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Learning From The Past and Living the Simple Life

Updated on February 16, 2013
The home my family rented when I was adopted
The home my family rented when I was adopted | Source
The first home my parents bought.
The first home my parents bought. | Source
My permanent childhood home at 18th & Monroe
My permanent childhood home at 18th & Monroe | Source
The ball field where I played Little League
The ball field where I played Little League | Source
The bowling alley where I got my first job
The bowling alley where I got my first job | Source
This was once the Proctor Dime Store where my mother worked.
This was once the Proctor Dime Store where my mother worked. | Source
Formerly the Proctor Theater
Formerly the Proctor Theater | Source
St. Patrick Church where I was an altar boy; across the street is the birthplace of Bing Crosby
St. Patrick Church where I was an altar boy; across the street is the birthplace of Bing Crosby | Source
My old high school, Bellarmine Prep
My old high school, Bellarmine Prep | Source
Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Grandma and Grandpa's house. | Source
Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance Park | Source
What was once Pioneer Sand & Gravel where my dad worked until he died.
What was once Pioneer Sand & Gravel where my dad worked until he died. | Source
Pioneer Sand & Gravel is now Chamber's Bay Golf Course, site of the 2015 U.S. Open
Pioneer Sand & Gravel is now Chamber's Bay Golf Course, site of the 2015 U.S. Open | Source
Sam & Delores's house from my story "Sam's Story"
Sam & Delores's house from my story "Sam's Story" | Source

I have a remarkable support system in my life; I am surrounded by caring, loving people who think as I do. In other words they are not impressed by possessions but rather by the quality of life I have spoken about in previous articles.

As I think back I have always had a similar support system. I have loved ones in my life who have had horrendous childhoods but I did not; rather, my childhood was just about as good as a childhood could be with loving parents, family and good friends. My family always seemed to struggle financially but we had an abundant supply of good values and supportive love and I’ll settle for that any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Bev and I decided to take advantage of some beautiful Washington weather to head back to my childhood neighborhood and I remembered this time to take my camera, so if you care to, grab a seat, maybe a cold drink and enjoy a journey back in time COMPLETE with pictures. It will almost be like you were on the trip with us as I will serve as your narrator and guide. I promise some informative and charming stories of life in the 50’s and 60’s and as an added bonus the pictures turned out pretty good.

So are you ready? Buckle your seatbelt, get as comfortable as possible and let’s head south to Tacoma, Washington. This is a special vehicle you are riding in as it has the ability to travel back in time; it may get a bit bumpy along the way but I promise you’ll be safe.

THE BEGINNING

I was born October 13, 1948 and adopted nine months later by Evelyn and Dale Holland. The first picture you will see to the right is the apartment house my family lived in at that time. They had recently moved to Tacoma from Charles City, Iowa after my dad’s discharge from the Army. He had just found work at Pioneer Sand & Gravel as a general laborer, a job he would hold for twenty-one years until his death, and they were saving money to buy their own home.

Mom was settling into housewife duties after working as a welder in a shipbuilding factory during WWII and my sister Darlys was at this time eleven years old and judging from old pictures she was a beauty.

OUR FIRST HOME

Check out the second picture and you will see the first home my parents owned. We lived there until I was five years old and my first family memories are associated with this tiny house. I remember my first dog Sugar and I clearly remember my dad playing catch with me after work. He would come home, grab the gloves and he would throw me grounders and fly balls on the front lawn. Remember, at this time I was maybe three or four, so my love of baseball began early and more importantly the bond between father and son was strengthened during those nightly baseball clinics.

Sugar eventually ran away (or maybe she was hit by a car and my parents didn’t want to tell me) and after three years we moved as a family to the house I would live in during my “formative years” on 18th & Monroe Streets.

A GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD

For the next twenty years I lived in this post-war brick three-bedroom home and if there was a better neighborhood for a boy to grow up in I can’t imagine what it would be. The neighbors were supportive (except for Mr. Steitz who may have been the meanest man alive) and there were at least ten other kids around my age to play with, kids I formed friendships with and spent thousands of hours with over the next twenty years.

I remember that the yard was a mess when we moved in and dad and I and other neighbors spent many hours putting in rockeries and cement walls and landscaping to make the house and property a real home. What still remains in my memory-banks today is that it seemed whenever dad and I would head out to work on the landscaping inevitably a neighbor would walk over and lend a hand. It was just that kind of neighborhood, a small community of good folk who looked out for each other. It was just assumed that a kind deed would be re-paid at some point down the road. I like that concept!

My parents gave me a puppy shortly after we moved into this house. I named her Pixie and she was with me until I was twenty-one when we finally had to put her down.

TAKE A WALK WITH ME

See the baseball field? That is where I pitched my first game in Little League at the age of eleven. I pitched for the Knights of Pythias (I’ll never know what that means) and spent many a summer afternoon and evening throwing fastballs at guys who were quite eager to ram one back at me.

Walk with me down the streets of Proctor District, my home away from home in those days. See the bowling alley? That’s where I got my first job, repairing lanes during league play. I got paid $2 per hour and all the free bowling I wanted and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The bike shop was once the Proctor Dime Store and my mother worked there for quite a few years. This was my turf and I still smile at the memories of walking down that sidewalk and having the barber wave at me and other shop owners call me by name, asking me how school was that day. Oh, see the Blue Mouse Theater? That was once the Proctor Theater and you could find me there on many Saturday afternoons watching a double-feature. By the way, tickets are still $5 for adults for first-run movies. Not a bad deal at all if you ask me!

Oh, look in the distance! There is St. Patrick’s Church where I was an altar boy and over there is Bellarmine Prep where I went to high school for an un-distinguished educational career but four pretty good high school baseball seasons. Even then I understood priorities!

LET’S GO A LITTLE FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD

This little house is where my grandmother and grandfather lived, very nice people who doted on me with an almost religious fervor. Every Saturday night the family would meet there and say the rosary together. I would sit in my grandfather’s lap and he would always have a quarter to give me after the rosary was completed. Then I would take the quarter and walk down to the Ruston Grocery Store, which is still there as you can see, and buy some candy.

This house was also strategically located between our house and Point Defiance Park, a sprawling wooded and landscaped park of some renown, filled with trails to ride your bike on, a carnival complete with a boat slide and arcade games and the zoo, always the biggest attraction. I kissed my first girl there; her name was Paula and my knees have never shaken as much as they did that day on one of the trails.

ONE SIDE NOTE OF INTEREST

I mentioned earlier that my dad worked at Pioneer Sand & Gravel for twenty-one years. Take a look at it from a distance, still looking somewhat like a sand pit, but then take a look at it as it looks today up close….it is now Chambers Bay Golf Course, the site of the 2015 United States Open Golf Championship, and one of the finest links golf courses in the United States. My oh my how times have changed!

BACK TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOR ONE LAST LOOK

My grandmother came to live with us after her husband died in 1958. Two years later she died in her sleep in this house; nine years later my dad died of a heart attack in the bathroom on a night I luckily was home from college. My mom and I stayed there until 1974 when she re-married and moved into an apartment complex.

At that point I moved out on my own for the first time, saying goodbye to the old neighborhood that had served me so well. It was a fantastic place to grow, a safe harbor where mistakes could be made and forgiveness found. There are only a few of us left now. Dick Gordon, my old buddy, is an executive for Sears; Mrs. Lilly went into real estate after her husband died and she is still in the area. Karl Zetterberg runs a construction company but that is just about it. People lived, people loved, people shared and people died. Such is life!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention Sam and Delores Conrad. That’s their house right next door to ours. You can read about them on my site; their story is called “Sam’s Legacy,” and I think you’ll enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed my tour. They were good people all; probably even Mr. Streitz had his good points. They were, after all, just humans, doing what humans do. I will forever fondly remember them for their giving and caring spirits, their willingness to lend a hand at any time and for the lessons they passed on willingly to a shy, awkward little five year old. It has been a good life and much of the credit goes to the people of this fine neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Don, it is so American as I remember the old days. Not sure if it applies today, but I'm on a crusade! Thank you Sir!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 5 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Great Hub. I really enjoyed both reading it and seeing the photo tour.

      It's so ......... AMERICAN!

      Loved it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aurelio, thank you! You pulled out an oldie to comment on and I appreciate it. I was a pretty lucky kid growing up.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Though your text descriptions are wonderful, what really took me on your time travel trip were the photos. Your first family home was beautiful. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dolores, I know what you mean! I've seen four or five of these in the past week...wonder what's up with that? I may have to write about the Fifties if the competition gets too great. :) Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love those rides down memory lane and have bored my kids with such trips several times. Suddenly, my oldest son wanted the addresses of long departed great aunts, great grandparents, etc. and ran around town taking pictures for an art project. Anyway, I certainly enjoyed visiting your childhood. Funny, I've read a couple of these lately. There must have been a HP "call" for them or something. Unless it's just something in the air.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randy, oh how I loved A&W root beer in a frosty mug! Great memories my friend. I'm the only member of my family not born in the country but we visited my grandparents in Iowa often and loved the farm life. Thank you for stopping by and my best to you.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      HA! You're not much older than I am, Billy! I can identify with the times you lived through, if not the same type of environment. Although raised in the country, this article still was reminded me of many aspects of my own early years.

      My mom still lives in the big old house I was raised in. It still sits alone on a hill overlooking one of our ponds, as it always has since my earliest memories.

      What I would give for a nickle Baby Ruth and a Frosty root beer bout now! Enjoyed the tour!

      Randy SSSSS

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sparklea, what a lovely message to read; thank you so much. I am hoping from a distance that you can take care of that old home and restore it for future memories. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood and I loved re-visiting it last week. Take care my friend and best of luck to you!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Billybuc! Voted up, beautiful, useful and interesting! I looked at all your pictures! What a wonderful nostalgic trip down memory lane! I am VERY nostalgic, I'm putting together a memory book, and a couple people on facebook have found pics of buildings that were torn down for me to put in it. The house I was raised in is a mess. PRAYING for a miracle from God to provide finances to buy it, restore it and live in it!

      Makes me sick the way it is dilapidated. I've given God a challenge. It is about 10 minutes away. You are right, these ARE pleasant journeys back in time. THANK YOU for sharing, and I can see your heart is so full of love for the memories you presented to us hubbers! Really enjoyed it. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I love reading about the life and times of those around me. Everyone has a fascinating story to tell and that's one reason why writing is so near and dear to my heart. Thank you for your continued support.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Real, I still have a picture of her somewhere in her welding outfit. Pretty amazing really considering the time and place. Thank you as always for supporting me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      AEvans, I was very fortunate indeed and I will forever be grateful for the wonderful childhood I had. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      That was great! So sweet and real. I enjoyed learning more about your past and your wonderful parents and grandparents. I'm happy that you had such a wonderful childhood. Loved the photos, too. Some of those houses and old buildings are really neat. Thanks for sharing this with us! :-)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Really nice and fun read Bill! I loved the photos - and wow - impressive history! I think it's awful cool your mom worked as a welder! Sounds like you had a pretty fun life - cheers!

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Thank you for the tour of Tacoma and memory lane. I love history and real-life stories. What a journey you had and so much love in your home. Thumbs up and shared. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always, thank you and you are correct, I had a wonderful childhood and the best family I could ever hope for. Blessings to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, it's so nice to see you back and you are right, I have no desire to grow up. It is highly overrated in my opinion. :) Thank you for visiting.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank you Billy for sharing another part of your childhood. Sounds like you had a great family and lived in a wonderful neighborhood. I love to go back to old places that i once lived. The house that i grew up in has been remodeled and i love to drive by. Take care my friend...

    • anndavis25 profile image

      anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      Man, you lived an elite life. Wy, I wouldln't ever want to grow up. Maybe you didn't...ha ha. It's ok not to grow up, just don't grow old.

      Very nice hub

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, I was going to just take you on a tour of my neighborhood here in Olympia but Bev suggested the trip to my hometown and what Bev suggests I try to arrange. Thank you for joining us on this trip and I will always have room for you in our vehicle.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, where you grow up I want a seat, front and center, for the show. In the meantime I do believe I will just enjoy your in all of your glory as an overgrown kid with a huge heart. Thank you dear and you are correct, it was lump-in-the-throat time for sure, but a good experience without a doubt.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes Billy my dear friend;I really enjoyed your tour;especially with you knowing your stuff!! Ha ha!!You have the right combination for good memories;care;values;care and love.

      I vote up without a doubt and thank you for sharing another treat with us.

      Up up and away.

      Take care and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      What a wonderful walk down Memory Lane for you! I can imagine the emotions that surged as you walked & drove up and down streets of your youth. Scenarios must have played out in your mind......lump-in-the-throat-sort -of ting? yes? You took some great pictures, bill...

      Hope you plan to develop them and keep a very special album. (especially for your son to keep)

      One day I will do this.....when I grow up and become a big girl who thinks she can handle it. Thanks! UP++

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I would love to see pictures of Sussex; my hope is to visit your country at some point but until that happens I have to live vicariously through those I know who live there. Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosemay, you are very welcome and thank you for coming along on the ride. I hope I didn't drive too fast for you; I tried to miss the potholes along the way. Thank you as always!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      It's lovely to look back when we've had a great childhood filled with good, warm memories, isn't it? I'm so lucky to be in that boat too. I just hope my children and grandchildren look back with the same love of what was once theirs (no, always theirs in their minds). I love going back but I do so with care because sometimes the shock can be too much when you're not prepared for the change! Sounds great and looks great; might do a hub tour of Sussex some time - going back soon so will gather some photos. Glad you shared your trip with us, Billy. Voted up and beautiful.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      What a delightful trip down memory lane. It sounds as though it was a wonderful close community to grow up in. Those catch games with your dad were very special and laid the foundation for the caring man you have grown to be.

      Thank you for taking us along with you.

      Your photos are just lovely.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy, I am pleased that you enjoyed this trip through my memories. They were special days for me and as a young boy it was the perfect neighborhood in which to grow. Thank you for your kindness; I will try to always speak the truth as I know it and followers like you make it all so special.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tams, thank you as always. I am lucky to have such great memories and writing this hub only added to the enjoyment of thinking back on those days. My best to you!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Oh Billy, this hub was such a fun trip down memory lane, I could so clearly picture how the town was when you were growing up and it was great to see that it still looks wonderful.

      You made me laugh, smile and occasionally get a tear in my eye. Thanks for sharing this on Hub Pages. It was really special.

      Voted up across the board. I'm looking forward to reading many more of your hubs both old and new. I love how you don't hold back- how you always give us the truth as you see it and we can go away thinking, "Yes, that's life and it's a prescious and beautiful thing."

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Sounds like you had an exciting day. Thank you for taking us down memory lane with you.

      These types of stories are great for taking people back to their own childhoods and embracing the good times we had.

      Nearly everyone would like to be a kid again and this is as close as we can get.. Memories!

      I love the pictures as they tell just as much a story as the writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well thank you Peggy; I appreciate the support and it's so nice to hear others enjoyed those days as I did. Sometimes I feel maybe I lived a life too-shelters, like living in Mayberry, but I wouldn't trade them for anyone else's childhood for sure.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Really enjoyed this trip down memory lane with you. I loved growing up in the 50's and 60's just like you. Sounds like you had a great family and great support system, as I also had. Perfect video at the end to wrap up your hub. Up and beautiful votes. Sharing this with my followers.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deborah, I honestly don't know if anyone of the extended family is still alive. I really doubt it; about the only family left kickin' is in Missouri and those are cousins so distant I wouldn't know them. Thank you for taking the trip with me and have a fabulous Sunday!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks for taking us on a trip down memory lane. And an Iowa connection, too. Who knew? Do you have any family left in Iowa?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ava, thank you! I greatly appreciate the life I have had and I appreciate your loyal following and friendship!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Susan! I really am blessed and it has been a wonderful life!

    • profile image

      onlooker 5 years ago

      I loved the tour and the magical chair that took us to Bill Holland's wonderful family, the people he valued, the life he is greatful for and especially all the love and adorations he has put into saving up the memories.

      This is beautiful and so are the pictures. I couldn't help but smile and imagine. Thank you, Bill.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Enjoyed reading about your life. What a great idea to go back and take all those pictures.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jools, I don't know about Sugar! You know how parents can be when they want to spare their children heartache! Anyway, thank you for going along on my journey; I do appreciate you!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      What a lovely walk down memory lane with you Bill. Sounds like a great neighbourhood spent (apart from Mr Streitz) with good people. It's nice to know more about you and the photos are great. I'm sure Sugar did run away as well, some dogs can be so unpredictable! She probably just went adventuring.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, that is very kind of you! Thank you Sir and my best to you and yours.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      It is a delight to know about you, you are a wonderful person.

      The pictures are nice.

      Cheers