Aunt Daisy took us downtown to the show every summer and to Saunders for ice cream afterward. And I always ended up with a splitting headache. Too much high living I guess. She and Alice would buy us dainty, expensive little dresses from Siegel’s or Himllhoch’s. They all went to church every Sunday at Plymouth Congregational. Daisy always gave us beautiful tins of gorgeous Christmas candy, that white kind filled with gooey black walnut stuff, those gooey raspberry kind and those hard, pink kind with a nut inside, also chocolates, of course!
Here I am under the apple tree with my cousin Barbara where we built and rebuilt a castle for our fairies. Each family had one. Ours was Pinkie my cousins was Lucy. In between the castles we made various dirt pies and cakes. That little black utensil next to me was a sifter. It had holes punched in the bottom and we sifted the dirt with it.
We used to walk up the plank against the back fence and look out into the alley. Nothing really exciting out there, most of the time although I remember the police chasing a man through there once. I am pretty sure we were not standing on the plank watching. If we did, it was only for as long as it took an adult to call us inside While the chase went on.
It must be spring because we can see that there is no garden bu the Pussy Willow bush in the background seems to have buds. We are wearing our light jackets (or “jumpers” as Poppy called them.) and overalls. My saddle shoes are horribly dirty. My socks had probably slid down inside of them. Barbara is wearing buckled shoes but her socks look quite saggy. In the spring of 1955 I would have been 8 and Barbara would have been 7. She is missing a tooth, but not those you loose when you are 6.
In the fall my grandmother made the best applesauce with the apples from that tree. They were not the kind you eat uncooked. In spite of the sticky stuff my grandfather painted around the tree trunk, there were worms in the apples and they were very small and sour. They made the best applesauce ever though, with lots of cinnamon.
Mershell, Mary V. and my mother Doris Graham are sitting on their front steps waving balloons on sticks. It was 1926. The house was on Theodore, the east side of Detroit. Sometimes I dream about this house and the porch usually figures in the dreams as I leave or enter or start down the street going somewhere.
My mother Doris and her sister Mary Virginia with their dog Bonzo. The picture was taken in August 1932, about 6 months after their brother Howard died of Scarlet Fever. Mary V. was 12 and Doris was 9. The sisters were granddaughters of Jennie Virginia Allen Turner, who was the daughter of Dock and Eliza Allen. My mother later had a sister-in-law named Gladys Cleage, who will celebrate her 93rd birthday this Saturday. I could not find a photograph of her with a sister and a dog, but here she is with sister Anna.
Gladys and Anna were the grandchildren of Lewis and Anna Cecilia Cleage, and great granddaughters of Frank and Juda Cleage of Athens, TN.
Mershell Graham was born June 10, 1921 in Detroit Michigan. He died on November 2, 1927, at St. Jopseph Hospital, also in Detroit, from traumatic cerebral hemorrhage resulting from a fracture at the base of the skull during an automobile accident. Mershell was described as a single, colored male, a school boy age 6 years 4 months and 23 days old. He lived at 6638 Theodore Street with his family. He was buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery on November 4, 1927. Both of his parents, Fanny Turner Graham and Mershell C. Graham were born in Montgomery Alabama. His father, my grandfather, Mershell Cunningham Graham, was the informant.
Howard Alexander Turner was my mother’s youngest brother. Howard was born September 7, 1928, in the year following his older brother, Mershell’s death by trauma after being run over by a truck on the way back to school. My grandparents felt that Howard had been sent to fill the space left by Mershell. Unfortunately he died of Scarlet Fever, exacerbated by Diabetes
Howard died at Herman Kiefer Hospital in Detroit. He had been ill for fifteen days before his death. He is described as a single, colored male age 3 years, 5 months and 27 days old. His mother’s maiden name was Fannie Turner and his father was Mershell Graham. Both were born in Alabama. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived at 6638 Theodore St. in Detroit. He died at 5:05 AM on March 4, 1932. His father was the informant.
I wrote more about Howard in these, much more personal posts with copies of his mother’s thoughts and memories:
This photograph was taken in 1950, the year before this other wagon photograph 3 in a wagon. This time Dee Dee the photographer appears with us. My sister Pearl and I had just moved to Detroit from Springfield, MA. We spent most Saturdays at our maternal grandparent’s house with our cousins Dee Dee and Barbara.
My mother said that after a difficult birth, her sister Mary V.’s foot was turned inward.She did not know if this was the fault of the doctor or not, but Mary V. wore a brace for years.
Mary V’s grandson, Ahmad Elkins, posted the pictres below on fb recently. They are his grandmother’s well worn baby shoes, saved through the years. Amhad shared his photographs with me and gave me permission to post them here.
Two other posts about Mary Virginia Graham Elkins are: