In 1955 my parents got a VA loan to buy a brand new home in ‘Belmont’. This was the first planned development in Pueblo, Colorado to provide housing for the influx of the Greatest Generation couples that were fueling the BABY BOOM. I have very distinct memories of trips to the lot that was staked out, the digging of the basement, and moving in to my own bedroom, complete with ‘Cowboy’ wallpaper. The smell of brand new permeates my six year old memories.
The house was a Cape Cod motif with knotty pine cabinets throughout. This particular street had 38 houses on one very long block. I can still tell you who the original occupants of each house were. My mom Pat, told me once that there were 92 kids living in those homes. On a mid summer’s evening the street was packed with kids playing ‘hide and seek’, ‘red rover’, ‘kick the can’, and ignore your parents “Come Home”!!!!
As the years moved on ‘1532’ became the hub of the wheel. Hospitality was my parents’ middle name. The place knew no strangers. My dad put in the best basketball backstop and hoop in our spacious driveway. Everybody was welcome to play at The Pumphrey slab. We had more than one NCAA player spend hours there.
When I returned home in the 70’s the back patio became the center for ‘patio therapy’, which often went until well after midnight. Oh yes, I forgot my dad also installed a back yard lighting system that allowed for volley ball, badminton, croquet, or general goofing. We had five fruit trees and on a good year I could grab a peach, apple, pear or plum, as I ran the Toro by them.
My kids talk about 1532 as their happy place. When their parents split in 1978, it was a place of stability, joy, and the smell of fresh baked everything, and my dad’s lounge chair— called The Throne.
Dad died in 2000 and Mom moved out two years later. We had an epic estate sale that went on three days. We filled a construction site dumpster, and gave away two truck loads of donations after dividing the ‘good stuff’ among a bunch of folks.
Last week I drove by 1532 and it looked loved and cared for. I saw a bike parked out front, and the basketball court was still there. I wondered if the crayon graffiti we left in the cubby holes upstairs was around.
I talked to my daughter Amy today about 1532. She said, “Funny you should bring it up. My children’s sermon is about it tomorrow. I was sure when we sold it, that it was gone forever. Not true,1532 lives within my heart and memories. It shares treasure that neither “moth nor rust” can destroy”.
There is nothing better than having your own child confirm your lives together.
Onward and Upward, Mark