My parents, Clyde Martin and Gail McGhee, married in 1945 about a month after the surrender in Europe and several months before Japan surrendered. World War II was winding down and my mother could leave her job at Boeing Aircraft.
Clipping from our family album
I’m the middle child from this union and over the years, we heard bits and pieces about their dating and marriage. I’ve put that into story form to supplement the clipping.
“The bride wore a forest green suit with a braided design on the lapel. It was the first purchase with her paycheck from Boeing.
Gail felt properly citified for Wichita, Kansas during the war years when she wore her green suit. No one would guess that she’d grown up in an oil field camp in the Flint Hills where she wore dresses her mother made from flowered feed sack material.
Now, the green suit was several years old, but it still felt special. It was her wedding day and she was marrying handsome Clyde Martin. She had known him for years as the best friend of her steady guy, Johnny Faylor. Then Johnny got fresh with her when he was leaving for the service, so she and Johnny broke up. After that, Clyde started asking her out.
Photo of Clyde Martin from the family album.
The war did its best to keep them apart, though Clyde didn’t go into the army. After going to Cherryvale to learn welding, he had ended up back in Madison farming. Farmers were essential to the war effort to raise food for America and for the troops and refugees in Europe.
Working at Boeing filled Gail’s need to help with the war effort and meant she could start stocking her hope chest with things she would need when she married. Even with the good salary, there was little left after she paid for her room in Wichita, bought some clothes, and paid for bus fare to go home to Lyon County to see her family and Clyde on occasional weekends.
Now, it was their special day to stand before the minister in his study with the minister’s wife and Gail’s parents for witnesses as they said their vows. After the simple ceremony, they had an angel food cake, rather than the traditional tiered cake.
The marriage lasted 66 years. When Clyde died, Gail tried to make a life on her own. It seemed she lost heart and only drifted in the year after she lost him. She spoke of wanting to be with him again and then at age 88, she passed away.”
Never once, in all those years, did I hear a hint of regret that she didn’t have a fancy wedding with bridesmaids and all the trimmings. She was happy that the war was ending and she could start her married life with Clyde. They had plans for raising a big family.