On Nov. 18 of this year, when I opened the Gazette to page 6A, the first thing I saw was a decorated winding open staircase with beautiful Christmas decorations going from the floor to the top. Then, I noticed an inside door at the end of the hallway. Within a few seconds I was surprised because it looked exactly like our stairs on North Sandusky Street at the house my family lived in for five years from 1949 to 1953. It had to be it! That house has been in my memory ever since the day we moved there.
We had previously been living in a very small house on East Central Avenue. The Disbennett realty man knew there were eight of us living in that very small house, so he came to my dad and told him about a nice big house on North Sandusky that would be great for our whole family. And, he was right, so before we knew it, we were moving across the Central Avenue bridge to the north side of town. And that very nice open stairway was the first thing I liked about it.
As I looked at the picture, I thought I saw the same door to the underneath of the stairs, and that door leads to what looks like a small closet. We had a table that sat outside the wall that we called our “telephone table.” My claim to a quiet place in the house was to take the phone into that little open space, pull a string that turns on the light, shut the door, and sit on the floor to talk to my friends from school. Being that that happened back in 1949, I am happy to have that same “telephone table” in my living room today.
I can also see the door that led to the dining room and then on to the kitchen. Then late that night, I realized that it may not be where we lived those five years of my life. So, I phoned someone who I knew would be able to find out the address of the home. And, sadly, I learned that it was not from our home on North Sandusky, it was from a home on West Winter Street.
My reason for wanting to see that exact stairs again is my memory of something that lasted only for a few seconds just after we had put up our Christmas tree in our living room. It happened when it had just gotten dark, and I was upstairs, changing from my school clothes to my old clothes. I heard someone call me from downstairs that supper was ready. (At our house, when supper was ready, you better be there, before all the good stuff our mom had made was gone.) So, about halfway down, I saw one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. It was our living room. The only lights on were of our newly lit Christmas tree and from the brand-new TV set. Everyone else was out in the kitchen ready to eat. But I had to stop for those few seconds. I just stood there, on those stairs, looking at the beauty I had never seen before. Even the muffled voices from the kitchen sounded wonderful.
Both my parents and three of my sisters are gone now. But after all these many years, I can still see the beautifully lit living room and hear the muffled voices of all my family when I think of standing about halfway down that lovely open stairway. Both of my brothers have now seen the same picture in the Gazette, and both agreed with me and immediately said that has to have been taken from our wonderful home on North Sandusky Street some 75 years ago. I may have to check it out for myself.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.