Doris Graham Cleage – 1923 – 1982

My mother would have turned 95 years old today.  She was 59 when she died  in 1982, 32 years ago.  So much has happened since then.  She never saw either of my sons. She hasn’t seen any of her 11 great grandchildren. We were still living in Simpson County, MS.  Since then we’ve lived in Excelsior Spring, MO; Idlewild, MI and back to Atlanta, GA. Computers hadn’t made their way into our lives. Y2K. 9/11.  The 21st Century. Octavia Butler’s books. She would have loved them.  Detroit under siege. Strange weather. Monsanto. Obama. The Gulf War. The War in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan. Drones. Blogging. All the family history I’ve found. The oral history I’ve  proved right. All the questions I still have.

doris Graham Cleage

Individual Information Sheet my mother filled out for herself.
Individual Information Sheet my mother filled out for herself. I had filled out some information that she corrected. I added the death information much later. She filled this out soon after I started collecting in the late 1970s.

You can read more about my mother in these posts:

Growing Up – In Her Own Words

My Mother Was A Teacher

My Mother 1952

Airports and Answers: Some Thoughts on Lighting by Pearl Cleage

 

 

 

 

Did Poppy Go To The Theatre?

1958 behind the house on Theodore.  L > R Sister Pearl, Kristin (me), Mershell “Poppy”, Aunt Mary V. Cousin Marilyn in the front and Cousin Barbara in the back

While looking for news stories about my ancestors, I came across this little item at newspapers.com. Mershell C. Graham was my maternal grandfather. I do not imagine that he went to the play.  I wonder if he even saw this announcement and how they came to pick him.

Mershell C. Graham

6638 Theodore, Detroit

You have won two free tickets to “Once Upon A Mattress” at the Shubert Theatre. Call Miss Lee at Classified Advertising, The Free {ress, WO 2-9400, extension 13, between 8:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Monday.

The play was an adult version based on the fairy tale, The Princess and The Pea For an over view of the musical, click ->  Once Upon A Mattress.

The Shubert in 1963 – a year before it was demolished.  Photo from the Burton Historical Collection.
The Shubert was demolished in 1964. Photo from the Walter P. Reuther Library
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Other posts about Mershell C. Graham

Poppy Could Fix Anything

Mershell’s Notebook

Graham Turner Wedding 1919 Montgomery

From Montgomery To Detroit – Founding a New Congregational Church

Poppy The Worker

Poem for Poppy

 

13 Years Old, Mary Virginia Graham, 1934

13 yrs Mary Virginia 1934

A photograph of my aunt Mary Virginia Graham standing on the front steps of the house on Theodore in Detroit. She was named for both of her grandmothers. The writing on the photo says “13 yrs Mary Virginia 1934”.   A double exposure shows my mother sideways, overlapping.

My mother Doris with her sister Mary Virginia aka M.V. at Belle Isle.

This photo looks like it was taken the same day at Belle Isle, which was 5 miles from the house. The dresses are the same.  My mother is standing the same way that she in in the double exposure.

6638 Theodore Street, Detroit, Michigan.

Other posts about Mary V.

Mary Virginia Graham Colorized

Christmas Memories

Mary V’s Shoes

Old County Building and Mary V. Elkins

1940 Census – the Grahams

Three Generations – 1939

And a post about the house on Theodore

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Graham-Turner Wedding – 1919 Montgomery Alabama

I recently found that The Emancipator newspaper was online at Newspapers.com.  The Emancipator was published from October 1917 to August 1920. My grandmother’s first cousin, James Edward McCall and his wife were the publishers. You can read more about him at the link above.

Lowndes Adams sang a solo.  Victor Tulane walked the bride in. Clifton Graham was best man. Naomi Tulane played the piano.
"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Fannie, Jennie, Alice with Daisy standing in back.

Announcement

Mrs. Jennie Turner wishes to announce the engagement of her daughter, Fannie Mae, to Mr. Mershell C. Graham of Detroit, Mich. The marriage to take place in the spring.

Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. August 1919 Detroit, Michigan.

Graham-Turner Wedding

Graham-Turner Wedding

On Sunday, June 15th at four o’clock Miss Fannie Turner and Mr. Merchell Graham were happily united in marriage at the home of the bride on E. Grove St. The home was prettily decorated for the occasion.

Just before the entrance of the bridal party, Mr. Lowndes Adams sang a beautiful solo, immediately after which the groom entered the parlor to the strains of Mendelson’s wedding March, with Mr. Clifton Graham, his brother, as best man. The bride entered with her uncle, Mr. V.H. Tulane, who gave her away, gowned in white satin with real lace and pearl bead trimmings the hat, a beautiful creation of white Georgette, the bride made a very pleasing appearance.  She carried a large bouquet of roses and fern.

The home was crowded to its fullest capacity, fully two hundred guests being present which bespoke the esteem and popularity in which the young couple are held.

The presents were many and varied, consisting of silver, cut glass, linen, wearing apparel, money, and many useful household articles.

Rev. E.E. Scott performed the ceremony and Miss Naomi Tulane presided at the piano.

The guests were served delicious refreshments.

The happy couple left Sunday evening for Detroit, Mich., their future home.

Some of the Graham’s friends in Detroit.  Mershell and Fannie are at the end of the line.

On Friday evening, 29th ??? at 8:30 the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Walker, St. Jean Ave., was the scene of a delightful entertainment complimentary to Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham. The guests were limited to Mrs. Walker’s Club members and their husbands. The house was artistically decorated with cut flowers. Progressive Whist was played, mints and salted peanuts were served throughout the evening, after which a delicious salad course with punch was served.

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Mrs. Topp Detroit 1919

Mrs. J.W. Topp had a few friends over to meet Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham on Saturday evening. Progressive whist was  played after which a delicious two course luncheon and punch were served.

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Mrs. J.A. Martin entertain quite a few friends at a real Southern dinner Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. Among the guests were Mrs. M.L. Walker, Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. Moses Thompson, Mr. Chas. Love, the Dale Family, Mr. and Mrs Mills, Mrs. Dora Davis, Mr. James Payton, Mr. Joe Shannon, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Barnette, and others.

__________________

Other related blog posts:

The Proposal

The Proposal Accepted

Marriage License

The photographs are from my personal collection. The newspaper articles are from The Emancipator via Newspapers.com

Home Library 1931

Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. 1932. Backyard of Theodore, Detroit,MI

In my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook, I found two library cards made by my mother, Doris and her older sister, Mary Virginia in 1931.  My mother was 7 and Mary Virginia was 11.  There is no book listed on my mother’s card but Mary Virginia names “The Children’s Story Hour” on hers.  I wonder what other books they borrowed and lent or if this was a one time happening. I did notice that Mary Virginia returned her book on time.

This photograph was taken later that year in their backyard. Howard died of scarlet fever the following year. He was two and a half.

"sepia saturday 119"
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Poppy’s Garden 1953

 When I was growing up we spent Saturdays at my mother’s parents house, along with my cousins Dee Dee and Barbara and later, Marilyn.  When the weather was good we spent it outside in the backyard. There was a vegetable garden, lots of flowers and space for anything we could think of.

In the summer of 1953 I turned 7 in August. Dee Dee turned 10 in September. Barbara had already turned 6 in January. Pearl was 4.5 until December.  Poppy was 64. He would retire in December of that year when he turned 65. The yard was surrounded on all sides by a wooden fence that made it feel like a world apart.  In the photographs I can see the big house across the alley and a factory on Warren but when I was playing in the yard I didn’t much notice those things.

"collards"
In the collards – Pearl, Barbara, Kris with Poppy

Pearl and I are holding dolls and I have a purse I remember getting when we lived in Springfield, MA. A young lady who might have been the church secretary had a grown up purse just like it.  It was brown leather and had a golden metal clasp that turned to open and close. Looks like collards with the poison Poppy sprinkled to kill the cabbage worms. I think I see a little cabbage butterfly holding on to the underside one of the leaves.

"geni of the magic carpet"
Geni of the magic carpet go, go, go.

I am standing up at the table where Barbara and I are making something. Dee Dee is sitting on the arm of the swing. She was probably taking Pearl somewhere on the magic carpet (aka swing) the rider would have to say “Geni of the magic carpet, go, go, go!” and then Dee Dee would take you someplace magic.  She would tell you where it was when it was time for you to get out of the swing. Dee Dee was in charge of all the magic.  Each of our households had a little, invisible fairy that lived in the mud castle we built and rebuilt at the foot of the apple tree. Their’s was named Lucy and ours was Pinky. She also kept a box full of prizes that she gave out at appropriate times. I remember packages of soda crackers, prizes from cereal boxes and pieces of chewing gum.

"Pearl and Kris with saw horses"
With our horses.

Here Pearl and I are standing on the grassy part of the yard. The flowers are in full bloom behind us with the vegetables back behind them. We often made the saw horses into mounts. I see my purse over there on the grass to the left.

Greens in my Idlewild garden 15 yars ago.

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I have participated in Sepia Saturday for so many years that it is hard for me to come up with new photos when the same sorts of prompts come around. This week I am recycling a post from 2012.

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Fannie Mae Turner Graham Obituary – 1888 – 1974

Grandmother Clock
From top, clockwise: My grandmother Fannie in the 1950s. My grandmother Fannie was 4 holding her hat. Her mother Jennie holding Daisy. Her father, Howard Turner had been killed. 1894. My grandfather Mershell pointing at Fannie about 1917. My grandmother holding my mother Doris up, 1923. My grandmother in the back, her mother in the front holding baby Howard, on the left my mother Doris and on the right my aunt MV, 1930. My grandmother with her daughters MV and Doris, about 1934. My grandparents Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham, about 1945.

 

On Being 12 & 70

My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born 129 years ago  on March 12, 1888, in Lowndes County, Alabama. She died on August 13, 1974 in Detroit, Michigan.  You can read more about my grandmother in this post  Fannie Mae Turner Part 1.

1958 augkris&fan
I was 12 and my grandmother was 70.  1958 in my grandmother’s backyard.

I am the same age as my grandmother was when we posed together on her back steps.  Looking at the photograph below of me and my granddaughter made me think about the endless circle and the passage of time.

My granddaughter was 12 and I was a  a few months shy of 70. 2016, we were at the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida and the water was freezing!

 

 

Through the Years

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
In 1892 my great grandfather Howard Turner was shot to death at a bar-b-que. This is a photograph of his wife and children in mourning. Twenty six year old  Jennie Allen Turner holds two year old Daisy Pearl Turner while four year old Fannie Mae Turner stands beside her.  Fannie was my maternal grandmother.
"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Jennie and daughters in Montgomery, Alabama. Fannie, Jennie and Alice in the front. Daisy in the back. About 1916.
"Daisy, Jennie and Fannie"
Daisy Turner, Jennie Turner and Fannie Turner Graham standing outside of my grandparent’s fence for a photograph, probably on a Sunday after attending service at Plymouth Congregational Church.
My grandmother, Fannie Turner Graham and my oldest daughter, Jilo. Detroit, 1972.

 

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Thanksgiving At My Grandparent’s

"Thanksgiving at the Grahams"

This was Thanksgiving at my Graham Grandparents house in 1963, east side Detroit.  My grandfather cuts the turkey.  My mother sits on the right.  I am on the left, my sister next to me.  Wonder where my Aunt and cousins were?  Usually there were four more around the table.  How we all fit I do not know, but we did.  The house is gone now. Everybody in this photo except my sister and I are dead.  We are almost as old as my grandparents were.