Our guest blogger today is Sylvia Clubine. The area she writes about here is where Gail Lee Martin’s parents and grandparents lived. Gail’s roots go back to Tyro, Kansas in Montgomery County and further back into the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.
“Over the four-state area where your ancestors once lived, your spirit still lives there. The beauty of the OZARKS runs into S.E. Kansas, but not the total rocky surface that makes the Ozarks mountain areas. Kansas is excellent farm and natural prairie, lush grazing land, plus very lovely rocky ledges and the bottom floor of creeks and rivers with beautiful groves of trees.
I’ve explored a great part of it with the feeling that I was the first one to walk or ride my horse on that spot. Then we find an arrowhead, or many arrowheads. from your Osage past generations, just like a gem on the soil surface after a gentle rain or a harsh flood of a corn field we have been hoeing. Then we remember we took the land from a great people that made their home here before us. It grabs my heart and I want to know you as the honorable way you lived with great herds of elk and other wide-life here before we came.” – Sylvia Raydene Clubine
Near Tyro, you might see an oil tank or a pump jack, bales of hay, some rolling hills. Get away from the highway and you’ll see the open prairie.
Halloween excites children. They have a marvelous time in their costumes while hurrying from house to house trying to fill their bag with candy. In the excitement and the rush of the trick or treating, is it realistic to expect them to say “thanks for the candy?”
Some little ones are tongue-tied when the door opens and they just hold up their bag expectantly. Other, bigger kids might grab a handful of candy if you hold the bowl out to them.
The people giving the candy have fun seeing all the costumes and enjoying the children coming to their door. I used to encourage children on my doorstep to at least say “trick or treat,” when I handed out the candy. You can also remind them after they have the candy in their bag. “What do you say?” They will toss a rote, “thank you,” as they jostle their way down the steps.
When I asked friends if children should say Thank You for Halloween treats, they answered:
Yes, they should, and hopefully, their parents are around to remind them. But, some children aren’t capable. My daughter did not talk until she was about 6 years old, and I know kids much older who cannot talk. So, you never know! You can’t really assume they are being rude. They might have autism or another developmental issue. (Frischy)
Absolutely……we as parents take them trick-or-treating at an early age, and if we teach them to always say thank you, then hopefully it sticks when they are bigger and venture out on their own. (Kathy M.)
We were taught to say “thank you” when we were kids and even though my daughter is considered nonverbal, I prompt her to say “trick or treat” and “thank you.” It’s OK if younger kids don’t, but I don’t like to see older children who can’t say thank you or anything. And years ago, we used to talk to them when we gave out candy, commenting on their costumes, etc. Nowadays, it seems they are gone in a flash with no time for a word, much less two: thank you. (A.J.T.)
Teach children to say “thank you” when trick or treating (photo courtesy of Pixabay)
(Originally published on Bubblews by Virginia Allain)
Monte Manka wrote a variety of poems about his experience in Korea. Gail Martin’s daughter, Virginia, finds people’s memories of great events important to save. She created this page to feature Monte’s memories of that long ago time. Monte Manka grew up in Chelsea, Kansas in the 1930s, not far from where Gail Lee Martin was raised.
1945 – Monte Manka (and friend) – Army Days
An Octogenarian Writes Poems about His Experiences in Korea
Monte Manka went off to Korea in the 1940s as part of the occupying forces after growing up on a Kansas farm in the 1930s/40s. His experiences in Korea triggered some poetry that’s entertaining and insightful.
Now in his nineties, Monte keeps writing those poems about being a Kansas farm boy and about adjusting to the very foreign culture of Korea and the restrictions of the military. Enjoy his poems and be sure to leave a comment for Monte.
Learn More about the Korean War with These Stories and Poems
Most Americans have a very vague concept of what happened during the Korean War, how it started and how it ended. I admit that most of what I know came from watching episodes of MASH on TV.
Learn more about this war that made such an impact on this Kansas farm boy.
“World War II ended when I was headed for the invasion of Japan. We were called off the troop train in Kansas and told that Harry had dropped the bomb and the war was over. Can’t take any credit for any battles, strictly Occupation of Korea. I was in Korea during the occupation, the “Police Action” started after I left for home.”
— Monte explains his role in Korea
Korean Woman with Parasol – Photo by Monte Manka
Korean war – woman with parasol umbrella (Do not use this photo elsewhere. It belongs to Monte Manka.)
Poems about the Korean People and Culture – by Monte Manka
These are available to read on the Our Echo website.
Little Nell Two-Ten-Yen (If you ever bargained with a Korean over eggs, silk or hammered copper pans The bidding always started with a bid of Two Ten Yen.)
Stroll to a Mystery (Three soldiers going for a Sunday stroll Monte, Mac and Don With Addie Dean, the Red Cross gal tagging along. I carried Mom’s Kodak 116 ready to take any photo of some pretty mountain scene)
My LaundryPrimitive laundry methods is the subject of this poem, but it provides insight into the lives of Korean families.
Korean Women Washing Clothes in a Stream – Photo by Monte Manka
Korean war women washing clothes in a river
Poems about R and R – Taking a Break from the Military Occupation of Korea – by Monte Manka
R and R to Tokyo
After visiting the Ginza After seeing a movie at the Ernie Pyle After coupon dancing at the Meadowland dance hall. We decided to visit the Imperial Palace for a while.
When I landed at Tachikawa, air base Turned over the straight-jacketed GI’s I had a room on the base To where I could unwind.
The Emperor’s Palace
On the first of May Went to the motor pool. Checked out a jeep for a trip to Seoul. The street that passed by the Palace was six or eight lanes wide. The guard at the gate stopped me and he let me go inside.
Sent on to Inchon
I was happy to be on dry land After four days at sea On a flat-bottomed Navy boat Called an LST (click on the title to read the rest of the poem)
29th Gen. Hosp, Korea
That old mountain in the back Looking like a sleeping giant, and at its feet Sprinkled with sleepy little straw topped villages Tucked together, ever so neat (click to read more of the poem)
A Tenting We Will Go
A Tenting We Will Go compares childhood ideas of camping to the reality of Army camping. – Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
Korean Kleenup Krew
That pipe smoking Sgt And his Korean Kleenup Krew Took care of the 29th. Gen. Hosp. There’s nothing they couldn’t do. (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
Mac and Hai Chong Lee
Mac and I were the first two replacements To the 29th Gen. Hospital, in Nov. “45” Since they moved from Guadalcanal Those who survived. (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
Old Letters, Family Memories and Other Memorabilia
Often people receive “fun” gifts, frivolous gifts or the most recent gimmick for a birthday or holiday, but in a few weeks, it is forgotten. Give a gift that lasts a lifetime by sharing your family memories with the next generation.
A Gift They Will Cherish and Pass Down in the Family
This can be in the form of a scrapbook, a self-published book, a videotaped interview, a pretty box filled with old letters, or a framed essay. Memories that can be hung on the wall, viewed on the television or browsed in book form make a gift that will be cherished from one generation to the next. Recording these memories or saving old letters are truly a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Goofy Gifts – Who Will Remember Them?
People spend money on gag gifts. Sometimes they buy the annoying singing Christmas moose because they can’t figure out what to give. Sometimes it’s the garish Christmas socks with Santa Claus all over them. Instead of wasting your money on these, give a timeless gift of family memories.
Stop with the goofy gifts. Read on down the page to find some really meaningful gifts that will last for a lifetime.
Save old letters and family memories for the next generation to enjoy. (Graphic from Pixabay)
Ideas for Meaningful Gifts
Save Letters in Archival Sleeves in a Binder – Gather all the letters saved from the person and put them in order by the dates. Put the letters (oldest ones first) in the archival sleeves in the binder. The recipient will have hours of enjoyment re-reading their own letters from years gone by. It forms a journal or diary of their life. This also works to put older letters like a great-grandparent’s letters into a binder to give their descendant. What a treasure!
Turn Letters, Memories or a Blog into a Self-Published Book – using Blurb.com. It’s delightful to see how much this means to this woman to receive her blog made into a book.
Make a Video to Share Family Memories – Get out the video camera (or your cellphone) and get grandma or grandpa talking about their memories.
Give a Family Member a Journal – to start recording their childhood memories.
Create Your Own Heritage Scrapbook – with family history, copies of old photos and other memorabilia.
(Article previously published on Squidoo by Virginia Allain)
Comments and Suggestions From Friends
Suzy – “I am working on a Heritage Album now. I regret not having asked important questions when my family was alive. You’ve given some great tips that sure would have made my life easier if I would have known then what I know now.”
Susanna – “I have my great-grandmother’s photo album and, as you can imagine, I treasure it. The next person to have it will be my granddaughter.”
My suggestion for Susanna, “That is a precious family heirloom. I’d recommend scanning all the photos into the computer (may have to use a portable scanner if it is fragile). Then the photos can be shared online with more family members. They also are of historical significance, I imagine.”
Cathy – “Every Christmas I give my kids a photo album filled with pictures taken that year. Since I get them made into an actual book, there’s no way for them to take out a picture and lose it. It’s a wonderful way to preserve memories.”
Willa – “Brilliant idea. Family history once lost is lost for good. Having been in the framing industry I know how valuable a well-documented photo is because a generation or two later no one will know who they are. This is a great way to document family.”
If you don’t have children in the home, then you are unlikely to have a stash of toys ready when a child visits. Here are some ways to keep a visiting child happy without investing in expensive toys and games.
Let Them Build Things
Get out anything you have that lends itself to stacking. This could be the corks that you’re saving for a craft project or scraps of wood from the workbench. Children love arranging these into patterns and trying to build a tower.
Gail Lee Martin with 2 granddaughters.
Make a Tent With Chairs and a Blanket
Children love playing in hidey-holes. Let them arrange a sheet or blanket over some chairs and play inside the tent. Watch out with very young children that they don’t pull a chair over.
Get a bottle of this with the wand at the dollar store. It’s easy to store and will provide hours of fun for a child. Actually, adults enjoy these as well.
You can also find recipes to make your own bubble blowing solution.
Start Them Drawing
All you need is paper, even scrap paper, and a pencil. Colored pencils add to the fun, but aren’t absolutely necessary. Sit with the child and suggest things to draw and admire their creations.
Take a Nature Walk
Make a list of things they might see on a walk in your area (mushroom, squirrel, a bug, a “y” shaped stick). As you walk along, they can search for the things on the list like a scavenger hunt. Give them a little reward for finding a certain number of things. It could be a gold star or a cookie, something simple.
Gail Lee Martin with two granddaughters in their firemen hats.
Remember that children crave your time and attention. Don’t just park them in front of the television so the adults can talk. Spending time with you and their parents is important to the child’s development.
(post by Virginia Allain – previously published on List My Five)
Back in the early sixties, I attended a 2-room country school in south-central Kansas. We would see the military convoy going by while we were outside playing Red Rover and baseball at recess. We often paused our games to wave at the soldiers in their Army vehicles.
It wasn’t wartime, but America and the Soviet Union were engaged in a Cold War. As kids, we didn’t pay much attention to the news of Khrushchev, or the arms build-up. We lived in the country, belonged to 4-H, attended church, and the tensions of governments seemed very distant.
There we were, in the middle of Kansas, surrounded by wheat fields. The reason for the soldiers driving by? There was an underground missile silo out there in the middle of nowhere. It was 6625 miles from where we were to Moscow.
Little did we know that the very presence of that missile silo made our rural county a target if actual war did break out.
The four Martin girls in the early 1960s.
Learn More About the Missile Silos
I was curious to see what had happened to those after the Cold War ended. Here are some examples.
I found one article that said, “In Kansas, the government constructed 12 Atlas F sites and nine Atlas E sites. The Atlas F sites – deep sites compared to Atlas E sites – cost about $14 million to $18 million each.” Read more about the missile sites. These sites were on high alert during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Apparently, the Atlas sites were all decommissioned by 1965.
Mason jars or canning jars have dozens of uses far beyond the basic job of storing preserved foods for the winter. Of course, they still do the job if you want to can your beets or carrots from the garden. I’ve gathered together here some ideas to upcycle or get new uses from those Ball or Mason canning jars.
Gail Lee Martin collected old canning jars and displayed them on shelves above the sink in her kitchen. I have some other suggestions to show off or make useful those vintage jars. One of my nieces used the jars filled with paper flowers to decorate the tables at her wedding.
Diana made the paper roses to place in the canning jars that she borrowed from her Grandmother Gail.
Party or Table Decor Ideas with Mason Jars
Use them to hold silverware on the buffet table.
For a wedding, place jars on each table and fill them with wildflowers.
Put a pump style lid on 2 jars for a BBQ and put ketchup or mustard in them.
When eating outside, decorate your patio table with a canning jar filled with sunflowers.
Since you’re visiting this page, I’m guessing that you already have some Mason jars. They may be the more common clear canning jars or the vintage green or blue ones.
With these tops, you can put your empty canning jars to work for many purposes.
The green plastic lids from parmesan cheese containers fit perfectly on a canning jar too. With that, you can store any food that you want to shake out or use the jar for storing craft beads or glitter.
Uses for Newer Canning Jars
For some of the craft projects below, you’ll want to use newer canning jars instead of making permanent alterations to an antique jar.
Get out your paints and give a jar a cute pumpkin face. Put a battery-powered votive candle inside for a light.
Make Frosted Jar Lanterns – With these video instructions
You can make one of these. Look how easy it is. I really like video tutorials. Guess I’m a visual learner.
Gail Martin filled several of her vintage canning jars with sand. They made great bookends for her cookbooks.
Do you have memories of something that frightened you as a child? Maybe footsteps on the stairs after you’ve gone to bed? I’m intrigued by octogenarian Monte Manka who taps into his childhood memories from the 1930s for his poems. He grew up in Chelsea, Kansas in the same county where Gail Martin lived later in life. Chelsea is gone now, hidden under the water of the El Dorado Reservoir.
Here’s his account of something that really scared him as a child. The house his family lived in showed signs of being haunted. I’ve also added some memories his younger sister had of that same house. The house is gone now, so was it really haunted or ???
Read his poem describing the spooky events and also the other evidence presented. See what you think.
As for me, I’m sure glad I didn’t have to climb those stairs each night and lie awake listening to the strange sounds.
Who or What Made the Footsteps on the Stairs Late at Night?
Those “Spooky” Farmhouse Stairs
A poem by an octogenarian, Monte Manka about his childhood memories
The stairway in that farmhouse
That led up to the second floor
Meant a way to reach my bedroom
Newel posts, balusters, banisters
Landing, risers, and treads
I used them daily
When heading for my upstairs bed.
As I grew older
I often wondered who
Engineered this marvel
Such beautiful workmanship, too.
That old railing and Newel Post
Were well hand-worn
Solid walnut wood
Built long before I was born.
If I wanted a midnight snack
Down these stairs, I could not sneak
The pressure on each riser
Let out a telltale squeak.
As I lay in bed
I pulled the covers
Tight over my head
Because in the stillness of the night
That old stairway would creak
From the bottom step to the top
You’d be scared to speak.
Besides, there was no such thing
As Goblins and Ghosts
Looking to do me harm, I said to myself
As those creaky sounds grew close.
I kept telling myself
While shivering in my bed
I was afraid to fall asleep
Afraid I’d wake up dead.
Thank goodness for that Sandman
He saved my life many a night
By putting me to sleep
And keeping me free from fright.
An Odd Incident
Remembered by Monte Manka
One night while we were sitting by the pot-bellied stove in the living room, keeping warm, suddenly a muffled noise and the house began to fill with smoke.
Dad finally got it under control. One of the bricks was missing on the chimney on the top and that brick fell down the chimney and clogged up the draft. Dad and the hired man had to take the stovepipe apart and remove the brick and all was well–
Funny no wind that night, no earthquake ????????????? Monte
A drawing by Karen Martin showing the black wood stove similar to one in the Manka house.
Another Person’s Experience in That House – Monte’s Sister
“Something came up those stairs every night at precisely the same time, around 10:00 or 10:30 I don’t remember which. The footsteps were clear and distinct from the bottom of the stairs to the top.
I am not the only one in the family that heard that either. Ray commented on that very thing. I thought it was just a kid thing and now I know that it wasn’t.
There were other things that went on in that house as well. That house was a haunted house when I was living in it.
Monte Leon Manka
Monte is 83 and now lives in California. He grew up in Chelsea, Kansas. These poems cover his experiences from school days, the Great Depression, small town life, and also his military experience in Korea.
The Manka House Eventually Burned to the Ground
In His 90s Now, Monte Manka Lives in Retirement on the West Coast
Fall is here and do you remember what you enjoyed doing at this time of year? Fall has one of those in-between weather, not too hot and not too cold.
An expert carver works on a pumpkin sculpture at a fall festival.
Let’s write about our first daylight saving times and how it affected your family’s life. World Series baseball coming up and football season is taking over. High school and college football memories need to be recorded. Not just the players but the homecoming, bonfire rallies, letter jackets and the audience in the bleachers.
Witches and ghosts are showing up in my neighborhood already. Do you remember Halloween fun, tricks, and costumes back in the days when you were trick or treat age? Have you ever been tricked? Or had your decorations stolen?
A rustic scarecrow made of burlap bags.
Columbus Day comes on the 8th this year. Have you ever done something special to celebrate this holiday? What was the largest event you ever attended or your parents attended.
Christopher Columbus statue in Savannah, Georgia
Do you remember “the Big Band” era? Who was your favorite? Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey, and Woody Herman were a few. What was your favorite movie as a child? The girls will probably say, Shirley Temple. My kids and I remember Bing Crosby and Bob Hope plus all the westerns. Have you met a famous person?
(this is part of a series of writing prompts that Gail Lee Martin created for the Our Echo website)
Betty – 7 years ago – “My Dad was in the Korean war too; in the Army. Thank you for your service, Monte & for the great poetry you’ve shared with us.”
Gayle – 7 years ago – “Mr. Manka–I enjoyed your poems! I was too young to know very much about the Korean War but your poems gave me a personal insight into that time and war. Thanks for the real-life glimpse of how it was!”
Joan Haines – 7 years ago – “I have read only your first poem about the kind and creative leadership of your Captain Knight. “Little Nell Two Ten Yen” is a great story. I am sending a link to all these poems to my daughter in South Korea. She is there teaching English. Thank you. I look forward to reading the rest!”