Somewhere in France. July 16, –18. Dear Ruth: I wonder if it as hot in Tyro today as it is here. This has been the warmest day we have had yet. This is the picture of the church I was in the other Sunday. This is just the center for there is another sect
As World War I raged in France, Clarence McGhee sent a postcard home to his bride, Ruth. It is part of the family memorabilia that his daughter, Gail Lee Martin, preserved and passed along to the next generation.
In sorting the papers, cards, and photos, I found myself having a hard time reading his handwriting. “I wonder if it is as hot in Tyro ? or is — ? This has been the warmest day without ? ? this is the picture of the church I was in the other Sunday. (can’t read the rest.)
Clarence’s granddaughter, Karen, came to the rescue. She deciphered the handwriting. Here’s what the postcard says,
“Somewhere in France. July 16, –18. Dear Ruth: I wonder if it as hot in Tyro today as it is here. This has been the warmest day we have had yet. This is the picture of the church I was in the other Sunday. This is just the center for there is another section on each side. Good by dear. As ever, Clarence”
It looks like he didn’t have to pay postage. “Soldiers Mail” is in the top right corner where the stamp usually goes.
I feel so fortunate that Mom saved this card that her father sent to her mother. Wish we knew where the church was located in France and if it survived the war.
Now and then, I meet someone in real life or online who has much in common with my mom, Gail Lee Martin. I find myself wishing that they could meet each other. Recently, I met one such lady, Edna Melcher. Too bad that Edna is way out west in Idaho, while I’m on the east coast in Orlando.
We could have a cozy chat about all her interesting activities. Like Mom and Dad, she makes wagon wheel rugs. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, she shared photos of her rug making and the finished projects. I’ll share her tips in another post as she is anxious to pass along the rug making techniques.
Edna’s Facebook page is sprinkled with pictures of her crafts, recipes for yummy foods like chicken and dumplings, and other nostalgic activities. She makes jelly, plum applesauce, and chocolate caramel cookies. She’s quite a gardener too, growing colorful ears of Indian corn, some rhubarb, and tomatoes.
Edna Melcher’s pretty jars of jam.
Although Edna is more my generation than Mom’s, I’m sure they would have hit it off and spent an afternoon sharing tips for making the wagon wheel rugs and swapping favorite jam recipes. Although she can’t meet Mom in person, I sent her links for this blog so she could enjoy Mom’s recipes and crafts.
Gail Lee Martin loved researching family history and she’s passed that passion on to several of her daughters, including me. She tracked her McGhee line laboriously through letters and visits to courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries in those pre-Internet times. I’ve been retracing her steps, but using online resources, to see what further can be discovered.
In doing so, I joined a Perry County history group on Facebook for Arkansas. While asking about the McGhees there and sharing some photos, I’ve met some distant cousins who shared their ancestors with me. This photo shows Florence McGhee who married William J. Marshall in 1910.
My thanks to Dana Mattingly Craft who provided this picture. Information from the back: Florence McGhee Marshall with children: Robert Marshall (in her arms), Willie “Dane” Marshall, Doyle Marshall (retired from the navy around 1950), Kenneth Marshall (killed in service on December 16, 1941 around Honolulu, Hawaii while piloting an airplane off a carrier for the Navy).
This photo had to have been taken prior to or in 1918 as Florence and Dane died at the end of 1918 as did her one-month-old infant.
In looking at this photo of Florence, it reminded me of a 1940s photo of my mother, when she worked at Boeing. Do you see the resemblance?
This sharing of information led to a connection with another connection who surprised me by colorizing Gai’s picture. I think Jenny S. Henry did a marvelous job and I greatly appreciate her skill and willingness to share her talent.
Mom identified with Rosie the Riveter, although she was chagrined to find herself too slight to handle the kick of the rivet gun. Despite that, Gail found other work to do at Boeing Aircraft and contribute to the war work. Here’s a memory piece that Gail Lee Martin wrote for the Our Echo site about her fondness for Rosie.
Friends by Gail Lee Martin
My Merriam Webster’s Concise Dictionary large-print edition states that a friend is ”person one likes.” But it works both ways. I treasure this person as my friend and she proved she thought of me as a friend.
At my writing group, Prairie Prose & Poetry’s monthly meeting in February 2003, I read my essay titled, My Wall of Books (one of very first that I posted on OurEchoes April 4th, 2006). One paragraph was about our collection of books and calendars of Norman Rockwell’s paintings. At another meeting, I shared what I had recently written about working for Boeing Aircraft Company during World War II.
My friend, Mary Skipworth, put two and two together and one day in July she came to our house and presented me with a t-shirt with Rockwell’s ’Rosie the Riveter’ on it. I was moved almost to tears. But settled on a great big hug.
Rockwell’s Rosie must have been the fad of the year as my daughter, Cindy, gave me a Rosie, We Can Do It, pot-holder for Mother’s Day. Not to be outdone my sister, Carol, gave me hand towels with the same logo for my birthday. No one knew what the others had done until later. Family can be great friends too.
CarePages is a website that family can use to keep everyone up-to-date on a loved one who is in a care situation. After Gail Lee Martin broke a hip in November, CarePages became sort of a diary with a running commentary by family and friends. The family did a lot of texting, emails, Facebook updates, and phone calls during that time as well.
I saved the CarePages messages as a record of that stressful time.
Gail’s CarePages – January 2013
Posted Jan 4, 2013 9:40pm by Karen Kolavalli – “I’d never actually seen a Bluebird before, but the birds I saw this afternoon around an evergreen there at Regent Park Rehab were obviously just that! Three pairs of them!”
Bluebird photo courtesy of Pixabay
Gail Lee Martin at Regent Park Rehab Center after breaking her hip, having surgery, and then a heart attack.Blood Clot