July Memory Joggers

Memory joggers for the month of July created by Gail Lee Martin. She would love it if you would take pen in hand and write about some of these topics.

July 1 – July 31 – July Memories

With our Nation’s birthday coming up on the fourth, let’s try and recall how we celebrated the 4th of July as far back as we can. We used to go swimming and have a picnic. I can even remember when we had no fireworks, can you? What were your favorite fireworks? Our children loved smoke bombs and sparklers. If you recall picnics tell us your menu and how you kept the food safe. Who attended? How about some pet stories and the noise of the fireworks?

sparkler photo dark background by Virginia Allain

A photo of a 4th of July sparkler (by Gail’s daughter, Virginia Allain)

Hallmark channel on TV is planning a month of “Rough N Ready” shows for July. How about writing some Rough N Ready stories or memories of your favorite Western movies? Our favorites were movies with Tom Mix, Dale & Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hop-a-Long Cassidy in them.

 

lone-ranger-pixabay

Classic western hero – The Lone Ranger

Where did you go to see the movies? Who did you go with and what did it cost to get in? Who could forget the smell of the popcorn? Describe the theater inside and out. Do you remember the first drive-in-movies? Did your theater have drawings or gifts?

I found an old Log Cabin Syrup tin that looked like the ones I played with as a kid. Do you remember what syrup you liked on pancakes as a kid? Did your mother make them from scratch or use a mix? Tell us some breakfast stories.

What would you do if you had as much rain as Kansas, Oklahoma & Texas has had lately? Maybe you’ve gone through that sort of thing already. Tell us about your rainy ordeals.

July 2012 Rain at the Bronco ball park in El Dorado KS

Karen Kolavalli’s photo of the lightning and rain clouds at the Bronco Ball Park in El Dorado, Kansas.

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Gail’s Books Inspire Another Memoir

Back in 2011, Gail Lee Martin emailed, “We were awakened this morning with a call from the man below. He went to Madison HS when Howard was in high school. He said that Hartsel Storrer, who manages the Madison Senior Center was his grade school teacher. Perry said his daughters bought both of my books from Blurb and then they downloaded Blurb and made a book for Perry’s birthday.

He is sending a copy to us so needed our snail mail address. He told about Ralph dive-bombing their farm and about Howard driving Ren’s new car to school one day and a bunch of classmates skipped school. They drove to Hamilton and on the way back decided to see how fast the car would go. On the downslope on the hill south of Madison, it hit 100 miles an hour. 

Now we know who bought at least two of the books from Blurb and with great results. Apparently, his books are selling fairly well in the community.”

Perry Rubart and His Book

They titled his book, Dare to Dream… Dare to Make the Dream Come True. Here’s the description of it:

Perry Rubart, born in 1931, has seen many changes in his lifetime—personally as well as in this country. In this book, Perry describes his childhood in the Flint Hills of Kansas during the Depression era, his young adulthood in the throes of the Korean War, and his experiences of small-town Ulysses, Kansas, in the changing times of the 1960s-1990s. This is a book about his poverty and affluence, pain and joy, hardships and blessings. In this story of a lifetime, we see a man who did “dare to dream and then dare to make the dream come true.”

Dare to Dream Dare to Make the Dream Come True by Perry Rubart Blurb Books

Dare to Dream Dare to Make the Dream Come True by Perry Rubart Blurb Books

Gail also included in her email, a clipping from HutchNews.com (7/30/2011) about Perry Rubart celebrating his 80th birthday. He was born in 1931 near Madison, so was about 7 years younger than Gail and Clyde.

The article included this information, “On Aug. 11, 1951, he married Dorothy Crooks in Madison. He worked in the oil fields and gas plants from 1947 to 1960. In Ulysses, he owned and operated the Mobil Bulk Dealership, Perry’s Tire & Supply, The Rusty Windmill antique store, and was part owner of The Peddler’s Inn and Southwest Kansas Bank, N.A. He is a Korean War veteran and served on various boards of directors including Sunflower, KEC, Pioneer Electric and York College.

His children and spouses are Jackie and Wendell Beall, West Fork, Arkansas, Teresa and Greg Grounds, Hooker, Oklahoma, and Debbie and Kenney Sneyd, Ulysses. He has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Make Golden Green Beans Au Gratin

Gail Lee Martin posted her recipe on the eHow site in 2009. Try it this summer with fresh green beans picked from your garden and cooked. Then make the following additions for a tasty vegetable casserole.

How to Make Golden Green Beans Au Gratin

During our busy years of gardening with six kids, I tried many different ways to serve veggies to encourage them to eat what we grew. One that has stayed in the family has been Golden Bean Au Gratin. The main reason is that most kids love Velveeta cheese. It’s easy to fix too.

green-beans-pixabay

Cooked green beans ready to use in the Golden Bean casserole.

Things You’ll Need:

4 bacon slices
1 cup onions, sliced into rings
½ lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
¼ cup milk
1/8th teaspoon salt
4 cups of cooked green beans drained well
1 cup seasoned croutons or breadcrumbs

  1. Cut up the onion into rings.
  2. Fry bacon until crisp. Set it aside.
    Drain off most of the fat but reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to cook the onion in until tender.
  3. Add the half pound of cubed cheese and a quarter cup of milk to the onions. Heat these until the cheese melts. Stir frequently so it won’t stick or burn.
  4. Crumble the bacon.
  5. Add the crumbled bacon, seasonings and green beans. Of course, we use our own home-canned green beans but you could use a couple of store-bought cans of green beans. You could grow your own or buy some fresh-picked green beans from a farmer’s market when they are in season.
  6. Top with croutons. Bake 25 minutes in 350-degree oven.

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Crumble the crispy bacon and sprinkle over the green bean casserole.

A Kansas Tornado Memory – 1940s

Gail Martin’s sister, CJ Garriott wrote about her memories of a tornado. This storm would have been in the 1940s, I’m thinking.
One of the most vivid memories I have of Mother’s apron is when we were hustling down into the storm cellar at the Seeley Lease, where I’m looking up past Daddy’s shoulder at the rotating cloud coming right at us as he pulled the door shut. I had the cat in my arms, Skippy the dog had gone down ahead of me, and Mother had led the way with the baby chickens gathered in her apron! The little twister tore up the chicken house and tossed some stuff around, but no major damage.
She wrote the memory above in 2011, so 70 years after seeing that tornado, the event was still vivid in her mind. CJ gave me this timeline for the event, ” I went to 2nd grade through 6th grade at the 1-room Seeley School when we lived on the Seeley Lease, so this happened somewhere in-between 1941 to 1945.”
tornado-pixabay

Her niece, Cynthia Jo Ross liked the story so much, that she asked to use it in her program on vintage aprons.  “It will really add to the program if included.  The collection started because of mom’s award-winning story about Ruth; then I started collecting aprons at thrift stores or estate sales.

Long before that Mom made me a beautiful floor-length red apron maybe 15 or 20 years ago. I’ve used that apron often and then Mom used it for a couple programs and when displaying the wagon wheel rugs.”

Gail Lee Martin in red apron

Gail Lee Martin talks about aprons and their history.

“Just recently my granddaughter used it at school.  She was playing the part of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her mother had to pin it up quite a bit to fit her,” Cynthia explained.

(Last night, a tornado hit the small Kansas town of Eureka. That’s the town that features in some of Gail’s 1930s memories. Here’s a description of it, ” EF3 tornado, on ground 2 miles, wide as 2 football fields. 77 blocks wrecked. 8 people injured, 1 critically. One newscaster reported that if they put the tracks of this tornado with the one 2 years ago, they would make an X in town.”)

The Old-Fashioned Shed

wash shed.jpg

Back in the Good-Old-Days

Back in our grandparents or great-grandparents’ day, a shed like this served as their wash house. Constructed simply from lumber, it kept the mess of laundry day out of the house. It might have just a dirt floor or possibly a wood floor. Luckily we have electric washers and dryers now so no longer need a shed in the backyard for that purpose.

Now we have so many other storage needs that our ancestors never even dreamed of. Storing the power lawn mower, the leaf blower, the power washer for the deck, the weed whacker, swimming pool accessories, golf gear, and so many other tools that weren’t available back in the 1920s, 30s, or 40s.

The style and materials for a storage space have changed a lot over the years too. Now with rigid plastics, there are many variations to fit our different needs. In the good old days, the size and appearance of your shed depended on accessible lumber and tin.

The one shown here has a stone foundation, a tin roof, and weathered wood for a particularly scenic small building.

Slideshow of photos by Virginia Allain

 

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More About Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls Are Popular All Over the World

My friend, Suzanne, in Australia remembers, “My paper dolls came in books of roughly 10 pages, magazine size, 2 or 3 complete outfits to a page and the clothes would press out although you had to be very careful with the tabs. I would play with them all afternoon.

My mother obviously had a supply of these ‘cut-out dolls’ hidden somewhere for they would miraculously appear on a rainy day or on the odd occasion when I suffered some childish ailment. I kept the dolls with their frocks, hats, and shoes in a shoebox and how I wish that I could pick up that box up again now!”

soldier-paper-doll.jpg

Isn’t this combination paper doll and Valentine a cutie! The doll and the army nurse outfit are perforated for easy punching out. I’m guessing this could be WWII, but don’t have verification for that.

My Friend, Joan, Shares Her Memories

Joan Adams – “We loved to take a shoebox full of paper dolls and clothes out on the screened porch. We played with them for hours and hours. We also cut out dishes and silverware from magazines to pretend to cook. I can remember cutting out pictures of furniture too!

We usually got new paper dolls and new crayons on our birthdays and Christmas time!”

Memories of Paper Dolls from Lois, Lee, and Nancy

Lois Paugh Osteen – “I still have them from my childhood. Some pages of the clothes had not been cut out, my sister and I would play for hours with them.

We would cut pictures from magazines so we could have a big party or a nice house. Our paper dolls were our babies, just like our dolls, love the memories.”

Lee Hansen Hoch – “I had a huge box of paper dolls. I distinctly remember the Patty Page and Betsy McCall paper dolls plus I drew my own and made clothes for them.”

Nancy Julien Kopp – “My cousin and I spent hours playing paper dolls. Loved getting new ones, especially of the movie stars. We cut out all the clothes and then made up glorious stories for those paper dolls to act out.”

Handing Down Paper Dolls from Generation to Generation

Marsha Cooper – “I don’t really remember having paper dolls myself, but I remember my mom’s that she had kept. A lot of them came in the McCall’s magazine and my grandma cut them out. I remember how excited I was to find books of paper dolls for my own daughters. They played with them for hours at a time with their friends. They each had theirs stored in manilla envelopes. We found one of those envelopes in a box not long ago. Now my granddaughters are having fun playing with them. It does my heart good to watch them enjoying the “simple’ things over worrying about getting on the game system or a phone to play games.”

Dad Loved to Fish

I remember tagging along with Dad a few times when he went fishing. To me, it was hours of boredom sitting on the river bank while bugs tried to bite me. The leaves made me itchy and the ground felt increasingly hard as I tried not to squirm which would frighten away the fish.

His fishing time was limited to times when the oil rig shut down and there was no work. Probably he hoped to catch enough fish to feed the family while there was no paycheck.

Later when he retired, he fished for fun at Sugar Valley Lakes in Eastern Kansas. Gail and Clyde became a frequent sight at the lake as they fished from the dock or went out in their boat. They caught bass, catfish, and grass carp.

Clyde Martin loved fishing

Catfish, grass carp, and bass caught by Clyde Martin

They took pride in their catch and took photos of the fish. Gail noted in a small notebook the length and weight of the catch each day.

They ended up catching so many that they couldn’t eat them all, so they held a fish fry for the small community of Prescott, Kansas. They wanted to show their appreciation to all the people who made them welcome at their getaway home there.

It was about a 3-hour drive from their home in El Dorado, so at first, it was a weekend retreat while Dad was still working. It was beyond the reach of a demanding job. Later, they spent weeks at a time there. They found it comfortably like the small towns they were familiar with growing up in the 1930s.