Tenney Park celebration, Suzanne Keyes Rybeck, 2019

A short story about Tenney Park and the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, told by Suzanne Keyes Rybeck.

  • INDEX, 012
    4:50 - ART CART
    4:55 - ICE CREAM TRUCK

    INDEX - 012A
    0:30 - AVENUE BAR
    0:35 - SEARS STORE


    Interviewer: Ok, today is May 19, Sunday. We're at Tenney Park Century Celebration. My name is Carol Griskavich, and you are?

    Narrator: My name is Suzanne Keyes Rybeck

    Interviewer: Would you spell your last name?

    Narrator: Yes, Keyes, K-E-Y-E-S, and then Rybeck, R-Y-B, as in boy, E-C-K.

    Interviewer: Right, so Suzanne, um, what's your involvement with the Park? Past and present?

    Narrator: Uh, my involvement in Tenney-Lapham is such that, I live at 408 Marston Avenue, and that is my grandparents' home. I was born, my parents lived upstairs at 410 Marston Avenue when I was born and my sister was born. That was um, nineteen fifty—, my sister was born in 1950, I was born in 1952, and my brother was born in 1954. So, the home has been in our family since the late 1940's. Umm, my grandparents lived there until they passed away, and they left the home to my sister, brother, and I. And I uh, decided to live there, and was married. Had my daughter there, Nicole Rybeck, and raised her there. (LAUGHS) So, umm…

    Interviewer: Is it still, a two flat?

    Narrator: It is, it is a two flat, and I have worked at the University. I just retired, I worked there for forty-one years. And so, traditionally, I have rented the second floor to people affiliated with UW: medical students, veterinary students, graduate students. Umm, to keep that connection alive, and because when I was in school, my sister, brother and I also lived up there when we went to UW. So it sort of keeps the flow going.

    Interviewer: That's great.

    Narrator: And at one point even, as I recall. Foster Randall, who was the principal at East High School. Foster and Helen, his wife, lived at 410 Marston Avenue

    Interviewer: Wow.

    Narrator: It has a lot of history, and then [LAUGHS].

    Interviewer: [LAUGHS] So, uh, growing up here—

    Narrator: Mhmm

    Interviewer: I'm guessing that you've been to this park a lot.

    Narrator: I consider this park part of my yard. And I think a lot of people who have lived on Marston over the years, uh, grow to love the park. And that's why many people live in their same homes for many, many years, because of that love. When I was young, and back in the fifties, there used to be playground activities in the park. There was croquet, basket weaving, gimp bracelets, a bike parade. And there was a great big tree that was so wonderful, that uh, we could all climb in. And that sometimes, it was a pirate ship, but other times it was an airplane, back when they had the propeller planes [LAUGHS)]. We used our imaginations and it was very fun. And there was a big swing set for the bigger kids and there were teeter-totters, and a tilt-a-whirl, and little swings for the smaller kids. Little cage swings. And a sandbox. And, we literally spent our days in the park growing up, if we weren't at the beach. Where we went to have swimming lessons, and meet our friends. And back, in the fifties and sixties there was a high-dive at the beach. My brother was reminding me of this this afternoon when I called and asked him some questions. So it was outside of the ropes and only if you were a strong swimmer could you go to the high dive. So—

    Interviewer: I see. And, with your daughter, then, the next generation growing up in this neighborhood, did she have similar opportunities, and, like, spend a similar amount of time in the Park as an extension of the yard?

    Narrator: I would say that the bulk of her time that she spent in the Park, she did a lot of summer activities with friends. The art cart used to come around when she was younger. And we appreciated that. And the ice cream truck, whenever you heard the jingle-jangle, I always kept a change jar near the front door, so whoever was at the house could grab money and run out and get some ice cream. When she was growing up, the bulk of her time spent, ah, was skating. She took, she was a wonderful skater, her friends skated, and um, in fact, when I was younger, we all skated in the Park. I mean it was what we did in the winter. And the channel on the Lagoon was much narrower then, so, yes, she spent a lot of time doing that with all her friends. I mean it was just, really, a social, social place to be.

    Interviewer: And, given that you have a, you know, long history in the neighborhood [LAUGHS]

    Narrator: [LAUGHS]

    Interviewer: We won't put that in the transcript

    Narrator: Thank you.

    Interviewer: What changes have you seen in the neighborhood over time?

    Narrator: Ok, so, over time. When I was younger there were a lot of children. There were a lot of families, there were a lot of children. As time went on, those families moved out and it went, the neighborhood went through a transition. When I came back and owned the house, and that was in 1985. The neighborhood was changing again, and more children were coming back, and families were coming back, so I did see that resurgence. And then, as my daughter grew up, there were a number of other young people on the block her same age. So they would walk to school together, and I have to, I have to say this, that our house was the school bus stop. Because we had a glassed in front porch, and it could accommodate children in all types of weather and they could see the bus coming, and the driver knew to stop. So he would stop and they would go running out with their violins and, and their backpacks and the door had a lock on it, so, they felt secure there after school coming for their parents to pick them up. And a lot of them just ended up staying [LAUGHS]. And we had snack and a good time, so.

    Interviewer: Ok, well is there anything else you'd like to add?

    Narrator: Umm, [PAUSE] I think that it's a wonderful place to live, and I'm glad a lot of families are coming back, um, so.

    Interviewer: Excellent.



    Interviewer: This is Carol Griskavich, May 19, Tenney Park Century Celebration.

    Narrator: Yes, I'm Suzanne Keyes Rybeck. R-Y-B, as in boy, E-C-K. And I grew up on Marston
    Avenue. Umm, and I lived in my grandparents' house, which was previously owned by Joe and Margaret Keyes, and they, uh, owned the Avenue Bar. My grandfather started the Avenue Bar on East Washington Avenue, back when it was just a place where people from the Sears store crossed the street, which is now the bus station, would come for lunch and after work and so he had the bar, and my grandmother used to make sandwiches, and things that, it was a family affair. Everyone helped out and he had a used car lot next door to it where the parking lot is now a Christmas tree lot at Christmas time, and he could walk to work or drive to work, and when I went to Saint Patrick's grade school on East Washington, which is now the Salvation Army, when the kids would walk home, my grandfather would be outside of the bar. And we would go in and have a Coca-Cola after school [LAUGHS], so.

    Interviewer: Then, that's really, thank you.