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"I Used to Have to Eat Those"

I remember Daddy leaving his job where he worked for the US Civil Service. I did not know what all that meant back then, but I do remember watching from the living room and dining room window as he built the house on the corner, 1202 Cutter Ave, Joliet, Il. I remember when he planted the evergreen tree on the side of the house on the left.

I am sure he had reservations, but he never showed his concern to me about leaving his job to become a builder. He knew he could do it. That I knew. This all happened before the Fall of 1970. I was about five years old.

The house on the left, 1204 Cutter Ave., Joliet, Il, is where my parents my sister and I lived before 1970. My parents had moved here from a home they rented. The place I stood watching my father, Robert Foster, build the new house which was on the corner was in the second and third windows on the right side of the house next door.

This is the view from the front:

When the house was finished. I so wanted to move in it. The dining room had a knotty pine finish. The was a fireplace in the living room. By the Fall of 1970, we had moved in. Different parts of my father's family lived next door.

One day, Lionel Richie's parents came over to visit. They wanted to buy our house. My dad would not sell. He would never sell that house. I knew that house stood for something, but I was not able to put it into words when I was coming up.

I think to describe it to you now I would tell you a story about playing out back and seeing my dad come in from working on another house. I was making mud pies. Where I got the idea I do not know. I had softened the dirt with water and smoothed it over in the pie pan. I pretended they smelled and tasted good.

My dad walked up to enter the back door and noticed me. "What are you making, mud pies?" he asked. "Yes!" I gleamed. Then he said, "I used to have to eat those." He continued walking into the house that bright sunny day, but I was forever changed.

I did not want to make mud pies anymore. I did not want my dad to have to see them anymore. I knew then he had come from a hard life. He was making sure his children had better. From then on I tried to make things better, and I tried to learn all that I could so that I could become like my dad.

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