My uncle Gene came to live with us in 1948 and stayed until he lost his life in an accident in 1961. My uncle Hubert lived with us from 1948 until he married and moved to the North Side of Chicago in 1951.
Gene’s bedroom was in the attic, and when Hubert moved in, he slept in the third-floor bedroom. Gene was the plant manager of Victor Gasket on Central and Roosevelt, and he had to get to work at 7:30 a.m., Monday-Friday. Hubert was a buyer with the Chicago Board of Education and didn’t have to be at work until 9 a.m.
Gene was a very neat person, but Hubert was not. Hubert liked to read in bed at night, but Gene needed eight hours of sleep.
It wasn’t long before these men were arguing at night, and the sound of their voices annoyed the rest of the family. The solution to the problem was that Gene and Hubert flipped a coin to discover who would sleep on the third floor and who would move to the basement.
Gene remained on the third floor, and a bed that had been stored in the attic was moved to the main room in the basement where Hubert now stayed, a solution that did not sit well with him, and he grumbled through it.
On the weekends, Gene would often work on his car or make necessary electrical or other repairs in the house or he would perform his hobby, which was woodworking. Gene’s woodworking area was in the basement separated from Hubert’s sleeping area by a thick wooden wall. Gene usually began work around 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and even if he wasn’t working directly in the basement, he would have to come in and out of the work area to pick up and return tools.
This did not work out well with Hubert because he liked to sleep late on weekend mornings because the only activities he had on the weekends was playing cards with three of his longtime buddies on Saturday evenings and seeing his fiancee on Sundays.
Hubert was always awakened much earlier than he wanted to on weekend mornings by Gene’s work, and I believe this may have caused him to speed up his marriage to his fiancee of six years and move to Chicago in 1951.
We now had a vacant bed in the basement, and I thought that Gene would move to the basement to be closer to his workroom and to escape the summer heat in the attic, but he opted to stay on the third floor, and he bought a window air conditioner.
We kept the bed in the basement until 1955, so that there would be a place for my cousin Linda [Gene’s daughter] to sleep when she came from Omaha each summer for 10 years to visit us. After 1955 she stayed in the bedroom left vacant by my grandfather’s death.
In the fall of 1955, we sold the bed in the basement to our next-door neighbor, and over the next 18 months, Gene and I [mostly Gene] converted the main part of the basement into a recreation room.