Tenney Park celebration, Sue Fieber, 2019

A short story about Tenney Park and the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, told by Sue Fieber.

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    Interviewer: This is Joe Orman, it is May 19, 2019, and I am here with:

    Narrator: Sue Fieber – F-I-E-B-E-R

    Interviewer: So Sue, can you tell me a little bit about your experience with, uh, the neighborhood, how long you’ve lived here, things like that?

    Narrator: Ok, we lived in the neighborhood from 1976 to 2001--

    Interviewer: OK.

    Narrator: --so we don’t live here anymore. We lived on Few Street, um, we raised our four kids in the neighborhood and when, when we got to the point where my husband and I could see mobility issues coming--

    Interviewer: Mmm-hmm.

    Narrator: --we needed to get out of our two-story, one bathroom house so we bought a ranch in another--in a suburb.

    Interviewer: Ok, and uh, in terms of the park, can you tell me a little bit about, uh, you know, what it was like with your kids in the park, favorite memories, favorite seasons?

    Narrator: I think the most striking thing is that when we were raising our kids, they--we could just send them to the park and we didn’t have to bring them once they were five, six, seven. They could come themselves, and they spent a lot of time here. Um, one of our daughters used to fish in the river. Um, and I don’t know if it was smart but she’d bring home a lot of bluegills--

    Interviewer: Uh-huh.

    Narrator: --that she caught and we’d actually eat them. I don’t think we’d do that today. And her fishing lasted until one day she got a fishhook caught in her ear--

    Interviewer: Oooof.

    Narrator: --and I was too gutless to pull it out so we had to go to the ER.

    Interviewer: [LAUGHS]

    Narrator: But I just remember the park as a place where the kids could just kinda run. And we’re learning now about things like how our son jumped off the Marston Bridge--

    Interviewer: [LAUGHS]

    Narrator: --when he was a kid; we never knew that. So, but, it was a great thing to have and I don’t think now that that’s true, I think people have to be a little more careful of their kids in the park now, which is too bad.

    Interviewer: And so, how, I guess, how did you find out about the hundred-year celebration, and I guess, what brought you here?

    Narrator: Somebody --somebody told us, I don’t know-- I think, oh, I know--Barbara and David Fleishar, old friends who we still see and they sent us an email, so that’s how we decided to come. So it’s really great, it’s a fun event.

    Interviewer: Yeah.

    Narrator: A lot of planning it looks like.

    Interviewer: Oh yeah, absolutely.

    Narrator: So--

    Interviewer: Um, can you talk a little bit, uh, while you were living in the neighborhood, I guess how you saw change, and how you saw the park change?

    Narrator: Uh [PAUSE] uh, when we moved in, um, our street was like on the edge of student housing--

    Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

    Narrator: --and when we bought the house there were--there was talk of how the students were going to expand and expand and expand and we were a young family and it made us a little bit nervous. But the house--the price of the house was good so, um, we did it. And as it turned out there were a lot of people like us, some were here before us, some came after, and it kinda, the neighborhood stabilized and, this part, the part just, um, east? west? of the park stayed pretty much stayed owner-occupied throughout our time here. I think it still is.

    Um, we bought our house in 1976 for $38,000, um, when we sold it in ’01 we got $209,000 and we could have had a bidding war if we wanted to, but we didn’t have the stomach for that. But it’s amazing how the property values have gone up; it’s just become a really hot place to live.

    So, as to how the park changed, I think, I think the maintenance kind of declined over the years and actually now I think it’s starting to look better. This is a beautiful rehab of the old--this was the old shelter--where we would bring the kids skating.

    Interviewer: Uh-huh.

    Narrator: And this was the warming house or whatever, yeah, so but it’s really a great place to have parties and weddings and all kinds of stuff now, so that’s really cool.

    Interviewer: All right, I think that’s about it.