Greg Brown remembers spending Christmas at his grandparent's home with Santa bringing gifts to put under the tree.

 Greg Brown remembers spending Christmas at his grandparent's home with Santa bringing gifts to put under the tree.

   "I remember this house on the front page of The Gridley Herald with a banner over the house stating Santa was coming to town," Brown stated.


    His grandmother Dorothy had a Cherry tree out in the front yard that they would drape with Christmas lights. Her tulips still come up each spring, reminding Greg of her.


    This Christmas will be especially nostalgic, as the entire Brown family will celebrate together in the home that brings so many memories of Christmas past for not only Greg, but his Dad Milt.


    Milt Jr. and Dorothy, Milt's parents, died in the 1990's and the home had been rented for ten years, before renovation started two years ago, by Dan Munson. Munson has done almost all of the work throughout the home.


    Other Christmas memories surfaced as we discussed what it means to Brown to be the fourth generation to own the 80+year-old home.


    His grandparents, followed by his Dad, owned Brown and Company, a very popular men's and women's clothing store, on Hazel Street for many years.


    "I remember my Dad getting calls on Christmas Eve from friends who had forgotten to pick up a gift, and needed one more thing. He'd take off at 8 p.m. to run to open the store back up to help a customer. He'd even deliver lay-a-ways when they were forgotten until the last minute," Brown reflected.


    Brown and Company was one of the first in town to offer the lay-a-way program and charge accounts. Brown and Company billed monthly, before charge cards came along. There was no interest charged then, either.
    As a boy, Greg remembers sweeping the sidewalk out front of the store and worked there all through high school.


    A Gridley High School graduate, Greg went to UC Irvine in 1986 and graduated in 1990, entering into the commercial real estate field then.


    Customer service was what Brown and Company was all about. The name means so much to Greg that his development investment company is named Brown and Company. That name will live on for a long time.


    It's not surprising that Greg is in  the real estate/development business, as his Dad and grandfather owned several buildings in Gridley over the years.
    Greg sold his real estate brokerage firm in Southern California in 2006.
    Greg and his Dad built the Starbucks building at Highway 99 and Hazel Street, along with Quizno's, just a few blocks away.


    As we sat in the living room, Greg remembered the room was used for social gatherings, not for television, in those days. He remembers his Grandmother Dorothy playing bridge with her friends.
    "They would have lots of fun and discussions. They might've  had the radio on low," he stated.
    "I've often wondered what the discussions were like in 1929, with things so similar now. What role did each person play. We've come full circle to the 1930's," Brown said.
     

The home now has all new windows, replacing the original ones, still held in beautiful wood frames. Much of the home looks the way it did for the first three generations. The quality of the craftsmanship from the turn-of-the-century is evident throughout the home.


    The baseboards were hand cut, which are still as beautiful as the day they went in and the inlay on the floors in each room is another feature that is still carried out, as all of the original hardwood floors have been beautifully preserved. The home has that warm, comfy feeling in it where you are not in a hurry to leave.


    "Every house was custom made back in the 1920's. They were built by artisans, not production workers. They took great pride in what they built," he stated.
    There was no profit schedule. The homes were meant to last forever. Builders  were able to purchase materials at reasonable costs and the houses were built to last forever.
    One of Greg's fondest memories is going to his grandparent's house for lunch during grade school and high school and the discussions they would have.
    He also remembers playing football on the side yard and looks forward to playing with his own children, Nicole, who will turn five in February and Parker who is three-years-old.
    Greg enjoys hunting ducks and hopes his son will follow in the Brown men's footsteps and will also want to hunt.


    Living in Laguna Beach the past few years with his wife Monique and their two children, Brown often reflects on his childhood in Gridley, fishing with his buddy Chris Alexander.


    "My kids are going to enjoy it here. It is a much slower pace and you always have the feeling of everyone knowing everyone else. These types of towns are so extremely special.


    "When I began traveling here to check on the house from Laguna Beach I could feel my blood pressure drop 20 to 30 percent as I got closer to Gridley," Greg said.
    Greg never wanted the home to go on the market so when his Aunt Judy offered it to him he jumped on the chance to own the family home in 1997.
    His mother Margaret has enjoyed being a part of the project and working with decorator Susan Bandstra.


    When his great-grandparents, Rose and Milton Brown decided to give the home to their son Milt Jr. and his wife Dorothy in the 1940's, they moved to Sycamore Street.


    Not only has Greg done his parents proud, his grandparents and great-grandparents would be especially proud of not only the work done to preserve the home, but the many memories that are still to come.