In 1936, our father purchased a lot in the Foote apple orchard on the south side of Lake Road across from the Foote farmhouse and later, when the trolley stopped running, Dad bought 500 feet of the interurban track bed making our lot look like a big “T.” “Our buffer against the world,” he would say.
In the years 1940 to 1950, the “neighborhood” stretched from Bradley Road to the county line, the lake on the north and the interurban track on the south. On the outskirts were the Slocum, Gillette, Irwin, Cutts, Young, Brinkman, Jacobs, Larson, and Hoagland families. The inner circle of families were Wieland, Hook, Laverty, Inwood, Rothaermel, Matyas, Kittenger, Lane, Chamberlain and Carman.
The kids in these families played together daily. As in any neighborhood there was rivalry and jealousy, but everyone knew it was up to us to make the fun and keep the neighborhood alive. In those days, Bay Village offered very little in the way of sports or entertainment.
Some yards were better for things than others. In the winter, Wielands, in the Foote farmhouse, was the place to gather. They flooded their front yard into an ice skating rink, and the backyard hills and gullies became the sledding hills.
In the fall, their Mom made homemade donuts and apple cider for trick or treat. We stood in awe as she cut off the head of a chicken and hung it by its legs on the clothes line.
Matyas’s front yard was the best baseball diamond. Laverty’s had the longest and most dangerous rope swing. We played croquet at Wielands and hide and seek in the large Rothaermel back yard along with dress up in their old chicken coop playhouse.
The best swing set was in Hook’s backyard as it had metal swings and a bar, rings and slide. A jump rope tied to their garage meant two could play. Back on the tracks in the ditch was a great place to catch tadpoles. The girls roller skated on the slate sidewalks and played school in Sis Hook’s bedroom. The Wieland and Rothaermel sisters played paper dolls by the hour.
We all watched as Mr. Bosh purchased and turned the Foote barn into a pink house which we called “the pink barn.” “Peter and the Wolf” and “Zippity Do Da” could be heard from the record players. If we needed a babysitter, Mrs. Ganyard would come. The school bus picked us up at the corner of Bradley and Lake. We were all bused to Parkview, then Forestview and finally to Glenview in 1947.
During the years of World War II, we would stand along the road, routes #6, 2, 20 and wave to the soldiers in the trucks headed east to go overseas. Our fathers were the neighborhood air raid wardens and kept us safe. The girl scouts would walk through the neighborhood with a wagon and collect grease/lard for the war effort.
It was peaceful in the country. Our neighborhood was only one of many in Bay Village where life was simple and fun. All have a story to tell. As kids we thought we had the world by the tail, how could what we had get any better?