My sister, Karen Kolavalli, is our guest blogger for today: “A snow storm like this meant our country school would be closed when I was a kid. All six of the Martin kids would have been out playing in the snow until we were sodden and frozen. We’d come in and huddle around the wood stove to thaw out. Mom would already have hot homemade cocoa ready for us and we could look forward to potato soup with bread and homemade butter or pancakes and eggs for supper.
Today I’m content to watch the snow coming down from the warmth of my home. The TV news indicates that’s a really good idea.”
Snow in the Flint Hills of Kansas back in the 1920s. I don’t know if that is little Gail McGhee in the back seat or not.
If Mom were still here, we could ask her if she remembers the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 that raged from Kansas to Michigan. I did find a poem she wrote in 2006 inspired by the snow and ice that Kansas was having then. In 2007, icy day motivated her to revise Ice Storm and feature it with her granddaughter’s photos on the Our Echo website.
Here’s another snowy photo from the McGhee family album.
Clarence McGhee pulling daughters, Melba and Gail, on a sled. In the background is the lease house. Maybe 1926 or so.
I had the idea of getting a sketch made of Mom. My thought was to use it when reissuing some of her family stories in individual editions. Now with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct, it’s possible to reach a wider audience than ever before with self-published books.
There’s a site called Fiverr with freelance artists and writers willing to work for $5 or $10. Many are in places like Asia or South America where $5 goes further and they appreciate the chance to reach an international market for their talent.
You can view examples of their work and commission one to draw a portrait. I opted for the $10 version and supplied a photo. This was the resulting graphic.
Graphic created of Gail Lee Martin
For those reading this who actually knew Gail Lee Martin, what do you think of the likeness? I thought the hair was a little stiff looking and maybe too high in the center.
Then I looked at the photo that I supplied and decided the artist did quite a reasonable job capturing Mom. Share your reaction in the comment section below.
The artist who created this was Polillavw of Argentina.
Gail wrote on June 4, 2002
“I was talking with Carol about when she was in second grade at Seeley, a country school. She had Mrs. Neumayer as teacher and that teacher’s daughters, Peggy and Ann, attended the school too.
I was just first year out of high school and I stayed with that family during the week to take care of a younger girl, Ann. That family ate huge amounts of fried potatoes every night and I had to peel those spuds.” Gail Martin
Seeley School, 2nd grade class with Carol Jean McGhee in it. I think Carol is 3rd from the left in the front row.
View of the Seeley School with an oil pump jack in front.
Karen adds an update to this story: “Ann’s (the one that Mom babysat) had an older sister Peggy and an older brother Robert. Both are deceased. All three of them lived in El Dorado. Ann’s married name is Fankhauser; Peggy’s was Little. Mom and I ran into Ann at the Senior Fair the year after Dad died and I took pictures.”
Gail and the little girl that she babysat many years ago, Ann Neumayer Fankhauser
Here’s a photo taken by my sister, Karen.
Here’s Gail Martin and her granddaughter demonstrating the making of wagon wheel rugs.
Here’s Karen’s description: “Eureka Days, 1996 – Mom demonstrating how she & Dad (Clyde) made wagon wheel rugs at the museum during Eureka Days in 1996. That’s 6-year old Chhaya Ruth K. with her–we were back in Kansas for a short visit from our home in India. Greenwood County Museum.
Follow these links for more about wagon wheel rugs or the photo with Melba and discussion of craft fairs. Check out the comments with the post too.
Gail Martin showing the technique for making round rag rugs on a wagon wheel rim. See the finished rugs on display around her.
Carol Garriott – Dec 28, 1999 “It seems like I ought to know, having seen this photo before — but, who took the picture? Boyfriend? Roving reporter, spotting a beautiful girl?”
Karen Kolavalli – Dec 28, 1999 “I’m sure Mom can tell you in a more interesting way than I can since it’s her story, but I believe it was a street photographer. There’s another one of Mom and a girlfriend of hers, too, taken by a street photographer. Both are postcards. Oh, now that I think of it, the second one is actually a postcard addressed to you, February 19, 1945, Wichita, Kansas. I’ll get it scanned and uploaded soon.”
Gail Martin – Dec 29, 1999 “Well, of course, I loved this coat too! It was a chocolate-brown & cream colored plaid. Mother never said anything about my choice of clothing I bought while working at Boeing. I lived in a home with a divorced lady and her two sons. 1000 S. Patty.”
Gail Lee McGhee – photo taken in Wichita KS by a street photographer in the 1940s.