This is the house my grandparents bought in Fon du Lac Wisconsin, in 1916. And where they raised six children including my Dad. My grandparents owned the house for over 60 years, until Grandpa entered Nazareth House, a Catholic retirement home in Janesville Wisconsin, and sold the house to pay for his care.
My father was 3 years old when the family moved into the house, and he lived there until he left for the University of Wisconsin in Madison. My grandfather was a railroad engineer, and he had the Milwaukee to Chicago line. At the end of his work week, he would “deadhead” back to Fon du Lac where he raised his family of six children. As a child, the impression I had of Fon du Lac was that it was perfect.
When my father and his siblings lived in the house, it white, not the bilious blue color you see in the photos.
After I grew up, while Marge was alive I visited Wisconsin almost every year. When David was with me, we would drive over to Fon du Lac from Sheboygan to place flowers on the graves of my grandparents. Sometimes we drove by the house which sits on the main thoroughfare. One time, my sister was with us and we took photos of ourselves standing before the house.
It might look ordinary, but even as a child, I knew this house was in a magical place. Today, you can find many Wiccans living in Fon du Lac, around Lake Winnebago and all over Wisconsin.
The house had four levels, including an attic filled with treasures and a cellar full of junk, providing many places to play ‘hide and seek.’ My sister, brother and I loved the house, bigger than our own back in NC. We laughed and yelled and ran through the many rooms, much to the consternation of Aunt Marge who lived with her parents at this time. Today, it amazes me to recall I was once small enough to put myself in the laundry chute and hide from my siblings.
My Dad collected stamps, and when he was a teenager, and my indulgent grandparents bought him a printing press which he used in the basement to produce a stamp collectors newsletter called Stamp Chatter. I don’t know anymore than that about his publication, because he never talked about it, although I did look through his albums of stamps many times.
Fifty years later my aunts still complained bitterly about how much money the family lost owing to Dad’s hobby. Apparently, they thought Dad was spoiled and selfish and the extravagance lavished on him by their parents in buying him a printing press led them to shortchange the girls.
My grandparents were not wealthy, so I suppose anything they spent on my Dad, the only boy, was not spent on the sisters. They were particularly bitter over Dad’s college education, which none of them but Aunt Marge received. Dad received some money from his parents for college, but my aunts forgot Dad worked his way through college. Aunt Marge used the VA bill following WWII to pay for her education. but my other aunts never received a higher education.