The Cherry Tree – 1934

In tree 1934
Doris Graham

My mother in the spring of 1934 standing on a box by the cherry tree in the backyard.

Mershell C Graham picking cherries.

I’m not sure what kind of cherries these were, but here is a picture of my grandfather picking cherries the year before. If they were pie cherries, I’m sure my grandmother made pies. There was also an apple tree, a garden and chickens in their Detroit backyard.

With the chickens Mershell, Fannie and Doris.
Spring 1934. Mary V, mother, Bonzo and Doris .

My aunt Mary Vee was 13 years old. My grandmother Fannie was 46. My mother Doris was 11. Bonzo was five years old. It looks like they are just back from church service at Plymouth Congregational Church.

In 1934 they got their first car, a model A named “Lizzie”, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. My grandfather worked as a stock keeper at the Ford Motor Company Rouge Plant. My grandmother didn’t work outside of the home. Mary Vee attended Eastern high school and Doris attended Barber Intermediate school.

I remember a summer in the 1990s when my husband worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation. One year they were building Highway 31 from Pentwater to Ludington. The route went through some orchards which were doomed to be bulldozed. One July weekend we went and picked so many cherries! There were red and black and yellow and they were fully ripe. We went a few times. Never have we eaten so many cherries. So delicious and so sad the trees were destroyed.

P – PLYMOUTH Congregational Church – 1928


18 thoughts on “The Cherry Tree – 1934

  1. These are great memories, and especially the one where you all got the cherries off the trees that were marked for demolition! I admit I’ve only been in one cherry tree in my life…at a camp ground in the mountains of Utah. It was a big surprise to get them for a desert.

  2. I remember those cherries ???? from the doomed trees! In my memory we had the veggie drawer at the bottom of the refrigerator full of cherries. They are one of my favorite fruits but only available for a short window. Love seeing Fannie at my age too. None of us have such productive backyards now

    1. Yes! We filled up the big metal bowl, bags, everything we could. I never had so many cherries before nor since.
      I didn’t realized Nannie was the same age as you in the photo until you mentioned it!

  3. I remember when we had a cherry tree! It was wonderful when we’d pick and mom made that beautiful cherry pie!

    1. We had a sour cherry tree when we lived in Mississippi. The chickens used to roost in it and one day it just fell over!

  4. Whoever took that first photo wanted your mother with the cherry blossoms. I love old black and white photos, but the beautiful flowers our family wanted to preserve just can’t convey their beauty.

  5. What a shame that highway route took it through the cherry trees. I cringed a little at the thought – thinking about the price we pay for a bag of cherries in the supermarket these days. I like them & nibble on a few, but my husband gorges on them. I keep telling him to slow down because they aren’tcheap! He does for a while, but the next thing I know they’re all gone & he’s written “cherries” on the new shopping list! (sigh)

    1. I wonder what the farmer got for losing that orchard. Cherries are a pretty good addiction, could be worse! And more expensive.

  6. A good choice for our UP theme and the tentative start of spring in at least some parts of the country. It happens that this weekend here in Asheville NC the cheery cherry trees (bird cherry mostly) are just coming into flower in my neighborhood. Unfortunately the power company has come through last week and taken down a few that had been standing for maybe 100 years. It disturbs the order when such tree butchery hacks at branches and kills trees.

    Long ago when visiting a state park in South Carolina we learned that Bing cherry trees were common along railroad tracks because they were a popular treat on the old style passenger trains where folks would step onto the open rear platform of the last car to dispose of the cherry pits.

    1. I don’t think our cherry trees are out yet. I do see the wisteria is blooming though. Interesting about the train and cherry trees.

  7. Great memories of cherry trees. My grandparents had one cherry tree in their garden but already in my childhood that was rather old and did not give much fruit any more. Can’t recall ever seeing anyone climbing it to pick berries, or my grandmother making anything from them. (They had plenty of other fruit trees and berry bushes.)

    1. When we first moved to the house we are in now, there were lots of bushes (still are) and I was hopeful that some of them would be berry bushes. Unfortunately none of them were. They are all invasives and just keep spreading wherever they can with nothing edible on them.

  8. There’s a charm to old B/W photos that no amount of colour prints can replicate. I understand they last longer than colour photos too. That first one with the cherry blossoms is just sublime.

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