This is my tenth A to Z Challenge. My first was in 2013, but I missed 2021. This April I am going through the alphabet using snippets about my family through the generations. On Saturdays I’ve combined my usual Sepia Saturday post with the letter of the day. A double challenge.
My cousins Warren and Dale playing against my uncle Hugh Cleage and my mother at Old Plank. My family bought this house about half an hour from Detroit in 1961. There was talk of moving there year around, but it never happened. We also played one-base-baseball, rode bikes and had a large garden. We went up on weekends and for longer periods during the summer. We only owned 2 acres of the 40 acre farm, not including the barn. In 1967 a man bought the barn and started keeping chickens and pigs there, though he didn’t live on or near the property. The animals regularly escaped. The pigs dug up our garden and the chickens roosted on the porch. Before Henry and the man came to blows, they finally sold the house to him.
This is the 12th post in the February Photo Collage Festival, and the second post of six that will answer the question someone asked when I posted this photograph (follow the link to see it) – What happened to these kids? Today is the turn of Warren Cleage Evans, the birthday honoree in 1958. Warren has spent his working life in law enforcement. Before his retirement last year, he had been a member of the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff, Detroit Chief of Police and a candidate for Mayor of Detroit. He also has a law degree, 2 lovely daughters and 5 fantastic granddaughters. He still lives in the Detroit area and is now able to devote more time to his horses, antique cars and playing golf.
My personal favorite action by Sheriff Warren C. Evans was when he refused to accept “no” for an answer and took 9 truckloads of supplies and 33 deputies to help in the aftermath of Katrina. Here is an excerpt from the book The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina and Community Rebound by Emily Chamlee-Wright about that incident.
“One of the best examples of this voluntary initiative is what we call ‘tale of two sheriffs’: Sheriff Warren Evans of Wayne County, Michigan and Sheriff Dennis Randle of Carroll County, Indiana. Both sheriffs were eager to assist the hurricane victims, and both had control over the necessary resources. Sheriff Evans, on the one hand, ignored both FEMA and his governor’s instructions to wait for FEMA approval and went to New Orleans with nine truckloads of supplies and 33 deputies to help (Parker 2005). Sheriff Randle, on the other hand, followed procedure, was buried under mounds of FEMA paperwork, and faced an unnavigable approval process. He never made it to New Orleans (Phillips 2005)”
My cousin Warren always had a party on his December 30th birthday. All of the Cleage cousins gathered at his house where his mother, my aunt Gladys, made a punch of Vernor’s ginger ale with orange sherbert floating on top. There was ice cream, chips, party favors and of course, cake. His cake, shown below, looks like a product of Detroit Awrey’s Bakery. My cousin Jan corrected me and said it was probably a Sanders cake. Sanders also made cakes and the best chocolate miniatures ever. But I digress.
Because I count 11 candles on the cake, I’m going to say it was his 10th birthday which would make it 1958. The 11th candle would be 1 to grow on. There is no sign of his youngest brother who wasn’t born until July of 1959.
Unlike the Sepia Saturday prompt, there is no bus and no Santa in my photo but the people are sitting facing each other and it was taken during the 1950s.
Photos starting from the top left: Jim getting ready to blow out the flaming inferno that was the candles on the cake in 2002. Jim and Warren celebrating together at a surprise party in Idlewild about 1990. The cousins around the table to celebrate Cousin Warren’s (wearing the lai) birthday about 1958. That is me at the far end of the table. On the bottom row we have another table full of cousins (children of those in the previous photo) celebrating the combined party of Jim and Warren. Jim successfully blowing out all those candles. Last photo is Jim last year opening his gifts.
When I was growing up my cousin Warren celebrated his birthday with a family party after Christmas on December 30. There we cousins are on the upper right getting ready to eat cake. There was always punch, cake, ice cream and chips. Maybe hot dogs? Plus balloons and birthday presents. Being close to Christmas didn’t seem to impact his birthday. My sister Pearl’s birthday is December 7, which doesn’t seem that close to Christmas. We didn’t do parties but had a cake and she received presents just like I did for my august birthday.
My husband, Jim, comes from a family with 12 children. Three of them were born very close to Christmas. Milton was born on Christmas Eve, Catherine was born on Christmas day and my husband was born on December 30. He says everybody always had a birthday cake and nobody every got many birthday gifts so that wasn’t different. Over the years we’ve been together his birthday has become an important part of the Christmas celebratory season. We have cake, gifts, dinner, a gathering. Now that the children are grown, some with children of their own and most of us are in the same city we gather for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Jim’s Birthday, New Years Eve and New Years day. By January we are ready for a break!