Tattered Past

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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jennie's Hair

I was saving this picture for a future post but so many have commented on Grandma Jennie's hair I decided to go ahead and put it here.

When they took Jennie's hair down after this picture they found the beautiful waves in the photo I posted yesterday. I never thought to ask how she wore her hair from day to day.

I asked so many questions and yet I missed so many others. I hope if you can still ask the questions you are making every effort to do so...and writing them down.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Favorite Story

Sometime around 1910 my great grandparents, Nellie and Bert Martin, were living on a farm in southwestern Kansas. They had an 8 year old daughter, Jennie, and had just lost a baby boy. Times were very tough.

Nellie and Bert were living in the barn until a house could be built. It had a breezeway with stalls and storage on either side. Nellie did the cooking in the granary with an old quilt as a curtain. They slept in the loft.

Creeks tend to meander this way and that around there and Jennie had to cross one creek 8 or 9 times going each way to school. She'd stop with the neighbor kids and sometimes have dinner until her dad showed up on the horse to take her on home.

The time of this story Bert was away for a time so Nellie and Jennie were alone in that barn. They went to bed for the night but were awakened by a clicking sound down below; kind of like something being knocked against something else. While Jennie hid by the bed Nellie stood over that loft door, her white nightgown glowing in the moonlight from the little doors open on each end, and her pitchfork at the ready.

After a while they didn't hear the sound any more so they both went back to bed.

Just as they were dozing off the click, click came again. They listened a little closer and soon realized the breeze coming through the loft was lifting the lid on the chamber pot just enough for it to make a clink as it dropped back down. They had a good laugh, moved the chamber pot, and slept the rest of the night.

I can't tell you how many times Grandma Jennie told me this story and always ended up chuckling at the end. Today would be her 108th birthday. I have loved this photo of my Grandma ever since I was small.
I hope you enjoyed the story and the photo as much as I always have.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of you in the United States who haven't started your Thanksgiving turkey here are the instructions from my grandson as written for his Kindergarten class:

How to cook a turkey....By Alex Mayer

My dad shoots the turkey. It falls down. Take the feathers off. Then put the turkey in the fridge and wait for a long time. Cook it at my house in the microwave. Cook it for 15 minutes. Put the turkey on a plate and eat it. Turkey is good for me! Candy for dessert, a ring pop. It's good! After we are done eating, I go to bed.

So there you have it. The ultimate Thanksgiving dinner.

It was predicted that this will be the coldest Thanksgiving in Phoenix in 80 years. I'll let you know tomorrow what our highs and lows are.

In the meantime, I hope you are all safe, warm and filled with life's blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays With Rita: Grandma Jennie

My grandmother, Jennie, was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1902. Her parents, Nellie and Bert, were visiting some friends in Englewood, Kansas when Nellie went in to labor. I never thought to ask if she was early or if they just didn't think too much about that then.
Whenever Grandma would talk about this picture she said she was holding her locket. Again, why didn't I think to ask about that locket? Could it be the one Nellie gave my sister and we found in her things last spring? (See here.)

Nellie's family settled in an area southeast of Dodge City, Kansas in the early 1880s. They lived in dugouts in a canyon now commonly known as Keith Canyon after the family name. After Nellie and Bert were married they lived in various locations in the area and Grandma Jennie said she learned to crawl on a dirt floor covered by floor sacks her mother had sewn together. When she got older she loved to dig in the sand hills around their house and "Mama was always mad because I lost her silver spoons in the sand."

After Bert "ran out" on Nellie they moved in to Meade and she became a telephone operator. She also baked bread and Jennie delivered it to the local store in her little wagon.
They ended up in Fowler, a tiny nearby town where Nellie's parents had also settled. We have photos of Nellie at the switchboard which I will share another time.
This photo is Jennie (on the right) with her groom, Cecil, on their wedding day, January 20, 1922. That is Cecil's sister Grace on the left. This photo was taken in front of the telephone office in Fowler. Jennie and Cecil lived in Fowler, Meade and Montezuma. I spent many of my summers with them and we usually drove the 80 miles from our home in Great Bend to their home in Montezuma for the holidays.
 Here's Grandma Jennie more as I remember her. She crocheted and tatted. She tried to teach us to tat but her hands flew so fast none of us really picked it up except Elizabeth, her great, great granddaughter.

Grandma passed away here in Phoenix at age 96 and had her "wits about her" all that time. She was a great lady and as often as I asked her questions I realize now there are so many more I should have asked.
I miss you Grandma. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday.

Please share some memories of one of your grandmothers or another
significant older female in your life. Let their memories live on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Art Heals

"When life is difficult, do something to help someone else, and your problems will diminish. There is always someone much worse off than you," said Jane Seymour while discussing one of the lessons learned from her mother.

There was much more to the story but I didn't take notes or record her discussion at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Jane spoke of caring for others, her children, going through devastating times, her art, and the loss of her mother. She touch our hearts as she has done so many times in the past.

We were there for the signing of her latest book Among Angels. It is a beautiful work filled with heartfelt quotes and artwork straight from this wonderful woman's own heart.
I was amazed when people in the audience talked about watching "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" and gaining strength from Jane through her character. I hadn't really thought about it that way. Jane played the part of a strong determined woman on our western frontier. More than that, she played herself and I think that is why so many people were drawn to that show that lasted 6 or 7 seasons when most didn't think it would last a few episodes. 

She found art during a desperate part of her life and it helped save her just as I've read so many times in magazines and in BlogLand. Art Saves. Art Heals. But, going back to Jane's comment about her mother...by sharing your art and yourself you spread healing throughout the world.

Thank you, Jane, for a beautiful message when I needed it most. Thank you fellow artists for sharing of your selves.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesdays With Rita: Bullies and Glasses

I'm back. The cataract surgery went well but I had some problems afterward with the pressure caused by the glaucoma going way to high. I've been five days of having to rest and take it easy and no reading. Do you have any idea how impossible that has seemed. I have gotten on-line and scanned some emails and blogs but didn't answer much.

I can't tell you how much I have appreciated all the positive comments on last the last Tuesdays With Rita. My daughter called me the afternoon of the surgery and we discussed how I wasn't sure if I should have posted that particular post about being teased and carrying that hurt and anger around all this time. She told me to read the comments and I would realize it was absolutely right. That people had left beautiful comments and that I had touched more than one with my post.

I wasn't able to read the comments for a couple of days but I held what she told me close to my heart. I realized that my heart was feeling lighter..it was like the dark places where the memories were held all this time were opened up and light and lightness were allowed in.

That others related to the issues of having glasses and being different and being bullied and then giving me advice was, to me, amazing. I have since picked up SARK's new book but I haven't done any reading. Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity looks like just what I need right now.

I've had a lot of time to think about my childhood and Janet and Sandra and you know what...they have moved out of that dark place. It is a weird feeling. I don't know if it's because I "went public" or because I received so much positive feedback or because I just made the decision to make the change in my attitude as I made the change in my sight; but it worked. I hope all of you who had similar experiences find light and healing in your hearts for those dark places/memories.

Something has changed in Blogger and I can't upload the photos I wanted to share. I don't want to miss Tuesday so I will work on that issue for tomorrow or the next day, I suppose. In the meantime, I'm reveling in this lightening of my spirit. Can you share a similar experience of letting go? Or do you have an experience you need to tell the world so you can find a lighter heart?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesdays With Rita

Hello All,

Today is a strange day. I'm actually thinking back to the years I wore glasses...such as these in Fifth Grade. I was bullied and even physically hurt at times. I frankly don't imagine the bangs helped any. 

There was one girl in particular...Sandra. She was a little thing which may be why she bullied somebody like me who would never dream of standing up for myself. I remember one day in particular when we were an the turning bars. I had my hands resting on the bar and she was next to me and putting her leg up over the bar. She was stretching her heavy brown shod foot as far as she could so she could squish my fingers. When I said to be careful she told me, in her snotty way, to move my hands. I promptly backed down.

I can picture all this as if it was yesterday. I don't remember if it was that day or another day but I fell off the bar flat on my back. All the wind was knocked out of me. I sat on the edge of the sidewalk and tried to recover while some of the girls tried to get me to go to the teacher on duty. I looked over at her but the fear of saying anything was stronger than the pain in my back and trying to get my breath back. I slowly recovered and made my way to the classroom as the bell rang.

Sandra and another girl named Janet have haunted me all these years. The hurt and sorrow. Being alone and lonely. I was sixteen when I finally got my contacts but for the most part the damage was done.

Why am I dwelling on this? I'm having cataract surgery tomorrow. I had high hopes of not needing contacts or glasses (except reading glasses) again. However, my eyes are such an odd shape, "special" as my surgeon said, that he can't get a replacement lens that will correct my eyesight. I am so disappointed. I will have somewhat better sight (he said I'll be able to find my way to the bathroom at night without glasses) and the cataract will be gone but not what I had hoped for or what I understood would be the outcome.

Still, although I've had my ups and downs I'm trying to turn my attitude around and hope with getting rid of the cataracts (the other eye will be done next week) I will somehow get rid of these negative memories. I feel like putting this photo up on the Internet is a first step. Those glasses were a part of me and contacts will remain a part of me. That's okay. I won't let Sandra and Janet (picture Nellie from Little House on the Prairie) cause me any more pain. As I fight the cataracts and the depression I will shrug them off and fully appreciate all the wonderful people in my life.

What memories are you carrying around? How do you plan on putting them in their place in the back of your mind and replace them with positive thoughts?

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoJouMo and Other Challenges

I'm doing art every day. The reason is; I've taken up the sword, er challenge. Well, quite a few actually but that is how I work. It's the same with my writing. If I don't have a deadline I just don't get it done. Sure, I write every day, but not the kinds of things that I want to submit. And then I don't go through and do the editing, unless I have to. I've tried all kinds of tricks to change this. I set up false deadlines. If I know the deadline is the 20th of each month I put on my calendar the 10th. This doesn't work because I still Know the deadline is the 20th.

With frustration, stress, and sometimes, tears I make my deadlines. I know I'm not the only one in this boat. I do find that the challenges on BlogLand keep me working. I'm pushed to do something every day. I push myself to try new techniques and mediums. I grow and learn and develop. That's what's important (and filling my etsy shop and making editors happy.)

I'm caught up with NaNoJouMo. I'm really enjoying this challenge of one word a day. Here's a couple of the one's I've done for equanimity and moment.

I'm also busy with art every day month. Sometimes I count the journal pages but I'm trying to do them as separate challenges. Here's the tag I made for June's weekly challenge: Song, Dance, Music. June has these wonderful weekly challenges that have stretched my creativity more than once. Now she is having a big challenge to create a piece using one of her downloads. You can learn more at Dezinaworld. Thanks for the nudges, June.
Are YOU challenging yourself? Tell us your favorite challenges. (Watch out for Tuesdays With Rita for another type of challenge.) Have a Grrrrrrrreat Day.

Materials for artwork on this page:
Equanimity: Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons, images from computer and scrabpook paper. lace, charcoal, rapidograph pen
Moment: Neocolor II crayons, magazine image, stamps, charcoal, gel pens, rapidograph pen
Song, Dance, Music: tag, fiber, vintage music, cardstock, Derwent InkTense Pencils, rapidograph pen, Ranger vintage ink, Neocolor II crayons, gel pens, lace


Friday, November 5, 2010

Still Obsessed.

I finally found a Ravel video like the one I saw on tv and the announcer is quieter.
If you like horses even a little bit this will knock your socks off.
Be sure to have your sound on because he literally dances to the music.

Where'd the Week Go???

I can't believe it's Friday. The week has zoomed by. I didn't get many things done that I planned on and a few things I hadn't planned on. I am keeping up with the NaNoJouMo challenge of journaling every day to a word. I'm working in my visual journal but doing more writing than usual. Yesterdays word
was quarter and here's what I came up with...

I guess I was thinking pink, kind of unusual for me, because I had finished the challenge from June at Dezinaworld. The challenge was hot pink and silver. Sadly, I didn't get it sent in in time. This week the challenge is song, dance and music. Thanks, June.

I've also been making Tattered Past hearts to decorate some of my artwork, my blog, and my etsy shop.
I'm really having fun with these.

And, last but not least is my Day One of the art everyday challenge. The word was Inception.

For those who are interested the supplies used in the artwork above are:
Quarter and Inception -- Caran d'ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons, magazine cutouts, rapidograph pen
Be Yourself -- Caran d'ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons, magazine cutout, ribbon, pink puff paint, gel pens, sticky note and marker
Hearts -- muslin, paint, do-dads, sticker letters and pillow ticking

So many challenges...so much to do...having so much fun.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesdays With Rita: Childhood Photos

I am taking Willowing's Art, Heart and Healing on line class. It is an AMAZING class. I'm behind but I will get there. I'm learning so much and thinking about so many new things.

One of the lessons was to find photos of yourself under the age of three. That was a bit of a challenge but I finally came up with these.
the first one is with my dad. Don't you love the hat? I don't have any idea where we were when this was taken.

This one is with my cousin Ron. We were at our grandparents in Montezuma, Kansas. Montezuma was and is a tiny town. Grandad was the one and only barber. There was a corner market, a drug store and the ever present grain elevator. It is a few miles from Dodge City. How simple life was then. An old can and some sand or dirt and we were happy. There are other pictures taken at the same time with some of the older cousins playing marbles.

This was obviously Easter. That's my sister with me. She looks concerned. She told me that I was really
sick that day and she felt really sorry for me. I actually remember that little coat. It was turquoise
and had a rhinestone button at the top. I wonder why I had my little gloved hands held out as if begging for "some more, please."

I was a sad, withdrawn child. Actually I don't have many memories. Willowing asked us to think about our dreams for the child that was you. I wish for her a happy life, full of fond memories, love and support.

What childhood photos would you like to share with us? What memories are associated with them? Do you remember the clothing you had on or the toys you were playing with? Leave a link in your comment, I would love to visit your small selves and I'm sure other readers would too.

(I'll post my spread for the class when I finish it.)