Oh the memories of the Sheeny Man
Oh the memories! The mention of the produce/vegetable man reminded me of a
My Great Aunt's family lived first on 24th and then on Tillman. When she was
five, in 1912, the produce man gave her a little slip of a rose bush because
as he said "you are always such a nice quiet girl when I come". Her Mother
planted it for her. When they moved out to Oakland county they took the rose
bush with them.
To this day I have a piece of that rose bush growing in my yard! It is
referred to as the "grandma rose" in remembrance of this Great Aunt's Mother
our Great Grandmother.
I remember the sheeny man that drove his horse drawn cart down the alley
behind my grandparents home on Sheridan near the Boulevard and Gratiot also
sharpened knives and scissors. We also were threaten with the "sheeny man
will get you".
Let's not forget the horse drawn milk wagon and the horse drawn ice wagon.
We kids would wait till the ice man was well on his way into my
grandparents house before we would start to chip some pieces off the
blocks of ice in his wagon. When he would catch us, he would have a fit.
The horses were always friendly and would let you do just about anything
with them. Occasionally the milk man and ice man would let us feed the
Also remember, there were no mosquitoes in Detroit in the mid 40s. After
the war the old bombers would fly over and spray DDT to kill the
mosquitoes. Remember seeing them several times while visiting my
grandparents. We lived in East Detroit at the time and we had mosquitoes.
That picture is quite wonderful. My father lived on Piquette, he was a
Detroiter. He said the neighbor ladies would wait for the Sheeney man to
down the alley, waiting with shovels. After he passed on by, they would
the horse poop and use it in their Rose Gardens! :-)
Of course, we had the Sheeney Man in Hamtramck. We also had a guy that
come once a year and sell wooden garden furniture off the back of his
another fellow would come once a week selling vegetables.
It certainly was a colorful time!
A friend gave me an 8x10 glass negative of a sheeney man. My parents
1950s threaten us with the Sheeney man,too. Our alleys were eliminated in
I have to do some restoration with the plate. I scanned it in the
received it. You can see someone tired to wipe it. I will use a solution
photo flo (it Kodak still makes it!) to clean the plate and preserve the