Graphic: back to Crook Index The Four Crook Kids, continued

To Crook Kids Part 1

Boyntons' Park Drive HomeWe moved to 2726 Franklin Street when Carolyn and I were quite small. This was about six blocks from our grandparents, who lived on Park Drive and Cornwall Ave., across from one portion of Broadway Park. That house holds such a wealth of memories. It was our safe haven, and is shown in the photo at the right.

In our earlier years, life wasn't always a bowl of cherries at home. I realized later that most families had their special challenges, and few had perfection as a way of life. Mom had her hands full, with four children in seven years ... the hands that had for so many years held the reins of a horse, a tennis racket, and a violin and bow now were washing and hanging up diapers, cooking meals, and wiping runny noses.

Carolyn and Judy, May 1936The photo of Carolyn and me was taken at our grandparents' home in May, 1936. For many years, the Crooks almost always went to the Boyntons' for Sunday dinner after church. New England dinners: pot roast, potatoes, real gravy, vegetables that had been grown and preserved by Grandma Sue and Grandpa Doc. We children weren't allowed to be "persnickity" about our eating habits. We had to eat our vegetables. For many years Grandma Sue cooked on a converted wood stove that ran on oil. It had the warming ovens above the surface. Such a comforting kitchen. I don't remember desserts other than fruit pies and cookies.

Exquisite lavender wisteria caressed the exterior of the Park Drive house for many decades. Grandpa designed and had the house built in the early 1900's, and unfortunately by the late 40's, the wisteria had contributed to rotting the wood that comprised the second story exterior balcony. It had to be removed. How sad to lose our access to that balcony. But what a thrill to curl up on a Sunday afternoon, watching the crackling, red-orange flames in the fireplace while listening to True Detective on the radio ... mixed with the sounds Grandma Sue's snoring.

Another safe haven was Sunnyland Grade School. 2726 Franklin Street was only about six blocks from Sunnyland. It seemed to be a huge school from a small kid's perspective. Later, as I looked at pictures, I realized how small it was. But it was perfect for the Crook kids.

1940 Sunnyland OperettaEach grade from one through six had one teacher, and the school had a principal. During my time, the principal was Mrs. McClaskey. She may have taught sixth grade. It's been a long time since I attended grade school. Every year Sunnyland had an event, like an operetta or a revue, with costumes and all. Sometimes our fathers joined the antics, dressed as ballerinas or something equally ridiculous. These were fun times. Take a look at the kids in the front row to see what grade schoolers wore in 1940 when they were dressing up.

Carolyn and Judy on Shetland Pony-about 1938 Like many families, we had good and bad times. Dad was a gifted photographer, and through the years took many pictures of us on the beach at Lummi Island, hiking on the trails of Mt Baker and Mt. Ranier, and along the Nooksack River. A great lover of the outdoors, he taught me much about photography when I was a teenager. Real photography, with a camera that had a separate light meter. I also developed my own black and white photos.

When we girls were old enough to be independent, we were allowed to stay over for a week or so at the Boynton home, and it was always heaven. No siblings to pester us, all the Pepsi, popcorn, and smoked salmon we wanted for snacks, a huge library with lots of historical fiction, our own bedroom with eiderdown pillows and comforters. When I was in high school, sometimes I got to drive one of their cars to school. Did we feel special? Yes! We all flourished on the attention, the acceptance, and cheerfully put up with having to listen to Grandma Sue talk about good table manners and good grammar.

Carolyn and Judy Crook and neighbors at 2726 Franklin Street, Bellingham, WashingtonWe knew next to nothing about how to raise animals, although when I was a teenager  Mom raised cocker spaniels. In our early years we raised chickens in the back yard, and during WWII raised a calf named Red Point. Something to do with meat rationing. The ration coupons were red and each counted for so many pounds of meat. But we never got into the real dynamics of farming. One of our biggest treats was to drive into the country and visit friends living on a farm. Now that was living! New calves, learning to milk cows, watching the owners squirt milk to their cats, snorting hogs, powerful horses, and haystacks. The mysteries inside a barn! Such fun for kids.

Photo of rose grown by Carolyn Crook Downing, photographed by Judy Crook Vorfeld

Copyright Judy Vorfeld.
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