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Holidays in Eichlervile

Holidays in Eichlervile

February 27, 2014 in Eichler, Eichler History, Life in an Atrium by

In our second installment of “Life in an Atrium: 30 Years as an Eichler Resident”, Torchy Hunter takes us through what it was like to spend the Holidays in an Eichler home. We hope you enjoy the article, if you have any stories about living in an Eichler Home or any Mid-Century modern, be sure to contact us.
Holidays in Eichlervile -

People buy Eichlers because they want the unusual, modern, stylish surroundings. They brought the same ideas to holiday celebrations.

At Easter: The E­Bunny had a pretty funny sense of humor. Eggs would appear anywhere, including at the base of the glass walls around the atrium inside the house. There was also a ton of candy in the atrium outside right next to the walls, in plain sight.

The kids would stand next to the wall frantically looking around, never looking through the wall, into the atrium. There must be something about little kids and their interpretation of “wall” which causes them not to try to see through them.This only worked for a couple of years. We had to stop hiding eggs and candy outside because our Dalmatian could find them before the kids did. But he did leave shiny reminders for us for several days.

Labor Day. There were kids’ parades, with dress­up clothes, sort of like Halloween, but more often with parent’s clothes, or superhero outfits. Tricycles became parade floats, with streamers on the handlebars and seats, and wheels with crepe paper, volleyball games among adults with the winner getting a case of beer. Then, on our court, there was our Dalmatian with technicolor spots. I handed out Magic Markers to the neighborhood kids who gave him different colored spots, ringed his tail, and made volleyball players do movie­type double takes. Barbeques in the street followed.

Christmas: when you live in a glass house, where do you hide Christmas presents? In the trunk of the car, of course. My mother would send slippers for the kids, but they didn’t know what to do with them because of the warm floors. Two Christmases in a row, those warm floors presented us with a Christmas fountain: water spurting out of the floor right next to the tree.

Of all the houses in the neighborhood, this was unique. I never heard of anyone else having this problem, and I finally learned that the grid of copper pipes that conducted the water was laid, well, indifferently, sometimes inside the concrete slab, sometimes not, causing the pipes to stretch and break. Now all concrete slabs crack when they settle and dry. These cracks are harmless unless there is a whole bunch of water under pressure looking for a place to escape. Thus the Christmas fountain. It does something to your sense of security and order to have a guy with a jackhammer digging a hole in your floor on Christmas morning.

My favorite holiday was one the neighborhood itself made up. The Art Fair! It began when neighbors began to hang on their fences the artwork they had made all winter. These kid drawings and bean roosters soon gave way to a two day festival with professional artists renting booths, folk dancing, sand castle construction in driveways, thousands of visitors, and paying jobs as clean­up people for all our teenagers. The grinch of a city finally made us shut it down. Something about licenses, insurance, numbers of porta potties or the like. Obviously, the city didn’t live in an Eichler.

Torchy Hunter

Torchy Hunter returned from two years in Florence, Italy and bought an Eichler in San Jose in September 1966 Her sons were raised there; she finished a Masters Degree (in English), and only left in 1995, after almost 30 years. She is a nationally published humor writer (Ladies Home Journal,Our Place, Los Alamos Monitor bylined column) college instructor, actor, painter, flower and jewelry maker who still loves her Eichler.

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