Here are the stories tucked inside the right side pocket....
The House on Prospect Street…
The house at 704 Prospect Street in East Jordan, Michigan, has brought some youthful memories. It was painted white back in 1960 when my grandmother, Mary Shepperly Dolezel, lived there with my Uncle Cy. Her other children were scattered throughout Michigan in Flint, Royal Oak and Bay City so the summer visits were special.
She must have looked forward to our visits and filled the house with wonderful aromas of baking bread, fried cakes, and molasses cookies. Her meals were simple and based on her German heritage.
The grandchildren slept upstairs but never complained if it was too hot up there. One granddaughter was even able to play the old pump organ in the hall. Such wonderful sounds come from that musical instrument. I can’t remember exactly what it looked like but I can still hear the melodious chords.
A typical day at Grandma’s house usually included a trip to the Tourist Park just outside of the town. We’d spend hours digging in the sand and swimming in the southern arm of beautiful Lake Charlevoix. On occasion, the children were treated to a visit to the caged deer to give the animals a bit of dried corn.
We all knew that Grandma needed a break when she handed you a banana, told you to take it outside and eat it slowly. So then we would patter off to the Pray’s house to play with their girls and dig in their giant sand pile.
We were creative, inventive, and playful. Our grandma did not have to entertain us – she had the perfect environment to conjure up our own entertainment.
My grandma passed away in 1960 – I was only 9 so a lot of these memories are from stories retold by older siblings. Her funeral was near Halloween so after the ceremonies, when the sky turned dark, family friends helped us create some costumes to play trick-or-treat right in East Jordan.
I don’t remember going back to East Jordan as a child after her passing. I did return years later to see the house on Prospect Street and reminisce about times gone by.
Every time I have a banana, I think of Grandma Dolezel and “eat it slowly”.
Constance Dolezel Bolander
June 27, 2013... and another written by my sister....
June 28, 2010
Grandma Dolezel had a garden in her back yard, pretty far back from the wood shed, where I suppose she grew some vegetables, and where I know she grew rows of gladiolas. For the life of me, I have not been able to remember what color they were. It seems to me there were white ones, and some red ones, and for some reason I think some of them were variegated. But truthfully I don’t remember for sure what colors they REALLY were, only that there were quite a few, and she really loved them. Now whenever I see gladiolas I think of Grandma Dolezel and that patch of land behind her house.
From back there, you could see the hill we climbed one time to have picnic somewhere overlooking East Jordan. It seemed at the time to be very far off from where we “lived” with Grandma, but it was probably no more than half a mile away. If you walked off in the other direction from the garden, you would end up at the very wonderful sand pile! There we could play for hours at a time with any number of kitchen implements donated from Grandma’s well stocked kitchen. And some time during the day, Ellen Pray’s Grandma would come over and, if it was cold tell us we were dressed too warmly and, if it was hot tell us we needed to put a sweater on.
Over in front of the wood shed was a huge chestnut tree, on which Uncle Cy hung a rope swing. We have a picture of Christy on the swing as a tow-headed toddler. It stayed there for us to swing on until Grandma died. That and the martin house were the quiet places to which we were banished when our grandmother needed some quiet time; she’d send us outside with a banana, admonishing us to “eat it slowly”. I was a teenager before I figured out that there was no physiological reason why bananas had to be eaten slowly… the reason was that Grandma Dolezel wanted her grandchildren out of her hair for a while.
Written by Marjorie Dolezel Timmer