Few articles I’ve written have resulted in the feedback elicited by my column about “St. Martin neighborhood: ‘We grew up on the playgrounds’” which appeared in these online pages about six-seven weeks ago.

Thanks to these readers for sharing their passion about what must have been a special place in their lives.              

From Chris Keenan: I just read your story of St. Martin. My cousin Steve Keenan posted it on his Facebook page. Great story! Though I wasn’t a member of this wonderful parish or student, my father Jack was. He grew up in that neighborhood along with Steve’s dad, Bill, and their other brother, Walter. Jack graduated in the class of 1937. Growing up as kids we heard the stories surrounding St. Martin’s school and its neighborhood from Jack. What a great place to live during those times. Jack is still going strong at 99 years old. (This email came Nov. 5. I hope Jack is “still going strong.”)

From Philip Ganem: Every word you have written is tear-jerkingly true. I left grammar school in 1945 when Dick Seagram was my classmate. Although he wasn’t part of St. Martin’s parish, Jay McCormack, a neighbor on Philip Street, wrote a bestseller on the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He was a professor at Wayne State. I say this only to point out that beyond sports, our area produced some people of the “Arts.” (Dick Seagram he mentioned scored 83 points in a game against St. Philip, a state record at that time. I can find nothing about Jay McCormack and his book about the Edmund Fitzgerald. Can anyone help?)

From Dick Fuher: Great article you wrote; lots of research. FYI, that is (my wife’s) Leila's alma mater '61. We were married there in '64. Our 55- year anniversary is in April. The article was sent to Leila by one of her old 3rd grade students who still keeps in touch with her. (Dick is my Phi Kappa Theta brother from University of Detroit. The Philip Ganem in the preceding email is Dick’s brother-in-law, Leila’s brother.)

From Kathy Linn: Thank you for the lovely article about my old neighborhood. George (Schneedecker ) and Pat (Preston) were my classmates, and Jimmy (Essian) lived six houses down from me and was my younger brother's best friend for years. Just want to let you know that the Church was on Averhill, not Haverhill. The area truly was a great place to grow up. Thanks again.

From Philip Riggio: Well done. Very nice article and a good description as to what our lives were all about. St. Martin Class of 1966. (I had a chat with Riggio. An outstanding basketball player at St. Martin, he went to Eastern Michigan and played there. “I was a role player, the sixth man.” When EMU played in the NAIA championship game against Kentucky State, “I remember sitting on the bench and thinking how far I had come, from St. Martin, the playgrounds, an altar boy, great coaching, great teaching. I had my first airplane ride to a game in Cleveland. I have been blessed.” After graduation, he taught for four years at Dexter High School, then left to help his father and family’s fresh produce business that evolved into the Riggio Distribution Co. servicing the entire Midwest.) 

From Francis Becigneul: In your article on St. Martin Church and School you misspoke on the location of the church. You identified the location as Lenox and Haverhill when in reality it is Averhill. In fact, the church was at Drexel and Averhill while the rectory was at Lenox. It's important that I remember these things as I can't remember if I have eaten my breakfast yet this morning or not. (About six hours later, he emailed me again). I am blessed or damned with a decent memory. The address of the rectory was 13130 Averhill. The convent was 421 Drexel. Fr. Henigan always had a Great Dane and one of those Great Danes was named Tiger.

From Annette Helms: What a beautiful story. I grew up in that neighborhood, I was baptized, made my first Holy Communion, graduated and got married at St. Martin. Reading your article brought back so many memories. It was a great place to be raised. I lived on Eastlawn between Korty and Skrips. I graduated in 1961.

From Gregory Watson: I enjoyed reading your article. However, the name of the street is “Averhill” and not “Haverhill” as you wrote. Thanks for the memories.

From Ron Saad: Nice article but the street was Averhill not Haverhill. (I know, I know.)


Contact Don Horkey at dhorkey@wowway.com