More Shelbyville Road Memories
The photo (right) was taken at Shelbyville Road house, September 13, 1947. Virginia Nix was a life-long friend of my mother and a bridesmaid in her wedding. When Virginia married, my mother was in her wedding. They would remain friends throughout their lives. Even though they lived in different cities, they stayed in touch, sharing the ups and downs of marriage, children and finally retirement. I believe the two of them had an ability to confide in each other and trust their thoughts would remain between them. A deep friendship many women understand and come to rely on throughout their lives. Interestingly enough, there has been numerous studies on the importance and benefits of close friendships lasting the the test of time and distance. A good book on the subject is Bagwel, C.L. & Schmidt, M. E. (2011). Friendships in childhood and adolescence. New York: Guilford. Also read the very engaging article "Are Friends Better Than Family." The answer might surprise you!
Virigina & Della
ABOVE: Front of Shelbyville Rd House
RIGHT: Restored radio from Shelbyville Rd House
Purchased in 1937 to listen to the flood news.
Summer dinner Shelbyville Rd circa 1962
Seated center far back - Uncle Dominic, to his left Grandma,
right, his son David standing on table blocking his wife, Bernice.
All the others are members of Grandma's extended family of Matteis and Waters.
My grandparents, Mary and Pater, purchased an old house across from the Oxmoor farm in the early 1940s. While they were still working they wanted to set up household in this rural community where they would eventually retire. Their four children, Jack, Della, Dominic and Babe (Mary Margaret) were reaching adulthood and all but Jack would marry and leave the house. Initially, when the family moved to Shelbyville Rd, my grandparents slept in the side bedroom. Della (my Mom) and Babe shared the back bedroom and Jack and Dominic used the dining room as their bedroom. The pictures below are what the Shelbyville Rd area looked like when they purchased and moved into this house. Grandpa mounted a legal battle to stop the widening of Shelbyville Rd and the construction of the Watterson Expressway but to no avail. Their idyllic dream of a rural refuge came to an abrupt end in 1960. My Aunt Babe told me that she believed the stress my grandfather experienced over the potential loss of a portion of his property contributed to his death in February, 1960. Check out more pictures of the area at https://www.pinterest.com/stmattchamber/historic-st-matthews/
Shelbyville Rd between St. Matthews and Middletown 1930
ABOVE: Shelbyville Rd 1959
St Matthews, Shebyville Rd looking east 1942
ABOVE: Oxmoor property of the Bullitt family looking south at Shelbyville Rd circa 1940. My grandparent's house in at the intersection (front, left). Eventually, through eminent domain the Bullett property would be split in two to make way for the Watterson Expressway. The front driveway of my grandparent's home was closed to construct an entrance ramp for the Waterrson.
LEFT: Shelbyville Rd before Oxmoor Mall built 1981
Since I like to make frittelle for just Steve and me, I make a small, modified recipe which is a little different from my Louisville Grandmother. My recipe mimics my Grandmother in Cincinnati's recipe. My process is pictured above and below. Measure 1 CUP FLOUR, 1/4 TEASPOON SALT and 1/4 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER into a bowl. Mix well. Create a well and crack in 2 EGGS and ADD 1/2 CUP WATER. Blend the egg and water in the well and then moisten the flour mixture until mixed (add more water, if needed). The mix should resemble thick pancake batter. Heat enough CANOLA OIL in a cast iron skillet to deep fry the dough balls. Drop slight 1/4 cup batter into pan and fry until golden brown. Dry the frittelle balls on a paper towel. When slightly cooled roll in GRANULATED SUGAR. Makes about 8-10.
A delicious memory easily recalled from the old Shelbyville House is the wonderful waves of aroma floating from Grandma's kitchen as she fried up dozens of lard laden frittelle. While we all enjoyed this treat, my cousin Louis enjoyed them more than most. When we were visiting in the summer, especially when Louis and Nancy were visiting with us, Grandma would always whip up a batch of frittelle in the early evening. I can particularly recall one summer evening when Louis, and maybe Nancy and Mary Sue, stayed the night with us sleeping in Grandma’s living room. We stuffed ourselves with Fritelle. Later, while we were suppose to be sleeping, Louis decided to sneak a peak at the movie on TV after the adults were sleeping. When he turned on the The original Japanese movie Godzilla had just started. While the others slept around us, Louis sat perfectly calm watching as I cowered only looking up occasionally to catch a glimpse of the monster. I was scared shitless!!! The delicious memory and the terror of Godzilla will forever be etched in my mind.
My cousin, Nancy, sends Grandma’s recipe for frittelle below with a note. If you would try this recipe, be brave! Fry them in lard for an exceptionally wonderful delicious memory. You’ve got to make at least once in your life.
GRANDMA PATER’S (AMERISA MATTEI) FRITTELLE RECIPE
5 CUP SIFTED FLOUR
1 1/2 TEASPOONS SALT
2-3 CUPS COLD WATER
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and crack the eggs into it; then add the water. Mix the egg and water together. Gradually stir the flour into the wet ingredients. Batter should be about the consistency of panda ale batter. A little more water or flour if needed to obtain consistency.
Pour approximately 1/4 cup mounds of batter into enough hot lard to cover. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with granulated or powdered sugar. Manga! (I remember that Grandma used granulated sugar, I never recalled her using powdered but she may have from time to time)
I frequently watched Grandma make these and decided to write down the recipe one evening when she was making them. I no longer fry them in lard; I use vegetable shortening instead. I love the eggy taste of the frittelli with the lightly sweetened top.
SHELBYVILLE RD TODAY 2020: The Shelbyville Rd property has lost its rural look! It also has a new address. Since the Watterson ramp closed off the front driveway a new road was constructed. To reach the KIA Dealership that now occupies the space, you need to find your way on New La Grange Rd. My grandmother left the house in the early sixities and moved to a smaller house close to St. Margaret Mary Church. Since Uncle Bill and Aunt Babe's family lived in a house on the property, they vacated as well. The old house deteriorated as rapid growth suffocated the last bits of its rural character. When my grandmother died in 1971 her surviving children sold the property. While I couldn't find an exact sale price, oral history informs us that it sold for around $250,000 (my brother, Mike, recalls that "Dominic wanted over $200,000 and I think he held out for $250,000." I did a quick Jefferson County property search and found that the remaining property today is owned by HAYMARKET REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS LLC and the almost acre of land remaining from my grandparent's property is assessed at $2,172,280.
COMMENT FROM NANCY CONCERNING THE SHELBYVILLE RD SALE
"A couple thoughts about your story. The story you describe hearing from Mike sounds like what I remember of selling her smaller house on Norbourne. Dad did hold out for a higher price for the Norbourne house - though I don’t remember the actual figure. Dad was in no hurry to sell it because he thought that the block would eventually be zoned commercial as it backed up to the commercial property on Shelbyville Rd, but it never did. With respect to the Shelbyville Rd house, Gina and I both remember it being sold before Grandma died. And I clearly remember her wanting $200,000 for it. When I worked at the shop, men in suits repeatedly came in to talk with Grandma about it. Grandma would be in the back scraping plaster pieces and they would traipse back to talk to her, ask her how much she wanted, and she would say $200,000. They would tell her it wasn’t worth $200,000 (which it wasn’t at the time), and she would just say ‘well, you asked what I wanted and I told you.' Then they’d go talk with Dad and tell him it’s not worth $200,000 and he would say, ‘I know it, but that’s what she wants and it's her house.’ I think Dad loved the fact that Grandma was holding out for what she wanted, which she eventually got. And I remember loving the fact that my elderly Italian grandmother stood up to the men in power suits pressuring her to sell it for less."