Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Time Flies

We all comment about how time flies, the weeks, the months, and then the years. It seems to fly even more for me when I realize I've gotten out of the habit of posting to my blog.

I do have a good excuse. Kind of. I've been really busy working on western history articles for four different publications. Some of them take hours and hours of research. Especially if I get diverted into other channels and make notes for future article ideas.

That is all for a future post.

I'm happy to say that we finally got out of town for three days to one of my favorite little places: Pioche, Nevada.

I discovered Pioche during one of my driving trips to Washington State and fell in love immediately. I've stopped on other trips but only for an overnight rest. I've told Doug so much about it he wanted to go too. It's hard for him to get any time off from work but we managed a three day weekend and off we went.

Pioche was founded after a silver strike in 1863. From 1870 to 1877 more than $20 million of ore was mined. It became the Lincoln County seat when that county was formed. The name was named after it's founder, F. L. A. Pioche

The highway passes this beautiful wildlife area that goes on for a couple of miles at least. As you can see the area is desolate and dry, part of the Great Basin, so the water is nice to see.

We stayed at the Overland Hotel. A wonderful old place which was featured in a "Ghost Adventures" episode a few years ago. It was built in 1948. 

We had a lovely suite which we hadn't even realized when we made the reservations. 
My only complaints about this place is it is over the bar and smoking is allowed in Nevada. 
Also the stairs are rather steep. 

The view is interesting for old building buffs like us. I don't know what that first building was but next to it is the Gem Movie Theater, now closed. On the other side of that is the Thompson Opera House which we toured and enjoyed. It has been refurbished and they have various programs throughout the year. 

Pioche has two hotels, two museums, a few shops, one restaurant, and kind of a coffee shop/cafe. 
We had all our meals at the restaurant. Of course Flat Stanley joined us. 

The Million Dollar courthouse was started in 1871. It was originally supposed to cost $26,400 but because of graft, political corruption, and delayed payments the cost grew to almost one million dollars. By the time it was paid off in 1936 a new courthouse was needed. 

Those who saw that episode of "Ghost Adventures" may remember Zak sitting on this bench in front of the courthouse. See Flat Stanley waving from the back of the bench? 

Flat Stanley visited the jail behind the building.

 Next door is the Old Mountain View Hotel built in 1895. It is now closed and run down 
as most of the old part of town. 

Pioche claims 72 men were killed violently before one died of natural causes making it one of the deadliest towns in the west. Here's part of the old Boot Hill Cemetery with the ore tram overhead.

 While driving around the outskirts we found a street with a very special name. 

 Main Street.

Inside the Thompson Opera House. The ground floor was a merchantile with cold storage reached by ore car.

We took one little side trip to the Cathedral Gorge State Park. Actually we found it by accident and it was late in the day so we didn't go in but saw some of the scenery.

 The Lincoln County Museum is full of amazing items donated or loaned by local families. It is a mile high so the weather was nice except for the wind that plagued Arizona and Nevada that weekend.
A restful, if busy, weekend. The people of Pioche are friendly and the pace slow. 
A wonderful retreat from the city and modern day.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Collection of Owls

I've been busy working on a client projects, and researching and writing articles.
It takes a lot out of me, but I hate to miss doing my blog.

So this time I thought I'd quickly share a few of my owls. 

Most have been gifts. 

The first one I found at a retro store in downtown Phoenix. Can't remember the name. I tried putting a rosemary plant in it for my desk but it died. Not sure what else to do with it. I don't want to drink from it because I'm too afraid it will break. 

This one was a gift. He's furry feeling. I think he was an ornament. 

Found this one at a discount store in Washington State. 
My grandson picked it out. 

My friend's daughter gave me the pink one, just because. 
When they had to move to a smaller place her mom gave me the others. 
I may share them with my grandsons. Or not.

And of course one of the quirky birds. The birdcage was a stamp I put on 
the page long before I decided what bird to draw. Usually I paint over the stamps if they 
get in the say. this one seemed to need to stay there. 

I also have a hedgehog collection and there are various other things around like 
fairies that my sister was always sending me. Oh and a Winnie-The-Pooh collection.

Guess I should get the camera out again.

It's funny how these things have grown over the years. 
I don't actively collect anything any more, don't have the energy to dust them all.
I do treasure all the things I already have.

What collections do you have? 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Events, Remember When . . .

 For nine years I was part of an amazing group put together by these two men:

Michael M. Hickey, author, publisher and Old West enthusiast and Ben Traywick, Tombstone City Historian, Retired.

I could say much more about both of them. They both had a part in changing my life.

I've always been interested in the history of the west, especially the legend of Wyatt Earp. Partly from the westerns of the 1950s and partly from growing up near Dodge City, Kansas.

Michael was working on his book on Warren Earp and contacted me through the research list at the Arizona State Archives to do some research for him. We quickly became friends and talked for hours about our common interest of the history of Tombstone, Arizona.

With the release of the Warren Earp book Michael planned a big event in Willcox, Arizona, where Warren was killed in 1900. Michael invited other enthusiasts from around the world. We ended up having nine such events some including stars of those very same television shows that we had all grown up with.

Friends and food. Laughter and sharing. 

Melissa Gilbert and then husband, Bruce Boxleitner, (behind her) 
after I had given her a miniature sunbonnet I made. 

Michael Biehn, "Ringo" in the movie Tombstone and author Steve Gatto.

I have at least a thousand photos from all those events which I want to get sorted and shared with those who attended. It is a daunting task as many of the photos will need to be scanned. In the meantime, some of us are friends on FB and share memories and others get together at other Old West history events.

Michael M. Hickey has since passed as have many of our friends from those years. It was an era that we both miss. Something I never dreamed possible all those years ago watching those westerns and dreaming of another time.

What are some eras of your life? We don't often think of our lives in that way except by perhaps, working days, retirement days, child rearing years, empty nest. In the midst of those, we have smaller eras when we are involved in various things. What are some of yours?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Unknowns: Remember When . . .

Each week somebody brings writing prompt ideas to our writing group. This week the leader for the day brought some old photographs, including tintypes, her husband had collected to draw and paint from. It was an amazing collection. 

He gathers them from antique and thrift stores. We've all seen them, those lost friends and relatives. Sometimes they have names and dates on them. If I were rich I would buy all the ones with identifying information and try to return them to their families. 

There are even Web sites to post photos to help find their homes. One is Dead Fred. 

Growing up, one of my favorite past times was to go through the suitcase of old photos. There are some great ones in there. Sadly many of them are not identified and try as I might I haven't found who these people are. 

Here are some of them. I do believe this first one is a cousin of my great grandma's whose maiden name was Thompson. I can't be sure. Isn't it a great photo though?

This little girl looks like she is just waiting to get up to some mischief.

This man looks like he'd been working on the range.

This is another one I may know, another cousin my my great grandmother.

 I've been working on an article this week about a photographer from this time period and when the debate came up at the writing meeting about why they never smiled I added that to my research. I found the following:

It has long been the notion that it was because of the long exposure times. That is certainly a factor. Even though it was down to about 15 seconds by this time; try holding a smile even for that long. My daughter had a tintype done with original equipment last year and she said it is nearly impossible.

The second factor is bad teeth. However, even people with good teeth didn't smile. And since so many did have bad teeth it wasn't really an issue. (You can smile without showing your teeth.)

The common theory now is that smiling just wasn't done. As Mark Twain once said, "A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever."

So there you have it. Why those people didn't smile.

Do you have unknown photographs in your family collections? 

What stories could you write about them? 

What stories do you see in the photos I have share in this post? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New Home: Remember When . . .

We moved to Arizona when I was thirteen. I was not happy. Back in Kansas grades seven, eight, and nine were in junior high. I was at the end of my eighth grade and looking forward to being in ninth. I had also made a friend who turned out to be life long and leaving her was very hard.

A thirteen-year-old doesn't have much say so we came to the Valley of the Sun. We stayed with my grandma who lived in a seniors only trailer park for a month or so. We arrived on Easter Day so there was a couple of months of school left and to my horror I had to go back to elementary school.

I was painfully shy so being in a new school was especially hard although the kids were nice. I was included in the eighth grade graduation with gowns and all. I had mixed feelings about that.

We lived in a one-bedroom apartment for a while and sharing a room with my mother was not a happy time. Then Mom became the manager at the Stagecoach Inn on Van Buren near 44th Street.

We were there through the summer and in to my freshman year in high school.

The building on the left was the lobby and our apartment was behind so Mom could take care of the lobby and still have our own place. I had to go through her room to get to what was more a storage room, but I finally had my own room again. I loved it.

There were two swimming pools and an endless supply of people. Some families stayed in the completely furnished apartments as they made their own transitions to living in Phoenix. I made a couple of friends that lasted for a few years, then we lost touch. 

I now love the desert and parts of Phoenix. It isn't the small city it was even then. A funny thing is my husband's mother also managed a hotel on Van Buren when he was young. Single moms didn't have a lot of options in the 1950s and '60s. 

Did your family make any major moves? 
How did you feel about the changes? 
Have you lived in "unusual" places?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cousins, Remember When . . .

A couple of things have been said recently which spurred this blog post. First a devoted reader reminded me of my "remember when . . . " series. Her mother has been working on the prompts.
Isn't that wonderful? I hope she shares some of the stories with us some day.

Secondly, my cousin, Kaylee, wants to get together and write-up and compare the family stories we were told by older family members. Eventually we want to share with the rest of the family.
She's checking with her children on ways to do this through the Internet. 
(My only thought is DropBox which I've never had much luck with.)

So, that spurred me to share some photos of us growing up.

Here we are around December 1960. Kaylee is the cute blonde. 
That was her tea set and I always loved it. This was taken in our grandparent's house in Kansas.

There isn't a date on this one. That is my sister, Betty, me, Grandma Jennie, 
and Kaylee. I'm not sure where this is but I'm sure it was Kansas. 

And then there is Kaylee's older brother, Dean and I. He is one year older than me
and is the only one who still lives in Kansas. 

Please no comments on my hair. Mom was always cutting or curling and, 
I think, thinking a few choice words because my hair was so fine and thin. 

So there you are, Kaylee. 
What are some of your cousin memories?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fun With Quirky Birds

My friends on FB and a few I've seen in person have been introduced to my quirky birds based on an online class I'm taking.

I am completely addicted to these birds. Not just because they are birds, including owls, but because they are fun and relaxing to do.

Materials include watercolor paper, cheap craft paints, stencils and spray inks, stamps, clear Gesso, markers, gel pens, paint pens, and Neocolor II crayons. All things I had on hand. I did go buy a big sheet of paper because I thought it would be easier to work with. I have plenty left to make many more. (I've already started on Quirky Birds II and I'm thinking about doing a Quirky Zoo.)

The folded book is about 5 1/2 by 3 1/2 and unfolded it is 30 1/2 long. I've loved working with the accordion fold style.
Quirky Birds class with Tam LaPorte at Willowing

I put various stamps on the background. When I drew the bird on the right above his/her head came right up into the flower. I didn't even notice it until I started painting. A truly fun bit of serendipity.

Some are "copies" of Tam's as I followed her class and others are ideas taken 
from drawings I saw on the internet. 

The reason I am thinking about a quirky zoo is when I would Google "funny bird drawings" there would be lots of great birds, but also giraffes, horses and a camels. So why not?

The gentleman bird is my hubby's favorite. 

The Quirky Bird class is here. Tam has lots of other classes and does some free videos. Let me know if you decide to take a class or do something similar. Guaranteed stress relief. 

Have a fun, Quirky, day.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Street Fair

Along the curve of Seventh Avenue in downtown Phoenix is an area called the Melrose District. I've long heard about this area, even driven through; but never stopped. This is possibly the most eclectic part of the city and with a street fair added it was a great place to spend the day.

I even enjoyed the cars as this is one of my favorite classic cars. I've long wanted one, 
but not in red or orange. Turquoise or blue would be great. 

A friend has told me many times about Copper Star Coffee.

I did go in to meet her, but I didn't get coffee; this time. 

 This car reminded me of my grandfather's. I'm not sure of years, or even makes, 
but it looks the same. He would tie his cane poles along the passenger side and off we'd go to the creek for some all day fishing. 

This is another dream car. I loved the early Mustangs and would love to have one. 

I did spend a little time roaming through Rust & Roses. Lots of treasures and fun stuff. There was a bicycle like one of mine, but I couldn't get a picture of it. 

I did manage to snap this travel trailer. I'd love to have one of these to park on the 
back of my kid's lot when I visit. 

I can't remember the name of the shop where I bought this owl mug. 
There were two, but hubby and I agreed this was the cutest.  

It was a great day of carnival style food, people watching, and browsing through 
vendor tents and shops. If you are in the Phoenix area put it on your list for next year. 

Finally, there was this great reminder in Rust & Roses. 

Have a happy day!