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 From left, Kristen Alsheskie, Judy Simon and Kyle Alsheskie stand in front of the Royal Oak house that Kyle purchased in September 2017.

From left, Kristen Alsheskie, Judy Simon and Kyle Alsheskie stand in front of the Royal Oak house that Kyle purchased in September 2017.

Photo provided by Kyle Alsheskie


Royal Oak man unwittingly buys his grandmother’s childhood home

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published February 17, 2020

 Unknown to Kyle when he purchased it, Simon — Kyle and Kristen’s paternal grandmother — grew up in the house.

Unknown to Kyle when he purchased it, Simon — Kyle and Kristen’s paternal grandmother — grew up in the house.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROYAL OAK — Kyle Alsheskie, 27, bought his Royal Oak home in September 2017. At the same time, his grandmother, Judy Simon, 76, was visiting from Fort Myers, Florida.

Simon said her son, Daniel, Kyle’s dad, called her to tell her Kyle had purchased a home in Royal Oak, and she was shocked to learn that it was located on Owana Avenue, the same street as her childhood home. Then he asked her for the address.

“He said, ‘Mom, you’re not going to believe this, but Kyle just bought your house,’ and that was just a shock,” Simon said. “Really, the irony of it all, it was just unreal.”

Alsheskie said he received the house keys the week that Simon visited, so it was mostly empty. He later furnished the house and had the floors refinished.

They walked around the home together, and she told him memories from when she lived there. Her parents purchased the home in the 1940s for $10,000. She was 4, her older brother was 9 and her older sister was 13.

“I went over there to see it, and it looked a lot different, of course. It had a wooden patio on the back where my bedroom was, so it was improved,” Simon said. “I lived there until I graduated from (St. Mary Catholic School), and then when I was 19, I got married.”

Simon recalled that the house did not yet have grass when they moved in, which her parents later put in, and she met another 4-year-old, Gerri, who lived down the street. To this day, she and Gerri remain best friends.

“It’s been 72 years,” she said. “We have often talked about growing up at the time. It was a perfect time for children, and a perfect time for teenagers, because of the safety factor in Royal Oak.”

She remembered having to be very careful crossing Lincoln Avenue as a little girl, but having observed the two-lane street recently, it did not seem so busy. She also stood up as a junior bridesmaid in her sister’s wedding, and the reception took place in their backyard.

One summer, she said, her parents went to Wisconsin, brought home some evergreen trees, and her dad planted them in the front yard.

“I watched them grow, but now they’re gone,” she said. “They got so huge, I guess they got rid of them.”

As a teenager, Simon said she felt completely safe walking the mile home from a big dance that took place on Fourth Street and drew high school students from surrounding towns.

“Royal Oak was a wonderful town to spend your teenage years and have friends and go to school there, and I was always very proud to be from there,” she said.

Simon’s mother eventually sold the house after her father died, and she went to Brazil to teach in an American school for approximately six years.

After retiring, Simon said, she left Michigan mainly because the winters were disagreeable for her, and she has been enjoying the sunshine ever since.

Alsheskie was born in Clawson and moved to Walled Lake when he was 4, but he was familiar with the area because his maternal grandparents live in Clawson and his family returns for the city’s Fourth of July celebrations, plus his dentist is in Clawson, and he has some friends who live in Royal Oak and Clawson.

He said he looked at 10-15 houses and put offers on approximately three, none of which were accepted, before his real estate agent showed him the house.

“I liked this one better than all the other ones,” Alsheskie said. “It was nice because pretty much everything was finished, it has a two-car garage, and I just really liked the location. It’s less than a mile from Main Street.”

He said the close family connection to the house was a wild surprise.

“It was just really crazy and surreal,” Alsheskie said. “I don’t know where my future is going to be, but if I ever move out, I think about not selling it, but renting it out. It’s a really good feeling.”

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