Henry Cleage playing the cello – 1970

As soon as I saw this weeks prompt for Sepia Saturday, I thought of this photograph.  I decided to revisit an old post from Henry’s journal, written during several months of 1936, where he mentions playing the bass at a club.

January 11

Awoke to find that I had lost 2 dollars very depressed. Wrote on theme. Played tonight at Quinn’s Lone Pine with Duke Conte, played bass, terrible night. Fingers sore. Noticed how good-looking Lene is… Ought to throw a line – Police stopped us at about 1:00AM. No permit to play until two. I was glad. Very animal acting bunch in River Rouge. Most of them seem friendly though.

January 12

Played matinee dance at Elks rest with Heckes, Toddy and Bill – Dracee’s band came in and sat in awhile (no trouble) Kenneth was there. Too tired and sleepy to study history. Get up early tomorrow (no English) Toddy is going downtown to get some books is supposed to get me ‘American Tragedy” and ‘Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations”

January 13

Haliver Greene died this morning -spinal meningitis. Didn’t get up early to study History, however there was no class – lecture tomorrow so I won’t slide, tonight. Toddy bought back two books about lives of Educators (putrid!!) only 25 cents a piece though – awfully windy out today-not so cold thought – like March. I would like to have been in the country, wrapped up good, walking into the wind at the Meadows, down the road towards the sand pile or over the hill to the creek – zest, spice, life, health, clear eye, firm step and all that sort of thing.

January 14

Cold out this morning although it became somewhat spring like after school. Went to show after school. Another big fight this morning, I think they think I skip classes because I am sleepy, nonsense. Bought ‘Bartlett’s Quotations” $1.53. Seems worthwhile. Read one of dictator books – Good – tonight as I was going to the store the weather brought memories of spring. Roller-skating in street, if not roller skating then walking. Everybody walking and friendly. The crowd at Krueger’s and the tent. Perhaps riding through Belle isle – water, boats.

To read more of Henry’s journal go to Henry Cleage’s Journal – 1936 and Henry’s Diary Part 2 – 1936 with photos from the Black Album.  For a followup with more information about the band go to Follow up on Henry’s Diary.

16 thoughts on “Henry Cleage playing the cello – 1970

  1. Intriguing to read the diary of someone still at school. He seems a very sensible young man. Henry obviously didn't was his time if he was still playing the cello years later.

  2. A man who loved to read and play music – perfect. It’s nice to see the bookshelves behind him well-stocked too.

  3. Bob – he was 20 and in college. Reading other parts of his diary its so strange to read how he worried about giving a speech. By the time I knew him, he loved to talk, one on one, to a group and he'd been a successful lawyer.

    Nell, the books on the shelf behind him are just his law books and a set of Encyclopedias, but there were other bookcases around the house full of real books. There are a couple of his stories on the blog, modeled after the smart talking detective stories on the radio in the 1930s and 1940s. I wanted to put one of his stories with this photo but there were none about music.

  4. I love the photo and the diary extracts. It gives a real idea of what he was like.

  5. Love your post. One thing I find fascinating about such journal entries – seeing what each person chooses to put in, what they have taken from the day, what they've left out.

  6. I really enjoyed this. I can relate to thoughts of spring in January, and I've known some college students who sometimes craved being out in the wilderness instead of in town studying.

  7. A couple things came to my mind when I read this post — and similarities with my family. 1) The photo is a classic. The piano is similar to a Steinway upright we had originally a player, till my mom allowed some tuner to talk her into pulling out the guts! Boy! Was my dad mad! 2) My mom played the cello — in high school, then later in life with a local college orchestra. 3) The diary you show here was a classic from the thirties. My mom wrote in one and so did my dad! Does yours have "wise" aphorisms at the bottom from famous people, like Lincoln, Marcus Aurelius, and others? They were inspirational.

  8. What a great post! It brings back memories. I played the cello for a couple of years in high school. It is such a beautiful instrument. I love the diary, too. I don't often see posts that include diary entries from men — and yet Linda said her Dad had one.

  9. Oh I am glad my prompt was a musical one because it brought forth this seam of gold. I had missed the diary on your other blog so I have taken back-bearings and will return for more later. It makes me want to start writing a diary immediately (but I suppose that is what a blog is)

  10. It is interesting reading his Henry's old journal. Some of the things are mysteries to us now because he didn't explain them, but then he probably didn't expect anyone to read his journal 75 years later.

  11. Linda, this journal doesn't have the quotes. At the bottom of each page there are historical events for that day. "February 17-1867-First ship passed through the Suez Canal." etc.

    Postcardy, you're probably right about explaining. When I first posted the diary entries I did post several explanations. Some of it I recognize because I had heard stories about the people and some of the places and events before.

    Alan, glad you will be back. Only thing about a blog as opposed to a diary is that you don't have the person's handwriting and they may censor more and add other things because they are writing for an audience.

    Who knew so many people played the cello at some time in their lives? One of my daughters has Henry's cello now. She has taken some lessons but doesn't have time to study as she'd like to. Maybe some day though.

  12. The personal diary is a treasure to have – they give such insight into what was important in someone's everyday life. Thanks for sharting these entries and the photograph.

  13. A treasured photo and great story. As a onetime diarist I believe that many diaries are not meant for public reading or even personal reading later in life, but just a way of fixing the memory by the physical acting of writing. List making or aide memoire. I'm not at all sure that typing accomplishes the same thing as moving a pen across page.

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