Tag Archives: #St John’s Congregational Church

“K” is for King Street

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Click on the link to see links to posts by other participants in this challenge.  It’s too bad the streets in my life weren’t alphabetically and chronologically coordinated because the years are all out of order. Here we go back to the beginning and my first home – 210 King Street.

Past over present. My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, is standing on the proch.

 My father became pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield Massachusetts in the fall of 1945.  The parsonage at 210 King Street is pictured above. This is the house I came home to when I was born in 1946. I was the first child of Rev. Albert B. Cleage and Doris Graham Cleage. We moved from King street before my sister Pearl was born in December of 1948. I was 2 years old and I don’t have clear memories of the house. I found the description below online.

I was born around 10 PM during a thunderstorm. That’s what I heard.
Me and my mother. Photo by my father.

1947 – on the steps with my mother. What is she holding that I am so excited about?

1948 – I spent a lot of time cooking. This is from the crumpling pages of an album my father kept. He wrote captions on most of the photographs. I have scanned the pages that are left. The photographs are fine but the pages are not.

My father and his congregation were involved in a church fight at this point. A former Minister had separated most of the churches property from the control of the church when he retired. My father and members of the church were trying to get it back or get the church compensated. Before my sister was born, they did sell the Parsonage and we moved into the Parish house. It was right next to the church and we lived in 4 room (plus bathroom) on the first floor, along with church offices, a big meeting room and I don’t know what else. There were roomers on the second floor.  In 1948 they were trying to get $7,500 for the house. Today it is selling for $47,000. From reviews the neighborhood is crime ridden and drug infested so I don’t know if they will get that or if that is a low price for a 100+ year old house in that neighborhood of Springfield.

My parents spent $8 a week for ice before they, with help from my grandparents, were able to purchase a refrigerator.

My mother describes the purchase of the new GE refrigerator in a letter to her in-laws below. She says that I am completely recovered. In an earlier letter she described my bout with roseola.

I don’t know if these are the refrigerators my mother and I saw that day in 1948 but they were both 1948 models. The one I remember had one door, like the Philco.

The refrigerator was still working fine in 1962. My mother standing in front of it 14 years later.

Moving – Springfield to Detroit 1951

I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and lived there until I was almost 5.  We moved in April of 1951 when my father got a church in Detroit, Michigan. Here we are on moving day, my sister and I, with two little girls I knew then but I don’t remember their names.  I have a photo of the oldest girl, my sister and myself, standing on the parsonage porch.  I also have a memory of the oldest girl pouring milk in my dinner, which I wasn’t going to eat anyway, but still… we were sitting at the little table in our room eating. My mother said if I’d eaten it in a timely fashion it wouldn’t have happened.  No sympathy there.  I remember another time when this little girl hit me and my mother told me if I didn’t hit her back, my mother was going to hit me.  I hit her back. Don’t remember that she ever hit me again.  

Me, sisters I cannot remember the names of, my sister Pearl

I saw them one more time, after we moved to Detroit.  In the winter of 1967 my father returned to Springfield to preach for the Men’s Club. I went with him. We also went to New York on this trip where I bought my first pair of bell bottom jeans.  My grandmother was so disappointed that I didn’t get a nice dress.  But that isn’t this story.  I remember the living quarters in the parsonage seemed so small on this trip.  Nobody was living in them at the time. I’m sure the next minister got the congregation to move him back into separate quarters. We stayed with the family of these two girls. I was 20 so they were probably 20 and 18.  The oldest one was going to a party.  Well, actually she wasn’t going to the party, she was going to meet her boyfriend  there and  they were going elsewhere.  Her father had forbidden her to see this boy.  I was never a big party person and I sure didn’t want to be left at a strange party with a bunch of strangers.  Needless to say, I didn’t go. The adults tried to persuade me that it would be “fun”. Ha. I didn’t give away her plan but I didn’t go.  Wish I could remember her name, I’d look her up on facebook and see what she remembers about any of this.

Past is Present – Springfield Massachusetts 1948 – 1950


Here are three combined photographs using Google Images with photographs of my family superimposed on them.  I am participating in World Photography Day on August 19, through the Family Curator website with these photos.

This a photograph of my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, standing on the porch of the parsonage at 210 King Street.  This was taken in 1946, Several months after I was born.
St. John’s Congregational Church on the corner of Union and Hancock Streets in Springfield, Mass. My father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr, is sitting on the porch. This was around 1948.
The last photo was taken on the Community house/parsonage that we lived in after the house on King Street was sold. I am on the left, a little girl from church is in the middle and my sister Pearl is on the right.  This was taken in 1950 soon before we moved to Detroit.