Remembering Paper Dolls

Guest blogger is C.J. Garriott (Gail Lee Martin’s little sister).

1930s & 1940s Memories from Gail’s Little Sis

christmas 1947

Carol Jean McGhee, December 1947

Cj Garriott – “Playing paper dolls was a winter day activity on the Kansas prairie in the 1930s and 1940s. I cut pictures from a clothing catalog, finding first the “dolls” I liked, usually making a family (mother, father, myself and sisters) then adding a couple of playmates. Aunt, uncles, and cousins often got represented also. Usually, I could find a dog and a cat or two in a magazine to cut out and add to my imaginary world.

I would then look for outfits that would fit over my dolls. Sometimes the doll I liked had clothing that needed to be trimmed down, in order for other outfits to fit over satisfactorily. Mother showed me how to make tabs on the shoulders of clothing so they would stay on the doll.

I kept them in pages of books (which we always had a lot of), keeping them unwrinkled. Daddy would round up heavy paper envelopes that had come in the mail on which we would paste my dolls.”

“After I was married, I saved the Betsy McCall paper doll pages for nieces.”

Betsy McCall goes to the country paper doll magazine page 1954Betsy McCall goes to the country paper doll magazine page 1954View DetailsBetsy McCall's flower garden paper doll magazine page 1954Betsy McCall’s flower garden paper doll magazine page 1954View DetailsBetsy McCall rolls Easter eggs paper doll magazine page 1954Betsy McCall rolls Easter eggs paper doll magazine page 1954View DetailsBetsy McCall, Print advertisement. 60's Color IllustrationBetsy McCall, Print advertisement. 60’s Color IllustrationView DetailsBetsy McCall cutout's, 50s Color Illustration, print artBetsy McCall cut outs, 50s Color Illustration, print artView DetailsBetsy McCall Patterns, 50's Print Ad. Full page Color Illustration (Betsy McCall finds a surprise) Original Vintage 1953Betsy McCall Patterns, 50’s Print Ad. Full page Color Illustration (Betsy McCall finds a surprise) Original Vintage 1953View Details

Originally published on Hubpages in Nostalgia for Paper Dolls.

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Vintage Soda Ads

Cover Picture
Sodas, Colas, Pop…  (memories by Gail Martin’s daughter, Virginia)

I remember sipping orange pop at the corner gas station as a kid. We could choose from grape or strawberry or chocolate pop from the big red cooler filled with icy water while Dad had the Pontiac’s gas tank filled. Ah, so cool and refreshing on a hot Kansas day.

There was a bottle opener on the side of the red cooler to pry off the metal cap. Then you took a big swig of flavored soda. The strawberry would make red streaks down your chin and on your shirt if you weren’t careful drinking it.

If you share my memories of vintage sodas, then you’ll enjoy these retro ads that I’ve found and photographed. You’ll see these old tin signs on the walls of restaurants along with other antique and nostalgia items.

We didn’t have pop at home, even for picnics or special occasions. We drank Koolaid or lemonade back in the 1950s and 1960s. Soda was too expensive.

Whether you call it pop or soda or cola depends on the region you grew up in, but the exact wording doesn’t matter. Some of these old advertisements have been reproduced on tin signs which people like to use to decorate their family room.

Enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Photos by Virginia Allain

In the comment section, tell me your memories of drinking sodas as a kid (or did you call them pop)?

Sharing and Saving Old Family Photos

When someone shows off a vintage photo of their great grandparents or another old heirloom photo, I always give them this advice.

Make these accessible far and wide. I do so with our family photos and records, considering myself the archivist. We must always remember how vulnerable these are to loss (fire, flood, thrown out by our children).

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

I have a private Facebook page for family only and a separate photo web page so those not on Facebook have access. Put them on your Ancestry tree or on the free site, Family Search.

Consider yourself not just the owner of these, but only the caretaker. Make them available for any family member, whether you’ve met them or not, to use and enjoy.

Graphic from Ancestry.com

I’ve seen some people have a total meltdown when someone they don’t know adds their photo onto a family tree. “That’s my great-grandmother,” they proclaim in outrage. I tell them to stop and think about it. If that ancestor had 8 children, and those children had 5 children, and then more descendants follow, there are likely hundreds of people who can call that person their great-grandmother.

Let’s Write More Letters

When was the last time you wrote a personal letter on real stationery, added a stamp and put it in the mailbox? I’m trying to do this more often since my brother had his stroke and lives in a nursing home. Using email isn’t an option for him and he has told me that the arrival of the mail is the high point of his day.

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Our lives are busy and that’s the excuse most of us give for not writing real letters anymore. It seems we have plenty of time to putter around admiring cute kitten pictures on Facebook or watching the latest reality show on television. I remind myself, that writing a letter is not a huge commitment of time. Sometimes I opt for sending a postcard when I don’t have much to say or am short on time. It lets him know that I’m thinking of him.

Using attractive cards or pretty stationery makes letter writing a pleasant experience. I even have my favorite pen that moves smoothly over the paper and doesn’t leave blots. Since my brother likes street rods, I found some cards on Zazzle with vintage hot rods on them. I figure he can enjoy the graphic as a bonus and it shows I took the trouble to select cards with him in mind.

For my sisters, I usually email them but now and then get inspired to write a real letter. People seldom bother to save emails or go back to read them later. An actual letter or card often gets stashed in a box or a drawer and later is pulled out to savor once more.

Sometimes I use my own photos to create cards on Zazzle. I like sending these to show off my photography and I know the site does a good job with the printing and quality of the card stock. It just seems to add an extra dimension to the letter to have a photo I’ve taken on the card. You could print out your own photos with your printer and leave some white space to add your letter.

Here’s an example of my own photo on a Zazzle card:

White Daisy Postcard 
White Daisy Postcard by virginia allain

This post was originally posted on Daily Two Cents with the following bio added. “Virginia Allain is a retired librarian passionate about sharing information on the Internet. Areas that interest me are genealogy, photography, self-publishing, gardening, golf, and enjoying life.”

Comments on Letter Writing

Nancy  – I like the thought here.  “An actual letter or card often gets stashed in a box or a drawer and later is pulled out to savor once more.” I’ve done that myself so many times. emails are wonderful, but I can’t see them taking the place of a piece of paper we hold in our hands, knowing that loving hands held it before we did as they thought of us.

Danielle – I used to LOVE writing letters! My friends and I used to write these long letters to each other all the time. Now I have no one to write to on paper that would actually write back!

Candy – I have several friends who are in their 80’s and 90’s and live 2,000 miles away. They don’t have email. We communicate by writing letters and I always look forward to seeing one of their handwritten envelopes in my mailbox.

Ruined Farmhouse

Ruined Farmhouse

It’s sad to see a vintage farmhouse falling into ruins. This one caught my eye as we traveled across Kansas a few years ago. It’s springtime, but there is no joy, no rebirth likely to happen for this dilapidated building.

(Photos and essay by Virginia Allain – Previously published on Niume)

Most people would pass it by without giving any thought to it. To me, this house symbolizes the failure of some farm family. Too many failed crops or perhaps the death of the farmer led to the sale of the land. Another farmer now keeps that land productive but didn’t need the house.

Expanding the view shows you the outbuildings that once served a useful purpose. The metal-roofed granary still stands and a barn beyond that. Closer to the house a small building gave in to gravity and soon will be just a pile of boards and rusty nails.

The cows, the chickens, the farm tractor, and the family are all gone now. Only memories of better times remain. Once a family lived and worked here. There would have been curtains in the windows. The children probably slept on pallets in the loft of the small house. At the back is a room, perhaps added-on as the family grew.

In a few seconds, we passed this old farm and I forgot about it. When I sorted my photos, I felt again the sadness of a deserted house and farm. I wonder if any of the buildings are still standing.

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.

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

Remember Catching Fireflies?

Childhood memories from Gail’s daughter, Virginia. 

All you need is a jar

Running around the yard at dusk trying to catch fireflies was such fun. My parents relaxed in lawn chairs, while we used up our excess energy. The grass felt cool under our bare feet.

Putting the fireflies in an old peanut-butter jar let us admire our captures and provided a small lantern as the fireflies lighted up. Dad had punched some holes in the lid so the fireflies could breathe.

The lights blinked on and off, keeping us enchanted by their activity. At the end of the evening, we released our captives and headed inside to bed.

Remember Catching Fireflies? Tell us about your childhood memories of summer evenings.