Collect your family memories. They might be in emails, Facebook comments, or notes in the mail, but someday they will be gone. We can’t hold onto every bit, but some are special.
The photo below is my grandfather, Clarence McGhee. Can you tell a person’s character from their face? What kind of person would you think he is?
Photos from our family album
I just took Grandpa’s kindness as a given and did not even think of it. Then a cousin who lived far away in Oregon said,
“My one memory of Uncle Clarence was a single trip to Kansas when we visited him (in Missouri ) and I was just a child. I remember being amazed at how tall he was. . . And yet that beautiful warm kind face like my Daddy’s. . . That just seems to make a McGhee. I remember my Dad fishing in his great big pond – about the only time I went fishing until grown and going with my husband, John.“
Thank you, Cousin Kerry, for getting me to focus on how special my grandfather was and how much his kindness was a major part of his character.
My grandfather grew up in the small town of Tyro, Kansas. That was back in the early 1900s.
He worked in the glass factory there making chimneys for oil lamps. Before heading off to France in World War I, he married Ruth Vining, the sister of his best friend, Albert Vining. I created several pages about Ruth and Clarence so you can go there to read further and see more photos.
My mother also wrote about him in her book, My Flint Hills Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas. After the war, Clarence returned to Kansas and worked many years for Phillips Petroleum. Clarence and Ruth with their 3 daughters lived in company housing and had a steady income during the Great Depression. They lived in the Teterville area and around Madison in the Kansas Flint Hills.
I remember visiting them at their farm near Madison. Grandpa kept scraps of wood in a box under his workbench in the shed. We were allowed to play with those blocks of wood while he worked on a project. One thing that impressed me was a row of baby food jars attached by the lids and filled with different screws, nuts, and bolts. How handy he was.
Outside the door of the shed was a green apple tree. When ripe, the small apples were still green but not tart. My sister, Karen reminded me that beyond the green apple tree was the strawberry bed. Further on was the fence separating the property from the railroad track.