The basement apartment in Des Moines, Iowa (1959); the Washington Street Apartment (Joe and Tim show up 1961 and 1963); 1310 York Street, just two houses down from Grandma and Grandpa Baker; then the beloved 1723 York Street across the alley from Nancy Lydon (Tami and Danny are born, 1965 and 1966); the Jersey Ridge Road house in Davenport (1971); then the brand new house we built at 5506 North Howell (1972); the corner parsonage in Cedar Rapids (1973); a parsonage right next to the church in Robert, Louisiana (1975); Finally – 4995 ROOSEVELT PLACE IN GARY (1977) – the last of the houses where we all, Ross-the-Boss, Mrs. Moss and all the Little Landers, dwelled together before leaving the sweet (Glen Park C of G parsonage) nest my parents had provided the 7 of us…
“I’ve been around the world and as a matter of fact”*
Dave and I have lived in a few places (Minot, ND; Kokomo, IN; Sioux City, IA; Norfolk, NE; Denver-forever), different houses. And my parents have been all over since I left their home, too (Hobart, IN; Willard, OH; Richmond, IN; St Joe-MO; Butte, MT; Springfield, MO; back to St Joe-MO). I visited my parents in their current digs in Saint Joe early in the year. The house they are living in? Not home. No. But my parents? Wherever they land, is kinda home to parts of me. I always need to know where they are and what their house looks like so I will know the space my heart is rambling about in. Mom and dad are the fixed stars in my sky. LOVE them!
God, it seems you’ve been our home forever; long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God. Psalms
“Goin’ back to Indiana” ~ The Jackson 5
While we were at the Moslander Family Reunion last week in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, us old-timers took a late-afternoon, impromptu drive through the old neighborhoods; saw places we had worked and schools we’d attended and the house we called home. It is all the same, but so different. The huge mountain spruce in the fron yard at 4995 Roosevelt Place, trimmed to above roofline and barely clinging to life now, was once a full, thick, green privacy wall between the house and street. There are pictures there of my brothers in their graduation attire and even my babies running on the lawn from way back when. The juniper has all been removed in favor of more manageable potted flora. The dings Tim and my other brothers put into the side of the house playing baseball in the 70’s are still there, a testament to long summer days spent with a bat and ball in hand.
And we actually were just a few blocks from the Jackson family home in Gary, Indiana, btw!
The streets of Gary used to be positively frightening during business hours, the traffic heavier than the city had prepared for. The business district I used to drive is nearly a ghost town. Boarded up windows and abandoned buildings everywhere, yet minutes away, there are still quiet neighborhoods with established lawns and trees. You can buy a beautiful brick bungalow for $15,000 (the for sale signs made of cardboard and black marker) there on an empty street. The same would cost 1.3 million in Denver.
“Who says you can’t go home again?” ~ Bon Jovi*
Surprisingly, standing there in the old yard, looking at the house in conjunction with neighboring homes and recalling old times and people from the past, it didn’t seem smaller. Often you’ll return to a childhood haunt and you’ll just feel like, “Wow-this seems so small now.” But that wasn’t the case at the Roosevelt Street house, the last home we all shared under one roof, the place my kids remember going to see Grandma and Grandpa Moslander. It really didn’t seem smaller.
It just seemed like: wow-how did this house ever hold all the life and loud love and laughter and memory and family and patio swimming in a 12-foot pool and Uno, all the huge bags full of 19-cent White Castle burgers after church ball games, or Bronco’s Pizza with 5 pounds of melted, dripping, greasy cheese, and church friends and Lake-effect wind and graduations and marriages and teen-agers and letter writing and boyfriends and girlfriends and Lake-effect snow and family altar and family feuds and kids and toys and books and WGN afternoon movies with our first color TV, first jobs and rusted out cars and Tip Top and Bible study and early morning prayer and first grandchildren and the first few spouses and all the rest of living that the Moslander family brought to it?
How on earth did this modest house on this unicorporated county street handle all that?
And it yet stands as a testament.
The Moslanders were here June 1977 – Spring 1990. And again in June 27, 2011. We were here.
* LOVE Bon Jovi’s song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abzbVFuxigg