ON THE ROAD: Charles and Ellen Clock ….Letters and More (1935-8)

LETTER FROM MAPLEWOOD, OREGON: This 3 page letter was written by my dad (Charles Clock) in Sept 1935 …to his mother (Margaret M. Clock, my grandmother) in Tulsa ….where else, huh? He and my mother (Ellen Clock) are temporarily living in SW Portland, Oregon, while he is installing machinery at Continental Bakery (Dad borrowed a bakery envelope for this letter). My parents had been married a little over a year at this point and were in their early 20’s. His dad, Wilkie, had passed away 2 years beforre.

Their return address is “C. Clock’s, 4944 SW Nevada Ct, Maplewood, Oregon”. When I was growing up, I often heard fond recollections from my mother …of the Maplewood era and of the folks who lived there.  We went to see people they knew there, a time or two …I recall one of the guys they knew in Maplewood fixed up antique cars.   Some of the people in that area of SW Portland remained friends of my parents for many years, after they moved out to Ladd Hill. I guess their first visit to Oregon, sold my parents on the area.

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SALT LAKE CITY LETTER: The next letter (2 pages long, written in 1936)) appears to be written to Lula Mae Collins (my grandmother) back home in Tulsa, by my parents (Charles & Ellen Clock). My folks were on the road, installing bakery equipment in Salt Lake City, UT. The first part of the letter is written by my mom, to her mother. I’d recognize Mom’s writing ANYWHERE! The second part of the letter is written by my dad, to his mother-in-law. Their 7 month old son, Mike (my oldest brother), is staying in Oklahoma with his Grandmother Collins. Several things about my parents are revealed in this letter …Mother’s interest in health issues, Dad’s sloppy handwriting and their love for their children.

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GREAT SALT LAKE PHOTO: All that is written on the back of this photo (below) is, “Ellen and I in the Salt Lake.” And my Dad wrote it in cursive! I have never, ever seen that before …his writing was always, ALWAYS printed capital letters. White shoes and cursive handwriting …the things you don’t know about your parents!

Perhaps this photo is from my parents honeymoon, but I don’t think so. Probably it was a few years later, when they wrote the letter (above) home. My parents lived in Salt Lake for a few weeks while Dad was installing equipment in a bakery there. They told me all about showering in the Rio Grande Railroad Station everyday, because their room didn’t have one. Either way this photo is from the 1930’s I would guess. I have been to that RR station many times through the years …it is now the location of the Utah Historical Society and the best Mexican restaurant ANYWHERE …especially if you like carnitas. Called the Rio Grande Cafe …of course.

RIO GRANDE RR STATION, SLC, UT ….in 2011. Still looks the same, just no trains anymore. Same only different, as they say! ha


DETROIT LETTER: Still on the road, two years later in 1938. The lower letter (1 page long) is from Ellen Clock (my mother) in Detroit, Michigan …to Margaret M Clock (my dad’s mother) in Tulsa. It is signed “Charles, Ellen & Mickey”, so obviously Mike (my oldest brother) was traveling with them.



The postcard on the bottom left was written by Charles Clock (my dad) from Detroit, MI, in January 1938. Addressed to his mother (my grandmother) back home: “Mrs. M. Clock, 1120 N. College, Tulsa, Oklahoma”.
The postcard on the bottom right was also written by my dad, also to his mother, from Boston, MA, in October 1938. He is working for Baker Perkins, traveling around the country, installing bakery equipment. My mother, Ellen, and my oldest brother, Mike (Mickey), are also with him, moving every few months. My parents had been married 4 years at this point in time and were 25 years old.
I know, that my mother got awfully sick of moving all the time. There was a period of years when I was young when she hated to travel anymore, even though they had been settled on Ladd Hill, in Oregon, for a good number of years. But she often spoke fondly a number of the people they had met and been neighbors with …everywhere from Mississippi to Utah. I especially recall how nice the people were Down South …brought over rolls and baked goods when they first moved into a new town.


These photographs that my parents took in the 1930’s were developed into tiny prints (as small as 1″x 3/4″). I don’t know if that was typical or if they just had them printed that way because it was the cheapest way to go. I suspect the latter …it was during the middle of the Great Depression and they were just married. I’m sure money was tight (an understatement if there ever was one!). But I just saw one of Mother’s grocery lists from back then and a head of lettuce was 3 cents! So a dollar was a lot of money. No leaving your pennies on the counter or tossing them in a fountain. Whoa!! …Did you see that? Right there! How did I wander from photos to lettuce to pennies? ha

Photo locations, written on photo backs by my parents (in random order …let’s see if you were paying attention back in Geography class …guess! How many did you get right? Honestly.)
Breakwater at San Pedro, CA; El Paso, TX; Oregon Coast; Mining town in AZ between Willows & Needles; Ellen & Virgil, Rocky Mts; Brighton – up Big Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City; Multnomah Falls, OR; “Old Flossie II” stuck in the snow of Pikes Peak, CO; Mt Hood – Labor Day Sunday ’34; and Mts at Tennessee Pass in CO. (Ooops, did I leave out one photo? Makes a good quiz then!). TRY IT, JUST FOR FUN!

Photo Sheet 1: Places


Photo Sheet 2: More Places


Photo Sheet 3: Mike “Mickey” Clock, oldest of Charles & Ellen Clock’s 4 sons. Yup, Mickey was the name my parents ALWAYS used in their letters. No kidding! Must be an Oklahoma thing …you know …Mickey Mantle (not related). At times Mike traveled with his parents when they were on the road so much and at times he was with relatives in back in Oklahoma. Mike is being held by his Aunt Mary (Clock).
Locations written on photo backs: “Minneapolis, Michigan, Cincinnati”. Others have captions such as: “April 1937 or, 8 months or, June 1936”.




About clockbear13

Enough about me. More importantly, this blog is intended to be a gathering spot for all available materials relating to the Clock family, past, present & future ....an interest of mine for many years.
This entry was posted in CHARLES LEWIS CLOCK, WILKIE CLYDE CLOCK. Bookmark the permalink.

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