Kids Everywhere

Back in the days of my childhood, we did our chores and then went out to play. We were expected to keep ourselves amused for hours and not be running into the house all the time. It was the 1950s, before the days of driving children around to dance classes, karate, play dates, and soccer. Parents weren’t worrying about anyone kidnapping their child back in the fifties, so we rode our bikes or played in the creek without adult supervision.

ginger childhood

Gail Martin holding Shannon. (Left to right) Susan, Ginger, Karen, Cindy, Owen Martin

Just keeping the six of us fed and clothed required a lot of effort for my mom, Gail Lee Martin. Even in the 1950s, six was a big family to raise. She did want us to have enrichment activities and at first, tried scouting.

scouting owen susan ginger gail

Gail Martin, scout leader, with her children (Ginger, Owen and Susan)

Getting us to boy scout and girl scout activities had us going in all directions, so when we moved to the country, we switched to 4-H. Then we all went to the monthly meeting together. There were a variety of projects in 4-H that fitted our lives, so we learned gardening, baking, and sewing. We raised rabbits and pigs and chickens. There were projects for photography, interior decoration, and landscaping.

She introduced us to 4-H projects that fit her interests like entomology and geology. Often, she became an expert and then a project leader for others in the club.



Little sister, Shannon Martin, with her insect display at the Butler County 4-H fair.

Maybe all our 4-H projects were that era’s version of the soccer mom. We learned a lot, but I still remember long summer days of exploring the fields and woods without deadlines or restrictions.

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