On The Way Home From Work – 1943

poppy sidewalk
My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham. “On the way home from work 1943”

poppy_the_worker_poemFrom my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook. “That’s my Shell” 1-25-59.

River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham came to Detroit from Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. He worked on the steamer “Eastern States” as a steward for awhile and then as a stockman in the library at the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan until he retired in the 1950s. Although he had a car, he did not drive to work, he caught the bus, first walking to the bus stop and then riding over an hour to get to work.

Unknown Man Walking
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15 thoughts on “On The Way Home From Work – 1943”

  1. What a neat photo and a great poem – and how true it is much of the time. The unsung heroes in our midst are worth their weight in gold!

  2. I love how your grandmother captured your grandfather through that poem. The photo and poem should appear side by side forever!

  3. So many people have great photo matches this week, and your grandfather looks like he’s wearing a flat cap, or something like it at least. Three cheers for him and ‘his’ poem.

      1. Right, I thought so but wasn’t 100 percent sure, maybe because it’s not at a rakish angle, and also because I thought they were mainly worn in England.

  4. Riding the bus and walking were economical, especially during gas rationing of the 40s. Good to learn about a hard working man who was appreciated poetically!

  5. Wow! What a great match! The poem really adds texture to both your grandfather and the era. I have a theory that your grandfather’s photo, as well as many of the street photos we’ve seen this week, was taken with a twin lens reflex camera which is held by the photographer at waist height while looking down into the viewfinder. It’s why no one seems to be looking at the camera, as the photographer is probably leaning on a lamp post and not looking directly at the subjects.

  6. The poem and the picture are wonderful. I love the spring in your grandfather’s step as he walks home from work. So many people look exhausted at the end of the workday. I toured the the Ford Rouge plant several years ago, and it is interesting to see what it looked like in days gone by.

  7. Hi, I am trying to get in touch with the blogger on here. My Aunt and her family used to vacation at one of Louis Cleage’s cottages in Idlewild, Michigan during the 1950s. We were just up there during the past weekend for the Idlewild Music Festival and trying to look for the cottage. My Aunt Kim from Detroit said that her father Mr. Henderson and Louis Krege were good friends.

  8. That’s a wonderful shot. And I would love to know what you got for $14.25 at The Hub. That would have been a lot of money back then.

  9. Your grandmother recognised her husband in that poem; I wonder how many other wives kept that cutting for the same reason. My grandfather wore a cap too and would often walk or cycle to work, even up to retirement age.

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