[NOTE: many photos of this house's living room can be found in Christmas photos.]
We have many happy memories of time spent in the Houston Heights at 2314 Watson St.—Momoo and Popoo's house since before we were born. (They moved there in the early 1940's.)
The front porch of the house seemed to be a favorite spot for family group photos. Here are some early examples, when I was very small. In the middle are Mom and Dad with me. On either side I'm enjoying the company of my older cousins: Nancy and Don in the back, Bubby and Junie in front.
The following two pictures illustrate the closeness of the two sides of my family—Dad's and Mom's. Here I am with Mamaw (Dad's mother) and her husband, Joe Nolen, on Momoo and Popoo's front porch:
Here are some more "porch pictures," taken a bit later. On top, one unfortunately somewhat blurred and the other with Mom's eyes closed, are Mom, baby Joan and myself. The picture on the right was dated September, 1953 and the other is probably from the same period. On the bottom I'm alone in a semi-formal pose. I've also included a picture here taken out in the front yard, probably at the same time as the one on the top left, judging by the clothing we're wearing:
Here are a couple of Joan alone on the porch, or with a little friend. (The one on the left was labelled "two years old, 9-24-54.")
One of the great features of the front yard at 2314 Watson, from a small grandchild's perspective, was the "hill" that sloped down from the front of the house to a retaining wall on the near side of the sidewalk. It was large enough to seem terribly exciting to a young child, but not steep or long enough to present much danger.
Here is Joan, first anticipating a "slide" down the hill, then enjoying it, then climbing up the few steps to do it again:
Here are photos Mom dated 1954, unfortunately degraded as to color, showing us on posed on the wall, another good location for photos, and, according to Mom's note: "in front of Momoo's day lilies, June 7, 1954":
Had we been a little older when visiting Momoo and Popoo at this point in the evolution of their Heights neighborhood, the "gully" (as it was always called) directly across the street (where the Studemont overpass now runs) would have been a wonderful playground area. As it was, I remember only once or twice being taken down into it in the company of Popoo or some other adults. It remained a rather mysterious area, a little bit of wilderness, as far as we could tell, right in the middle of Houston. You can see the beginnings of the "wild" across the street in the backgrounds of these pictures:
In the back yard of the house, there was a wide driveway/patio area beside the garage, just off the alley. This was a favorite area for picnics, outdoor relaxing (there were many shade trees that kept the area relatively cool), and, of course, birthday parties. Here are pictures of Joan's first, celebrated there. The car in the background of the picture just below on the right was in Momoo and Popoo's garage. The white building in the background of the picture on the left must have been across the alley. I don't remember there being a second story to the 2314 garage.
This photo looks like it might have been staged on the back driveway, too. Unfortunately the print was unlabelled, but Joan is wearing the same dress as above, in photos labelled with her second birthday as the date.
Here are two unfortunately unclear photos which seem to have been taken on the back screen porch that was one of the house's greatest features. On the left what looks like another birthday celebration....maybe mine? Being on the porch rather than outside would fit with the [possibly] cool weather of a February birthday.
Other holidays were also celebrated at 2314 Watson, of course. (Click here to see many Christmas photos taken there.) Here are a couple of Easter photos—two of us in our finery and one of Popoo hiding eggs, an activity he no doubt enjoyed very much. I remember the suit Mom is wearing in the photo on the left. It was made of a kind of fabric with a taffeta-like sheen and the design was flecks of velveteen—very elegant.
Looking behind Popoo in the middle picture above you can see something of the rest of the short block where 2314 is located. Here are some other shots which give you an idea of how the rest of the street looked in the 1950's. The dog behind us in the center photo was Trixie, Aunt Muriel's dog, according to the note Mom made on the photo. I remember Trixie pretty well.
I don't remember riding a bike on Watson, but it sure looks like this picture was taken there, and I have a passenger, which means, I would think, that I had a certain level of expertise. It would have been rather safe to ride on the large back driveway, and even in the complex of alleys that linked Momoo and Popoo's house with Aunt Muriel's, over on White Oak Boulevard.
This is a photo of Momoo and Popoo that I had thought was taken in the Watson house, but Junie has corrected me. It was taken at her parents' house at 512 Sue Street. After she sent me this correction, I can notice the difference in the appearance of the TV! Mom had dated the photo as 1959, but did not note the location.
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