Thursday, December 09, 2010

Donna gets an apartment, 1962

This was going to be an entry telling about my cookbooks and how I learned to cook, but I realized that before I do that, I need to give some background information.
After graduating in 1962, I went to work at a mail order catalog company, National Bellas Hess

It was sort of a poor man's Sears and Roebuck.  I didn't drive, but my brother-in-law worked in the same vicinity, so I rode with him and he dropped me off at work.  
I hadn't had the job long when the company my dad worked for, Alton Paper Box, decided to relocate from North Kansas City to Blue Springs, Missouri, which was a little podunk town east of Kansas City; my parents put their home in Kansas City, North, up for sale and purchased a house outside Blue Springs.  No way would I be able to get to work from there; Interstate 70 hadn't even been put in yet and besides, there was no city bus service there.  
I was going to have to find a place to live near a bus stop.  I remembered my aunt had stayed at an upstairs apartment for awhile until her husband got their farm sold, and I asked my parents about that.  Mother knew the people and set me up.  I was going to live alone at 2638 East 11th Street!  
I bought what little furniture I needed that my parents couldn't supply, and I was on my own.  
As someone who didn't drive, suddenly the world opened up to me; I could hop on the bus and go anywhere!  I went to the Kansas City library.  I went to see Peter, Paul, and Mary in concert.  I went to an occasional movie.  Of course, I had to watch my pennies, since I was making minimum wage, which was at that time $1.15 an hour.  
Later on I moved to an apartment just down the street from National Bellas Hess where I could walk to work, but I still went wherever I wanted to (and could afford) on the bus.  
I lived on my own for three-and-a-half years.  
Cliff's youngest sister and I agree that everyone would do well to live alone, just to know what it's like and to see that it can be done.  
Oh, I sometimes felt lonely; I really wanted my prince to come along, so I could have the dozen babies I planned on having.  (Boy, was I nuts, or what?)  But for the most part, my life was good and I was content.  I read a lot; I had a little black-and-white television.   Until the very last few months of my living alone, I had absolutely no social life; I worked and went home. On payday evening, I'd walk to Krogers, several blocks away, and buy what I needed to eat; it was never more than I could carry home.  I spent most weekends with my parents in Blue Springs.   
I've tried to tell you folks before, I am a peculiar person.  Always have been, always will be.  
I'll get to that cookbook entry after while.     


  1. I never lived by myself until all my children left home and what a shock it was for me. Talk about lonely...that was an understatement. I think you are right that it is a good experience. It sure does make one thankful for other folk around.
    I can't wait to hear about the cooking. Have a great Thursday!

  2. You're not peculiar. I take that stint of time in your life as being someone who enjoys learning and life, who likes herself, and who can be her own best friend.

  3. Anonymous12:17 PM

    I want to hear about more than the cooking! What'd you do at the catalog company . . . when and how did you meet your prince?

  4. what a terrific entry.

    what strikes me most is how much we all have changed. Our cities, towns, transportation and all our expectations of all these things.

    Think about it. If a company was going to move now, it likely wouldn't be so much from NKC to Blue Springs--what would be the point, after all?--but much more like either across the state line or out of town.

    So many things have changed so much.


    thanks for the insights.

  5. Lindie2:02 PM

    I lived alone about a month after my husband died but only for a month while my mother was in the hospital (she lived with us) and I have lived alone since she died 3 years ago. I am just now getting used to it and comfortable with it.

  6. I agree everyone needs to live alone at least once to learn how to be responsible for onesself. My time came when my husband died and it lasted eight years.


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