Monday, May 17, 2010

1957 I Love You

It must have been something to build this stone house in 1957. Aunt Lena, you and Uncle Karl making a home on Tomaro family land in the southeast suburbs of Milwaukee. The City of Cudahy where your father paved roads and made a name for "The Son of Italy".

It's 2010 and your great nephew and niece-in-law are admiring the home you built. A master bedroom with an attached master bathroom. 4 bedrooms, 3 natural fireplaces, a fireplace in the garage no less. The garage opens to the attached sunroom. The downstairs bar on "garden level" has an escape door to the backyard just above. A true home for entertainment. I can picture you, Aunt Lena, calling your sisters Flossie, Grace, and Jo to join you on the sun porch. Maybe your radio is playing "That Will Be the Day" somewhere in the distance. It's a time to celebrate a new home and a promise of a new life. A time just before the day the music died. I'd like to think this modern home embraced the era of rock n roll. Then again, maybe not.

Lena if I could talk with you now I'd tell you that your home is beautiful. I'd tell you that your modern 1950's life is the vintage I covet. Did you realize that the 50's would symbolize a time of goodbye? Buddy Holly, Bye Bye Birdie, the War, and glass soda bottles spiraling away from days gone by? Did you realize that your marriage was ending, that this house would be a story in a photograph, and the word feminism would fall upon the lips of every American after 1964? Were you happy here, Lena? After the end of your marriage, your move to an apartment, did you sit back and think about your time as a housewife in Cudahy when American Bandstand played in the living room of the house with the only television on the block?

For now I will say goodbye to your home. I'll keep it in my file cabinet under "family history" and wish all the while I had the answers to my questions, the secrets that are buried in the house we want to buy.

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