Thursday, August 06, 2009

i grew up in the north end

well, we lived there until i was nine. it was the proverbial melting pot. there were italians, poles, jews, catholics, protestants, hispanics, blacks, asians. really, MANY religions, MANY nationalities. we lived on clark street in a six family home my grandparents (mother's parents) owned. my grandparents lived next door in a one family home. my grandfather had a grape arbor, rhurbarb around his garage, peach trees, cherry trees (sweet and sour), apple trees (green and red) and plums. there may have been more, but i can't recall. he also had a wonderful flower garden (as did my father's parents in glastonbury. they had apple trees too, but mostly had garden vegetables. lots and lots of beans. all sorts of italian beans of all sorts of colors. my favorites were the white and red striped ones). the north end was a beautiful place. a place of wonder. the house i grew up in isn't there any more. the school i went to, st. michael's is. not sure it's still st. michael's though. i think some catholic workers live there or around there, so it just might still be catholic

anyway, this column by helen ubinas reminded me of my childhood:

Holding The Family Together

Mattie Laird bought her home at 643-645 Garden St. in 1968 — back when people could walk to nearby factory jobs, when rooted Jewish families still lived here and a home on the street went for just over $18 grand.

It was a fortune back then, of course.

But even after her husband left, Laird did whatever it took to hold onto the three-family home, juggling a job at the old Colt factory, another at a nursing home.

Always, two and three jobs to pay the bills and keep her children in the house that four generations still call home.

"Whatever I did, it was better than farm work in South Carolina," Laird said, laughing. "Now that was hard work."

Her daughter, Donna Yvette Jackman, still lives here.

As does her grandson, 19-year-old Clayton Jackman.

And her great-grandchildren, Chevaughn Robinson, 8, and Michael Robinson, 10.

pic: Four generations in the same house on Garden Street started with Mattie Laird, 71, center, when she bought her family home in 1968. With her are her daughter, Donna Yvette Jackman, at left, and her grandson, Clayton Jackman, right. Her two great-grandsons, who also live with her, are Chevaughn Robinson, 8, second from left, and Michael Robinson, 10, second from right. (RICK HARTFORD / HARTFORD COURANT / August 3, 2009)

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