The Old Grocery Store

Time for another photo match-up. Actually, the example photo showing a vintage street scene is in color, not the usual sepia ones that Sepia Saturday shares. That gives me more options to find a similar scene in our family photo stash. Let’s see what I find.

Sepia Saturday 521 Theme Image, Lincoln Nabraska in Colour

Sepia Saturday Theme Image, Lincoln, Nebraska, in Colour

First I found an old grocery store in Tyro, Kansas. My Vining and McGhee branches of the family lived there, as did some of the Babcocks and the Towers. This photo was kindly lent to me by Jack Irwin who is related to some of the founders of Tyro. His great-grandfather, Joseph Lenhart ran this store.

1st store in Tyro run by jack irwins great grandfather Joseph Lenhart

1907 Deuel store in Tyro

1907 – Inside the store in Tyro, Kansas.

My next find was the Moore Brothers Grocery in Teterville, Kansas. You can read more about this store and my mother’s memories of it in Just Shopping and Teterville Chat. This photo is at the history museum in Eureka, Kansas where they have quite a nice exhibit about Teterville.

teterville store photo from eureka museum

Photo from the Eureka Museum of the Moore’s Store in Teterville, Kansas

I have one more story to share, but sadly, no photo of this grocery store. My grandfather, Ren Martin, had a grocery store in Reading, Kansas, after he retired.


Hang Onto Your Hat

The inspiration photo for this Saturday features a vintage bicycle with a sidecar. The lady riding in that sidecar was wisely hanging onto her hat as they zipped along. Now, I’ve already shared my photo of my grandmother on a motorcycle and one showing my great-uncle and my grandfather with bicycles, so I don’t have any more of those in the family album.

sepia saturday july 25

I could find some photos of the family in hats over the years, but not that many ladies with hats. In Kansas with the wind blowing across the prairies, you needed to hang onto your hat even when you weren’t zipping along in a bike with a sidecar.

Our Family Hats Over the Years

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Scrounging a bit further in the family photos, I did find 2 bicycle pictures that you probably haven’t seen.

dated on front 8-16-1912, house with man, woman, 2 boys with bicycles

Unknown family with bicycles

sam mcghee and bicycle maybe

Great-grandfather Samuel McGhee

The Church Fan

Let’s see what comes to your mind with the phrase “church fan.” You know I’m intrigued by vintage things so yes, I’m always alert for old churches with steeples along a country road or in a village. Here’s a sampling that I’ve captured with my camera over the years. I can’t even tell you where I saw many of these and the photos aren’t the best. We can’t stop for each one, so these are quickie snaps.

So, you could say that I’m a fan of vintage churches.

We like to visit restored villages in our travels and then I get to savor the architecture, the polished pews, and the peaceful silence inside. This one was in New Brunswick, Canada.

Another Kind of Church Fan

On a hot summer day in the early 1900s, the community assembled in their local church. Ladies wore lightweight dresses, their best shoes, a hat, and white gloves. The men wore suits.

The arched ceiling in the church allowed some of the heat to rise, but despite that, it was sweltering for the people as they settled into their regular pew. Immediately, the cardboard hand fans were set in motion. Each lightweight cardboard fan had a flat wooden handle. The artwork featured religious scenes and the back of the fan always contained an advertisement. Usually, it was for a funeral home, but it could be a bank or other commercial entity that probably paid for the fans.

No matter how hot you were, children knew that the fans were not for a frantic flapping to create a breeze. One gently waved the fan back-and-forth and never ever used it to whack your little sister no matter how she aggravated you.

There was another version of the church fan. It consisted of three cardboard panels fastened at the base. These spread open to see the pictures (and the advertising on the back), and there was no stick.

The fans above are available from a seller of vintage items on Etsy. Here’s the link for her vintage advertising church fans in case you have a desire to travel back in time and need a fan to keep cool while there.


Christmas in July

When you see the phrase “Christmas in July,” you usually think of merchants trying to drum up some business during a slow time. I’m not encouraging anyone to head out shopping during a pandemic. Instead, I have an idea for some crafty Christmas projects that you can do at home with supplies that you probably already have on hand.

ancestor ornament cj

(REMINDER: do not cut up original photos, make a copy) My aunt Carol and her cousin Barbara.

Now’s the time to create some special ornaments for your Christmas tree while you keep occupied during those too hot July days. As you know, I inherited an interest in family history from my mother. She would have liked this idea of putting copies of your vintage family photos on the holiday tree.

Harlan, kennedy, ancestors collage cutouts

These photos are too large to put on an ornament. Instead, glue the copies (not the original) onto a stiff backing. Then nestle them into the branches of the tree.

The example below is a copy glued onto a stiff backing (recycle the gold back from your old Christmas cards). Ribbon or yarn is all you need for a hanger. Write out a little about the people in the picture and add that to the back. At the very least, put their names, dates, and relationship.

Harlan glue ornament christmas

I have more ideas for decorating your Family History Christmas tree on an article on Hubpages. What do you think? Will there be ancestors on your tree in December?

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Family Togetherness

My mother wrote many stories of her own about her early years and she collected stories from her aunts, uncles, and cousins. I want to share this memory of Gail’s aunt, Bertha McGhee. Bertha was born in 1903 and grew up in the small town of Tyro, Kansas.

Sam Matilda 1903 Clarence 7 Jesse 5 Roy 2 Bertha baby_roxio

Bertha is the baby in this photo of the Sam McGhee family in 1903.

Bertha Remembers

Our family did lots of things together.   We played games — dominoes and checkers, carom and croconole and Finch.   Outdoors we played hide and seek, blind man’s bluff and races with bases marked off in the dusty dead end street.

We sang around the organ with Papa playing and he also had us study the Sunday School lesson together on Saturday evening–so we’d be ready for Sunday School on Sunday.   We always had grace before meals and often at breakfast Papa would read a scripture — Sunday School and our church were very much a part of our lives.

Most of us are familiar with dominoes and checkers which are still played today. I wonder if Finch was actually Flinch or if those are separate games. In searching through old newspapers, I found what the boards looked like for Carom and Crokinole. These would be considered parlor games.

Crokinole and Caroms game boards - 1915Crokinole and Caroms game boards – 1915 Mon, Dec 13, 1915 – Page 13 · Great Bend Tribune (Great Bend, Kansas) ·

It’s Not Junk

I joined a Facebook group that has great ideas for re-purposing thrift store finds and rescued junk. Although I’m supposed to be paring down our stuff, I love seeing what people are doing to keep things useful. I restrain myself from bringing home “curb finds” but do find ways to reuse something I’d otherwise toss out.

Keeping stuff out of the landfill is something I learned from Mom and Dad. They grew up on the motto, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” During the Great Depression years of their childhood and the WWII years of their early adult years, being thrifty was pretty much ingrained in their lives.

When a cheaply made floor lamp died, I had little interest in having it rewired. I did salvage the two frosted-glass shades with a project in mind. It was going to become a fairy garden.

Assembling a Fairy Garden from Lamp Parts

I had some potting soil and the shades already had a hole in each (where the bulb was) so that worked for drainage. I gathered up some ferns and moss from the wooded part of our yard. The flower is a cutting from an annual plant and I dipped it in rooting powder to help it start roots.

I assembled these in the two globes and added a rock for an accent. There were some hen and chicks in my flower bed, so I put two of those in as well.

2016-08-15 0062016-08-15 008

The perfect place for this was a shady spot on an old stump that I wanted to minimize. The fairy figure came from Amazon. I have four different ones and I place them around the yard in the summer.

It was an easy project.

Apples from Oregon

Sometimes I go off on tangents in researching our family history. I imagine Mom (Gail Martin) must have been more disciplined to track down all the information she collected. So today, I’m hunting for vintage apple labels, the kind you see on fruit crates.

My inspiration came from the Sepia Saturday Blog Challenge where they shared a colorful fruit crate label. It started me searching for Oregon apples, particularly apple labels from Imbler, Oregon when my dad’s great-uncle Frank Martin lived.

I knew Frank grew apples because he made train trips in the 1920s to Kansas to sell the apples (and visit his family). Unfortunately, my search failed to find an apple crate label for Imbler, so I just settled for one from Oregon.
Frank Martin - takes train carload of apples to KSFrank Martin – takes train carload of apples to KS Fri, Dec 26, 1924 – 5 · The Hamilton Herald, The Climax Chronicle, The Virgil Visitor, The Quincy Quill, and The Neal News (Madison, Kansas) ·

Frank’s actual name was Francis Marion Martin. He had a long life and even participated in the Oklahoma Land Rush before he ended up in Oregon.

5 Free & Fun Things for Kids to Do

Anyone who grew up in the 1950s will remember these summertime activities. There were no excursions to theme parks or money spent on activities. We kept ourselves occupied by playing in the yard or neighborhood.

  1. Catching lightning bugs – maybe you call them fireflies. Once it was dusk, you ran about the yard capturing these with your hands. Putting the captives in a jar turned it into your very own blinking lantern. I think we poked holes in the jar lid for them to breathe.Fireflies, Stars Digital Paper, Stripes, Stars, Fish
  2. Playing outdoor games – There were all sorts of games you could play with your siblings like “Mother May I?” or “Simon Says” or games that involved running like Tag or Hide-And-Seek. After we wore ourselves out with these games, we would relax in the shade for a while.
  3. Playing with the hose – If you had a lawn sprinkler, it was fun to run through on a hot summer day. It wasn’t necessary though, you could just put your finger over the end of the garden hose and spray the other kids. You didn’t have to go anywhere and you didn’t even need a swimsuit. Outdoors, Nature, People, Summer, Kids, Happy, Water
  4. Stretching out on the grass and watching the clouds – We looked for special shapes in the cloud formations and tried to imagine they were animals or people’s faces. Kansas has marvelous skyscapes with thunderheads that shifted and reformed as we watched.

    cloud photo, Kansas

    Cloud photo by Virginia Allain

  5. Pretending – After watching National Velvet on television, we spent hours pretending to ride our imaginary horses over jumps that we placed around the yard. Other times, we created a playhouse by stamping down the weeds in an overgrown area to form rooms. Of course, we could always resort to making mud pies and decorate them with the pokeberries that grew wild. The big leaves made great plates for our concoctions. (Don’t worry, we knew not to eat those.)


Goldfish Haiku

My sister writes poetry, fiction, and children’s stories. She has two books of poetry published and her poems have appeared in various publications as well.


Back in 2008, the Wichita Eagle newspaper invited pet lovers to visit their pet Web site, Wichita Paws, and submit pet-related haikus. Here’s her entry and the nice mention that it received in the paper:
A haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that paints a mental image in three lines, with the first line being five syllables, the second seven syllables and the third five syllables. Cynthia Ross of Towanda, who loves haikus so much she even says so on her car’s personal license plate, won a copy of the book”Dog-Ku” by Steve D. Marsh for this clever entry:
Cat in a window
Licking his wet paw with glee
Minus one goldfish.

Your Haiku Challenge

Now, you’ve seen an example and have the instructions above, I challenge you to write your own haiku. It can be about a pet or anything that comes to your mind. I’m going to go right this minute and try to compose my own.

The Old Rocking Chair

When Denise Doucette performed at Lake Forest Resort in New Hampshire one song brought tears to my eyes. She writes many of the songs that she sings, but this one was written by her mother, Becky Doucette. They sing it as a duet. Here’s one of the lines from the chorus.

That was my mother’s chair, she rocked her babies there

I’m sure my mother would have loved this song too with its nostalgic theme of an old chair in the attic bringing back memories of rocking the babies to sleep. You can hear the song, Rocking Chair, on YouTube.

Empty Old Vintage Rocking Chair Note Card

Vintage Rocking Chair Note Card

Denise Doucette is a professional performer who happens to spend her summers in New Hampshire. This year, with group activities canceled pretty much everywhere, it must be frustrating for someone used to performing regularly throughout New England and in Canada too.

After you finish listening to Rocking Chair, go ahead and listen to the beautiful songs written by Denise. I love Heart to Heart and Moon Sparkles. Her mother’s song is very much in the country tradition, but Denise has a more contemporary sound in the songs she writes and performs.