By John Vezeau
February 23, 2006

Waldo and Rosalie Vezeau moved to 6464 Lloyd Avenue in 1948 and lived there for a decade with their growing family.

Both had been earlier residents of Dogtown and were eager to be in a neighborhood filled with family and close friends. Waldo grew up several blocks away, at 6317 West Park Avenue, where his parents were still living. (See that address listing on this site.) Rosalie’s sister Amelia, whom everyone knew as “Mil,” married F. William “Bill” Haley. Mil and Bill Haley lived in Dogtown at 1501 Fairmont. Bill ran the exceedingly popular ice cream parlor, Double Dip. It was a haven for teenagers on Tamm Avenue.

Waldo Anthony Vezeau was born on March 12, 1911, St. Louis. He died on October 19, 1970, in St. Louis at age 59. His wife was Rosalie Catherine Wetteroff Vezeau. She was born on April 9, 1913, in St. Louis and died on January 21, 1990, in St. Louis at age 76.

Waldo and Rosalie were married on January 25, 1938, at St. James the Greater parish church. During the following 16 years, they had twelve children, nine of whom are still living: John, Kathryn, Michael, Timothy, Frances, Judith, Janet, Toni, and XXXXX (son).

Waldo earned his doctorate in mathematics and was a professor at St. Louis University. He taught statistics and quality control. He also consulted broadly with McDonnell-Douglas, Vestal Chemical, Pet Milk, and other chemical and engineering firms. Rosalie was a registered nurse, a graduate of St. Louis University’s Nursing School.

Seven of their nine children went to St. James grade school and had many schoolmates and playmates in the neighborhood, a few of whom became life-long friends. The family lived here until about 1958 when they moved to a larger home on McPherson in St. Roch’s parish.

Recollections of the 1940s and 1950s:

When our family first moved into 6464 Lloyd, we had an empty chicken coop in the back yard. It was far too filthy to become a kids’ clubhouse. So it was taken down. Four large peach trees provided limbs to climb on and abundant fruit in season. We mounted a basketball net on a large oak tree in the backyard. The grass hardly had a chance to grow there because of all the kids who used it as a playground.

Originally, the house had a coal-fired furnace and hot water heater. We had to feed the furnace from the coal bin with irregular chunks of raw coal and later carry out the ashes to the ash pit by the back fence. It was always dirty and inconvenient. Then, we converted to oil heat. The best thing: no more ashes to carry out in the cold of winter.

All year round, people throughout the neighborhood hung their wash out to dry in the sunlight. Sometimes the dust from the stream locomotives and from Scullen Steel might drift our way, but that was a small inconvenience. Our back yard always had a sea of diapers flapping in the wind.

We remember the years of playing – dangerously so – in the clay burrows of Cooke’s field. Now homes are scattered all along the hills where so many cowboys hunted down the Indians and brave soldiers used their toy guns to route the enemy.

It was hard to get into trouble unnoticed. As children, it seemed to us that every place we went, someone would know us. If we got into a fight, someone would call our parents before we got home.

We cut grass, sold the Post-Dispatch and Globe newspapers, and provided babysitting services for children of our neighbors. Families traded school uniforms as children grew out of them, and their too-small uniforms were passed along to others. Babies inherited the clothing of their older (if only by a year) neighbors. Mothers traded secrets on how to deal with cuts, scrapes, and colds. Regularly, we and our friends marched up the hill to the public library at Roe School. We raced bicycles recklessly down the hills of Wade to Louisville and down Childress.

In summertime – in the era of pre-home air conditioning – we beat the heat by sitting on the back porch and sipping lemonade. At night, Tony, an Italian neighbor, would play his accordion on his back porch. On weekends, when we could save up the money, we would take the Manchester streetcar (later buses) out to Maplewood and see two cowboy movies at the Maplewood Theater or the Powhattan Theater.

As our family expanded, Waldo – with the aid of a student – added a large bedroom and bathroom to the basement area. It worked for a while, but the family still needed more room. A decision was made to move to a larger home, but not too far away.

This Vezeau family is now scattered across the United States. Two daughters have homes in St. Louis. However, the rest of the family live in Seattle (WA) and Tallahassee (FL). In Chicago (IL), Savannah (GA), Hilton Head (SC), Effingham (IL) and Louisville (KY).

Whenever any of us visit St. Louis, we generally make a pilgrimage past the small home on Lloyd we remember so fondly. The neighborhood still has the same comfortable feeling. Several out-of-town Vezeau family members belong to the Dogtown Historical Society and, through e-mail, maintain a connection with the old neighborhood.

February 2006

John Vezeau
6709 Greenlawn Road
Louisville, KY 40222
502/ 426-2681


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