Louisville Magazine

MAR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1088363

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Page 94 of 133

92 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.19 SWEET CHESTNUT STREET WE Former Courier-Journal columnist and editorial writer Betty Winston BayƩ recalls her years as a proud homeowner and neighbor to west Louisville's storied movers and shakers. Photo by Joon Kim I expected my mom and Aunt Evelyn to be worn out after their long trip from New York to Louisville riding the Greyhound, aka "the dog." On the contrary, Mom and her elder sister bounced off the bus like schoolgirls, excitedly going on about their lovely ride through the mountains. My aunt actually squealed with delight when she spied the Louisville Gardens sign; Aunt "Ebby" and Uncle Buss were huge fans of professional wrestling. I suspect all she knew about Louisville were the wrestling broadcasts from the Gardens; that Muhammad Ali was born here; and that her niece, that would be me, moved to Louisville from New York to be a newspaper reporter. at visit during the summer of 1986 was my mother's first and last to Louisville. In fact, it was the farthest she would ever travel. It was blazing hot the day Mom and Aunt Ebby arrived, so hot that the chocolate candy bar my aunt was holding melted in her hand. Even worse, my car's air conditioning had gone out shortly before their arrival. Mercy! I hustled the VIPs to my house. My being the operative word because 2306 W. Chestnut St. in west Louisville's Russell neighborhood was the first home I'd ever owned. I might have eventually become a home- owner had I remained in New York, but the greater likelihood is that, like the majority of New Yorkers, I would have been a lifelong renter. My parents, George and Betty Winston, met in Harlem in 1944, and, in today's parlance, they would have been classified as working poor. In the 1950s and '60s, they worked hard, but homeownership wasn't in the cards. My father worked as a trucker's helper in Manhattan's old Garment District. In early 1983, he wept and said to me, "Boopie Girl, I've never made more than $6,000 a year in my life." is was the man who walked miles from East Harlem to his job downtown because he'd given me his 15-cent subway fare to buy a notebook for my stenography class at Benjamin Franklin High School. I was studying to become a secretary. My mom was assistant to Mrs. Sarah Walton, the head cook in the daycare where my two younger sisters were en- rolled. Mom's job had significant perks. She could walk to work, so she didn't need money for carfare. She could keep an eye on my pre-school-aged sisters throughout the day. Her job provided paid holidays and vacations and a retirement plan. My dad had no benefits. If he didn't work, he didn't get paid. e other significant benefit not formally included in Mom's compensation package was the leftover milk, juice and food she brought home most evenings. A running joke was that if anyone ever asked What's for dinner?, the Winstons could say, "Whatever the

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