Gail and Rosie the Riveter

Mom identified with Rosie the Riveter, although she was chagrined to find herself too slight to handle the kick of the rivet gun. Despite that, Gail found other work to do at Boeing Aircraft and contribute to the war work. Here’s a memory piece that Gail Lee Martin wrote for the Our Echo site about her fondness for Rosie.

Friends by Gail Lee Martin

My Merriam Webster’s Concise Dictionary large-print edition states that a friend is ”person one likes.” But it works both ways. I treasure this person as my friend and she proved she thought of me as a friend.

At my writing group, Prairie Prose & Poetry’s monthly meeting in February 2003, I read my essay titled, My Wall of Books (one of very first that I posted on OurEchoes April 4th, 2006). One paragraph was about our collection of books and calendars of Norman Rockwell’s paintings. At another meeting, I shared what I had recently written about working for Boeing Aircraft Company during World War II.

My friend, Mary Skipworth, put two and two together and one day in July she came to our house and presented me with a t-shirt with Rockwell’s ’Rosie the Riveter’ on it. I was moved almost to tears. But settled on a great big hug.

Rockwell’s Rosie must have been the fad of the year as my daughter, Cindy, gave me a Rosie, We Can Do It, pot-holder for Mother’s Day. Not to be outdone my sister, Carol, gave me hand towels with the same logo for my birthday. No one knew what the others had done until later. Family can be great friends too.

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Gail’s CarePages – January 2013

CarePages is a website that family can use to keep everyone up-to-date on a loved one who is in a care situation. After Gail Lee Martin broke a hip in November, CarePages became sort of a diary with a running commentary by family and friends. The family did a lot of texting, emails, Facebook updates, and phone calls during that time as well.
I saved the CarePages messages as a record of that stressful time.

Gail’s CarePages – January 2013

Posted Jan 4, 2013 9:40pm by Karen Kolavalli – “I’d never actually seen a Bluebird before, but the birds I saw this afternoon around an evergreen there at Regent Park Rehab were obviously just that! Three pairs of them!”
bluebird pixabay

Bluebird photo courtesy of Pixabay

Posted Jan 7, 2013 1:56pm by Cynthia Ross – “Getting to see the Bluebirds had to be a special treat! I’ll watch for them the next time I’m there to visit Mom. Mom has a south facing window in her room, maybe she’ll get to see them as well. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.”

Blood Clot

Posted Jan 8, 2013 7:15pm by Karen Kolavalli – “Mom had been complaining of sharp pain in her groin, where they went in for the heart catheterization. Yesterday Regent Park’s doctor ordered an ultrasound to be sure there wasn’t a hematoma. Susan reports that the ultrasound showed a blood clot. It will be treated with bed rest and medicine.”
Posted Jan 8, 2013 10:15pm by Carol Garriott – “No wonder she was in pain!”
Posted Jan 8, 2013 10:03pm by Sandi Edgar – “She just can’t get a break it seems! Hope the meds work….hugs!”
Posted Jan 8, 2013 8:43pm by Melba Hauser – “Thanks for the update, I really appreciate them.”
Gail Martin at rehab

Gail Lee Martin at Regent Park Rehab Center after breaking her hip, having surgery, and then a heart attack.Blood Clot

Mom back at Wesley in Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Posted Jan 14, 2013 9:46pm by Karen Kolavalli – “Mom is back at Wesley in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. She woke up this morning at Regent Park with chest pains, which didn’t improve after 2 nitroglycerin pills.

They’re not able to do a heart catheterization to see what’s going on because she’s been on blood thinners for the blood clot, so they’re having to wait 2-3 days for her blood to get thicker before they can do the procedure. In the meantime, they’re using meds to keep her stabilized. They also plan to do a sonogram of her heart.

They did an EKG when she first got to Wesley. In comparing it with the one she had at the time of her other heart attack, there are changes that seem to indicate that she’s developed more blockages.

The cardiologist thinks she did probably have a heart attack this morning.”

Posted Jan 15, 2013 11:41am by Sandi Edgar – “I am so sorry to hear she is having yet more problems. I will keep her in my prayers for a complete recovery from this new problem. Hugs!”

Gail Lee McGhee Martin (Sept. 13, 1924 – Jan. 17, 2013)

Posted Jan 18, 2013 8:22pm by Karen Kolavalli – “Mom passed away last night in Wesley ICU after another heart attack. We are planning a celebration of her life for Saturday, February 2, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 430 Eunice, El Dorado, KS. Everyone is invited to join us after the service for a meal provided by the ladies of the church. Karen”
Posted Jan 19, 2013 12:30pm by Sandi Edgar – “Karen, I don’t have the words to tell you how sorry I am. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please keep in touch and call if you need to talk. Love you.”

Use Photos to Jog Your Memory

Post by Virginia Allain: Next week, I’m teaching a series of classes on memoir writing. Here’s some of the advice I’ll give the participants:

Trigger Your Memories with Old Photos

Get out your old photos to serve as memory joggers in writing your memoir. Look at them, really look at them. Probably you’ve seen these photos dozens or even a hundred times. This time you will look beyond the surface.

The technique to extract the maximum amount of information can include making lists of things you see in a photo. Here would be my list: dark car, gravel driveway, light colored house with a porch, 4 curly-haired girls in shorts/pedal pushers.

The next step would be to use those clues to set the time. In this case, by estimating the ages of my sisters, remembering the time I got glasses, and when we lived in town, gives me the likely date.

sisters March 59

Martin kids – Ginger, Cindy, Susan & Karen in summertime

An Analysis of the Photo Shown Above

In this line-up, I see myself and three of my sisters. I’m guessing it is around 1960 before our youngest sister was born. The house must be the one on Carr Street where we lived when I was in 4th and 5th grade. We are barefooted, so it must be summer and we are probably at home. If we were visiting someone, we’d have shoes on.

I could ask a car buff about the car, as I don’t recognize it. Perhaps it belonged to a visitor and the occasion of their visit is the reason we’re getting photographed.

I can’t deduce much from our expressions. We’re looking into the sun and that’s causing us to look down or squint or close our eyes. No sunglasses back in those days.

I’m surprised by all the curly hair. Maybe Mom had tried out some home perm kits. I started wearing glasses in the 4th grade. I wonder when the two younger girls got their first glasses?

Look at those tans! That’s from lots of playing outside. I’m the pale one, probably because I spent hours reading.

This was a rental house and too small for our family of 7, soon to be 8. After that, we moved to the country, to a 4-bedroom farmhouse.

Clyde Martin family on carr street, El Dorado, KS

The Martin family. Clyde holding Karen, Gail, Owen, Cindy, Ginger, and Susan. We all look a little younger in this photo but it is the same house.

 Making Use of Your Discoveries about the Pictures

OK, I’ve deduced quite a bit from the first photo. I’ve written a sentence or two about the elements in the photo. The next step would be to rearrange those into more of a narrative describing my feelings about that time in my life.

After examining the details, tune into the feelings evoked by the picture. How happy were you at that time in life? How did the siblings get along? Tell about a typical day at that time in your life.

Icicles

My sister Cindy is quite the poet. I’m not sure where she acquired the ability, maybe through hard work at writer’s workshops. Mom (Gail Lee Martin) was always quite apologetic about her poetry attempts. I don’t feel comfortable in that form of writing either.

pixabay icicles

Icicle photo courtesy of Pixabay

Here’s a poem that Cindy shared in her Christmas letter this year:

Icicle

From the gutter

A long spear hangs

Cold to the touch

 

During the night

Icy fingers hold it

Tight against metal

 

With the morning sun

Iridescent prisms sparkle

Casting an enchanted glow

 

Warmth loosens its grip

Until it falls crashing

Scattering diamonds on the snow

(by Cynthia Ross)

I expect that with the huge freeze experience by many in the U.S. this week, that there will be many icicles forming. In New England, you may have to wait a few more days with the below zero temperatures there.

Save on Heating Bills the Old-Fashioned Way

Back in November 2008, Gail Lee Martin’s article on saving on heating bills was the featured post of the day on the eHow site. The next day her daughter emailed her,

Wow, you had around 4,500 viewings of your featured article yesterday.  It went from 0 earnings to $5.09 in one day.  Apparently, people also visited some of your other articles, because your total income for the month went up about $7 just yesterday.
Good work,  Ginger

How to Save on Heating Bills the Old-Fashioned Way

Many people are cutting back on spending when jobs are lost or Social Security doesn’t stretch far enough to cover all the bills that arrive in the mail. After all, we have to eat and buy the medicine that we need. I want to show you some old-fashioned hints that might help cut your heating bills.

Depending on where and in what type of housing you live in some of these tips will help.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Throw rugs
  • Worn out socks
  • Scissors
  • Table knife (not a sharp knife)
  • Warm clothing
winter cold red cap gloves pixabay

To accompany the article, eHow chose a trendy young woman inadequately clad. Gail thought the choice rather silly, but I’m sure they were trying to appeal to a young audience.

As the winter weather grows colder and colder, you can learn to adjust the temperature lower and lower and your body will adjust too. Every few days set your heat a few degrees cooler.

Each time you adjust the temperature lower, add more warm clothing, such as thermal underclothing, an extra pair of socks and warm sweatshirts. There are so many different seasonal sweatshirts that you probably have many already that will make you look great and feel comfy at the same time.

I even keep an old throw pillow on the floor where I sit at the computer That helps keep my feet from the coldest part of my house, the floor. You will be surprised that you don’t need as much heat as you had thought. Just think of the savings!

Check out the windows of your home. If you feel cold air coming in around your windows, you have a problem. You can stuff strips of old worn out socks around the cracks between the window and the frame. Cut the socks lengthwise and then cut into halves or fourths depending on the size of the cracks where the cold air comes in. It’s much cheaper than caulking and much easier to remove when spring comes. Use the rounded knife blade to push the material into the cracks. If your friends wonder at your new decorations, just tell them your windows have ruffles!

Many older houses have problems with air seeping in under the doors. Use a throw rug, fold and tuck it across the bottom of the door. This helps especially at night when the outside temperature goes down and the wind is blowing a blue northern.

On those cold, but sunny days, open the drapes and pull up your blinds and let the sunshine in. It’s free solar heating.

eHow of the Day - Screenshot

Here are some of the comments and Gail’s answer to one:
giambattista said

Flag This Comment

on 12/25/2008 Very nice article. Very informative!

SandiFL said on 12/1/2008, “Your “how to” articles are so interesting and informative, Gail! Relished your remark about telling friends that the socks stuffed in your windows are ruffles! Toooooo amusing! Living in Florida, it never gets very cold here, unless you consider 55 degrees cold.”

GailM said on 12/1/2008, “Green Woman is correct. A doctor recommended wearing a stocking cap in bed to my father to keep his feet warm.

Thanks for everybody’s comments, I love hearing from you and getting a chance to read your eHows too.”

GreenWoman said on 11/30/2008, “Wearing a wooly pull-down hat also helps keeps the head warm, which helps the rest of the body. I like the socks idea — but for those who don’t have socks or tights, worn out panties, which I’ve used to block cold air between upper and lower window-sections, also work really well.”

New Year’s Eve 1958

 

Leslie Paugh Sr. is back as our guest blogger. He shared this story with me via email. You can read his other stories about working with Clyde Martin which I posted earlier. 

guest blogger pencil

“I actually only worked 3 weeks with Clyde on the rig. Two weeks in November and one week in December. So most of it was just work and not much happened.

One other thing I will never forget. I was a pretty good (or bad) drinker. New Year’s Eve, we went up to the station where we both bought our gas to fill up the car. The owner brought out a pint, about 1\3 full of rye whiskey and handed it to Clyde. I told him that was only one good drink, he got a new pint and handed it to me. I said that’s more like it, and took a good long drink of it.

beer bar pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Well, I had never drunk any rye whiskey. The gas pumps started doing the hoochie coochie. I told Clyde that stuff has a good kick to it. We went down to a bar and started (this was our first mistake) drinking beer, then saw (this was our second mistake ) the hot dill pickles and started eating them. I never did know how Clyde came out but I didn’t make it until midnight. When I woke up I told Treva “THAT is it, THAT will not ever happen again.” That was New Year’s 1958. The best thing that ever happened to me.

After that, we would go to visit my folks southwest of Kansas City, and my dad and I would go up to play pool. I would drink one beer while playing. In a year’s time, I might have drunk four or five beers. I left the hard stuff alone entirely. After my dad died I didn’t even drink the beer. In the last eight years, I have only drunk two beers. Funny how things work out sometimes, for the best.”

les paugh sr. 2

Leslie Paugh, Sr.

Top Ten Posts for 2017

When I shared Gail Lee Martin’s stories in some groups on Facebook, her memory blog and her Facebook fan page gained quite a number of followers. People love nostalgia and old-time recipes, it seems. Here are the top ten posts for 2017.

  1. This post was a big hit with a Depression-era cooking Facebook group. Nostalgia groups also liked the memories it brought up. Saving the Cooking Grease
  2. This topic raised some controversy from animal lovers, farmers, and history buffs. Kansas Wolf Hunts
  3. The third most-visited post with 319 readers combined nostalgia and food, a winning combination. Bean Soup on Wash Days
  4. The post about old-fashioned sayings that Gail used was popular too. A Hitch in Her Git-Along
  5. More food memories that drew the lovers of nostalgia. Fifties Foodsretro fifties foods pixabay
  6. Disasters also caught people’s attention. M Is for Memories of the Flood of ’51
  7. This post caught the attention of a Madison, Kansas group as people dropped by to see if their parents or grandparents were mentioned. R Is for Ruth –  In Sympathy
  8. Hamilton is a very small town, but they have a group on Facebook that sent many readers to this post. H Is for Hamilton
  9. The novelty of this vintage recipe caught people’s attention. Heritage Recipe – Turnip Pie
  10. This follow-up piece with Gail’s own memories drew readers. Gail’s Memories of the Flood of ’51

Over 7,000 individual readers visited the blog in 2017. If you are reading this post, then you were probably one of them. If you missed any of the stories above, I hope you have a few minutes to read Gail’s memories.

gail's top posts 2017