Lace in June

Here’s a little poem by Gail Lee Martin. She only wrote a few poems, but this one drew some appreciative comments on the Our Echo site.

Bridal Flowers

In the month of June
our thoughts turn
to love and marriage
and our God envisioned
Queen Anne’s lace 
For the wedding flowers.

 Susan Hammett Poole commented, “When I see Queen Anne’s Lace, instead of weddings, I always think of my mother. These lovely lacy flowers (akin to the carrot family, of all things) grew along the roadway about a mile from our house and many times Mama would come home with a bucket full. She’d put some red food coloring in one fruit jar, some yellow in another, and some blue coloring in still another jar. Then she’d plop the flowers into the jars and wait several hours or overnight, long enough for the coloring to soak into the stems and out into the flowerheads. Voila! She would then arrange the beautiful pink, light yellow, and baby blue long-stemmed flowers into a bouquet fit for the real Queen Anne. We children thought it was magical!

Thanks, Gail for stirring up my memory with your poem about Bridal Flowers.”


“Dear Gail, I see beautiful lace all around us on windows, doilies, delicate little hankies. Whether on windows, hair or polished wood, lace is always about letting the light in. You are a beacon of light for OurEcho.” Veronica

“Lace in any form lights up my day, especially Mother’s hand made lacy doilies. When I made family books for each of my 6 children I put one of my Mother’s doilies in the inside front of each book.” Gail

family history book doily

Doily, crocheted by Ruth (Vining) McGhee, displayed on the inside cover of a Martin family history book.

[poem and comments from the Our Echo site]

Gail’s Story – Panhandle Pup

At one of the first writing workshops that Gail Lee Martin attended at the East Wichita Shepard Center in 1995 they were asked to write 10 nouns and 10 verbs on pieces of paper that were placed in a container. Then each participant drew out ten pieces of paper and wrote a story using all ten words. Gail ended up with the following words: rose, treasure, Scorpio, rodeo, arrow, stride, deceit, gather, restaurant, terror. All are in this story, can you find them?

I’m guessing from the rich descriptions in the story that Gail had recently been researching the Woodward, Oklahoma ancestors in her genealogy work. She also had a strong interest in geology which shows up in the story. 

Gail Martin's story of the Panhandle Pup. puppy-pixabay Image by ariesa66

Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay


Just west of the little town of Freedom in the panhandle of Oklahoma territory is five thousand acres of rose-colored sand, coated with a shimmering crust. Locally known as the Great Salt Plains it was a rugged escarpment of red shale capped with white gypsum the Indians called it the salt mountain because there they could gather a treasure in the form of salt that the tribal Indians needed in their diets.

A mile or two due north of the Great Salt Plains, but still in the sandhill country a salt collector’s camp was made in a ‘little bit of paradise’ that surrounded a tiny oval pool of cold water, that continually overflowed a slight depression to disappear in the hot sand a short distance away. Under the feathery, drooping branches of a lone tamarack tree on the downside of the pool almost completely hidden was a small, furry puppy. Lying flat on his belly he was watching the two boys in the nearby camp.

The boys were arguing about something they had found in the sand. The taller boy was correcting the pronunciation of his little brother, who was calling it a Scorpio instead of a scorpion. “So what? I’ll bet he’ll sure sting with that tail, no matter what we call it.”

Meanwhile, the scorpion was busy playing a game of deceit by hiding in the sand that was the very same color as he was. But the boys marked his spot with a stick so they wouldn’t be deceived.

The men of the camp had left early that morning while the sun was still below the horizon. The small mongrel pup had been relieved when the men disappeared in a mirage of trees that appeared in the middle the salt flats and soon returned his full attention on the two smaller humans sprucing up the campsite after their meal.

Even if this wasn’t a restaurant their Dad had instructed them to be sure and clean it, and he meant clean, like the restaurant they had lunch when they attended the rodeo in Woodward last fall.

The smell of frying bacon had been almost more than the pup’s terror-stricken and starved little body could stand. The sturdy red-headed boy with freckles scattered across his face and arms gathered up some leftover flapjacks and flung them with all his might, straight as an arrow towards the little dog’s hiding place, beyond the camp-site.

This was too much for the pup and he slunk deeper into the shadows. A couple of the flat cakes had landed not far away and the aroma was tantalizing to the cowering pup. Keeping one eye on the boys, the puppy crept slowly toward the enticing smell. In another stride, he quickly grabbed the pancake and gulped it down. Becoming braver he advanced on the other scrap of food.

Just then the older boy saw him and shouted. “Luther! there’s an old coyote getting those cakes you threw away!” As the pup quickly retreated to the hollow under the tree the redheaded boy declared. “Be quiet Francis! that’s just a puppy and he is must be awful hungry.” Kneeling he held out another pancake to the pup that had become lost in the panhandle of Oklahoma. That was all it took for the three to become fast friends.

(This story was first published on the Our Echo website.)

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.”

Inspiring Memories for Writing

Gail wrote this in an email back in September 2011.
I once took a hand full of Jacks and the ball to visit a group of elderly people like me and tossed them out on the table and started playing jacks like we did as a kid. Then asked them to write about the games they remembered resulting in some very good stories.
Childhood Jacks Postcard
Childhood Jacks Postcardby cinnamonbite
Another time I took maple seeds and threw them up in the air and as they came swirling down like miniature helicopters everyone laughed and remembered doing that too. I really like getting others to write their memories.
My one almost failure was when I asked a group of ladies to write about the doll they remembered most and one lady started to cry. We finally found out she had never ever had a doll. So I quickly talked her into writing about the doll she had wished for the most. One of the ladies had a large collection of dolls from her childhood and at our next meeting she brought one to give the other lady and yes that brought tears to all the group.
I had them put their stories into 3-ring notebooks and recommended they make copies for all their families. That was one wonderful group. If I remember right there was around 25 to 30 ladies and one man in that series of writing meetings. We each took turns reading our stories. Memory writing is so important to the writer as well as the readers. 

Gail Lee Martin, author and leader of memory writing classes

 Here are some memory prompts for you to start writing about your childhood.

The Moon and Writing

Here’s some information that I wanted Gail to make into an article to post online. The article was never completed, but I’m sharing here her research on this interesting topic of how the signs of the moon affect writers.

” I also found that the signs of the moon inspire what we write. One week you do creative writing; another week researching goes best; a third week you write letters to friends and family and the last week is for organizing. Sometimes this one extends to my whole writing room. I found this information in a Farmer’s Almanac. In checking back through my journals I found that it was right. “
writing-pen pixabay

Graphic from Pixabay

Here’s what Mom found on the subject:
Increasing Moon
“An increasing moon going from new to full means writing will flow easily.  At that time, a writer is more prolific and productive. Ideas come easily and facts pop into your mind.”
Waning Moon
“When it goes from a full moon to the new moon, that’s the waning moon. For writers, the flow begins to dry up. Shift into doing editing, organizing.” She then has “great for news columns or for magazines.” I wish she would have elaborated on that part.
Mercury Retrograde
“When Mercury is retrograde, it’s a good influence on research, taking notes, and for the preparation of a writing project. It slows the thought process, so you need to allow more time for the writing process. Proofread carefully.
Mercury retrograde slows the thought processes, communications, and transportation.”
The takeaway from that is to allow more time for the writing process and factor in the time for mail to get delivered and for possible delays. Proof read carefully.
Here is the Farmer’s Almanac chart for the moon for the current month.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you considered the effects of the moon sign on your writing?

July Memories to Write about

Here’s another eHow article written by Gail Martin and rescued with the Wayback Machine.

Memory Prompts for the Month of July

Writing family memories becomes more important over the years. Memories start to fade and the chance to save them grows slimmer. Here are memory triggers for the month of July. Use them to start writing down memories for your children and grandchildren to treasure.

With our nation’s birthday on the fourth, try to 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. How about some pet stories and the noise of the fireworks?


If you recall picnics, tell about your menu and how you kept the food safe. Who attended? What were traditional picnic foods for your family? Where did you go for the picnics?


Going to the movies cooled us off on summer days. What are your memories of roy rogersWestern movies? Our favorites were movies with Tom Mix, Dale & Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hop-a-Long Cassidy in them. 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 & 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? Write some breakfast stories.

What would you do if you had as much rain as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas has had lately? Have you experienced torrential rains or flooding? Write about your rainy ordeals? Do you remember excessively hot summers? What did you do to cool off?

Tips & Warnings
  • The more you write, the more memories will flow into your mind.


  • Try to write regularly. Every day is best, even if just a paragraph or two.