On The Way Home From Work – 1943

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My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham. “On the way home from work 1943”

poppy_the_worker_poemFrom my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook. “That’s my Shell” 1-25-59.

River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham came to Detroit from Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. He worked on the steamer “Eastern States” as a steward for awhile and then as a stockman in the library at the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan until he retired in the 1950s. Although he had a car, he did not drive to work, he caught the bus, first walking to the bus stop and then riding over an hour to get to work.

Unknown Man Walking
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A Remington Noiseless Poem

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I wrote this poem for the 2013 August Postcard Poetry Challenge and just was reminded of it while reading Crazy as a Cool Fox’s Sepia Saturday post about typewriters.

“I think getting a card that had been through a typewriter would be pretty cool.” Paul Nelson

Typing poetry straight out of my mind

to the card on this Remington noiseless

model seven is no easy task.

From a flea market to my daughter to me.

I don’t remember by mother’s underwood

being so stiff and LOUD and slow.  So

slow. I typed 36 words a minute on that

one. I type 80 words on my computer. Lucky

to type 3 words a minute here.  I took typing

in high school. Do not

remember 1 day in class.  Typed papers for

Seydou and for newsletters and after the ’67

Detroit, typed on an electric. At the

library typed index cards on a selectric, the

ball going round and across fast and smoth.

smooth, two oos. not

like this soundless/noiseless/LOUD Remington

noiseless model seven.  Let us not even consid

corrections. er.

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Three Generations

cleages3generationsThree generations of my Cleages. Front left is Henry, with Louis behind him, center is my father, Albert B. front right is Hugh. Behind Hugh is my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman. Back left is my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage holding baby Barbara Cleage Martin. This photograph was taken about 1921 somewhere around Detroit, Michigan, perhaps on Belle Isle.  My grandfather took the photo. There is another from the same day with him in the photo taken by my grandmother.

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Belle Isle 1947

deedee & MV at scott statueHere is a photograph of my cousin Dee Dee and her mother Mary V. Graham Elkins taken on Belle Isle in 1947. At first I thought the fuzzy black spot on the lower right was an ink spot, but when I looked closer I saw it was a little dog.  Dee Dee is looking down at it a bit apprehensively.

There are several family photographs taken around the statue of  James Scott, who donated the money for the Scott fountain and I grew up going to Belle Isle and seeing the fountain in all it’s glory but I never knew anything about James Scott until I was working on this post and found a piece on Historic Detroit that begins “The Scott Memorial Fountain is the jewel of Belle Isle – and a monument to a womanizing scoundrel.” and gets worse from there.  Click the link for the full article.

 

James Scott statue and fountain - Detroit Michigan
Mikerussell at en.wikipedia
A picture of the fountain with the James Scott statue.  You can see a short video of the workings of the fountain underneath here “Underneath Belle Isle…”

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Subject and Photographer

Me, 1949. My father is reflected in the mirror.

This shot was taken in our living room in the parsonage of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass.  I just noticed the reflection of my father taking the picture last night. I looked everywhere for that teapot in later years but it was lost in one of the various moves. It was blue with a gold design over it.  The couch was with us for many years.  Eventually the cushions were covered in reddish leather, or something like it. I remember that table, which was also around for a long time. And those little plastic records my sister and I used to play on our little phonograph.

Bringing this back from August 2011 for this weeks Sepia Saturday prompt showing a mirror and the reflection of the photographer. If only I had a rose behind my ear like Billie Holiday.

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Boulé

barbarannabeauties_2Here are 6 young women at a Boulé event back in the 1940s in or outside of Detroit.  Two of my aunts are in the picture. Barbara Cleage is front and center with a light dress and jacket. At the end of the line is my aunt Anna Cleage who seems to be wearing trousers.  Unfortunately the photo was unlabeled and I do not know the names of the others.  I recognized the woman on the far right as one in the background photograph of the photograph of my grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr with a camera.  Sheryl asked last week what sort of even my grandfather was attending. It made me go back and look at the background in the photo below and then look for photographs that appear to have been taken on the same day.  You can read an post from 2012 about the Boulé at this link.

abcsrcameraMy grandfather Albert B. Cleage with his camera.  In the background we see the young woman with her hand on her hip and the dark dress, from the first photo above.  The woman closer to us in the striped outfit, carrying a big purse, appears in the bleachers (which we see in the background here) in the photo below.

boule event 1940s 6The 4th woman from the right, first row, is in the photo with my grandfather to his left.  Above her head, on the top row are some of the young women from the first photo above.

cornelius & camera manFirst a photo of the men, then one of the women.  Or vice versa.  Who is that on the second row taking a photograph of the photographer? Front row center is Cornelius Henderson, engineer who graduated from the University of Michigan and helped design the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

Cornelius Henderson Belle Isle BridgeCornelius L. Henderson

boule event 1940s 4My grandmother second bench, 2nd from right. My aunt Anna (from the photo of the lovelies) can be seen behind the lady first in my grandmother’s row.  My aunt Barbara is 1 person over from Anna. You can see the woman in the striped dress in the first photograph lineup. Toward the left side, top row, you can see another young woman from the first photo.boule event 1940s 3I do not see any family members but do notice the men and women are sitting together in this one. I wonder how the man in front lost his leg.

 

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The Cleage Photographers

I first shared these photographs 5 years ago. Time to bring it back.

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage, Sr. – 1950s
My father Albert B. Cleage Jr, 1940’s.
My uncle Louis Cleage – 1940’s
My uncles Henry and Hugh Cleage – 1960’s
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The Cleage Family in Idlewild About 1928

The Cleage Family at Idlewild about 1929
The Cleage Family at Idlewild about 1928.  Left to right: My grandmother Pearl, Gladys, Hugh, Anna and Barbara. Back row: Louis, Henry (with cap) Albert Jr(my father) and my grandfather Albert Sr.

I remember that my grandmother did not think much of Idlewild vacations when her children were growing up and they rented places because she still had to do all the cooking, washing and other chores she did at home, but without  the familiar home tools.  Everybody else loved it and they probably went out on the water in a row boat and went swimming and fishing and visiting friends.  Maybe the older ones went to dances.

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