Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

GWEN DEW’s GARAGE SALE

Morning Star, May 24, 2009, pg. 31

To all my readers: You are invited to attend the dedication of the newly-engraved tombstone of Gwen Dew at Riverside Cemetery on Memorial Day, Monday May 25 immediately following the regular program at the Veteran’s Memorial. From there we will walk to Gwen’s grave. It is located in Block 57 which is halfway between the GAR Lot in front, and the Fishpond in the center. We’ve got a nice program lined up and we’ll be playing a short portion of the 1943 NBC dramatized radio broadcast about Gwen’s ordeal, which has Gwen’s own voice at the end! The American Legion will provide a memorial wreath, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Eagles will be there with flowers and a flower urn for Gwen’s gravesite. Special thanks to Andrew Kooi for his donation which made the engraving possible.

This is the season for garage sales. How would you like to have attended the garage sale of Gwen Dew when she sold the items in the family home at 410 E. Michigan Avenue? The sale occurred in July, 1953. Gwen writes about it in her book, “My God, a Woman!” Here are some excerpts, with my comments in brackets:


Gwen Dew, Jaycee Stanley Sargent and Jaycee president Richard Hamm, July 17, 1955

“I had to return to Michigan to make arrangements for my mother’s care [Note: Gwen’s step-mother Eliza subsequently died in November, 1953]. Dad had died [in 1950] while I was living in El Paso. It was necessary to clear everything out of the big old house in Albion [410 E. Michigan Avenue]. In the basement were all of the things Dad had put there when he sold the greenhouses--vases, ribbons, tools, even a big old iron safe. I learned the combination that unlocked it and used it to store my personal things for many years.”

“In the attic which was the same size as the rest of the house, Mother had stored everything--articles she had brought with her as a bride when she moved from Grand Rapids to Albion. My discarded toys, a tricycle, a small make-believe trunk, even my beloved rag doll, Sally, were all there.”

“Clearing out an entire house was a tremendous task and I was under pressure. The Army had told me I was to sail on August 1 [1953] and it was already July 10. I sold everything I could, and finally held an auction sale in the front yard. I still have the list of some of the things that were sold: trunk, 25˘, table and buffet, $2; gold frame, $1.25; bookcase, $1; linen table cloth $2.50; large bookcase $2.50. I assure you this was all nice furniture. Don’t you wish you could have attended the sale?”

Gwen held on to the house for a couple of more years before selling it to Albion chiropractor Dr. Dale Claucherty. Well, Historical Notebook readers, did your family buy anything from Gwen Dew’s sale in 1953 and do you still have that item(s)? If you do, let me know.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present the photo of Gwen’s newly engraved tombstone. This concludes our series this month about Gwen Dew. I encourage our readers to get a copy of Gwen’s book “My God, A Woman!” (available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce) and read about this fascinating woman and her experiences. There ought to be a movie made about her. What did Gwen Dew? Anything she wanted to.


Gwen Dew's newly engraved tombstone, 2009

Next: ALBION HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1909


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