Wednesday, October 08, 2008
The House My Mother Lived In, My Aunt Lives In, and I Will Live In (Maybe)
This is the house (on the right) my grandparents bought after living in an apartment for the first year after they'd moved to Staten Island from the Scandinavian wonderland that was 1930s downtown Brooklyn. My grandfather had the desire to own a home, Staten Island was cheap and he had a contact who was able to get him jobs. Eventually he ended up a carpenter for the Erie Lackawanna Railway repairing barges at the foot of Pelton Avenue. (Later he cut off his thumb, got fired, went into business for himself scraping and finishing floors and made a bundle of money off the Todt and Emerson Hill crowds.)
From this house he and my poor, deeply neurotic grandmother successfully raised four girls. They taught all four to work hard, look out for each other and always extend a hand to whomever they encountered (Apparently my grandmother was always opening the house to wandering relatives, Swedes, Norwegians and the occasional hobo. My mother claimed there were actual hobo signs scratched on the sidewalk, but then my late mother was given to false and fanciful memories at times).
One of my aunts still lives in the house and someday, God willing, in the far future, it will pass to me and I might live in it. The street it's on is a little too busy but it's a quiet neighborhood with a good deli nearby.