Sunday, July 28, 2013

Life Inside the McCleery Home at 317 South Arlington Avenue

The McCleery family dwelled at 317 South Arlington Avenue from 1944 to 1957.  Lee McCleery worked for decades at International Harvester Corporation and even continued to do so after losing a leg in an accident at the plant.  Jane McCleery stayed at home and raised their three children. The McCleerys were members of a non-denominational church. It was a small congregation and they met in various homes throughout Irvington.  The McCleerys frequently hosted services in their living room on Arlington and later on Beechwood.  These candid photographs, taken in the 1950s, reveal much about the lives of this interesting family.  For those of us who dwell in older homes, these images are a goldmine of information.


In the top photo, the McCleerys hosted a family reunion in the spring of 1956.  Mr. McCleery sat at the head of the table flanked by his daughter Wilda Lee and son Chuck. Behind them rested a beautiful hutch.  It would later be painted white. Many home furnishing magazines in the 1950s encouraged people to paint over those darkly stained pieces of furniture and the woodwork in the house as well.

Proud sister:  Joyce McCleery entered this world in 1955.  In this lovely photograph, her older sister Wilda Lee proudly posed with her new sibling.  Behind the girls, you can see the decorations done by Mrs. McCleery....the floral curtains, dainty lamps.  You can also see a portrait of Mr. McCleery on the table.

Breakfast in the kitchen:  Morning breakfast shows a young Chuck McCleery in 1953 having his daily cereal with his Aunt Awilda.  A geranium had been placed on the table by Mrs. McCleery.  You will note that the McCleerys had a modern refrigerator instead of an ice box. Of course, the large clunker took up much space in the modest kitchen. Mr. McCleery installed the metal cabinets.  

In the Living Room:  Joyce McCleery was frequently the subject of photographs by both her parents and her older sister.  In this image, she sat in a small chair in the living room in 1956.  Near her sat a balloon so perhaps it was a birthday celebration.  Books rested on built-shelves behind her.  

Heading Out:  Joyce McCleery was clad for a cool day in a new dress. She stood at the ready for her departure.  Near her on the round table, sat a photograph of her older sister Wilda Lee.  Note the mid-century carpet on the floor.  

These historic images are courtesy of Chuck McCleery.   

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