Two Pictures and a Flood of Memories

Some people can look at an old black and white photo and see one or two things that are interesting. I usually fall into that camp. However, when I saw two old photographs of the inside of our home in Naperville, I saw dozens of interesting things. Most of the items in the picture are memories of Dad and Mom.

Mom and Her Birds and the First Picture

1950’s Mom with Jingles and George in our home in Naperville IL

We had two parakeets when we lived at 735 Parkside Road in Naperville Illinois. Although my mother was not fond of birds when the first one arrived in our home, she quickly grew attached to a light blue parakeet named Jingles. Jingles was a “pretty, pretty bird” and would even say so, because mom taught Jingles to say that. She also taught him to say, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Poopsie!” Jingles had a less than intelligent cohort – a light green parakeet named George. (Our grandson is named George, and he is intelligent, so it isn’t a name problem.)

The casual glance at this picture, however, reveals some other interesting items. There is a candy dish on the wrought iron coffee table. There are African Violets and cactus plants near the front window. The curtains were hand-made by my mom on her sewing machine. The bird cage was the home for Jingles and George, and mom always put newspaper on the bottom of the cage along with some fine gravel. There are books on the bookshelf because our parents wanted us to be educated. I remember that they bought an encyclopedia set that we often used when we were doing our homework.

We did not have central air conditioning, but we did have a window air conditioner. This was an important appliance because my dad suffered from “hay fever” and asthma. However, dad’s allergies never stopped him from doing fun things with his sons – he just kept going, even if he had to wear a mask at times to help keep the allergens out of his lungs.

The Second Picture and our Black & White Television

Notice the B&W television, the bunk beds, the cuckoo clock and the little chairs in the bedroom.

If you examine the second picture you will see the other side of the living room in our small four-room home. There was no basement. The bathroom was a tiny place for a bath, toilet and a sink. Russell and I had a bedroom with bunkbeds. You can see the fake wagon wheel end of the beds through the open door in this picture.

In our bedroom you can also see two small chairs. Both of those chairs are still in our home today. It is somewhat amazing that the many years of Wayne, Russell, Claude, Sharon, Matthew, Elisabeth, Violet, Mia, Noelle, Charlie, Henry, and George have rocked away in the little rocking chair. It is no longer as strong as it was, but it still rocks. Here are two pictures in a slideshow to see them today.

On the wall is the cuckoo clock we still have as well. It was purchased my mom in 1949 and it keeps time and does the cuckoo sounds on the half hour and on the hour. It is a constant reminder of my mom’s care for me during all the years we were growing up.

The chair and desk remind me that doing our homework was not an optional task. We were expected to do our best in school. On the desk is my mom’s sewing basket, a reminder of the socks she repaired, the shirts she made, and the many creative toys she made for us as well. She even made us special cowboy outfits using shiny oil cloth. We were the best dressed cowhands in the neighborhood.

Watching Television

We did not watch much television. The tube was small and the picture, as I recall, wasn’t much to look at. But we did watch some cartoons on Saturday morning. As a family we would watch Dragnet, Gunsmoke, Jack Benny and sometimes the Three Stooges. But we were never bored. Dad made a sandbox. We were usually outside until it got dark in the summer. In the winter we would be outside making snow forts and having fun with our neighborhood friends.

Two little pictures. A flood of good memories of parents who loved us and gave us so much more than just a home with things. They gave us love in a thousand little ways.