114 Beaumont Drive as it is today. At the time I am speaking of in this writing, there were no trees. And hardly any houses! It was a kids dream to move to an area were there was construction work going on. An irresistible force to a young boy.
It was in the middle of the school year and second grade in 1962. I could not wait for school to be over. Remember this was the first year at a new school. I did not have many friends yet. It was a period of adjustment. I still missed my old school and my friends. My best friend Greg would come over from time to time. That was grand. But it never lasted long enough. I also sorely missed my old stomping grounds. Then came good news that made my heart leap! My mother was tired of Lakeview. It was not what she expected it to be. Also it was discovered that the big old house had termites. And the furnace was on the way out. With all the troubles with the old house it became clear. It was to become the deal breaker for my dad. So the search was on for a new place. For one reason or the other, my parents decided to build a new house instead of buying an existing house. Maybe it was the termite problem thst was a negative factor. Also I think they were tired of old appliances and the like. They wanted to modernize!
One evening my parents and I sat down at the kitchen table and had a family talk. We did this often. They made me part of the decision making process in all things. We had gone to different locations with a tape measure and measured out lots. They considered lake front property. The lakes were to far away from work. They considered going out to the country. Again too far from work. They considered the distance to the Kellogg plant where the both were employed. And location too I suppose. Maybe mom was tired of “city life”? Dad had raised chickens before and I think he did not want to do that again. So scratch the country idea. Then dad said to me something that brought great joy to my heart. They asked me what would I think of moving back to Wattles Park. “What would I think’? I said. “What would I think’!!?? That would be great” I bellowed! “That would be so great!!” My heart leapt with joy. I could hardly believe it! So it was decided that the best move would be back to the Wattles Park area. We were moving back to Wattles Park! Back to old school and friends. Life was good!
The black line is a line from the old house on Jono to the new one on Beaumont. Well within walking distance.
The lot where construction took place was at 114 Beaumont Drive Battle Creek Michigan to be exact. The road looped back in on itself. No outlet. This was a brand new subdivision just off of Wattles road. The location was in walking distance of my old home on Jono Road. Now school really dragged on and on for me. I could not wait for it to be over and to start a new school year after a glorious Summer!
Construction of the new house continued through the school year of 1962-1963. Every few days we would visit the site to watch the progress made. Very very interesting to a young boy of 7. First the huge hole dug for the basement. Then the cement blocks for the basement walls, and the pouring of cement for the floor. Then the digging of the well and the rest of the construction. The new house was built from cement, block and wood. A one story home with a basement, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Most modest homes back then had only 1 bath as apposed to the time of this writing, where almost everyone has at least 2 baths. And a fireplace. A basement with an oil furnace, a large sink and a black and white tile floor. Not as big of a yard as the one on Jono road but nice enough. Every couple of days we would drive out and look. Little by little the house took shape and neared completion.
The days dragged on and on and at last the last day of school arrived. It was a happy day. I would not be returning to this school in the fall. However, I did make a few friends at school. I was sorry I would not see them in the fall. We said our goodbyes and I walked to the student pickup area as dad had told me in the morning that he would pick me up. This was a bit odd, as I always walked to school. Rain or shine. Sleet or snow.
I saw dad’s car parked at the curb ahead and ran ahead and got in. “Hi dad” I said. “Hi Jim” he said. “I have a surprise for you!” My ears perked up! “You do?” “Yes I do. How would you like to spend the night in our new home? Mother and I signed all the papers today while you were in school. We brought out a few necessities. Mattresses, pillows, some food for breakfast.” “Yes yes” I exclaimed. So off we went. We pulled up to the new house and entered. Bare wood floors and no furniture but for a couple of folding chairs and a card table. I was in heaven! I went outside and looked up st the sky. The sun was setting. In Michigan the twilight lasts a long time. Up to 9 O’clock. I listened to the crickets and creatures of the night waking up. A peace settled over me that is very hard to explain. A warm feeling of security and belonging. The air had a sweet sweet smell to it. I took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. I smiled and turned to go back inside and join my parents for a board game at the card table. It was so so good to be back home.