Category Archives: sepia saturday

Mary Vee On A Bike

Fan & Mary Virginia 8 months 12/12/20
The weather was warm for December

On a Sunday in December, when my aunt Mary Virginia was eight months old, my grandmother held her on a tricycle for a photo opp.

The baby doesn’t look very happy about it. She looks cold, or terrified.Even though the weather called for rain instead of snow which made it rather warm for Detroit, I imagine it was still pretty cold.

I don’t know if the tricycle was an early Christmas gift or if it belonged to another child, a friend of the family because Mary Vee was the first and oldest child of my grandparents, Fannie and Mershell Graham.

Another photograph with a story I don’t know.

This is not the first time Bicycles have been a sepia Saturday prompt. Here are some of my past responses:

Biking at Old Plank Road, 1962
Girl On A Bike -Sepia Saturday #162
Buffalo Soldiers on Bicycles
Girls Riding a Bike, From the Porch of 5397 Oregon, 1962

Click to see other Sepia Saturday posts

A Buggy, A Visitor and a Mystery – 1950

The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 04, 1947 · Page 13

We were living in Springfield, Massachusetts where my father was the pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church.

One cool day in 1950 my little sister Pearl and I were playing with our dolls and buggy in the back yard. Perhaps it was one of those in the advertisement to the left.

I was four. Pearl was about 18 months. An older girl appears on the scene. I do not remember who she was. A neighbor? The child of a church member? No idea.

Me and my doll.
Pearl joins me.
Showing the guest my doll.
The guest looks suspicious while I explain things and Pearl looks on.
Uh oh!
Pearl is pointing at something in the guest’s hand. Are my fists balled up? My doll watches
Looking for …

For more posts about me and my family in 1950 go to this link- My family in 1950

For more Sepia Saturday posts, click picture

Riding the Clairmount Bus – 1969

Oddly enough, I do not have any personal photographs of buses. I do have an ancient journal entry chronicling a very bizarre bus ride I took in Detroit down Joy Road on the Clairmount bus in 1969. I had just graduated from Wayne State in December of 1968 and I was enjoying my freedom. I was living in my own apartment and working at the Black Star Clothing Factory. My cousin Barbara was living in New York City, the East Village. at the time and I was plotting and planning a visit with her. I did make it later that summer. I turned 23 that August.

Kristin and Barbara 1969, at her sister Dee Dee’s house.

I didn’t capitalize anything in the journal so I just left it like that.

journal entry

June 25, 1969

I don’t know what is going on, it isn’t good though. i was leaving friday for new york, but i don’t think so soon. i need a bit more time (for what?) i been listening to new leonard cohen record.  two days over and over at first it was tired, but now i really like it, after the old revolution, i liked best the partisan song about coming out the shadows. i am so sleepy .

everybody is mad/crazy, and i really don’t understand at all. i need pearl’s youth card so that I can leave, go to NYC.

 yesterday on the way to a photo show, I was on the clairmont bus on joy rd.  the driver was crazy, he acted like he was taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, he was weaving the bus in and out between cars.  that was bad enough – old ladies rocking, weaving and falling, when suddenly a red light backs up traffic, or just stops it. he pulls belligerently into the lane of oncoming traffic (which lucky for us was empty at the time) and raced two blocks in the wrong lane to pull and bully his way in front of some poor car when the light changed. I was cracking up. the people weren’t, just me.  I couldn’t control myself laughing, mouth open etc. they probably thought I was crazy or something. so ridiculous, can’t even imagine a regular car doing that shit. I just don’t know, I really don’t. some lunatic jehovah’s witness knocked on the door to give me a bible study tract. says god’s kingdom is eminent. we should be so lucky.

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An “At Home” In Honor of Chicago Visitors

"At Home Eliza's descendents"
Hosts and guests posed for photograph. My mother, Doris Graham is the first on the far left. Her sister Mary V. is second from the right. Publisher James McCall is right in the middle.
"At Home Eliza's Descendants verso"
Verso of Photograph
From the Detroit Tribune

“This is not the picture of a family reunion, although all in the group, with the exception of one intimate friend, are relatives who stood in the receiving line or assisted otherwise at the “At Home” given Monday evening, December 26 from 6 to 9 o’clock, at the McCall’s residence on Parker avenue, the affair was in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Howard, of Chicago, brother and sister of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McCall and Mrs Robert F. Johnson, a sister, greeted guests at the door, while Miss Mary Virginia Graham, a cousin, acted as registrar. Mrs. Moses L. Walker, a sister, introduced the guests to the host and hostess, who in turn presented them to others in the receiving line – Dr. and Mrs. Howard, the honorees; Miss Victoria McCall, daughter; Miss Louise McCall, niece, of Chicago; and Miss Mignon Walker, also a niece. Mrs. William Hawthorn, a friend of the family, presided at the punch bowl, assisted by Miss Doris Graham, a cousin of the McCalls; and Miss Margaret McCall, a daughter. At the close of the reception, the principals and assistants stood together and were snapped by the camera. They are left to right: Doris Graham, Mignon Walker, Louise McCall, Victoria McCall, Dr. and Mrs J. E. McCall, Mrs. M. I. Walker, ( not named was Margaret McCall) Mrs R. F. Johnson, Mary Virginia Graham and Mrs. William Blackburn.”

The Detroit Tribune, Detroit, Michigan 31 Dec 1938, Sat  •  Page 5

The Detroit Tribune was published by James E. McCall and his wife, Margaret Walker McCall. He was also a poet and had lost his sight while attending college after having typhoid fever.

The links below take you to more information about various people in the photograph.

Victoria McCall interviews Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945
1940 Census – James and Margaret McCall and Family
James Edward McCall, Poet and Publisher 1880 – 1963
Interview With Mignon Walker Brown & 3 Hats
Otillia McCall Howard
Louise and Ronnie
Mary Virginia Graham – Social Reporter
Doris Graham, High School Senior – 1940
F – FAMILY, MY GRAHAMS in the 1920 Census
My Mother in the News

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The Cleages at home

My paternal grandparents Albert and Pearl (Reed) Cleage. Youngest daughter Anna in the background.

Albert and Pearl Cleage at home. This was a tiny photo, probably cut from a proof sheet my grandparents doesn’t have the best exposure.It was taken in the house on Scotten Avenue in Detroit, in the mid 1930s.

Anna Cleage with groceries and ice cream.

Here is a better photo of youngest daughter Anna holding a bag of groceries and eating an ice cream cone on her way into the house when one of her brothers stopped her to take a photo. I bet they didn’t offer to carry that bag in though.

Click above for more photos of couples with children or anything really.

Theresa With Roses

“A Merry Xmas to you all. Here are some roses for your parting of 1915. Your little niece, Theresa P Reed. Age 1 yr. 9 months Dec. 1915.”

I had this colorized at MyHeritage in Color. The first on on the left is the one they colorized. The one in the middle is the original photograph with the flowers colorized by me. The one on the right is the MyHeritage colorization after I recolored the roses.


Theresa Pearl was born in March 10, 1913 in Indianapolis Indiana. She was the third child of Hugh and Blanche Celeste Reed. Hugh was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s brother

Theresa’s middle name, Pearl, was after my grandmother, Pearl.   That is probably why there are more photographs of her in the family photo collection than any of the other children. 

By 1928 the family had moved to Los Angeles, California where Hugh changed the family name to Averette (his father’s last name) and they began passing for white. In 1930 Theresa was a 17 year old student living with her family in Los Angeles California. She was identified by her nickname “Tut”. 1932 Theresa married Bennett Shaffer. Both of them had completed 2 years of college. Their daughter, Betty Jeanne, was born in 1934. Their son, Bennett Shaffer Junior, was born in 1935. The family lived in Los Angeles.

In 1940 Theresa and her family were lived in Glendale, California. Theresa and her husband, Bennett, were both 27 years old.  Bennett worked as distribution manager for a daily newspaper. Six year old Betty Jeanne was attending school. Bennett was only four and too young for school.

Theresa Pearl Averret Shaffer died in 1941 at age 28. She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Bennett died the following year.

Cousins on the Running Board

Cousins Annie Lee Pope Gilmer & Jeanette McCall McEwan and sons. The boys are Charles E Gilmer, Robert and Raymond McEwen. Photo taken 1923.

From the drafts file.

Annie Lee Pope and Jeanette McCall were first cousins born in Montgomery, Alabama. They were daughters of the oldest and youngest daughters of Eliza, for whom this blog is named.

Annie Lee Pope and her twin brother Charles were born January 31, 1902 in Montgomery, Alabama. She was one of the set of twins born to Robert and Beulah (Allen) Pope. Their younger, Robert Pope was born seven years later. Her father Robert Pope completed four years of college and worked as a clerk and a porter through the years at a wholesale drug business. Her mother Beulah was a seamstress.

Annie Lee completed two years at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi In 1921 at 19 she married Ludie Thaniel Gilmer, in Chicago. Perhaps she was visiting Jeanette. Soon afterwards he became a physician. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where their son, Charles E. Gilmer born in 1922. Annie Lee did not work outside of the home.

Jeanette was born on February 18, 1897 in Montgomery, Alabama. She was the youngest of the six children of Edward and Mary (Allen) McCall.  Her oldest brother, James McCall was the blind poet in She was owned before the war by…. Her father, Edward McCall, was the cook and turn-key at the city jail. Her mother, Mary Allen McCall, was a seamstress.  Jeanette attended Alabama State Normal school, a primary through high school for African Americans in Montgomery that all of her siblings and cousins attended.

Jeanette also attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi and met her husband, Robert Anderson McEwen there.  Robert and Jeanette were married on 8 April 1918, in Iowa while he was in the service. In the 1920 census they were living in Chicago as roomers.  On January 2, 1920 she gave birth to her first son, Robert Jr.  Robert Sr. worked at the post office.  By the time their second son, Raymond, was born  on December 16, 1923, Robert was a dental student.  Jeanette did not work outside of the home.

By 1929 Robert was a dentist.  Jeanette died December 22, 1931 of influenza, exacerbated by consumption. You may see another photograph of Jeanette here.  Robert remarried before 1938 to Ethel Martha Goins. She was his nurse during his hospitalization at the end of his life. He died of a heart attack on June 29, 1938.  

Click for more faces in search of a backstory.

Louis Cleage in Physics Class – 1931

Louis Cleage is at the front right desk on the far right. From the Northwestern High School Yearbook for 1931.
Description of the above photo in the yearbook.

In 1931 my uncle Louis J. Cleage was a senior at Northwestern High School in Detroit, Michigan. He was the second of the seven children of Dr. Albert B. and Pearl (Reed) Cleage. He graduated cum laud and went on to become a family doctor in his father’s practice. Years later he became a ham radio operator.

My uncle Louis Cleage with his ham radio. I can still hear him giving his handle – W8A(ble)F(ox)M(ary).

You can read more about Louis in this post and there are links there to even more posts! L – Louis Cleage

Woodworking Class, Rastrick Grammar School, 1950 (Sepia Saturday 613) Click photo for more Sepia Saturday Posts.

Mothers and Daughters

"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Fannie, Jennie (mother) Alice. Daisy standing.

Jennie Virginia Allen Turner was my maternal grandmother’s mother and Eliza’s daughter. This photo was taken about 1918, before my grandmother Fannie, married my grandfather. They lived in Montgomery, Alabama.

Jennie was a widow and was a seamstress, working for herself. Fannie managed her Uncle Victor Tulane’s grocery store. Daisy was a teacher and Alice was at home.

After her marriage my grandmother moved to Detroit with her new husband, Mershell C. Graham. Several years later, the rest of the family joined them.

My mother Doris Graham Cleage with my sister Pearl and me. About 1952. Detroit, Michigan

Graham-Turner Wedding
Jennie Virginia Allen Turner

Daisy Turner
Tulane’s Groceries

Sepia Saturday Prompt : Victorian Woman And Her Daughters Click for more sepia saturday poxts.

Unidentified Man With Car

Unidentified man with car. I think 1940s.
My mother Doris Graham and friend Constance Stowers.

This unlabeled photograph was found in my Graham grandparent’s photographs. It shows a young man standing in front of my grandparent’s house by a car, which may be their car. The background house is the same one in the photograph of my mother and her friend.

Although I believed this to be Caruso Martin, my mother’s second cousin because I thought he looksed like little Caruso in the photo below. I just received an email from a Martin/Martino descendant who informs me that based on having met Caruso, who was his cousin, he does not think that this mystery man is him. So, back to being an unidentified man with a car again. Oh well, those unidentified photos are so frustrating and now I’m wondering if when I think I’ve finally identified them, I actually haven’t. It was nice to meet a cousin through my blog at any rate!

In 1940 Caruso was living with his mother, his stepfather and three step-brothers in Detroit. His mother was born in Alabama and had four years of high school. She did not work outside of the home. His stepfather was born in Italy and had had no schooling. He worked as a machine repairman at an auto manufacturer. His income during the previous year was $2,000.

All of the young people in the house had been born in the United States and gone through the 8th grade. The oldest son was 24 and married. He worked as a garage man at the City Water Co. He earned $1040. His wife did not work outside of the home. The second son was 21 and unemployed, and had been unemployed all year.

Caruso was 19 and worked as a linen folder in a linen supply company. He had worked 52 weeks during the past year and earned $1,000. His 19 year old step-brother worked at the same place and made $988 during the previous 23 weeks.

Annabelle and Caruso were listed as “Negro”. The Champine’s were listed as “white”. Annabelle McCall Champine, Caruso’s mother, was the person who gave the information to the census taker.

Annie Belle McCall Martin with youngest son Caruso in front. Her cousin, my grandmother Fannie Graham holding son Mershell. Two of Annie Belle’s daughters, my grandfather Mershell Graham. In front my aunt Mary V. Graham. Photo taken in Detroit about 1923.

Below are two sad stories about the Martin family in 1923, when the husband and father died of typhoid while on a musical family trip from Florida to their home in Lima, Ohio.


Their Mother Returns From a Business Trip to Ohio- Children Were Jumpint to a Conclusion That She Had Deserted Sick Husband – Bible Classes Make Contribution.

The Martinos are happy again- as happy as a family can be when their father lies seriously ill. Their mother came back to them yesterday afternoon and Welfare Officer W. W. Holland and a group of representative Statesville women who heard her story today at his office are convinced that the children were jumping to a conclusion when they assumed she had deserted them and her sick husband for another man. “When I heard how well-bred the children were, I knew their mother was the right kind of woman,” remarked one of the group. “I wasn’t ready to believe the story about her.”

The trouble came about in this way, Mrs. Martino stated. Jeff her son by a former marriage, couldn’t get along with the Martino boys, sons of her husband by his first marriage. When they got into trouble, she could not side against her own son, she remarked; he was as much hers as the other children. Matters came to a head when her husband gave Jeff a whipping and put him outside to ride on a fender – they travel from place to place in their truck.

The only way out, she decided, was to take her son to her mother. This she did, pawning two of her rings in Salisbury to buy tickets to their home in LIma, O. She had no idea of going off with their manager, she said: and that she left Salisbury the same day she left her family, leaving him there. “He was nothing but a spendthrift,” she said; “I would have been ambitious – a mother of children – to have gone off with him, wouldn’t I?”

Letters have passed between her husband and herself since she went away. At Lima, where they are paying on a home, she planted her garden and wrote to her husband asking him to bring the children there, she said. She wanted to quit the road anyway, as it no longer agreed with her. Mrs. Martino gives the impression of being a thoroughly good woman and the children were more than glad to have her back again. The The other two children she took with her to Lima returned with her.

Yesterday morning the five children who were here played several sacred selections at the Men’s Bible class of the Broad Street Methodist church. Mr. Holland related their story. The members contributed #91 to a fund for their benefit. Contributions from another class brought up the total to $104. Their father remains seriously ill at the Davis Hospital with typhoid, though reported slightly better today.

Note: In 1923, Anna Belle’s mother, Mary Allen McCall lived in Detroit. Perhaps the photo taken above with my grandparents was taken during this trip to drop off her oldest son. The youngest three children are in the picture and they accompanied her.


Death Claims E. N. Martino

Father of Italian Children Emcamped at Court House Passes Away After Protacted Illness.

Mr. E. N.. Martino died died Monday at Davis Hospital, after a protracted illness. He was brought here some weeks since from Mooresville, where he had stopped with his family in their journey by truck from Florida to his home in LIma, Ohio. At one time he had rallied to treatment an his recovery was anticipated. He was 56 years old. The funeral service and interment were at Oakwood cemetery Tuesday at 4 o’clock with Rev. John W. Moore officiating.

Surviving are the widow and eight children, all but one here with her, encamped by their truck on the north side of the court house. They are Napier, Estill, Anna Maria, Eddie, Geneva, Thelma and Caruso, three years old. The oldest son is 1. Mrs. Martino plans to leave for for Lima, where they are paying on a home, next week.


For more about the Martin family, including photos, click these links
Oh, Dry Those Tears! (1901)
The Midget Band
More About Annabell’s Family

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