Springfield, MA 1950 #301

springfield_ma_kidsMy sister Pearl held an arm full of leaves. My mother held our hands. I held my doll.  We were standing in the vacant lot near the parsonage of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Click for another post about life on Union Street in Springfield.

For more Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!

“Anthropoid, anthropoid, don’t kill me yet!”

antrhopoidMy sister Pearl as the anthropoid, about 1961 at Old Plank.

My family had a tradition of chasing the children around while acting like a monster.  My Uncle Louis was the master and didn’t need any sort of mask or costume to send us screaming into the lake at Idlewild.  He just twisted up his face and hands and came towards us and that was it.

My uncle Henry got the mask above from somewhere and incorporated that into the scary chases.  You had to holler out “Anthropoid, anthropoid, don’t kill me yet!”  when he got too close, in order to escape.  Aside from putting on the mask for photo ops, I remember once time we put it on, wrapped in a blanket and sat on the lawn toward the road where we hoped to scare drivers passing the house.  I don’t remember any wrecks so I guess no harm was done.

By the time my children came along, my cousin Warren used to take them on a bear hunt. I remember one time that he worked it out with another cousin to be out in the woods where he drove and stopped and told the kids, who as I remember were in the back of a pickup with a camper, that they were waiting there to see the bear.  The other cousin starting growling and knocking on the truck and finally my cousin drove off, it was dark or almost dark. He said they had a close escape.  Later, when we were all inside, the other cousin came around tapping on the windows.  The bear!

My cousin and me playing in the sand during the visit Louis chased her into the lake.
My cousin and me playing in the sand on the beach in Idlewild during the visit my uncle Louis chased her into the lake. July 1955.

Nobody was terrified of the bears or monsters, well maybe my cousin Barbara who did run into the lake, but mostly it was the enjoyable kind of being scared while knowing you are safe.

For more Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!

 

Reading Mad Magazine at Old Plank

My uncle Hugh, cousin Warren  and sister Pearl in the living room at Old Plank.
My uncle Hugh, cousin Warren and sister Pearl in the living room at Old Plank.

Unfortunately Warren was not reading the Saturday Evening Post in this photo, he is reading a Mad Magazine.  For several years I remember copies being around the house.  Such a crazy magazine.

By searching online I was able to find a copy of the cover of this issue.  It is dated October  1962.  The copy in the picture above looks pretty new. Everybody seems to be wearing cool weather clothes so it could well be October of 1962.  Warren and Pearl were both high school freshman in 1962.  Hugh was printer/owner of Cleage Printers.

Old Plank was the farm house on two acreas that my family owned near Wixom, Michigan.  We spent as much time as we could there and were often joined by other family members who also made the short drive from Detroit.

mad_magazine_10:1962

You can read more about Old Plank in these posts:

Playing Poker at Old Plank

Picking Beans at Old Plank

Biking at Old Plank

2014.09W.06
For more Sepia Saturday, CLICK!

 

Generations of Family Signatures

missvirginia
The first page from my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s memory book. My mother’s, mother’s mother. The first generation born out of slavery and the first literate generation.  I believe that she and her siblings all attended schools founded by the Congregational Church in Montgomery, AL after the Civil War.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.  I do not have a photograph of him but I did find his signature on my great grandparents marriage license.
ransom_handwriting
My great grandmother’s brother, Ransom Allen.
marymccall_handwritting
My great grandmother’s oldest sister, Mary Allen McCall.
pearl_cleage_signature
My paternal grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage. I found her signature on some legal papers because all of the letters I have from her were signed “Mother”.  I know that she graduated from high school in Indianapolis, IN and received all of her education in Indianapolis but I do not know the names of the schools.  Her signature came from a Marion Indiana Probate record for her older brother’s will in 1946.
My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN.
My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN. His signature came from his marriage license in 1910.
fanny
My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham. She was educated in Montgomery, AL at State Normal which was a school from elementary to high school, started by the Congregational Church for Black students.  Her signature came from the 1910 Montgomery Census form via ancestry.com. She was an enumerator.
Mershell
My maternal grandfather Mershell C. Graham. My mother said he taught himself to read. The 1940 census said he finished 8th grade. From Coosada, Elmore Cty, Alabama. His signature came from his WW1 Draft registration card in 1917 via ancestry.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.
My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.  His full signature came from a Purchaser’s recipt in 1957 for a building Central Congregational Church wanted to buy.

 

 

My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.
My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.  Her signature came from a State of Michigan Teacher Oath in 1964.  The “Doris” came from a letter home from Los Angeles in 1944.
My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit
My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit.   The bottom signature came from my 3rd daughter’s birth certificate in 1976.  The top one came from a deed for the sale of the house on Oregon.  I was a witness. 1968.

 

 

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.
My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.  Her signature came from the return address on a letter in 1991.

 

When I started looking for signatures, I thought it would be easy because I have many letters through the generations.  The problem was that they did not sign letters with both first and last names.  Some repeatedly used nicknames.  I was able to find most signatures by searching through documents – marriage licenses, social security cards, deeds, bills of sale and group membership cards. I finally found my sister’s signature in the return address on an envelope and if I’d thought of it sooner, might have found others in the same place.

Northwestern Modern Dance Group -1964

modern_dance_1964

This is the modern dance group at Northwestern High School in Detroit in 1964. The photo is from my year book. There is my sister Pearl, 3rd from the left, first row leaning back.  She was in the dance group all through high school and also participated in the All City dance group and even contemplated a career in dance but writing won out.  Ms. Carty was their advisor/teacher.

Pearl remembers “I remember this number. It was to “Elijah Rock” and we thought the costumes were so cool. Choreography was great, too. We had a whole Martha Graham thing going!

I think Craig Carter took it from the track that ran around the gym so he was looking down at us

dancers
For more May Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!

5 Generations of Pearls: 1886 – 2003

5 Pearls
5 Pearls

Names are sometimes repeated in a family generation after generation. In my family, Pearl is one such name. My grandmother, Pearl Doris Reed Cleage, was the first Pearl.  She was born in Lebanon, KY in 1886, the youngest of 8 children.

  1. Pearl Losin Mullins was the son of Pearl’s sister Minnie Mullins.  He was born in 1908 in Indianapolis, IN. and died in 1986 in California.
  2. Theresa Pearl Averette, was the youngest daughter of Pearl’s brother Hugh. She was born in 1913 in Indianapolis, IN. and died in 1941 in California.
  3. Barbara Pearl Cleage, daughter of Pearl was born in 1920 in Detroit, MI.
  4. Pearl Michelle Cleage, my sister, daughter of Pearl’s oldest son Albert and 2nd granddaughter was born in Springfield, MA in 1948.
  5. Anna Pearl Shreve is my grandmother’s youngest daughter’s daughter.  She was born in 1960 in Detroit, MI.  Anna Pearl was the 4th granddaughter.
  6. Ayanna Pearl, my daughter and my grandmother Pearl’s great granddaughter, was born in 1976 in Jackson, MS.
  7. Jann Leya Pearl, great granddaughter of Pearl Reed Cleage, was born in 1983 in the Detroit area.
  8. Liliana Pearl Nowaczewski, is another great granddaughter of the original Pearl. She was born in 1989 in Michigan.
  9. Chole Pearl is the youngest family Pearl.  She was born in 2003 in New Orleans, LA and is a great great granddaughter of Pearl Reed Cleage.

 

Cookout – August 1958 – Sepia Saturday 190

My uncle Hugh by the gate.
My uncle Hugh by the gate.

I remember several cookouts in my grandmother Cleage’s backyard. There was the one where the tables were set up right in front of the gate that looked out on the street. There was some sort of minor argument about this. Afterwards, my sister and I called any sort of family argument a “cookout.” On that occasion Grace Lee Boggs dropped by, not for the cookout, but for some political reason, dating it in the 1960s.

tables
You can just see Hugh’s head behind Louis, my mother, Henry.

The cookout pictured below took place during the summer of 1958. My uncle Louis bought a big blue plastic swimming pool that took up most of the cement part of the yard. I don’t remember it being there any other summer. Once, my sister Pearl was drowning when my uncle Henry noticed her on the bottom of the pool, reached down and pulled her out. I don’t know why she didn’t stand up.  She was 9 and I turned 12 that August.  The bushes on the fence were full of tiny, pink roses during the season. Those are still my favorite roses.

Pearl remembers: I am still mystified as to why I didn’t just put my feet down. I don’t remember being at the bottom of the pool. I remember going down and splashing my way back up to the top and not being able to stay with my head above water. and then Henry came over and grabbed me and pulled me up and out. who knows what was going on? and we had those little plastic life preservers, too. how deep was the damn thing anyway?

in_pool
Pearl, my aunt Gladys, Kris, cousin Ernie in the pool. It was blue plastic with a metal frame.
doris
My mother sitting beside the pool.
barbara
My aunt Barbara standing by the fence between my grandmother’s and the Smith’s.
2012.04W.41
To see more picnics and such, CLICK!