I first shared these photographs 5 years ago. Time to bring it back.
When I finished writing up this post, I googled Northwestern High School and found the following statement in an online article from 2011 about school closures in Detroit:
“The academic program at Northwestern High School will close and the Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School program will relocate from the east wing of Northwestern into the main academic part of the facility. Because of the importance of the Northwestern name to DPS and the community, this new program will be called Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern.”
So, like so many other places of importance in my early life in Detroit, Northwestern High is no more. The original building was replaced in 1980 and the school was closed in 2011. So many of my family attended high school at Northwestern, some just for a year or two. Here is something about those who graduated, starting with Alberta Cleage in 1927 and ending with my sister Pearl in 1966.
Click on any image to enlarge.
Cousin Alberta Cleage, my grandfather’s brother Edward’s daughter, came up from Athens Tennessee to stay with her Uncle Albert and his family and graduated from Northwestern High School in 1927.
My uncle Louis Cleage graduated Cum Laude in 1931 and appeared in a picture of the physics lab, right there lower right, first desk. Advertisements for his medical practice appeared in the Norwester in 1941 and 1942.
Henry Cleage appears in a photograph of the orchestra in 1933 and as a graduating senior in 1934. He is in the back row, 4th from the left with his cello.
My uncle Hugh Cleage graduated in 1936, unfortunately that yearbook is missing.
My aunt Barbara Cleage graduated in summer school in August of 1938
My aunt Gladys Cleage graduated in 1939. In the photo on the right Gladys is standing in front of the back steps. You can see Henry over her right shoulder. Not sure who the other two are but my grandmother Pearl is looking through the screen door.
My cousin Geraldine Cleage, Uncle Henry Cleage’s daughter graduated in 1940. They lived a few blocks from my grandparent’s house on Scotten.
Anna Cleage graduated from Northwestern in 1942 and appeared in the Norwester and in 1947 in the yearbook when she graduated from Wayne State University.
I, Kristin Cleage, graduated from Northwestern in 1964.
That is me in the middle, 2nd row. I pretty much looked like that throughout my high school career. I did not take a senior photo and didn’t plan to go to my graduation, but did end up going. Do not remember a thing about it.
My sister Pearl Cleage graduated from Northwestern in 1966.
Pearl gave the valedictorian speech at her graduation. Jim advised her to speak out against the war in Vietnam. She was horrified at the thought and regrets now that she did not do it.
Several family members attended Northwestern for part of their four year high school career and then transferred to other schools. Some were Ruth Cleage, Shelton Hill, Ernest Martin and Betty Floyd.
This is the second batch of photographs fulfilling missed prompts for Sepia Saturday 47 – 200. With this I have answered every prompt since I began with #47.
My father and his siblings with other children at The Meadows. About 1930. In the first row, L > R Henry, Barbara, Gladys and Anna Cleage. In the second row also L >R, Albert Jr, Louis and Hugh Cleage. Unfortunately, I do not know the other children’s names.
My grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham all dressed up for church by her back steps. I wonder what that box in the kitchen window was. I found that there were “window refrigerators” in use during the depression. You can see one here “LawCo vintage Window Refrigerator“. Or even better, here “Window Icebox, A Money Saver.” Herb Mandel describes using one as a boy.
My uncle Hugh Cleage standing by the sound car he rigged up for the 1962 Congressional election in Detroit. My Aunt Gladys, my sister and I spent hours in that car riding through our community. “Make your children proud. Vote for Frederick Yates, a Negro in the 15th District…” One of us would ride in the car reciting as Gladys drove down the street while the other would leaflet the houses. My sister and I were both in high school. I would turn 15 in August 1962. My cousin Jan sometimes rode with us but she was too young to man the mic.
Below are 4 pages from 2 issues of the Illustrated News put out before the election. Click to enlarge. Diggs was re-elected but none of our other candidates won.
I have used some of this information before but the photographs are all first timers.
These photographs were taken at “The Meadows” near Capac, St Clair County, Michigan around 1939.
My Aunt Gladys remembers that her father Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr and a bunch of fellow doctors bought it. It was to be a place where everyone could get away and the kids could meet and play… big house on the property with a porch that wrapped around 2/3 of the house… dances on the porches… near Capac Michigan… they sold it later. She kind of remembers parties on the porch… a getaway other than the Boule or Idlewild … her brothers and their friends spending a couple weeks at the meadows during the summer and brother Louis packing the provisions.
Some entries about the Meadows from Hugh’s brother Henry’s diary, several years earlier in 1936.
August 29 Meadows
Arrived at meadows at about 7:30 (getting dark) Had seen Velma before I left – I have her ring now – after had gotten our trunk in – we went down to creek – other’s brought some wood up and started a fire – I stayed down watching the creek and the farm – as it was dark they worried and came and got me.
August 30 Meadows
Sunday Richard’s club gave a picnic – we played ball off and on all day. Daddy came out and brought Bobby – wrote two letters – Velma and Carolyn. Bobby deliver them.
Last night when the others were in bed Morrow, George, Paul, Hugh and I sat around camp fire and sang – Nice but a little chilly (Benard’s parents came out)
August 31 Meadows
After breakfast some of us went swimming – after that we all worked on a raft till dinner – chopped heavy logs from a fallen tree – tied together with grape vines and barrel wire – after dinner went & christened it “Frogy Bottom” & launched it – it immediately sank – logs were too heavy – were we mortified – the same group sat around the campfire again sang after dark.
September 1 Meadows
“Gee! but I’m blue, and so lonely, I don’t know what to do, but dream of you!” (a song I like to sing out here)
Boys are playing horse shoes just after dinner – we fished and swam today – George caught a pretty large bass and I, trying to throw him across river to Morocco – threw him in.
I like to get on the hill and look down towards the creek in the evening and watch – The other nite I was there, Morocco, George, Hugh and Benard were chopping wood. Louis and Paul were sitting further down the hill with their arms full of wood – It was almost nite – The faint light from the west gave the scene a surreal quality – The grass uneven, the rolling land, the giant trees, the creek, all outlined in this light and the boys too reminded me of an illustration in the book “Tom Browns School Days.”
Unfortunately Warren was not reading the Saturday Evening Post in this photo, he is reading a Mad Magazine. For several years I remember copies being around the house. Such a crazy magazine.
By searching online I was able to find a copy of the cover of this issue. It is dated October 1962. The copy in the picture above looks pretty new. Everybody seems to be wearing cool weather clothes so it could well be October of 1962. Warren and Pearl were both high school freshman in 1962. Hugh was printer/owner of Cleage Printers.
Old Plank was the farm house on two acreas that my family owned near Wixom, Michigan. We spent as much time as we could there and were often joined by other family members who also made the short drive from Detroit.
You can read more about Old Plank in these posts:
Because my family seemed to socialized mainly with each other and a few long time family friends, I saw a lot of my aunts and uncles. When I was growing up, we spent every Saturday with my mother’s sister, Mary V. and her daughters at our maternal grandparents. We all rode over and back together. We also lived down the street and went to the same school so we saw her often.
My father’s family was very close and worked on political and freedom causes together through the years. We all went up to Idlewild together. Uncle Louis was our family doctor. My first jobs were working with Henry and Hugh at Cleage Printers. I babysat one summer for Anna and Winslow. I worked at North Detroit General Hospital in the pharmacy with Winslow. I worked with Gladys and Barbara at the Black Star sewing factory. My mother married my Uncle Henry years after my parents divorced so he was like a second father to me. I raked their memories for stories about the past for decades.
I had 4 aunts and 5 uncles, by blood. Two of my uncles died when they were children so I never knew them. All of my aunts married so there were 4 uncles by marriage. Three, Ernest, Frank and Edward, were eventually divorced from my aunts. I didn’t see them very much after that. Ernest lived in NYC and only appeared now and then so I didn’t know him very well beyond the fact he was very good looking and polite. Uncle Frank, who we called ‘Buddy’, was a an electrician. I remember him taking us to Eastern Market and boiling up a lot of shrimp,which we ate on soda crackers. And a story he told about a whirling dervish seen in the distance that turned into a dove. Edward, who we called Eddie was a doctor and I remember little about him except he was quiet and when I had a bad case of teenage acne, offered to treat it for me. Uncle Winslow was there to the end. I saw him often and I felt very connected to him. He had a wicked sense of humor and liked to talk about the past when I was in my family history mode. None of my uncles were married during my lifetime so I had no aunts by marriage.
We didn’t call our aunts and uncles “aunt” and “uncle”. We called them by their first names only. I did know two of my great aunts, my maternal grandmother’s sisters, Daisy and Alice. I knew one of my 2 X great aunts, Aunt Abbie. She lived with my grandparents until she died in 1966. Aunt Abbie was Catholic and I still have a Crucifix that she gave me.
I remember calling Daisy “Aunt Daisy”, but Alice was just “Alice”. Aunt Daisy had a distinctive voice and she laughed a lot. I remember going to dinner at their house once, and going by on holidays.
There were a host of great aunts and uncles that I never met but I knew from stories about them so that I felt like I knew them. Aunt Minnie and Uncle Hugh were my paternal grandmother’s siblings. I must have met several of my paternal grandfather’s siblings but I was small and don’t remember them, Uncle Jake, Uncle Henry, Aunt Josie and their spouses. And on the maternal side I heard so much about my great grandmother Jennie’s siblings that I felt I knew them too. When I started researching, these were not strangers – Aunt Willie, Aunt Mary, Aunt Beulah, Aunt Anna.
We didn’t call any of my parent’s friends ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’. Not surprising since we didn’t call our own aunts and uncles, ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’.
Back in the day, my uncles Hugh and Louis Cleage used to go up to Idlewild and ski. Sometimes my boy cousins got to go with them, but never any of the girls. It was a male bonding time, I guess. Anyway, we never did learn to ski, my sister and I, while the boy cousins became quite good at it. They sometimes went to Caberfae, a skiing resort very close to Idlewild. You can read about the history of Caberfae, with photographs, here Caberfae Peaks: 75 Years of Michigan Skiing.
My kids went cross country skiing there a few time. I wonder if I have any photos. Don’t seem to.
Getting ski’s on next to Louis’ cottage.