I remember just as plain as it was yesterday, the first day of school. The shopping trips with mom to get my school clothes. The first outfit freshly ironed with my new shoes placed beside the clothes. Anticipation of what was the excitement about going to school. My parents were way more excited than I was. Fresh new bookbag as we called them then, BIG fat pencils, crayons and other things. Even had a lunch box.
We lived in Baltimore, MD off a main street called Gwynns Falls Parkway and we lived on Ko Ko Lane two blocks over from where one of my best friends lived on Braddish Avenue. During that time there were clean alleys and the style of the American neighborhood. I still remember that house as it had a box with a door on both sides where delivery items were placed. My own room that was just the right side and the memories both good and sad pass through my mind. The sad was when my grandmother died and I was mad with God to the point I threw the white crucifix and remember it sliding the floor. What is truly something was that I only saw her and remember one specific time. She lived down in South Baltimore and for a long time, the family had both houses and from my understanding there were really three houses in total. When I first saw her, as she was introduced to me by father, she was no taller than I or it seemed that way. I think now that I am a woman we may have been the same height or very close. Grandmother Diggs was a strong woman. Everyone in that part of South Baltimore [PigTown] knew everyone else. It was certainly family in that area. It was a time when if you were caught doing something you had no business doing, that parent could correct you. When your parents got home you had two more corrections to endure. It made us what we are today.
My grandmother Diggs cooked a lot. She loved to cook. There was a corner bar on the corner of Ward Street and Bayard or Bush street. I seem to twist those two streets around. During that time when the patrons in the bar got hungry, grandmother Diggs was ready with homemade cooking. At that time, that was really homemade cooking. Also, you got large plate portions of food. The price was right as well.
Talk about a fun house and it had a finished basement with a bar on one side, plenty of extra cabinets with the laundry room towards the back of the house. Had a bathroom as well. Even a laundry chute that went to the second floor. I still think they are the coolest things and every house should have one. One day in particular my brother and I where through down our weekly laundry down the chute and heard mom and dad talking. Dad was playing on his pool table while mom was washing clothes as I stuck my head into the chute. I looked down it as there was a piece of metal that was bent down, good thing too. This was one of my good ideas and practical joke. I had made my mother age about 10 years onto her life when I jumped up out of the receiving cylinder that held the clothes that feel down the chute for I had wrapped myself in several sheets and let myself fall down the chute. Penny, who was my copper penny colored cocker spaniel heard the loud thump and may had gotten a whiff of my scent in her nose started barking and jumping on the cylinder clothes hamper as I jumped up with the sheets covering me hollering loudly. Of course, my mother wanted to kill me after she found out it was me. I was the mechanically inclined child. If I looked at it long enough I knew how to work it. Especially remember when the “new” microwaves can on the market. My mother was reading the manual and I looked at pushed a couple of buttons and started it and she freaked out for a minute because she thought I had broke it. Then she asked me how did I get it to work. I understood that if I wanted to be safe, I had to leave out immediately…LOL.
My brother was not going to school at that time, he was very young. On the first school day, waking up very early, I did ask the question why so early. No one was going to be there. Yet, it was washing up and getting dressed then to have breakfast in the kitchen. Mom was busy in the kitchen doing a few things. Time had past and we were on our way. Mom drove me to school and getting out of the car looking at this building that seemed so huge and foreign. She walked me in and there were all these children with new clothes and shoes just like me. What was going on? We stood in line and remember going to this room where these little chairs and tables where. I met my teacher and her and mom talked…I saw a few of my friends so I thought it was a place you visited that would have entertainment during the program. My mom told me that she was leaving and of course I thought she was kidding, but I think my comfort came because my friends were there. Looking at my mother with sad eyes and concern, she assured me that everything was fine. My teacher showed me my desk. That desk seemed so big. Not remembering all that we did that day, however, I remember it was nap time and after we woke up or was awaken instructions were given to go to the restroom and return to our seats. This became the the pinnacle time of the day for the first day of school. The teacher passed out cartons of milk. We did not get a choice of chocolate or white milk. We just got milk! The other treat was graham crackers. The first time I ever tried them. Of course, I was looking for more.
That house indeed had many memories as while I am writing this blog, remembering days during summer playing. I look forward to sharing. As a grown woman in my early years, when I was living in one of the houses in South Baltimore, I was visiting my grandfather and went upstairs while I was up there, this small room seemed so familiar to me. As I looked at the old layers of wallpaper, there was a section of the wallpaper and I realized that it was my room when I was an infant up to a toddler possible. But I knew that wallpaper. I used to jump up and down in my crib and my grandmother thought it was the furnace. Back then furnaces made those types of noises. I will always remember my second home and my brothers first on Ko Ko Lane. And the house I later lived in on Ward Street as an infant to toddler and as a young woman, wife and mother with my children. However, the time came to leave KoKo Lane as later we moved to another place before going further up Gwynns Falls Parkway that took you through Windsor Mills to our last residence. That is where I spent the majority of life and the house I surely will always remember.
Mostly, reminiscing on first day of school, I still find myself drinking milk, but now it’s organic milk with Omega 3’s, who would have ever thought milk would have all this….wow. And still my all time favorite, graham crackers with a big bowl of strawberry ice cream.
Thank you for talking a walk down the old neighborhood.
- Why Every Home Needs a Laundry Chute (cultureblog.co.uk)
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- November 12 2013 Ironing (donnakwitham.wordpress.com)
- Laundry Chute! (jodietenicin.com)
- The advatages of using Wilkinson chutes doors (onlinechuteparts.wordpress.com)
- Art Therapy Helps Transform Lives Of Local Veterans In Charm City (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- The legacy of a grandmother.. (pichipicun.wordpress.com)
- Baltimore (chikpeablog.wordpress.com)