Some of the homes my father built started filling up with families as the 60's continued. And boys, lots of boys,,or girls too young to play with. I liked the boys well enough and I knew what to do with boys having all my brothers,,,we'd play "kick the can" or "frozen statue," do stunts on our bikes on the newly paved asphalt of our cul de sac, or we'd head to the Creek and look for big bull frogs or cute little green tree frogs and the occasional garter snake. I'd head back home soaked through to the bone-dirty and wet and change my clothes for the umpteenth time. I always seemed to have wet feet and my little cotton anklets-now all stretched out, would scrunch down inside my shoes.
But other than those girls in my classrooms during the first years of school, girls seemed to be in short supply. Then came the Appleseth's. My father said he'd sold the house across the street from us (across the street) to a family with 6 kids that were from Minnesota. "Were there girls, I'd asked?" He wasn't sure.
So, shy thing that I was NOT, I stood on the blacktop next to their drive and watched them unload their possessions-odd antiques and loads of matresses and I tried to figure out who, or rather WHAT was moving in. There were boys, older, younger. Girls older, younger and finally someone my own size AND a girl! Jeannie, and I knew she'd become my fast and best friend.
The Appleseth's settled quickly into their new home. In fact Mr. and Mrs. Appleseth seemed to do everything quickly. Jean, the mother was always rushing about while at home in her housecoat (I'd never seen one before) and in her perpetual rollers issuing orders (I'd never seen those either, my mother had her hair "done" every Saturday at her hairdresser, Fran's.) But mother Jean rushed around in a kindly manner. And Mr. Appleseth appeared to be gone quite a bit. There was a household, yes, but also a business to be run!
And run it all did, and at weird hours of the night. It was not uncommon to hear the vaccumn running close to midnight or the kids making sandwiches with white bread-white bread? At odd hours. This was truly a new and foreign land,,and yet exciting.
I soon learned that the family ran a cafeteria above the Medical Dental Building in Downtown Everett,North of Alderwood Manor. It was an important cafeteria in it's day, serving meals for professionals along Colby as well as families with appointments and business in Everett. Everett was in it's hay day in the 60's. With all the new development in the Snohomish County area timber production and shipping was going strong. The Paper Mills were doing well and there was also the shipping trade to provide these products to the Nation and abroad. Prosperous and busy indeed!
There were no Malls in those days. Colby Avenue, where their building was located was populated by prosperous clothing stores, jewelers, stationery's, and of course, Woolworth's and JC Penney's. Everett, being the County seat was and actually still is the epicenter of local legalities and legislation.
That said, the Appleseth's were hopping. If the kids weren't in school, they were helping out in the Cafeteria. Washing dishes, cleaning tables, stocking stainless bins of spaghetti, turkey, green beans, you name it-under the heat lamps and tray warmers! And the establishment had a state of the art Ice Cream Machine where you could make your own cone or sundae.
Somewhere in the process I became the 7th Appleseth kid. Me and me alone. There were no other friends or neighbors or classmates involved in their family dynamics, just me. And I loved it! I'd go with the kids to help in the Cafeteria, I learned to wash dishes just like the rest of them in cav ernous stainless steel sinks with hot water sprayers and conveyor belts. We'd work hard on the weekends and be rewarded with lunch and the ice cream the ice cream! Or anything else your heart desired for helping out. I was in heaven to be part of this wonderful family.
In the 60's, everything pretty well stopped on Sundays. And I think even more so in Washington state and other states that had what were later appropriated Blue Laws. You couldn't buy meat, dairy or seafood in the Grocery stores on Sundays. Nor could you buy beer or wine. And most businesses were closed. As was the Appleseth's dining establishment. In fact Colby Avenue generally a hub of activity itself, darned near rolled up it's sidewalks on Sundays,,,,it was a ghost town. But the bells from local churches rang strong and loud.
Sunday's meant family and church and rest/play time. For me Sunday still meant getting up early-military style and having one of my dad's tremendous southern style breakfasts but then donning a dress either handmade or store bought by my mother and,,,,in those days, often heading off to the Lutheran Church with the Appleseth's.
My mom always encouraged me to attend church, and at times that meant the Community church with her, because she thought it was "good for me." but then again, she was just as happy to let me go off with our dear neighbors and get a little bit of Jesus with the Norwegians and stay home and iron, bake,read, sew, whatever before her new work week began.
So,,Me and the Appleseth's? Or should I say the Appleseth's and I? At any rate, we'd often stay for cookies and Kool-aid,,again, a foreign substance in my household where we either drank water, whole milk or juice. But after church socialities would wind down I'd head out with the Appleseth's in their light blue Ford family station wagon with Jeannie and her family (If we were lucky we'd get to sit in the rear facing seat, although we'd have to share it with her baby sister Jan or younger brother Jeff.)
Jan was sweet, and was truly babied by all for many reasons. She had severe bouts of childhood arthritis which would send her off to Children's hospital in Seattle for tests and treatment, and on several occaisions, I was in attendence.
But generally, after church, off we'd go,,,to the Seattle Aquarium on the Waterfront or the "Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe" to look at shrunken heads and have our fortune told for a penny from the Gypsy in the glass case. Or we'd all head off somewhere for hamburgers or the "Bakers Dozen" of glazed Donuts.
Some afternoons,after Church, we'd just go back home and listen to records and sing to folk records songs such as "If I had a Hammer" or we'd make a simple lunch. Or we'd all gather the other kids in the neighborhood for some sort of outdoor game...it was always great fun and I even enjoyed helping with family chores, because they were my extended family.
I remember when their Grandmother came to visit from Minnesota. She talked funny,,,she'd say like, Min-a-sota with this funny kind of lilt. And to this day,,,I still periodically say "Uf Dah." It seemed to cover so many explitives so eloquently. Jeannie didn't like her Grandmother's visit much, saying that her older sisters were too busy and she had extra chores to do while her Grandmother was there. She wanted to run away. And I decided to go with her. for emotional support . .
We went down to the Creek under the blackberry brambles where several of the local older boys had managed to provide a roof using various chunks of siding and sheetrock and we hid under the canopy. I sat with Jeannie and let her talk & cry. She was my best friend and I loved her family and her Grandma and I didn't want her to work hard, but I couldn't understand. And yet I stayed with her and thought about where we would go and what we would do,, , right up until I saw the furniture truck pull in across the street at my house that started to unload my new bedroom furniture. I had to go.
This furniture was like something out of a dream. I'd seen it on a shopping trip with my mother and had fallen in love with it. My mother ended up purchasing it out of her own salary to surprise and treat me. I apologized to Jeannie and said I had to go home.
I worried about Jeannie and her Grandmother though and I wondered where she would go, and how long it would be until she could see my new bedroom set?
So, I got my new wonderful furniture and Jeannie went back home later that day, and soon, we were in her front yard with the door open and the hi-fi cranked up, singing Beatles songs together. I have a picture of that day,,,and I hope to find it and scan it to my sidebar soon. We both wore long crocheted vests in lavander and berets to match.
Noneless, without the photo, it is a memory I have burned into my cornea.
There were other major memories of the Appleseth's-mostly involving my brother. They eventually had these cute little Spitz dogs....Kind of like a Pomeranian,,,but pure white and slightly bigger. One year,,close to Easter, my brother Ross(again let me remind you 10 years older than me) dyed one of the purebred dogs Green. He only got caught because shortly thereafter I was dyeing the Easter eggs in the old fashioned way of using Vinegar and Food Coloring that I noticed that all the Green was missing. I asked mom about it and he was caught in the act. Poor little Lady was green for months!
And another time. I must have been 10 or so, and had gone through confirmation as a Lutheran and Christmas was upon us. And my brother SWORE that I peaked at the gift he had for me, and I simply turned to him and said, "Lutheran's don't lie." I swear,,,,,Some 40 years later he still brings that up at family holiday functions. "Lutherans don't lie." And I SWEAR I never peaked!
Lots of great memories there. Great family. And I was so lucky to be part of it all in my childhood! I will never forget........
Where are you now, Jeannie? I tried to find you on the internet,,,,or any of you 6. Thank you for making me the 7th Appleseth. I will never forget!
(hopefully soon, I will learn how to better scan photos and add them to my sidebars!!!