Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Those Places Thursday ~ A New House In A New Country

This is part of a series of posts dedicated to the immigration story of Debs Webster and his family.

About seven to nine months after my Grandpa Debs and his family
arrived in Glendora, California, they bought a new house.  It turned out that their Sponsor, Mr. West, was a home developer.  Debs and his wife Willis bought a home in one of Mr. West's housing tracts in Pomona, California.
 

Map showing Glendora to Pomona
GoogleMaps


Debs and his family moved into their new house in early 1953.  The house was brand new.  Grandpa kept this photo postcard of their new house.


Debs Webster Family Home in Pomona California 1953

Debs Webster Family Home in Pomona California 1953

I really don't know the particulars regarding this photo postcard that was sent to my grandparents.  And I don't know who Ernie Kearns and Bill Tillman were.  An interesting thing about this photo is that it looks like it was taken after my grandparents moved in.  Upon closer examination of this photo I noticed two little boys sitting on the front lawn.  They're my two uncles.

Debs Webster Family Home in Pomona California 1953


This house wasn't very large.  It was a 1,008 sq. ft., 2 bedroom, 1 bath home.   I found the home listed on Trulia.com.

Debs Webster Family Home in Pomona California

Within the walls of this modest 1,008 sq. ft. home lived six people - Grandpa and Grandma Webster, Helena Quillin (Grandma Willis' mother), my mom, who was fourteen at the time, and my two uncles.  Remember, there were only 2 bedrooms.  I'm sure Grandpa and Grandma Webster got the master bedroom.  So, who got the second bedroom?  My mom thinks she may have shared it with her Grandma Helena.  I guess my two uncles must have slept in the living room.

My Grandpa Debs was a very generous and kind man.  He helped his relatives a great deal.  A year or two after my Grandpa and his family immigrated to the United States, other family members emigrated from Brazil as well.  These were my Grandma Willis' relatives.  Where did they stay?  At this very house.  My mom remembers that at one time there were eleven people living in this modest little home.  I really can't imagine eleven people living in this 2 bedroom, 1 bath home!  I'm not sure how long they stayed at my grandparents' home.  Probably long enough to get themselves established in the United States.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last

14 comments:

  1. Your grandparents sound like very generous people, Jana. I love the postcard from Ernie Kearns and Bill Tillman. Could they have been the realtors?

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    1. Hi Linda,

      Maybe you're right about Ernie and Bill being their realtors. I don't know though since they were buying the house in their Sponsor's subdivision. Would they need a realtor in that case?

      I wonder if Ernie and Bill were insurance agents or some other type of business owners vying for my grandparents' business. Of course, if that was the case, it was poor advertising since there was no business name on the card. So, maybe it was their realtors. It's a mystery....

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments.

      Delete
  2. How cool is that! Finding your ancestor's house on a modern website! Sorry if this posts twice, I'm on my phone and it is giving me the run around.

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    1. Hi Natalie,

      Yes! It is so cool to find my grandparents' house on a website! And what I especially like about it is that the website gave details about the size of the house, when it was built, etc. Very fun indeed!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Finding the house on Trulia gave you some interesting information that puts the rest of the story in perspective. Without it, you might not have been able to imagine 11 people in one house or gain insight into the incredible depth of your grandfather's generosity. While the house hasn't changed much, the perspective makes the yard seem so much bigger than it looks in the early postcard.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy,

      Yes, find the house on Trulia was really a cool and interesting find. And was helpful in putting things in perspective regarding so many people living there at one time.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. I've found several postcards like this in my collection. Mine are from the 1910-1930 range and are of the family home with something like "wish you were here". Interesting that they made their own photos into a postcard and then actually mailed it. I have one of my ancestor's homes from the 1870ish range on zillow and have actually been by it. Fun to compare to the photos I have of the home from the late 1800's.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Debi,

      Oh wow! How cool that you've been able to find one of your ancestor's homes from the 1870s on Zillow, and that you were able to go see it in person. Now that's awesome!

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments!

      Delete
  5. I love what you do with photos. Here are the map, the house, the closeup, and the listing. It all gives such a rounded "picture" of the family's location.

    It is amazing that this house could have held as many as eleven people, but when I thought about it, I'm reminded of how college students and backpackers are able to live. As long as there's enough room for them to stretch out on a sleeping bag or pallet, all is well! But there must have been a long line for that one bathroom! Today people expect as many bathrooms as bedrooms, practically!

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    1. Hi Mariann,

      Yes, I think the one bathroom would be extra challenging with all of those people! It must have taken a long time for everyone to shower and get ready for the day.

      Thank you so much for reading and for your kind comments. I really do appreciate it very much.

      Delete
  6. I love this post, Jana. You really help put the significance of this home into perspective for all of the people who lived there, providing a contemporary perspective at the same time. I also appreciate the way you zoom in visually on your photos to discover details that might otherwise go unnoticed. I've learned from that and started doing the same thing with some of my old photos ... Thanks for another wonderful post.

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    Replies
    1. Aren't you sweet! Thank you so much for you kind comments. I'm so glad my grandpa thought to keep this photo postcard so we could see what his first house in the U.S. looked like. And I'm also glad I was able to find this home on Trulia's website. It's interesting to see how it looks now and to have the "technical" aspects of the house like square footage, etc.

      Thanks for reading and for your kind comments! I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  7. I'm so far behind on my reading these days! The postcard photo reminds me of the car salesman who took a picture of my daughter with the car we bought for her and sent a copy to us. Maybe the realtor did something similar? We had 6 people (4 girls in the family) share one bathroom for a lot of years. When my husband and I were building a home, my dad told us, "you can never have too many bathrooms." :)

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    1. Hi Kathy,

      You're probably right about the postcard. It must have been the realtor or someone like that.

      So, you experienced the same thing as my mom and her family with sharing one bathroom? Sounds like fun (not)! Especially with 4 girls! I like your dad's advice to you when you were building your home.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete

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