Last month I wrote about the first carved-up mansion that I lived in as a child. This month I write about the second one. We moved there when I was ready to begin fourth grade and remained until I was ready for eighth. I have heard that it was designed by famous Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter but have not verified that fact.
He was an unusual fellow. He ordered four wigs which he wore in strict rotation to simulate a growing head of hair. After four weeks his shortest wig would appear once again on his head as though he had just had his hair cut. Whether that story is true or not, it helps me remember that his last name is ‘Cutter.’
Cutter mansion or not, it is a very nice house. Behind that red door was another beautiful staircase that began to rise from the back half of the entryway. We lived on the main floor. I watched the world go by from the two front windows that you see on the left side of the building. The apartment was arranged like a shotgun house. We entered our large living room through a glass-paned door in the entryway. From there we walked directly through a wide shallow kitchen into a large bedroom. Behind the bedroom a bathroom had been created in a former sunroom. The shower was a metal stall and I remember that it took great courage to step into it for an early morning winter shower.
In this autumn picture you can see the wonderful side porch on the left which could be entered only from our apartment. I spent many hours playing there by myself and sometimes with one of the preschoolers that lived in the building. Even though I was pretty young, I babysat for three families who rented units there. They were young parents who were living there temporarily while they saved money to buy their first homes. Yvonne was married to a podiatrist who had just finished his training under the G.I. Bill and was establishing his practice. She would occasionally take two hours to go downtown and look around while I took care of little boy, praying all the while that he would not do anything too bad in his diapers.
Rose, who lived upstairs, had a daughter named Coral who I played with quite a lot. Rose drove a yellow Jeepster convertible and often took me with her and her little girls as she ran her errands. Peggy and her family lived across the hall from us. She had a daughter named Kathy and a baby girl as well. She and her husband managed the apartment house. He was a mountaineer – a word I had never heard before. One day little Kathy disappeared. We all ran out to search for her. Her father found her happily strolling down the hill on the sidewalk after crossing quite a busy street.
The next big house was across town on the north side of the Spokane River. My relationship with that house was more complicated. I moved into and out of that house several times. But that story will have to wait until next month.