Through the Door

These photographs were taken in the winter of 1958 at my Graham grandparent’s house on Theodore Street, East side of Detroit. My grandmother, Fannie Turner Graham, is looking through the side door. When you entered through this door you were on a landing, you could go down to the basement or up into the kitchen. The window with the lace curtain we can see above the door was on the landing between the downstairs and the upstairs. The phone sat on this landing on a little table my grandfather made. This table now sits near me holding several plants in the sunshine.

Nanny at the side door.
Nanny at the side door.
Poppy on the side of the house.
Poppy on the side of the house.  You can see more of the side of the house here. Taken on the same day.
With Poppy in the backyard. Front, Poppy and cousin Marilyn. Back, Kristin and Pearl.
Front, Poppy and cousin Marilyn. Back, Kristin( that is me with my hand on Poppy’s head) and Pearl.  I remember those green plaid scarves.

These photographs must have been taken soon after the Jordan’s house next door was bought by the factory across the street. The house was torn down, the trees were uprooted (we’re standing on a stump above), gravel was added and a parking lot was made.  When these photos were taken, I was 12, my sister was 10, my grandparents were 70 and Marilyn was 5.

27 thoughts on “Through the Door

  1. Those lines across the door make Nanny look like she has been bound and gagged, or at least blindfolded 🙂

  2. I’ll bet your grandparents were none too happy to have a parking lot installed next door to their house – especially with all the trees cut down! What a bummer! “Poppy” is probably not that unusual a nickname for a grandfather, but I smiled when I read it in your post because that’s what my husband called his grandfather and lately I’ve been combing through a box of his Poppy’s old family photos.

  3. I was going to say the same thing about Nanny and the bars across her. It creates a lovely artistic photo!

  4. That was very like the side of the house we moved from a few years ago. Same landing to basement or kitchen; same window up above; same small basement windows.

    It’s an unusual image with the striping from the door, but it makes it quite unique.

  5. Your grandmother’s photo has an neat abstract quality like a painting composition. It’s interesting how a simple furnishing like a table stays with families and reminds us of places and people now gone.

  6. Your description of the house was so wonderful, I could almost see inside that door, picture that table on the landing. Words and photographs really can transport you through time can’t they?

  7. What is it about small tables they just follow you around; we have one that now is shrouded with a cloth still doing sterling service for a large reading lamp.
    Our neighbour at the back has taken down all is trees and we miss them being there so I can imagine your grandparents concern at losing theirs.

    1. The house next door was in pretty bad neglect by the time they sold it so they may have been glad it was gone, except it opened up that side of the house to the public because they were the only two houses on that side of the block.

  8. We had a house with that side-entry configuration, too: upstairs into the kitchen, downstairs into the cellar. There were about six steps in each direction. Love your grandmother in the doorway!

  9. ahh another family using that side door….I too have a very old side table from my grandmother, it survived a long time and I brought it from PA from my Mom’s sits beside the rocker in a spare bedroom today here in MN. Which one of you is keeping hand on Poppy’s head? Cute

  10. Wow, The pictures are great. Do you remember why you called your grandmother Nanny? Looks like she’s wearing an apron. My Nanny always cooked in an apron. My grandmother’s (who we also called Nanny) house had a side door (they also lived in Detroit). Poppy is a unique name for your grandfather, love it. You just brought back a flood of memories.

    1. My grandmother called her grandmother Nanny and her mother called her grandmother Nanny so, I’m guessing, they taught us to call her Nanny. I’m not sure about the Poppy.

  11. The picture of Nanny is startling—almost an Escher-like quality — and dearly loved the photos of Poppy, especially with you and the other children.

  12. Very sad to think of a parking lot being put next to a house with no care given to those who lived in the house.

  13. I remember those little telephone tables. Does yours have a slot for the phone book? How about a seat to the side? Those “gossip tables” have been popping up a lot lately at some of the antique shops around here.

    1. This one that Poppy built didn’t. It did have a shelf for the phone book, but not the seat. Later on they did have one of those at the bottom of the stairs after they put a long cord on the phone so during the day it was on that table at the bottom of the stairs and at night on the landing.

  14. Lovely that you have that same table now and that it sits in the sunshine, holding not just plants but also fond memories for you.

  15. Perfect post for the theme, what a treasure in family photos again. You look so cute on top with your hand like a perfect little girl! Very cute.

  16. The first photo is delightful. It’s sad to think that in this digital age we would probably delete a photo like that instead of saving it and treasuring it.

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