I arrived at Cedar Street in 1947. At that time, Therese, Irene and Leo were living there. Therese left for the Air Force shortly thereafter, in the 1949-1950 time period. During my life there the portable zinc tub had been replaced by a genuine bath tub in the sole bathroom just off the kitchen. We had only cold running water and still had the gray slate sink located in the kitchen, adjacent to the bathroom door.
Bath time was once a week on Saturday Night, as Ed correctly recounts—whether we needed it or not! We heated pots of water on the coal fired stove in the kitchen and mixed it with the cold running water in the bathtub to take baths. Generally two or three baths were taken on a single fill or water because it was so labor intensive for fill, heat and transport the pots of hot water, to say nothing about safety considerations.
Ed returned from Japan to live with us in 1954 as his marriage to Dorothy ended. Shortly thereafter in late 1954, I believe, the four brothers got together and installed plumbing and a gas fired hot water heater and hot and cold running water came to Cedar Street. At that time or slightly before, the slate sink was replaced by a white porcelain sink located just to the right of the doorway to the “summer house,” next to the “gas stove place. ” To correct Ed, the hot water heater was located in the basement area just beneath the new sink and not in the gas stove place. Not only were we missing a safety valve on the system, which Alex correctly identified, but occasionally the pilot light on the gas heater would go out. It became my job to re-light the gas pilot beneath the hot water heater, a tricky procedure. On more than one occasion, the gas vapors collected in the closed area and flashed back, singing my eyebrows and forehead. Today, gas lighting systems are much safer, thank goodness.
Further to the history, in about 1955-1956, we finally made the conversion to gas fired furnace and a forced hot water heating system which was thermostatically controlled. Prior to that we had a coal fired steam radiator system which was quite primitive.
I graduated Ecole St. Pierre in 1953 and Waltham High School in 1957. I think I was the last member of my school class to receive running hot water and a thermostatically controlled heating system. We just did not think we need such luxuries in those days!