Our Married Life


As I look back I wonder if I was ready for marriage - ready to share. The very first day of our married life I was very upset with Wilbur for he put some of his things in my desk. From the time Dad made it and gave it to me that desk had belonged to me alone.

We were married on a Friday evening by Dr. Mark Matthews and I had wanted Dr. Bollen, the University Baptist pastor and my former speech teacher at Linfield. Wilbur won out for we did belong to the First Presbyterian Church and I was a choir member also. But on Saturday I persuaded Wilbur to go with me to the Bollen's and we had our picture taken with them!

We were married in The Manse on Harvard Avenue. Only my family and Frances and Howard Rosenquist were there. Afterwards Dad and Mother had refreshments for us - a wedding cake, I remember.

Our first apartment at 3731 University Way was on the second floor. Not too long after we moved in an apartment downstairs was available and it had both a private entrance and a private bath. It had no closet, just a huge wardrobe. In spite of its small size, we managed to squeeze in my new studio size piano.

Wilbur had bought a window cleaning business, which also included cleaning and polishing floors. This work had to be done after business hours so when he wasn't at the university library studying he was working. Two nights a week I taught at Business College. One night I came home to find the apartment filled with a huge dog that had followed Wilbur home from the campus. Since I had been bitten by a couple of dogs I wasn't fond of them. I very nearly ran home to Mother and Dad that night.

One day I did. I can laugh now, but then it was very serious. A fly kept bothering us while we were eating and finally Wilbur squashed him - yes, I mean SQUASHED - on the table. So back to 1324 Allen Place I trotted. But Dad wouldn't let me stay. In later years I would get angry because Wilbur refused to kill a fly or a spider, even huge ones.

We got married early in the Depression and businesses on the U Way felt it so much they even started to wash their own windows. Then I became pregnant and lost my job of teaching at the business college. Mrs. Snyder, my friend who taught shorthand, told us of an acquaintance on 33rd Ave North who needed to rent all but one room of her home. She liked us so we moved in with her. That was Viola's first home.

Wilbur tried to find work but as so many others, couldn't, as there was none. So he went to Yakima to pick apples leaving me with less than one dollar. We couldn't pay Mrs. Micken rent so a friend in the church choir, Mrs. House, offered us her upstairs at 230 W. Galer Ave on 99 Hill. That was a cold winter, snow and ice. One day I found Viola's bassinet covered with snow on the back porch. However, Viola was warm. There wasn't any heat except from floor registers so it was cold upstairs. One night we went out I put a hot water bottle in the bed so it would be warm. We got into the bed but just as quickly got out. The bottle had broken!

Wilbur started working at the Gas Company at night so we could afford to move. 4831 Fremont Avenue was our next stop. The house was so cute! It had a big kitchen, a small living room and a small bedroom, and a bathroom. We had a big coal range and when we first moved in Kenneth McKenzie's father (Kenneth & Wilbur were Friday Harbor friends) sent us a load of coal. The house was torn down several years ago, and an apartment building is in its place.

Our backyard was next to the backyard of a family named Rhoades. The husband, Clyde, had been laid off at Boeing's and he was working for Lockheed in Witchita, Kansas. Wilbur was working nights so Isobel and I would take our dinners and our three children to Woodland Park. She is the one who got me to drinking coffee, for she couldn't bear to throw it away.

Barbara Lou and Viola were the same age and Gloria (now spelled Glorya) was older. Our families became the best of friends and had so many plans for retirement but both Clyde and Isobel died of cancer. Glorya lives in Bellevue and we see each other periodically.

During the daytime Wilbur worked with a Mr. Richardson at the University Y. When he learned Verna was on the way he offered us his house at 3824 Bagley Avenue. His daughter and son-in-law were fixing it up and were prepared to move in but he preferred renting to us. So in the fall of 1933 we moved here, paying $25.00 a month.

The thermometer said freezing, and it was. We started a fire in the kitchen stove and the pipes in the wall burst. We started a fire in the fireplace and got smoked out. After a couple of days the pipes were fixed and we could have a fire!

What did we pay for things in 1928? Here's a sample from Wilbur's little account book:

9/12/1928 milk . 15 grapes . 15
  berries .25 hamburger .10
  tapioca .13 bacon .20
9/14/1928 fish .20 butter .52
  mayonnaise .29 sugar .45
  cabbage .05 beef steak .15
  letuce .05 chili powder .15
9/15/1928 milk .19 eskimo pie .05
  coffee .15 Coal 7.50
  meat .50  
9/17/1928 butter .53 bread .15
  eggs .55 bananas .15
  meat .45 mustard .15
  shredded wheat .13 pears .25
  meat .25 canned milk .25

Several years after we moved in, we decided we should pay more rent, so we voluntarily paid Mr. Richardson $35.00. When WWII began prices started to go up, rent as well as everything else. We knew Mr. Richardson could sell the house so we offered to buy it. He set the price at $3500, which we accepted. Who wouldn't?

Over the years we have made a few changes. The window seat in the dining room was taken out so we would have more room. There once was a built-in china closet on the wall away from the windows and there was a beamed ceiling and French doors from the dining room into the living room. I liked the doors, but with three children plus their friends, glass got broken. There were practically no kitchen cupboards so Wilbur and Vern remedied that. Where the breakfast bar is now there was a pantry and a cooler. For a time we had a table and benches there. Later, much later, I was told how easy it was to drop unwanted food out of the window.

So after living in nineteen different places in my first twenty-eight years, I have lived in this one home for fifty-nine years.

 

[In addition Gma requested and JA is looking for: Picture of desk, picture of Barbara Lou with curls, maybe also Clyde and Isobel.]

Comment by Viola Allan re Clyde and Isobel Rhodes, the good friends with whom Hazel and Wilbur had hoped to travel with during their retirement: Both the Rhoades died of lung cancer. They were heavy smokers. One day when Hazel was having trouble thinking of a present for Wilbur she mentioned to me, not really seriously, she was just frustrated at the moment, that she wished he smoked so she could buy something related to smoking. I thought that was a little far out for a reason for smoking.

Dedicated to Verna