CJ’s Wedding – 1955

From Bobby Sox to a Cinderella Wedding

In April 1955, Gail’s little sister, Carol Jean McGhee married. First we have to set the scene with her teen years growing up near Madison, Kansas. We see her in these photo wearing rolled-up jeans and bobby sox. In one picture, she’s with her sister’s two children. In another, Carol poses with a high school friend and some remarkable garden produce. In the third photo, she is relaxing in her bedroom with her black cat, appropriately named Blackie.

When Carol looks back on that time, she remembers herself as bashful. We commented on how pretty she was, but she said that she had no idea of that at the time. She said a cousin took her to the prom, “he said he wanted me to have the prom experience, and I suspect he was trying to get me out of my bashful seclusion. I did get considerable notice, showing up with an older guy (I was 16, he was 18!) from another town. He was a sweetie.”

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CJ in her prom dress

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CJ with cousin and father

The only dating she did was a brief time at age 17, going out with an older cowhand from a local ranch after she graduated from high school. She remembers that “I met him through church. He took me to the movies in Madison, in the cattle truck from the ranch where he worked. Then we’d park somewhere, and he’d talk about his ex-wife! I’m thinking, ‘I don’t think this is how it’s supposed to go.’ He even asked me to marry him, and I told him no. Found out later he left town the next day.”

1954 cj mcghee on trip with parents

19-years-old & on vacation with parents, summer of 1954.

Floyd was working on the railroad when they met. Before that, he attended college for a year at Emporia State University, then went into the Air Force. “He was only in the Air Force for a few months–got in a car wreck, had to have his knee cut out of the dash, got honorable discharge/medical because of it.” She said that all happened before she met him.

Carol remembered, “I met Floyd Garriott and Lon Cantrell three days before Christmas, 1954. Floyd was dating my cousin, and they got me to go on a blind date with Lon.” After that, Carol and Floyd started dating.

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CJ McGhee – “my first grown-up portrait, in 1954, age 19

She commented that she was on the brink of being an old maid. “So when Floyd took an interest in me, I married him at age 20, as that’s what you did.”

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This photo shows Carol at age 20 in winter/spring of 1955, with panda bear from her fiancee Floyd. She thinks the occasion was Valentine’s Day.

The Wedding in 1955

I married Floyd Garriott at the First Christian Church, Madison, Kansas in April of 1955. It lasted 17 years.
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Carol and Floyd in white – Madison, Kansas

Now, 65 years later, CJ added some memories on the photos, “Best man at our wedding in the middle, Max Mueller. Floyd’s best friend could not make it to the wedding, so his best man was a college friend, a student from Iran. He had not attended an American wedding and wanted a photo to send back home. You can see we went all out on wedding photos.”

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April 1955 – opening the wedding gifts

Carol -“Floyd and I at our wedding reception. I made my dress on a treadle machine! Also made a nifty, fitted waist-length, short-sleeved jacket. (for any younger readers, Carol explained, “Tredle means non-electric, you made it run with your foot moving a treadle back and forth. It’s what I learned to sew on, all we knew. I was a whiz.”)

Niece Karen – “I remember your wedding! I was not quite 3 years old (birthday June 8) and all I remember is your shoes–glass slippers…or possibly clear plastic?!”

Carol – “OMG! I’d completely forgotten those shoes! Yes, they were clear plastic, all the rage in the mid-50s.”

ebay wedding shoes

Since the photos from 1955 don’t show Carol’s shoes, I found some vintage wedding shoes on eBay.

Niece Karen -” What’s weird is that it is probably the ONLY thing I remember before I was 6!!!”

Carol – “Wow. Imagine my ‘glass slippers’ being your only memory before 6. And I forgot them. They had a little ‘glass’ flower on there. I wish we’d gotten a photo of them. Also, I didn’t get a photo of my matron of honor. Floyd had one of his friends take the photos, and most of them didn’t turn out. We ended up with these few candid photos that people took.”

Carol – “I just unearthed another photo from my wedding. It shows off the pretty neckline I had so much trouble getting right! That neckline was a b**** to get right. I did it over and over several times.”

cj and floyd garriott wedding 1955

Carol – “Later, I cut the skirt off the wedding dress to make it street-length and wore it to church for a couple of years.”

The Honeymoon

CJ on honeymoon at lake of the ozarks 1955

Fun on the lake – CJ on her honeymoon at the Lake of the Ozarks – 1955

Carol – “As I recall, this was the highlight of the honeymoon. Should have told me something, right there. It wasn’t too bad. What did I know, anyway. A trip to a resort in another state, with swimming and boating on a lake. Floyd was on his best behavior of course. I had fun new clothes and was excited for my new life.”

1955 cj garriott at lake of the ozarks honeymoon

1955 – CJ Garriott at the Lake of the Ozarks

Carol – “On my honeymoon in the Ozarks. Out in the woods in high heels! What was I thinking? But then again, I had just married Floyd.”

Moving Back to Town

Gail Lee Martin’s memories of places they lived. 

We moved back into town in the year Owen went into the Army, 1968, I think, because Clyde was working away from home and it was hard for us girls to keep the wood fire burning, the car running, and keep the pump for the well from freezing in the winter.Owen_Martin_Acting_Sgt_Advanced_Training_Combat_Engineering_Ft_

We moved to 211 North Emporia. When the owner Mrs. Dillenbeck got divorced and moved back home, we then found a house on State Street, just north of the Kentucky Fried Chicken place.

At that house, we had Larry and Cindy’s wedding in our home in 1969. When Owen came home in 1970, the house still wasn’t big enough, even with Cindy and Susan married and Ginger at the Teacher’s College in Emporia.

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Cynthia Martin and Larry Ross celebrate their wedding with a cup of punch.

A note from Gail’s daughter, Ginger: You can see from this memory piece, that Gail and Clyde’s children were growing up. 1968 through the early seventies included military service (the Vietnam War era), college, and marriage. Their daughter, Shannon was the only child still at home until Owen returned from the service.