That seems to have been the question my parents asked each other. Today's blog post comes from the Mappy Monday mene from the Ravenna (Michigan) Area Historical Society's blog.
My parents never owned a house. When they married, my father was in the Navy, undergoing flight training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, where my mother grew up. The peripatetic nature of military life, and their penchant for moving in civilian life, brought them to the decision, apparently, never to buy a house, but just to rent. Therefore, the avenue of tracing their exact whereabouts at any given time through county or municipal property records is not available to me.
I have used some city directories to find them, but that is chancy, as coverage is sometimes spotty. The variety of city directories of the nineteenth century got pared down in the twentieth. I have looked in many of the digitized directories online, and not found them.
Some tracking of their residences is in my father's Navy service record, which I obtained from the National Personnel Records Center. That has been a big help.
My own memory helps somewhat for the period during my cognizant life (from about four or five years of age onward), but sometimes an address is not to hand, even then. I remember our address when I was six and seven, when we lived in Tarzana, California. With that address, I have seen the house on the "street view" of Google Maps recently. Funny that I do not remember the house seeming as small as it appears on the street view photograph, nor do I remember the houses being as close together as they look in the photo. I guess everthing looks bigger when we ourselves are small.
The places where we lived in Pensacola, Florida, when I was four and five were rural in nature -- one of them being a working farm where we actually had crops of corn, watermelons, and blueberries. But they had rural-route or post-office box addresses, which I never did know. I only know them by the names attached to them by virtue of where they were located, but I have not been able to pinpoint them using Google Earth or Google Maps. I have found approximate locations where I think they were, but I cannot be sure. No correspondence addressed to my father or mother at those houses survives, and I have not found us in the city directories for Pensacola.
It is a little frustrating not to be able to go to county property records and find information about my parents, but I have used these other ways to glean a little more information, and once I finish my college degree, and the book I'm working on, I will get back to further searching for where they were all along the way.
I just wish they had stayed put a little longer!