Mother and Daddy bought the house at 2240 Hardin Drive when it was new in 1944. Mother had apparently wanted her own home with every fiber of her soul and she was so ecstatic to finally have her own home. Daddy had been having a very lucky streak in gambling and had won enough to pay cash for the house and to allow Mother the money to buy furniture, pictures, curtains, etc. Mother’s recollections are as follows: “2240 Hardin Drive, Donna was in kindergarten [at Creston Hills School]. We bought that house, gave $4200 for it. And after we moved in there, we put carpeting in the living room, dining room and the hall. And we put double car garage doors that went up. When we bought that place it had an orchard back there. I mean an orchard. We had a pear tree and 2 peach and apples — it seems to me like there were about 4 apple trees. And I made a garden. And there was a chicken house and I had some chickens behind the garage. [I can remember one of the roosters chasing me – it was a particularly mean chicken. Mother knew it was mean and it made her so angry that it tried to attack me that she wrung its neck and we had it for dinner.] And uh oh golly I had just everything in that garden. It wasn’t that big you know, nearly all of it was a garden, of course, there was a clothes line. And I had a ladder built for her so that she could… she loved to climb. And I had the ladder built so that she could look into her bedroom window. And I had furniture made for her, a cabinet and a bed big enough for her to get in, you know, with her dolls. And it had slats, you know, to hold it together. And I made the quilts and everything for it. And she’d get in that little bed and curl up. She was little. And oh, then I made… you see the bedroom, her bedroom [on the driveway side – last window] was great big and I had a daybed which was like a, well, you could fold it out and it would make a bed. It was like a divan really. And I built her a screen to put behind the divan and, oh, I made her a dresser out of 2 orange crates and made the skirt you know to go around it and I had a mirror cut – went to the glass place and had a mirror cut to put on top of that and a mirror to go behind it. And I had a barrel that nails come in and made a stool and covered that. Oh boy, I did everything in the world. You know she loved Crayolas and all behind this divan was her playhouse. And I went in there one day and she had written all over the wall. Kay asked ‘I bet you were not a very happy mommy at that time, were you?’ She replied ‘Well, there wasn’t very much you could do with it.’ But anyway, she had fun.”
There was a basement in that house – the entrance was through the closet in Mother and Daddy’s bedroom. Mother did the wash in the basement and that was where all my doll furniture was set up. I truly loved all that furniture and played with it a lot. In 1945, Daddy was caught cheating at cards/dominoes and the people he was playing with threatened to kill him. Mother and Daddy packed up in the middle of the night and we moved out (went to Gainesville, Texas). They gave all my doll furniture to Connie Nothrup, a daughter of her friends, Melvin and Evelyn Northrup. We came back to Oklahoma City once (that I remember) to visit with the Northrups and I was so happy to be reunited with MY doll furniture and Connie informed me in no uncertain terms it was HER doll furniture. I truly resented her and don’t know if we ever saw them again. The Northrup’s son, Lauren, died about 1944 of leukemia. I had known him during the time of his illness and the thought of leukemia was a deep fear in me until well into my adulthood. It symbolized to me the ultimate threat of death – much more than polio, although polio was probably the largest fear of adults.
[When I ran away with Jeannie when I was in high school, I ended up parking my car in front of the Northrup’s home – they lived someplace in the vicinity of 30th & Drexel at the time and it happened to be close to Harold Blevin’s mother’s boyfriend’s home. At some level, I hated to just desert my car and knowing it was in front of the home of someone I had known seemed reassuring.]
My bedroom window faced the house to the east of us; the bedroom on the west side of that house was occupied by a little boy. Mother said the two of us would often lie on our beds with the windows open and talk to one another.
I also remember sitting and playing quite often on the side/kitchen porch steps.
I had a collie dog while we lived on Hardin Drive. I don’t remember his name [Mother had always loved collies; she said they had one when she lived in Virginia]. Mother said he stayed with me constantly and I do remember a time when I was across the street and started to cross back to my yard; a car was coming and as I stepped into the street, the dog grabbed my hand with his mouth and held me back until it was safe to cross.
I was across the street one evening at dinner time. The little neighbor boy I played with had gone in to eat and I stayed in the back yard playing on some type of gym bar (it was probably attached to a swing set). I was showing off (he could see me through the dining room windows) by hanging by my heels. I slipped off the bar and fell to the ground, breaking my arm.
I also had my tonsils removed while we lived on Hardin Drive. Mother said she asked Dr. Harris what I would be able to eat and when it was appropriate to feed me. He said, “She’ll let you know when she’s able to eat. So, let her eat when she’s ready, but ice cream is soft and the cold will feel good.” Mother said when I got home I asked for an apple. She assumed I wouldn’t be able to eat it, but I did. Apparently I had no difficulties following the surgical procedure. Mother’s recollections of that time: “She had to have her tonsils taken out. She was the skinniest little thing, oh my goodness; and she was just so skinny and that Tommy would tease her every time he was home long enough to eat, you know. He would take her food from her and she’d cry. I told you about me throwing the milk bottle at him. We were eating dinner and he uh, every time we would sit down at the table, he would start teasing her and she wouldn’t eat. It would nearly kill me because she wouldn’t eat and she was so skinny. I had her milk and back in those days you had quart bottles and it was sitting by me and we were eating and he reached over and took her milk and put it behind something you know so she couldn’t reach it and she was crying. And I said ‘I want you to quit teasing her like that, I said, she doesn’t eat – leave her alone.'”
I got a December 2006 photo of the house off the Assessor’s website. It has white bars on all the windows and across the front porch. The website shows the house has been added on to in the back and is currently over 2,200 square feet. The garage has had a carpet added as well. They updated the house in 2006. There is no mention of the basement. Apparently the arch on the right side of the house has been removed.
See also: My Doll With Hair