Wayland, Early 1940’s

It has been a while since I’ve posted. When you’re absent from your blog for too long, it’s difficult to decide what to write when you come back. So, you start a few different posts, and none of them feel like a good way to say “I’m still here” or “Remember me?” You scrap it and wander off until another idea lands in your lap.

After much consideration, and looking around for inspiration, I landed on this drawing that hangs on my wall.

A beautiful drawing of a section of town in Wayland, Kentucky in the early 1940s by Mack Martin SE 66
Wayland, Early 1940s by Mack Martin SE 66

my history with this artwork

When my husband and I were dating, we’d visit his Granny often. This drawing hung on the wall in her front room, and I always admired it. When we married, she gave me the piece as a wedding gift. I chose to leave my newly acquired artwork hanging on her wall where it belonged. She grudgingly agreed, and there it hung for another decade or so.

the story behind the artwork

When Granny became ill, I became her caregiver. One of the rewards of caring for her was listening to her regaling us with stories of her youth.

There were many. Stories about how her mother, still a child herself, would get down on the floor and play with them. There were also stories of courtship and how the boys were lined up at her door seeking to take her out.

And she told me the story of the drawing that’s hung on her wall so long she can’t remember when, but she knows how she got it.

it started at a flea market

Her husband was at a flea market when he came across an artist selling his work. He noticed that the artist had depicted Wayland, Kentucky and knew that his wife was often homesick here in Michigan. They were visiting one of her sisters, so he purchased two of his drawings and presented them each with one.

it was quite a shock

Her husband hadn’t recognized the artist he’d purchased the artwork from, nor had the name rung any bells. Granny said it was all she and her sister could do to keep a straight face when they realized that it was Mack.

two rings, one “I do”

You see, Pawpaw wasn’t the only boy who’d begged her hand in marriage when they were young in Wayland. Mack had been a regular gentleman caller who had also proposed.

her memory

She smiled when she spoke of Mack and how sweet and funny he was. She never told me how she decided whom to marry, only that it was so very close. She confided that it was always nice to have a piece of Mack there with her.

the artwork itself

I don’t have the story behind the piece of art, though Granny’s story tells me the artist was from Wayland. I tried to run a search, looking for evidence his beautiful artwork made it farther than a flea market, but I found nothing.

It hangs in my living room, now — a memory of Granny and a glimpse into the quiet coal mining town where she grew up a coal miner’s daughter.

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