Memories with Marjorie Sheldon
On January 23, 1912, just weeks before the celebration of the first service of the Church of St. Michael's and All Angels at Graham Chapel, one of our parish's oldest living members was born. This year, the church and Marjorie Sheldon celebrate their 100th birthdays.
Four generations of Marj's family attend The Church of St. Michael & St. George: Marj, her daughter and son-in-law Nick and Marian Clifford, grandson Charlie Clifford and his wife, Tara, and great-grandchildren Callie, Danika and Tristan.
Below Marj and Marian recount some of their favorite memories of their years at the church.
Watch video of Marj and Marian
When she began attending the church . . .
Marj: I think I was 6 or 8 years old. I went with two other girls along with my sister and they were Jean and Elsie Ford. Their grandmother's chauffeur would pick us up. I guess our families slept and they would take us to the church and I remember the automobile. We were all inside but the chauffeur was out in the open. I forgot what they called them. We would go to church and the Church School was in the basement. Of course it was St. Michael's and All Angels when I went to Sunday School there. I don't remember if all those houses were built on Ellenwood. It was a long time ago. I always loved that church. I think a minister named Dr. Norton, was there. He was such a nice man.
Marian: You were confirmed. And then you were married there to my father on February 9th, 1933. He had moved here from Utica, NY and he was Episcopalian.
Marj: Both of my husbands were Episcopalian, so that was a nice stroke of luck.
Marian: I have two older brothers, born in 1934 and 1936. I was born in 1941 and my sister was born in 1943. I remember us attending as a family; that was our church. I don't remember how old I was but St. Peter's was built recently out on Warson Road -- it had moved from Lindell and Spring. We grew up on Oakleigh Lane, which was very near there. I remember the family making a decision about switching to St. Peter's because it was so nearby or staying at St. Michael's. We decided we were going to stay. It was our church.
Marj: I'm glad we did.
Marian: They had an 8:00 service and the 9:30 was for kids and the 11 was for parents. That's kind of the way it worked. The streetcar tracks were all there.
Marj: Right up the middle of Wydown.
Rectors through the years . . .
Marj: When did Dr. Block come? He was the rector before Dr. Sant. But Dr. Block, we used to laugh and say he swallowed the dictionary. Whenever he gave a sermon there were so many words in it that none of us understood that we said he swallowed the dictionary. Then he moved up to be bishop I think in California. (The Rev. Dr. Karl Morgan Block served as rector from 1926 to 1938 when he became Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of California.)
Marian: It was Dr. Sant who was the rector when I was growing up there. All four children were baptized and confirmed and my sister and I were married there. And Mom's been married twice there.
Generations at St. Michael & St. George . . .
Marian: My brother, Torrey, and his wife, Georgie, lived here and they were very involved in St. Michael's.
Marj: Then they moved to Cleveland and became very involved with that church. Now that he's retired he lives in Naples, Florida and he's very involved in the church there.
Marian: It just speaks to the importance of the church because when my brother Torrey's wife died, he had a service at their church in Naples. He brought her ashes here to be buried in the family lot at Bellefontaine. Andrew did the burial and had a memorial service in St. George's Chapel for family as well as Torrey's friends who still lived here. So St. Michael's continued to be an important part of his life.
St. Michael's is just a part of our life. All three of our boys were baptized and confirmed at St. Michael's. All three went through the acolyte program. I was head of the Church School Board and in 1974 I started running the Sunday School program.
Involvement in the church . . .
Marj: I was busy with four children and part of the time was during the war. I was up at 5:30 in the morning to give Claire her bottle. With the laundry and everything we didn't have any help and it was four children to raise.
Marian: Now my father, he was on the Vestry and he was an usher.
Marj: Yes, he was such a good man. The church was wonderful when your father died. Really good.
Memories . . .
Marian: There was a Glaser's Drug Store up at the corner of Hanley and Wydown. I guess we took the streetcar with my brothers and we often went there after church and Sunday School. They had a contest about why I like Glaser's Drug Store. It was the only contest I've ever won. I wrote that I like Glaser's Drug Store because every Sunday after church I can spend my allowance here. I must have spent some of the allowance at St. Michael's.
Marj: We hope.
Friendships through the church . . .
Marj: A lot of my friends did go there. Mary Lees Streett who is a godmother to one of my children. All of the Streetts were good friends. Lots of our friends went there and we had lots of fun with them.
Marian: Seeing a list of my confirmation class, I had so many friends. It was really a community you wanted to be a part of because so many of your friends were there.
Still enjoying the church at the Gatesworth . . .
Marj: St. Michael's is so wonderful to come out here every Friday at 11:30. Sometimes there are 12 people, sometimes there are 20, sometimes only 8. Robin and Mike come and they are just wonderful.
Marian: When we had Mom's birthday party with family on Saturday night at the St. Louis Country Club, we had Robin and Mike and Andrew and Daisy because Mom felt like St. Michael's was part of the family and didn't want them mixed with 80 people the next night so they were included with the family celebration. And then Mom makes the comment that's it's good for them to meet the family so when she dies they'll know the family.
Marj: Actually I'm scared to death I'm going to live much longer. This is long enough.