The magic Hallmark house

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.

I mean, come on! How about these Halloween decorations?
And the clever pot of gold under the rainbow?
And this pretty Valentine’s Day display?
The Christmas display looked much more festive in person. I must have been too cold to capture it properly.
This Easter display brightened up a dreary day when I walked past yesterday.

14 thoughts on “The magic Hallmark house

  1. Thank you Laura for sharing a bit of the history of “2020” in such a fun light! Brian has brought such an amazing new energy to the former Heinritz Clan homestead inside and out! He has always welcomed me and my siblings to visit 2020 anytime.
    I have shared many of his epic holiday decorations with family.
    And I’ll be sharing this particular blog with all of my siblings. Many thanks to you!

    1. Thanks Barb! I was hoping you would like this post. We all really love that house.

  2. Wow, Laura, you hit the mail on the head!! What a wonderful tribute to our house, family, Brian, and to Mom and Dad who started it all!! So much fun to know that you enjoy it! Janet (one of the 17 siblings)

    1. Laura, thank you!! What a lovely story. As #18 I can say that I am so grateful to Brian for keeping the house alive and having as much fun as we did in it.

      1. I wish I would have taken the opportunity to interview your mom. She would have made a fascinating story.

  3. This is so amazing!! I’m one of the many grand-daughters who grew up in the magic of this house, and I always love driving past when I’m in town and seeing that the magic is still there! Xoxoxo

  4. I am Joannie, the firstborn of the Heinritz clan and am thrilled that you featured the Heinritz family home, the magical Hallmark House! It looks so small now, but memories and stories ooze out of those doors, windows and walls!!! I marvel at how Brian “caught” our spirit and is adding another chapter to “This ole house!” Thank you again!

    1. An appropriately wonderful house for a wonderful family…and perhaps an extension of the beautiful eulogy you delivered.

  5. Thank you Laura!
    I loved your description of our “magical Hallmark House”. Raising 18 children in that house is truly magical, incredible, remarkable! If the walls could talk….so many stories, love and laughter!
    Therese (#14 of 18)

  6. This is “Char”, I was no.10 of the 18, a perfect 10 I always thought but nobody else ever seemed to agree for some reason. Anyway, it was great that you noticed the magic still emanating from our old homestead. Brian has done a fantastic job of keeping the energy and spirit alive that was started by our parents and all the many kids, relatives and friends that kept the place a hive of activity for so long. I’ve even heard that dad’s ghost may still be haunting the place, which may explain some of that energy and “spirit”. I enjoy driving by to see what Brian has done decorating during the different holidays, it always brings a smile and many memories…

    1. So nice to hear from you Char! It’s not often that I get to chat with a perfect 10. I think your family is remarkable.

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