there in the middle house was a succession of families that I knew or met over the past 65 years.
The first family I remember was the Lafayette Police Chief, Kenny Bowman. He was only there a few years until retiring and downsizing. When I was about 6 years old, I remember holding my mom’s hand, crossing the street and walking up those steps where Chief Bowman and his wife were sitting in their porch swing. Those of you who know my mom are nodding as you visualize her saying, “Hi Kenny, do you believe in “love thy neighbor.” Kenny smiled and told her he did. Mom calmly handed him her parking ticket. He smiled again, tore it up and put it in his shirt pocket.
The next family, the Holsts, was tall and slender. I thought the two teen age boys were over 7 feet tall. Years later I realized I was about a foot off. They owned a small grocery store with a great meat department at 15th and Union. I believe it was the first store in town I remember being called a “supermarket”, until Piggly Wiggly came to town. When Piggly Wiggly opened about a mile away, the Holsts “supermarket” didn’t last long. I don’t know where they moved. The tall boys were always nice to me and played baseball catch across the street.
Next, the Bush family moved in; 3 boys and a girl. They were great “across-the-street” neighbors to my mom and dad. As the children moved up to high school, they moved to the south side of town to a larger home.
About the time I moved a few blocks away to my own home, the Boes family moved in with a larger clan; 4 boys and 2 girls. The entire upstairs was converted to a boy’s dorm. If there are nicer people on this earth, I haven’t met them yet. They became close friends to my mom and dad and still stop and visit with mom.
Today, I met the newest family that has been there a couple of years. They have two teen-age boys, one who is graduating this weekend from high school. I delivered mom’s famous lemon cake with a graduation card. They were happy to meet mom’s “California” son and we had a nice chat.
We city-dwellers should all be so lucky to have warm wonderful neighbors for 65 years in the house across the street.