Uncle Louis Plays the Organ

Louis playing the organ in the house on Atkinson while Hugh reads.

 In keeping with today’s Sepia Saturday theme, I offer my uncle, Dr. Louis Cleage playing an organ.  Louis had many talents and interests.  He spoke fluent Spanish and visited Mexico frequently.  He drove the fastest speed boat on Lake Idlewild in his day.  He had a short wave radio in the basement and as WAFM talked to the world.  He also was wrote “Smoke Rings” for the Illustrated News during the early 1960s.  He had a wicked sense of humor and a laugh unlike any other I have heard.  And I’m sure I’m leaving out half of it.

Louis began practicing medicine with his father at the Cleage Clinic on Lovett in the 1940s and continued practicing there until 1974. He closed the doors and walked away after being held up numerous times for prescription drugs.

Louis gives a polio shot to Harold Keneau. 1956.
Cleage Clinic as it looks today.

This organ also featured in a popular Sepia Saturday offering of my mother “My Mother – 1952“.

23 thoughts on “Uncle Louis Plays the Organ

  1. Kris,

    These pictures scratched the surface of so many memories for me. Uncle Louis was the coolest!

    I met a young lady weeks ago. I believe she is Leontyne's granddaughter. She said they called him Dr. BadBoy! lol

    thank-you for sharing. I love your blog

  2. Sheila? She and Jilo were in pre-school together at Merrill Palmer. Thanks Claire, I enjoy having you read it.

  3. That clinic looks so bereft of character with its windows concreted in like that – very sad.

  4. It's been closed since the mid 1970s. My uncle decided to retire after he was held up two or three times by people looking for drugs. It is very sad.

  5. Your uncle sounds very interesting and accomplished. It is a shame the clinic had to be closed. It is amazing that the building and sign are still there.

  6. Great tribute. Out of curiosity I checked the date on Dr. Louis giving a polio shot. Dr. Salk only announced his polio vaccine in April 1955, so Louis is giving some of the first preventive shots in that photo.

  7. OH!! i just had to make this my first stop. hitting the theme from two angles!! Kristin strikes again. i said it lat week and i say it again: what a great collection you have.

    Doctor BadBoy???
    that sounds promising. hoping you'll be able to ell many other tales about him, as a themer or just a memer.

    good show!!

  8. He would be an accomplished man even without the organ. It's true that those than can are accomplished in several things.
    I can feel that jab.

  9. Tickle, I was thinking while doing this that I have to do more about Louis. It will probably be between Saturdays. Maybe this week.

  10. That is a rather historic photo of some of the first polio shots to be given in Detroit! The clinic looks so familiar I spent time on Map Quest checking the places I've lived in Detroit. I lived within a few miles several times as a child – but Lovett wasn't a main thoroughfare so I doubt I've ever really seen it. Perhaps it is the building style – very popular during the 50's.

  11. What a charming and musical step back into the day….I feel the love that radiates in your family in all your photos! He who has family is never alone! Have a great sunny weekend…!

  12. I feel like I know uncle Louis after your perfectly themed post. Would love to hear his laugh.
    Ladies of the grove

  13. You've given life to that old building. I can imagine people coming and going through that front door.

  14. Thanks for introducing us to Uncle Louis. He sounds like a wonderful and very interesting man. Wouldn't you love to restore that clinic or at least get the sign? Although it's probably best kept with the building.
    Great post.

  15. One of my cousins said he was going to get the sign but it seems to still be there judging by google maps. i do wish i'd gotten it but where would it go? Best left there.

  16. Oh, wow–I just came across this as I was looking for some family history and the boy getting the polio shot is my dad! Very cool to see–thanks so much for sharing!

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