I first learned of 55th Street when I was apartment hunting and my future landlord was giving me directions to an apartment on Martin Drive. I have lived in Milwaukee all of my life and had never heard of Martin Drive. When I saw the apartment, I was sold. The building was brick, art deco, interior full of beautiful wood-work and tiling. The apartment was spacious with plenty of closet space and had a dining room. I then became engaged and my fiancé moved in with me. One Sunday morning there was a flier in the foyer announcing a house for sale down the street and an open house later that day. And now it will be 18 years in November that we have lived in our house.
We were one of the first younger couples to move to the neighborhood. The senior residents were mostly empty nesters and began to move out of the neighborhood and then more young couples began moving in. We mostly kept to ourselves but after we adopted both of our boys we began spending more time outside.
That is when we discovered the hidden treasure of the 55! There were so many families and so many children. We started off as neighbors and now we are friends. We share meals, hugs, tragedies, houses, and yards. Need someone to watch over your two boys as you whisk your third to the ER after breaking his arm? Not a problem on the 55. There is rarely a day that goes by that does not include at least one neighborhood child entering your house looking for a playmate. As moms we even count on each other to support us in parenthood. You have an unruly child, send them to a neighbor, and that neighbor will send you one of theirs. A frequent group text asks that whoever may have one of their children at their house to send them home for dinner. A follow up text is usually from the parent asking if said child can stay for dinner.
Another treasure of our neighborhood is the “Secret Passageway.” This is where most of my pictures were taken. I have no history on this amazing find. But we often take walks there and I visualize that this must have been a grand entrance to formal gardens or that is was constructed by the CCC.
I also took pictures of all the bungalows and huge trees that line our 55. The pictures of the kids are all not mine, but that is the 55. One of the children gave me the nickname of Mama Lynn (or for those who cannot pronounce “L” its Mama In). I am honored to step in and be mom to the beautiful children of the 55 and to have my children parented by other moms of 55. We are truly that village that raises our children.