Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Starting a Family on Bosart Avenue

When Leland Dickerson finally arrived home after honorably serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II, he decided that he couldn't wait to get back to see his family in Irvington.  So, he began to hitchhike from Dayton, Ohio still dressed in his navy attire.  Much to his surprise, a limousine pulled over and a passenger dressed up in a suit and time called out, "Where are you going?"  "Indianapolis!" the veteran answered.  "Hop in!  I am going there too."  The passenger turned out to be the CEO of the Perfect Circle Corporation, a company that specialized in piston rings.  The young veteran told the millionaire that he could drop him off at Washington Street and Arlington Avenue and that he could walk the remainder of the way home to 818 North Arlington, but the executive would not hear of it and he ordered his chauffeur to drive eight blocks north.  Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson both happened to be outside when the giant limo pulled up and they reacted with surprise and joy upon seeing their son safely home from the war and in a limousine no less!

With so many veterans returning to Indianapolis, jobs were not easy to find.  Leland, a Butler University graduate, landed employment at East Side Chevrolet near the corner of Washington Street and Ritter Avenue.  It was not a dream job, but he did not mind being around Irvington because his buddies had reintroduced him to Anna Belle York (121 South Berry Avenue).  She lived with her parents and her young son Robert, and worked nearby at the Missions Building (222 Downey Avenue).  The couple began to date and by February of 1947 they were married.  Upon returning from their honeymoon in Washington D.C., a fellow worker at the East Side Chevrolet told Leland that Western Electric was hiring.  Sensing an opportunity, he drove out during his lunch hour for an interview and landed a job.  He would remain for the next thirty-five years eventually attaining the rank of supervisor.

Finding an adequate house after World War II, was nearly impossible for most veterans as there had been very little construction during the war. Many homeowners in Indianapolis divided their large homes and turned them into rentals.  Leland and Anna Belle spent the first months of their marriage in a "shack" in northern Warren Township. They had no indoor toilet.  Both had been raised in Irvington, so this was not a standard either really cared for although Leland reports that they were very happy.  Eventually, the couple found a lovely small home at 861 North Bosart Avenue in Emerson Heights just west of Irvington.  They also welcomed a daughter, Linda. (Jimmy would come later.) With a growing family and income, the Dickersons moved out of the small Bosart Avenue cottage and by the early 1950s they found a larger place along Ridgeview Drive.  Stay tuned as I will chronicle the Ridgeview years in the next installment!

Newlyweds:  Leland and Anna Belle York Dickerson at the York home at 121 South Berry Avenue (February, 1947)

Instant Family:  Leland and Anna Belle Dickerson and young Bobby, who also became a Dickerson standing in front of the York home at 121 South Berry Avenue in February, 1947

The Dickerson home at 861 North Bosart Avenue in 1948

Growing Family:  Anna Belle and Leland Dickerson posed with Linda and Bobby in front of 861 North Bosart Avenue in June of 1949

Birthday Party  (on January 7, 1951) inside 861 North Bosart Avenue.  Pictured: (beginning with the boy sitting closest to the photographer at the far left) Dick Abell, Linda Dickerson, Dennis Holmes, Bobby Dickerson, Sue Deering, Ronnie Holmes, Tommy Abell, and Jerry Abell
The historic images are courtesy of Leland Dickerson. You may see a contemporary image of 861 North Bosart Avenue by clicking on the Google Satellite image below.  You will note that the porch has now been enclosed and that the house is now sheathed in aluminum siding.

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