Saturday, August 9, 2014

Visiting My Home Town after 16 Years

My family recently had occasion to visit my home town of Great Bend, Kansas. I lived there from 1947-1986 and moved to Colorado in 1987. I returned to Great Bend at the time of my mother's death in 1997 and then again in 1998 to move my father to Colorado to live near me and my son. What I found when I returned to Great Bend in July pleasantly surprised me. It's a town a bit larger than where I currently reside, but the difference is like night and day, just as it was those many years ago.

It's a beautiful town. We commented many times over a period of three days how well manicured the landscaping was, how clean the properties appeared, showing evidence of great pride and hard work. Many businesses I was familiar with in the 1970s and 1980s are gone, but have been replaced by thriving businesses, updated and attractive stores, shopping strips, and modern enterprises. This is totally contrary to the town in which I currently live.

We took a half day to re-visit the homes we've previously lived in and photograph them.

When my brother and I were born, my parents bought a lot at 22nd and Jefferson and built this basement house. They were popular in the post-war days.
When my dad re-married in 1951, he and my step-mother Phyllis built this home above the basement house. The basement was then used as a rental.
During my high school years, this is the appearance of the house at 2201 Jefferson in Great Bend.
Upon our visit last month, we found the house has been very well taken care of.

This view above shows the south side of the house and the current version of the "side entrance" which was the front entrance of the basement house.

From 1949-1952 we lived in Hoisington, Kansas with our grandparents while our dad was a single parent. Grandpa and Grandma Margheim lived at 114 E. 6th St.
 In about 1950 Grandpa built two bedrooms onto the house as a second story:
And at the back of the lot was a garage and "shop" for tools and storage.
Upon our recent visit, we found the property sadly in disrepair. The garage blew away in the tornado of 2001. The neighbor told us the second story bedrooms have mold in them, so they are uninhabitable. The house, now a rental that has not been properly cared for, is currently unoccupied.
When I was married in 1971 my first husband and I purchased this little two bedroom brick home at 1435 21st.
In 1973 we moved to this larger 3 BR home with a full basement at 3713 23rd St.
After our son was born, we built this new home at Bissell's Pt. in Great Bend.
The appearance today is beautifully enhanced by the growth of all the landscaping on the lot.
Our trip down Memory Lane was perhaps the social highlight of our visit back to our hometown. We don't expect to have occasion to return, so we were grateful for this opportunity to revisit our familiar neighborhoods and reminisce with our grandchildren about our "Family's history".

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