My old house

My old house is up for sale. It was a nice place to grow up; it seems to be nicer now. They have exposed hardwood, replaced appliances and updated the bathrooms. I would not mind living there again, if I lived in Milwaukee.

Always like the neighborhood. That also has improved some. There is some gentrification.
Look at the pictures of back yard. On your left is a basswood tree and on the right a silver maple. The basswood is fifty years old. I brought it back from the woods on College Avenue, then just a woods but now Cudahy Forest. It had only two leaves when I brought it home on my bike.

I loved that forest. I spent a lot of time walking around in it. It was a comfort when my mother got sick and died. It was across the street from my cousin Ray’s house, and I would often visit him and Carol, his wife.

Sorry to go off on such a tangent, but it brings back feelings of home and that is a joy to remember it. I am going to indulge myself. I invite readers down the path with me, but will not be surprised or troubled to walk alone.

It is a maple-basswood forest. Just about a half mile nearer Lake Michigan there are beech trees, but this forest is just far enough from the lake’s cloud shadow that beeches do not thrive. I have seen a few beech trees, but they are few and far between. Beech trees are common in Virginia and they range naturally from the Atlantic Ocean, through New York, Ohio and Michigan, but they stop in Wisconsin, with only a sliver hugging Lake Michigan by the time it gets to Milwaukee.

The story I heard about this woods was that it was a virgin forest. That is why and how I found it. The paper reported on a controversy that someone wanted to cut the trees down and make a parking lot for trucks. I wanted to see it for myself. I wrote a letter to the County to protest. I doubt anybody read it, but there were enough others complaining that the County acquired the land and made a park. I think it unlikely that this is a real virgin forest, in that never been cut, but it is a very old growth. Likely somebody used this as a woodland, for wood and hunting. The maple-basswood system is old succession; it took at least 100 years to reach that stage. The trees in it are old and the soil is deep. Maybe it is a virgin forest, at least parts never cleared.

Anyway, returning to the 50 years old tree in the picture. Consider how it still is not really that big. Some basswood trees in the Cudahy forest were much bigger. Imagine how old they must have been.

A few more additions form Memory Lane. Christine Matel Milewski might enjoy. Tony Dunigan, Dorothy Bozich & Barbara Levreault also lived in the house for a while. Our house and the two up hill were built at the same time. Our’s is different because the porch was taken up when my parents built the front room The siding is redwood, but they have painted it over now.

My parents contracted Banner Builder and I recall all the complaining. The foundation is made of cinder block. The first guy they had setting it up was literally moonlighting. He showed up at night and worked by lantern light. It was a crap job. My parents demanded a better job and they got it.

My father had the blue siding put on. He hired a couple of drunks. They did a good job when they were working but they were not working much. My father had a special place in his heart for drunks and kept them on. They finished the job okay and it is still holding up. I am not sure what year they did that, but it was before 1975 (I think).

I am sure that they updated the boiler. My father and grandfather built the old one with scavenged parts. It was very inefficient. It was built to burn coal, but it was converted to natural gas. I do not know how that works. I am sure that my father did not either, so it is good that he did not try to do that work himself. My father was a mechanic in the Army Air Corps during World War II. I always wondered about that, since his mechanical ability seemed something like mine.

My parents bought the house from my grandpa soon after they were married. I don’t know when grandpa bought it. Grandpa lived with my parents until he died, soon after I was born.
Anyway, nice to see the old house. It is 101 years old this year. Somebody in my family owned it for at least half that time.