86th Avenue: New Digs

January 26, 2015 by

The last post, on stairs, was published in April 2014. It’s no longer April — nor 2014. We moved on July 3, 2014, and spent the rest of the year unpacking boxes, fixing, and upgrading our new post-WWII house to live in — hoping for a good long stay here, at least as long as SE Main.

We’ve left our grand old Portland four-square, built in 1900, for a somewhat less elegant but a whole lot more liveable place:




This house is 49 years younger than SE Main and a number of years younger than ourselves. And although we went through great groanings and moanings getting it updated and fixed as we wanted it, by November or so we were pleased with the results. Read the rest of this entry »

Downsizing: Homage to stairs

April 30, 2014 by


We are downsizing. That is, we are moving out of our beloved century-old monster of a house (really just a comfortable old four-square hip-roofed full-basement three-stories-high place) into something with fewer stairs.

The stairs in this house are like the stairs from houses of my entire growing- up years as well as most of our married life.

The stairs to the second floor here have two landings, one big with a big window, the other just a few steps up, off the entry foyer. The basement steps have one landing, which turns, goes on down, and ends in concrete. No attic steps here, just a pull-down ladder that is truly impassable for one of my age and size. Outside, both the front and back porch have steps and there are steps off the street that lead to the stairs up to the porches.



The front walkway to the house, the first steps to be maneuvered — the construction bits are from the renovation of the front wrap-around porch

Anyway, we must escape the stairs. We hadn’t thought this would happen. Not to us.

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On the occasion of Jer’s 21st Birthday

March 7, 2014 by

Going through boxes of memorabilia, I found these two cards, given on the occasion of Jer’s 21st birthday:

From Grandma Ruth Underwood:


Message inside:


And from Jer’s Mother and Dad:


Message inside:


Lest you wax eloquent about the joys of the good old days, consider this anecdote: a few years later, when Jer showed up at his brother’s wedding with a beard, his grandmother took him aside and read him the riot act (i.e. she gave him hell). And when he said to her, “But grandma, you said ‘to thine own self be true'” there was a serious question about whether she would smack him or walk pointedly away. She chose the latter. His mother, who felt the family honor besmirched, merely broke into tears.

I myself would allow as how he fulfilled all the rules, just not in the way they envisioned. Be warned, those of you with small children.

New Analysis of Hockney’s Drawings

March 4, 2014 by

On Ragged Cloth Cafe, one of my old haunts.




Notions: Letter from Mom, Jan 17, 1974

March 3, 2014 by

From Ann Oechler, [June’s Mom] Thursday Jan. 17, ’74. The reference to oil and gasoline at the end is probably a reference to the shortages at that time, with lines at gas stations, etc.

Dear June, Jerry, & Jan, Cats, kittens, Rats, and mice, cockroaches and cooties–

I could spend the next two pages — trying to explain — apologize and condone my neglect of all youse — Please understand that you aren’t the only ones. My poor Christmas turkey is still languishing in the freezer –!

Here’s a rundown on what’s been going on — Al [Mom’s older brother] came in alone Dec. 19th — we saw all 2 of his kids Sunday evening. Mon. he took Blazer [car] and saw friends in WMsport — I put up Xmas tree and walked down town — for nothing — just looking for Christmas? Christmas day Al & I got up, poked around and started out — to the Wyants [daughter, son-in-law, 3 grand-children] — all was joy & excitement — ate a bit of turkey etc. Carol had dinner like I’ve been having, Nothing served — but lots to eat. We left there and went to Pine. The O. Jr’s [son, daughter-in-law, 3 grandchildren] had a beautiful tree & mostly everything they wished for — warm –well fed and happy. Took off for Betty’s [niece], spent a couple of hours. Over to Doris’ [Betty’s sister]– they had a fine Christmas then home & bed. Wed we went to Wmsport to Mary’s [daughter] for a couple of hours. then down town to pick up Al’s big suitcase (he came by bus and it got sidetracked someplace). Saw May [Mom and Uncle Al’s sister] and home. Friday Al and I went to camp [Cedar Pines, 35 miles up winding country road] — there an hr. and a call from Carol rushed us back to Avis — Al came too so that he could keep the Blazer. Jonathan Michael Wyant arrived at 4:45 — 1/2 hr after admittance. From then on I stayed in Avis. Sun AM Denise got up with the mumps and Grammy [Mom] was busy [she was taking care of Carol’s other three children]. New year’s eve. Chip [Carol’s husband] & I celebrated by taking down Christmas Tree etc. etc. Tues we cleaned house (mostly Chip did). Al came down from Camp and ate saurkraut and went to visit his kids. Wed. Carol came home — Al & Carl [Dad] up there for supper and then home — I stayed in Avis of course — Thurs Carl took AL to bus at midnight — took him 20 hrs to get home (due to snow, etc) Sat A.M. I went to camp and cooked our noon meal in my Christmas present — an electronic oven — it’s a fabulous gadget and if I ever get to use it right –?– I’m going to like it. Sun. noon I was on my way to Avis — Chip had to go to work and I didn’t want Carol heaving “2 ton tessy” (Denise [Carol and Chip’s toddler]) around just yet. — Mon back home & a usual week (Carol’s & home sog-out). Then Piper (Bangor Putnam, Chris Craft) cracked down — Carl started working 12 hr days (7 t0 7) — a bit much but Finn Estelick is working right beside him so —-. On Sat Jan 12th Denise went into the hospital with an infected gland in her neck. So I cooked Sun. dinner (noon) in my oven — a big flop after such a big success the first try — and ran for Avis to keep kids [two older one and new-born] while Carol went to see Denise (Chip worked). Since then I’ve taken down my sick-looking tree & decorations — cleaning a bit and going up each evening to keep Carol’s kids while she goes to see Denise each evening. Chip goes down for a half hour in the afternoon before he goes to work. Denise is having a ball — her infection has tapered off. It never did bother her much but it refuses to dissipate completely and they’re keeping her there –expecting it to flare up again — meanwhile the nurses are spoiling her — she’s so _dear_ no one can help it and they’re not too busy at present. They’re feeding her too much — which is worrying Carol — she tend to be fat (is fat) and will eat on and on– so they feed her on and on!

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