Friday, August 26, 2022

Back to the Fifties: The Grandpa Snazzy House

     I was three or four when Grams and Pop Pop moved from Monaca to 168 Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue, a borough in Allegheny County near Pittsburgh. There are not too many memories from that time frame. Following my fifth birthday in 1952, when we moved back to our Washington Drive house near Perrysville from Camp Carson, Colorado and Dad was serving in Korea, my memories do creep back.

     Spending time with my paternal grandparents was always a joy.  Whether it was simply an afternoon and evening for dinner or a weekend overnight, the time was always a welcoming, fun filled experience.

      Grams and Pop Pop's area in the apartment was huge.  I never realized that the house was an apartment.  Perhaps that is just the memory of a young elementary school kid.  I would love to wander through the space today.  

     Walking through the front door was a vestibule.  I remember there was a somewhat large oval framed picture on the wall.  Pop Pop once told me that the man in the picture was Grandpa Snazzy.   I now wonder if that strange looking man was actually a relation.  That picture seemed to loom over the vestibule watching the comings and goings of the family, hence, I always referred to 168 Lincoln Avenue as "the Grandpa Snazzy" house. 

The Hughes brothers as coal dealers in West Hartlepool, England.
I believe this photo was taken after John George Hughes had
immigrated to the states.  The two unidentified me are probably
Samuel Hughes and Thomas or William Hughes
     There was a door leading down to the basement where the coal was delivered and Pop Pop would shovel coal into the furnace.  Often I would accompany him into that dark, spooky area and help with the coal.  Little did I know then that Pop Pop would have been very familiar with coal and stoking a furnace.  His father, John George Hughes, along with his brothers, were coal dealers back in Hartlepool, England.    
Talk about craftsmanship. 
 Just look at that wood!

     There was a long winding dark wooden staircase leading up to the second floor where a bathroom, bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and large pantry were located.  In fact, there was also a dark wooden winding staircase leading up to the third floor, too.  You can imagine the fun Ken and I had running up and down all those stairs. 😁

     Once up the stairs there was a room to the right.  Great Grandma Hughes stayed there.  It always seemed dark and somewhat foreboding to me.  Beside that room to the right, at the hall, was the living room, next the dining room and then the kitchen.  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Grams.  There was a pantry attached, which provided me with many playful hours.  In those days, the women always hung out in the kitchen.  

J. Chein Tin Litho Wind-up Roller Coaster

     I do not remember many toys to play with at Grams and Pop Pop's; however, I do remember this one.  Ken and I would wind it up and send the little roller coasters down the ramps.

     There must have been a bathroom, or a powder room on that floor.  To the left of Great Grandma Hughes' room was another flight of winding wooden stairs leading to the bedrooms.

     There were three bedrooms, Aunt Faith's, where I would sleep.  She must have been at Wooster College then.  Uncle John's room, always empty.  He was either at the University of Michigan or playing in a band and traveling.  His room had a single metal bed with a blue and white stripped mattress.  Isn't it amazing what memories are stored in one's mind. 😉

     Then there was Grams and Pop Pop's room.  I spent time in there with Grams.  She would let me sort through her jewelry and try it on.  She even gave me a ring with a huge green stone, telling me it was an emerald.  Grams would brush and style my hair and let me use her Jergens hand lotion.  To this day, I love the aroma of it.


     Family Thanksgiving was always celebrated at Grams and Pop Pop's.  Sometimes the family visited on a weekend afternoon or it was just me spending the weekend or a few days in the summer by myself.  

     The streetcar line ran directly in front of their house taking passengers into Bellevue, Avalon,  Ben Avon and probably further down the Ohio River and through the North Side and into the City of Pittsburgh.  Very convenient for Grams who never drove a car and Pop Pop who could take public transportation to work.  Grams and I took the streetcar into Bellevue to grocery shop and occasionally into Pittsburgh.

     Grams and Pop Pop moved from the Grandpa Snazzy apartment circa 1956-1957.  They stayed in the borough of Bellevue and I continued to visit.  Treasured times spent with them, and in particular Grams, nurtured a close relationship which carried on until their deaths.   

     BTW.  I do not remember that Grandpa Snazzy moved to the new apartment with Grams and Pop Pop. 

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© 2022, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

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