Two side yards, like parenthesis, cupped our ’50s-built Elmhurst ranch house but it was the west side yard where we got down to business.
Mom hung sheets on Mondays and Thursdays along a clothesline that resembled high-tension electrical wires, only shorter. My two brothers, and sometimes me, played baseball without bases. Dad gardened in a rectangle of mud in one corner: rasberries, strawberries, chives, rhubarb and the occasional tomato.
Our blowup swim pool got hauled out and filled when Dad gave in to my pestering for it. We burned leaves there. Our first scottish terrier Katie was laid to rest there, though Mom said we should keep that information to ourselves.
In a rare fit of high style, Dad hung woven wood blinds between the posts of the westside porch so we could sit without frying in p.m. sun. This was primarily decorative, since we didn’t sit on the back porch. However, serious conversation ensued on its back steps, of which there were two, although I can’t remember much of what we talked about.
All relatives and pals came in by the back door. Milk was delivered there, and I spent all afternoons of one preteen summer on a beach towel reading a book called The Source there. This was something of a ruse. I was in fact, trying to get tan. It was a pretty good book, though.
It was a pretty good backyard, too.