Houses I Have Lived In

Mickey Paulson Aranki
May 6 2010 00:35

Houses I Have Lived In



Mickey Aranki - Sep 16, 1999  


 The first house I remember is the duplex house shared by my parents and my grandmother Mamie Eaves Paulson and her sister Bertie Eaves Dean.   The address was 3712 Parrott in Waco, Texas.

There are so many things I remember about that house, from the wallpaper in the kitchen to the red climbing rosebush in front.   When we moved in my mom was only nineteen, my dad twenty-four.   My sister, Cynthia Gayle was born and passed away here. My brothers Stephen and Danny were born while we lived there.

The house needed lots of work when they bought it, I remember my parents doing re-modeling work. Dad was going to Electronics school and working at night.   Nanny (our name for Mamie) and Aunt Bertie both worked at a laundry. Somehow dad managed to get a television set, the first in the neighborhood. I can't remember a time without the T.V., one of my earliest memories is the big globe turning at the beginning of "As the World Turns".

Times were different then, we didn't have air-conditioning, I don't even remember box fans when I was growing up - yet mom cooked and baked every day.   I remember the old fashioned gas stove in the kitchen in Nanny & Aunt Bertie's side of the house; it must have been made in the '30's.

Lots of nights we would sit outside, sometimes friends would stop by to visit and we kids would have great games of hide-and-go-seek in the dark. We would catch "lightening bugs' and put them in jars to make lamps. Sometimes we would just sit and watch for falling stars.

The best times were when family came to visit for a few days.   Mom would outdo herself cooking, and we would get special treats like homemade ice cream.   I learned if I was still and quiet that I could get to listen to the grown-ups talk, I learned to love family history back then.

One of the best memories is of me and Stephen sitting on the front porch waiting for Dad and Nanny & Aunt Bertie to get home from work.   Fridays were the best because they would always bring home some little treat for us, maybe a coloring book or some modeling clay.   Then after dinner, we made our weekly trip to H.E.B. to grocery shop. Once the store was held up while we were there, luckily we were in the back and some of the stock boys hurried us into the receiving and storage area until it was over.

This is the house we lived in when I started school.   I had wanted to go to school so much watching the other neighbor kids going off in the mornings, especially the first day when they had all the wonderful new school supplies! What I didn't realize was that mom wasn't going to stay there with me.   I cried the whole first day.   When mom came to get me, the little boy I shared the desk with gave me a kiss, I heard about that for years.

That first grade year was special because mom was expecting my brother Danny, and everyone in my class got to hear all about it.   He was born the last week of school, after mom had made two "false alarm" trips to the hospital - it was like a cliff-hanger.   I was so proud to tell the class I had a new brother.

After Danny was born, our side of the duplex was just too crowded and my parents found another house to rent.   It was on Grim Street in another part of town.   I had to change schools and I hated the old-fashioned building it was in - I was scared of the stairs. There isn't much I remember about that house, we were only there about four months.   The week before Christmas my dad was laid-off from his job and so my parents went back to the duplex until dad's job called him back and they could get the money to move out again.

The next house was on MacArthur Drive.   I think the area this house was on is now under the expanded Lake Waco. I have found every house I've lived in but this one on trips back to Waco. One of my dad's childhood friends - Leslie Rawls and his family lived just a few blocks away. We visited back and forth almost every day and would sometimes get rides to and from school with them.

This house was on the edge of wilderness, there was open land behind it.   Somewhere back there was the ruins of an old military barrack from World War I or before.   I never was brave enough to go back there looking, I know my brother Stephen and his friends did.   We were at the stage where we loved to build things.   We built a tree house and had a sort of "elevator" we rigged-up.   We would set-up ramps and ride down them in old chairs turned over to make "racecars".   It's a wonder we never broke anything!

Due to the house's location, we had a problem with snakes there. We had lived there about eighteen months when mom knocked a big snake down on herself while sweeping cobwebs down from the fireplace.   When Stephen and I came in from school we found mom and Danny on the couch with their feet tucked under them, mom had run to get Danny when the snake fell and never saw which way it went.   When Dad came home, he looked everywhere for the snake and never found it, we moved within two months.

The next house was on North 12th Street. It was a big old-fashioned house that seemed huge to me.   It had a front hall and back hall separated by doors, a screened-in back porch, a butler's pantry between the kitchen and dining room and the biggest pantry I had ever seen.   There were sliding wooden doors between the dining room and living room and old-fashioned light fixtures. This was the house we lived in when Micheal was born.

Our last house in Waco was on Ethel Street, it had probably the most beautiful neighborhood.   The street was lined with pecan trees on each side whose branches met in the middle.   It was always shady in the summer, and pecans were everywhere in the fall. We only lived in the house for a year when dad's boss decided to move the business to another town.  

After looking at houses in that area, dad decided if he was going to move, he would rather take his chances in Houston.   So we loaded up only what we would need for awhile and stored the furniture and headed for Houston.   Dad found a job the same day we arrived and we rented a furnished house on Firnat Street.   Micheal calls this "the bad old house"; it was the worst house I remember. It had only one bedroom, so I slept on the couch, and my brothers shared a roll-away bed in the living room.

We were able to rent the house right next door and lived there for two years.   It was a much nicer house, with three bedrooms and a big fenced yard.   I started High School while living here and went on my first date. I also met my life-long best friend, Elaine who lived up the street - her parents lived in the same house right up until a couple of years ago.

In the summer of 1967 we moved to 11027 Lera Street. I was relieved that I didn't have to change schools, as I was about to enter my senior year of high school.   This house was memorable for several reasons, one because this is where we lived when my dad died in 1971.   We had a next door neighbor named Pat Meuth who was unforgettable.   Among the many stories about her that I remember, the one that stands out is how she climbed through my parents' bedroom window to come and visit after my dad had heart failure and was recuperating.

This was the "haunted house" that we often talk about. We lived there four years, and I was never afraid to stay alone in the house, but the entire time we lived there I was aware that there was something unusual about the house.   I often sat at one end of the sofa to watch television that faced the hallway that led to the bedrooms.   Many times I would see something, sort of like just outside my field of vision in the hallway.   I would see a young man with light brown, a little longer than collar length hair , barefooted, with a white T-shirt and jeans, always with his back to me walking down the hall toward the back bedroom.   Now this was just a quick glimpse, I would be watching the television and see movement, follow it with my eyes and it would disappear quickly.   It was like a film clip, always exactly the same.   I never mentioned it to anyone else because I thought I was imagining it.

My dad used to complain that he heard us up at night while we lived there.   He often accused me and my brothers of getting up at night and raiding the refrigerator.   I knew I was never guilty of it, but with growing boys it was a possibility.   After dad passed away, Stephen and I were sitting together and talking about Mom's plan to buy a trailer and somehow I mentioned that I thought it best since there was something odd about the house.   He stopped me and described the exact thing I had always seen.   Together we went to Mom and told her, she also described the same young man.   Turns out we had all seen the same thing, but had never wanted to sound crazy.   We'll never know if Dad saw it too, but I'll bet he did.

When Dad passed away, Mom decided the neighborhood had gotten too rough for us to live there without him.   She bought a trailer and had it set up on a trailer lot space on Rittenhouse.   Mom got a driver's license and a job.   Things were different than they had ever been before.   I had worked for National Micromation and Stephen for Arco Refineries before Dad passed away.   We were all busy with our jobs and social lives, but we had a lot of good times together.   Steve met Marty; they married in January of 1972.   They rented a trailer at the front of the trailer park at first.   I met Osama, and knew from the beginning that I would marry him one day.   Nanny and Aunt Bertie retired from their jobs and moved to Houston.   We would often go and get them to spend a few days with us at the trailer.   I have several albums full of pictures from these days.   Shawn was born September 29, 1972, he was the much loved first grandchild and first nephew - everyone competed to hold him, we took him everywhere - Stephen and Marty were generous to share him with us.

In September 1973, I rented a small apartment on West Alabama.   In those days this was still sort of a "hippy" neighborhood.   It was so close to downtown that I had a very short bus trip to go to work.   Many days when the weather was nice, I would get off the bus along the route and walk home.   Most of the people who lived in the apartment complex were single, there were single guys living on either side of me, both asked me out, but I refused on the grounds of being engaged. I worked for Copy Con in the tunnel level downtown.   On many Friday nights, my "boss" Rose Mendez would bring her sister Sylvia over in the evening with a bag full of ingredients for mixed drinks, and we would talk and laugh way into the night.

On September 23, 1974, Osama and I married.   We lived in my apartment until July 1976.   We were planning on starting a family, but did not realize I was pregnant when we moved.   We moved to a larger apartment on Timmons Lane, this was right behind the Summit at Greenway Plaza.   These apartments are no longer there, they were replaced by one of the big office buildings.   This is where Rima was born on March 28, 1977.   While we lived there, Osama's job with Avis Rental Car changed from being at Greenbrier to the Houston Intercontinental Airport.   Since I was no longer working, and by the fall of 1977, I was expecting again - we decided to move close to the airport.

In January 1978 we moved to the Tejas Apartments on Lee Road, in Humble.   Some of the happiest days of our lives were spent there. Leila was born June 5, 1978.   The apartment complex was very small, only 32 units and most of the tenants were young couples with small children.   There was a big area for the children to play, protected from the parking area and the street, and behind the apartments was a golf course.   We made good friends there that I still hear from; the girls always had friends to play with.   I baby sat as many as 8 children a day and decorated cakes so that I could be a "stay-at-home" mom.   Rima and Leila always say they loved having the other children there; we always had at least one or two extra children at every meal.   And we visited back and forth with our neighbors - eating at one another's apartment, so it felt like an extended family.

In October 1978, Osama was hired by Continental Airlines, fulfilling a lifelong dream of his to work for the airlines.   We were able to travel to visit his brother in London, and his parents in Birzeit.   Times were good and it seemed like they would never end.   The first blow was Stephen's death in November 1980.   He was only 28 years old and his children were so small, Shawn was 8 and Connie had not even turned 3.   Stephen had just bought a piece of land in Huffman and had begun to clear it to build a house.   Marty had the house built and we spent a lot of time together at her house and at our apartment.   I was always glad that our children were close.  

As is usual with apartments, most of our friends starting buying homes and moving away.   We decided it was time for us to do the same.   We bought our first house in the Kenswick subdivision.   It was exciting, we got to watch the house being finished, we choose the carpet, wallpaper, floor tile, everything.   We moved in the last week of July 1983, not too long after Mike and Eileen's wedding.   We were still unpacking when Hurricane Alicia hit.   That was an adventure!   Nothing was damaged at the house, but we had no electricity for a week.   We had to throw away everything in our refrigerator, and the heat was terrible.   We were just getting everything back to normal, when Continental Airlines filed for Chapter 11 and Osama was laid-off.   There we were in a house that we could no longer afford.   By the time he was called back right before Thanksgiving, we were behind on everything, and he was re-instated at less than half of what he had been making.

We never did recover from all of that in the Kenswick house.   I went to work, first for Rollins and then for the Sheraton Hotel.   We never could get the mortgage company to work with us on the back payments, we learned from some of the other Continental employees that had also bought in the subdivision that they had the same problem.   We lived there until 1986, and let them have the house back.

We moved close by in the Foxwood Subdivision, we wanted to keep the girls in the same school.   The house on Foxvalley had been completed re-carpeted and re-painted and was just like brand new.   We rented there about 18 months, and then had to move because the owner sold the house.   We moved into an identical house on the next block - the shortest move we ever made, except for the time I moved from the "bad old house" on Firnat into the house next door.   The owners of this house wanted us to buy it, but the foundation was cracked and it had a termite problem.   We loved the floor plan; it had high ceilings and lots of light.   We had so much space we bought a big sectional couch for the living room that still left lots of space in the big open living room-dining room area.

A co-worker of Osama's asked him if he would be interested in assuming payments on her house at the back of the Foxwoods subdivision.   We looked at the house one time and decided that even though we did not like it as well as the house we were renting with an option to buy; we wouldn't have all the structural problems.   We moved here to 7315 Foxmont at the end of May 1992.  

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