Helen and Frank’s First Home

Thanks to the GI Bill, Helen and Frank were able to buy their first home after the war. They paid $6,000 for their 1908 house on Brockton’s east side and moved in on Memorial Day Weekend of 1946. 

Immediately, Frank started remodeling everything he could get his hands on. He tore down walls, moved rooms around, built new steps on the front and back of the house, added and removed windows, and etc. He even built an outdoor fireplace which the family often cooked on.

Unfortunately, the fire pit was built a little too far from the grill’s grates, and when cooking, Frank had to compensate by building a large, roaring fire so the food would cook thoroughly. Helen recalls eating many charred hot dogs from this fireplace.

Meanwhile, 3 more children arrived: Carol Anne born in 1946, Donna Elaine born in 1954 (my mother), and John Joseph, born in 1956.

After the war, Frank found work at the Wollaston Foundry as a molder making man-hole covers and other cast iron items. When he was in his 50’s though, he began to develop breathing problems. He was checked up in the VA Hospital in West Roxbury and diagnosed with Emphysema and chronic Bronchitis from smoking, and potentially his exposure to asbestos from the cement finishing that he was doing before the war.

His conditions only worsened over time and soon Helen took a job at the shoe factory to make ends meet…

Helen, Frank, and Lucia

Baby Carol

Baby John and Baby Donna

Carol, Donna, Frank, and Eddie

Donna, Carol, and John

John in front of the backyard fireplace      






Frank and Helen’s house, circa 2011

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