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Archive for July, 2013

Dear Readers,

In June, 1963 I graduated from Ursuline Academy in Louisville, Kentucky.  Three of my former classmates are organizing a 50 year reunion in October.  I share a particularly strong bond with one of these organizers as we were neighbors for 10 years.  Only two homes separated us on East Breckinridge Street.  We were born 10 days apart at St. Anthony’s Hospital in September, 1945.  She was baptized in St. Therese Church on the Sunday I was born.  Her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Schneider, was my next-door neighbor.  We attended four years of grade school together until her family moved from the neighborhood.  Luckily, we reconnected as freshmen at Ursuline Academy.

We are currently renewing an old friendship via e-mail.  She recently confessed that she was irked that she had forgotten a lot of details about our old neighborhood.  So I’m writing this post to refresh some memories for her and to give you, the readers, a slice of life on East Breckinridge Street during the 1950’s.

At the beginning of the block sat Seidenfaden’s Cafe, which we kids referred to as the “corner beer joint”.  It was an interesting establishment and I wrote about it in detail on the blog on July 23, 2010 in a post entitled “The Cranberry Man”.  (To read this post, just scroll down on the right margin to July, 2010 and look for post on July 20.)

My friend’s yard was the center of many neighborhood activities and since it had the biggest backyard, it was a natural place for kids to congregate to play.  And play we did – games like “peggy” a kind of softball, “red rover” and “hide-n-seek”.  The older boys, Danny, Lonnie and Joey would let us girls play when they felt benevolent.  I can remember wetting my pants as a 6 year old in my neighbor’s garage because of the excitement and anticipation of possibly being “found”!  If a ball from “peggy”sailed over the bordering fence, Mrs. Wahl never returned it.  She contended that we were making too much noise and that was just punishment for her inconvenience.  We also played “swing the statue” where someone (usually a boy) swung us around and wherever we landed, we had to freeze.  It was almost always an unusually awkward position.  The swinger was blindfolded and had to walk around and try to guess where and who we were.

The Connells’ yard served as our neighborhood park.  One minute it was a baseball diamond, the next a “jungle” where we climbed the trees to avoid the lions and tigers!  The yard sparkled on hot summer nights with flashing lights of fireflies while kids tried to capture them in a wide-mouth jar.  We always knew when to return home.  St. Therese Church bells tolled at noon for the Angelus and that was our cue to rush home for lunch (a bologna sandwich on white bread with mayo and potato chips).  At sunset the play stopped and we retreated to our upstairs un-air-conditioned bedrooms exhausted and ready to rest for another day of endless summer fun.

Well, Martha, I hope you enjoyed reliving these precious memories and that the rest of my readers have a better understanding of a kid’s life during the summers of the 50’s on East Breckinridge Street.  I will try to record more memories in the months to come.  In the meantime, be sure to

Keep smilin’!

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