Gail and the Monkeys

The Sepia Saturday challenge photo for today featured an old-fashioned organ grinder and his monkey. I went in search of monkey photos in our family album. Remembering back to Martin family reunions, the park where these were held had a Monkey Island at Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas.

There was a moat and then a high stone wall to keep the monkeys from escaping. As we played with our cousins before the bountiful potluck meal, we always trooped over to see the monkeys. On their island, there was a stone building with a tower and open windows so they could clamber in and out. It fascinated us, but we never had a photo of it. The stone building was constructed by the WPA back during the Great Depression.

WW II Museum display in Wolfboro, NH.

Next, I thought of the WWII museum that I visited. One piece that caught my eye was a cartoon from the 1940s, probably post-war, that showed Hitler as an organ grinder’s monkey. Other Allies gathered around in the scene. I wonder if Mom or Dad ever saw this cartoon, perhaps in a newspaper at the time.

Classic sock monkeys.

The next monkeys that comes to mind are the ones made from the brown and white work socks. I remember having these back in the 1950s. With Gail’s sewing skills, I’m sure it was an easy project to turn the socks into monkeys.

Gail Martin demonstrating how monkeys peel a banana.

One time while visiting my parents in Kansas during their retirement years, Mom showed me how monkeys open a banana. They pinch it at the bottom. I guess I’ve been doing it wrong all these years as I always tried to open it at the stem end.

What started me thinking of monkeys? It was this picture from Sepia Saturday. Take a look to see what the other bloggers wrote about monkeys.

The Jumper Chair

My older brother, just a toddler, had a jumper chair back in 1946. We have the picture of him looking quite happy being able to bounce up-and-down and kick his feet in this device. He is outside in the yard and his eyes are fixed upon either mom or dad. It’s likely that one is trying to hold his attention while the other parent takes the picture.

Owen Martin in his jumper chair in 1946

It must be summer as he is dressed in lightweight clothing but on his feet are the sturdy baby shoes of the era. Mom had labeled the photo “1946 – Owen in his jumper chair.” Since he was born in February 1946, he would be about 6-months-old in August of that year. Does this look like a 6-month-old or would it be from the next year? In June 1947, he would be 16-months-old.

I was curious about the chair and found an advertisement for it in a 1946 newspaper.

New, Springy Teeterbabe

The modern jumper chair for any baby 3 months and up. Ideal for home, auto or anywhere, so mother can be relieved. Positively safe. Convenient foot rest and play beads.

Baby jumper chair - Teeterbabe 1946Baby jumper chair – Teeterbabe 1946 Thu, Sep 19, 1946 – Page 26 · Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) ·

This looks identical to the chair that Owen is sitting in. Just imagine putting this in your auto today to take your toddler for a ride. “Positively safe,” the ad says, but we know better now.

I found a later advertisement for it and it touted the benefits of the child getting natural exercise and not bothered by constipation. Baby will be happy and contented and can be placed in the yard to get sunshine.

Teeterbabe jumper seatTeeterbabe jumper seat Thu, Jan 22, 1948 – 5 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) ·

I’m featuring my brother’s picture today as part of the Sepia Saturday blog challenge. The inspiration photo showed a man jumping at the beach. That led me to my brother in his jumper chair.

Exercising On The Beach (1935) The National Media Museum : Sepia Saturday 542, 17 October 2020

1950s Entertaining

It’s Sepia Saturday time again so I’m rummaging out some vintage photos. The inspiration photo is 1950s, people celebrating Christmas, kissing, and soldiers in uniform. Hmm, what do I have to match that assortment of themes?

Here’s a 1957 photo of my dad, Clyde Martin, and his brother, Howard. Earlier, Howard had been in the Army during the Korean War era.

Clyde and Howard Martin playing cards.

They are playing cards and usually their wives would be seated at the table also. Two packs of cigarettes sit on the table and a mysterious bowl. I’d assume it was snacks so perhaps that’s a potato chip bag in the bowl. Someone is in the kitchen, probably Mom getting some lemonade for everyone.

Mom never smoked, but Dad did for years. I’m thinking he smoked Kools. When he was hospitalized after a car wreck, he gave it up since he couldn’t smoke in the hospital.

While the grown-ups played cards, the cousins played until we were worn out and fell asleep on the bed. That was budget entertainment in those days for young couples and no babysitter needed. At the end of the evening, Howard and Margie would gather up their four children, still half-asleep, and put them in the car to head home.

In an earlier post, I gave the history of this round oak table. Here is a photo of Howard’s time in the U.S. Army.

Howard Martin at training in Tennessee in 1951.

This is the inspiration photo from Sepia Saturday.

Dog Days

The Sepia Saturday Photo Challenge this week featured a shaggy Old English Sheepdog. Our family album yielded a variety of dogs and even a young coyote. Since I’ve written about most of these before, I’ll be brief this time.

I wish I knew more about the photo of Gail Lee McGhee holding a coyote pup. It looks like the photo is from her teen years and that’s her little sister, barefooted Carol Jean, with her. The soil looks sandy and dry. In the distance, there’s an oil tank or perhaps a grain storage bin. Maybe they went with their dad while he was working one day.

Bushton, Kansas has only a few hundred residents these days. Probably there are still coyotes about that rural area. The coyote appears to be someone’s pet as it has a harness on and he seems comfortable being around people.

Unknown Man With A Large Dog On His Head (Sepia Saturday 525)


Our Family Dog Stories

Playing Games

Each Saturday, I try to find a vintage photo in our family album to match the one posted by the Sepia Saturday Challenge. This week, you see people playing a game with stately buildings in the background. I’m guessing that the game is badminton or tennis since it involves a net.

Tennis Players (1920s) Unknown Subjects and Location

Our family album yielded an old-time photo of young men playing croquet. The faces don’t seem to match any of our family members from that time, so all we know is the location which is Tyro, Kansas. You can read more about my efforts to identify this photo (on our family history blog – Then And Now)

Tyro friends playing croquet

Playing croquet in Tyro, Kansas, around 1910 or so.

You may be disappointed that there are no stately buildings in the background of my photo. Tyro boasted a multi-storied high school and a substantial church but neither of those were located near enough to the McGhee family backyard to show in the photo. Instead, you see what may be an elm tree and some open fields or garden area.

So now, I’ll gratuitously toss in a photo of the Kansas State Reform School. It is nowhere near Tyro, as it is located in Topeka, Kansas. It would have made a grand background for the croquet players though. The reason that I have this photo is I’m researching an ancestor who was sent to this school in 1889. He wasn’t a McGhee though and probably the boys sent to the reform school did not have much opportunity to play croquet.

Once I finish researching that story, I’ll post it on the Then And Now blog and put a link here. Then you’ll know the rest of the story.

KS State_Reform_School_1890_edward richards

Kansas State Reform School 1890

Boys in Suits

I scanned through my family photos looking for old sepia photos. The challenge for this Saturday was a picture of two boys dressed up in suits. Finally, I found the one I was thinking of. There was my grandfather, Clarence McGhee, sitting stiffly in the elaborately-carved photography studio chair. Next to him stood his friend Edwin Hatton.

They are in their teens, maybe 13 or 15. I’m not sure what the occasion was, as the McGhee family had few studio photos from their early days. Anyway, it makes a good match for the Sepia Saturday Photo Challenge.

I didn’t have many to choose from, as most photos of boys in our family albums show them in casual or working attire like overalls or jeans.

I have a later picture of Edwin Hatton that was inscribed to my grandparents in 1918. I wonder if it is their wedding picture. It was taken at the Scott Studio in Independence, Kansas.

Browsing the census records on Ancestry, I see he was an oil field worker in 1920, a carpenter, and odd jobs in 1930. Born 1899, married at age 20 to Blanche Mahaffey, children Eugene and Bernard.

Edwin and Blanche Hatton. Inscribed to Clarence and Ruth (Vining) McGhee, September 29, 1918.

Edwin and Blanche Hatton – Inscribed to Clarence and Ruth McGhee, September 29, 1918.

Edwin Hatton’s WWI draft record says his nearest relative was an uncle, Anthony Landrey of Tyro. He worked for the Prairie Pipe Line Co. The registration was Sept. 12, 1918, so if Sept. 29 is their marriage date, then the war precipitated some quick weddings, it seems.

The photo below shows Clarence and Ruth McGhee’s wedding picture. They married on July 14, 1917. Clarence had enlisted earlier in April. I wonder if these are both studio photos where a generic church backdrop was used. Clarence and Ruth were married in the church rectory.


Gail Martin’s parents on their wedding day.

J is for Just Shopping

The Sepia Saturday inspiration photo shows a shop and an automobile filled with a happy family. My match for that is my mother and her cousins in Teterville, Kansas, at the grocery store.  It looks to be about the same era.

There’s a vast difference between the urban shop in Europe or England and the one in rural Kansas. Let’s learn more about my mother, Gail Lee McGhee, at this time in her life.

Here’s a better view of the grocery store in Teterville. It was actually called The Moore Store. Her father worked in the oil industry and Teterville was an oil boomtown in the 1920s and early 1930s. Many of Gail’s uncles on both sides of the family (Vinings and McGhees) were there working as well.

teterville store photo from eureka museum

Photo from the Eureka Museum of the Moore’s Store in Teterville, Kansas (maybe 1950s)

Scott Store, Velva Ruth, viola, LaVerne Redlinger & cousins

Scott Store – Velva Ruth, Viola, LaVerne Redlinger & cousins

I’d thought of this photo as being in Teterville and perhaps it was the store before the Moore’s took it on. Now, I’m not actually sure of that.

My memory is that these girls are cousins of my mother. Velva Ruth and Viola Bolte (parents: Charles Edwin Bolte and Lucy Vining) were first cousins of Gail McGhee. I can’t fit LaVerne Redllinger onto the family tree and have no names for the others.

I believe the smallest girl standing in front is my mother, Gail McGhee.

gail and model a 1927, teterville
Thank you, Mom, for labeling the photo. Here’s the actual ID then. The dark-haired person sitting on the car is Gail’s mother, Ruth (Vining) McGhee. If the person in the car is a boy cousin, then it’s likely to be Velva Ruth and Viola’s brothers. So they could be Everett Henry (born 1905), Alonzo LeRoy (born 1908), or Forrest Edward (born 1912).

The 1927 refers to the year of the car, not to the year of the photo. My mother would only have been 3 years old in 1927.


The McGhee Sisters and the Dogs

Our cousin Bob surprises us now and then with a “new” old picture. Here’s one we hadn’t seen before of my mother (Gail) and her two sisters. I need to find an incentive to get Bob to scanning all those photos he inherited from his mother.


The McGhee sisters – Carol, Melba, and Gail

Our cousin group on Facebook had all sorts of questions like whose dogs were they, what were their names, and what was the location of the picture?

My Aunt Carol, the littlest girl in the picture said, “I have no idea whose dogs, names; I would suppose it was our yard. I never saw this photo before! Pretty much no memories from this age.
However, after studying on the locale, this may be the lease northeast of Madison, where we lived when I went to first grade in Madison. Then we moved to the lease where I attended Seeley School until mid-6th grade when we moved to the farm.
I don’t remember us having more than one dog at a time.
One memory: I remember Gail and I going into the Madison school, she would go up the stairs to the 2nd floor, and I would go down the hall to my 1st-grade room. I would look back, Gail would wave, and I would then continue, comforted that she would be there when it was time to go home.”
My comment was that I looked like my Mom at this age. My sister commented on that too.
Cousin Bob shared what he knew, “Mom wrote the location on some of her pictures but nothing by this one. There are some good ones of you, Carol, I’ll have you scan some of them for you. Our best guess judging by other photos around this one is 1938 or 39.”
If it is 1938 or 39, here are the ages to go with the girls: Melba – 18 or 19, Gail – 14 or 15, Carol – 4 or 5.
oops duplicate post
This photo is posted in response to the Sepia Saturday challenge. Here’s the challenge for September 14 that inspired this post.