One day in 41, Pop & Mom bought a house at 683 W 11th which would be my home for the next 15 years. How they moved, I have no idea but I think I was in school at the time and was told to come to the new house when I got through with school.
This house had more memories for me than Mt Pleasant and it had 4 bedrooms, but with Pop & Mom in one, girls in another and Bill alone in the small baby one, that left 5 of us sleeping somewhere, and I can't recall, but who cared. Later on, I had my own sleeping area - Mom had a big chest that she kept extra blankets etc. We put a mattress on it and that was my bed for many years. That’s why I said I slept on a coffin in my younger years. My coffin area and the back bedroom had no heat at all, but we survived. We had an old furnace that had to be stoked every night and by morning it would just about be out so the rest of the house was as cold as the back rooms anyway. I don't think there was a fan for the furnace and the heat just rose by itself. Later Pop got a coal hamper and fan so that all we had to do was fill the hamper every day or night and it would feed the furnace automatically, the modern conveniences, but the ashes had to be taken out twice a day.
Every spring or when we got rain there was at least a foot of water in the basement, boots had to be put on to go in the basement. The rear room was mainly Mom's washing area where she had her washer and wringer and wash board. Nice weather clothes were hung out and the winter she used the basement to get the clothes dry. We also had a big back yard and a two car barn (garage). Pop had no car at all until the early 50's when he bought Paul’s used car. If he needed a car he would borrow Grandpa Andresen's.
If us kids needed to go anywhere we walked.
When we went to Grandma's Andresen's house who lived at 170 Kaufman we walked. When we went swimming at the pool out on the point, we walked. We walked everywhere, and it didn't hurt us a bit. Mom would give us 10-15 cents when we went swimming at the point pool, but quite a few times we would pocket the money and swim in the Peosta Channel which was on the south side of Garfield (now part of Industrial Park). This is where I almost drowned.
There was a row boat tied to a stump which we would take for a little ride. As I was wading out to the boat, it was a little to far for my reach. I figured 1 would take a mighty leap to the stump and hop on the boat. I did - and reached the stump, but the stump broke and I went down. Let me tell you that I was really surprised to be on the bottom of the Peosta Channel (this was before I could swim). The water was a light brown color, I thought I was gone. My Guardian Angel must have been with me as when I finally did come up, I was right next to the boat, which saved me. Soon after that I learned how to swim and never again was I ever in any drowning situation. In later years I swam the Mississippi 3 times (once both ways). Incidentally we did take the boat for a little ride.
Other places we used to swim in besides the pool and river was Catfish Creek and Browns Bottom (or any other place that had water). Catfish is located off of Fremont Ave. and Browns Bottom further out. Catfish had a nice hole by the railroad bridge. On one such trip to Brown's Bottom while we were hiking, Mary was along. We came to the creek and wanted to cross, Paul and I made it OK but Mary thought she may fall in so she took off her nice dress (she had a full slip under the dress). She attempted to throw it across but missed, her dress sank like a stone and we couldn't retrieve it. At Fremont Street we caught a bus to take us home (Mary still in her slip). Paul and I tried to make it look like we didn't know her as the bus driver kept looking at her in his mirror as if she was some kind of nut. Paul and I even got off the bus a couple of blocks ahead of her. Mary was sure a good sport throughout all of our adventures, and with 6 brothers, she was also a tom boy. She was born between me and John so with John sick often, she ran around with me on numerous occasions. It was no different than having another brother as I did in Paul’s case who was the other one I ran around with the most.