A Is for Autos

Classic Cars from the McGhee and Martin Family Albums

In sorting old photos for my mother’s book about her childhood in the 1930s, I was intrigued by the pictures of family cars through the decades. I’ll share some of these vintage car pictures here with you.

This photo shows my mom, Gail Lee Martin, between two of her school days friends. They are posing with her dad’s new car in the 1930s. She was fortunate during the Great Depression of the 1930s, her dad had a job when so many could not find work.

Gail & friends at the company Camp_roxio

 

Mom had sorted the family photos into cigar boxes. There was one box labeled “CARS” so here are those great old automobile photos from the 1920s and 1930s.

written on back:   "stole
after 2 day never found"

This photo was labeled “Albert Vining – new car.” Albert was Gail Martin’s uncle.

pearl tower

This one labeled “Pearl Tower” looks like the same model of car, though a bit worse for wear. I’m not sure what the purpose of the addition on the running board is for. Pearl Tower and Albert Vining both lived in Tyro, Kansas, and she was his sister-in-law so it is quite likely that this is Albert’s car.

Roy Sam Clarence Mc Ghee Roxio

The photo above was labeled “Roy, Sam and Clarence McGhee with Car on the Phillips Petroleum Lease.” Clarence was Gail’s father, Sam was her grandfather, and Roy was her uncle. This also looks like the same model of car.

All the photos are from the Martin family album

Snow Days – Then and Now

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.

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_toddlers_in_the_snow_at_a_lease_house_3_edited

Clarence McGhee pulling daughters, Melba and Gail, on a sled. In the background is the lease house. Maybe 1926 or so.

Turning Mom into a Work of Art

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.

gail drawing

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.

2008-12-26 gail and ks photos 007

The artist who created this was Polillavw of Argentina.

Gail’s Pet Badger

A Pet Badger

I’d never think to have a pet as ferocious looking as a badger. They have fearsome claws and are noted for their digging. My mom was given a baby badger back in the 1930s and she raised it and kept it as a pet.

She tells some remarkable stories about what it was like to have a pet badger. Here’s more information about the American badger and more about her pet badger.

Mom took this photo at a museum. She said it reminded her of her pet badger, Jolly.

Mom took this photo at a museum. She said it reminded her of her pet badger, Jolly.

An Unusual Pet – An American Badger

Young Gail McGhee in front, center. The shed in the background might be the wash house that the badger lived in, where he dug tunnels in the dirt floor.

Young Gail McGhee in front, center. The shed in the background might be the wash house that the badger lived in, where he dug tunnels in the dirt floor.

Baby Badger

Gail Martin describes in her book how they raised the badger as a baby. This video shows a European baby badger, but it would have looked pretty similar to this.

Great Video of a Badger 

Note that it has a harness. It also digs just like my mother described her pet badger digging in their potato patch. A collar didn’t work for the badger as it would just slip off over its head.

Gail’s First Job

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.

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.

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 for years ago, Ann  Neumayer Fankhauser

Gail and the little girl that she babysat many years ago, Ann Neumayer Fankhauser

 

More Craft Photos

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 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.

Gail Martin showing the technique for making round rag rugs on a wagon wheel rim. See the finished rugs on display around her.

Another Street Photo

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.

Gail Lee McGhee – photo taken in Wichita KS by a street photographer in the 1940s.