I have considered the house on the corner of Frances and Drew magical ever since my classmate Max lived there with his 17 brothers and sisters, his mother Marie, a professional softball player who pitched in the 1942 World Series Women’s Softball tournament and his dad Carl, who worked for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover.
How all those lively, accomplished people shared that one small space, I’ll never know. But, I can tell you they left plenty of room for laughter and love.
Following 94-year-old Marie’s death in 2016, the Heinritz family sold the house, and the magic continued, albeit in a very different way.
Brian Kemp bought the house and began a campaign of communal loveliness and good cheer. He turned that corner lot into a flower garden and began dressing the house up for every holiday.
My favorite display happened during March of this year when the bush in front of his window became a pot of gold under a leprechaun’s rainbow.
I sent him a note recently to thank him for his efforts because I love walking past his house. Currently, bright pinwheel flowers spin in the breeze and a large Easter Bunny waves from a cluster of decorated eggs.
His Halloween décor has become legendary and I’ve begun to think of his place as the Hallmark House, a giant, cheery greeting card for every occasion.
I think certain houses just retain the great qualities of the people who inhabit them. And that house on 2020 North Drew exudes friendliness and generosity.