Thursday, February 21, 2013

West 8th Street Years

Me and cousin Terry, obviously collecting beer bottles,
 while  I played tight-rope walker!  Not sure whose house
this was, not Sander Street.  Likely Aunt Clara's or
Aunt Dot's on West 8th.

While things could be crazy at my house when I was a kid, I was and still am thankful for my Dad's family, the Deans, who always picked up the pieces and put my life back together and gave me some wonderful memories.    I remember both of my aunts living on West 8th Street during most of my childhood, one on one side and the other right across the street. 

Aunt Clara and Uncle Ray's house on the left
Aunt Dot and Uncle Bill's on the right

I stayed a while at one house and then carried my bag across the street to spend time at the other house.  Aunt Dot taught me how to cook and iron shirts.  Uncle Bill wore white dress shirts to work every day, and they had to be ironed, so she set the ironing board up in the living room and I got to getting those white shirts ironed and hung on hangers.  I didn't realize it was work.

Then across the street at Aunt Clara's I also cooked.  She taught me how to make chili for the first time.  She sewed on the old treadle sewing machine she inherited from Grandma, and she liked to take in her own clothes to fit me.  She taught me how to apply make up and style my hair.  

I played with my younger cousins and did some junior babysitting too.

Aunt Clara with baby Tommy, her first child.

A few years later, Tommy on the far right.  From left, Billy, Ruthie, and Marylou.
Billy and Marylou were Aunt Dot's first two children.  Ruthie was Tommy's
younger sister.

1950s Dean Cousins:  
From Left:  Cathy, Marylou, Susan, Ruthie with arm around little sister Jeanie, Linda, and Billy.
Cathy and Linda are Uncle Norb's children, and so is Terry, pictured above with me
Aunt Dot's Susan is new to this photo

An early photo of Uncle Ray, Aunt Clara's husband
with Grandma in the background

Aunt Dot holding Susan, to right Marylou and Billy
Party at our house on Sander Street
My First Communion -- Uncle Ray in foreground with
hand on my sister Donna's head

Especially fun in my Dean family were the parties.  Oh, how the Deans liked to party.  Besides celebrating every Catholic traditional milestone with table loads of food and buckets of cold soft drinks, commercial sized cans of potato chips and pretzels, and the ever popular beer, they also celebrated New Years in grand style.

This is an early photo of a Dean Party.  From left: Uncle Ray and Aunt Clara,
Aunt Janice and Uncle "Junior," either dating or newlyweds, Aunt Dot
holding baby-pobably Billy, Grandma with my laid-back father's arm around her and
his other hand on his beer.  Foreground left Marylou, right looks like Ruthie?

This had to be taken in Grandma's attic apartment on McMillan Avenue.  Look at the tiny windows.
And I think Uncle Junior is wearing his army shirt.  I can barely see a patch on one arm.  If so, he
and Aunt Janice are still dating.

 Someone said something funny!  Grandma with Marylou and Ruthie on lap,
Aunt Dot with probably baby Billy, Aunt Clara and Uncle Ray laughing,
Uncle Junior and Aunt Janice, definitely still dating, and Tommy in front.

And I love this one!
Grandma, Aunt Clara, Uncle Ray, and Aunt Dot!

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