Going back 54 years

 I solved a mystery in my life yesterday. 
 3209 E. Hammond in Fresno
This looks like just an older house, right? 
We only lived here a short time in my childhood.  
Just 1 1/2 years from 1954-1956.  
I was 2 years old when we left so I don't remember this place at all.  
(btw, this picture was taken yesterday)

So why did my Mom talk about it so often?  

Yesterday I found out.

Here is the driveway of this same house in 1954, 
the year I was born.
My Dad this past week ran into Carline Bock who use to live right across from us there.  
So he suggested I go visit her. 
More on that in a sec.

Back in 1956, I'm standing on our front lawn.
I know, my pathetic hair cut, but my Mom must have liked it.

And this is the house Carlene Bock lived in...how it looks today. 

Again, here's the one we lived in, as it is today, showing more of the neighborhood.

Of course after all these years, this neighborhood is not the best.  
Yet, look at this house (below) just a few houses down from the one we use to live in. 
It looks totally different than all the others on the block!

Right on the corner, not even 1/2 block away, is this lovely store.

And right across the street from that is Angels Hair Salon.  
Can you imagine the view looking through the bars on the windows??

And this use to be Safeway.

1955 was definitely a kinder, gentler time, as my Mom use to say. 
My Dad with Richard and me. (before our 6 other siblings were born)

Yesterday Den and I went to visit my long ago neighbor, Carline Bock.  
She now lives with a caretaker in North Fresno.  
We got to spend over an hour with her looking over old pictures and sharing memories.  
HER memories I should say, since I was just a baby.  

Mom talked often about our home on Hammond.  

I found out why when I turned over the first picture on this post.  
Look what she had written on the back, 56 years ago:

There it is.  The very last line,  "Missionaries found us here."

They knocked at our door that hot July day in 1955, and changed our lives forever.  
Not only our lives, but the lives of all my parents' children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. 
And for generations to come.

Now I get it. 

No wonder now, our short stay at 3209 E. Hammond, meant so much to my Mom.

A side note:  Yesterday as soon as Den and I walked in and saw Carline Bock, we knew she looked SO familiar.  Den soon remembered that Carline went to the Alzheimer's support group with us about 6 years ago. We were going for my Mom and Carline was going for her husband.  A few weeks after the group was over we saw Carline again at Carrows and went up to talk to her.  I remember saying to Dennis at the time that I wished I could think of a way to keep in touch with Carline and be friends with her because I said "there is just something about her that I like."  We had no idea at the time that she had been my neighbor back in the 1950s, and a good friend of my Mom's! 


Dad and Susan said…
Beautiful story Jill. The preview we got didn't do it justice. We love the way you can weave in and out and come to such an inspiring conclusion.

And how sweet of you to take so much time to bring joy to Carlene. Again, brings to mind, "apple not falling far from tree," etc.

Love, Dad and Susan
Kris said…
Oh wow! What a wonderful story to share! And I love that you and Dad took the time to go visit that friend. It probably meant so much to her.
Richard said…
Too bad you missed the donut shop around the corner we used to go to on Sunday nights until Ernie Weeks our buzz kill Ward teacher (Hometeaching came later) suggested that was an inappropriate Sunday activity...from then on it was grilled cheese and tomato soup after our early evening Sacrament Meeting.
Jill Shelley said…
Maybe that lovely store was the dounut shop. From the looks of it, it had been there forever.
Karen Mortensen said…
What a wonderful story.
Jill! Your little grand daughter Tea looks so much like you in that picture with you, Your brother and father! So cute! This is such a great story!
Jill Shelley said…
Thank you Cortney! I love that you think I looked like Téa as a baby. So does Dennis.
Richard said…
After I finished mowing the lawn back then, mom asked me to trim your bangs...
grandmapeg said…
What a very interesting story!! You really do have a talent for delving into the "why's" and "how's" of things to come up with the answers. It is amazing how we subconsciously place importance on the surroundings of things that impact our lives. And I have to say that Richard has a very humorous, witty side to him. Did he tease you much about your bangs or is that just because you didn't like your haircut so he's trying to give you a bad time?
What a great story Jill. I love the old photos. So Richard is responsible for those bangs, eh?
Karen Mortensen said…
I left you an award at I Made It Through The Rain. Go over and see it.
Sharon said…
What a great find! I saw your comment on my blog and I was curious about you. Now you are on my list. Have a great day!
Valerie said…
I bet I would love the house too!!! How special that you got to find that out.
Susan Anderson said…
Quite a small world, isn't it?

What a cool thing for your family history to have a photo of the very door your family's missionaries knocked on.

Pretty neat.