Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Northside Memories - Rose Lucas

We are pleased to present the inaugural entry in Northside Memories, a forum for sharing Northside recollections and personal Northside histories. We are delighted and fortunate that Rose Lucas accepted our invitation as a guest blogger for our first year. Rose has served on the Board and as President of the Northside Neighborhood Association and contributed immeasurable time to historic preservation and Northside issues. After growing up here she returned to raise her family, start a business, and help to shape the Northside we now call home.
-By Rose Lucas September, 2012.
When I met Stephen Manella, the new Head of Sayre School, I welcomed him to the neighborhood. He responded – did I live in the Northside? Yes, I do. This is my home – I was born at old St. Joseph Hospital on West Second Street, came home to my Elsmere Park home and grew up there. I went to school at St. Paul and St. Catherine Academy (located where the Sayre Upper School is today), attended Lexington Catholic in the same location after merger of St. Catherine and the Latin School, graduated from Transylvania (then) College, moved into Hagerman Hall on West Second Street with my husband, Jack, moved back to another home on Elsmere Park and then left, as Jack’s job called us to Oxford, Ohio, for 14 years to return in 1983 to the house where I lived through my childhood and school years until I married. A true life circle. In the years when we were in Ohio, we came to Lexington at least once a month to help my mother, Mildred Moloney, longtime treasurer of the NNA. So, from my perspective, I offer memories and thoughts in this missive.

Growing up on Elsmere Park was an enjoyable experience. Although as the only girl, for a time, I was at the mercy of the boys – including being terrorized with garter snakes, which I detest to this day. I often hear the teenagers of today playing basketball in the street in the evenings, and I wonder what the older folks thought of our endless games of “kick the can” (hey, if you haven’t played, you should) – I imagine all were grateful when the streetlights came on, and we had to go in for the evening. When we got older, we had more freedom to wander away from the Park – to West Sixth Street where we had good friends, to swim at Castlewood, and to walk to the French-Bauer ice cream store just past Delcamp/7th and Broadway – last remembered as the home of the Swahili Elks. Nothing tasted as good as on a hot summer night as a Dixie cup of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet, but in the l950s new kinds of ice cream were being developed, and we could be adventurous if we wanted to do so.

As I see so many more restaurants, stores and enterprises come to the neighborhood, I am reminded of the great fun of growing up in the Northside, and I will continue to share these memories, and some current ideas and challenges, with my neighbors through this medium.