My grandparents Raymond and Frances Mackin married in September 7, 1929, at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Francisco, California. By the end of the very next month the Stock Market collapsed, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.
Frances, in her memoir, recalled:
“On returning from our honeymoon in Los Angeles, we rented a pleasant apartment on Washington Street, near Fillmore. In less than a year we moved to a larger apartment on Balboa near 21st Avenue. We were living there when my daughter, Catherine was born. The landlady wasn’t very happy with us for having a child so we soon moved to a third floor flat on 43rd Avenue between Cabrillo and Fulton. The stair climbing there was too much for me so we rented a small house on 40th Avenue near Fulton. Roger and David were born while we lived there. Our landlord was a very nice man, whom we seldom saw, and we were greatly surprised when for some reason or other he gave us his equity in the house. This amounted to about $3,500 – a nice sum for 1935. We soon sold the house on 40th Avenue and bought a larger one at 167 Corona Street in Ingleside Terrace. Frannie was born there in 1939.”
The rest of the story …
You may be wondering how this information came to my attention. My grandmother had the heart of a personal historian. She loved to reminisce and share her life experiences. It was this love that fueled her curiosity. In 1984 she found out that the house on Corona was for sale (again). My grandmother had to know the details of this house that had been her home over forty years before. A quick trip to Franciscan Properties yielded the listing (below) and told her everything she wanted to know.
Years later, I learned more about that house on Corona Street. My grandmother told me that they didn’t have enough money to pay the down payment, though they knew they could easily afford the monthly payments.
The owner of the house made an offer to my grandfather –if he would take over the monthly payments, my grandparents could have the house. This would never happen in 2012, but life was a bit different back in 1935.
It turned out that the owner of the house was going through serious financial problems and a nasty divorce, and really wanted to get rid of this house.
My grandmother further told me that by virtue of owning this house, they were now well established financially. Remember this was in 1935 – the Great Depression was being felt worldwide. Many people were struggling financially and losing their homes altogether. My grandparents felt very fortunate.
This is just one of the stories I have learned about the early lives of my grandparents. And finding this listing among our trove of family documents makes this story come alive for me.
Moral of this story — You never know where your family’s history will come from.
And as a side note: I Googled this house last night and found that it sold for $817,000 two years ago. Too bad it didn’t stay in our family— that would have been some return.
What tidbits of information have you found out about your family in unexpected places? Write us and let us know!