We arrived in Ogden at dusk and piled out of the car and into the Kershaw's microscopic house (1000 square feet distributed over the main floor and the basement), where eight kids and two adults were about to start a life of blended big-familiness.
The Kershaw kids were excited to see us and welcomed us warmly with a grand tour of the house. At that time, the house had two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, along with what we call a great room today. Two more bedrooms, a laundry room, and a workshop were in the basement.
The house was efficient and well-organized and the Kershaws knew how to run it. They had to. Their mother was wheelchair bound for several years before she died. Doug and the children took care of her, each other, and the house too. Margaret, as the senior girl, had been running the show for some time. Doug and the boys had remodeled the house for wheelchair access by knocking out the wall between the tiny kitchen and living room and replacing the wall with a built-in dinette. Open shelves hung from the ceiling over the dinette, where knicknacks and china were displayed. Under the dinette were cabinets for food storage, easily reached from a wheelchair. The center of the kitchen was wide open--not sufficiently open to turn an ox cart, but enough for a wheelchair. In the living room, flourescent lighting tucked behind valances lined every wall. That house was bigger and brighter inside than it looked from the street.
Out of necessity, given the 10 people who lived there off and on over the years, Doug and Gen improved the house further, building two more bedrooms in the basement and a new shop in the back yard, replacing the dinette with Doug's stepmother's massive oak dining table, lining the stairway walls with narrow shelves for canned goods, installing bedroom-width closets with sliding doors and built-in dressers, lowering parts of bedroom ceilings to create cabinet space and cozy built-in beds. When they put the house on the market prior to leaving Ogden, potential buyers always commented on the amount of storage.
Gen enrolled us in school the next morning after our arrival--Sue at Central Junior High and me at Taylor Elementary. Becky was too young for school, but Doug worked the night shift at the Post Office, so Becky was entrusted to his care during Gen's work day. That same day, Gen went off to her first day of work at the Weber County Health Department. Gen was as reliable about working as she was about going to church.