(52 Ancestors #22 – Commencement)
(52 Ancestors #12 – Same)
I’m told I look and act a lot like my aunt Sally. We all called her Auntie. I miss her so much sometimes it hurts.
Auntie was born January 30, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. In the 1940 census, she was aged 6 living at 2431 Bennett in Dearborn, Michigan. Her parents were Charles and Helen (Oakes) Wilson. Her brother, Charles, was 4. My mother Mary was born in 1942. She went to high school at Dearborn High School, when it was located at Mason and Garrison Streets. She graduated in 1952.
She secretly married Melvin Jones on July 4, 1960. Then, on July 16, she served as my mother’s maid of honor, still keeping the secret!
It must have been hard, this interracial marriage in 1960. She loved him so much and after Uncle Melvin’s death in 1995 she kind of drifted away until she had to be placed in a nursing home because of dementia.
This is how I will remember her, long hair (which Melvin loved and she never cut until he died), rosy cheeks, loving arms. Oh dear, I’m about to cry writing this.
Auntie died July 9, 2009 at the age of 75.
(52 Ancestors #2 – No Theme)
Melvin Jones was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 5, 1926 to Charles and Marjorie (Saunders) Jones. His parents had been married in Mississippi and moved around between Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. Melvin was the third of eight children.
In a letter from Marjorie’s mother, Emma Saunders, dated December 15, 1929 from Vicksburg, Mississippi, Emma says, “Your uncle Clarence and my cousin Joe Reed has killed a many cat. Your papa says all boys will kill cats.” Emma then tells a story about what her sister Grace once did to a cat. She concludes that section with, “So I guess that is where Melvin got killing cats.” Yikes! What kind of boy kills cats at the age of 3?
Anyway, in 1930, the family, including Charles, Marjorie, little Marjorie, Melvin, Earl and Gwendolyn lived on Milford Avenue in Detroit and Charles was a real estate agent. In the 1940 census, the family lived in Chicago on South Park Avenue. Four more children had been born to Charles and Marjorie (Donald, Adelbert, Jacquelyn, and Vaughan).
Melvin married and had a daughter. He and his wife divorced. Melvin and my Aunt Sally Wilson married on July 4, 1960. Sally kept the marriage hidden from her family until after my parents’ own wedding on July 16, 1960, in which Sally was the maid of honor (see page header; Sally is to the right of the bride, my mother Mary).
Uncle Melvin worked at the Chrysler Tank Plant in Detroit and was very active in the UAW Region 1B. He and Aunt Sally took many trips to the conventions around the country.
After retirement, Uncle Melvin and Aunt Sally moved from Detroit to Williamston, Michigan. He died July 15, 1995. Aunt Sally died July 9, 2009.