I found a bundle of handmade cards from school children. Mom had saved these thank you notes dating back to 1994. The notes, decorated with colorful, childish art, thanked her for visiting their classroom and telling them stories.
The most popular story was about a snake apparently and some children even drew pictures of a snake. I knew she must have told them about chasing rabbits with her dog and getting bitten on the cheek by a rattlesnake.
The occasion for her visit was to promote reading and Kansas authors on Kansas Day. Here are some of the notes:
- Dear Mrs. Martin, You’re a great speaker. One of the best speakers I’ve had. Thanks. I had fun, learned a lot, and was stunned. You’re an interesting (spelled enter resting) woman, a fabulious speaker, and such a talented changer. Sincerely, Crystal
- I hope you can come again to 5th grade Lincoln. Sincerely, Candice T.
- Thank you for playing the part of Margaret Hill McCarter. The magazines, the calendars and the newspapers were interesting. And the snake bite story was great! I hope you come again. It was very fun having you here. Sincerely, Jessica
- Dear Gail, I think it is great that you write stories about your history. I also wanted to thank you for coming and sharing your stories with us. My favorite was the one about you getting bit by the snake. Thanks again! Sincerely, Laurie M.
- Thank you for insperting (inspiring?) my writing. I hope you like my writing couse (cause) I like yours.
- Thank you for coming to our rooms for telling us about Kansas long ago.
I puzzled a little over the “such a talented changer.” Mom would dress in pioneer style to demonstrate her wagon wheel rugs and would dress up with a flowery straw hat to talk as Margaret Hill McCarter, a Kansas author that she admired. Perhaps she switched persona and made a wardrobe change by swapping out pieces of clothing during her talk. I’ll have to ask my sister if she ever saw Mom perform for the school classes.
More Notes from the Children
- I think you and Margaret are very good actors and very good people. I liked listening to you and Margaret. I’m sorry about hearing that you got bit by a snake.
- You gave a good story. It was funny. I like your book collection. It must be worth some money. I like to read books, but I don’t read books that big. Oh, when it comes around, I wish you a happy 70th birthday. Sincerely, Billy C.
- Thank you for coming to our school. We really enjoyed reading your stories. All of your stories are good. I would really like for you to come to Lincoln School again.
- Dear Mrs. Martin, Thank you for coming to our school and telling us about the author. I also enjoyed you becoming her. That was very interesting. Not many people do that. The things you told us about were neat. Sincerely, Janna L.
She visited even the kindergarten class and the teacher had each child put their thumbprint on a card and write their name. Each thumbprint had bunny ears or rabbit ears added and a tail. This was sent to Gail after her visit and she saved it.