Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Grandma Scharsick's House

The House at 79 Surry Commons

by Jean Pollack and Dick, Elizabeth and John Richard VanderPutten

Jean Pollack

June 30, 2001

Bob and I were in Lynbrook, NY over the weekend and I had him drive past Grandma's old house. There was a For Sale Sign on it. Do you have any memories of the house?

I remember that I was too scared to go upstairs because I thought there was a scary old lady -- possibly grandma Scharsich living up there. I was told that she was dead but I guess I really didn't believe it.

There was some painting on the hallway wall that I thought was of her. I never went upstairs or down to the basement.

I was only seven when she sold that house (1953) so my memories are limited. I remember the little hallway with the small steps from the entrance straight through to the kitchen and the small bathroom on the left on the "hump" of the steps. I remember the little porch with the wicker furniture and the fireplace. Anything else?

By Elizabeth Vanderputten

May 30,2001

The best thing I remember was we could run up and down stairs and come out on two different places. Grandma Scharsich died when I was one or two. The place was dark and that could be the reason for the scariness.

by Dick VanderPutten

May 30, 2001

I was two when Grandma Scharsich died. I have no memory of her either. Betty, you are probably thinking of Grandpa Easson who died around 1944-1945.

Grandma Elizabeth Scharsich died in Mercy Hospital a few days after baby Elizabeth VanderPutten was born in the same hospital. I remember somebody telling me that when Dr. McCauley told her that Elizabeth was born, she said, "Now I can die happy".

The house is another story. I loved it. Stairs running up and down everywhere. In order to walk around the outside of the house, you had to crawl under some bushes (just right for a 10-year-old boy).

The basement was dark and mysterious, with rooms and nooks and crannies to explore, and lots of toys. Uncle Robbie had a radio room with lots of electronic gear. There was a lawn swing and two working gramophones. We would wind them up and play scratchy old records. There were Japanese Lanterns in the basement, probably a leftover from some forgotten party. I don't remember any paintings, although I am sure there were some there.

If you went to that house three or four weeks before a big event such as Christmas, Grandma would already have the table set, and they say Vander Puttens are obsessive.

There was a little breakfast nook off the kitchen, which I did not like because it only had one door and it was so small that us kids had to go in first, and then the adults would sit near the door. There was no escape!

I do remember a little about Grandpa Easson. He used to take me for walks. And I remember the hospital bed they set up for him in the front parlor for one of his heart attacks. (Now that I think of it, maybe the bed was for Grandma's heart attack, that was about 1950 or so). I remember it was "Big". I don't think he died at that time. He was already back to work when he died.

I have driven past that house many times. The neighborhood never seems to change, although there are more houses than there were in 1950. Even the names of the streets are beautiful:

Piccadilly Downs
Northumberland Gate
Bixley Heath
Canterbury Gate
Tottenham Road

All so veddy English.

By Elizabeth Vanderputten

May 30,2001

Dick is right about Grandma Scharsich dying when I was born. Mom used to say she held on so she could hold me (isn't that nice). I also remember Grandma Easson's bed. She had her heart attack I think right around my First Communion. I remember being in my white dress. But that might have been after the Communion at a May Day kind of celebration.

by John Richard VanderPutten

May 30, 2001

I often slept in that basement on Saturday night. I still remember the first time. After getting ready for bed I walked about 10 ft to the pull chain for the light. When I turned around I was in absolute darkness with no idea where the cot was. It was dark...some how I made it. After that I took bearings before I turned out the light.