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

Advertisements

Gail Admired Norman Rockwell

One of the magazines available to the McGhee family in the remote Flint Hills of Kansas was the Saturday Evening Post. This window on the world included serialized novels, articles about celebrities of the day, and a variety of other topics. People looked forward to seeing what Norman Rockwell painting would grace the cover. He contributed 322 covers between 1916 and 1963 to the Saturday Evening Post.

 

I remember my folks (Gail and Clyde) having a stack of vintage Post magazines in a shallow box under their living room sofa. Now and then, we’d pull them out to admire the old scenes of Americana captured in the Rockwell covers and to read the articles from those bygone days.

I recently found that many of those cover images now are available on everything from fleece blankets to cutting boards, coffee mugs, trivets and other useful items. Here’s a sample to give you an idea of the wide range of topics captured the fancy of the artist and appeared on the old Saturday Evening Post covers.

Sport Fleece BlanketSport Fleece BlanketView DetailsTackled Fleece BlanketTackled Fleece BlanketView DetailsDecoys Cutting BoardDecoys Cutting BoardView DetailsRunaway TrivetRunaway TrivetView DetailsRosie the Riveter PlaqueRosie the Riveter PlaqueView DetailsDreams of Long Ago Fleece BlanketDreams of Long Ago Fleece BlanketView DetailsCatching the Big One Fleece BlanketCatching the Big One Fleece BlanketView DetailsThe Fish are Jumping Fleece BlanketThe Fish are Jumping Fleece BlanketView DetailsHollywood Starlet TrivetHollywood Starlet TrivetView DetailsSpringtime, 1935 boy with bunny trivetSpringtime, 1935 boy with bunny trivetView DetailsDoctor and the Doll Fleece BlanketDoctor and the Doll Fleece BlanketView DetailsBefore the Shot or At the Doctor's TrivetBefore the Shot or At the Doctor’s TrivetView Details

Every cover was a delight. Often it featured a nostalgic scene of small-town America. Although many contained an element of humor, the artist could also address serious world issues and capture them in a scene.

Since I’m posting about Gail’s admiration for Norman Rockwell and it is December, I’ll include this classic cover. You can see all the covers at the Saturday Evening Post website.

Norman Rockwell 1930s cover art for the Saturday Evening Post. 1930s Santa.

Norman Rockwell 1930s cover art for the Saturday Evening Post. 1930s Santa.

Family Memory Gifts to Make and Give

This post was written by Gail’s daughter, Virginia Allain, on December 14, 2010 for the List-My-5 website.

Give the Gift of Memories

 

Give the gift of family memories for a birthday or Christmas gift that will be treasured by the recipient. This doesn’t have to cost much and can be particularly meaningful. There’s still time to create a gift like this for this Christmas.

Write About a Special Memory

Print it out with a pretty computer font on good quality paper and frame it. I like to use a script that looks like handwriting. This could be a memory of your early days that you are sharing with your children or grandchildren or it could be a memory about them.

Old Letters

If you’ve saved their letters over the years, or from a special time like college or military, display them in a binder. Use archival quality clear sleeves to slip the letters into. Present the binder to them for Christmas or a birthday. These will bring back a lot of memories for them.

Old letters

If you’ve saved someone’s letters, package them up in a pretty way to present to them.

Family Heritage Recipes

Gather recipes that have been handed down in the family. You can buy a blank recipe book and hand write them in and put comments about the person or occasions related to the recipes. You can also self-publish these with sites like blurb.com so you’re presenting them with a “real” book.

Genealogy Information

Fill in a family tree chart and have it framed or make a notebook with the family tree and various genealogy information in it. Look for an attractive binder or scrapbook album for this.

family tree

This family chart includes five generations

Start Them Writing Their Memories

Give them a memory book where they can answer questions to fill in the pages. An alternate idea is to give them a lovely leather blank journal to start recording their memories. Team this up with a book on memoir writing.

SUPPORTING LINKS

The Good Old Days???

Our guest blogger today is Monte Manka. He grew up in the 1930s like Gail Lee Martin did in Central Kansas. They met later in life through their writing when both were in their eighties. Monte writes poems and lots of nostalgia pieces. He just had his 91st birthday this week!
 I went to the grocery store today and got a half-gallon of milk and it started me to thinking—

In the good old days, I would get up in the morning in the early A.M. and set under the Holstein or Jersey and pull on those warm teats and get my milk. With my head buried in her flank, I could tell if she was going to kick me or not and I could get out of the way. (was not always successful though.) I loved to be hit in the head with a tail full of cockle burrs or in the winter time a tail with frozen urine on it. The feeling was the same, a bump on the head. When it was 100 degrees in the shade or 27 degrees below zero those critters had to be taken care of, come rain or shine.

cream-separator-pixabay

An old style cream separator.

Then those calves would come along and you had to train them to drink out of the bucket–more problems–they seemed to get something wrong with them and you had to doctor them, more problems. When you finally got the milk into the house and separated, you had to wash the separator. This was another chore of mine. One part had 123 disks on it and they were numbered. The disks went in numerical order. The buckets had to be washed and by that time it was time to do it all over again. BAH TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS ???????  – BREAD

While at the grocery store I also got a loaf of bread and it started me to thinking again.
In the good old days, we took our wheat to the mill at Cedar Point and had it ground for flour, cracked wheat for breakfast food, and then took it home. Mother made bread from the new flour. The old wood stove felt good in the wintertime but was hot in the summertime.

I spent time plowing, disking, harrowing and drilling the wheat. This was always in the hottest time of the summer when you would either thrash or combine. I always missed the Rodeo at the Countryman Ranch at Cassoday. After sitting on the tractor with the heat from the tractor motor blowing in my face, and the combine engine blowing hot air on my back, I was well done by the time the day was finished. Then to the milking again.

leslie and monte manka wheat fiels south of house 1934

Monte L. Manka and his brother Leslie in the wheat field – about 1934

That wheat, that seems easy to raise is a gamble-one year it was a disease called RUST, the next it was a hail storm, the next it was too dry, the next it was too wet, the next it was the grasshoppers, that year was a plague about 1931, the corn on Teters farm east of El Dorado a couple miles, had no leaves left on the stalk after the grasshoppers visited them. I think you have better odds on the crap table in Las Vegas. One year Dad got a check from Kansas, City Grain for $2,000.00 for a carload of wheat, we took turns feeling it. Out of six years, we had one good harvest. The good old days- Yeah sure

THE GOOD OLD DAYS?????? – MEAT

While at the grocery store I was told to pick up some pork chops and that started me to thinking —–
We had a mean old sow. She bit my uncle on the leg and put a couple gashes in it. He did not quite make it over the fence.
Now, this sow was the ugliest thing you ever saw and I could never see what the boar saw in her. She would have the most pigs and the healthiest pigs of any of the good-looking sows. These hogs would have to be watched closely to keep them free of screwworms. More work more worry.

Once we had a bout with cholera and we lost 50 head that was ready to go to market. Needless to say, we had a big barbecue, too bad that we could not eat the meat. My uncle would give my brother and me a pig to sell if we would help him take care of them. One year we got $3.00 for our effort a few years later we got $6.00 then the market started to rise and no more free pigs. The good old days Phooey.

pig in nb

 

A Few Good Things about the Good Old Days

There were some things that were good like the filling station on the corner. Nufer’s gas was 18 cents a gallon but you got your tires checked, windshield washed, oil checked, a smile and a thank you. The good old days, Yeah.

When you came to town on Saturday you could take ten wrappers from ten Golden Crust bread loaves and get a free pass to the Eris and see the latest Ken Maynard western. I do not remember what the popcorn or soda was then, probably ten cents. After the matinee, we would go home and milk those stupid cows, and start another week of fun. Yeah

Ken Maynard 1926 vintage portrait card
Ken Maynard 1926 vintage portrait card

Another good thing-a handshake was as good as a signed contract, Not now it seems like the honest people are getting fewer and farther between. Out here you had better have twenty signed contracts, even then someone will break them all, and you are stuck with a lawsuit.

I always hear someone saying “Oh for the good old days.” I think back and no TV, no VCR, no microwave, no late model car. My gosh, I wouldn’t trade today for anything.

Written by Monte L. Manka

The Old Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet

In the early 1900s kitchens didn’t have built-in cabinets. A housewife of the era might have had some open shelves to store the dishes on and some things would hang on nails driven into the wall.

Getting a Hoosier cabinet gave the woman of the house a workstation with many modern conveniences. It had a rack for spices, a flour sifter, a deep drawer lined with tin or zinc to hold flour, and a variety of other conveniences all in one location.

The Chickasha daily express. Chickasha Indian Territory Ok Nov10 1920 Page PAGE EIGHT Chronicling America « Library of Congress hoosier cabinet

Advertisement from the Chickasha Daily Express, November 10, 1920. Courtesy of The Library of Congress, Chronicling America.

In this vintage ad from a 1920 newspaper, you see the price range from $20 up to $71 while on sale. This was quite a bit of money in the days when a teacher might only earn $2000 in a year and the average wage was just over $3,000.

Since families made their own bread at home, the convenience of a Hoosier cabinet held strong appeal. There was an enamel counter surface for rolling out the dough and all your ingredients and tools were close to hand.

These continued to be popular into the 1930s, 1940s and lingered into the 1950s. You see the basic style is similar to that of the 1920s, but now the 1950s homemaker might have an electric mixer and an electric frying pan. Many houses built in the post-WWII housing boom would have wall cupboards and counters similar to kitchens of today.

2012-03-06 2103 09 03 049

The electric frying pan and the Mixmaster electric mixer date this to around the 1950s. (photo by Virginia Allain)

The old Hoosier cabinets fell out of favor. They show up in antique stores now and are considered quaint. There’s some nostalgia for these symbols of grandma’s kitchen and some find new life as display cabinets for vintage dishes or are used in cottage style decorating.

retro-kitchen hoosier cabinet pixabay

Vintage Hoosier cabinet (photo from Pixabay)

Read more about Hoosier cabinets.

Remember the Dime Store?

Sometimes It Was Called “The Five and Dime” or “The Five and Ten”

Back prior to the 1960s, one could go to the 5 and 10 store for all sorts of things. This is before the day of WalMart. This slim booklet was promoting Woolworths before the proliferation of dollar stores. I had fun looking through the list of what you could buy for 10 cents or less.

squidoo 001

1910 F.W. Woolworth Co. booklet is from my ephemera collection

For ten cents, one could get some curtain rods, some candles for the dining table or a dresser scarf. It reminds me that back in the day, women spent quite a bit of time sewing for the home and their families.

woolworth booklet early 1900

Woolworths sold the needles and thread, the pillow pieces to be assembled, material to make curtains, plus lace and ribbons to decorate those.

Did you see the plastic cowboys and Indians at the top of this page? That was what we gravitated to while Mom shopped for household needs. The little plastic figures provided us with hours of fun in the sandbox in our yard.

 

cowboys and indians

Vintage plastic western figures that you could buy at the dime store back in the Good Old Days.

 

Here’s a YouTube video that looks back at a five and dime that is open today, although there isn’t much you can buy for a dime now. It still has the old candy counter at Berdine’s 5 & Dime Store – Harrisville, WV.

Read more memories of old-time dime stores.

Photos by Virginia Allain

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.