115 Beacon Street
With cement-plant savings, we budgeted a full one hundred dollars a month for our household expenses during the school year. My National Merit scholarship covered tuition, books, and fees, but we arrived in the Hub (that’s what many still call Boston) with a fairly vague notion that we’d find some sort of part-time job for one or both of us, to pay for housing and anything else we might want to expend. No wonder Pappy shook his head.

The day the van Uiterts returned to Belmont, we got Miss Elizabeth Krauss’s1 phone number from the student employment office at MIT; she had a “super” position available. We hit it off well with our new landlady, and, with Luanne’s help, moved the next day into the basement rear (the former kitchen)2 of Miss Krauss’s 1863 brownstone mansion-turned-lodging-house at 115 Beacon Street, only three or four doors from the Boston Public Garden.
For free rent, we (well, mainly Valerie) took care of the common areas3 in the five-story town-house, transferred daily bagged accumulations from the hallways to the trash-cans in the courtyard, collected rents, pretended to check for dead bodies and to exclude “fairies.” Miss Krauss would have charged a hundred dollars a week for the accommodation: a price which we could clearly never have afforded.
1She was always exceedingly kind to us. She kept saying she wanted to take us out to her farm in Fitchburg. But we’d have to plan to spend the night: fifty miles one way was just too far for a day-trip.
2Valerie wants me to be sure to emphasize that she cleaned the shared bathrooms. We shared a john closet with the young ladies in the basement front; the first-floor shower with basement, first, and second floors, and the tub on the fourth floor with the whole house.
3To this day (2010), we refer to the place as our “Sieve and Crockery Jar.” For good measure, a flour-sifter we had back then bore a little black Dymo label tape identifying it as a [perhaps The] “Sieve;” a Durgin-Park beanpot proclaimed it similarly as “Crockery Jar.” If you’re mystified, check out Edward Lear’s “The Jumblies.”
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