Homeward Bound - Page 3

From Eichler to Mackay to six more Eichlers—the house-hopping odyssey of the Walling family
Homeward Bound
Bettie from the early 1960s.

Bettie and Jim "were very interesting and progressive people," their daughter says, encouraging the children to read, taking them to museums in San Francisco. The parents were proponents of Civil Rights, and admired Joe Eichler for his open-housing stance.

"They taught us not to be prejudiced," Beverly says.

And they were good parents, Bettie a bit distant but admiring of her children, Jim "warm and fuzzy," Beverly says.

"We had a rounded life—birthday parties, going to museums, going to movies," Beverly says, recalling cross-country and local camping trips, tents and kids piled into the station wagon. "We would stop at all the trading posts and fun things on Route 66. We joined an ice-skating club as a family in Palo Alto. My mother loved ice skating."

"Other than moving we had a great childhood," she says.

Beverly's oldest sister, Savannah, recalls that their mother's career provided her an opportunity to take on an adult role.

Homeward Bound
In 1962, when the Wallings moved to their Eichler on Sunnyvale's Trenton Drive, their first atrium model, it made five moves in eight years. "I really loved the atrium," recalls daughter Beverly," and we liked the glass and the heated floor." Above: The Trenton Drive Eichler today.

"I started cooking the family's suppers around age 12, as our mother was going to school and then working," she says. "I really enjoyed cooking and learning to cook in this environment. I appreciated that the kitchen was very accessible to the family room, so the cook didn't feel isolated."

Beverly says the family's Sunnyvale Eichler was her favorite Eichler because, unlike the two earlier ones in Palo Alto, this one had an atrium. "I really loved the atrium, and we liked the glass and the heated floor," she says.

Savannah also enjoyed their Eichler atrium, and the courtyard in their Mackay too. "I would spend hours reading in the enclosed patios," she says.

"There was a feeling of safety inside the courtyards. And privacy. Even of sanctuary, of refuge. A good place for deep-focused thought."

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Daughter Savannah poses behind the Trenton Eichler, early 1960s.

"But there could also be feelings of loneliness," she adds. "Because of being shut off from our neighbors by the walls, we didn't encounter them regularly in a day-to-day fashion."

As Beverly's high school graduation approached, Jim and Bettie asked her to move with them to Hawaii.