Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jennifer's Early Homes

I'm pausing a moment in transcribing the diaries to showcase the homes of Jennifer's early days.

Jennifer grew up in The Suburbs. The Suburbs, Suburbia or the 'Burbs are short names for suburban living. Suburban areas surround urban areas or cities. Suburban areas are characterized by single-family detached homes and lower populations than urban areas. The suburbs were not prevalent until after WWII in the United States. FHA loans, commuter transportation, highways and returning veterans eager to start families, caused a huge rush to Suburbia. 1950 was the first year that more people in the U.S. lived in the suburbs than in the cities.

Jennifer was born in Orange, California. Orange is a suburb of Los Angelas. Disneyland is close by in Anaheim. Jennifer's mom bought season passes to Disneyland. They went often just to pass the time.

Jennifer's family moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico when she was two years old. It was so hot, Jen and Dan couldn't play outside. Flowers didn't grow. Jennifer's mother was unhappy there. Within a year or so, they moved to Englewood, Colorado. Englewood is a suburb of Denver. The first photos I found were of Jennifer's home at 6265 S. Oneida Way in Englewood, CO. This is a classic Midwestern American suburb. This home is worth around $400,000 today. Notice all the space between the homes!

The neighborhood

The large backyard

Jennifer loved this house. The yard was huge and lots of kids lived in the neighborhood. The family lived in Englewood from January 1973 until December 1975. They moved a lot due to her father's job. He was a computer programmer and worked as an independent contractor. He went where the work was.

In 1976, they moved to San Rafael, California located in Marin County. This is where Jennifer's family fell apart (or maybe it fell apart three houses previously, but this is where the divorce occurred.) They moved into a 1795 square foot Eichler home. It had four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was located at 1220 Idylberry Road. Here is a link to a photo of the actual house today. These homes are now worth around one million dollars. In the photo, you can see the tree that Jen and Dan sat in during the infamous "moving sale".

Joseph Eichler (1900-1974) was a builder who produced Modernist homes on a large scale. He used skilled architects and high quality materials. Almost all of his homes are located in Northern or Southern California. The Highlands in San Mateo has the largest concentration of Eichlers. Mr. Eichler constructed over 11,000 homes in all. He was also one of the only builders with a non-discrimination clause. He would sell his homes to people no matter what their race or religion. He truly was ahead of his time!

The homes are famous today. Some families spend years waiting for an Eichler to come up for sale. Jennifer's family was lucky enough to live in one. Jennifer remembers being struck by the uniqueness of the home even at the young age of five. Jennifer loved this home! It had a very cool courtyard in the front. The back yard was heavily wooded. She could pretend she was in the forest. There's just something magical about an Eichler!

An article from Family Circle magazine in the late 1950's

Jennifer's family divorced in 1977 and they moved again. Her father moved to an apartment in Foster City, California (a suburb south of San Francisco). Her mother and the kids moved to Littleton, Colorado (a suburb of Denver.) They lived in a townhouse until Jennifer's mother bought this house on Laurel Lane in Littleton. Jennifer remembers her mother paying under $30,000 for it. It would probably sell for just under $300,000 today. Nice!

Jennifer with her mom, cousin and brother in front of the Littleton house

Jennifer's mother in the backyard at Laurel Lane with Muffin

Meanwhile, Jennifer's dad lived in a one bedroom apartment in Foster City. Jennifer loved that it was on the water. Canals of water connect the whole town. People sail and boat to restaurants and friends' homes. This photo is taken from the front sidewalk. The complex had tennis courts also. Baby ducks were easy to catch!

Jennifer holding a baby duck in Foster City

Jennifer and her brother spent summers living with their father. This was difficult in a one bedroom apartment. The complex housed mostly senior citizens as well. It wasn't long before he rented this house at 220 Spinnaker Street in Foster City. It's a four bedroom, two bath home. The atrium at the front door reminded Jennifer of the Eichler from San Rafael--she loved this house too!

220 Spinnaker Street, Foster City
Jennifer's dad rented this home for about $800 a month. Today it would rent for around $3000 a month and sell for around $850,000.
Jennifer moved five times and lived in three states by the time she was six years old. She would go on to move ten more times. She attended two elementary schools, two junior high schools and three high schools--all in different states! Jennifer fell in love with every home she lived in (except the apartment and town homes). She made a best friend in every state. She had a new pet in every state. Jennifer met every move with both excitement and sorrow. She never failed to hope for new friends, a cool new bedroom and a new pet. Every time she moved, she also hoped it would be the last time.
How do you feel when you have to move? Excited, scared, hopeful?


  1. So neat to see where you used to live. I am so impressed with all the real estate facts you have- really interesting! I cannot imagine having to pick up and move so many times...I grew up and lived in the same house all but 3 years of my life! and then when I got married, we lived back up on the very same property until I moved to Windsor 6 years ago! but my situation is REALLY weird! love the posts Jen!!

  2. I LOVE moving. It keeps the clutter down and I'm always excited to meet new people. I love hearing about your life!


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