I am sharing a letter from Victor Tulane to my grandmother Fannie after her family moved up from Montgomery to Detroit. Soon after she and my grandfather bought a house her mother and her two sisters joined them. They had two children under 5 and my mother was on the way. Read more about Victor Tulane here and about my grandmother here.
Rents Collected Homes Bought Loans Negotiated And Sold Estates Managed
REAL ESTATE AND INSURANCE
SCOTT BUILDING 123 MONROE ST.
Montgomery, ALA., Nov. 23, 1922
Dear Fannie, I am enclosing check from this M.R. & Ins. Co; for ten dollars which the sec’y should have mailed you some time ago.
We are winding up the affairs of this company and will send you another payment on stock acct. pretty soon. I think that the company will be able to pay off it’s stock holders dollar for dollar.
I trust this will find all well and getting along nicely.
Your mother’s things were shipped yesterday. Trust they will arrive on time and in first class condition. Remember me to all the folks. Tell the kids hello! Let us have a line from you when convenient.
Christmas 1944 was my parents second Christmas together. My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr (Toddy) had taken a year off from the ministry to take classes in film making at UCLA. He planned to use it later in the church. My mother, Doris Graham, was working as a social worker and apparently taking a class too. They were living in Los Angeles, Ca, missing Detroit and their families. In the montage we have in the top/center my mother, below her is my father. The house my mother grew up in is the big photo of the house on Theodore, below is their Los Angeles apt. The last photo is my mother’s parents Mershell (Poppy) and Fannie (Nannie) Graham. This is a letter my mother wrote home Dec. 17, 1944.
December 17, 1944
Just a line to let you know we’re ok. Hope you all are well
It’s almost midnight and we are both (as usual) trying to get some school work done that we left until the last minute. Toddy has a paper due – and I have a book report.
Here it is – almost Christmas, but it doesn’t seem like it at all. No snow – no cold weather – no nothing. People out here don’t even sing Christmas carols on radio church services or anything. We heard you all have lots of snow. Well – guess I’d better go back to my book.
Dear “Shell” – From my early acting in answering your letter, you may know or imagine how proud I was to receive a letter from the boy. I have thought of you often and wondering at the same time, if I was just to receive a postcard from you; for as you have said about me, I consider you one of my closest and most trusted worthy friends. It doesn’t seem that one can realize the feeling that exists until a separation, but after looking into the proposition, knowing that you had to get located, being in a new land, and being among strangers would consume lots of your time. I am certainly pleased to know that you are so well satisfied with Detroit and the surroundings. Yes, I would be tickled to death if I could be up there with you, for I am sick and tired of this blooming place. I know it must be an inspiration to be where you can breathe a little freedom, for every body down here are beginning to feel that slavery is still existing in the south. The Teacher’s Association has been in session here from the 4th to the 7th and quite a number of visitors are here. The boys thru my chivalry managed to give a subscription dance, and believe me I came in an inch of being fagged out. You know how you have to run a “jinke” down to get a $1.00 from him. We had quite a success as well as an enjoyable one. Cliff was to make the punch but on account of his training being too late for him to even come to the ball, it fell my time to do something and I did wish for you but managed to brave the situation and tried to follow as close as I could remember my seeing your making punch and for a fact I really made that punch taste like “a la Shell punch”, and it turned out to be perfect class. Alabama Medical Association will convene here on 9 and 10 and they are giving a dance at Tabors Hall on Randolph and Decatur Sts. No, not a full dress affair, so I think I shall attend. Sam Crayton is here from Chicago and he is very anxious for me to return with him, but I am afraid he will have to go and I come later. Well, the U.S. is really in War with Germany and we can’t tell what the next war may bring. It will mean suffering for humanity, and we people down here especially. I am just as neutral as can be and expect to stand pat in the idea. Yes, people are leaving here in droves for all directions and now you can miss them off of the streets. As many people that hung around the drug store on Sunday, you can scarcely find a dozen there now. I have seen Miss Turner but once and that was down town. I know she keeps you well informed of herself. There is no news of interest. My sister Jessie was married in February and is now living in Pensacola, so you see so far 1917 has been lucky for me. Now old boy, I shall expect for you not to allow such long gaps between our writing each. All of my family sends the best of wishes to you and Mrs Wyman and Hubby. The boys and girls join in with me and send their share.