Canals in Saint Clair Shores

(note: need to further edit this story since it’s not flowing the way it should.  need to add the pictures that go with this)

(boy, this was just going to be a post about some stupid canals in SCS, but, wow.)


Starting around 1966/67, my mom went back to work (having started working during WWII until ~1956 when she became pregnant with her first child, my brother), making the Williams family the only “dual-income” family on the street where I grew up. In the mid ‘70s, a new canal street was being built called Lavon (an eastward extension to the street we lived on, obviously much closer to the lake then we were at the time, living just two houses from Little Mack, as opposed to the Jefferson canal neighborhoods). I remember my dad wanting to build/buy a house on this new canal street and move the family there.


My dad came from a broken home, grew up poor (like everyone else) during the depression. Sometime, in his late twenties, early thirties, he figured out what he was good at, career-wise, and was making a pretty good income by the time he was in his forties. All of those things just mentioned, along with having the second income of my mom’s job (in an era when only one income was needed for a family of four), made my dad want to show “the world” (his family: his older brothers, his sister, his mom; his “friends” at church; his colleagues at work), how successful he had become. Buying/building a house on this new canal street was truly a big deal for him. I’m guessing this was probably one of his lifelong dreams – to say he owned a house “on the lake”.

(probably where my lifelong dream/goal came from.)

I’m unsure exactly when this happened, but it was somewhere around 1975, I’m guessing since my dad lost his job in 1974 due to the recession (but ended back on his feet several months later, making even more money than the job he lost). Or it could have been in 1973, prior to his job loss. Who knows?

Either way, sad to say, my mom did not want to leave her home of fifteen-twenty years. This was during the time, once people bought their first home, they stayed living there for “the rest of their lives” (or, until retirement, or maybe, after the kids left). My mom didn’t have this “need” of my dad’s, to show off. In fact, she was probably quite the opposite, now that I think about it. He was the extrovert, she was quite introverted. He was the salesman, she was the wall flower. She voted no. We stayed where we were.

Upon reflection while developing this post in my head, this episode, along with my dad’s (sexual) unhappiness in his marriage to my mom, probably/possibly was the reason he became unfaithful to my mom 2-3 yrs later, subsequently “abandoning” her (after 27 yrs of marriage), and his two college age children, “stealing” all the money from the combined (life) savings accounts, leaving my mom with no money/savings of her own, and buying a house in the Boston Edison neighborhood (of Detroit) with his new girlfriend, and putting ownership of his new house in his mother’s name.

(go figure)

Fortunately, my mom – in the subsequent divorce settlement – retained ownership of both the house I grew up in, but also, the house seven houses down the street from where we lived, that my parents bought for my maternal grandmother in 1971 (having moved her out of the inner city 4 yrs after the Detroit Riots).

I’m not sure who got the better end of the deal. I’m not even sure how long my dad stay with his new girlfriend, or how long he owned that house in the Boston Edison neighborhood, but he moved to one of the Carolinas at one point, and then moved to Florida where he spent his final/retirement years.

I do know, he eventually ended up having been married to four women (the first being my mom), before passing way a couple of yrs ago- but, that, in of itself (his subsequent various other marriages) is a completely other story…

(man, no wonder my own familial relationships are so screwed up. fuck me.)

Leave a Reply