Recollections of Patricia "Patty" Marshall (Johnson)
8th Grade Class of 1934
My family moved to a double house in Bratenahl in 1929 and lived there for about seven years. My sister Lucille and I remember the kids and the fun. These were the depression years. Although he was at the bottom of the schoolteachers’ salary schedule, our Dad always had a job. Some of our neighbors were having tough times. I remember my mother went to a sale and bought me two charming dresses for 50 cents each. These were the days of the "farm night" at the movies. You might win a squealing pig, a live chicken, or a set of dishes.
We were the Marshall girls who lived at 10203 Burton Avenue. Our special friends were Vera and Phyllis Ryan. Vera was in my class. Phyllis was a year behind my sister [8th Grade Class of 1938]. Bobby and Buddy Cleverly lived in the other half of our house. Bobby was a little younger than I [8th Grade Class of 1935], and Buddy [Leon DeForest “Buddy” Cleverly, born July 5, 1932] was born while we lived there. Earl [8th Grade Class of 1934] and Bobby Eichenberger [8th Grade Class of 1938] lived across the driveway. Arthur Steger and his little sister, Yvonne, lived across the street behind the Lee house. Down the street, toward 105th Street, lived the Irish family. Betty Irish was in my class. At the other end of the street was the Loomis family. Ruth Loomis was in my class; Carol [8th Grade Class of 1943] and Dana [8th Grade Class of 1939] were younger. Eleanor Gottschalt also lived close by and was in my class. Ruth [8th Grade Class of 1932] and Bobby Blake [8th Grade Class of 1933] and the Bottenus family lived about the middle of the street. I remember Barbara [8th Grade Class of 1940] as a preschooler with blonde wavy hair and personality plus. She frequently appeared among the assortment of kids who gathered on our front porch in the summer. She was a cute little kid who amazed us with her spunkiness and colorful vocabulary.
The neighborhood was overflowing with kids, and we got along amazingly well. I don't think such a neighborhood exists anymore. I don't remember that we were ever bored. There was bike riding, roller skating, jump rope, hopscotch, and a game where you bounced a golf ball while saying rhymes and doing specific skills. The school was right behind our house. We couldn't go over the fence because that was the boys' side of the playground. We girls never set foot on the boys' side. We could always go to the schoolyard, of the girl's side, of course, and play on the swings and rings or "lazy around" and talk with Mr. Smith. We ate a significant number of green pears while we chatted. Remarkably, we never got sick.
When there was a slow time in our day, we could always take Vera’s gentle English Bulldog, Fritz, for a walk. We must have walked hundreds of miles with him. He was ugly enough to scare people, but he was a softy at heart.
In the evening, the kids gathered to play Red-Light-Green Light, Tap the Ice Box, Red Rover, or Statue. All the kids played, from preschoolers to high schoolers. The big kids helped the little ones. There was plenty of running and hiding, and only occasionally did someone get hurt. We played until or parents called the kids in because of darkness.
I have fond memories of clusters of the neighborhood kids making the long hike down Burton, under the bridge, up 105th Street, through the streetcar turnaround and on to the Filter Beds swimming pool on hot days. We fooled around on the way there and back—all for a dip in the usually overcrowded pool. We arrived home exhausted, but happy and not very cool.
At night, I remember going to sleep to the squeal of the streetcar wheels as they made the turnaround at the end of the 105th Street line. It lulled me to sleep.
I know Bratenahl and Burton Avenue have changed a great deal since we lived there, but I shall always remember it as it was.
[Patricia "Patty" Marshall Johnson was born on January 29, 1920 to William and Zelma Marshall. Her sister Lucille Maxine Marshall was born on August 31, 1922. Their father was a teacher. While attending the Bratenahl School, Patrica and Lucille lived at 10203 Burton Avenue. Patrica graduated with the class of 1934. Lucille attended the Bratenahl School through the sixth grade.]