The House That David Built
and something about the lives it sheltered.
Recorded by David's daughter.
1907 - 1946
Should be recorded by Eugene
Perhaps to be recorded by
some one who has enjoyed
The Jewish Community Center.
"When the leaves on the trees are as big as squirrel's ears I will
come for you," he wrote - and this he did. In the Spring of the year
he made the long journey to Brooklyn, New York; and on May 5th, 1869,
he, David Choate Proctor, and Sarah Storrs were married.
David brought his bride back to Peoria, Illinois, and on one side of a
small double-house they began their homemaking. To Sarah, used all her
life to the conveniences
of a great city, the little house at 613 North Jefferson Avenue seemed
remote indeed: after all, the Wild West,
with its buffalos and Indians, was but a few miles away, just across
the Mississippi river. But with David, and for David, all things were
David's friends were kind to Sarah. David's friends liked Sarah; many ladies
came to call, and Sarah bravely returned the calls dressed in her best
gowns. Walking on the brick pavements instead of the city's smooth stone
was not too difficult, and the wooden pavements did not catch her long
skirts too seriously; but the single planks laid over the crossings!
these were a great hazard, and Sarah often returned home discouraged
Sarah had a fine voice; her teachers said she should be on the concert
stage, perhaps even plan for Grand Opera. But Sarah's Father put down both
feet very firmly, and would not listen to any such immodest, unlady-like
ideas in connection with his daughter. Sarah's Mother wrote letters
of counsel, including recipes for Baked Beans, Ellen's Cake, and Pickled
Peaches; even though she was an only child Sarah had been brought up
strictly, "Sarah must be a good wife and housekeeper for David."
So Sarah kept house as well as she could, and sang for David's
friends, happiest when David came home at evening and she could
sing for him alone.
In the hot summer of 1873 a son was born to David
and Sarah, and two years later a daughter. The children grew rapidly;
they seemed almost to expand overnight. "Well," said David,
"this house was very small for two of us. Now we have Charlie and
Julie to consider also. We must look to the future, and build us a house
of our own." So he commenced the search for a suitable site, one
not too far from his business (the Culter and Proctor Stove
Foundry, by the river at the foot of Fayette Street), and
yet a site that should be well removed from the noise and dust of the
center of town. This ideal location was found, on the corner of Perry
and Fayette Streets. It was a good-sized lot, vacant except for a small
wooden building at
the rear, which held a carpenter's shop with a living room over it,
and away from the street a small addition for a stable.
David knew the kind of a house he wanted - substantial, unpretentious,
moderate in size; with four rooms downstairs and four up and wide halls
down the center. There must be
a high attic to keep summer heat from the upper story, and
a good heavy roof which wouldn't blow away if Peoria had another
near-cyclone: this, with two rooms for the servants over a large kitchen
at the back of the house, would be
ample. Yes, and within his means; for Mr. Flynn, the contractor,
would know how to put it all together; no architect's
fee would add to the cost. Mr. Flynn could be relied on to select only
the best materials - no cutting costs on this
item. One luxury David would allow: no more washstands
with their bowls and pitchers to worry Sarah - instead, each of the four
big bedrooms should have a stationary basin
with hot and cold running water; and these, as also the
bathroom's basin and man-sized tub, would have their plumbing
concealed by fine black walnut wooden cabinets.
By the Autumn of 1877, when David was forty-five years old and Sarah
thirty-two, The House had been completed. It looked just as David had hoped
it would - four-square and sturdy, with no embellishment except the wooden
porch across its entire front; the yard framed by a stout wooden fence.
So the Proctor Family moved in and commenced the work of turning a House
into a Home. 211 Perry Street took its place in the life of Peoria.
At the right of the wide front door was the Reception
Room, with Sarah's piano and Curio Cabinet as the main features: back of
the Reception Room was the Library with its enormous bookcases reaching
almost to the ceiling and David's combination bookcase and desk - a room
whose name was soon changed to the Sitting Room. On the left of the hall
was the Parlor displaying the furniture and paintings sent by Sarah's Father, and a beautiful carpet almost too fine to be stepped on: adjoining
the Parlor the large Dining Room, a place second only to the Kitchen in
importance. Sarah and Julie slept in the room over the Reception Room
and David and Charlie in the one over the Library.
Julie's first memory of that winter is of the Bath Room,
or really the Bath Tub - such a spacious affair she had never before
encountered; it was almost twice as long as herself. She went swimming,
so Mama said and Julie thought so, too, and loved it. But one night as she
the wooden side of the tub, which reached to her chin, she drew back in
alarm. "Don't be frightened," said Mama,
gently lifting Julie in. "It's just the river water full
of sand and mud, the way it gets in the Spring. Soon it
will rain and we will have our nice clean cistern water again." But Julie
clung to Mama until she felt the solid
tub beneath her body. Julie sat very still and could not even see her own
legs - lost beneath the yellow-brown flood.
Charlie's great admiration was the milkman whose horses
and wagon stopped every day on Fayette Street without a word of command.
Smiling Billy Roszell would leap from the wagon and run to the Kitchen Pantry
where Susan, the cook, had the pans ready on the table: from his large kettle, like a teakettle only with a longer spout, he would pour a great
stream of milk until the wide flat pans were almost brimming over.
Papa bought Charlie a doll's teakettle and every morning
after Mr. Roszell's visit Charlie would deliver milk to his customers in
the long upstairs hall. The
walls of The House were plastered but not to be painted
or papered till Papa felt sure they were dry and no cracks would come: on
this smooth white plaster Charlie was allowed to make pencil marks
indicating the houses where the Mount Holly dairy wagon (named after Mr.
Roszell's) would stop. Charlie was a realist and had to have some liquid
in his kettle, so he could pour a few drops on the carpet
for each customer. Although the liquid was only water maybe
Papa and Mama would not have approved of realism to this extent, maybe they
did not know about it; but Julie who followed her big brother everywhere,
pleased with all he did, was much impressed. "Just a few drops,"
said Charlie; and Julie watched fascinated as the thick carpet swallowed
Between Reception Room and Library was a large closet
with big drawers and shelves, and hooks to hang things on, the Play Closet.
It was quite dark in the Play Closet and Charlie was timid about venturing
in: "Come Sister,"
he would say taking her hand, and thus fortified by Julie's presence
(Julie who was too young to know fear), the toys could be sought
In the Summer, when Julie was three, a little girl appeared
next door - maybe she had been there all the
time; anyway there was Flora, on her side of the division fence, looking at
Julie through the pickets. Flora lived with Grandpa and Grandma Day: Julie
liked to go to Flora's house, and Flora came to Julie's. Where the
picket fence joined the high board fence, at the service end of the
yards, one picket was gone making a fine doorway for the
two little girls to play through or go through. Flora was one year older
than Julie, a good person to follow. Grandma Day gave them the brown
scrapings from the pan the corn-beef hash had been cooked in; it tasted
better than anything
Julie had ever tasted. Julie liked Grandma Day. And Flora introduced
Julie to four-year old Nida who came over from way cross Perry Street.
"Julie," said Flora, "this is Judge Hopkins," and Nida and Julie stared at each other. Nida's
father was the Judge, the title extended to Nida by Flora only.
The House had Central Heating; but when the thermometer
slipped towards zero emphasis was upon the word Central, and Heating seemed
to prefer remaining in the basement.
What delight then for Charlie and Julie to be undressed in front of the
coal fire in the Sitting Room grate; afterwards wrapped in huge trailing
shawls be hurried up to bed! Or to reverse the process in the morning,
with little garments warmed in front of the roaring fire somebody had
generously provided. Did Papa make the fire? Papa could do anything.
In the spring Papa said, "The River is rising." Every day when Papa
came home from the Foundry he and Mama would talk of The River. What is
The River doing? How high will it come? Is it near the Foundry? Every day "The River is still rising," said Papa. "Many houses close
to The River are flooded." (The River was then as God had
made it, a gentle river going about its own affairs with
no concern as to Chicago; yet in Spring it could be a menace.) Julie was
anxious: she climbed the attic stairs, which rose over the back-hall stairs,
and went bravely through the dark back attic which held the mysterious and
dangerous cistern-box; then she went up two steps and
opened the door into the long light hall of the main attic. At its end was
a flight of steps leading up to the dormer window with its wide sill. Julie
sat there and looked at the roots of the houses across Perry Street, over
the tops even of the trees. "I will come up here," thought Julie.
"The River could not come this high. I will tell Papa about it."
Aunt Edna, Papa's sister. came to visit. She liked
to take the children for walks. One walk became memorable
to Julie for two events, each helping to strengthen the
memory of the other. "Today," said Aunty, "we will go up
to St. Francis Hospital to see the view." Walking up
Fayette Street was easy; but when they turned onto Bluff Street Julie
stopped. "Up there!" she exclaimed. "Yes,"
said Aunty calmly, "that is where we are going." Julie
had never seen such a hill; she did not think her legs
could climb it; but Aunty and Charlie went on talking, and then,
all at once. there they were right up by the Hospital. Aunty and
Charlie looked at the view: Julie looked back
down the long hill - what had happened? Where was the hill while she
walked? First it looked too high to climb, then
it must have flattened out for she could not remember
climbing - and yet here she was where Aunty planned they should go.
This would take a great deal of "thinking
about"; she knew something she hadn't known before - just
what did she know?...She was still thinking about it when they were almost
home, only a half-block away, but all of
a sudden Aunty spied a Cow coming up the street toward them.
"Run, run!" cried Aunty in her dramatic voice. Charlie dashed
bravely ahead to open the gate and Aunty rushed after, dragging Julie by
the hand. Either Aunty was a very swift runner or the Cow a slow one, for
Aunty and the children
were all three inside the fence and the gate latched just
as the Cow galloped past, looking neither to right nor left,
keeping straightly to the middle of the road. Aunty's voice was still quivering: "See what a fine strong fence Papa had made for you to keep
you safe! Remember, never go outside unless some grown person is with
In the early summer of 1879 the big Syringa bush by the front porch
blossomed prodigiously. Its long branches reached up to the sky and then
curved back to the ground, like a great bell. Flora and Julie took their
favorite toys, crawled under the branches and sat in a fountain of flowers
and fragrance - hidden from the world, apart from the world; a first
consciousness of Beauty, to which they paid the tribute of silence.
One Sunday morning in June Julie went to the front gate and climbed up on
the fence post which, second only
to the attic, gave a high view of the world. Julie was in her long-sleeved
gingham apron, with hair brushed but waiting for Mama to curl it before the
Sunday dress was
put on. Who is this coming? Flora dressed all in dazzling white,
smoothly ironed to the least ruffle; she had
a pink ribbon sash and carried a pink parasol over her flowered hat.
"Where are you going?" said Julie. "To Sunday School,"
said Flora, "do you want to go with me?" Julie ran in to Mama.
"Can I go to Sunday School with Flora?" she asked eagerly. Mama was
very busy, "Yes,
yes," she said hurriedly, "sometime." So Julie ran out happily
and went off with Flora, who being five years
old was entrusted to go by herself the two blocks to the Baptist Church.
The Infant Class met in what appeared
to be a large closet, with tiny bleachers of four rows, each row holding
five or six children, and just room
for the teacher down in front. Julie climbed the steps
to the third row and squeezed in after Flora. Strange proceedings
followed - singing, talking, praying - and
then a tiny Baptist was instructed to "take up the collection."
Flora leaned across Julie and dropped her
coin on the white china saucer held out: then, with an
air of a gracious hostess putting a guest at ease, she pointed to Julie
and said, "This is a poor little girl.
She hasn't any penny." All the Baptists looked at Julie who felt
for the first time what it was to be distinguished, to be singled
out for attention - a fine dramatic thrill! Poor Mama, hunting vainly
for her lost child, horrified to see her walking home beside the elegant
Flora! But Mama had said "Yes, sometime." Wasn't today sometime?
Should Mama punish her child for going to Sunday School?
Julie had another new experience. On the corner across Fayette Street was a
little one-story wooden house and next to it on Perry Street were two tall
close-together houses with high steps in front like Grandpa Storrs's house
in Brooklyn. To one of these houses came Julia Johnstone to live with her
Grandpa and Grandma Griswold. Julia Johnstone was twice as old as Julie.
but she took a fancy to her small neighbor and the two exchanged many
One day when Julia arrived at 211 Perry Street she took Julie by the hand
and went with her to Mama. Said Julia, "Can Julie come to spend the
night at my house?" "Does Grandma know you want
her?" asked Mama.
"Oh yes," said Julia. Mama looked doubtfully at Julie and inquired,
"Would you really like to go, Julie?" Julie had never before
a night; in her House she only slept at night; to spend a night might be
as interesting as a trip to Sunday School: so she nodded her head and
smiled at Mama, and the excursion got under way.
Climbing into Julia's little bed in her nice little room was pleasant, and
Julia hugged Julie close like a big doll. Both children were soon asleep.
But the night grew colder and colder, and though Julie kept pulling the
blankets over herself, almost at once they went back to Julia's side; they
seemed to understand their first obligation was to keep Julia warm.
At last Julie was wide awake, lying cold and uncovered and there was
nothing to do but
weep softly to herself - till finally a real gulp and a sob aroused Julia.
Once awake Julia Johnstone was all motherly solicitude, but nothing this
friend could do seemed to
help; so presently Julia ran for Grandpa and Grandma Griswold, and all
three stood looking down at Julie. Grandpa
and Grandma each had on long white nightgowns: Grandma had a white cap tied
under her chin, and Grandpa had a tall
white hat with a tassel on the top. In the faint light
from the gas jet in the hall they looked very queer, their kind faces
the only part of them that was like the daytime Grandpa and Grandma.
All questions as to what troubled Julie brought only one sobbing answer,
"I want to go back
to my House." Poor Grandpa Griswold had to put on all his clothes
and take Julie home - at ten o'clock, with the night all un-spent. The moment
Julie stepped into the front hall of 211 Perry Street all misery vanished.
How wonderful to have a safe house like Papa's! And she must have fallen
asleep at once in somebody's arms, for that was all she remembered.
The Family was coming home from Chicago and had to
wait in Bureau, so here they went somewhere for lunch.
Charlie had on his first pair of real kid gloves, very
fine they were but he started to eat without taking them off. "Oh,
be careful of your nice gloves!" said, Mama quickly,
"take them off now." Charlie said "No!"
emphatically and very many times. "Ladies eat with their
gloves on," he insisted. Said Mama, at her wit's end,
"Ridiculous. It you won't take off your gloves Grandpa
paid so much
money for, then you can have nothing to eat." Charlie remained firm:
Julie understood why, but it was too difficult for her to explain.
Once there was a Big Party going on at our House, a Reception the grown folks called it. Charlie and Julie were supposed to be in bed,
but they crept down a few stairs and leaned over the banister.
Strange ladies with lovely dresses that had no tops were going in and out
of the Dining Room, escorted by gleaming men. The Dining Room must be filled
with the good things the Kitchen had held in the afternoon - yet the ladies
had on long gloves, way up to their elbows! Charlie knew the proper way
to eat if one had kid gloves.
The Summer of 1880 was very warm. Mama was never quite used to Peoria heat,
and Papa said Mama and the children must go to New Hampshire, his boyhood
home, to be in the mountains. Mama thought Papa was not well; but he said
he must stay with the Foundry, he would get along all right. So the Family
went away, and Papa printed letters to Charlie and Julie - and wrote to Mama:
"I wish I could be with you and show you all about
the hills and valleys of Andover. I have been over every part of it
barefooted. Cole Pond is the place I want to buy, it is a gem. If possible
go to Rugged Mountain, the view is admirable and Kearsarge shows
grandly...I think the country air and the freedom will do you
(as Dr. Boal says) good. I am sure the effect on the children will be
beneficial: take them up among the pines and the hemlocks and get the odors.
It is a new life to me when I get these, and I feel better just thinking
of it... I don't suppose it is possible for the children to go to the top
of the mountain, but I wish they could. There are some sheep and lambs in
the pasture just above the Winslow House. Let the children have some salt
to give the sheep. They will enjoy it - the sheep... Flora sends a
letter to Julie. She says she printed it because Julie couldn't read
writing. The Hopkins girl standing near said, 'You printed it because
you can't write' - and I think she was right...Embrace the first opportunity
to have your picture taken." Papa enclosed in his letter
a drawing for Julie, of Flora with her parasol.
Julie went with a kind farmer up to the pastures
to see the many sheep and lambs; she wrote:
I salted the sheep and the lambs,
but the lambs would not take it.
The Family came home again; and now it was quite clear Papa was not well.
Grandpa Storrs sent for him to come east where all of Brooklyn's and
New York City's doctors could be consulted. Papa went to Brooklyn; but
the air of the two hundred block Perry Street was filled with political
turmoil. Democrat, Republican, Republican, Democrat, - Garfield and Arthur,
Hancock and English.
"Who are you for?" everybody asked. Julie could not consult Papa.
so she went to Charlie: "Am I a Republican or Democrat?"
"A Republican, of course," answered Charlie. "Always shout
for Garfield and Arthur." Julie helped print signs to carry on the ends
of sticks. and joined
the line of Republican children which marched all day at irregular intervals
up and down the block. She shouted loudly for her candidates, and hurled
at the Democrats. The Democrats returned the vocal barrage - but the
Republican line grew longer, and the Democrats were but a loyal few.
Then on October twenty-eighth a wonderful thing happened. Charlie and Julie
had been visiting at Uncle Allen's house on Franklin Street, and when they
came home there was a little new brother! Julie wrote a letter to Papa
informing him of the event - "Mama says to tell you his name is David
Gould and to ask you do you like it." Charlie, who was averse to
literary effort. drew a picture of the Baby for Papa. Many people came
to call at 211 Perry Street, and all of them seemed deeply interested in
little David; The House was full of conversation. Julie said, "Folks
think I don't like that Baby because I don't say much, but I do."
In a letter on that October twenty-eighth Papa. was writing, that is,
Grandma did the writing while Papa told her what to say -
Tell Charlie and Julie I am coming home just as
soon as I can and that I want to see them very much. I
went out to the Park yesterday and saw the little goat carriages but no
one was taking a ride... I am almost unable
to dress myself and dislike to return to add to our complications in
Peoria... Be sure that Charlie's shoes are long enough... Ingersoll speaks
in the Academy of Music tomorrow, and I wish I were able to hear
him... I am glad you like the songs Susan Perkins selected for you.
I did not hear any of them sung... Kiss Charlie and Julie for me, take
hold of their ears - and kiss yourself also, if you can.
Mama wanted so much to go to Brooklyn. but the doctor said she must
wait six weeks before she could undertake the long journey of two days
and two nights with three children, and the Baby so little. So Mama waited
till the middle of December - but Papa could not wait for her. Only a few
hours before his Family arrived in Brooklyn Papa went away.
David's House without David. So strange for Sarah - but a Home The House
should still be for David's children.
A cot was placed close to Mama's bed for Julie, and Davie had his little
crib near by: Charlie was seven years old,
he could sleep alone in the adjoining room.
Julie knew the Lord's Prayer and "Now I lay me down
to sleep" but neither one seemed quite right. "How do you pray by
yourself?" asked Julie. "Just say what is in your heart,"
answered Mama. So when she was sure everyone was downstairs Julie went in
the corner by the bed and said right out loud "God bless the sheep
and the roses." She was surprised that these words came out of her
heart - but she thought it was a good prayer, and felt happier.
(Papa had loved to hear about the sheep; and never were there so many
beautiful roses as Papa had for his funeral - some day she would remember
Now it was Uncle John who became important: he must surely have come to
The House many times before, but Julie did not notice that. Uncle John
took Charlie and Julie to see the men pour the white-hot iron at the
Foundry; Uncle John introduced them to the wonders of the Lumber Yard;
Uncle John came to see them in the evenings and played dominoes with them;
Uncle John looked after Papa's business for Mama. Uncle John said Mama
must have a man to live in the room over the carpenter shop, so there
would always be some one to help her about the place - so many ways a strong
man's hands were needed. Uncle John knew just the man, Jerry Webb who worked
at the Lumber Yard.
Jerry came and he and Mama understood one another at once: they were alike
in nature; each was simple and genuine, spoke few words. Mama said
"Jerry is a real gentleman. His ancestors must have been kings in
Africa." Jerry was a Colored Man and had been a slave as a boy. Julie
thought he looked like a Prince, with his handsome black face and his kind
smile. Every child liked to be where Jerry was.
And now Old Dick came into Julie's days. Perhaps because Jerry took care
of Dick out in the barn. Old Dick must have been a member of the Family
for some time, because Papa had said "Dick was a racehorse in his
youth" . With what or whom he could have raced was not known: at
all events his ambition to win had long since been replaced by the wisdom
of Safety First. He was a horse to whom Sarah could be entrusted, and who
was still strong enough to draw the surrey with all the Family in it.
With good will on Mama's part and many encouraging words Dick could do
four miles an hour, and he could stand quietly hitched
to a post for any length of time. He welcomed sedately
the affection showered upon him by the children, who learned to put on
his harness and climbed over him like the Lilliputians over Gulliver.
He was a bay horse with a white face and a pink nose: Julie loved to put
her cheek against his nose - never was anything else so soft - and to feel
his warm sweet breath on her face; a tribute Old Dick accepted without
comment. Other lovable creatures partook of the hospitality of 211 Perry
and Julie each had a kitten. Julie's was pure white, and naturally she
named it Lily. Charlie's was equally beautiful, black and white, and
naturally he named it Mount Holly for Mr. Roszell's dairy.
Both Charlie and Julie had started to school at Mrs. Ellis's house in the next block; Flora went there too. Julie did not
dislike school, but it was a bar to her independence; so one morning she
was sick and could not go to school she said. Mama, unable to find any
trouble, said "Well, if you are sick you can not go outdoors. You must
stay in the house." This was an unexpected decree. Finally, at loss
for something to do, she opened a door close
to the Sitting Room and went down to the basement searching for amusement.
The Fruit Cellar, under the Parlor, had an earthen floor and smelled
agreeably of the pickles in their big crocks and of the baskets of apples;
but it was dark
in there, and Furnace Room, Store Room and Laundry offered
no news. She went into Papa's Smoking Room, (under the Reception Room)
which had a wooden floor and high windows. Julie looked at Papa's things,
still on his table; and in
his private drawer she found a bottle of red ink. She
tried hard to open it - and it opened, very suddenly. Lady Macbeth had not
yet entered Julie's life; but as the red ink spilled on her dress and
engulfed her hands a line from one of Grandma's favorite poems flashed
into her mind - "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to
do." Over and over she repeated the words holding her hands before
her; no wiping or rubbing could take away their fearful appearance.
However could it be hidden from, or explained to, Mama! Papa's things
were not to be touched. But upstairs Julie must go at last, wishing,
wishing she had not told a lie - if only she had gone to school Satan
could not have found her. Crime did not pay.
Grandma Storrs came to help Sarah with the children and she wrote back
to Grandpa: "Peoria looks like a different place when the sun
shines from what it does in the rain and mud. John says he never saw
the mud so deep excepting some time in the Spring of the year. It stopped
raining yesterday afternoon and Julie asked to go and buy some crackers
at the bakery a little way from Allen's. So Sarah sent her forth; and in
a few moments she returned with rubbers off and the mud up to the very
top of her boots. The rubbers came off with the suction of the mud and
the child brought them home in her hand, full on the outside and inside
as well. She went around to the back door and hid them under the kitchen
steps, then came in and went upstairs; and there I found her crying with
the boots so full of mud
she could not get them off. Mrs. Riggs was here so she did not like to call
us. She said afterward that she would be glad when she got to Brooklyn
where she could go out without getting all over mud. Where she went in so
deep she will not tell, but she did not get to the bakery, and was obliged
to do without her crackers."
Yes, life had many hazards, and the outdoors was so big. How grateful Julie
was for the good stout fence around The House! How she raced for its
protection and remembering Aunty's warning shut the gate firmly between
House and danger when cows, pigs or horses came rushing down the
street - intent perhaps on their own affairs, but of most formidable size
and appearance. How far away the Barn was on a dark winter night when Julie
was sent with a message for Jerry! One must summon all one's courage to get
there and back.
Spring came. Mama went to the attic: and in the big dark space off
the hall, on the Fayette Street side, she would open the long box that held
all the Summer clothes
and bring them to light for inspection - all the good practical plaids and
checked ginghams. Strange to see again dresses that had been lost for more
than six months. "You can wear these again this year," said Mama,
"when the tucks have been let down." The skirts looked so
beautiful after the dressmaker had worked on them, with a bright un-faded
strip of material where the tuck had been, sometimes two bright strips
if the skirt still seemed to have shrunk while in the attic.
In Summer Mama sang again, playing her own accompaniments as always.
Julie did not know few children had such music at home: when Mama sang she
drew near, as a bee to the source of all sweetness.
"Oh for the wings. for the wings of a dove!
Far away. far away would
sang Mama; and Julie flew far, far away, so far she was left "in the
wilderness" with the dove and knew not how to come back when
the sons was done. When Mama sang
"Could you come back to me Douglas, Douglas,
In the old likeness that I
Julie grew very serious and thought of Papa: perhaps Mama was thinking of
him, too. But when the song was all about "The Sands o' Dee"
and Mary who went to call the cattle home but never home came she
"The flowing tide came up and hid the land
And never home came she,"
then the despair of the whole world was in Julie's heart. Yet the song was
so beautiful she longed to hear it over and over again.
Julie was a Congregationalist now, but it seemed
to make no difference in her friendship with Flora, the Baptist. Grandpa Day
did not keep chickens any more; he
had the chicken house cleaned, scrubbed and whitewashed
and let Flora and Julie have it for a playhouse. It
joined onto Julie's fence and it was not very big; but it had a door and
a high window, and at the back close to the floor a small opening which
had been the chicken's doorway to their yard. Flora and Julie arranged
their little chairs, pictures and ornaments to their own prideful
satisfaction and settled down to housekeeping. "We must have prayers,"
said Flora "and you must kneel down in front of your chair."
Julie started to say "Now I lay me down to sleep," but Flora said
"No, this is morning, and it must
be the Lord's Prayer." Both children closed their eyes;
but before many words had been said a queer snuffling
noise made eyes fly open - to see the head of Grandpa
Day's calf trying to come in the chicken's door. What an agonizing
situation - one could not stop a prayer in the middle! The calf mooed,
annoyed because its whole head could not get in; the little girls giggled,
their words shook out, they were almost hysterical; but bravely and most
reverently the prayer was carried through to the final Amen.
The Chicken House was really on Flora's side of the fence but the Red-Haw
Tree was on Julie's, close by the Dining Room window. The Tree must
have been there long before David's House was built; it was so near the
division fence that many of its branches hung over onto Grandpa Day's side.
It was a bearer of three gifts: lovely
white clusters of bloom in the Spring, deep shade for the children to sit
under in the hot Summer days, and then best of all came little red fruits
to eat, spicy and refreshing, to be played with in a dozen ways. Flora felt the part of the Tree that came over her fence belonged
to Grandpa Day; but Charlie said "No, the Tree grows on our side,
it is all ours." Charlie and Julie went away
on a visit and Flora printed a letter to Julie: "Ask Charlie if I can pick
up the red-haws that fall on my
side of the fence." Charlie said, "Yes, of course; but the
Tree is ours."
Papa's Foundry made a cook-stove named "Woman's Rights";
"it made a woman's work so easy," the advertisements said.
It had all modern conveniences, it was every woman's right to own one.
Culter and Proctor gave Julie
a little model of the stove, not more than eighteen inches long; it, too,
was complete with a tank at the back to heat water, little stove lids,
lid lifter and poker, and an iron frying pan and kettle. When she played
with the stove outdoors Julie was allowed to build a fire in it with bits
of real wood. In its miniature oven many a
fine dish was concocted, with red-haws the principal ingredient; or a
tasty bit of Flora's breakfast hash could be warmed up in the small
frying pan. Charlie, having changed his occupation from that of milkman
to farmer and butcher, could furnish choice food on demand. One
of the men at the Foundry made and gave him a little wooden barn with
sliding doors, and a fence to go around it: this was his favorite possession
as the stove was Julie's, and his favorite animals the china sheep and
lion presented by Uncle John. The Stove and the Barn, both from the foundry,
both so loved because they seemed to come from Papa, too.
Julie was growing up: she could help Mama carry parcels, so she walked clear down to Adams Street with Mama on a hot Summer's
day - it was probably too hot a
day for Old Dick to be out. The air in the Adams Street stores was
conditioned only by nature and Mama was quite
stout: before the shopping was done she was exhausted, so she said
"We will walk up to Main and Jefferson and take the car home."
As they neared Jefferson Street Mama heard the bells of the little
mules who pulled the car. "Hurry! Run!" she said to Julie.
"Don't let them go till I can get there." Julie ran and cried
"Wait! Wait!" and stood by the mules who were not much taller than she was; and the Driver was very kind and waited till Mama and
she climbed into the little open car. That was a fine ride,
four blocks up to the corner of Monroe and Fayette Streets,
then only one block to walk. What a relief to enter the
Big House - almost cool compared to the outdoors - and to
go for a drink of cistern water from the cooler on
the back-hall table! "Our House," a refuge from
the ills of the world.
It was way past bedtime and Julie was on her cot. Davie who was nearly two
years old should have been asleep
in Mama's big bed; but he would not go to bed - why, nobody knew. He sat
in the little corner by the mantel opposite,
all drawn up in a small heap. Mama said, "Very well, then. Stay
there. " She took off her dress, turned off the gaslight and
lay down on her side of the bed. Julie was horror-struck - would Mama
really leave Davie there, all night - out from under the mosquito net?
The light from the street lamp came dimly through the slats of the
window-blinds. Julie could just see Davie's little white shape and his round
face with big eyes staring. The Courthouse bell sounded the
hour, solemnly; a steamboat whistled a long, sad far-away whistle
reminding Julie of the dangers from the river - and Julie wondered how
could Mama go to sleep with Davie all alone - in the night - in the
dark - But it was Julie who
went to sleep; and in the morning Davie was in with Mama in her bed,
and the trouble between them seemed ended.
The pets at 211 Perry Street were not pampered by any special diets:
what was good enough for The Family to eat was good enough for them.
After breakfast Mama gave Julie some Boston baked beans for the
cat - Muggins, named by Uncle John. Julie took the plate across
the hall and put it on the hearth in the Sitting Room; but in a few
minutes she ran back to the Dining Room shouting, "Ma-ma! Davie
is eating the cat's beans!" Mama came quickly just as Davie sliding
over the hearth pushed Muggins's nose away and scooped up another fistful.
Mama reproved, "No, no, Davie." But Davie stuck the beans in
his mouth and answered, "Grandpa says beans is good food."
Davie followed Julie around as she had followed Charlie. So when a saddle was put on Old Dick and Julie was allowed to ride
astride him up and down Fayette Street by The House, Davie wanted to ride,
too. Jerry lifted him up and told him to hold tight to Julie's waist;
right on Old Dick's broad back he sat, "right on the horse," with
his legs straight out on each side of Julie just as if he had been on the floor. Jerry walked
beside them; but before they
came to the alley Old Dick's legs had performed strange motions under
Davie. Davie wanted to go home: he said, "This horse has a bone
Julie knew she could not sing like Mama, but perhaps she could learn to
play: the piano made pleasant noises all by itself. Miss Jackson came to
give her lessons. Miss Jackson was thin, nervous and very temperamental:
she was also properly serious about music. She tried hard to interest
Julie and had much patience; but the more lessons she gave and the more
Julie learned the more strain was put upon patience, and many a tear
rolled down Miss Jackson's cheek.
At last after nearly a year matters came to a climax: Miss Jackson
called Mama into the Reception Room and wept bitterly on Mama's shoulder.
"She will not play the notes as written," she sobbed. "She
plays only what she wants to - especially in the bass." "My notes
are better," said Julie, "I like it better my way." But
Mama shook her head and said, "You do not deserve any more
lessons." This was a solution gratefully received by both Miss Jackson
Another Summer: Mama and the children went again
to visit Grandpa Storrs in Brooklyn. Ethel and Nettie, the cousins who
lived next door and were only a little older than Julie, had new white
dresses, very thin dresses with much lace insertion, French style that
made the wearer look like a pencil. Ethel's had a wide pink sash and
Nettie's a blue one, way down around the hips and tied tight with a
bountiful bow in the back. They looked so lovely Julie could not rest
till Mama promised her she should have such
a dress when she was in Peoria again... The dressmaker came, the dress
was made: Mama and the dressmaker put it
on Julie upstairs in the spare room, and tied the blue sash
firmly and pinned it so it stayed just like the cousins'. Then Julie
ran downstairs to look in the long mirror of the hat rack in the hall
at the foot of the stairs, where she could see everything. Julie looked,
and looked - till the tears would not let her see any more. The trouble
was not with the dress; she knew now she wasn't beautiful like
Ethel and Nettie, She was fat. She did not look like a pencil - no, a
potato, a very thick one, and the sash was at the thickest part.
Real sorrows are hard to bear.
That same Summer Uncle John took Julie all over Boston looking for the monkey he had promised
wanted it "more than anything in the world." But in all the animal stores where the
sailors brought such things
for sale - no monkeys that day. It must have been soon after that James,
the Parrot. was purchased as a substitute and came to live at
211 Perry Street. He was Julie's and she was to clean his cage
and care for his personal wants. He was very fine to look at,
a splendid bright
green in color with red trimmings and a yellow head; but Jimmy
had a powerful beak and was apt to take a bite out
of anything that displeased him. He had great good sense, however,
and soon learned (like everybody else) that Mama was the one who
could be relied on to do the right thing. Mama carried him around
on her hand or finger, and with her he made agreeable conversation:
he loved her devotedly. Mama gave him the freedom of The House for
an hour each
day and he enjoyed flying to the door tops where he could rest his beak by
taking a bite into the firm hardwood Papa had selected for his House: sometimes
he even got out a good-sized chunk before he was shaken off the door
by a watchful child. And only once did he misuse his freedom; dinner
was on the table and Jimmy, who should already
have been in his cage, flew down to the table and landed
in the golden sunshine of the butter. In warm weather his
cage hung on the side porch where his squawks and fervent cries astonished
the passers-by: especially when Mary, the Second Girl. came out to ring
the dinner-bell. Every child in the neighborhood knew the sound of his
Mama's no doubt gave out the loudest noise, perhaps because
it was made of bronze and came from India. With Jimmy's South American
voice seconding that of India's the clamor filled the air for blocks
The neighborhood children were always entranced when Julie took them in
to see the Curio Cabinet in the Reception Room. Mama had been with Grandma
and Grandma for "a-year-and-a-half-in-Europe-and-the-Holy-Land,"
before she knew Papa; and Grandpa sent Mama most of the small treasures he
had bought on the journey. The Swiss House; the Pear-shaped bell from
Russia; the Nest of Boxes, each box holding a smaller box inside itself;
the Carved Ivory Man who could
be made to turn over the pole on which he hung by his
hands - these and many others were gazed on with awe and admiration.
But the high point in every exhibition was
the Salt Bottle. The Salt Bottle was flat, about as long
as Julie's finger, and carved out of clear rock salt, complete with
stopper. One could see right through it though it was quite thick.
If visitors expressed doubt as to the genuineness of the article a
special privilege was granted, just a touch of the tip of the tongue
to the bottle's stopper. Julie, herself, fancied this salty taste; maybe
Charlie did, too. In course of time the stopper dissolved entirely in
delicate licks of appreciation.
Aunt Edna came again to visit and told Charlie and Julie all about
"when your Father was a little boy"; Aunty had taken care
of him "as you must take care of Davie." .
Julie thought it would have been nice to know Papa then,
and she tried to imagine how he could ever have been so small. It seemed
everybody had loved Papa as a little boy, just the way the men did down at
the Foundry when he was grown up. Aunty told stories, talked them not read
them like other people. No famous Bard of old could have made
a greater sensation with his audience. Charlie and Julie sat on their
little chairs close up to Aunty where they could watch every expression
of her face, theirs reflecting her every emotion. They quivered in their
boots when she told them of the far-away Sailor Uncle who had been captured
by the pirates, taken to Africa and sold as a slave, and died in a desert
sandstorm: when Eliza leaped from cake to cake of ice they shared with
Aunty and Eliza the full suspense lest Eliza be overtaken or the next ice
cake be too far away to jump to. And tears of the tenderest sympathy
trickled down all three faces when little Eva died.
Grandma Proctor, too, came once to visit. Grandma was very old, and could
not read and sew as much as she would have liked. Julie followed Mama into
Grandma's room one day, and Grandma only sat there quietly with her hands
lying in her lap. Mama said, "Oh, Mother, I'm sorry to have to leave you
so much alone!" And Grandma answered, "Thee need not worry,
Sally, My mind is well furnished." Mama repeated to others what
Grandma had said, and Julie thought what does it mean, a well-furnished
mind. (Julie thought - Did no one think except Julie? Life must have been filled with interest
for Charlie, too. Perhaps even the grown
folks carried on a life of their own - over the children's heads,
indeed as far as the birds of the air from the fish in the ocean. Julie appears so often only because of all
the Family the recorder knew her best.) Grandma Proctor
went home and wrote to Mama, "I have always thought Charlie to be
a remarkably interesting child, and if Julie is like
me I should like a new lease on life and an opportunity to tell her
where she will be liable to make mistakes... There is a disadvantage
about most of the work I do. I like to experiment too well, and after
a thing is done I can almost always see where I could have improved
it." Grandma Proctor drew delicate outlines on satin of birds
and leaves she had observed in nature, and embroidered them with
unraveled sewing silks - beautiful birds whose plumage was as
glistening and bright as the real birds. She had made a picture
for Charlie, of a bird on a nest; and when she died she left for
Julie a bird on a branch with wings outspread and beak reaching up
for something on the leaves above it. But the leaves were not finished,
and Grandma's needle was there
just as she had left it, thrust in the satin at the side of the picture.
No doubt it was Aunt Edna's story-telling which first ministered to
Julie's love of drama; but it was
little Cousin Edie who drew her firmly into the Theatre World.
Somebody "gave a benefit" for something, way down at the
corner of Main and Jefferson Streets, at Rouse's Hall - in the evening; and Mama took her children to see
it. The stage which could hold as many as ten people was lit
with an unimagined brilliance, and on it came and
went a marvelous collection of nursery-tale figures. Most wonderful
of all was six-year old Cousin Edie, a chubby
wee figure in bright red flowing cloak with its hood tied under her
sweet happy face - none other than Little Red Riding Hood herself,
on her arm the basket for Grandmother. The entire audience must have
been as enchanted as Julie with whatever it was Edie recited or
sang, for the applause was tumultuous: Edie was obliged to appear a
and she sang "Ach du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin."
Julie went home in a daze of delight, convinced that "the Show must go
on." And on went the Show, all over 211 Perry Street, upstairs,
downstairs, in the attic and in Papa's basement room, in the yard
and in the Barn. Nida Hopkins came from across the street and appeared suddenly
to Julie around the corner of The House. She wore her best dress,
her almost-golden hair was curled and ornamented with a ribbon bow; and
she had on a pair of shiny, black new rubber boots which reached nearly
to her knee - boots the like of which had never before walked on the 200
block Perry Street. She was a vision of beauty, indeed! Julie realized
here was a heroine around whom any Show could be successfully planned.
All the other neighborhood children as often as obtainable were
pressed into service as actors; if no one else was near dolls would
do, and these could make no remonstrance against the wishes of Julie, their director,
playwright and fellow actor. The happiest, and perhaps
the most sensational Show, was the Circus in which Sidney collaborated
with Julie. Sidney was Flora's brother who appeared unexpectedly from
unknown parts: he was twelve years old, four years older than Julie, and
very wise and helpful. He and Charlie built cages in the Barn for the
Circus animals - cats, dogs, chickens and pigeons, and Jimmy the Parrott,
took on wild and unfamiliar aspects
when observed through bars. And Sidney it was who thought up the Circus
Parade: besides Old Dick two other family horses, all hitched to their
respective buggies, were in line, followed by a boy on horseback and
two others on high bicycles: altogether the Parade took up half a block.
Old Dick was in front with many sunflowers fastened to his head and also
trimming his buggy in which sat Sidney and Charlie disguised as Colored
Men. Julie enjoyed particularly Sidney's appearance; his pale yellow
hair and light blue eyes made a strange contrast to his burnt-cork black
face, and his wide jolly smile and his white teeth completed the picture.
"And now," said Mama, "you are getting so big you should
not sleep on that little cot any more. I know how to make a room for you
all your own." Julie was doubtful; Mama's room suited her as well
as it did Davie. But Mama called in the carpenters who built a partition
of frosted glass and wood across the Perry Street end of the wide upper
hall. The room had not only a door into the hall
but one into Mama's room; and it was large enough for a fine bed and
bureau, and a chair and table. All this made Julie feel pleasantly
important in the daytime; but at night Mama seemed a long way off.
There rose a fierce high wind which shook the trees and made
never-before-heard and awful noises in the outdoor world. Julie had
to call to Mama for comfort. Mama said, "Do not be afraid. the wind
can not hurt this House. It is well built." Yes, Papa's House stood
firm: Julie was glad Papa had known how to build it.
Every night when Julie was ready Mama came to tuck her in bed. Julie was
becoming very conscious of herself and her own doings.
"Have I been good today?" she would
ask, and Mama would would reply, "Well - on the whole - yes." Julie, remembering several very doubtful spots in the day's
history, still would venture to inquire, "What did I do wrong?"
Mama tactfully selected only one misdemeanor to comment on.
"But I do love you, Mama," said Julie, who except under
cover of darkness could not show her deeper feelings.
"If you love me," answered Mama, "you will try
to do what I ask." Loving Mama and Being Good - did these two things
belong together? A new Idea! Julie lay thinking and thinking, long
after Mama went away - perhaps Mama did not know about Satan and how hard
he worked to put obstacles in Julie's path. "If you love me you will
I ask" - I want to be good, thought Julie - I do love Mama, so much -- and
then she was asleep.
Why did the idea of a Dancing Class enter Mama's
head? Was it because Charlie and Julie were getting so big? Whatever
the reason several other mothers were of like mind;
and on one afternoon a week a dozen children of varied shapes and ages
met in the big Dining Room of David's House to receive dancing instructions.
The Dining Room table mysteriously disappeared, and in its place as the center of attraction stood Dan Spencer. Mr. Spencer was unlike anything
Julie had ever seen: he was dressed so neatly in a tight-fitting black suit, and he wore shiny little black shoes that made his feet look
as small as Charlie's; he had pointed, red-gold side-whiskers. Julie did
not know whether there was any hair on his head;
for after she had glanced up and seen his cold, pale-blue
eyes in his white face she looked hastily down again at his feet - indeed
Mr. Spencer gave commands that everybody should keep looking at his feet.
Mr. Spencer carried a violin under his chin most of the time; he would play a dull tune while
his feet made queer slides and hops and his voice went
right on talking in numbers - one. two, three, four. Then
he would call out "Attention. Everybody - with me." But
rarely was anybody with him - one, two, three, four, - point,
slide, hop, turn - words whose meaning was impossible to remember. Twelve
children trying to make twenty-four big awkward feet look like
Mr. Spencer's little feet! Suddenly
Mr. Spencer would put down the violin and select one child
to dance with him - as reproof or honor, nobody knew - in
any case such attention brought most unwelcome publicity to
Mr. Spencer's partner. Mr. Spencer conducted a Dancing Academy
somewhere downtown and he also had Spencer's Band. It must have been
a trial for him to spend an afternoon with such awkward beings; and
surely no one except Mr. Spencer could play the violin, dance, watch
everybody's feet, and keep on talking and reproving and giving out
commands - all at once.
If the dancing lessons seemed far from a joyous affair to the pupils
no doubt Mr. Spencer himself went home very tired.
Charlie cared even less for dancing than for letter writing or
piano playing. His great interests were in farming and in animals,
and he was already at eleven years almost
an expert in his knowledge of chickens. Mama let him keep chickens in one
end of the Barn, with a small corner of the
yard adjoining fenced off for their use. Every Summer afternoon for a
few hours the chickens were allowed the use of
the entire yard, as Charlie said they needed more exercise
and a larger hunting ground for choice bugs and worms. When Spring
arrived Mama felt her yard should look attractive to
the Passers-by; and she would tell Jerry to prepare a Flower
Bed all along by The House on the Fayette Street side. Jerry was a good
gardener, and he loosened the earth and planted
seeds of beautiful flowers to come. Just as soon as all the
plants were up, looking strong and hearty, Charlie would say,
"Now can I let the chickens out?" "Yes," Mama
the chickens would be delighted to hunt through the thick
grass all over the yard - that is until their legs were well stretched
and their appetites dulled. Then - off to the Flower Bed!
Only a week or so and it was no longer the Flower Red
but the Chicken Bed. Julie, coming around from the front of
The House one day, stopped short to look at the long line of chickens - to
think perhaps it might be nice to be a hen,
to scratch in the dirt till the dust flew all over herself, fluff out her
feathers to air her body, and then settle down making comfortable drowsy
noises in her throat. Mama only sighed gently and said Charlie and the
Chickens were more important than the Passers-by and the Flower Bed.
In the Autumn of 1884 another sorrow came to The House: Good Grandpa Storrs,
whom Mama and her children loved so dearly, died in Brooklyn. Grandma
agreed to come to Peoria and live with her daughter Sarah; and Mama went
busily to work planning a room for her. She chose the one over the
Dining Room and had the carpenter put in a bay window besides
the other window, so Grandma could look up to the Bluff and out to
Perry Street. And because Central Heating was inclined to favor
the bedrooms on the Fayette Street side Mama bought a shiny
heating stove for Grandma's room, with mica
in the doors so Grandma could see a warm glow from the hot coals.
Who would bring up the coal all the way from the basement and carry
down the ashes? "Jerry, of course," said Mama, "he is always
willing." He and Grandma were already good friends and Jerry said he
would be "most happy to help make Grandma comfortable."
Grandma came, and Charlie and Julie, and Davie too,
were delighted to have her in The House. She was not a story-telling
Grandma, but she would read stories any time; and she was an ever-present
help in hours of trouble. Did a button need sewing on, or must a rip or
tear be mended, Mama might
be out, but "Go to Grandma. She'll fix it." She was too
good to Julie, for when she saw her trying to sew Grandma would say,
"Here Child, bring that to me. You don't know
how to do it right." Grandma made wonderful ginger cookies
the way she had in Brooklyn, very large thick ones neither hard nor soft,
just right. Grandma also conducted a Branch Bank; the borrower could get
five or ten cents on very reasonable terms, even larger amounts in an
emergency. "Grandma," said little Davie hesitantly, "tomorrow
is Mama's birthday, and everybody has a present for her except
me - could you lend me twenty-five cents?" Davie bought a
tile to put under a pitcher or glass, and Mama liked it especially
because it had painted on it a little man riding
And Grandma took over the job of winding the clocks. Every room in
The House had a clock, and Grandma brought one with her for her
room - Grandpa's favorite, and Julie's also - the Swiss Monk-Clock
which looked like a little church. When it was time the Monk would
open his door, and the fascinated observer could see him pull the
rope that rang the little
bell in the steeple, twelve rings if one was lucky enough
to be on hand at noon. Mama's room had a queer clock, white alabaster,
under a big glass cover; its pendulum was shaped like a hammock, and on
it rode to and fro a young lady, who would have been six inches tall had
she ever stood up - she
only kept on swinging, swinging; forever, day and night.
It made Julie tired to watch her very long, but she was beautiful.
The Swiss Cuckoo Clock in the downstairs hall was the noisiest and
most insistent, it could be heard in every room. The Cuckoo would
have liked to take over the duty of the Courthouse Clock by whose
big bell Grandma endeavored to regulate all the timepieces, twenty-six
of them or more, including watches, It was Grandma's hope to have
all the clocks strike at the same correct instant. Hope is a great power
to live by.
Carrie Bourland and her family came home from Europe. Carrie was only
two years older than Julie and no taller,
and she played the violin! Somebody played Mama's piano while Carrie
played her violin, and Julie was enchanted
both with the sight and sound of Carrie's little instrument; it
was not at all like Mr. Spencer's violin, and as Carrie was short and
small Julie could be quite close to
it. She thought it would be nice to have such a thing to carry around,
so different from a clumsy piano which must always stay in the same
place. Julie was constantly expressing this idea. "If she wants it so
much," said Grandma, "perhaps she really would practice."
Grandma and Mama together bought Julie a violin, and Mama took her
downtown to Herr Trautvetter's Studio and
left her alone there for her first lesson. Herr Trautvetter was
plump; he had a thick mop of reddish hair and a heavy moustache
and beard, and he wore heavy thick spectacles over his eyes; so his
face was hidden and no one could guess what he would do next. He took
one look at Julie's left hand and growled, "How can you play with
such nails like that! The fingers must be hammers. I will cut the
nails." He took a pair of shears which seemed to Julie as long
as her arm, and gripping her left hand firmly he cut the nails down
to a violinist's requirements. It was really a minor surgical operation, but though Julie's fingers were raw and hurt no blood
actually flowed. Herr Trautvetter was not unkind, only very musical;
and he was not intimidated by Julie as Miss Jackson had been. Though
the parting of the nails should have been
a gradual process Julie bore Herr Trautvetter no ill will,
but stoically determined to play like Carrie: so with unspoken
recognition of each other's power the lessons continued. The lessons,
of course, were given in Herr Trautvetter's Studio but the practicing
had to be done at home, and the walls of 211 Perry Street were assaulted
by new vibrations - their impact made Julie's ears cringe, were endured
courageously by the Family and received with raucous screams of protest
by James, the Parrot.
Later on somebody "gave a benefit" for something;
and again, as when Cousin Edie sang at Rouse's Hall, Julie was the chief
beneficiary. The artists this time were two very gifted children from
Chicago, Leon Marx, violinist, and Gussie Cottlow, pianist. Gussie and
her mother stayed with the Fahnestocks at the other end of the block;
but Leon and his accompanist, Mr. Roney, stayed overnight at
"our House." And while Mr. Roney played Mama's piano Julie
stood close to Leon who was younger than she and not nearly so tall.
Leon played, so amazingly - so expertly - so beautifully, Carrie was lost
sight of entirely. Now Julie was a confirmed violinist; she
would practice faithfully, hoping some day to play like
Leon who had opened up for her new vistas in the world of music.
By the autumn of 1885 Charlie and Julie were too big to go to
Mrs. Ellis's School; but Perry Street was ready for every emergency; instead
of going one block south for education they now went one block north,
to the Pettengill Seminary. The Seminary was a very large place, three
stories high; it was full of entrances, stairways, halls, big rooms and
little rooms, big children and little children. But after all it was not
too strange; for among children their own age were several with whom
Charlie and Julie had frequently exchanged visits, Carrie, the violinist,
with her sister and several brothers, and Grace and Fannie Howe.
Grace and Fannie were especially distinguished; for not
only was their Father the minister at Mama's Congregational Church
but their Mother was not living and they boarded,
with Mr. Howe and their Aunt Sarah, right in the Pettengill
Seminary - in rooms way up at the top of the building.
For the first time school was quite an interesting place, though
Julie still was more intent on what went on inside her own head than
what went on outside it. The Principal came into the main schoolroom
and said, after a brief encouraging talk, "Write down on a slip of
paper what you think is your worst fault, and hand the slip to me."
Julie did not hesitate; she not only knew her worst fault she knew how
to spell it - Procrastination. Was not Mama always saying, "Do it now.
Don't procrastinate so. Study your lessons first and then read." And
only recently, as Mama in passing looked through Julie's doorway, her
gentle voice sounded as stern as it could, at least very
disapproving, "Look at your room!" she exclaimed, "How untidy it is!
How would The House look if we all left our things upside down
as you do?" Mama went away - but Julie went away too, imagining
every room in The House into complete disorder; a pastime so alarming
and engrossing that before she knew it
the supper bell rang. Again Procrastination had bested her, leaving
her no time to put her room in order.
What did Julie study with Miss Carter at the Seminary? Julie could not
have told. Miss Carter was very quiet, she seemed almost sad, she very
seldom smiled; but every child
was drawn to her in warm affection - even Charlie, who did
not care for school, said he liked to be in Miss Carter's class.
Through her came an introduction to the wonder of words, words whose meaning was so
deep, so high, it could not all be understood. Perhaps
Miss Carter read a whole poem to her class and then gave the pith of
the poem to be memorized. At any rate Julie took the words home with her, repeating and repeating them, sometimes the whole passage,
sometimes only a few of the lines or just a few words - repeating
them inside herself and out loud whenever she could be alone even
for a few moments - repeating them for the delight of their sound,
till sleep took Julie far away...
Build thee more stately mansions, oh my Soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past! ---
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon.
but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. ---
Himself from God he could not free.
He builded better than he knew,
The conscious stone to beauty grew ---
For now the sea hath quite forgot to rave,
And birds of calm sit brooding
On every charmed wave.
Whisper the beautiful words to the wall of The House! Fill The House
with poetry! A grateful heart says thank-you to Miss Carter.
The Pettengill Seminary also offered instruction
in piano playing, and the excellent teacher who had "training
abroad" was none other than Miss Jackson! Davie said
to Mama, "I want to take music lessons." Mama replied,
"Oh, you are much too young to take music lessons." "No,
I am not," said Davie. So Miss Jackson was engaged and courageously
went to work with another pupil from 211 Perry Street; but as Davie was
far more gentle and co-operative than his sister the lessons proceeded
Julie, after parting company with Miss Jackson, had not ceased to play
the piano, in her own fashion, and Mama's piano was kept very busy.
Julie liked best of all to play duets with Flora whose teacher gave
her a book of arrangements from "Favorite Operas" - William Tell,
The Poet and Peasant and many other delightful pieces. Flora practiced
sometimes the upper part sometimes the lower, and Julie
could help out by playing the part left over. Often the Arranger of the
Duets let one person play all over the
middle of the piano, while person number two had many measures of
"rests." Cream Puffs could be bought at the bakery three for
ten cents: combining their savings Flora and Julie bought three Puffs
and put one on a plate at each side of
the music rack, to eat during rests. Whoever had the most rests and
thereby finished her Cream Puff first could begin on Puff number three,
in reserve behind the music rack. So the joys of surprise and
sociability were added to those of music and alleviated wearisome moments.
Life was bringing many changes. All the neighbors on Mama's side of the
block were putting up new fences, iron fences to replace the wooden ones;
and Mama also must buy an iron fence, low and stylish. The children did not
care for it; it could not be sat upon and walked upon, nor did it
give a feeling of home and safety like the beloved wooden one.
But cows, pigs and horses no longer were allowed to roam the streets unattended,
"and it was time for the wooden fence to go," said Mama.
Mama too was changing - into Mother. Mama was someone to lean against, to
turn to for comfort, protection and all good gifts. Mother was someone who had
ideas of her own, someone Julie could talk with as she did with Flora and Nida.
Charlie now said Mother instead of Mama, and so, very often, did Julie.
One evening when Mama came into Julie's room she did not say Good
Night though Julie was in bed. Instead she asked. "How would you
like to have Grace and Fannie come to live with us?" Julie sat right
up in bed. "To stay here? All the time? So I could have them to
play with the first thing in the morning?" Mama was nodding Yes to all
the questions, and Julie cried, "Oh Mama, how wonderful!"
Soon after, in October of 1885, Mama married Mr. Howe;
his sister went back to her home in the East; and Mr. Howe, Grace
and Fannie came to live at 211 Perry Street. Mr. Howe had two sons
also, but they were very old and away at college. Grace was twelve,
two years older than Julie, but Julie preferred older friends
and at once the two girls found mutual interests and likings.
Fannie was only eight years old and seemed to Julie as little as Davie. Grace
and Fannie slept in the big bed in the room that
had been Charlie's, and Davie's cot went in there, too. Charlie
moved to a back bedroom
over the kitchen, which pleased him because he could see the Barn
and keep in close touch with his chickens and all that went on in the
yard. "This arrangement will do for the present," said Mama. It may
be that Mother had other plans in mind.
'"And now," said Mother, with just the faintest sigh,
"the first thing I must do is to get some school dresses
made for you three girls." Grace and Julie went away for a whispered
consultation; returning they proclaimed with one
voice, "We want to have our dresses made exactly alike, and
we know exactly how we want them made." Mother was delighted,
"I'm so glad you are old enough to know what you want,"
she exclaimed. "It is so difficult to plan the styles for growing
However, Mother selected the materials; good serviceable gray flannel, with some bright
plaid wool for trimming.
The dark gray was appropriate for Julie's ruddy face and fat figure, very trying to Grace's pale olive complexion
little body; the bright red, green and blue plaid was outrageous
for Julie but brightened the world decidedly for Grace - both girls
thought the selections admirable. Mrs. Leslie made the dresses to
specifications; very roomy gray jackets with vests of the plaid,
gray skirts with a wide band of plaid close to their hems - and
thriftily the skirt breadths were not shaped; no, all of the
material was gathered into a thick wad at
the waist line, put away for future use.
Mother had always said to her children. "Keep out of
the kitchen. Don't get in Susie's way. Susie has so much to do, I don't
know how she manages it all. Do not bother her." Julie was quite
content with such a ruling as was Grace; but one day Fannie asked
permission "to use the kitchen when Susie is out." To this
reasonable request Mother said yes. Fannie went into the kitchen all
alone - and presently came out with a cake, her first cake, a
superlative cake worthy of a prize anywhere! Grace and Julie were
properly impressed and proud
of their sister's efforts, ate gratefully the pieces offered them but
were not inspired to try their hands at cooking. Fannie, born with this
creative gift, returned to the kitchen at every opportunity and even
won Susie's admiration.
Yes, The House was a busy place that winter! The Proctors, the Howes,
Grandma Storrs and Susie, Mary and Jerry - these last three rightly
called "The Help" - all attending to their personal or family
affairs with an immense zest in living. But The House was not satisfied,
for over the Parlor was an unoccupied room; so Cousin Mamie, Papa's niece,
was invited to come from her home near Boston and spend several months in
the Spare Room at 211 Perry Street.
Everybody liked Mamie, she was jolly and friendly; she had a lovely
soprano voice, she sang all over The House, and practiced with the help
of Mama's piano whenever it was available. Mamie was already a young
lady on whom young men came to call; so Julie did not have many interests
in common with her. But Julie liked to go in her room when Mamie was
dressing for a big party, to watch her put on her wonderful white satin
gown which showed her bare arms and neck; with her blonde hair elaborately
dressed in a high knot and a white rose tucked in it,
and the warm yellow of the gas-light shining on her, Cousin Mamie looked
like the Princess of all the fairy tales.
Julie was so busy now she did not have much time for
"thinking" except on Sundays. Sunday was an extraordinary
day! There was much subdued excitement as the whole family was put into
its Sunday clothes; and a half hour before most people started for church
a group would leave 211 Perry
Street headed by Mother and the Rev. Mr. E. Frank Howe in his ministerial
coat and high silk hat, the children trailing after. The First
Congregational Church was only a block and
a half away, but the walk seemed a long one, so important it was;
and Julie felt all the neighbors must be observing this fine Procession
- not of course like a Circus Procession but
producing a similar exaltation. It was with genuine reverence
Julie entered "our pew": she listened fascinated to the organ
whose deepest tones really made a trembling far inside her,
in the middle of her body; she was carried into other realms when the
quartet sang its solemn music - and she experienced both pride and
wonder at the sight and sound of kind Mr. Howe talking before all those
many people, just as friendly as if
he were at home. While Mr. Howe preached Julie had a long quiet
"thinking"; it was never quite certain what she was thinking,
but going home she knew she was different inside,
and she knew she was happy.
Early in Spring it became evident what Mother had
meant when in October she had said, "These arrangements will
do for now." Susie and Mary must not be asked to share longer one
little room; Charlie must have a bigger room; Davie must have a room
for himself, not just a corner of Grace and Fannie's; Mr. Howe's two
sons, Clifford and Lewis, were coming back from college - where should
they be put? Mother saw clearly how four more rooms could be added to
The House, and when Mother had her eyes on a goal all obstacles between
her and it were non-existent.
Julie was scarcely aware how or when it happened; but presently there was
a new staircase going from the upper Hall to the Attic. The Attic wasn't
an attic any more: on each
side of its wide hall there were two fine bedrooms; and on each side of
The House's roof a dormer window had been built, the window subdivided
to give light to two rooms. Leading up to these high windows were flights
of steep steps, and wide sills at the top where one could sit and look
far out - just as Julie had loved to sit on the Hall window sill when she
was very still and dreamed about the River. Mother knew central Heating
would never accept the challenge offered by four more rooms, so she
asked it to heat only the Fayette side of the House and had another
furnace put in the basement under the Dining Room. Two furnaces for
Jerry to manage! But at least the stove would be taken now from
Grandma's room, and Jerry need not carry coals and ashes up and down stairs.
It was Mother's plan to put Davie in Julie's Hall Bedroom, Julie in
the room over the Parlor, Clifford, Lewis and Charlie up on the
Third Floor. But Julie, once having tried out the high steps to a
Third Floor room window, was entranced with the outlook and firmly
decided the Third Floor was for her, too. Mother at last consented
to this romantic notion, and Charlie and she were given rooms on
the Fayette Street side. In the Summer when Clifford and Lewis
came home they were settled on the opposite side.
Julie had wondered, "What will Clifford and Lewis be like?"
Lewis was friendly and sweet-tempered like his Father and Fannie, and
at once fitted into the Family life. Clifford was reserved, often severe
in manner; he was twenty-two and
the weight of years was upon him. Julie's years were beginning to weigh
on her, too: if she felt lost inside she did not mean to be unsocial
but she did not wish to be talked to, and she understood why Clifford
was often silent. When she discovered his birthday was on the same day
as hers she felt very close to him, and Clifford and she became good
Julie must have liked to eat as well as anyone; certainly she had always
been privileged to have three meals
a day. She enjoyed a quiet visit between meals to the Pantry, hunting
a sweet roll or a cookie, and she reveled in the fragrant odors from
the soup kettle or the oven on a cool Autumn evening. But soon after
Clifford's and Lewis's arrival, when
the Family gathered for supper, the amount of food on the
table suddenly struck her with amazement. How did Susie ever get it ready?
Where did it all come from? With four Proctors, five Howes, Grandma Storrs
and a visiting child all sitting around it the table stretched clear
across the room! The Soup Tureen looked as large as old Dick's water
bucket; the platter of sardines was as long as her arm, fishes piled
five and six deep upon it; the number of potatoes was not to be counted;
the plates of biscuits were enormous, the bowls of stewed fruit were the
size of washbasins. Julie decided she must exchange ideas with Mother
on the subject of food.
By way of Food Julie gained a first feeling of Family Responsibility. In the following months Grace and she were
often sent in the gathering dusk to Main Street - to bring back
reinforcements for the table. "Hurry," Mother said,
"Don't loiter. It's almost supper time now." Perhaps
appetites at noon had been unusually large, leaving no materials
to "make over," and the shopping must then be done
at the grocery: or perhaps Susie, who was growing old, had not
courage to make the dozens of muffins required that night; then
Mr. McFadden, the baker, would have to be consulted. Julie and
Grace felt very important, making decisions as to what could and
should be bought if substitutes were inevitable. Yes, Food was the
most important thing in life, and the Kitchen undoubtedly the most
important room in The House.
While Grace and Julie attended to the business of the Family Fannie
cooked and learned long pieces of poetry to speak at Church Sociables,
Clifford and Lewis worked in offices, Davie played the piano, Mr. Howe
preached, Mother vibrated between Home and Church - and Grandma filled
in all the corners everybody else forgot.
But Charlie, outside of school hours, was always
with the chickens. When warm weather came again Grace and Julie
one day were walking through the yard and heard unusual sounds
from the Laundry. They went down the basement stairs but were halted
at the Laundry door by a firm order, "Don't come in here now,
and don't make any noise." So in amazement they stood and looked.
On a long bench was a row of strange bundles - Charlie's best white
Leghorn hens, each wrapped by a Turkish towel into a big round ball
with only her head sticking out. The hens were being prepared, by
Charlie and a loyal admirer, for the Poultry Show; each hen must
be immaculately white, washed in a laundry tub (blueing added) and
then laid out to dry.
The towels were Mother's best Turkish towels, a surprise to Mother
when she discovered their absence; but Charlie who had never imagined
she would not be pleased, explained the importance of the occasion to
Mother's satisfaction. If the Family was short on bath towels that week
it would not really matter.
Mother did not sing much nowadays, except in the Church Quartet.
The new Mrs. Dudley Tyng was making quite a stir in town
with her beautiful soprano voice, and she was engaged to sing in
the Quartet; her salary was large, so Mother sang alto to save
the Church money.
Julie longed to sing. She knew she would never have
a voice like Mother; but if Cousin Mamie could learn to sing why
couldn't she? Julie was nearly twelve years old and very large for her
age; Mother finally said she might try some lessons with
Mrs. Leipheimer. Again The House proved it was near to everything
needed. Only a block and a half down Fayette Street lived Mrs. Leipheimer
who gave Julie Concone's Vocalises and the songs of Schubert. As the weeks
went by the Vocalises were not too harshly criticized but Mrs. Leipheimer
shook her head over the Schubert songs. One day she announced, "You
do not have enough feeling. You should be more romantic." Julie was
willing, how should she go about it?
Mrs. Leipheimer replied (in as matter of fact a tone as if
she had asked, Where do you buy your groceries?) "Have you never
been in love?" "No," said Julie. "Don't you know anybody
you could fall in love with?" "No," said Julie.
Mrs. Leipheimer thought deeply and came back with an inspiration.
"How about Willie Wilson? He lives at the Griswold's, right
in the next block to you." "That old man!" thought Julie,
"Why he must be nineteen years old!" But she agreed she
would try hard to be romantic.
In July Julie had her twelfth birthday. Ever since Papa went away,
Uncle John had done all in his power to make "David's children"
happy. This day he invited Julie to go with him to the Foundry, to watch
the men pouring the white hot iron into the molds, always a thrilling
Then he took her into the weighing room and one of the workmen weighed
her. "Only twelve years old and already weighs one hundred and
twelve pounds," said Uncle John proudly. Julie did not feel this
was a subject for public rejoicing, but before she went home Uncle John
gave her a ten dollar gold piece. That was something to rejoice about
- ten dollars, a fortune! Julie bought some very heavy black satin and
had Mrs. Leslie make her a dress just like a picture she had seen
- short-waisted, full sleeves, with an ankle-length skirt: that she
had no suitable occasion on which to wear it
was no matter. she wore it on un-suitable ones.
Yes. life was very happily arranged. But life did not like to be arranged.
Change was again but a short way off, unnoticed by the children, anticipated
with sad patience by the older ones of the Family. In March Mr. Howe had to give
up his Church because he was not well: on August 11, 1887 he gave up his hold on
life. Mother had little time to think about her loss, for here were four Howe
children to comfort. Clifford and Lewis were older and could in some measure
adjust themselves, little Grace and Fannie were indeed bereft. Their own Mother
had died just as she was getting ready to come to Peoria with Mr. Howe in 1882.
Julie, of course, felt nearest to Grace's sorrow: Grace now had neither Father
nor Mother. Julie had no Father - what would it be like to lose Mother? That was
beyond imagining: she did not know how to comfort Grace.
Said the papers: The Rev. E. Frank Howe had an unusual power of touching the
hidden springs and bringing out the best in others. His genial spirit gained the
regard not only of his Congregation but of the entire community.
For the next school year the Pettengill Seminary provided a new teacher who
was very young and so full of fun she made school much more attractive. Miss
Riggs and Julie took a liking to each other; and Mother liked Miss Riggs,
inviting her often to The House. Clifford and Lewis must have liked her, too,
for they and she seemed to be enjoying each other's company; indeed, sometimes
the situations evolved were "almost romantic," thought Julie,
observing carefully what went on - hoping to better the rendition of Schubert's
song. Before the year was over Miss Riggs seemed like one of the Family, and she
no longer was so lonely and homesick for her family back in New York State.
In August of 1888 Charlie was fifteen years old: already he looked like a
young man, and he acted like a grandfather. He did not care for friends his own
age, he did not take part in games or sports, he went to school only because it
was required of him; he wanted to learn only from living things, and all his
interest was absorbed by his chicken business. Mother decided it was Charlie
whose personal problems should receive her first attention the coming year.
Already Mother had her eyes on a goal, and again obstacles prepared
to move out of the way. "We have needed
a new Barn for a long time," she said, "and Charlie shall plan
one just the way he wants it... Yes, of course it
will cost much money but it will be worth it. And I think we can sell
that part of the old building which has the carpenter shop and Jerry's
room: it is so well built and too good to tear down." Grandma Storrs,
who heard all the discussions, did some thinking of her own, and
announced she would buy this part and give it to Jerry for his
Church's parsonage. "It can be made over into a very nice
little house I'm sure." said. Grandma. Jerry was delighted. So
eventually the "good part" went away with the moving
men to Monson Street. Jerry was married now, and living elsewhere with
his family: Old Dick was boarded out in the neighborhood, and the ground
was cleared for the new building.
By late Spring the Barn was ready for occupancy. Downstairs there were
three splendid stalls, a large carriage room and plenty of space for
the prize chickens. Upstairs were the storage space for hay
and feed, and on the Fayette Street side commodious quarters
for prospective newcomers, the pigeons. The entire interior,
horse stalls included, was painted a beautiful "robin's-egg blue."
Many families bought riding horses that year, and Mother and Charlie chose
a handsome bay horse, Billy, on whom Charlie and Julie could ride and who
was also strong enough to draw Charlie and a friend in the two-wheeled
cart. Old Dick was glad to share responsibility with Billy, and very soon
he had further companionship in the Barn with Daisy. Daisy was a charming
little Jersey cow who looked like a deer, so dainty she was: everybody
paused to admire her when Jerry brought her out to nibble at the young
grass in the yard. Did Daisy work in competition or co-operation with
Mr. Roszell and the Mount Holly Dairy? It is not recorded.
Two wire-haired terriers made their appearance. Sport and Trix; one was
Charlie's and one was Lewis's; and Davie had had for some time a big
beautiful Newfoundland dog whom he named Orgetorix - Orgie for short.
Orgie had curly black hair with a little white on his throat and face;
he had a fine broad brow, a most benign and intelligent expression,
and was gentle and loveable like Mother and Jerry. With two horses ,
a cow, three dogs, the contemporary cat and the feathered
creatures in addition to its human beings, 211 Perry Street was
assured of "something doing" every minute. Charlie was
fully occupied; his name appeared in the City Directory followed
by "breeder of fine poultry" , and his opinions were
asked by many exhibitors at the Poultry shows.
Carrie, the violinist, and her sister Elsie had ponies to ride; and Julie
had often gone on excursions with them, mounted on an Indian pony from
the livery stable. Grace did not care to ride. Riding was warm work
in Peoria summers, even though the early mornings or late afternoon
used: it took real love of both the horse and the exercise
to remove a thin, short cotton dress and get into a riding habit.
It meant putting on a pair of man-style long wool trousers, strapped
under the shoe so there should be no chance showing of a leg; a wool skirt.
shaped to fit the side saddle as well as the wearer and long enough to
cover everything human and the stirrup; and a tight, long-sleeved wool waist. Julie
now had a beautiful gray habit with a visored cap
to match, in order to do justice to Billy's distinguished appearance.
Heat or no heat she went riding, trying to look as elegant as she felt.
The summer of 1889 was very hot, not alone for horseback riding but
for everything and everybody. Poor Orgie could not take off his thick
curly black coat and must have suffered grievously before some one came
running to The
House to say that Orgie had "gone mad and was frothing at
the mouth." All the children were called up onto the back porch
and all looked in suspense toward Orgie, who stood by his house under
the tree near Flora's yard. Some one cried,
"He must be tied up!" - and somebody else called
out "Take him some water!" Nobody wished to go near Orgie.
the commotion, he came quietly, and getting a bowl of water walked
over to Orgie who now was lying down. Far from wishing to bite Jerry
Orgie wagged his tail feebly and tried to show his
appreciation - but Orgie was very sick from the heat, and presently
he died. Oh such loss, such parting is something to which the heart
can never become accustomed! Everyone mourned Orgie - Davie most keenly
While the Barn was the chief event of the past year
for Charlie it had brought Julie another friend, Nina Alice
from Iowa who had come to stay a year with her Aunt, Miss
Dodge. Miss Dodge considerately lived only two blocks away
from 211 Perry Street, so Julie could see Nina Alice not only
in school but often afterwards as well, and share ideas and
ambitions with her. Nina Alice was very beautiful and sweet-
natured, two assets which Julie lacked and so admired all the
more. Nina Alice went home to Iowa and Julie wrote to her:
July 11, 1889
Monday night eleven of us went horseback riding by moonlight. You can imagine how much we enjoyed ourselves. We play
croquet almost every night and have great times . Mr.
White, the young man who has just moved in across the street,
comes over and brings his sister: then Will comes, so Grace
and I have quite a party. Somehow I always come in fifth in
the games! After we finish playing we go on the front porch
"in the moonlight," drink ginger-ale and eat crackers.
Would you were here to join in the sport, for I can assure you it
is such... I'm going to brave
the storms and enter High School this Fall!
Mr. White's name, it developed, was also Charlie. Though he was nineteen
years old and already in business - driving a delivery wagon for the
Cracker Factory - he liked Charlie Proctor, and invested some money
jointly with him in a Buff Cochin chicken venture. Mother went
to call on the White family, newcomers from Ottawa, Illinois, Mrs. White
and she were soon warm friends, Clifford and Lewis enjoyed the several
White daughters (all older than Charlie) and there was much visiting
to and fro across Fayette Street.
Mother said to Julie, and this time in a tone that
was reserved for finalities, "Now you are going to High School.
You are not a little girl any more but a young lady You must come
down from the Third Floor, and we will arrange the Spare Room any
way you like to have it." Julie chose a folding bed, which
made the room very spacious in the daytime, like a sitting-room,
and the bed had a long mirror in its front. Julie, looking critically
at the reflection of her front, thought suddenly, "Why, I am really
not so fat any more! I almost look like Flora and Nida." This gave
new courage with which to meet the High School.
One block south to school, one block north to school - and now? One
block east on Fayette Street, there was the High School! David's
house was still the center of the world. Grace was not very well and
could only go part time; Julie joined Charlie in the Junior Class.
But school, it seemed, was very much the same wherever
she went, a routine not enjoyed by a too-independent spirit.
However, there were new young people to become acquainted with;
and very shortly some of the boys, two at a time, began to make calls on Grace and Julie. Being summoned to the Parlor
to receive callers was rather amusing, perhaps just a
little bit romantic, and would not have been too difficult
if it had not been for Fannie. The moment the door bell rang
Fannie was there to join the company. As she was far more amiable
and a much better conversationalist than either of her sisters
the visitor's interest soon centered
on her, while Grace and Julie retreated into baffled silence.
After several such trying evenings Grace and Julie were
obliged to appeal to Mother: "It isn't fair,"
they said. "Please tell Fannie the boys don't ask for her.
to see us, and she shouldn't come in. She's too young." Mother
agreed to explain the matter to Fannie without hurting her feelings.
Charlie White, too, often came over to The House,
but his visits were not at all romantic: he came in the side door
with Charlie Proctor, just as Charlie's other friends did, and was
soon at home at 211 Perry Street in an older-brotherly fashion.
A new singer came to town, Miss Timberman, the contralto,
and "our Church" engaged her for the Quartet: Mrs. Tyng
had gone on to other fields, so Mother now sang soprano, helping
out till her successor should arrive. Miss Timberman was very
soon an admirer of Mother, and Mother was greatly attracted to
her. Mother decided a change of teachers would be beneficial and
sent Julie to Miss Timberman for singing lessons, just two blocks
up Perry Street. Miss Timberman was older than Miss Riggs but
equally friendly and jolly, and Julie felt at ease with her right
away. Miss Timberman could demonstrate her art, as Mrs. Leipheimer
could not. She produced a wonderful song and sang it for Julie - with such abandon and despair in her great warm voice Julie discovered
what it meant to sing romantically; it was like putting on a Show in which one person had the
fun of taking all the parts.
So Julie sang, in pale imitation of Miss Timberman's despair.
He was a Prince with golden hair
In a palace beside the sea,
And I but a poor mermaiden
And how should he care for me.
A Princess got him before the song was finished, and the Mermaid was
lost in the depths of the sea. Schubert and Mrs. Leipheimer were
relegated to the past and Julie practiced
"He was a Prince" before the long mirror in her room - singing softly so the Family couldn't hear - and tried to look like
the Mermaid as well as feel like her.
It was Wednesday night. Mother and Grace had gone to prayer
meeting, the rest of the Family for various reasons
had gone away too, even "the Help" had disappeared. Julie
was experiencing a thrilling new sensation, being alone in
The House. But about eight o'clock the doorbell rang: Julie opened the door - surprise! There was Mr. Timberman. Miss Timberman
had asked her brother to call on the Proctor Howes, "But," she
said, "he's very shy. I don't know - ." Julie and Mr. Timberman
looked at each other in mutual alarm. "Oh!" said he
- pause - "I thought there wouldn't be anybody home tonight." "I'm here," said
Julie, recovering composure,
"Won't you come in?" "Oh no indeed!
No, no," said Mr. Timberman, backing hastily away,
"Some other time - maybe."
But another evening Mary opened the door when the bell rang,
and came upstairs to announce Mr. Philip Tyng, and he
had asked not for the whole Family, nor for Grace and Julie
as was customary, but only for Julie - Oh! Certainly his mother was one
of Mother's oldest friends in Peoria - and
yes, no doubt he was a nice man, but he was not a young man,
he must be as old as Clifford - well, as old as Lewis anyway.
"Of course you must see him," said Mother firmly.
"Go downstairs and try to be pleasant to him."
The Parlor seemed
very brilliantly lit, its occupants very conspicuous. What
to talk about? A subject was exhausted in three sentences.
Mr. Tyng seemed very uncommunicative, and Julie very unresponsive.
"Why did he want to see me?" - her thoughts revolved around
this too central point; and though her back was to the hall door
her attention was constantly distracted by the sound of hushed
footsteps passing and re-passing or ascending the stairs. All things
end; and so at length, some way, Mr. Tyng got himself out.
He called a few times thereafter, but evidently realized
at last that Julie was not in his class.
1889, and the Christmas holidays again. The Pettengill Seminary had
closed its doors, and Miss Riggs was now teaching in Chicago:
she had been invited to spend her vacation at 211 Perry Street,
and many festivities were planned, But again Life would not submit
to plans - Change was imminent - very suddenly Grandma Storrs died.
Now Julie knew - Life and Change were one: who spoke of one named
also the other. How could so quiet and gentle a being as Grandma
leave such a
great emptiness in The House? Mother and Charlie went east
for Grandma's burial and Miss Riggs took care of the Family,
now truly a part of it.
Julie sat by her window on the nights the moon shone,
long after everyone else was asleep and she should have been sleeping, too. Julie thought of Miss Carter and Poetry and Life - many
thoughts that till now had troubled her but vaguely. Sometimes
she tried to hold her thoughts by compressing them into verse:
Why must the moon like everything else
Hide grief and pain and care?
Why is there sorrow, sorrow,
Do you think that love grows greater
And passion and sorrow less
When the cold full light is shining
In all its loveliness?
Do you think when we die we'll remember
All that we suffer here?
Do you think all the vexing questions
God will make clear?
Julie heard Clifford talk about the newspaper on which he had worked
in Washington, D.C. Encouraged by him she presented the idea of a school
paper to her High School class and prevailed upon its members to carry
out her idea. Clifford's paper was called "Public Opinion," and
the class voted to call its paper the "High School Opinion." Julie
exercised her interest on the editorial side, and Charlie joined heartily with the boys who managed the business end of affairs. The paper,
became so successful its management was taken over by the whole
But in spite of the New Barn, the Poultry Business
and the High School paper, Charlie was growing increasingly restless: he
would be seventeen in summer, and he did not
wish to go to college; he did not even wish go to High School for his
Senior year. Mother foresaw his early entry into the world of real
business and felt she must give him a wider experience of life before
he chose his future work. Remembering how much her European travels
had meant to her she
wrote to Grandpa Storrs's friend Mr. Corning, who was living
in Munich with his daughter, "Send Charlie along," he wrote.
"He can live with us and I'll do all I can for him."
To this plan Charlie consented, and soon after school closed he sailed
to Europe. Mother gave no outward sign of this new loss, but she knew
the first bird had flown - and young birds do not return to the nest.
Though Charlie Proctor was gone Charlie White continued to come
to The House, and he liked to sit by Mother's piano and hear Julie
sing. When the Andrews Opera Company started the opera at Spring Hill
Park he often invited Julie to attend a performance with him;
wonderful evenings of music and lovely walks home, the mile down
Perry Street, in the still warmth of the summer nights. Sometimes
her to go in the late afternoon in a rowboat, from the
foot of Main Street to the opposite shore - where the great
sweet scented water lilies bloomed - and Julie would sing
as dusk drew in around them
Do you remember that night
Out on the beautiful sea,
When all the world was sleeping,
Loved One, but you and me?
And a great arm-full of lilies was carried home to Mother.
Senior year at High School: Julie played violin in the orchestra. wrote
for the Opinion, took part in the school plays, studied very little
and enjoyed life thoroughly. Only one teacher made a lasting impression.
Miss Colby who headed the Literature class. Miss Colby was very homely,
very lame and awkward, she dressed so that all her shortcomings
were emphasized; but after a first recognition of these deficiencies,
no student ever noticed them again. Miss Colby's victorious spirit
evoked response from the dullest, and aroused the laziest and the
brightest to genuine thought. Julie realized now that Literature was
not just a Subject which
she had to "take"; back to The House with her
went her thoughts, and the books which filled the
in the Sitting Room and which till now had been only a
part of the furniture, began to seem even more
interesting than the light novels she had till then absorbed.
The House was filled to the roof with activities, and parties on all
levels - children's parties, those for Grace and Julie's friends,
Clifford's and Lewis's friends, Mother's friends from in
and outside of the Church; and Miss Timberman enlivened many
gatherings with her gifts
of friendship and song. Julie bad lost more pounds
and "looked just like the rest of the girls"
- oh, what a comfort! - at least she need retreat less often
into painful self-consciousness. And one of Lewis's friends, a man at
least twenty-five years old, invited Julie to the Bicycle Club Dance;
now, nearing sixteen years herself, she was not alarmed at such
attention but gravely flattered.
Mother? Mother saw it could not be long before
all her birds would wish to fly their separate ways.
With earnest intent to defer that day she set her eyes upon another
goal, and almost before the Family was aware of what was happening
plans were made for a three-year stay in Europe, Munich the first stop.
Miss Riggs agreed to go along, to be company for Mother and to keep
Fannie and Davie up with their English studies.
Cousin Etta, Papa's niece, had recently married
Mr. Littlewood who had two young lady daughters. Mr.
and Mrs. Littlewood agreed to rent The House while Mother was gone.
Clifford and Lewis engaged rooms with friends, Old Dick and James,
the Parrot, went to live with Jerry, and Billy was adopted by
Uncle Francis; Sport and Trix found other homes.
How should Julie remember all the shopping and packing that must
have been done to make ready - even a three-year's supply of shoes
bought for everybody at Mr. Corning's suggestion, "because
European shoes knew no difference between right and left, were made
alike for both feet." Julie was going to graduate from High School
in a new blue silk gown; and she was to sing "0 mio Fernando"
accompanied by Miss Rees; - and there were final parties for every
reason for everybody.
Charlie White came often in the Summer evenings to sit on the front
steps with Julie, the Family having considerately gone away from
the porch. Julie had an autoharp; it lay flat on her lap, something
like a zither, and was so easy to play anyone who knew music at all
could play it. She could make simple chords to accompany songs Charlie
liked to hear:
When in thy dreaming
Moons like this shall come again --
Oh think not that I could forget you
I could not if I would --
Charlie and she would sit long, dreaming over the music; watching
the dust as it rose after the passing carriages and floated in a
golden haze under the high arc-light at the corner.
A few nights before the Family was to leave Peoria Charlie put
in Julie's hand a little package saying, "Please take
it with you." Julie opened it - and was for several moments
speechless: on its purple velvet bed lay the enamel violet pin
she had for months admired in Woelfle's Jewelry Store. It was
as beautiful as a real violet, and had a tiny diamond like a dewdrop
in its center. Julie tried to give it back to Charlie, saying
"Oh, it's so beautiful - but I mustn't take it!"
And he said, "Please think it over."
The next day Julie waited till she could find Mother alone
in her room and showed her the pin. "What shall I do?"
she said. "He wants so much to have me keep it. He says he's bought
it, and he won't know what to do with it if I don't keep it."
Mother went on putting things away in her bureau; "Well,"
she answered at last, "I think you may keep it, - Yes,
I agree - No, I won't tell anybody else about it,
It shall be, a secret between you and me." Charlie came the
next night to say good-bye: he saw Julie was wearing the Violet.
"Thank you," he said. That was all.
It was harder to say good-bye to The House than to any person.
The House was really a part of one's self - what
would happen to it in the three years the Family was away?
Three years was a long, long time.
A most startling impression of life in Europe was received by Mother and her
Family before the boat had fastened itself to the land. On the dock at
Antwerp stood a
man who was waving his arm to catch someone's attention.
It could not be - it could be - it must be Charlie! He wore very
tight trousers, and a tight short jacket buttoned high, of a very loud checked pattern, he had on a high silk hat,
and carried a black cane with a white top. And now he is near enough so it
is plain to see, he has whiskers! Whiskers down each cheek, luxuriant but
says "sideburns" is their name. If one year in Europe can produce such
changes in Charlie how will the Family look after three years!
Home seemed desperately far away.
But back in Peoria The House was providing most comfortable and agreeable
shelter for the Littlewoods, and they were bringing to it new life and
Mr. Littlewood's daughters were so charming The
House did not lack company. "The young men seemed to like to call
on us, especially Sunday evenings," said one of the daughters in
later years. "And I remember Mrs. Littlewood always wound the clocks
Sunday evening at nine, much to the amusement of the young men who refused
to take this as a signal for their departure." Mother had left some
clocks in The House. Mr. Littlewood and his daughters had some,
and Mrs. Littlewood (Cousin Etta) had received some for wedding presents.
Cousin Etta was no relation of Grandma Storrs. but it seemed she had an
identical ambition - to have all the clocks strike at once. Her flock of
clocks, however, was just as refractory as Grandma's.
The Family had. been two years in Munich when Charlie became engaged to a
young Austrian girl, and Mother agreed he must go home to settle in some
business. So to Peoria
he went, to consult with Uncle John. Mother had decided no matter how much
her Family enjoyed Munich, and the vacation travels near by, it must now be
moved to Paris to absorb some French atmosphere: besides Miss Timberman was
studying singing there, and was enthusiastic about the city.
Charlie's fiancée, Pauline, should go too: her mother was not living and
Mother wanted Pauline to become acquainted with her new relatives-to-be,
and to study English with Miss Riggs. This seemed an acceptable plan; but,
as the time for departure drew near, poor Julie who sent down a root after
a few weeks in any one spot could not face leaving Munich.
She begged to be allowed to stay with her "wonderful violin
and voice teachers" - and Mother consented. Just the year before Mother
had bought Julie a fine violin, which had been for long the property of her
violin teacher. "This gift is
in memory of your Father," she said. It was Julie's most prized
possession and went with her everywhere, a constant care and a constant
Julie wrote to Uncle John, explaining why Mother was willing to leave her
behind while all the rest of the Family enjoyed Paris. In his letter of
reply Uncle John wrote,
"Our Cousin Fisk told us of the fame and money his wife is receiving
from her musical education. Last week she sang
in Omaha, Kansas City and Rockford: she has two hundred and fifty dollars
a night. When you are ready to travel (if I
am not too old) I will speak for a position as your advertising manager.
Set your mark at three hundred a night."
In Spring, 1894, Mother wrote to Julie in Munich, "Charlie says he will
not wish to live in the Perry Street house, much as he loves it; it is far
too big for him. He wants to build a home for himself; and I know it won't
be long before you girls will be leaving home, too. Don't you agree it would
be wise to sell The House?" Julie wrote
back, horrified, "Sell our House! Why, it would be just like selling
one of the Family, I can't bear to think of such a thing! Oh, please don't
do it now anyway!! I'm homesick just imagining what it would be like."
And kind Mother replied, "I didn't know you felt so strongly about
it. Since it is so, of course I will make no move to sell The House now, my
dear 'perturbed and disturbed' daughter."
In Summer of 1894 the Littlewoods moved out of 211 Perry Street, and the
Proctor Howes came home. Charlie and Pauline were married and went to their
own house: Lewis had peen married to Charlie White's sister the year before,
and had a house of his own: Clifford returned to his room in The House.
It was delightful to be in The House again, to see Peoria and old-time
friends - and Jerry, who welcomed his Folks saying "Time do fly."
But in a few weeks Julie was incurably restless. How many changes three
years could bring! Grandpa Day and Flora had moved out of town and Marcia
Bell lived in their house; Nida and her family had gone, too; Nina Alice
was away at school; Old Dick and
James, the Parrot, had died, and poor Billy was blind.
Peoria neither looked nor was as Julie remembered it - indeed. though
never saying so out loud, Julie felt Peoria had little to offer her.
Miss Riggs had remained in the east and was to teach in Brooklyn in the
Autumn. She and Julie corresponded, and presently Julie came to Mother
with her troubles and her plan for curing them. Miss Riggs could chaperone
Julie, they could live together somewhere and Julie continue her lessons
with fine teachers, the kind New York offered and Peoria could not. What
should Mother say - such a Mother
as Sarah? For Mother was changing back to Sarah again;
her children often called her now by that name, half in
fun, and Mother welcomed it as if from friends her own age. Mother said,
"Go where you will be happiest. We'll try
it out for a year." And so, almost before she was home, Julie was
Fannie went east to school. Julie went to New York and she and Miss Riggs
found a small unfurnished apartment which could be rented very cheaply.
Mother sent on boxes of unused things from home to help furnish it.
Both Miss Riggs and Julie wrote enthusiastic letters to Sarah about their
work and their new experiences.
At the end of October Sarah wrote: "I bought the large
Steinway piano for Davie's birthday, and succeeded in having it brought
upstairs without his knowing it. I have fixed up Grandma's
room as a music room, so he can play all he likes without
being interrupted. I think he suspected
he might get a piano; but Grace told him his present had a
long black tail and white teeth, so he was a little alarmed
and thought it might turn out to be a horse."
And in November Sarah wrote: "The House is so big and
empty. It is not a home any more, only a house.
I try to see things as I used to, but it is
a difficult task."
Julie wrote about her lessons, her new teachers, the fine concerts, the
theatre, what one could get in the shops, the very amusing events of
everyday housekeeping for her and Miss Riggs.
Uncle John wrote:
Don't practice and work too much so as to injure your health. If you
cannot please yourself and the musical critics come back here. and we will
go out on the bluff at the Poplett Farm and please ourselves and
Then Sarah wrote:
Grace and I are almost jealous of you. We have thought of going east
ourselves and running opposition to you and Grace Riggs. If you like the
dust and noise of New York well enough to return to it another year, why
look out for neighbors, that's all! Good-night, Old Maids!
With love, Mother.
Then at last, in Spring of 1895, Sarah wrote:
Grace, Davie and I want to come to New York. I will not sell The House
but rent it again. Look for a house for us. I can trust you, I know, to
judge what will be best suited to our needs, and I have told you what I
can afford to pay.
Who now would be sheltered by David's House? Not relatives - but certainly
it was the right person who
stepped forward to ask for its rental, Mr. Alexander Tyng. Mr. Tyng was
the son of the Mrs. Tyng who with such motherly kindness had befriended
Sarah when she came to Peoria as a bride: and Mr. Tyng and his young wife
had soon moved into 611 North Jefferson Street, in the other half of the
house where lived David and Sarah. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Tyng were just the
ones to occupy The House that David built.
Julie rented a house in New York. Then she went
back to Peoria, for a brief final visit before the furniture should be
packed and 211 Perry Street made ready for
the Tyngs. Of course her first call was upon Oscar, Charlie and Pauline's
little son, the first grandchild of David and Sarah. Oscar was just four
weeks old that July day; and when Julie entered his room he was lying all
unclothed, face down, on his Mother's big bed. At the sound of Julie's
voice he actually lifted his little shoulders and turned his head a
moment as if he really wished to greet her. He looked like the exquisite,
pink wax doll Grandpa Storrs had given Julie when she was six years old,
and which was such a work of
art she was only allowed to look at it, not to touch it.
He was the tiniest baby Julie had ever seen; and when she
came back to The House she would have liked to be alone,
to go far inside herself and think about Oscar and the unceasing
strangeness of life and death - but no, an event
of tremendous importance was demanding all the energy of
the 200 block Perry Street!
Even though she had only just arrived Julie "must do something"
to help make a success of The Streets of Amsterdam, which would take place
the next day. This remarkable affair had been suggested by Mother, and had
received ardent support from the Ladies of the First Congregational Church
who wished a new idea for a money-making project. On July 20th, 1895, the
morning Transcript asked,
Did you visit The Streets of Amsterdam last night? If you did not you
missed seeing and enjoying one of the most unique things in the
entertainment line given in Peoria for many years.
Perry Street, on the 200 block, was converted into a beautiful scene by the
addition of vari-colored streamers, flags of two nations, innumerable
Chinese lanterns strung up either side of the street, pretty girls of
Amsterdam in gay costumes. the men-folk in radiant garb, decorated
street booths and vehicles. It was
a busy scene, and during the evening thousands of people enjoyed the promenade, using both the walks and the streets for that purpose.
For blocks around it was evident that festivities were in order,
reflections from the
many electric lights also from the lanterns and headlights: the
electrical effects were elaborate.
On either end of the block ropes were stretched to keep out buggies,
and for several hours those who desired to pass the 200 block had
to go round. There were those who objected
of course, but as a rule everyone accepted the situation.
Yes, and in addition to all this four brilliantly lighted houses had
special attractions, to be enjoyed on payment of an admission fee. At
the Fahnestock's, on the Hamilton Street corner, was a man with a
phonograph, and an orchestra to listen to while seated for refreshments;
on the other end of the block the Schimpffs also had an orchestra,
"dispensing a fine program, and another coterie of men busy serving
iced fruits and sherbets": across the street at
211 Perry - in the early part of the evening - a musical program "was
rendered by several well-known artists including Mrs. Starr,
Mrs. McCulloch, Miss Proctor (this must have been Julie), Mr. Velde,
Mr. McCulloch, Mr. Coffey, Mr. Burdick and Mr. Proctor
(this was Davie)": and down at 203 Perry the Kingmans had the most
ambitious project; in the back yard a large Dutch windmill had been built,
one end of the veranda of the house was made into a Dutch bedroom;
and "from the large veranda there was a fine view of the spectacle
in the street, the gaily costumed vendors dispensing sweetmeats and flowers
and hurrying to and fro among the strollers." No doubt it was
Mr. Kingman who secured permission from the City to close the block to
(Sarah, standing on her porch and looking down the
block at the amazing crowds. could well be reminded of the Holland city
she and her children had seen on their way back
to America: for Holland streets and sidewalks were narrower than Peoria's,
and at certain evening hours a central section
of the city would be closed to vehicles while a friendly dignified people
enjoyed the freedom of the thoroughfare.)
Mabel Kingman, Marcia Bell and Grace and Fannie Howe were among the costumed
girls, and very good Dutch girls they made; but what could Julie do, she who
had not one feature even remotely Dutch? Well, she had been studying
Italian in New York and so, after singing at the concert, she put on a
hastily contrived Italian costume and took on her arm a big basket filled
with pins, needles, shoelaces and buttons. As she had been gone four years
from Peoria only a very few old friends recognized her, and she pushed her
way among the throngs on the street urging everyone
to buy her wares. Her imitation of an Italian who could speak but a few
English words was at least convincing to
a crowd which seemed to include no natives of Italy; for very shortly an
excited messenger was sent to headquarters reporting, "Get a policeman!
An Italian woman has got in here somehow and she's trying to sell things for
her own benefit." The messenger was advised of the facts in the case,
and no one else complained; indeed, all Julie approached were in a most
generous mood, willing to help a poor Italian as well as the Congregational
Church. The goods she had hurriedly bought that morning were so soon gone
she went back to 211 Perry to see whether she could find anything saleable
there; the pantry yielded a few
small cakes and a scanty supply of cold muffins, which
went like the proverbial "hot cakes," and at fancy prices. Judge
Puterbaugh, not inclined to frivolity, solemnly paid fifty cents to purchase
a muffin for the lady he was escorting. Yes, said the Transcript,
The promenade was a success not only as a matter of entertainment and
enjoyment but from a financial point of view, and the Committee wore the
largest smiles when the subject was mentioned. It was by far the most
successful and delightful open-air social function the City has seen
But the most remarkable thing about The Streets of Amsterdam was never
so much as mentioned in the newspapers. In the ten houses of the 200 block
Perry Street lived four Congregational families, two Baptists, two
Episcopalians, one Jewish and one combination Episcopalian and
Congregational. That all of these other Faiths should have joined with
the Congregational in permitting the block to be used in such fashion
was surely a fine example of cordial Inter-Faith relations. It is to be
hoped the Congregational ladies were equally co-operative when those of
the other Faiths, feeling the need to replenish their treasuries, attempted
some more ambitious project than the usual Strawberry Festival, Apron Sale
or Living Pictures.
This gala occasion, The Streets of Amsterdam, with
its personal amusing remembrances for each one of the Family, gave a fitting
climax to the last days in 211 Perry Street before The House became the
home of Mr. and Mrs. Tyng.
Sarah must have felt quietly triumphant. for she had succeeded in getting
four of her children under one roof. Four? Grace, Julie and Davie, and
Fannie might honestly be counted the fourth since she was only a short
journey away and could come often to New York. And Miss Riggs, married now,
lived in a nearby street.
Once when Fannie came home the Family fell to remembering, and there was
much talk of the "old days" back in Peoria. Do you remember
this - Do you remember that - I remember when - all manner of ridiculous,
wicked and unconventional escapades, some of which Sarah knew about,
some revealed to her for the first time. Sarah laughed till the tears
ran down her cheeks - but afterwards Mother grew very sober.
"You poor children!" she said. "You never had any bringing
up. I didn't know what to do with you." Sarah could not understand she
herself was the constant example, the Ideal toward which her children
unconsciously strove. She was of those "who return good for evil
not from any conscious desire to do so, but because there was no evil
in her to return."
Uncle John wrote, "The Tyngs are greatly pleased with their new
home." The Family was pleased to be in
New York. Life seemed satisfied to have things so. Grace was on the way
to become a French teacher, Fannie was in college, as was Davie. Julie knew
music would always be
her great joy and continued her lessons; but she was learning other things
in New York - the misery of a great city weighed heavily upon her. Long ago,
with scant knowledge
of its truth, she had written in the moonlight,
"Sorrow, sorrow, everywhere." Was there no answer?
Maybe it was education; if one began early enough surely the right results
must follow. She chose to be a kindergarten teacher, and entered Teachers
After several years Julie, who till now had not
been back, went to Peoria at Christmas to visit Charlie Proctor in his
home. She and Charlie White rediscovered each other, and on her return
to New York their engagement was announced. Sarah must have thought,
Was there not one young man in all this big city whom Julie could have
chosen? But after all Sarah had left her parents to go to Peoria, and it must be admitted she herself had always been particularly fond of
Charlie White, so she smiled and shared Julie's happiness with her.
"And now," said Julie, "I will tell all of you who gave me
the violet pin." What a relief! Especially to Grace, who in season and
out of season, in joke
and in earnest, had tried to bring this Secret into the open.
"You could tell just me," she would implore, "You never
kept any secret from me before." Julie had remained silent.
Before long Charlie White and Julie were married,
the officiating clergyman Miss Timberman's husband, the Rev. Mr. John
Fitz-Randolph; and in the Spring of 1901 Julie returned to Peoria.
Where could Charlie get an apartment; so few there were to be had,
and a house right then would be too expensive. After long search a
two-room apartment was found in a little, two story remodeled house - just
one block from 211 Perry Street, right opposite the High School, one block
from the Women's Club Sarah had helped to start in 1886
(and which now occupied the corner formerly used by Flora's Baptist Church),
two blocks from The Aldine where Charlie
and Julie White went for meals (a boarding and rooming house, flourishing
in the old Pettengill Seminary building) - all places associated so
intimately with Julie's life. And who should have the other small apartment
on the same floor of
the little old gray house? Mrs. Tyng; the one who had welcomed Sarah
when she arrived in Peoria as a bride, and who
now came across the hall to welcome Sarah's daughter.
Was it not Julie who felt Peoria had nothing to offer her? Oh, do not remind
her of that! In the seven years
that have passed since then she has lost some of her ignorance and
selfishness. She knows now that in a lifetime
she can never hope to make return for what Peoria has given and will
give her. Here she has had a sheltered happy childhood; here she finds
the names of David and Sarah are synonyms for kindness, integrity and simple
goodness. Everyone says to her, "We are glad you have come back.
We need more citizens like your Father and Mother." They do not
know how far she is from such a standard; she is very timorous, but she
must try to profit by what these good Parents have done for her. And she
has, to help her, Charlie White and his Family, whose standard is set as
high as that of David and Sarah.
Julie goes to return the call of Mrs. Alexander Tyng, and finds The House
looks so different with Mrs. Tyng's furnishings in it she is not hurt,
as she expected to bet to see others living there. ... By 1907 when the
Tyngs decide to move to a house of their own Charlie and Julie White have
been five years in their own house on the Bluff. So when Mother writes,
"It seems The
House on Perry Street is too big for any of us. Don't
you think we really should sell it rather than rent it again?"
Julie accepts the suggestion as right, and does not exhibit her former
self-centered opposition to such a plan. Life at last has made clear to
her another truth - A thing shared is not divided. For each person it
has sheltered The House will remain a possession unique and personal;
and Julie knows now The House that is hers is safe in her memory, no
matter who will be living at 211 Perry Street. May all the new occupants
enjoy it as she has! Hers forever is The House that David built.
Eugene Baldwin is the new owner. It is he who makes the several changes
inside The House, including
the new bathrooms; builds a new front porch; replaces the "low,
stylish iron fence" with a still-more-stylish, high iron fence; and
who buys the lot next door, so that Grandpa Day's house at 209 must move
up to 308 Perry Street and settle down on another piece of ground. And in
1919 The House receives a new number and becomes 245 Perry Avenue.
Through the years Mr. Baldwin's daughter Sidney loves The House as
Julie did, and fills it with children from all over town - the
beginnings of a Community Center, indeed - The House is making ready
for its next owner.
Among the young people who come to the Center, which is now the animating
force of 245 Perry Avenue, there may be a few who will be interested to
history of their building. Perhaps, since this is a place of recreation
and re-creation, there will be one who remembering his or her own childhood
will write a history or story that shall deserve to live as literature.
It is a source of great joy to David's daughter to know her Father's House
is the home of so vital
and inspiring a work as that carried on by The Jewish Community Center.