I love road trips. Fortunately so do Mark and Holly. Even better? Mark likes driving so Holly and I get to sightsee. One of our trips when I was in Northlandia was to drive to Quincy to search for our grandparent's homes. They had 2 of them while we three boys were growing up.
Sycamore House in the '50's
Back when we were toddlers this place was fairly close to an implement dealership that had astroturf out front. That was a time before it became commercially viable so it was always a must see. My grandfather, Leonard Westlake, had transferred to Quincy from Ponemah and bought this house on Sycamore Street.
The trip down seemed quite long, still does, but we had landmarks along the way: the Great River Road, the riverboat Addie Mae, the power plant near Hamilton.
The garage was on the lower level of the house. In the above picture, the driveway curled down and to the left where the garage was, much like where the basement would be.
Sycamore House Today
Today much has been replaced but is still quite recognizable. New siding and windows but the narrow glass next tot he front door remains and structurally everything is familiar. The major change is that there is now a garage and one must imagine that the old garage underneath the house is now a finished basement.
Rutledge Place in 60's
Sometime in the 60's Leonard "Dick" and Mona would move to this place close to what was then the city's high school. It used to be #9 Rutledge Place, but time and new housing has changed it to 3039 Rutledge Place.
Since kids would walk through his yard to get to school Dick would hide in the garage and toss firecrackers at them. Standing in the back yard you could also see a drive-in theater toward the east. Mona would die in the home from a cerebral hemorrhage and Dick would live another 20 years here before heading up and living in a nursing home in Aledo.
I have that table behind us in this picture. It is officially called a game table with 2 leaves that are hinged. As you can see here, Mona has one leaf leaning against the wall. You can also see Dick with his ever present cigar.
Both homes smelled heavily of cigar smoke. It was an era when men smoked cigars and most wives smoked menthol cigarettes. Mona didn't. She was never real healthy, having had cancer as a younger lady and beat it. She was almost always in an apron, and busy. Busy not only in the home but busy socially, too. Dick, meanwhile, was content watching the Cubs on TV and smoking his cigars.
The houses are there as are the memories. But the owners, those two wonderful people, left a long time ago.