Monday, October 1, 2007

30 West Street, Geneva, NY--By CB

The house we Taylor Kids grew up in was a large old house, paint long ago worn off, its inner workings (pipes) as old and cantankerous as the outside looked. The house itself was set near the road and was bordered by lots on either side as well as in back of it. Like a shabby well worn lady, tired, who’d settled down with her skirts all awry about her, she sat in the midst of empty lots. Upstairs the four bedrooms opened onto a large hall running from the front to the back of the house allowing for a front and back stairway. Downstairs, an entry hall opened into four rooms, parlor, living room, dining room and kitchen, all tied together by the marvelous stairways (we thought everyone had such a convenience!) Which allowed for grand games of “catch me if you can!” (Poor Mom!)

Way behind the house, a good 50-75 feet or so, sat the garage, one corner of which had been made into a chicken house. The hens had daytime access to a wired yard outside, but roosted each night in the garage. A side door leading into the area where the car was kept also held two large metal bins filled with chicken feed. Always one of us was responsible for feeding the chickens daily. This time it was Doris’ job, and she had forgotten to do it until after supper. It was fall, and when she remembered, it was dark outside.

“Come with me, CB,” she coaxed, “I’ll scratch your back 10 minutes tonight when we go to bed if you will.” (we shared a bed) Now I have to tell you that I was a real “scaredycat”, and walking all the way back to the garage in the dark even with a flashlight, was definitely not my thing, although I hesitated because I was terribly tempted. Usually to get my back scratched I’d have to scratch hers–and she was bigger than me and it took longer she always said, as she timed it.

Finally, I decided, “No, I think not, but I’ll stand by the back steps and wait for you while you go feed them.” Not able to persuade me differently, she scuffed off, making sure I’d wait for her outside by hollering “yoo hoo!” all the way down the driveway to which I’d have to answer “I’m here!” Then there was a pause and I heard the creak of the side door opening in the garage and the clang of the scoop against the metal bin.

Suddenly the night was rent with a blood curdling scream, and I saw what seemed to be an apparition appearing over the raspberry bushes between the garage and the back of the house. In one leap (honest!) she made the distance and slammed down beside me, grabbing my arm! “A rat–there was a rat on the step”– and we both ran into the house! No chickens were fed that night!

I'm sending 2 pictures-the one of the Taylor kids are from left to right, Arnon, Ruth, Esther, Doris, CB, Harold, Ethel in back. Picture taken 1936?
30 West Street, Geneva, NY taken from the south side 1942


Pat said...

Thanks, Ma! I feel like I was right there on the steps with you as Aunt Doris catapulted into both of us!!

Sue Kinsella said...

Wow, this is fantastic! I've never seen these pictures or heard these stories. I hope this is just the first installment of an ongoing saga. Thanks, Mom!

Julie Riber said...

Aunt CB, These pics are wonderful, and, as always, your accompanying comments simply take me there. Aunt Ruth's spotted dress was really quite the eye-catcher. What a great-looking bunch of kids. No wonder we all turned out so irresistable!

Aunt CB said...

Aunt Ruth's spotted dress she had sewn herself and was the very latest style--the coat-type thing is called a 'redingote'.

She made most of her clothes in those years.