11 July 2009

The Oroville House

Peter ('Unitman') has been so regularly correcting my errors (e.g. we appear to have had a television set in Bakersfield, which I do not remember at all) that I expect him to have a field day with this one. I note, however, that on his blog there are practically no posts at all, so I guess this underscores the old adage:

Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't be teachers are critics.

I expect to be told off about that, too :-)

The house in Oroville seems to me to have been very large - at least by modern standards. One's childhood memories exaggerate space and time, so no doubt it was not as huge as my memory makes it; it was, nevertheless, very big.

The builder seems to have had a bit of the neoclassical in mind. The house had two storeys. You approached it up a longish drive from the highway - perhaps 100 metres? - and the whole front of the house had a covered porch, with the cover held up by white cylindrical columns, with capitals and bases, Greek-style. The fairly large front door went into a wood (not carpeted - I think) entry way. Straight ahead is the stairway. To the right of the stairs is a hallway with a broom cupboard and the telephone.

I spent a fair bit of time in that broom cupboard, with that telephone. That was, you see, the way to get privacy with your telephone conversations. Take the 'phone - the cord barely reached - and go lie in the cupboard and talk to your mate or your girlfriend (with, I think, the danger of a brother or sister listening outside). Was there an extension in the house? I can't remember, but seem to think there was. Or was that because we had a party line?

Our first number was, I think, 1552-J. No dial. You lifted the receiver and the operator asked, "Number, please." We did have a party line, and we knew when the call was for us by - well, something in the pattern of rings. I don't remember what the pattern was.

I don't remember what family was on the same party line, either, but I do recall there was some fun connected with the fact of its being a party line.

Later we were converted to a dial telephone. Peter may recall the number. Hey! I think I remember the Bakersfield number, though! FAirview 5-3078. Is that right? Funny how these things stick.

And I am going to have to quit there. The house will take some describing. It had six bedrooms, living room, dining room, the room we called the 'television room,' kitchen; two bathrooms upstairs, one toilet downstairs. It was, indeed, quite a house.

Tomorrow (12 July) is Johnny's birthday. I wish I could be there to be with him. But Sue and I will be up visiting Eddie. Then next week, on Thursday the 16th, Susan is flying to Australia, to spend time with Helen and Robert up in Newcastle. I will be on leave, in order to do Susan's paper deliveries.

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