Imagine living in a time when your neighborhood wrote and produced their own newspaper, put on their own musicals, threw block parties that would now rival most Memorial Day parades, and, yes, gave out awards to those neighbors who exceptionally decorated their property for the holidays. I live on a beautiful, quiet, side street where most of my neighbors put up lights and other decorations for the holidays. But I decided not to get a tree this year, or put any lights outside, a little ba humbug I guess. To be honest, I just bought my wreath on Monday, when I went to the store to get some milk. Maybe I would have put up decorations this year if there was a chance to earn a certificate? I think I need a little Rosedale Park Christmas in my life.
This is the Ericke house in North Rosedale Park in Detroit, Michigan, in the summertime, without the certificate-worthy decorations. This is where my mother, Nancy, grew up with her brother Bill, and their parents, Carl and Sally Ericke. The top photo is from the early 1960's. The bottom photo is from Google maps and was taken recently. The only big change I see is a lack of awnings (which I remember, oddly enough) and mature trees and plantings. It seems odd that the house is older and yet there is fewer vegetation surrounding it. Thankfully, the old birch is still standing.
On the right side of the house is the garage where my grandparents kept a small refrigerator stocked with orange soda, at least when we came to visit. Today I asked both my brothers if it was Crush or Nesbitt's in that fridge, and their answers differed. Maybe a picture will confirm their choice or change their mind?
The article below on the Rosedale Neighborhood Gardeners is from The Rosedale Tattler, their local paper. This particular clipping was originally saved because it announced my mother's wedding engagement (which I cropped out here). It is from January, 1953 and recaps the Christmas meeting of the garden club. With visions of kissing balls, mistletoe, corsages, and felt stockings, it sounds a lot like Rosedale Park invented the Martha Stewart Christmas. Merry Christmas to all!