Index to Streets In My Life – 1946 – 2014

Dates are approximate

A is for Atkinson – 1951 – 1953   Atkinson paternal grandparents home – 1949 – 1987

B is for Broadstreet, Detroit – 1969 ( Spring – fall)

C is for Calvert, Detroit – 1954 – 1958

Chicago Blvd, Detroit – 1953 – 1954

Cascade Rd. SW, Atlanta – 9/1972 – 9/1974

D is for Dexter, Detroit

E is for Elmhurst – 3/1969 – 11/1969

F is for Fairfield – summer 1968 –  January 1969

G is for Grand River, Detroit – fall 1970 – spring 1973

Glendale, Detroit – Spring 1970 – Fall 1970

Hogarth & Linwood – Church

I is for Inglewood Court, St. Louis – Williams home

Idlewild Cottage – 1943 – 1992

J is for Joy Road, Detroit

K is for King St. Springfield, MASS – 8/1946 – fall/1948

L is for Linwood

Layfette – 1968

Lovett – Cleage Printers & Cleage Clinic

M is for Monterrey – early winter 1971 – early spring 1972

N is for North Martindale, Detroit – fall/1970 – early winter/1971

O is for Oregon Street, Detroit, MI – fall 1958 – summer 1968

Old Plank Road – 1960 – 1967

P is for South Payne Drive, Idlewild, MI – 1981 – 2004

Q is for Quiet Street – Watermill Lake – 2004 – 2007

R is for Route 1 Box 173 1/2 – 1976 – 1983

Rt 1 Box 38 – The Luba Project 1975 – 1976

S is for Sixth Avenue, Mt. Pleasant 1974 – 1975

Scotten, Detroit – Paternal grandparents 1919 – 1948

T is for Theodore St. Detroit – Maternal grandparents home 1922 – 1968

Third Avenue, Detroit – 1966

U is for Union Street – 1948 – 1951

V is for Venetian Drive – 2007 to present

 W is for Wilkins Street – 1971 – 1972

X is for eXcelsior Springs, MO – 1983 – 1986

Y is for Yates Township – 1986 – 2003

 Z is for Zamziwillie – endless

Reading The Newspaper – 1962

This is the 23rd post in the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing ChallengeThe photograph for today is a corner of our living room at 5397 Oregon in Detroit. My mother and I are reading the newspaper. I was 16.

reading_the_newspaper_1962It is probably Sunday, because my mother is still in her bathrobe. And who reads the Saturday paper so avidly? I think the bathrobe was light pink, but I’m not sure. The couch was an old one that my mother brought from Sally and Ivy’s mother when we lived on Calvert.  They moved out to Southfield, near the zoo, and bought new furniture. I remember going to visit once and hearing the lions roar.

The couch was old. My mother had a slip cover made. It was blue with a blue design.  I patched it once, in a fit of fix-it-up. It has been a long time since I have read a newspaper offline.  I wonder what we were reading about.

oregon_cornerlivingroomoregon
The couch and more of that corner of the living room. My uncle Henry took the photos.

There was an end table with a lamp and a brass ash tray. Both my mother and Henry smoked. The table had a fake leather top and a big drawer. One of my daughters has that table now. The lamp was white with red flowers and green leaves painted on it. There were gold lines at the top and base. The old television, in a wood cabinet ,was still working.  Later it died and for awhile there was a smaller TV, that worked, sitting on top of it.

The walls were beige. When we moved in, they were covered with wall paper. As soon as she could afford it, my mother had Mrs. Bruce’s brother come and paint it a clean, beige color.  There is no art work above the couch in this photograph. When I graduated from high school and began studying art at Wayne State University, my mother would tack one of my drawings up on the wall. Later on she had me frame them for her, badly. I never could cut the mats right.  You can’t see the rug here but it was a faded wine colored pattern. It was wall to wall and never replaced while we lived there.

My Parents Time in San Francisco – January to July 1, 1944

This is the 23rd post in the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing ChallengeThe photograph for today is of a corner of the living room in my parents  apartment in San Francisco. It was 1944.

San Francisco Desk
My father’s desk in the San Francisco apartment. Photos of his sisters, Gladys and Barbara on the desk and one of my mother on the bookcase.  This desk looks like one that I have from my mother, but it’s not. I think the apartment was furnished. Surprised the typewriter isn’t visible.

My parents, Albert B. Cleage Jr and Doris Graham, were married in Detroit on November 17, 1943. They left immediately after the ceremony for Lexington, Kentucky, where my father had accepted a call from Chandler Memorial Congregational Church.  They were there only two months when he accepted an interim pastorship at the new, experimental San Francisco Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples.  He served from January of 1944 through June of the same year.  The captions under the photographs are taken from what my parents wrote on the back when they sent the pictures back home to their families.

church & house San Francisco
The Church – on the corner. We live upstairs – rear – behind the jungle. (Rubber, Magnolia – Olive, etc.)

church sign- san francisco

doris_2_kids
This is Romeo and Patrick and me – fat jaws and all. June 1944
landscape_mountains
Mountains! Taken out our front window – over the housetops across the street.
downhill
This is Post Street looking toward the Ocean. Looks like you could follow it right on up to Heaven, doesn’t it? June 1944
down_street
Looking down at the “Fillmore slum” from our front window. The lady who bakes cakes for us lives over there –
toddy
Guess who this gangster looking talent is. June 1944.
hanging_clothes_SF_1944
Birds eye view of my mother hanging up clothes in the backyard.

Following is an excerpt from a biography of my father, about his time in San Francisco. I wish I had the box of letters I know existed from those six months.

From Hiley Ward, Prophet of the Black Nation. (Piladelphis: Pilgrim Press, 1969), p. 55.

“Cleage does not remember his work with the famous Fellowship Church of All Peoples with any fondness.  The new congregation, which had about fifty members when he was there, was a contrived, artificial affair, he says.  ‘An Interracial church is a monstrosity and an impossibility,’ he said. ‘The whites who came, came as sort of missionaries.  They wanted to do something meaningful, but this was not really their church. The blacks regarded it as experimental too, or were brainwashed to think that it was something superior.’ He called his white counterpart, Dr. Fisk, ‘well-meaning,’ and said Fisk thought he (Fisk) was doing a great work, but had no understanding of tension and power.  He felt the Lord looked in favor on this work, and any whites that joined him were headed for glory. He hated to have problems mentioned. Problems included the property left deteriorating after the Japanese were moved out, and the boilermakers’ union ‘which set up separate auxiliary units for black so they could discontinue the units after the war.’ Cleage joined in with NAACP efforts to get at these injustices.  He was told he could stay at the Fellowship of All Peoples if he wanted to, and he said ‘they were nice people, but it did not seem to me it was a significant ministry.’ About Fisk, he said, ‘He talked about the glorious fellowship washed in the blood of the Lamb; I talked about hell on the alternate Sundays.  He felt upset about my preaching, but he didn’t want to raise racial tension in his heaven.'”

________________________

You can see a newspaper clipping of my parents and a very short post about their time in San Francisco here Newspaper Clipping of My Parents. Soon after July 1, my parents moved to Los Angeles, where my father studied film making for a year before he was called to pastor St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1300 Layfette – 1968

19681300lafayette
Pearl standing, me seated, my father. The photographer told us to look in that direction.

This is the 17th post in the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.   The next four  posts will be about some of the places that I lived that I didn’t cover in the Alphabet Challenge last year. Today I am going to remember 1300 Layfette, Detroit. My father, who was still using his name, Rev. A.B. Cleage lived here for a year during 1968-1969. I was a senior at Wayne State University.

In the aftermath of the 1967 riots my father had received many crazy letters, including death threats. Several people involved in the movement had been beaten or shot during this time period. There were also the more well known assasinations that took place.  I remember one sermon when my father announced that if he had heard there was a price on his head and plans to kidnap him and hold him for ransom.  He told the congregation that if he was kidnapped, give them nothing for his return.  Strangely, I don’t remember worrying about this.

The flat on the left was the one my father lived in. The 12th floor is about half way up.
The flat on the left was the one my father lived in. The 12th floor is about half way up.

It was during this time that it was decided that he would move out of his first floor flat on Calvert, that had no security measures, and into the an apartment on the 12th floor of the very secure 1300 Layfayette apartments.

Here is a description written by Hiley H. Ward in his 1969 biography of my father, Prophet of the Black Nation, about the apartment and the atmosphere of the times.

“…He has continued to live alone, until recently in a twelfth-floor panoramic apartment ($360 a month, two bed-room) in the exclusive downtown eastside Lafayette Park overlooking the river, Detroit and Windsor, Canada. His church described his moving there as a security measure… in his immaculate apartment two of three paintings remain unhung after a number of months – not a sign of particular interest in the place.”

Several things I remember:

  • My father leaving my sister and me standing out in the hall while he went through the apartment with a drawn gun to make sure nobody was there.
  • The picture above being taken by a Detroit Free Press photographer for an article they were doing about my sister Pearl’s poetry for the Sunday magazine, Parade.
  • The time I spent a week with him while my mother and Henry went out of town. He went over to his mother’s house on Atkinson for dinner every night. I decided to just fix myself dinner. I did, but I left the tea kettle on and forgot about it. It melted on the burner. I still have a lump of the remains.  During this visit I was instructed to give no one the phone number or the address.

    aluminum_lump
    All that remained of the tea kettle.
  • Watching the 4th of July fireworks.

I was trying to reconstruct the layout of the apartment from memory when I decided to look online.  Currently the same apartments are in use as co-op apartments and I was able to find the layout and placement at the website for the current cooperative apartments.

1300_apt_sixAt the same time that my father was living here, The Black Star Co-op  being developed.

Rt 1 Box 38 – The Luba Project 1975 – 1976

In November of 1975 the Emergency Land Fund closed the South Carolina office and moved Jim, along with us, to their model farm 30 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi.  We left Mt. Pleasant, SC and moved to Simpson County.  The farm was to serve as a testing ground and example of ways to make money on a small acreage.  There were rabbits and green house tomatoes with plans for raising potatoes and running a grading shed for cucumbers and potatoes.

luba luba_verso

ife_kris_1976We lived in the house on the 5 acres.  Two workers were to have trailers behind the house later.  We added goats, chickens and a garden.  Jilo started school at Piney Woods School.  We started going to Voice of Calvary in Mendenhall. I learned how to can, freeze and pickle. Jim and I learned how to milk the goat.  The chickens lived and we had eggs.  We met a couple from Maine, she was a nurse midwife and he raised goats.  He taught us all we needed to know about raising goats and rabbits.She delivered our third daughter, Ayanna at a friends house.  Our oldest daughter Jilo was awake and watched Ayanna born. Ife slept through it all.

I remember our first litter of rabbits and checking the goat, Tanya, a thousand times to see if she’d gone igoingbacktanya&kids1976nto labor yet. Finally finding the two kids, already up and around the morning after the night we didn’t check.  I remember picking black berries outside the back door and making pies and finally getting some milk from the goat.  Putting up 10 quarts of yellow squash and finding it mushy and inedible. Making cheese.

I remember the smell of pine trees on a hot summer day.  Tornadoes ife_jilo_greenhousetouching down nearby.  Jilo as a rock in the school play.  Jim’s 16 year old sister spending the summer with us.  All the visitors and work and milking and new baby and being tired. Going to Michigan and St. Louis for visits,  Learning to drive a jeep and a pickup truck.

November 17, 1975
Dear ma and Henry,
Here’s our new address.  The new house is fine.  Kitchen, living room and dining room are a large room with ceiling to roof, has three bedrooms, 3 baths, utility and former garage converted to den (very big. It’s clean, wall to wall carpets and paneled throughout. It’s brick.  There are three green houses, one in use for tomatoes and 8 rabbits.  There are near luba_yard_girlsneighbors.  Four different houses about the distance at Old Plank, maybe a bit closer, not much – all white.  Black people are near though.
Jilo won’t be going to school until next year, but they’re doing fine.  Jim likes the work. Today they planted more tomatoes and there’s one man who comes to work with him, more on that later.
Will write more soon – jilo_chickensdid you all decide on the move yet?  Love, Kris

February 11, 1976
Dear Henry and Mommy
I was really surprised to go out this morning and find 2 baby goats walking around.  She’d been giving us so many false signs, we didn’t keep checking last night and she delivered alone.  I figured she could do all right, she looks pretty rugged. This weekend we’ll start getting our own goat milk.  by fall we should be doing eggs, milk, vegetables and maybe honey.  Ta Tum.
We had to rush out there this morning and build the milk stand.  we got the kris, jilo and Ife '76wood a month ago, but as usual waited ‘til the last minute was passed to do the job.  Did I tell you I single handedly planted green house 1 with prunings #2.  all the seedlings just about died so, since some of the prunings in #2 were taking root where they were thrown, I decided to try transplanting them and now I just need to do about 10 more and it’ll be done. They look better than the Jilo_ayanna_newborn_ aoriginals!
Jim rototilled the garden area and yesterday he and Mr. Reuben cut down some trees near the spot for firewood and to clear it out.  There were only 2 so I hope for no root interference.
What else?  Jim and I both had milking lessons and finally got little streams coming out. Luckily we met the goat people.  When we tried milking this morning we got not one drop.  The poor goat we so full.  Her udder and nipples are so large and low the kids could find them and had to be shown where they are. They look like those at Belle Isle with the droopy ears, like their mother.
I hope we have dry weather for awhile so we can plant soon.  Everyone and all the animals are doing fine.  I take my driving test tomorrow.  If I can start on a hill I’m ok.  I went to take it last week, but had to get a Mississippi permit first. Write soon.  Love and Happy Birthday – Kris
PS As i was going to the jim_daughtershouse this morning for iodine for the kids navel – i found 2 cattle on our driveway one went to the front of the house-about 20 min. later both were gone.  Some day!
On envelope: Ta Tum- i finally got my drivers license. and guess who called last night – Daddy!  Jim and I finally caught on to milking.  We got about 1 1/4 qts of milk and the goat kicked it over. Better next time.

Eventually the Emergency Land Fund wanted us to move to the Mississippi Delta to manage a soy bean farm. We decided to stay in Simpson county and moved to 173 1/2 St. John Road.

Z is for Zamzeewillie

My last post in the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. I am really scraping here. I never lived on or in Zamzeewillie. I’m not even sure that’s how you spell it. My daughter Ayanna was the only one who knew the particulars and she can’t remember. She made it up when we she was about 8 years old. It was around the same time that my then 3 or 4 year old son James became friends with the people only he could see. I was never sure if Nice Helmut, Mean Helmut, Nice Tommy and Mean Tommy lived in Zamzeewillie. They always seemed to be just out of sight in the other room.  Since there are no known photos of this town and none of the Nice and Mean boys I will have to make do with a photo of Ayanna and James with siblings, in our living room in Excelsior Springs.

L to R Tulani, James, Ayanna and in the back Jilo and Ife.

I can’t believe it’s really over! And that I found streets and places for all the letters of the alphabet. Mostly 😉  I really appreciate Gould Genealogy.com for hosting the challenge. I don’t think I would have ever written so much about almost every street I ever lived on without it. You can find a list of the 39 blogs that participated here – Family History Through the Alphabet – the Finale.

Y is for Yates Township

Yates Township scenes from the past.
Yates Township scenes from the past.

We are up to Y on the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. I have run out of streets that match the letters of the alphabet but I still have places that match. This week I chose Yates Township. I have already done Idlewild, which is in Yates Township but, there is more to Yates Township then Idlewild and so here we are. I was the librarian of the Yates Township library for a short time. My husband ran for Yates township trustee. Unfortunately he lost. He served on the Yates Township Fire Department for a number of years. He ran a recreation program out of Yates Middle School gym for several years. My youngest son graduated from the alternative education program that ran out of the former Yates Middle school after several months of classes as a grand finale to his home schooling. Two of my daughters attended Yates Middle School before we began homeschooling and before the middle school moved to Baldwin. We had our own policeman for awhile. I could tell you stories of politics and intrigue about the Yates Township government, but I just don’t have the heart.  I did include a photo from the distant past of Lottie the Body, exotic dancer who entertained the crowds back in the heyday of entertainment.

 

X is for eXcelsior Springs – Sepia Saturday #149

James, Ife and Tulani on swings at the playground down the street from our house.

We are up to X on the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. I continue my trek through streets in my life. I admit that I had to cheat for this letter. I have never lived on a street or in a place or even visited one that started with an X. I did live for three years in eXcelsior Springs, Missouri though.   Today I will remember my time there. By happy coincidence, the theme for Sepia Saturday #149 is healing waters, which is what eXcelsior Springs was once famous for. It is still home to the longest water bar in the world.

The Minact Job Corps is located in the old Veteran’s Hospital.

In the fall of 1983 we moved to Excelsior Springs, Missouri from St. John Road, rural Mississippi.  My husband Jim had heard from a friend about an opening at a new Job Corps Center opening in eXcelsior Springs.  He had several siblings in nearby Kansas City and even more relatives in St. Louis, 4 hours away. He was hired as weekend residential supervisor and began work during the summer of 1983. Several more months passed before he found a house for us to move into. It was on the side of one of the many hills that made up the town and in the towns very small black community. Down the street was the empty former black school from back when schools were segregated in Missouri. There was no segregation in 1983.

Recent photo of downtown.

The population of eXcelsior Springs was 10,000. Our house was within walking distance of the children’s schools, my husband’s job and downtown. Unfortunately downtown was moving store by store out to the edge of town to a strip mall across from the new Walmart store, which was not within walking distance. Still, there was a department store, a small grocery store, a drugstore and a florist that we could walk to.  Our only transportation, aside from our feet, was a pickup truck with a camper on it and a stick shift that we drove from Mississippi. Later my brother-in-law left us his Rabbit while he was overseas in the service. There was also a van that fell to pieces almost as soon as we bought it, very cheaply I must say.

Tulani and Ayanna sliding in front of the house.
Me, James, my husband Jim. next row: Ayanna, Tulani, Ife. Very back: Jilo.

Living on the side of a hill gave us a great view of the trees and houses during the changing seasons. In the winter, though, the roads were snowy and icy.  I had learned to drive in the south and was not used to winter driving. When the first heavy snow fell, I went out in the yard with the kids and played in it.  We couldn’t understand why none of the neighbors were out there.  After several more years, snow didn’t seem so glorious. Still nice though.

Sewing a soft sculpture doll.
Cover from a book of Cabbage Patch clothes patterns.

I had learned to make soft sculptured dolls that were called “Adoption Dolls” in Mississippi. When these type of dolls began to be mass produced they became the “Cabbage Patch Dolls.”  The original dolls were 36 inches tall but I made a smaller pattern that turned out to be the same size as the “Cabbage Patch Dolls”. I also designed a small, 6 inch doll, that I soft sculptured using the same technique. This was very lucky because Christmas of 1983 was the year that there were not enough of the manufactured dolls to go around. I sold dolls  through several gift stores both in eXcelsior Springs and in Kansas City. I sold to individuals too. I was sewing dolls day and night. There were boxes of doll heads and arms and legs in the living room. The children helped stuff parts. My husband helped stuff. A sister-in-law came and helped stuff. I put an ad in the local paper and more people came to me through that. There were so many orders  I was up all night Christmas eve finishing up my own children’s dolls.  The money came in very handy to winterize our wardrobes – “Moon” boots, winter coats, scarves, cloves – we needed all of that.

Dolls waiting for delivery.

The three oldest had jobs. Jilo baby sat the neighbor’s kids after school until their mother got home from work. Ife and Ayanna had paper routes. I still remember the icy time when I helped Ife deliver her papers and we were practically crawling down the icy slope to the house when a boy came up and offered to take it and just hopped down there like a young mountain goat. I remember the food co-op I belonged to and selling dolls at the Fishing River Festival.  I remember the wonderful Community Theater. Jilo and Ife were both in several of their productions. I remember walking to the evening elementary school Christmas Program with my kids and the neighbor kids. Jim was working 40 hours weekends so he missed it.  The audience sang Christmas carols at the end and we walked home in the dark. I remember walking for exercise on the path down by the Fishing River, sometimes with my friend Roberta. I remember our first Christmas when we waited until Christmas Eve to buy our tree and there were no trees to be had. I remember usually having several extra kids at the house and discovering “Prairie Home Companion” and Mercedes Sosa on NPR. I remember James imaginary friends “Nice” Tommy and “Mean” Tommy, “Nice” Helmut and “Mean” Helmut and Ayanna’s town of Zamziwillie.  I remember Ayanna losing one of her boots on the way home from school. The kids were sicker in this town than anywhere else we lived. Tulani had pneumonia, Ayanna had vomiting that wouldn’t stop, there were warts and ear aches. Doctors and hospitals.  One thing I don’t remember is the taste of the various waters from the healing springs because I never drank any.  What a wasted opportunity.

Jilo and Ife ready for “Peter Pan.”
Jim and James.

Jilo at the Fishing River Festival
To read some eXcelsior Springs history and about the healing waters that flowed there, click.
For more Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!

W is for Wilkins Street

We are up to W on the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. This week we go back to Detroit to 556 Wilkins in Brewster Projects and the apartment I lived in during 1971/1972.

The Brewster – Douglas projects were the first government housing for black people built, not just in Detroit, but in the United States. According to Wikipedia, they were built between 1935 – 1955 and housed between 8,000 and 10,000 people. I lived there for a little over a year in 1971 – 1972 after moving from the house on Monterey. The apartment was large, bright with a view of the playground from my 5th floor window.  There were 6 apartments on my floor, one elevator and two stairwells. The stairs were filthy and seldom (never by me) used.

The Brewster/Douglass projects in the 1950s.
Google satellite picture of the projects as they stand today.

Notice how there are not only two high rises and multiple attached houses missing today, the surrounding community is practically empty of houses. Highways cut off two sides and much vacant land on the other two sides.

The building as it looked in 2006. It was still occupied.

Memories:  Walking to Eastern Market to collect food the farmers left at the end of the day rather than haul home.  The old folks who sat outside on the stoop during nice weather. They were probably younger than I am now. Sweets, my sixty year old neighbor telling me she had six children but would have had none if she could have figured out how to stop. Listening to  a woman curse a purse snatcher out down on the street.  Seeing one man shoot another on the playground below.  Watching the police running down the street, guns drawn, looking up at the windows, until they told us all to get back. The disoriented man wandering around my hall one night. Coming home to find someone had tried to break into my apartment. Only the safety chain stopped them. Pushing the desk in front of the door after that when I was home alone at night. The bunch of rough looking dudes hanging around the door when I came home with Jilo one evening asking if Rev. Cleage was my father.  Phil moving in with us and running up my phone bill calling the Black Panther party in Algiers. My sister coming to visit once and my mother being so angry I was living in the projects that she dropped her off in the parking lot and sped off.  How good it was to have my own place after living in various shared/borrowed spaces for over a year. Moving out and the old folks on the stoop asking if I was going back south. I said yes because I was moving to Atlanta but it wasn’t really “back south” because this was going to be my first time living there.

My apartment was between the lines on the right, 5th floor in this Google satellite photograph. From L to R the windows are for the Living room, Kitchen/dining area, bathroom (tiny window), small bedroom, large bedroom.  There was another window for the living and bedroom on each end.

For more information click on the links below.

 

V is for Venetian 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.  Venetian Drive is the street I now  live on. When my husband retired in 2007, we decided to move to Atlanta where most of our children and grandchildren lived. We had looked at several houses when the realtor took us to see this one. The solarium told us this was the right house for us. There was also the wild yard that reminded us of the real woods we were leaving behind in Idlewild.  Below is an article about the way the house is built. There was a studio with a kitchen and bathroom added later.  The plan was to use it for an actual studio for silkscreen, sewing and other projects, but so far it has housed various family members as they settle in Atlanta. The best thing about the house is that we are close to the family. I must admit, I do wish it was on a lake and had a sunny garden spot.

Scenes from Venetian Drive