Short Story: My Norwalk Home

My husband and I came to Bell Gardens, Calif., in 1949. We stayed with my father-in-law; he had a 1-bedroom house with cement floors.

The next week, he went to the Veterans Administration and brought back forms for my husband to sign. His house was to be sold for $6,000.

My husband and I did not want to buy this house. It had a lot of 35 ft. by 150 ft. Someone bought it, tore down the house, and built 1-bedroom granny apartments. Bright idea, I never thought of that.

We rented a trailer for $40 a month in a trailer court. One of the ladies said she bought a house and needed $150 for wall-to-wall carpeting. She had a trailer to sell. We looked at it and it had twin cribs built-in. Her father had built the trailer.

Since I was expecting my baby, we thought it was a good idea. It also had a cranberry sofa. It opened to a double bed, very comfortable.

Then we decided to move to the Navy housing project in San Pedro. We needed a car and found a Studebaker. We told the salesman we wanted to sell our trailer. He came and looked at it. He said his daughter had a baby and was living with him. It would be a good idea to buy it for her. He offered us $200 for the down payment on the car. The trailer was 20 ft. by 6 ft.

We moved to San Pedro for Navy housing. The rent was $38 a month for a 1-bedroom unit. It was furnished but we had to buy a crib for our baby. There was a laundry room with a ringer washer and clothes lines.

I met a school teacher whose husband was in construction. There were new homes going up in Norwalk. We drove to Norwalk to see the homes that were being built by a developer that built custom homes. Our GI loan would cover the down payment.

We took out a 30-year loan and decided on the more expensive house as it had a breakfast nook. It was $9,500 with a double garage. There were three bedrooms with revolving closets. We eventually had four more children, including twins.

The children were grown and married, moving a long distance. My husband passed away in 2008. My children decided that I should move to an assisted living facility in Cerritos.

Reluctantly I sold my house for $375,000 and moved to the Grove. Coincidentally it is located at New Falcon Way and Studebaker Road.

I have such fond memories of my husband and raising five children in a house I loved for 60 years.

Dora Silvers is a student in the memories writing class at Cerritos College.