Aunt Saleda didn’t like living in a duplex, but Uncle Julius did. He got the idea that the old man who lived in the right half of the house had the best side, and he wanted to move from the left side to the right side. Aunt Saleda wanted to move into a house in a little nicer area, and one where only she and Julius lived. She had neglected to tell Julius she had contacted the realtor and been given a tour of the place. It was larger, and only a little more than they were now paying. And what Saleda knew that Julius didn’t was that she had managed by putting back a few coins a week, over several years, saved the down payment. There was no reason not to move. When she explained to Julius about the house, he said no. He wanted to move into the old man’s side of the duplex. Saleda didn’t.
Now I told you that story to tell you another. The old man who lived on the other side and lost a leg in the war, made a particularly interesting sound when he walked. His peg leg made a clump, and his house shoe made a swish sound. They could hear him walking at night swish clump, swish clump, swish clump. Sometimes it got on their nerves, but as Julius pointed out, since he died the house was quiet. Now Julius was a large man, over six feet tall and well built, but afraid of a lot of things, like certain insects, earthworms, some animals, snakes, and most of all ghosts!
This story happened before I was born, but my father Bud, and his brother Fred and sisters Ruth and Jacquelyn, better known as Jackie, were often at Aunt Saleda’s house where they played Parchesi, dominoes, checkers and Chinese checkers in the parlor. Aunt Saleda did her knitting and crocheting. The parlor was the front room, followed by two bedrooms, the kitchen, and the bathroom, off the kitchen in the very rear of the house. No pun intended!
Julius always came home from work with the newspaper and his empty lunchbox. He then went to the rear of the house to the little room off the kitchen he called the library. There he would sit and peruse the news of the day. Then if you listened closely about a half hour later, there was a flush of water, and he would go into the parlor.
On this day, all the children were playing games in the parlor and Aunt Saleda told the children she was playing a joke on Julius and asked them to help. They agreed. When Julius came home, he went right to the library and became quiet. Aunt Saleda pulled off her shoes, and put a house shoe on one foot, grabbed a broom, turning it upside down, she went to the kitchen, and loudly began walking up the hall, swish clump, swish clump, swish clump. When she heard the newspaper rattling, she ran to the parlor, picked up her knitting and put the broom behind the door. Here came Julius. “Saleda did you hear anything? “Why no, Julius. Kids did you hear anything, Why, no, Aunt Saleda.” Julius went back and settled back down on his seat. She went back to the kitchen and walked swish clump, swish clump, swish clump, back up to the parlor. Here came Julius, acting a little shaken. Saleda, I know you heard something that time. “Why no, Julius. Kids did you hear anything? Why, no, Aunt Saleda.” Back he went to the kitchen, and when the paper stopped rattling, she, swish clumped, up the hall again. This time when Julius came up the hall he was shaking and a little pale. He said, “I been thinking Saleda, maybe we should buy that house you want.” And they did. This became a favorite Fischer story, how Aunt Saleda got her house.
They lived in that house for the rest of their lives and died within three days of each other during the mid-1960s. Fitting.