Yum – Cherry Mash


Remember this candy? It’s celebrating a big birthday. Chhaya K., “I need some Cherry Mash in the special centennial wrapper!”

When Chhaya posted this video about Cherry Mash, it set off a lively discussion with memories of the candy. Gail Martin loved it and apparently her daughter, Shannon, did too. 


Gail’s granddaughter, Robin Calhoun commented, “I love these!”
Karen K. “Can’t get them here in Kentucky. ☹”

Robin Calhoun, “I’ll have to look to see if we get them here.”
Karen K. “in Eureka?”
Robin Calhoun “Yea”
Lola Beshirs Hicks, “They are wonderful and hard to find. Yummmmmy!”

Karen K. – “Mom used to hide her stash of them when we were kids. We never got to have them–we had to do a 3-way share of a Snickers or Milky Way or 3 Musketeers!”

Gail’s granddaughter, Diana Platt remembered, “My mom used to eat them, but she somehow convinced us they were gross old person food, like divinity or saltwater taffy. To this day I’ve never tried one.”

Karen K. – “Can’t get my mind around the concept that divinity, saltwater taffy, and Cherry Mash are old person food! And gross?! You’ve never tried ANY of them?!”



Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

CJ and the Big Rock

It’s always great to get the back story on vintage pictures. We feel lucky if a photo has a name and a date on it, but what’s the whole story? Different people will have varied memories or tidbits to contribute when they view the picture.

This one from Gail’s younger sister, Carol, triggered this conversation:

I always loved rocks! Circa 1950, along the creek on the farm of my sister, Melba and Norman Harlan, near Madison, KS. This ledge of rock had been sticking out like a huge shelf, and came down sometime earlier when the river was racing at flood stage.

CJ Garriott
Carol Jean McGhee and the big rock.

Her nephew, Bob, remembered that he played many times on that rock. It must have seemed like a mountain to climb for a small boy. Bob’s brother Tim contributed that it was in the creek below the barn.

CJ describes herself as a tomboy at age 16. Here are more pictures of her in her teen years. It was the era of rolled-up jeans and penny loafers.

Surprise… Iris!

The guest blogger today is CJ Garriott, Gail Martin’s little sister.

“I couldn’t resist getting this shot of the rock garden Iris! All my iris got a late, slow start due to Mother Nature last month, but they are making up for it now. They have quite a story.

A few years ago, the gas company dug up my yard from street to several feet along north side of house to put in a new line and meter. In the process, they dug up a pile of delightful rocks full of holes! You know how I am about rocks. I asked if they could leave them on top and they did.

Before this, the iris stopped at the corner of the house. These apparently got relocated when the workers filled in the deep trench.

It gives me great pleasure when I look out the front door and see these amazing flowers.”

Tiny Stitches

In 1982, Gail’s daughter, Cynthia Ross wrote this poem. She posted it to the Our Echo site which is now offline (hopefully it will return soon).

Gail Lee Martin admiring a vintage crazy quilt.

Tiny Stitches 

My life is patterned
On a crazy quilt
Fabric pieces of my past

Moods pivoting around in
Yellow and red
Mixed with a somber brown

Pulling that crazy quilt
Around my shoulders
Drawing comfort from within

With my hand I will follow
The tiny stitches
Along a textured course

Some stitches are wider
Ones I did as a child
Others more even and precise

Now with age my hand trembles
Cataracts cover my eyes
Leaving me searching for the needle

I’m taking a journey 
Along a fabric trail
One stitch at a time

A small group of ladies in Andover, Kansas get together the first Tuesday of the month to make prayer quilts to be give away to those in need. After nearly 25 years together the bond of friendship we’ve made while quilting has helped each of us through the tough times in our own lives. We are doubly blessed as we visit, share private matters or health concerns, while pulling needles through fabric. Over time our lives have become woven together, friends forever. 

Building friendships while making quilts.

I saved the comments from other writers on Our Echo. Some of the writers are no longer with us.

  • What a lovely poem – excellent job. – Kathy Baker
  • So very nice, Cindy. An apt analogy of the quilting and your life. Women are so fortunate to belong to groups such as the one you mentioned. We build solid friendships in these groups, and they become our support groups when needed. We only need to remember to lean on them at the right times. You’ve been in my thoughts a lot lately. – Nancy Koop
  • My memories are drawn to the quilters I’ve know in our family. Grandma Viola Matilda (Tower) McGhee; Mother, Ruth (Vining) McGhee; my sister, Melba and her mother-in-law; Clyde’s Grandma, Marie (Kennedy) Joy; Clyde’s mother, Cora Myrle (Joy) Martin; Clyde’s sisters, Vivian Stafford and Dorothy Jones. Also Vivian’s daughter, Lorna who had the quilting machine shop. You are following the footsteps of your heritage. – Virginia Allain
  • Cindy, a really meaningful poem that could apply to many of our lives. Congratulations on being able to apply yourself to poetry with all the stress going on in your life right now. I hope to see more soon. – Sabina Benjamin Thomas
  • Such a beautiful poem! Reminded me of a song called ‘Tapestry’ by Carol King. “A wondrous woven magic of bits of blue and gold ” but the beauty of quilting is you can hold it in your hand and share it with others. Thanks for sharing. – Sabina
  • Reply: Thank you for your compliment in comparing it to a song. Many poems & not just my own–I put to song. I find it important to read a poem out loud to hear the sounds, not just see the words. – Cindy Ross
  • I really enjoyed reading your poem. I like the connection to quilting and growing through life. – K.D.
  • This beautifully written poem brought back precious memories of my mother. Strange how a tiny snippet of fabric has the power to instantly take us back in time. – BJ Roan
  • Beautiful poem. I liked the “crazy quilt” analogy very much. – Karen Kolavalli
  • One of our family quilters passed away May the 25th, Vivian Ruth Stafford my husband’s older sister but we know she will soon be finding quilting friends in heaven. As ever, Gail

Butter Beans – The Fast Way

Gail’s daughter, Karen is the guest blogger today.

“As I worked to clear 4 inches of snow and 1/2 inch of ice off my car this morning, I thought about our relatively carefree childhood snow days growing up in the country.  And then went on to think about how a big snow and cold weather made things just that much harder for my parents. 

Quite likely the battery would be dead in our car, more wood would be needed for the heating stove, and Mom and Dad would be worrying about money.  Dad worked in all kinds of awful weather on drilling rigs in the oil fields of southern Kansas, but there were times when the weather was just too cold/severe to have a crew out working.  And when the rig was down, Dad didn’t get paid. 

Mom often put a big pot of beans on to cook on laundry day, but beans were also one of her go-to winter meals for her family of eight.  It didn’t cost a lot and she had a hearty meal on the table (yes, we all ate at the table back then!).  Most often we had navy beans with bread and butter or cornbread, but my very favorite, then and now, was butter beans.  

I made butter beans and ham in my Instant Pot on New Year’s Day this year.  This is a recipe that’s a pretty far cry from the basic butter bean recipe Mom used.  It’s made in the Instant Pot, so there’s no need to soak the dried beans overnight, cooking time is just 25 minutes in the Instant Pot.  It’s also made with chicken stock, onions, garlic, and a variety of spices.  Mom used the meat from ham hocks, and that’s what I used, too.  It’s delicious. “

Click here for Kelsey Apley’s Instant Pot Butter Beans recipe.

Gail and the Monkeys

The Sepia Saturday challenge photo for today featured an old-fashioned organ grinder and his monkey. I went in search of monkey photos in our family album. Remembering back to Martin family reunions, the park where these were held had a Monkey Island at Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas.

There was a moat and then a high stone wall to keep the monkeys from escaping. As we played with our cousins before the bountiful potluck meal, we always trooped over to see the monkeys. On their island, there was a stone building with a tower and open windows so they could clamber in and out. It fascinated us, but we never had a photo of it. The stone building was constructed by the WPA back during the Great Depression.

WW II Museum display in Wolfboro, NH.

Next, I thought of the WWII museum that I visited. One piece that caught my eye was a cartoon from the 1940s, probably post-war, that showed Hitler as an organ grinder’s monkey. Other Allies gathered around in the scene. I wonder if Mom or Dad ever saw this cartoon, perhaps in a newspaper at the time.

Classic sock monkeys.

The next monkeys that comes to mind are the ones made from the brown and white work socks. I remember having these back in the 1950s. With Gail’s sewing skills, I’m sure it was an easy project to turn the socks into monkeys.

Gail Martin demonstrating how monkeys peel a banana.

One time while visiting my parents in Kansas during their retirement years, Mom showed me how monkeys open a banana. They pinch it at the bottom. I guess I’ve been doing it wrong all these years as I always tried to open it at the stem end.

What started me thinking of monkeys? It was this picture from Sepia Saturday. Take a look to see what the other bloggers wrote about monkeys.

At the Lighthouse

My parents didn’t have many opportunities to visit lighthouses since they lived in the heartland. I think their first one was when they came to Ohio to settle me in my first job back in the 1970s. We went to see Lake Erie and there was a lighthouse out on a long rocky seawall.

The picture below shows them years later at a lighthouse that I think is in Texas. It must have been one of their visits to Gail’s sister CJ.

1995 Gail and Clyde at lighthouse

I’ve had more chances to see quite a few lighthouse in my years along the east coast of the U.S. and when we lived in Australia. Last year, we traveled to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island so I have a whole gallery of lighthouses to share from that trip and from years earlier to New Brunswick, Canada.

Lighthouses in the Maritime Provinces of Canada

What started me thinking of lighthouses was the Sepia Saturday prompt, a postcard of a vintage lighthouse. The one they show was in Australia. One thing that many of these have is the red and white color combination.

The Jumper Chair

My older brother, just a toddler, had a jumper chair back in 1946. We have the picture of him looking quite happy being able to bounce up-and-down and kick his feet in this device. He is outside in the yard and his eyes are fixed upon either mom or dad. It’s likely that one is trying to hold his attention while the other parent takes the picture.

Owen Martin in his jumper chair in 1946

It must be summer as he is dressed in lightweight clothing but on his feet are the sturdy baby shoes of the era. Mom had labeled the photo “1946 – Owen in his jumper chair.” Since he was born in February 1946, he would be about 6-months-old in August of that year. Does this look like a 6-month-old or would it be from the next year? In June 1947, he would be 16-months-old.

I was curious about the chair and found an advertisement for it in a 1946 newspaper.

New, Springy Teeterbabe

The modern jumper chair for any baby 3 months and up. Ideal for home, auto or anywhere, so mother can be relieved. Positively safe. Convenient foot rest and play beads.

Baby jumper chair - Teeterbabe 1946Baby jumper chair – Teeterbabe 1946 Thu, Sep 19, 1946 – Page 26 · Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

This looks identical to the chair that Owen is sitting in. Just imagine putting this in your auto today to take your toddler for a ride. “Positively safe,” the ad says, but we know better now.

I found a later advertisement for it and it touted the benefits of the child getting natural exercise and not bothered by constipation. Baby will be happy and contented and can be placed in the yard to get sunshine.

Teeterbabe jumper seatTeeterbabe jumper seat Thu, Jan 22, 1948 – 5 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.com

I’m featuring my brother’s picture today as part of the Sepia Saturday blog challenge. The inspiration photo showed a man jumping at the beach. That led me to my brother in his jumper chair.

Exercising On The Beach (1935) The National Media Museum : Sepia Saturday 542, 17 October 2020

Poor Man’s Ham Salad

Mom used to make ham salad for a sandwich spread back in the 1960s. It’s what they call Poor Man’s Ham Salad because it used a chunk of bologna, not ham, that was ground up for the spread. We called it baloney, and looked forward to those tasty sandwiches in our school lunch boxes. It was much cheaper, but tasted exactly like ham spread.

Old-fashioned meat grinder (from pixabay)
  • Here’s the recipe:
  • an unsliced roll of Bologna
  • Miracle Whip (or salad dressing of your choice
  • Sweet Gherkins (or pickle relish)

The amount of each isn’t crucial. You needed a meat grinder. Ours fastened onto the kitchen counter. Grind up the hunk of Bologna in the meat grinder and the sweet pickles too. Mix enough salad dressing in to make it spread easily on the sandwiches. Done!

We never put boiled eggs in it but other people did. The boiled eggs were used another day for egg salad sandwiches. Our bread back then was often Rainbow brand or Sunbeam.

A Lunchbox Like Dad Had

Black lunch box on Etsy (seller: LeepsAntiques)

Fixing the School Lunches

With six children, packing the lunch boxes on a school day took teamwork. Someone would get the cookies and wrap them for each box. Another child would get the fruit (a banana, an apple, or some raisins). Someone else assembled the sandwiches, then cut them in half.

I was good at wrapping the sandwiches with the wax paper. Mom had taught me how to make the double fold where the edges came together, just like the butcher would wrap meat at the supermarket. Then I’d make a triangle at each end and fold that to the back.

We had those metal lunch boxes with colorful designs of our favorite television shows. I browsed around on Etsy which is a good place to find vintage items. Wow, some of these are for sale for over $100. I should have saved mine.

Vintage Lunch Boxes on Etsy

Did you have a rectangular metal lunch box like these?

At the Beach

The beach pictures in our family album are few and far between. Kansas was a shallow sea back 85 million years ago but no photos of our family go back that far. The Martins, Joys, Kennedys, Vinings, and McGhees were later arrivals from 1850s onward. By that time, it was all prairie and some rolling hills.

Below is the challenge photo that started me looking for beach pictures.

My parents, Gail and Clyde Martin, were awed by Lake Erie when then visited me in the mid-1970s in Ohio. It looks like in this photo that Dad is about to get his shoes wet.

Another time, they visited us when we lived in South Texas. Our outing to South Padre Island resulted in more beach pictures. Mom was quick to shed her shoes and start hunting for shells. This would be in the early 1990s.

Here are other members of the family at the ocean, lake, or even a creek.