Vintage Paper Dolls

My mother was born in 1924, so she was probably a little old to be playing with paper dolls at the time that these were printed in the Sunday funnies. Boots and Her Buddies was a popular comic strip from that time. It ran in U.S. papers from 1924 to 1968 according to the Wikipedia article on it.

Someone had the bright idea to print these cut-outs of Boots to entertain the children. The character had quite a glamorous wardrobe. It was fun browsing the old newspapers for genealogy and discovering these.

BootsBoots Sun, Aug 8, 1943 – Page 22 · Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona) · Newspapers.com

Boots - paperdollBoots – paperdoll Sun, Mar 3, 1940 – 30 · The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) · Newspapers.com

In the 1940s, Gail McGhee was attending high school and after graduation, working at Boeing Aircraft during World War II. Below, you see her with a friend, probably someone she worked with or maybe a friend from the boarding house where girls lived while doing war work.

I think Mom looks pretty spiffy in her suit. She’s the one with the dark hair.

Gail McGhee and friend in Wichita KS

Gail McGhee and a friend in Wichita, Kansas.

I think Mom would have made quite a cute paper doll herself. You can read more about her 1940’s years in these posts:

Some Background on This Blog

My mother, Gail Lee Martin, was 87 when we lost her. I started this blog to share my memories of her and now, over 500 posts later, I’m still finding things to write about her life, my childhood, and a general nostalgia for things of the past.

I self-published her memoir of growing up in the 1930s and she was so proud of her book and the prize that it won from the Kansas Authors Club. Her book is My Flint Hills Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas. Now that award is named after her.

Someday, I hope to put together some of these memories in a follow-up book and call it Gail, All Grown-Up.  

Gail and the Boarding Houses of the War Years

Gail Lee Martin’s notes about the boarding houses she lived in while working at Boeing in the 1940s. These are emails between her and her daughter Karen. All the photos were taken by Karen a few years ago. The houses are still there.

Both of the emails date from July 15, 2011.

The email was in response to the photos of the house on Emporia Street that I sent her:

“I really enjoyed living in the 2nd tower room until I got the intestinal flu and the bathroom was downstairs.”

That’s when her Mother came to take care of her and immediately found the rooming house for her on Pattie Street.

Pattie Street house in Wichita where our mom lived in WWI while working at Boeing Aircraft.

Pattie Street house in Wichita where our mom lived in WWI while working at Boeing Aircraft. Photo by her daughter, Karen K.

This email is about the one on Pattie Street:

“Sure looks like the house Mrs. Dixon owned and I lived in the front downstairs bedroom, with the door opening off the front room.  There was a grocery store east across the street where I bought a package of 6 cinnamon rolls and ate them on the way to work.  The bus stopped there during the daytime and then I had to change buses to go on to Boeing.  Even the front door looks the same.  It was 1000 S. Pattie.”

You’ll remember that she often had to work after the buses had stopped running in the evening and that she walked (most?) of the way home.  I can’t imagine that she walked all the way from Boeing though.

Just checked and Boeing was 5 miles south of where she lived at 1000 S. Pattie,  South Wichita has never been safe, but maybe during the war people were more respectful of those involved in the war effort and refrained from raping the girls.

Maybe the buses just ran a limited route after hours and she didn’t have to walk the whole way.

Karen

Updated 1940s Photo of Gail

Gail Lee Martin loved researching family history and she’s passed that passion on to several of her daughters, including me. She tracked her McGhee line laboriously through letters and visits to courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries in those pre-Internet times. I’ve been retracing her steps, but using online resources, to see what further can be discovered.

In doing so, I joined a Perry County history group on Facebook for Arkansas. While asking about the McGhees there and sharing some photos, I’ve met some distant cousins who shared their ancestors with me. This photo shows Florence McGhee who married William J. Marshall in 1910. Florence McGhee Marshall (2)

My thanks to Dana Mattingly Craft‎ who provided this picture. Information from the back: Florence McGhee Marshall with children: Robert Marshall (in her arms), Willie “Dane” Marshall, Doyle Marshall (retired from the navy around 1950), Kenneth Marshall (killed in service on December 16, 1941 around Honolulu, Hawaii while piloting an airplane off a carrier for the Navy).

This photo had to have been taken prior to or in 1918 as Florence and Dane died at the end of 1918 as did her one-month-old infant.

In looking at this photo of Florence, it reminded me of a 1940s photo of my mother, when she worked at Boeing. Do you see the resemblance?
gail mcghee boeing wichita edited

This sharing of information led to another connection who surprised me by colorizing Gail’s picture. I think Jenny S. Henry did a marvelous job and I greatly appreciate her skill and willingness to share her talent.

 

color boeing photo by Jenny

Carol Jean’s 1946 Diary

Gail’s younger sister, Carol McGhee kept this diary in the first few months of 1946. I was glad she shared it with us, as it sheds some light on Gail’s 1940s years which are the focus of the next family book.

CJ Garriott’s Introduction for the 1946 diary

I found the diary I wrote in briefly in 1946, Pretty faithful in January, but just a few days in February and March. Probably, I got it for Christmas. I wish I had stayed with it! I found it fairly interesting–day-to-day action on the Kansas plains when I would have been eleven. I was inspired to transcribe it today. I typed it exactly as I had written it, abbreviations and an occasional misspelling. We must have just moved to the farm from the Seeley Lease.

Transcription of her childhood diary–1946 (Age 11 in January)

January 1
Today is New Year’s Day. Gail came over and stayed all day and sewed baby clothes.
This afternoon Daddy, Mother, Gail and I went to the pasture where the pond is and covered the pipeline with leaves to keep it from freezing.
This evening I went out to help Daddy do the chores. I fed the cows, horses, and calves. When Daddy started to milk the cow, Cream, she ran out of the barn. Daddy and I took some time driving her back in. The cow just did not want to go back in the barn! But we got her in anyway.

christmas 1947

Carol Jean McGhee, December 1947

January 2
Today I went to school, a new girl came to school today. I like her very much.
I did not help my dad with the chores today. Wayne, Wanda, and Garry came over this evening.
The little black cat of Garry’s strung some more string out of the sewing machine again. I ate dinner with Gail and Mother today over at Wanda’s house.
January 3
The new girl was really in the fifth grade so she went to the fifth-grade room today.
We had my school xxx (couldn’t read it) as party today. I got a handkerchief from Adam. We had ice cream bars for treats. Also, we had a box of candy apiece. I helped Daddy with the chores today. The little calf got out and we had to chase it down. It jumped over a chicken coop. Tippy our dog helped us. I got a letter from Connie Benson.
January 4
Today is the last day of school this week. Wanda’s cat disappeared today at noon.
I did not help Daddy with the chores this evening because of the rain. My, how it did rain, thunder, and lightning. It rained almost all day. This morning it was 55 degrees above zero.
January 5
I helped Mother clean up the house. I finished my book I checked out of the Madison library today.
It was sort of raining today. I helped Daddy with the chores this evening. Mother and I hung some pictures up. We washed our heads. I wrote a letter to Connie Benson. I spilled the ink too.

shredded wheat houses - Etsy

Shredded Wheat houses to make into Toytown, 1950s – Photo of vintage cards for sale on the Etsy site.

January 6
Today is Saturday. Mother, Daddy and I went over to Melba and Norman’s and made some little houses from shredded wheat cards.  (Melba is Gail and CJ’s older sister)
I helped Daddy with the chores this evening. I mashed my big toe too. I was getting in the car and pulled the front seat down on my foot. My! How it did hurt!
Daddy got the stove up in our bathroom today. We took a bath too. My, it felt good.

January 8
This morning I nearly missed getting my arithmetic done. It rained so hard and long today. The rain is freezing on everything, too. Mr. Brown nearly got stuck at our front gate. I did not help Daddy with the chores because of rain.
January 9
I did not help Daddy with the chores this evening because of the mud. At school, I helped the cheerleaders for the basketball games. My music teacher was not here today.
Mother cut her hand. My! how the ice glittered on everything in the sun today. My leg hurt today but Mother put Absorbine on it and made it feel better. I played with a tiny football this eve.
January 10
I had upside down pineapple cake for my dessert at noon today! Gail came over and stayed all day. Clyde came after her this eve and got the phonegraph. Gail made a new dress too.
January 11
Today was lyceum. I did not go because a man was going to talk about model airplanes. It snowed this morn but before night it was all melted again. I played with Virginia Goodsen this eve after school. We caught a mouse in our mousetrap.
January 12
Today is Sat. This afternoon Mother came back from the barn and said something had happened to the horses. I went after Mr. Brown. When we got back our horse, Tony, had Bill down in the mud in the barn. His front feet were sticking out the door while his hind feet were up by his head. We went to Emporia yesterday eve and got Mother and I some shoes. (I can only hope the horses were OK!)
January 13 (Sun)
Daddy went in to town and got Wanda, Garry and Wayne for dinner. Melba, Norman, Timmy and Bobby came out for dinner also.
January 14
Today is Monday. Wayne, Wanda and Garry were out. We had weine roast yesterday eve. I took my lunch to school for the first time in town school.
January 15 (Tues)
I did not go to school today because of my sore throat. Wanda and Garry stayed at our house all day. Wayne went with Daddy to work. The electricity man came out and dug holes and put up poles. We will soon have electricity.
January 16 (Wed)
We went to town and looked at some light fixtures but didn’t buy any. Gail and Clyde came over this eve and bought a lamp mantle from us.
January 17 (Thur)
Wanda was to have a permanent today so Mother came in and took care of Garry, while she was gone. Daddy, Mother and I hurried this morning and got in at Wanda’s house early. Wayne went with Daddy. Mother combed my hair after we got in at Wanda’s.
January 18
Today is Friday. I went to school. Went over to Wanda’s after school because Mother washed and was there. Gail washed so she was there too. Then when Gail went home I went with her. I slept on a feather bed at Gail’s, too.
January 19 (Sat)
I went with Gail and Clyde to get a horse from somebody. I don’t know their names. When we came back we had a trailer with the horse in it. The horses’ name was Polly. We got stuck three times. Clyde got a man to pull us out. When we got home it was pretty late. We started at 11:30. We eat at a cafe before we went on home. Gail taught me how to play rummy. We eat waffles for breakfast.

January 20 (Sun)
I colored some in Gail’s colorbook. We had waffles for dinner. Gail and Clyde brought me home this eve. Wanda, Wayne and Garry were out at our place when I got home. Gail and Clyde took them home.
January 31
Today is the last day of January. Daddy put up my blinds in the eve.
February 1
Today is Friday. I am awful sleepy tonight. My music teacher read us some fairy tales about music. Daddy has something in his eye. They went to Emporia and haven’t got back yet. It’s 5 min after 8 now. Guess I’ll go to bed.
February 5 (Tues)
Today is Tuesday. How I wish I did not have to go to school! Daddy hauled cow manure out of the barn this eve. There was a dust storm this morning. It lasted from 10:00 to 12:00.
March 3
Today is Josephine’s Brown’s birthday. I forgot to get her a present, which makes me mad!
March 4
Today is Tuesday. I helped Daddy with the chores this morning and this evening. I bought a little table downtown at noon for the red cross box at school. I took my lunch to school also. Gail came down and washed. She washed down in the basement.
March 5
Boy, is it ever snowing! Everything’s covered and it looks as if it will keep right on snowing all night. The Brown kids came over this evening and we had a movie with the jectascope. My committee in Blue Triangle had a party today/

…and that’s all she wrote!

Notes

  • Garry is Wanda and Wayne Brower’s child, a toddler. Wanda (Bolte) Brower is CJ and Gail’s cousin, 4 years older than Gail.
  • Melba is CJ and Gail’s older sister, married to Norman Harlan and they had two sons at that time, Tim and Bob.
  • The Brown family lived on the adjacent farm.
  • I found a 1936 advertisement for a Jecta-Scope which seemed to be a projector for drawing purposes but also for projecting pictures on a wall. Perhaps by 1946, the company had a version that could be used with filmstrips for the home.

Jecta-Scope advertisement 1936Jecta-Scope advertisement 1936 Tue, Dec 22, 1936 – 9 · The Record (Hackensack, New Jersey) · Newspapers.com

Further Thoughts from CJ in 2019

We moved from the Seeley Lease to the farm in summer 1946. I think it was 3 miles to town. I rode the school bus. Probably it was laundry they did at Wanda’s, who lived across the street from the school. Sometimes I would have lunch over there on school days.
We had the mini dairy, maybe 5 cows? I helped milk. Daddy took the big metal containers of milk down to the road where they were picked up.

I wish I had added how the horse episode ended up. They must have been all right, I suppose, or I would have.

I have to wonder why I didn’t want to go to Lyceum because a man was going to talk about model airplanes! 

I Remember Our 1940s Homes

Gail McGhee and Clyde Martin were married by a Christian Church minister formerly of Madison, KS, named Sydney Hawkins. He had been a favorite of Gail’s in her teens. He married the two in his study in Neodesha in 1945. Gail’s parents, Ruth and Clarence McGhee, attended, then drove the newly married couple to Tyro to stay with relatives for the weekend.

Here is Gail’s account of their life together:
We started housekeeping 4 miles south of Madison, 2 miles east, 1/4 miles south on a rented farm called the Long Farm. Clyde had been batching there since his folks had retired and moved to Madison. The farm sold, so we had to move the next winter.

In January 1946, we moved into the Ren Martin homestead back west 1/2 mile. We shared the house with Dorothy (Clyde’s sister) and Orville Stafford who were living there, while they were getting their house in Madison fixed up.

Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1946, our son Owen was born at Newman Memorial Hospital in Emporia. Owen Lee is named after his parent’s middle names. Clyde Owen and Gail Lee. He was called “Butch” for most of his preschool days. A family friend, Haynes Redding, called him that and it stuck, even if great-grandmother McGhee, said it “was a dog’s name.”

Clyde farmed the home place and we had a herd of milk cows. Clyde milked them and we bought several registered Ayrshires. In the summer we teamed up with Haynes and Marion Redding to bale hay for people. I raked the hay into windrows and pile it for the men to fork into the baler. I poked the wires through the bales and Marion would twist the ends together.

When Owen started to school, the Butch nickname was left behind. He went to Madison grade school the first four years, riding the school bus.

When Owen was a year and 8 months old, we had a farm sale.
The winter and spring of 1947 were very wet and mastitis, a dairy disease, got in our herd and we had to sell them as butcher cows. It took us out of the dairy business. The Ayrshires were separate, so we were able to take them to Uncle Jesse’s in Missouri for awhile. We sold them later when they didn’t get the disease.

Clyde's herd of milking cows before the Aryshires_roxio

Clyde Martin’s milk cows – 1940s

Clyde took a job with a dairy in Wellsville, KS. After Susan was born, November 7, 1947, we moved into the small house the boss kept for his help in December 1947.
We moved to an apartment in Wichita while Clyde worked with a crew digging a pipeline. The apartment was in a basement.

By Thanksgiving 1948, we were so homesick that our friends Wayne and Dorothy Baysinger persuaded us to move into the upper story of the farmhouse they had rented. It was five miles south of Madison and was called the “half-way house.” Clyde went to work with Wayne in the oilfield and on various jobs. Our daughter, Virginia was born December 1948.

The summer of 1949, we found a small rental house several miles north of Madison until my Dad bought a three-room house and moved it to a corner of his farm northwest of Madison. With Clyde’s help, he fixed it up and we moved there before Cindy, our fourth child, was born in September 1950.

Gail Martin Susan Owen June 1948

Gail Lee Martin with her first two children, Susan and Owen. Around 1947/48.

This is a segment of a memory piece that Gail wrote for her son. The complete post is on the Our Echo site.

G is for Gail’s Bookshelf – Slacks and Calluses

Slacks and Calluses is a first-hand account of women factory workers in WWII. It’s the memories of two school teachers in California who used their summer vacation to help the war effort. They took jobs in a bomber factory and found the work much harder than they expected.

 

slacks and calluses goodreads

Book Cover

This book is their lively account of what it was like and reads somewhat like a diary. It gives a glimpse into an aircraft factory during WWII. The authors are Constance Bowman Reid and Sandra M. Gilbert.

 

I found this quite interesting, as my mother, Gail Lee Martin, had worked for Boeing during the war in Wichita, KS. After I read the book, I passed it along to Mom for her bookshelf. Later, I asked how she liked it. She said it was fairly similar to her experience at Boeing.

I kept nagging my mother to write more about her memories of working at Boeing and she did oblige with several emails. Sure wish I’d been able to get her to tell more details. In Slacks and Calluses, they mention the problem of getting aluminum slivers in their hair. You’ll note in the cover photo above, the young woman has a snood over her hair.

The photo below is my mother, Gail McGhee, at that time. She has on her work uniform and has her hair pulled back away from her face, but not entirely covered.

gail mcghee boeing wichita edited

Gail Lee McGhee, later Martin – wearing her Boeing uniform in WWII

 

Memories of Pearl Harbor

My aunt, CJ Garriott, was quite young when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. She still remembers that day.

I was 7 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked; Mother & Daddy were listening to the radio. I didn’t understand exactly what had happened, but somebody, I didn’t know who (the “Japanese”? Did they live in KS?) had done something really, really bad to Americans.

I was very scared, and went out, got my cat, went to my bedroom, and got under the bed. I was afraid they were coming to our house.

She was 10 years younger than my mom, Gail. I have several posts about Gail McGhee’s wartime experiences.

img_1585

Radio from the World War II era.

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

 

Y is for Young Married Years

My parents married in June of 1945, the month after Germany surrendered. World War II continued for a few more months into September.

That first year, they rented a farm just around the corner from the Martins, Dad’s folks. This was southeast of Madison, Kansas. Dad’s sister Dorothy, her husband and their two children moved in with them until the Stafford’s house in town was ready.

Dad’s dream was to raise registered Aryshire dairy cattle. They borrowed money from the bank and from Mom’s father to buy their first stock.

On January 15, 1946, when the farm rent came due, the young couple moved to the Martin home place. Their first child, a son, was born on Valentine’s Day. Mom remembers being in the hospital for 10 days “which was the custom at that time.”

The winter and spring were very wet. Some of the cattle developed mastitis and the young couple took a big loss as they had to be sold for butchering.

The farm sale flyer is dated 1947, but from Gail's notes, I believe it was 1948.

The farm sale flyer is dated 1947.

It was a struggle to get through with just the garden and the chickens while getting ready for the farm sale in October. Years later, Mom wrote a story about that time called, “The Dream That Went Bust.”

In November 1947, they added a daughter to the family. With the money from the sale, they paid off the bank loan.

Gail and Clyde Martin with their first two children, Owen and Susan. (Scrapbook design from Smilebox)

Gail and Clyde Martin with their first two children, Owen and Susan. (Scrapbook design from Smilebox)

Next month, I’ll post Mom’s essay on that time, as I see it isn’t in either of her books or online anywhere.

Gail – All Grown Up

Back when she was Gail McGhee, my mother worked in Wichita at the Boeing Aircraft Factory. This was during the war. She has several photos taken by street photographers during that time.

Photo taken by street photographer in Wichita, Kansas during WWII. Gail Lee McGhee in a pretty suit.

Photo taken by street photographer in Wichita, Kansas during WWII. Gail Lee McGhee in a pretty suit. October 1944

When asked about the picture, she said, “My suit was Kelly green with black baubles & inserts.   Wow I loved that suit.”
Karen asked, “Do you remember where you bought it, Mom?   There in Wichita after you moved there to work at Boeing or did you already have it?   Wish it were in color!” Her answer was, “I bought it in Wichita possibly at Innes Department store.”

Mom has a quirky smile on her face here. If you look closely, in the background of the photo, there’s a little girl in a coat and hat. Cute.

It's likely that this photo is from the same time. Unfortunately, we don't know the name of Mom's friend.

It’s likely that this photo is from the same time.

Here’s a later discussion on the photos:

Karen Kolavalli – Here’s the content from the postcard: Addressed to Miss Carol J. McGhee, Route 1, Hamilton, Kansas, dated February 19, 1945 from Wichita, Kansas. Gail thanks Carol for writing and comments on the Valentine’s party Carol had. She also asks Carol to tell her about her art class.

Gail Lee Martin – Dec 29, 1999 “How I loved that suit! The flared skirt made me feel sexy when I walked. The suit was a deep kelly green with black trim. So, Carol, tell us about the art classes when you were 11 years old. Lucile Hensley was from Madison and they lived up the hollow north of Madison near the Harlan homestead. Gail

Carol Garriott – Jun 26, 2008 “You looked sexy too! Beautiful suit and the fitted jacket showed off your figure. Gorgeous! I had a Valentine’s party? Wow. Don’t remember that. The art class, I think, was a correspondence thing I did. Later, when I was a teenager, I took another correspondence art class. I wish I still had a drawing I did of a big valley, with a homestead down in the bottom of it, and the panorama is seen from a “mountain” of tumbled boulders. I drew those big rocks painstakingly, trying to get the shadows all on the right side so it would look correct, as if the sun was shining from the upper left. Maybe it was a project for the class, to hone perspective.