Series Part 4 – Extracts from Dickeyville Days Memoirs
By Jan Gibbons Weinman
Memories from Jan (Janny) Gibbons Weinman, daughter of Jan and Lou Gibbons, youngest sibling to Michael, Karen, and Linda
I was born into an amazing family that lived at 2323 Tucker Lane – phone #448-0106. Don’t we all remember those cool phone number minus the area code? Many things were different back then, including fresh milk delivered to our front porch every few days – we had milk from the Koontz Dairy. Then, we had the horse-drawn cart that appeared every week or so, manned by an elderly black gentleman screaming at the top of his lungs – “WATERMELON, GET YOUR FRESH WATERMELON!” Or something like that….I always felt so sad and concerned about the poor horse who looked like he was on death’s door. The Good Humor truck was a frequent daily guest on hot summer days. Toasted Almond and Chocolate Éclair ice cream bars were my personal favorites.
My group of friends consisted of Julie (now Juli) Weber, Lenna Miller, Valerie Masten, Valerie Gaver, Greg and Brad McGowan, whom I can’t find, Joey Monaghan, whom I also can’t locate, Dougy Rose, Hoppy Hopkins, and later Steve Williamson. A nice group of guys and girls. But, as the youngest sibling of the Gibbons clan, I was privileged to know and love all of my sister’s and brother’s friends – the families were – the Williams, Crosbys, Colgans, Lloyds, Markerts, Smiths, Bradys, Spranklins, Krammes, Hallmans, and Parrots. Three groups of friends came and went from the Gibbons household. I loved all these folks. My siblings’ friends were always very loving and kind to me. I was surrounded by joyful, fun-loving people growing up.
The big house in the center of the neighborhood, once a church I think…not sure, was cared for by the Cleator family in the late 60’s; they were from England. The mom was the housekeeper and the dad was the groundskeeper. The owners at the time were the Holdridge family. I became friends with the caretakers’ daughter – Leslie Cleator. A side benefit to being Leslie’s friend was that I was able to occasionally go into the mansion; it was like a museum. Not too many clear memories, just that I felt lucky. That property was always off-base for us kids. We all wanted to go in there – forbidden fruit.
Another lucky break happened when David Guillaume bought the old Parish Hall at the corner of Tucker and Wetheredsville Road. He built a pool adjacent to the house and at some point we were granted permission to occasionally swim in it. I think he drove a really cool little sports car, but I can’t recall what kind. Speaking of sports cars, how about Dr. Crosby’s Lotus Europa!!! Winged doors; it was so futuristic!!! The Crosbys had the coolest house. Mrs. Crosby was such a dear person. She and Bob were good friends of my parents. It was very sad when the doc passed away. I think he was the first of the Dickeyville friends to go. I loved all the Crosby kids. Andy was closest in age to me, but still too many years between us to be good buddies. However, I think he was the first boy I thought was “cute”. My sisters, Linda and Karen, were very close with Lucy, and Mike was good buddies with Nelson, the oldest brother, and later would become great friends with Ramsey. Losing Nelson at a young age was another devastating blow to everyone. We also lived through another loss when David Weber passed away, as well as Mickey Colgan. God rest their beautiful souls.
Speaking of the Webers, Juli Weber remains my best friend in the world. [She changed the spelling of her name from Julie to Juli]. We separated for many years, but found our way back to each other. Juli owns a fabulous gallery and store in Highlandtown called Y:ART Gallery and Fine Gifts on Gough Street. I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it, but I have the pleasure or working with her on all of her opening receptions. One of my passions is photography, so I will occasionally have the pleasure of snapping candid shots of all her happy gallery guests. I’m so proud of Juli, and couldn’t be more proud to call her my dearest friend. Also wonderful, is that when Juli has her art openings, many Dickeyville friends come out to show their support! Of course, Juli’s family, including her mom, Mary Mayo, who I love like a second mother. I did spend over half of my childhood at the Weber house. I always love seeing little sister Liz and brother Kevin. Ramsey Crosby and Ricky Spranklin are frequent visitors. My siblings, Karen, Linda, Michael and spouses show their support. For those interested, you should check out Juli’s gallery; it’s amazing! She also just acquired some of Calico Cat’s merchandise due to the owner’s retirement. Remember the Calico Cat in Woodlawn? Lucky for Juli! Speaking of Woodlawn, three places – The Acme for groceries, Bauhof’s Bakery, and High’s. Sunday morning doughnuts – cinnamon twists, chocolate covered cake, and honey dips – yum!!! And my dad would actually take me to get an ice cream cone after every grocery shopping experience: I’m surprised I remained a normal weight. Thank God for being tall. To this day, eating ice cream conjures very warm and fuzzy feelings! Thanks Dad! God rest your soul and Mom’s.
Lastly, how about Dickeyville’s layout. Loved that we referred to the streets as “the block” and “the triangle.” And I can’t complete my memories without mentioning “The Bottle Shop” Penny candy in the big glass case, antiques and old tools maybe – a bit fuzzy – hand crafts, and did I say penny candy? It was nice having a little store in the hood. I walked that neighborhood every day of my young life; I intimately know every inch.
By Jan Gibbons Weinman
Editor’s note: Please check back each Sunday to the Dickeyville Village blog to read extracts from the Dickeyville Days memoirs – a compilation of memories from previous Dickeyville denizens reflecting on a childhood spent growing up in the village during the 1940s, 50s, & 60s. We hope you enjoy their stroll down memory lane.