Q is for a Quiet street – Water Mill Lake

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Amazing I know, but Q is a letter I do not have a street for.  Someone suggested I do “A quiet street” for Q so this post will be about the house on Water Mill Lake, the quietest place I ever lived. Except for that one night something was killing something out in the forest.  And there were those duck feathers strewn around the pathways as the ducks down the road disappeared, one by one.

Photos from 1976 to 2007 taken on Watermill Lake, Lake County, MI.

In 1976, soon after the birth of my third daughter, my mother and Henry moved from the house on Fairfield in Detroit to the house on Water Mill Lake in Lake county.  Water Mill is a much smaller lake than Idlewild and is less than a 5 minute drive away. Lake county is a 4 hours drive from Detroit.  The house was separated from it’s lake front by a dirt road.  In the back, through trees and underbrush, was the Pere Marquette River.  This house was in the Manistee National Forest. Houses were few and far between. My mother and Henry planted a wonderful organic garden, fished and froze the bluegills they caught for winter eating and installed a wood furnace to cut down on the heating bill.  I would go up for several weeks in the summer during June, with my children after the Williams Reunion in St. Louis. We lived in Simpson County Mississippi at that time.

In 1978, shortly after the birth of my fourth daughter, my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  She had noticed bleeding but ignored it for too long and after several years of treatments that took them to Detroit far too often, she died in 1982.  Just after the birth of my son.  Henry continued to live there by himself, seeing his brothers, sisters and friends who came up to Idlewild in the summer. In the winter there weren’t too many visitors.

In 1986 we moved to the house on Idlewild Lake.  Of course Henry became part of our life, eating dinner with us often, us visiting him and him visiting us. He contributed lively discussion, the same kind I remembered from my growing up years to my children’s growing up.  In 1996, shortly after being diagnosed with liver cancer, Henry died. He left us his house. We rented it out for several years. Our oldest daughter lived there when she returned to Lake County as Assistant principal of the local high school.

In January of 2005, with only one of the children left at home and serious foundation problems with the house on Idlewild Lake, we decided to move to Henry’s.  We added a few windows and had the attic turned into another bedroom.  We had to replace the septic system which took out a few trees behind the garage so we put a garden in back there. We bought the lot next door at an auction. There were deer in the yard, racoons trying to get into the garbage cans. Racoons are so much bigger then they look in children’s picture books. At one time there had been a lot of people who came to that road to fish but the owner of the property had posted it so there was not much traffic on the road and not many people coming to fish. The lake was too small for jet skis and speed boats, that was nice. We had to walk up to the corner to get the mail because the mail man didn’t come down that road to deliver.  There were only 4 houses on the road and only ours and one at the corner were occupied all the time.

Our third daughter moved home after graduating from University of Michigan while searching for a job. The spring of 2005  another of our daughters and her family moved to Idlewild on the way from Seattle to wherever she found a job, which turned out to be Atlanta.  During that summer we had visits from the other children. They stayed between our house and the old house on Idlewld Lake.  It was good to have everybody close by again. In the fall of 2005, our youngest son moved to Atlanta to work with AmeriCorps, then the second daughter moved to Atlanta. Somewhere in there the third daughter moved to Indianapolis for her new job. Our two elderly dogs died. We were down to one cat. My husband and I were alone for the first time in forever. It was wonderful. It was peaceful.

In 2006 our daughter who lived in Detroit moved to Atlanta. In the summer of 2007 we helped our third daughter move from Indianapolis to Atlanta and decided to look around and see what we could find because it seemed to make sense that we all settle in one place to be both support and company for each other.  We found the house with the solarium (which is on Venetian so I will be writing about it in a few more posts) and that decided us. Just as the Michigan housing market went downhill, we sold the Water Mill house and bought the one Atlanta just before that market went downhill. We sometimes talk about how we could have done it differently and held on to that house in Idlewild while spending some of the winter months in Atlanta. Moving made sense but I really miss being on the water and being out of the city.

“P” is for South Payne Drive

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. This week we go to S. Payne Drive in Idlewild, Michigan. We moved there in August of 1986 when I was 39 and lived there until January of 2006. Almost 20 years. The longest I have lived anywhere.

When I was growing up we used to go to my Uncle Louis’ cottage in Idlewild. My cousin Barbara and I  fantasized about riding our bikes from Detroit to Idlewild and living in a vacant cottage. Our plan fell through because we never came up with the agreed upon $10.00 each.  This is still my favorite house of all I have lived in. If only the children and grandchildren had been closer, we would still be there.

Some of the things I remember about living on S. Payne Drive are – the lake in summer for swimming and in the winter for skating. The stone fireplace. The wood burning/electric stove we cooked on for several years before the electric side went out. Cabral joining the family the year after we moved in. The unacceptable local schools and our journey into homeschooling. The years the uncles, aunts and cousins were at their own places in the summer and sometimes the winter. Story rounds and the AOL homeschooling area and my addiction to the computer. Years without television. Dollhouse Doll Ville. Delving deeper and deeper into my family history. Track and basketball and Interlochen. Tulani’s dog sledding. The children growing up and moving out. When you have 6 spaced out 2 to 4 years apart it seems an endless process but end it did.

I remember times when family came from far and wide to be together.  The grandchildren being born. My husband Jim traveling hours to work for the Michigan Dept. of Transportation in Ludington, Traverse City and points north. Winter layoffs. His years on the Idlewild volunteer fire department. The short periods of time I worked at the Baldwin and Idlewild Libraries. Our yearly Community Kwanzaa Celebrations. Icicles hanging from the roof. Keeping the wood burning furnace going and realizing the meaning of the saying “Keep the home fires burning.”  My most wonderful garden. Henry’s Status Theory. Endless discussions. Walking 4 miles around the lake most days. Developing chronic tendonitis and no longer walking around the lake fast enough to keep the weight off. Deer season and the deer Ayanna, Tulani, James and Cabral skinned and cut up. Relatives selling their places. Louis, Henry and my father dying. Moving to Water Way Drive.

Here is a page from our family newsletter, Ruff Draft, from those years.

Others posts about life at S. Payne Drive

Thanksgiving 1991, Idlewild, Skating Champions, Kwanzaa

“O” is for Oregon Street

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  This post takes us back to the time when I was still living at home.

My mother bought the house at 5397 Oregon in 1959 for $8,000. It was the first house we owned. Before that we lived in houses owned by the church my father pastored or, after my parents divorced,  in a rented flat on Calvert.   I was 13 and in the 8th grade when we moved in and a 21 years old senior in college when we moved to the flat on Fairfield.  Nine years was the longest I lived in any house when I was at home.

Sitting on the porch with my mother. 1962.

Photographs from the downstairs, various years.

My bedroom.
The bathroom.









There are no photographs of the upstairs.  There was a hall, three bedrooms and the only bathroom in the house. My room looked out on the backyard.   The other two bedrooms looked out the front of the house. The bathroom was right across from my room and the stairs were right next to it. The hall ended in a door that went out on the upper back porch.  These two drawings are of my bedroom, looking out on the hall and the stairs and the bathroom. They are ballpoint pen and then I sprayed them with perfume. I had to come up with an experimental project for this advanced drawing class and that is what I came up with. I ruined many drawings with that perfume.

Some memories from those years:

Discovering world wide revolution as I started high school. Getting magazines from Cuba, China and Mexico.  Listening to radio Habana on the short wave band of our radio. Spending hours in my room reading, clipping photos and articles, looking at maps, filling in maps.

The Christmas we got several of Miriam Mekeba’s records and they became the sound track for that Christmas.

The neighbor’s house being so close that in the summer I could hear them talking through my open bedroom window.

The summer my cousins came to visit from Athens Tennessee and slept in my sister’s room while she moved in with me. The visit was half over when we discovered they had not set up the cot and were crowding into one twin bed.  We set it up for them.

My cousin, Greta, cutting my hair so that I could wear an afro during this same 1967 visit.

Almost getting to Cuba and Mexico, but not quite.  Did make it to Santa Barbara, CA.

Coming down with the flu one fall day while playing chess with my uncle Henry and being sicker then I remembered being since having pnemonia.

Dried peppers hanging on the kitchen door. Tomato wine/vinegar brewing in a big vat in the kitchen. My mother’s garden under the mulberry tree where she grew green beans. The moldy mulberries under the tree later in the year.

Building an igloo in the backyard one winter.

Pearl walking around the living room on the furniture without touching the floor when my mother wasn’t home.

Nikki Giovanni staying at our house during the 1967 Black Arts Conference.

From my journal:

12/22/67  the winds blowing dry seed on the tree of heaven outside.

1/4/1967 gray, rustle, wind, snow makes more gray. Creaks and roar, grey, grey sky.Everything is quiet. the wind sounds cold. Even the drip of the faucet is cold. Creaks and breath of wind.snow like cover of cold. pale blue summer sky over grey cold.

2/6/1968   i don’t know what’s wrong. every so often i sink into one of these things. deep down loneliness.  loneliness fills you empty.  Apart in a separateness or a separateness is in me. it’s felt inside my stomach. a lump of muscus won’t digest. sits inside me. floats inside my emptiness… apartness is inside me – is me. me is separate. apart. alone. it’s dark. cold/hot. Still.  i stand in a vacant field, large clear area of land off Warren Avenue.  The moon is out. i stand in center and watch the moon.

4/4/2968  it’s beautiful weather out. warm. windy. you should be in the country.  Tonight i a. type 2 stories, one for Billy Thomas, b. do drawing, guess i’d best do the drawing first, correct – part of armor, maybe college type thing. yeah.  that’ll be interesting. go to museum at 4 or 4:30. Eat when? ¿Quien sabe? i have the terrible feeling none of this is going to come out.

4/21/1968  tell him i cried. sat on porch wanting him to come back. look out the window wanting him to take me with him. i didn’t just not want to go home, i wanted to go with him.

“When you are singing
Daily alone
a bird comes
and joins you”

N is for North Martindale

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  It takes us back to North Martindale, kitty corner from my first apartment.

As soon as I reach a letter for which I have no street, I am going to post a chart of where I lived and for how long. From the time I left home until Jilo was a bit over 1 year old  I must have been getting ready for this series by moving every 3 to 8 months.

Today I will write about living at Brother John’s.  Brother John and my husband, Jim, were both members of the Republic of New Africa and they all called each other “brother” and “sister”. We were there from October 1970 to March 1971, about 6 months.  Bro. John lived in the downstairs flat, we lived in the upstairs flat. We didn’t have the whole flat though.  He had his office in what would have been the front room. The dining area was empty, sort of a buffer zone. We had the kitchen, bathroom and three bedrooms.  I made one of the bedrooms into a living room. The other two were bedrooms. At one point Jim, and I cleaned out the basement in hopes that Bro. John would move his office down there.  He didn’t. Even cleaned out the basement was not very inviting.

Back in 1970 the upstairs flat had a porch where that door walks out into air. Next door where the vacant lot is now there was a small, single family house where 5 very wild children and their parents lived.

Some of the things that I remember… the wild kids next door who shot a BB gun into the house. Because we were living a charmed life, nobody was in the room. I remember the pear tree outside of the back porch and that I never picked any pears.

I remember once when Jim was out of town somebody, a community organizer, was shot to death when he answered his door. This disturbed me so much that I put Jilo in her stroller and walked from my house to Miriam’s house on Lee Place.  I just didn’t want to be home alone. It was 2.8 miles. It was night and the only part of the walk I remember is that I didn’t walk down 12th but went down the next street over because there were so many people out on 12th.

Approximate route I took from N. Martindale to Lee Place on foot – 2.8 miles.

I remember when three friends and I started a food and baby co-op.  We went to Eastern Market, a farmer’s market, early Saturday morning, babies on our backs. We bought cases of greens and sweet potatoes and eggs. We divided them up. We also took turns watching each others babies for a few hours a week so we could get a bit of free time. I can’t remember what I did with my free hours.  The co-op eventually fell apart but Martha started a co-op with a La Leche League chapter and I started one at my father’s church.

Eastern Market today.

Some random memories. going away one day and leaving the little washing machine I had earned by babysitting, running. It over flowed and dripped down to Bro. John’s kitchen below.  Having the flu while Jim was out of town. Getting Jilo to sleep through the night only to have that go for naught when we visited my sister in Atlanta and she started waking up through the night to nurse again. And last, Bro John finding the dynamite in the attic and being incredulous that anybody would be so dumb as to store dynamite in a house that was being watched by the police and the fbi because it belonged to a member of the Republic of New Africa. I could not fault his logic. At that point we moved to the horrible house on Monterey .  Luckily Jilo had no idea what was going on during these times.  She probably still doesn’t, unless she is reading these posts.

M is for Monterey

 This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  I can’t believe we are half way through the alphabet already and that I have found a street for every letter so far.

Today I’m going to write about living on Monterey Street on the west side of Detroit. The house was between LaSalle Blvd and 14th street and in the same area as the Black Conscience Library’s Linwood location. Unfortunately by the time I lived here the library had moved to Grand River which was a bus ride away. Living here is one of those situations where I am thankful we made it out of there unscathed. It included living with supposedly reformed junkies who turned out not to be, a wandering wife, explosives in the basement and finally a beating of the wife. That was the day I left that house never to return.

The house as it looks today on Google maps. It wasn’t in quite that bad shape in 1971.

Daughter Jilo on the front porch.
I’m holding Jilo on the way to my sister’s graduation from Spellman College during the time we lived on Monterey.

This song always reminds me of that couple and the spring of 1971.

Cleage Printers

Click on this and other photos to enlarge. Scenes from Cleage Printers – 1960s. Most of these photographs were developed in the plant dark room. I wish I’d learned more about photography while there was that great dark room available and all those wonderful cameras.

My uncles, Henry and Hugh Cleage owned and operated Cleage Printers for about a decade, from the late 1950s until the late 1960s.  It’s difficult to pinpoint the time they started printing.  They published a newspaper called The Metro in 1956. I’m not sure if they printed that themselves or put it together and had it printed elsewhere. On the March, 1960 marriage license for Henry and my mother, he listed his occupation as Printer/Lawyer. The plant, as we called it, was located behind Cleage Clinic at 5385 Lovett, near McGraw on Detroit’s Old West Side.  Henry was an attorney and Hugh worked at the Post Office before they started printing. I don’t know if either of them had any experience printing before that.  I asked my husband, who was also a printer for a number of year without much prior experience. He said it’s not that hard to learn while doing. Maybe armed with “In business with a 1250 Multilith” they were able to set up shop and learn on the job. I still have the book. Uncle Louis, the doctor, put in the start up money for the press. Later when they had to upgrade Henry said that family friend, Atty. Milton Henry, contributed that money.

According to the memories of family friend, Billy Smith and my aunt Anna, they went into business for themselves because they wanted the independence of being their own boss and Henry had always been interested in printing. They had several long term employees and a number of young people who worked there for a short period of time. My aunt Barbara worked there for awhile.  My sister and I worked there the summer I was 16. I learned to run the small press and use the Varityper described below.  I remember Ronald Latham keeping up a running story about being a Venusian now living on Earth. Henry kept our first weeks wages of $10 to make it like a real job. He was supposed to give it to us at the end of the summer, when we stopped work but we never saw that $10 and we didn’t bring it up.  If we had, I’m pretty sure we would have been paid.

 They made their money by printing handbills for neighborhood markets.  In addition to that they printed up flyers, newsletters, magazines for various radical black groups, materials for the Socialist Workers Party and the Detroit Artist’s Workshop.  The printing plant was a place where people came to find discussion of the issues of the day and in the 1960s there were plenty of issues to discuss.  My Uncle Henry loved to hold forth on a variety of topics and his arguments were always well thought out and convincing.  Hugh didn’t talk a lot but he would have something to put in, maybe just a quiet shake of his head over what Henry was saying. If Louis came back he would join in with his sarcastic comments and distinctive laugh.

Various flyers printed at Cleage Printers
Four pages from the October 6, 1962 issue of The Illustrated News. They printed it on pink newsprint left over from the market handbills so it was often called the “pink sheet”. My uncles published it from 1961 to 1964. It started off as a weekly and eventually went to bi-weekly and consisted of 8 pages of commentary about local and national events of concern to the black community. My father wrote many of the article.  My uncle Louis had a biting, humor column called “Smoke Rings” on the back page.
I wonder if my uncles knew they were members of TransLoveEnergies. There they are, Cleage Printers, 2nd line, 3rd paragraph.
In addition to grocery store circulars and race literature, Cleage Printers printed a variety of other alternative materials, such as a series of poetry books for the Artist’s Workshop in Detroit, headed by John and Leni Sinclair.

Sometimes there would be things that had to be collated in the evening and all of us cousins and our mother’s would be down there at night putting whatever it was together.  After the 1967 Detroit riot so many stores went out of business that they couldn’t make enough to keep going.  Henry went back to law and worked with Neighborhood Legal Services.  Hugh held on for another few years, printing for the church and teaching young people how to run the small press. Finally, he too left.  I wish in all those photographs that were taken, one or two had been of Cleage Printers in it’s prime. All I have is a photograph I took in 2004 of the way it looks now, deserted and overgrown.  I wish I had interviewed and taped Henry and Hugh talking about their experiences.

The building that housed Cleage Printers as it looks now.

This was written as part of the 120 Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at CREATIVEGENE.


“L” is for Linwood

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.

Linwood was woven through my life from the time we moved on Calvert, between Linwood and Lawton, 1954 until I moved from Detroit in 1972. If I have done blog posts on the spot already, I will provide a link to the earlier post.

To view Linwood, Detroit in a larger map, click on the blue link.

13211 Linwood – Toni’s School of Dance Arts
I was about 9 when we started taking Saturday ballet classes at Toni’s School of Dance Arts. They went on for several years. We wore blue tutus, black ballet slippers shoes and white ankle socks. There was a bar and a wall of mirrors. I learned the five ballet positions and to point my toe. Each year culminated in a big recital at the Detroit Institute of Arts. On the Saturday before the recital all the students  spent the day at Toni’s so that the entire program could be gone through. Those not performing would wait outside in the walled in yard of the studio. It was crowded and hot. For the performance one year we wore white calf length dresses, net over satin fabric. The next year we wore  net tutus. I had bright blue.  My sister’s was bright green.  My mother thought the costumes were getting too expensive. I don’t remember minding when we stopped going about the time we moved off of Calvert.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of myself wearing a dance outfit but I picture the me in this photograph wearing a black leotard and blue tutu, white anklets and black ballet slippers.

The Black Conscience Library building with photos. From L to R. My dog Big, Phil, Dewy (later Chimba Omari), Malik, Miriam, Jim, Me, Longworth.  Downstairs was the deserted bakery that took up two spaces. I put our sign over one and a very small, poorly stocked grocery store owned and run by a Jordanian. He was robbed numerous times while we were there.

12019 Linwood – Black Conscience Library
The Black Conscience Library was located here from the winter of 1969 to the spring 1970. In addtion to a small collection of books there were classes and movies related to black history, culture and freedom struggles in various parts of the world. For more read – Once I Worked In A Sewing Factory.

Roosevelt Elementary School
I attended 2nd through 6th grade here. My mother taught Social Studies there from 1954 through 1965. We also cut across the athletic field from Linwood to get to and from Roosevelt. The building is no longer there.

Durfee Junior High School
I attended half of the 7th grade at Durfee. I learned to swim in the pool. The school address is not on Linwood but, the back of the school is.

Athletic Field
We walked across here to get to school when we lived on Calvert between Linwood and Lawton. I remember a neighbor lost her boot in the snow cutting across this field in 2 feet of snow. Once my sister and I went with our mother to fly kites here.

2705 Calvert between Linwood and Lawton.  I lived here, from 1954 to 1959. We bought penny candy and fudgesicles (ice cream on a stick), from a store on the corner of Linwood and Calvert, walked to school down linwood and at times walked blocks and blocks to activities at church. Read more here – “C” Is For Calvert.

Linwood and Chicago Blvd.Detroit Rebellion Journal – 1967.  During the 1967 riot, this statue belonging to Sacred Heart Seminary was painted black. It was repainted white and then repainted black. It has stayed black right through to the present.  You can also find more photographs of the statue here.


Street crossing
I crossed the street here at Linwood and Joy Road when I attended Brady Elementary School for kindergarden and part of 1st grade.  There was also a block with the bank my mother used and the dime store we spent our pennies, one block down. The photo is looking across Linwood to Joy Road. Read more here “A” Is For Atkinson.

Shrine of the Black Madonna.   Formerly Central Congregational Church. The church I grew up in, pastored by my father Rev. Albert B. Cleage,Jr/Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman Read more here – “H” is for Linwood and Hogarth.

“K” is for King Street

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Click on the link to see links to posts by other participants in this challenge.  It’s too bad the streets in my life weren’t alphabetically and chronologically coordinated because the years are all out of order. Here we go back to the beginning and my first home – 210 King Street.

Past over present. My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, is standing on the proch.

 My father became pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield Massachusetts in the fall of 1945.  The parsonage at 210 King Street is pictured above. This is the house I came home to when I was born in 1946. I was the first child of Rev. Albert B. Cleage and Doris Graham Cleage. We moved from King street before my sister Pearl was born in December of 1948. I was 2 years old and I don’t have clear memories of the house. I found the description below online.

I was born around 10 PM during a thunderstorm. That’s what I heard.
Me and my mother. Photo by my father.
1947 – on the steps with my mother. What is she holding that I am so excited about?
1948 – I spent a lot of time cooking. This is from the crumpling pages of an album my father kept. He wrote captions on most of the photographs. I have scanned the pages that are left. The photographs are fine fut the pages are not.

My father and his congregation were involved in a church fight at this point. A former Minister had separated most of the churches property from the control of the church when he retired. My father and members of the church were trying to get it back or get the church compensated. Before my sister was born, they did sell the Parsonage and we moved into the Parish house. It was right next to the church and we lived in 4 room (plus bathroom) on the first floor, along with church offices, a big meeting room and I don’t know what else. There were roomers on the second floor.  In 1948 they were trying to get $7,500 for the house. Today it is selling for $47,000. From reviews the neighborhood is crime ridden and drug infested so I don’t know if they will get that or if that is a low price for a 100+ year old house in that neighborhood of Springfield.

My parents spent $8 a week for ice before they, with help from my grandparents, were able to purchase a refrigerator.

My mother describes the purchase of the new GE refrigerator in a letter to her in-laws below. She says that I am completely recovered. In an earlier letter she described my bout with roseola.

I don’t know if these are the refrigerators my mother and I saw that day in 1948 but they were both 1948 models. The one I remember had one door, like the Philco.








The refrigerator was still working fine in 1962. My mother standing in front of it 14 years later.

“J” is for Joy Road

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.

Some Joy Road memories

My first elementary school, Brady, was on Joy Road and Lawton.  I remember walking  past Sacred Heart Seminary for a deserted Joy Road block to get there.

When I was in college I worked on several of my father’s political campaigns. I remember passing out campaign literature across from Brady Elementary school, where the voting was taking place. I was wearing a white shirtwaist dress I only wore as a freshman and it was hot so it must have been the 1965 election when my father ran for Detroit Common Council. He never won any of the offices he ran for and did it for educational purposes. There were no other people passing out campaign material.  I don’t even remember any voters. I do remember one man in a suit who tried to convince me that I could earn a lot of money as a prostitute. I told him I wasn’t interested and eventually he left. When my ride picked me up later I told them I was through for the day. I wasn’t afraid, but it was very weird and unpleasant.

Also in 1965 while a student at Wayne State University I attended a few Kiswahili classes that were held in a building on Joy Road at Grand River. My mother came to pick me up and said it was no place for me to be. That is why I speak no Swahili today. Robert Higgins was the only other student. The teacher was from Kenya and a very nice, soft spoken man.  I can’t remember his name.

Me in 1965.

Sometimes I took the Joy Road bus instead of walking home from the Dexter bus stop. The bus stop was right across the street from the Grand River-Dexter bus stop on Tireman. The bus turned down Beechwood and dropped me off two blocks from home.

I found this description in my journal from June 25, 1969. It is  the only piece I’ve ever written about a bus. I don’t know why I found the ride funny instead of being terrified.

June 25, 1969

Yesterday, on the way to a photo show, I was on the Clairmont bus on Joy Road.  the driver was crazy, he acted like he was taking a somebody to the hospital,  weaving the bus in and out between cars.  that was bad enough – old ladies rocking, weaving and falling, when suddenly a red light backs up traffic. He pulled belligerently into the lane of oncoming traffic, which lucky for us was empty at the time, and raced 2 blocks in the wrong lane to bully his way in front of some poor car when the light changed. I was cracking up. Other people weren’t, just me.  I couldn’t control myself laughing, mouth open, gasping for breath. they probably thought I had lost my mind. So ridiculous, can’t even imagine a regular car doing that. I just don’t know, I really don’t.

“I” is for Inglewood Court

This post continues the series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.

 This is the first street so far that has not been in Detroit. Inglewood Court is in Rockhill Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. My in-laws moved there about 1969 from Cabanne St. in the city.  The youngest 4 of the 12 children were still living at home.  We first visited in 1971 when our oldest daughter was 9 months old. Linda was 16 and passed her driving test. Micheal was 12 and getting some jokes ready for April Fools day. Monette was 10 and Debbie was 8. Mr. Williams had not started any of the major renovation projects that were ongoing, such as raising the roof and adding a bedroom, adding stairs and then moving them from one place to another, adding an eat in kitchen across the back of the house. Amazing projects that rarely were completed as he would think of a better way to do it before he finished.

The black and white photos (except the one on the bottom row, 4th from the right of my brother-in-law Chester) were taken on my first visit in 1971. The other were taken over the years at family reunions. Babies were born. We lost my in-laws and three of their sons. The grandchildren – my generations children – grew up and started another generation. We who were in our twenties and thirties when the reunions started are now older then my husband’s parents were. My children are older than I was then.

My husband crossing the lawn in 2004. Soon after, the house, along with all the others in the cul-de-sac were condemned so that a shopping mall and parking lot could be built.

Here is how the block looks now.  Very sad as there was nothing wrong with the houses. And there were already many stores and shops in the area.