Littleton 1 and 2

Littleton, COWe landed in Littleton in the spring of 1958, when it was truly a little town and old Littleton is all there was.

We moved into a duplex a few blocks away from what must be Sterne Park--I remember that the park had a pond and the railroad track weren't too far away. Each half of the duplex had two bedrooms and a basement. Becky, still young enough to require attention at night, slept upstairs. Susie and I shared a double bed that sat next to the washing machine in the basement. In the other half was a family much like our own with two girls about the ages of Susie and me.

Gen got us into school and hired a housekeeper to see to Becky during the workday, and to me when I came home after morning Kindergarten. Before we left Kansas, Gen had accepted a job as an occupational nurse at the then Martin Company. Martin needed Gen badly enough that they acquiesced to her demand to give a job to Dick as well. Dick was hired as a property clerk, whose first assignment was to determine the proper destinations for dozens of loose keys, all jumbled in a box.

Dick excelled with the keys and other property management tasks, so much that within six weeks, Martin promoted him to a supervisory position. Dick responded by getting drunk and disappearing for several days. When he returned, Martin had fired him. The cycle of successful failure began again.

Dick sneaked back home while Gen was at work. When I came home from school, I found him talking with the housekeeper. After lunch, he picked up a fishing pole and we walked together down to the park. On the way, he subtly asked me what Gen had said about him while he was gone. I told him the truth. She said nothing. Gen never said anything--at least not to me--about Dick during his absences. She didn't criticize him or complain about him. She didn't talk about him at all.

Something was different about Dick's return this time. Gen seemed indifferent to him. We didn't have that sense of relief and joy because he came home. When school was dismissed for the summer, we moved out of the duplex to larger quarters in a bungalow around the corner and down the street. Dick was unemployed, of course, so Gen dismissed the housekeeper and turned the childcare duties over to him. It was a pleasant house with an enclosed front porch, where they set up a bed for Susie. Gen, Dick, and Becky shared the bedroom adjacent to the two-doored bathroom. I had the bedroom on the other side of the bathroom. The house had a big, sunny kitchen and a basement that Susie said had giant crickets in it, which terrified Becky and me so much that we never went down there.