Margaret Hunt: Childhood in Glover Park, 1926-1939

 

I

In the late summer of 1926, when my family moved to 2424 Tunlaw Road, there were two “farm houses” across the street that are still there today. Mr. Trainor lived in the one that is now painted red, which had a fine flower and vegetable garden next to it (where a house now stands). South of that a large empty lot extended down the hill to the two-story bungalow occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Wood. Their daughter Millicent was my sister’s classmate at Western High School. I was eight when we moved in, my brother was twelve, and my big sister was sixteen. I went to Fillmore Grade School, and my brother attended Addison Junior High.

We went to the Piggly-Wiggly store by cutting across the lot next to Mr. Trainor’s house. Mother gave me nine cents for a loaf of bread, and eleven cents for a quart of milk. The gas station was Amoco, and the drugstore was Pearson’s, where Dad got the streetcar to go downtown. Downtown the power for the streetcar was underground, but when it got to Georgetown the motorman stopped and attached the trolley line to a wire overhead, and continued up Wisconsin avenue. After a few years we got bus service.

On the hill where Calvert Street and Tunlaw Road now intersect stood a huge walnut tree, from which [Hunt was told] Tunlaw Road got its name. The diameter of the trunk was about 3 1/2 feet. We played with our dolls under that tree, and the daredevil boys climbed up to the first fork. Further up the hill was a house occupied by an old man who wasn’t keen about kids coming on his property. On the “lane” that led from the walnut tree to Wisconsin Avenue were two old houses, side by side, facing south, and two wonderful cherry trees with the most marvelous black-heart cherries, just begging to be picked. One thrilling day, probably about 1929 or 1930, these houses were lifted on to flatbed trucks, driven over to Wisconsin Avenue, and set down on the east side, just short of Davis Street.

Not long after that Calvert Street was cut through. My father, Myron R. Walker, the first president of the Glover Park Citizen’s Association, was instrumental in having this street opened. Mr. Kephart, who lived on Observatory Place, worked closely with him. Mr. Haines, a very nice man who worked for the Washington Post, lived across the street from Mr. Kephart. Mr. Klinepeter was the dapper salesman who sold Glover Park houses for B.H. Gruver, the builder.

A Japanese family named Murayama lived on 37th Street. Mr. Murayama was a pleasant gentleman who worked at the National Geographic Society. He had two sons. The younger was Sutemi, whom we youngsters called Sammy. The older was Ken, who graduated from Western High School. The family sent him to Japan to attend University, and to our sorrow we learned that he became an officer in the Japanese army in World War II.

Mr. Mulford owned the house at the (NW) corner of Tunlaw Road and Benton Street. My father sold 2424 Tunlaw in 1939, and we moved to American University Park, and Mr. Mulford’s lovely garden was soon filled with row houses. Happily, our third floor rose above these additions, so the new occupants of 2424 still enjoyed the highly prized window which looked south over the city, and gave light and air and a view.

 

II

My family moved to 2424 Tunlaw Road in the late summer of 1926. Our house was the last one in a row on the west side of Tunlaw Road extending from Beecher Street down the hill to about the middle of the block. For one full year the garage was my playhouse, but then, alas, we got a Pontiac, to the delight of my big brother. (He had a bike, too, but little girls weren’t supposed to need bikes, something I regret to this day.) Beyond Huidekoper Place was still all woods. In those innocent days Mother would say “Why don’t you go play in the woods?”

All the houses in our row had front porches, and many of us had “glider” swings out there. Adults would sit on the porches in the summer evenings while the children played until it got dark. The streetlight at Beecher and Observatory was “home” for hide-and-go-seek. At about nine my brother would whistle our family tune to call me home.

We children slept on the screen porches during the summer. There were windows half-way up the wall that we could raise inward and attach to the ceiling with a hook. It was just like being outside except we were sheltered from a gentle rain. If the wind blew the rain in on our beds, we leapt up and unhooked the windows from the ceiling. Then we would listen to the rain pattering on the tin porch roofs – a delicious sound. The people across the alley played their radio in the summer, always tuned to the popular songs. I loved “It’s Three O’Clock In The Morning” and “Dream A Little Dream Of Me,” with Ruth Etting on the vocal.

We would hear the milkman coming up the alley while it was still dark. The first couple of years he had a horse and wagon, so what we heard was horses hooves. The milkman walked up to the back door and left our milk on the top step. We got a couple quarts every day in glass bottles with a round cardboard stopper in the top. (In the winter the cardboard often rose an inch or more as the milk froze.) Of course, the cream separated and rose to the top, and we could see distinctly how much cream there was, yellower and tastier. Later the milk company devised bottles with an hour-glass shape near the top, and the cream was just in the top bubble shape. They provided small spoons like a soup ladle which we inserted so the bowl of the spoon fit neatly into the narrow “waist,” held it tight, and neatly poured off the cream before it got mixed with milk.

The iceman came in the summer, in the middle of the day. He cut the ice with an ice-pick, lifted it with ice-tongs, and slung it on his shoulder. He could put the ice into your icebox from outside, because every kitchen had its icebox built into the wall separating the kitchen from the back porch, and there was access on both sides. Every housewife also had a sign to hang on the back door, to tell the iceman how many pounds of ice were needed. The sign had a nail-hole each corner, and a number 25, 50, 75, or 100, printed by each hole: which ever number was on top was your order.

While the iceman delivered the ice, we youngsters clambered up into his truck, and helped ourselves to a sliver of ice to suck on, on those hot, humid days.

 

Peggy Hunt,

February 1, 1999

 

________________________________________________________

Carlton Fletcher

 The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.

All rights reserved.

 

 Questions and corrections may be directed to

carlton@gloverparkhistory.com

 

The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.