Our First Apartment and Christmas

bruce and polly gerencser 1978

Polly’s Grandfather, Polly’s Dad, Polly, Bruce, Polly’s Mom, on the street in front of our apartment, a few weeks after we were married. Who are those children?

Our first apartment was on Premont Street in Pontiac, Michigan (Waterford Township). It was a 3 room and a bath upstairs apartment. The heat was controlled by the people living downstairs. We rented this apartment in May before Polly went home to Newark, Ohio to prepare for our July wedding. I lived in the apartment by myself until we were married. I worked at Felice’s Market, located a few blocks away from our apartment.

I furnished the apartment with a load of furniture I bought at a nearby yard sale. Polly did not see the “wonderful” furniture I bought until we returned from our honeymoon. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy. No worries. We started getting credit cards in the mail from companies like Sears, JC Penny, Montgomery Ward, and Hudson’s. We said yes to all of them and bought a new couch, bed, and furnishings. We had no clue how to manage money or set up a household. Saying yes would, a short while later, be a big problem for us.

Our apartment had green and white carpet in the living room. One day I came home from work and there was a huge white/rusty stain on the carpet. Polly had spilled tea on the carpet and used bleach to clean it up. Yes, we really were that dumb. Both of us were. So naïve, so ill-prepared for life in the real world. Prior to moving into the apartment, neither of us had ever lived by ourselves. Polly was 19 and I was 21.

Our first Christmas arrived and we went out and bought a tree from the Boy Scouts. I hauled the tree up the stairs and put  it in the cheap tree stand we had bought. No matter what we did, the tree would not stand up straight. Finally, I got so angry that I opened the upstairs window and threw the tree out of it.  We then went out and bought another tree.

The new tree wasn’t much better. Every time we let go of it it would pull the tree stand over. Again, I got quite angry, but this time I fixed the problem. I nailed the tree stand to the floor.   What a blessed first Christmas we had.

We lived in the apartment for seven months. Six weeks after we were married, Polly said, I am pregnant. Later in the year, I lost my job, and in February of 1979 we dropped out of college and moved to Bryan, Ohio. We were ignorant and life was hard, but here we are 35 years later, we are survivors.

And we finally learned how to get the damn Christmas tree to stand up straight.

Comments (4)

  1. Steve

    What a nice story; such sweet memories. I have those, too. All they are now are memories, though. Ironically, my ex-wife & I had to ride together in the car for an hour today. I sat there & thought, “who is this person?”, as I have no idea anymore.

    But yes, a nice story, bro. Thanks for sharing. Also, a nice picture! I was looking at it thinking, “ashame only 2 of them in that picture are sane today” :)

  2. Your Aunt!!!!!

    Funny story! I’m learning all sorts of things about the two of you!!!!

  3. Paula

    I enjoyed reading that. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of that first apartment, or the memories of it. My husband had been living and working on his own for several years, but I went straight from my parent’s home to our first apartment together.

    We didn’t nail our first tree to the floor, but old pictures of it show that it was a very tall version of Charlie Brown’s tree, before the gang worked magic on it. We were quite proud of getting such a big tree for two dollars. The fact that my mother paid eighteen dollars for a tree that year will give you a clue as to the appearance of out tree.

  4. mortimer

    Thank you for a good laugh to start the day. Your Polly is a jewel. And you are a wonderful writer.


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