April 16, 1964 – A Journal Memory

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

Bar and Newsie
Bar and Newsie
Jackson
Jackson

 “Jackson saw a plump robin on the front lawn today and with the confidence of childhood announced:  ‘There’s a robin.  It’s spring!’  And I’ll have to agree with him that the miracle of spring has come to Maple Drive.  The sky is a pale clear blue, serving well as the background for tender green buds and leaflets appearing on so many of the trees.  Each lawn is the fresh green of spring and the gorgeous color compensates for the bare patches of earth.  Daffodils, dandelions and violets are blooming, and the tulips are budding.  The leaves of the iris are straight and sure and reassuring.  The temperature is 80 degrees this afternoon and the kids are wearing shorts and crop-tops, and Bar and his friend Danny are tossing a baseball.  Our dog Penny ran with great glee over newly-seeded lawns and through flower beds, and dug a foot-deep hole in the dusty patch beside the back porch.  Newsie and her friend Rosanne came in with nosegays of violets, dandelions and large leaves, picked in the hollow and carefully placed in a yellow plastic cup on the refrigerator.”

Precious memories of a spring almost 50 years ago.

Our First House – 1961 – A Journal Memory

4108 Maple-1961

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

In 1952, when my husband and I returned home from his brief stint in the Navy, my parents offered to let us rent the upstairs portion of their two-family house at the rate of $12/month (cheap, even in 1952).  By 1961, I had 3 children who were 6, 4 and 10 months – we had outgrown the apartment and were looking for an affordable house that was big enough to accommodate our growing family.  While the oldest girl was in school, I had been on numerous outings with the real estate agent, grasping the four-year-old by one hand and carrying a very heavy baby in a snowsuit on one hip.  Nothing we had seen was right for us.  Then, one February Saturday morning, an ad in the paper caught my eye – and we were on our way to our home on Maple Drive in the Oakley suburb of Cincinnati.

The picture and the following description are from the 1961 real estate flyer.  (Click on picture to enlarge.)

4108 Maple-1961-B

“If all goes well with the building and loan, I think we have finally started to buy our own home.  On a rainy Saturday morning, I looked through the ‘House for Sale’ ads quickly and suddenly ‘Oakley – $11,250’ leaped at me from the page.  I could hardly wait to call the real estate office, and was even more excited when I heard it described.  It was in a driving rainstorm that Frank, the three kids and I turned onto Maple Drive.  At once, I felt it was too good to be true – such a pretty, quiet, dead-end street, with well-kept homes.  Then we saw the number 4108.  ‘Oh, it’s a shingle!’ Frank said disgustedly, but then we noticed the shingle was only a small amount of trim on the gable and the rest was gleaming white frame.  There was a nice lawn in front and some short pine-like bushes close to the house.  Cement steps led up to a large front porch and on the small second-floor windows were green and white aluminum awnings.  A driveway at the side led to a two-car garage and in back was a small fenced yard, with more property going over the hill.

L. – February 26, 1961″

My parents had been so good to us and I hated to leave, but we needed more room and to have a house with a nice yard for the kids was just a dream come true.  We added another baby girl in 1970 and lived there for 21 years.

maple and lr curtains_0001

January 2, 1964 – A Journal Memory

3 kids-1964

3 kids-1964 (624x800)

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

In January, 1964, we were a family of five: mother, father, 9-year-old daughter Newsie, 7-year-old son Bar, and 3-year-old son Jackson.  We lived in a 1922 two-story home in the Oakley suburb of Cincinnati with a nice backyard for the kids to play in.  Jackson was prone to the croup and didn’t get to go out and play in the big snow that greeted us on the first day of January, 1964.

Maple Drive greeted 1964 wearing a thick blanket of white as seven inches of snow covered Cincinnati early on New Year’s Day.  The street is rutted deeply with tread marks and the cars are all wearing top-pieces of snow which occasionally tilt rakishly on the side as the sun grows warmer.  Most of the walks are neatly shoveled and salted so the kids troop gleefully across lawns and up the middle of the roads.  Our kids got an extra two days of vacation due to the snow and showed their appreciation by wallowing in it all day.  As a surprise for Jackson and me, Newsie and Bar fashioned a plump snowman with all the trimmings—limb arms, rock eyes and buttons, plaid scarf and Bar’s green leather cap.  Jackson can look through the dining room window and see friend snowman staring back at him from the yard, which is pocked with footmarks of various sizes.”

L – January 2, 1964

Jackson had six more years to be the baby before another daughter came along and I love to read in my notes where the two older children went out of their way to surprise and please their little brother.  Happy memories of almost 50 years ago.

Retro Coffeecake

This recipe goes back to my early days of marriage in 1952.  It came from either a Crisco or Sunbeam mixer cookbook (two of my favorite sources at that time) and I made it countless times.  The crumb topping is very sparse and light but is just right for the cake which is richer than most coffeecakes.  I have always called it my “best coffeecake”.

BEST COFFEECAKE

  • 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tblsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9″ baking pan.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place the shortening, sugar and egg.  Beat until light and fluffy.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour, and beating until well blended after each addition.

Pour into a greased and floured 9″ pan.  Sprinkle the following topping on the top of the cake:

TOPPING

  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. melted butter
  • 4 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tblsp. flour

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in the flour and mix well.  Crumble over the top of the unbaked cake.

Bake cake @ 400 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes, until cake tests done.

Cool for 10 minutes on a rack.  Cut into squares to serve while still warm.

In the early 1960s my husband and I were raising three children in a 1922 house on Maple Drive in Oakley (Cincinnati).

I used to bake this cake as a treat during the evening when we didn’t have money for snacks like potato chips and soft drink.   I would omit the crumb topping and after it was cool, frost it with some powdered sugar icing and sprinkle raisins on top.

ICING FOR TOP OF CAKE

  • 1 Tblsp. softened butter or margarine
  • 1 Tblsp. undiluted evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered or confectioners’ sugar
  • Dash of salt

Place all of the above ingredients in a mixer bowl and beat until smooth.  An additional drop or two of evaporated milk can be added gradually to make a good spreading consistency.  Frost top of cooled cake while still in the pan and sprinkle about 3 Tblsp. of raisins on top.

The three kids (age 2, 6 and 8), my husband and I would eat the entire cake that evening while watching television.