by Roger M. Goetz
THE TALE OF TWO HOUSES
The purchase of 822 Ash went smoothly. On August 2, 1948, my parents paid Mr. Friedrich $3,000; and he received the rest of his money once the mortgage on 822 Ash was arranged. In that connection, they paid $7,224.22 on October 2 followed by monthly payments of $53.00 to the bank in Ames.
The matter of the house in Glen Ellyn, however, did not go smoothly. Oh, it started out well enough with the down payment of $3500 made in November, 1948. On December 3, my folks prepaid the Ames bank $2800 on the principal of the mortgage plus $77.49 interest.
Since the sale of the house in Glen Ellyn was on contract, Mom and Dad still had certain expenses to pay. To help buy 822 Ash, they remortgaged the Glen Ellyn house in February, 1949, for Mom’s financial journal shows the following:
February 21 - F. C. Pilgrim Real Estate & Loan Co.,Wheaton, Illinois $6,126.67
February 21 - Interest $126.67
February 21 - Release Fee $10.00
February 21 - Du Page County Title $48.75
February 21 - Appraisal Fee $15.00
After that, they had two monthly payments to make: $65.86 for insurance and $65.00 loan payment.
But all was not well. We learn this from the account of an extended family vacation trip as recorded in Mom’s diary, Book 7, entry dated Aug. 11, 1949 - Thursday:
On June 23, (Thur.) we left on a so-called vacation. Left about 11 a.m. after frantic last minute preparations. It took me all day Wed. [Mom’s forty-eighth birthday] to pack.
To understand the context of what Mom wrote next, one should know that at that time there was no specific speed limit in Iowa, only what was safe and reasonable based on road conditions.
Went 80 mi. an hour to Marshalltown [Iowa on the old two-lane U. S. Highway 30]. because Chas. [Charles A. Goetz] wanted to see a man at the furnace factory (about some research he had done) before 12:00. I sat in the back seat and prayed.
We went only 75 mi. an hour from then on to Savanna [Illinois] and I was a wreck when we got there.
Had invited ourselves to the J. Glen Getz’s, so we stayed there for 4 nights in the old Getz homestead.
Jacob Glenn Getz (1915-2009) was my father’s youngest brother. To understand this, the following digression may be useful.
The original family member owning the farm was my great-grandfather Georg Götz (1843-1913), who migrated from Germany in 1866. After he had been in Illinois for a number of years, the banker told him he should Americanize his name. So he started to use the name of George Getz. Although he and all of his sons adopted that G-E-T-Z form of the name, the tombstones of everyone of them have their surname as G-O-E-T-Z, which is the correct way to write this German surname in English letters.
As of January 1, 1947, my father had the spelling of the surname of his immediate family legally changed to G-O-E-T-Z because there were some business people by the name of G-E-T-Z who were becoming notorious in Chicago for unethical business practices. Also, Dad used to joke, "If I’m going to die as G-O-E-T-Z, I’m going to live as G-O-E-T-Z."
Interestingly Dad’s next younger brother Melvin Ripper Getz (1912-2006) and his wife were buried with G-O-E-T-Z on their tombstone because that was the real family name. All of my dad’s other brothers are buried G-E-T-Z.
Returning, to Mom’s diary: after mentioning visiting Dad’s aunts, uncles, and cousins, and attending the annual fourth-Sunday-in-June Getz family reunion, Mom continued:
The 27th [Monday] we left J. Glen’s and drove to Glen Ellyn. Got there about 11 a.m. Roger squealed with joy when we came into town. It was a peculiar feeling. We bought some things to eat and went to Sunset park to eat it and then took Roger to [visit Bobby] Holmes. He had written Bobby that he was coming.
Sunset Park, not far from our home in Glen Ellyn, has an indirect connection with Iowa State. The swimming pool there was managed by my friend Gary Cook’s father, who was a coach at Glenbard High School during the school year. Gary was assistant basketball coach at Iowa State from 1980 to 1983.
The rest of Mom’s account of this vacation covered several pages. One more part of it is here quoted:
Oh yes – in Glen Ellyn, we drove past our house and it looked pretty sad. The lawn hadn’t been cut in weeks – the hedge needed trimming and the (our) vacant lot was in weeds. Siebold (who bo’t it) left his wife in June for a Chicago woman, and no payments have been made since June. Siebold has gone back to his family, but still no payments, to date. He wants to sell. Chas has served eviction notice on him.
We finally got back to Ames on July 8, and my parents still had to make the two monthly payments mentioned above for two more years.
Mom recorded the resolution of the situation in her diary on Sunday, June 17, 1951:
Chas. and I went to the Alumni dinner last night–$2.50 a piece and it was one of the most boring evenings I’ve ever spent in my life. . . . . Finally got the money out of our house in Glen Ellyn $10,776 after the mortgage on it was paid. (Re-mortgaged to help pay 822 Ash)
The tale of two houses had finally come to an end.