Sunday, September 6, 2009

Memory Mondays~Little House in Mesa

There is a little house in Mesa at 41 West 9th Place. It sits on a huge lot (as they were in decades past) and is surrounded by mature pecan trees. It shares a drive way with the house next to it where the owner lived. Her name was Annie Malone, or Grandma Malone as we all called her. She wasn't my Grandma but belonged to my sister-in-law Susan. Grandma Malone lived in her 1930's era stucco home and rented out the little house for extra income, usually to family members of the newly wed variety. Susan and my brother Richard called it home when they married in 1972. They brought their first born child home to the little house a just over a year later and I was able to babysit for them there. I would sink into their big yellow beanbag chair and hold that little baby girl and imagine that someday I would have the same fun and joy...a cute little house and a sweet baby girl of my own! Just over 7 years later that dream became a reality.

In the winter of 1980 we were newly weds living in Flagstaff where Dee went to school at N.A.U. We were expecting our first baby and were so happy. Our goal was to save up enough money to make the move back to Provo, Utah where we had met and finish our degrees at Brigham Young University. When approached by his current boss with a business opportunity and the chance to make a lot of money it was decided that Dee would leave school for a short time and go to work in the Phoenix valley for this company. I was delighted by the idea that I would get to move "home" to my Mesa and give birth to our first child there.

It was small and nearly perfectly square like those green Monopoly houses! It had a tiny front room, an eating area, a cute vintage kitchen, one bedroom, and a 3/4 bath. We would set up the crib in what was an add-on room behind the bedroom. It might have been a lean-to if it had been leaning! It had a homemade closet sitting in it that I curtained with yellow gingham We could check on the baby by looking through the old back window from our bedroom but we could not use the back door because the crib sat in front of it. The house was freshly painted white inside and out and was very clean.

Me with Sarah before she was born, ca. February 1980. Look at my platform sandals!
Ah, winter in Mesa!

Those were sweet days. We set up our little house in the Mesa 1st Ward and settled into "winter" in Arizona (not like the Flagstaff one we left behind though!). I had fun taking Dee around and showing him where I had lived when I was growing up and where I had gone to school. The city cemetery was within view of our front yard and I took him there to show him where five generations of my family were laid to rest. It became most exciting as my March 15th due date approached. Baby showers were thrown and our gifts piled up. Our baby was taking up the majority of space in the little house!

To pass the time we would take walks around the block and visit Richard & Susan. They had television; we did not! We would all lounge around on their big water bed and watch the "better TV" in the house! Dee practiced being an Uncle for the first time and Tara, Brian, Brent, & little Lyndsey would pile on him every time he sat down! Brian and Brent would sometimes ride their bikes around to our little house and pay me a call during the day. One infamous visit consisted of us hearing the boys screams as they pedaled into the old driveway for all they were worth. "Unco Dee, save us!!!" We ran to the front porch and saw our nephews being chased by a large black lab who was just having fun! "Unco Dee! He's gonna eat us!!!" Dee went up to the beastly dog and shooed him away. He asked the boys if they wanted to come inside and they just begged to be taken home. They were too overcome with fear to enjoy themselves and there was no way they were riding home so Dee put their bikes in the back of his Datsun pickup truck and drove the sobbing boys home!

The little house saw our greatest joy together in our young marriage as we welcomed Sarah into the world on March 29, 1980. We learned to live on little sleep and much love for this perfect little soul as she taught us how to be parents daily. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on June 16th at the little table for four with my poor attempt at Cornish game hens and Sarah in her baby swing watching the party. We ate our wedding cake top and I must say, it was delicious even a year later!

Our first trials and sorrows together were also played out under that snug little roof. Just before Sarah was born the company that had been so promising folded and we were jobless. I watched my husband succumb to tears as he realized our situation. I learned just how much love and compassion I could reach in and pull out of my heart for him. He was able to find part time work at Daniel's Jewelers at Thomas Mall in Tempe. We were thankful but hungry. Sarah had come and we were living on faith and prayer. I will be forever grateful to my big brother for his insight and his closeness to the spirit. He called us one day out of the blue and after exchanging hellos he got right to the point. "Is there any meat in your freezer because we are cleaning ours out and wondered if you would like some." About an hour later he showed up at our door with a box full of beef and a $100 bill. Dee was stunned as it was placed in his hand. It was a Saturday and we knew that he had worked a "side job" all morning on his day off and brought us his pay. Yes, we had been living on bottled peaches, peanut butter, and crackers for about a week and our prayers had been answered.

In the front yard we watched Road Runners go up and down the street. We posed with our first baby on her first Sunday at church and her blessing day.
Sarah, 2 weeks old. First Sunday at Church, April 1980.

Sarah, Marianne, and Dee on Sarah's blessing day. That's Grandma Malone's house in the background and there is our carport where our brand new Maytag washer was hooked up with no fear of vandalism or theft!

In return for as very generous and cheap rent ($150 a month) Dee cut the grass for the two houses. In July Grandma M. decided to use some weed killer near the front fence. Little did she know she was also killing the new growth on those giant pecan trees! Dee learned the new definition of patience as he raked a gazillion dead leaves for days and days in the heat of July!

In Grandma Malone's backyard I hung our washing on the clothesline. Before the baby came she and her sister would watch me from the back windows of her house until one day they came scurrying out pulling a wheeled laundry cart with them. "My dear girl, please don't think we are being nosy but we are so worried about you! The way you bend over to get your clothes out of the basket on the ground...why you are going to wrap the cord around that baby's neck! Please use our cart from now on!" I thanked them and used it gratefully but more because of annoying back pain than fear of an old wives tale! They were so sweet! After Sarah was born I hung cloth diapers by the dozens every other day or so and they dried in the Mesa sunshine within 20 minutes!

By the end of July Dee had found full-time employment in Flagstaff so we decided to move north. I was glad that we would not struggle so much and our goal of finishing school would be realized. It was with sadness, however, that I left the little house on W. 9th Place. Tender memories, joy and sorrow, and a huge amount of living had happened there in just five short months.

I drove past the little house on my last visit to Mesa. It looked run down and sad. Grandma had long since passed away and the two homes had been sold. Is it true what they say? "You can't go home again"? I think that just means once you move on, things will never be just as they were. I have memories though, of a sweet time in a sweet place!Dee made me laugh! He had a cold and was freezing! I included this photo so you could see the little living room. Love the olive couch and the green carpet! Look at that awesome "mid-century" lamp! I didn't think it was so cute back then!

My adorable husband was always jumping out to snap surprise photos. I include this one not so you can see how annoyed I am with him but so you can see the darling little kitchen! I loved the glass door cabinets and the cute little shelves on either side of the vintage sink. Notice the harvest gold curtains and paper towels!!


URFAVE5 said...

That was so such a sweet post! Another one of my favorites! Your little house was darling. I love the kitchen and you and Dee are just adorable! I think you were about the cutest little pregnant gal I've ever seen!

Your little story of Brian and Brent and the Dog chasing them made me laugh because Brian has actually told me that story before.

What a great post. Thanks for Memory Monday again!

Sarah said...

What a great post Mom! I wish that I could remember that place but obviously I was way too young. And hey- you never know about those wives tales! I, for one, am grateful for the laundry cart whether it helped just with back pain or not! Love you!

Anonymous said...

This was such a great post, Marianne. I don't know how you remember all those details...maybe I've just been married too long but I can barely remember a thing about our early years. Cute stories...times were simple then, weren't they? Thanks for sharing the memories. P.S. It's fun to hear stories about Brent, makes us love him all the more.

Medina Family Blog said...

Marianne, you are such a talented writer! I hope you keep up with your memory Monday's, I love reading them and I'm sure your family does too.

Diana said...

It makes me happy to see the "newlywed" Dee an Marianne because I can 100% relate! Life is good right now, I should take some pics of our first place so that I don't forget what it's like...

Helen Ellsworth said...

Marrianne I took a few minutes to check some Blogs, something I haven't done for awhile. I really loved your Memory of the little house in Mesa... I too have memories of that time. How aboutthe night after Daddy and I got there from Idaho and I kept Sarah with me all night on your couch in the living room. How she ate all night long. Remember? We have had Chris home for a few hours now and he is having a ball Doing things he hasn't been able to for two years. Computer, Television, And right now the WII with Emily.
So good to have him Mom

Nancy Face said...

I enjoyed reading this so much! I just drove past that little house the other parents live further down the same street! :)