Zula Remembers

From the author's foreword . . .
One day about a year ago, Les Garrison, my good friend, neighbor, and former President of the Aurora-Highland Civic Association, asked if I would be willing to write and share with the civic association membership a few memory pieces about our neighborhood in its early days. Well, one memory led to another memory, which led to another and another until, in response to numerous suggestions from local residents, my youngest son, Mark Latsios, arranged to have them put together in a book. I do not pretend to be a historian. I am just passing on to you some of my personal warm memories of the Aurora Hills/Virginia Highlands community during what is now a bygone era. I want to thank my dear friends and former neighbors, Ann and Steve Hunter, for their unfailing encouragement and willingness to take on the formidable task of compiling, editing, and printing this book. Without Les's idea, Mark's generosity and persistence, and the Hunters' expertise there would be no book. I hope you will enjoy reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Excerpt . . .


When my father decided to build a garage at our house, he placed it about eight feet from both the next door property line and that at the rear of our lot. He did that so that he would have a nice-sized L-shaped area on the side of the garage and at the back. Then he built a little chicken house in the far corner, fenced in the area and put an attractive large white garden gate at the front. The chicken yard was thus pretty much out of sight, but productive. We had all the eggs we could use and fried chicken quite often. Daddy would go out to the yard, pick out his victim and methodically chop off its head as I watched in horror. However, I didn't mind those fried chicken wings at all! And every year we had a brood of baby chicks that were raised to adulthood and expected to provide us with eggs and Sunday dinner. Once my father brought home two bantam roosters with beautiful bright feathers and long, sharp spurs on their legs. They really were the Rulers of the Realm. One day when my father went into the chicken yard, one of the roosters decided to attack him. My father, in self defense, kicked toward the rooster and broke its wing. From then on that rooster had a sagging wing and a distinct limp. As time went on a prim little bantam hen joined the crowd, and then as nature would have it, along came adorable bantam chicks. The bantam population was not destined to end up on our Sunday dinner table. They were just for decoration or for giving away to any interested takers. Young, half-grown chickens were called pullets, and they were kept in a separate low, totally enclosed on the top and sides, wire pen until they were big enough to stand up for themselves in the regular chicken yard. One summer's day a great thunder storm descended on the area. While that was going on a neighbor's German shepherd dog came calling, tore down the wire roof, killed a number of the pullets and dragged them back to his house to show what a great warrior he was! Everybody concerned was sorry about the incident, but all was forgiven and life went on as usual in our backyard. Just imagine! There really was a time in this bustling neighborhood when chickens were raised in backyards, dogs could run free all over the place, and rabbits and ducks were welcome, too. But that was then and this is now. No livestock allowed!

by Zula Dietrich