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Memories of No. 10 Paisley Park
Map Detail Paisley Park
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 From Ruth Whalen, March 2006

Dear Earl,

I started writing, just a few things so far. My mother, 81 but going on 45, provided some of the information. My mom will provide more, if you'd like. She remembers everything, even the gaslights on the street, as she was 14 when she moved into the house.

***
Circa 1940, my grandmother purchased 10 Paisley Park for $4,000. The Drummonds owned it, but the bank foreclosed on them. Evidently, it was taken for taxes during the Depression. Originally, my grandmother wanted to purchase 110 Melville Avenue, but she made the mistake of telling her sister. Her sister purchased the Melville Ave. home behind my grandmother's back.

My first memory of 10 Paisley Park is standing on the porch, its deck painted gray, the house white, and ogling the bubble lights in the windows. Inside, the dining room table was covered with a white linen tablecloth and decorated with poinsettas. The table held all sorts of treats, including chocolate cake, fudge, and sugar cookies. The holiday at Paisley Park was fascinating for a little girl.

French doors separated the hall from the living room. Two glass doors separated the living room from the dining room, which had a walk-in closet. Doors in the closet halfway up the wall opened up to the pantry, a narrow room with shelves, off the kitchen. A bright and sunny room trimmed in mahogany, as all the rooms were, the kitchen provided for many casual get-togethers with my relatives. (On a rare occassion, a neighbor stopped by, but my grandparents were private people, always smiling and waving, but respectful of a person's privacy.) Exiting the kitchen from the other side, people entered the hall. An open mahogany staircase in the hall, shiny because my grandfather polished the bannisters and stairs so often, led to the second floor. The second floor, a circular floor with the bathroom centered, held two bedrooms on each side. Every bedroom had a spacious closet, and two were walkins. Heavy curtains in each room were tied back, allowing the sun in. The bathroom did not have a shower. Instead, we used the clawfoot tub. It didn't have one chip in it. A pedestal sink and highback toilet were also in the dainty room.

Across from the bathroom and to the right of the staircase, another flight of stairs led to a door, and behind the door yet another set of stairs led to the attic. Three bedrooms took up the attic, and a sink and stove were in one of the bedrooms, because my grandparents rented the attic when my mother was young. The tenant stole canned goods and other food from my grandparents, so they were eventually told to leave. My grandparents never rented again. Instead, they purchased the White House Tap in South Boston, which they sold a few years later, for twice what they had paid. At any rate, a door to the cellar was in the left of the kitchen.

Wooden steps led down to the cellar, a dark place where Grandma kept her ringer washing machine. An extra toilet, no doubt abandoned for years, sat behind a wooden stall. The cellar door in the back led to a set of stairs, the bulkhead, and the back yard, a rather small yard compared with homes on the south shore, but larger than many yards in most cities. Red and pink rosebushes, planted by my grandmother, lined the perimeter of the lawn and separated the driveway from the house next store. Cropped green plants and thousands of ferns decorated the side of the driveway, near the house. A white picket fence separated the back yard from the home on the other side and the abutting home on Park Street.

With seven bedrooms, there was plenty of room for my family and I to spend extended time...

[more to follow?]

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Map Detail Paisley Park
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Created: March 28, 2006   Modified: February 19, 2007