With the help of the G.I. Bill, my parents built this house in Lake Oswego, Oregon in 1946, after Dad returned from World War II.
There were two bedrooms upstairs, one for me and one for my great Aunt Edith who lived with us then. There was a large backyard where Mom grew vegetables and in the summers we set up a badminton game. Beyond the yard was a dense woods for me to play in.
I remember the day my Dad planted the hedge in front, telling me that someday the individual shrubs would grow together and look like one big plant. And so it does today.
When the house was built, Lake Oswego (then named Lake Grove), was a modest suburb of Portland populated by ordinary, middle-class people, many who were newcomers like my family, with young children and infants – the first of the baby boomers. When I visited Portland in the summer of 2007, my brother and I drove past the house. It was shocking.
The house, which in my childhood matched others in the neighborhood in general style and size, is the smallest on the street now, and shabby. The paint is peeling, the plantings are untrimmed and the lawn is overgrown with weeds. It almost looks abandoned.
It is surrounded these days by large McMansions that sell in the millions of dollars. I neglected to take a photo, but the house across the street - a small bungalow in the late 1940s where a playmate lived - has been replaced by a sprawling behemoth that is magnificent enough for a movie star.
No doubt my family’s little home, 60 years old now, will soon be replaced by something more grand.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Norm Jenson tells of an nearly forgotten catchphrase surprising resurrected in an elevator, in Good Night, Agnes.]