Lusia visits with Grandma and Grandpa now. She helps out in the garden that Grandma has tended for decades.
When Lusia’s grandparents first moved in, the yard had been neglected. Now, the gardens are spectacular and have been the site of many garden parties.
Grandma and Grandpa have lived in the same little downtown house since 1964. Grandpa (Ken Mulloy) thinks they are one of the few couples who have lived in the area for over 45 years.
Ken and Dianna Mulloy raised three girls at the corner of 6th Avenue and Black Street. Eleanor and Wendy remembered the “olden days” via email, Beth in person.
Eleanor, born in Whitehorse, remembered big family dinners with friends. The adults played “Pass the Lifesaver” with a toothpick in their mouths. They danced in the living room.
Wendy, the eldest daughter, remembered the first day in the house. She was turning 10 years old and happy, but nervous to be moving from small town Cassiar.
Beth was five. The big city was going to be a very exciting place! The house was empty and smelled stale that first day.
Wendy and Beth would share the front bedroom. Eventually, Wendy moved to the basement bedroom. Beth would come down to visit and practise her cheerleading. “Strawberry shortcake, blueberry pie, v – i – c – t – o – r – y!”
Dianna Mulloy remembered the neighbourhood kids. There were 26 children within one block of 602 Black. The children were free to run from home to home, to the playground, to the corner store.
Wendy’s good friend lived near the clay cliffs where the children climbed and explored to their hearts’ content. She also had a friend living in a Quonset hut down the street. She remembered the house looking like half a tin can from the outside but comfortable and homey inside.
Ken remembered Friday night shopping. Groceries were bought at Tourist Services; other goods at Taylor and Drury’s or Hougen’s. The whole family went shopping – it was a social event.
The children walked to Whitehorse Elementary School all year long. Sixty degrees below zero, ice fog so thick one couldn’t see the house across the street, and mum watching the children go off to school. Sometimes police would patrol the streets to make sure everyone got to school safely.
The Mulloys invited me in for tea recently. We talked about “house facts” and looked at their treasures.
The house was built in 1951 by Frank Buckway, likely from army surplus lumber. Like many of the early Whitehorse homes, water delivery and a chemical toilet were the norm.
In 1957 the Cassiar mining company bought the house. A kitchen, garage and porch were added to the original building. In 1964 the Mulloy’s moved from Cassiar and bought the house.
An interesting living room feature is the recessed bookshelves that now house a wonderful collection of old books and family heirlooms. My favourite book is The Chicago Record’s Book for Gold Seekers, published in 1897. A Carcross Residential School desk is tucked into a corner of the living room.
Eleanor and Wendy now live in southern B.C. Beth, with her husband George and daughter Lusia, live in Yukon.
All three generations continue to have a very special connection to the house that Frank built at 602 Black Street.