Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Whatever happened to Hebard Place?

When my parents relocated our family to Southern California in September of 1960, we moved in with my aunt, uncle and two cousins. My aunt and uncle had rented a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Garden Grove, California. The quarters were tight for two families especially since my family was twice the size of my aunt and uncles' family.

The house at that time was owned by the State of California because it was in the right of way for the Garden Grove freeway that was planned to be built. The planning and execution of this kind of project often took years to complete so the state would rent the properties for short periods of time that were ultimately destined to be torn down. The house on Hope Street was one such house.

We lived together to the end of the school year. My parents, still awaiting the sale of their house in Minnesota, looked for rental house to which we could move just after the school year ended in June. This house was also a "state house."

In June, 1961, we moved to a house on Hebard Place. Although it only had three bedrooms, it was a much nicer house than the Hope Street house. The Hope Street house was a tract house that was built to be affordable to the thousands of families that were moving to Southern California from other states in the late 1950s.

That house was a "tinny" house. At that time, anything that was described as tinny meant cheap or of poor quality. I remember the first night that the Santa Ana winds blew when we were in the Hope Street house. I thought the house was going to be lifted into the air like the Kansas house in the Wizard of OZ movie.

The Hope Street house was called a slab house because it was built on a cement slab. It had no basement, nor did it have a crawl space under the house. The Hebard Place house did have a crawl space under the house. It had hardwood floors and a more interesting U-shaped footprint as compared to the rectangular footprint of the Hope Street house.

The bedrooms were separated from the kitchen, dining and laundry room by the livingroom. The second bathroom was by the laundry room and was accessible from the backyard. The huge garage was detached and at the end of a long driveway. The backyard was very large.

My mother had a clothes line in the backyard and there was a huge fig tree in the very back. The fig tree was a magnet for kids who loved to climb. None of the houses on Hebard Place looked alike. The Hebard Place houses were not tract houses.

Before that next June, my parents had sold the house in Minnesota and looked for a house to buy. The State of California was offering the houses on Hebard Place for sale for almost nothing as long as you moved the house to another location. My parents weren't interested in purchasing that house so periodically some people would show up to see the house.

When that would happen my mother would be very upset because she had not had the time to clean the house. There was Saturday morning when the real estate sales person showed up unannounced with a prospective buyer. Toys were everywhere--not surprising in a home with six children. My mother apologized profusely for the dirty house. I remember the woman who was looking at the house told my mother that toys didn't make a dirty house.

The Garden Grove freeway was built. The Hope Street house survived but all of Hebard Place did not. I have often wondered what ever happened to that house.

The wife of my mother's cousin died a little over a week ago. I began thinking about days when my mother's sister and her aunt moved to California and how close we lived to one another. I thought about the Hebard Place house and couldn't remember the address of the house we rented.

Google searches for maps of the area about 1960 turned up fruitless. I did find Hebard Place in Precinct 50 in the California Voters Registrations of September in 1958, 1960 and 1962. My parents had moved to the house they purchased in June 1962 so are not found in Precinct 50 in 1962. I found many addresses but none of them triggered an "aha."

I know that we lived on the eastside of the street and that we lived within one or two houses from Euclid Street. It would appear that the Hebard house was at 11011 or 11021 Hebard Place.

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