St. John Road, 1981 – Sepia Saturday #178

For more Sepia Saturday Posts
For more Sepia Saturday Posts

The photograph below was taken in 1981 when we lived on St. John Road in Simpson County, Mississippi. You can read more about that time in this post P.O. Box 173 1/2. I was 35 and pregnant with my fifth child, who turned out to be my first son, James. Tulani and Ayanna (with a piece of gum hanging out of her mouth) are in the photo with me.  My husband, Jim, was the photographer. He was about to go to Boston for an organizers workshop.  He was working for the Woodcutters Union at the time and not making a living wage.  My son seems to wear a similar expression sometimes. Maybe I passed it on.  I’ve added a photo of my father and grandfather.

1981 - with two daughters.
1981 – with two daughters.
That son 30 years later.
That son 30 years later.
Me and my father about 1966
Me, at about 20, and my father, Albert B. Cleage Jr.,  1966
My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage - 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.
My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage – 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.


32 thoughts on “St. John Road, 1981 – Sepia Saturday #178”

  1. You didn’t want Jim to go away and leave you to look after 4 children? Or money was tight and you were worried about the future?

    P.S. I love the way you change the header. That is a great collection of faces.

    1. I was always looking after the 4 children anyway because he was usually working out somewhere, organizing somebody or printing in Jackson, which was about half an hour away. I had recently realized that we weren’t making enough to cover the bills and that is why… I could never cover the bills! We realized there had to be a change as far as his jobs were concerned. It was just a time of change, both of our mother’s were very ill and would be dead within the year, money was short and why did he have to go to this meeting anyway??

      I was over joyed to find out that I could change the header for each post!

      1. I was thinking the same thing as Sharon. It’s very cool to be able to change the header to suit the post.
        Your expression is priceless, and it’s terrific to see your son a whole generation later. Your gum-chewing daughter also seems to be affecting an attitude of carelessness as her Dad gets ready to leave on his trip.
        Now I’m on a roll. Just linked back to one of your older posts about life in rural Mississippi, the one with the letter to your mother. Wow–pigs, goats, homestead, outhouse, and six children! And with all that you found time to put together a gift box for your parents including a home-baked cake! You really know how to live. You have material for several lifetimes of stories!

        1. I think the gum chewer really did have an attitude of carelessness about it. Makes me feel like it’s time for a nap just reading about what I used to do! More stories than will ever be told.

  2. I believe we do pass not just our DNA to our children but facial and body expressions. I have always been told I look just like my father, but that I remind everyone of my mother because I have so many of her same expressions.

    1. In my case I look like my father and also have his expressions. If I had thought of it, I’d have put a photo of him with the same sort of expression.

  3. Neither of you looks happy to have your picture taken. I think you look fed up with your husband, and your son looks like he is mad at the world.

  4. I really like the photo of your grandfather – very dashing. And I think your father looks a bit like Edward R. Murrow in that photo.

  5. Serious or unhappy, your looks are all so similar. It’s partly the eyes, but I think your mouths are all very much the same down through the generations.

  6. I love the photo of your grandfather. I love that it’s oval. I love his thumb in the pocket. He looks so proud and distinguished until you see that thumb – then he’s Joe Cool.

  7. The children are cute and look happy, no worries in the world. I also like the photo with your grandfather; he is sure of himself and he knows what he wants.

  8. You all have the same mouths. And your son seems to have inherited his dad’s sense of social justice too. Such a handsome family! Your expression in that photo made me smile. Pregnant with your fifth!

  9. I think your photos says “attitude” and strength of character! Not surprising it’s been passed up and down the generations kristin.

  10. I love the way that it is not just facial features that are passed from generation to generation, but also a belief in justice, fraternity and equality. At the end of the day it is the best inheritance we can pass on

  11. Alan Bunett comments was my immediate thoughts when I saw the pic. I always feel that until your children get involved with social/community issues, no matter how successful they may be on a personal level , they have not arrived. You done good.

  12. You need to explain the pendant worn on your grandfather’s waist for me !

  13. And your husband wanted to preserve that moment right before he left and you didn’t want him to? The three moods in the picture are priceless. Unhappy mom, carefree gum chewer and happy poser for pictures. I certainly see the family resemblances.

  14. We see the people on the front lines for social justice but we forget that the spouses, usually wives, and the children are also making sacrifices.

  15. Well truth is in the pudding, or rather on the face right?! Great photos of so many faces!

  16. Such similarity of faces….the entire row of photos atop your blog are all appropriate matches for the eyes and faces for this week’s prompt

  17. Wonderfully descriptive family history. Kristen, that “look” was a familiar “look” in my family, though I never equated it with being unhappy. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out just what it said — perhaps the flip side of the Mona Lisa smile. Whatever, I really like the look and the pictures.

  18. There is a similarity of the eyes and mouths. I agree that my grandfather was a dapper, very cool guy. I never noticed it until I saw his old photos. By the time I knew him he was, of course, an old man.

    I don’t know what the medal is on his waist. I’ll have to blow it up at a higher resolution and post again for your input. Perhaps on the jewelry prompt Alan just put up :)

    Yes, organizers, artists, teachers, that’s us.

    Yes, the families of preachers and organizers has to believe in the life they are living or the marriage doesn’t last. Sometimes it doesn’t even if they do believe in it.

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