Having outlined, at least briefly, my father's family, and my mother's, I was trying to think, "Who's left out?"
Oh - us, I guess :-)
We lived at 221 South Chester Avenue:
But there was no enormous motorway crossing Chester Avenue at the time.
Bakersfield's population when I was a boy was slightly less than 30,000. I remember reading the sign as you entered the town - this must have been after the 1950 census - and I think it was something like 29,368. I am probably wrong about the '368' bit but I am pretty sure about the 29,000 part. Or maybe not. Maybe it was 10 times as large.
According to Wikipedia, Bakersfield's population at the beginning of 2008 was 328,692 - ten times as large - which astonishes me.
I don't know when my father and mother bought our house. Certainly I remember no other house in Bakersfield as a child, so I suppose they moved there before I was born.
My memories sometimes clash with those of my brother, so I will be interested to hear what he has to say about this. I recall the house as having some sort of plastered-on finish with tiny little sharp-edged stones, which you could pick out of the underlying plaster (tar, actually, I think). Did it have a front porch? I don't know. What I do remember, and am quite sure of, is the two great plane trees ('sycamores' we called them then, but I think 'plane' is the commoner name) in the front yard. I had the sort of bicycle that had no gears or hand-brakes. Instead, to brake it you pushed back on the pedals. Only my brakes were a bit worn and didn't stop the bicycle very much. So my favourite way of stopping was to ride onto the front lawn and jump off the bike, letting it crash into one of those trees.
Let me see - there was a driveway up the left side of the house, and a garage at the back. Behind the house there were two (I think) apricot trees - with a concreted patio that had lovely curving grooves in it that you could trace with your finger.
And a kind of garden shed, that was the scene of one my more memorable attempts at suicide. My father had tacked onto the back of this little shed a framework of laths, and had covered the whole thing with old curtains - tacked onto the laths. This was a playhouse for us.
One day - I do not know how old I was - eight, perhaps - we had managed, somehow, to get onto the roof of the shed. And there was this inviting cloth 'net' below us. Would it hold one, like a circus safety net, if one were to throw oneself onto it? Who among us would be the one to try the experimental approach to find the answer?
I suppose I cannot have been unconscious for long - perhaps not at all, just momentarily stunned when the wind was knocked out of me upon my hitting the ground. I do remember the distinctly hurt feelings I had when all those with me - was Peter one of them? - had scarpered the instant they saw that the 'safety net' had not worked, that I was lying on the ground - and that there might be adult trouble.
There were many opportunities for self-mutilation in that backyard. There was the time I tried to put out one of my eyes. But that will have to wait for next week.