Tattered Past

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

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.


  1. She sounds like a wonderful woman and what blessed memories you have! Thank you for sharing this!
    My gramma started to teach me tatting, but we never really got beyond the very first steps. I took after her in her creativeness and love of art.
    I so wish that I were closer to her when she was with us.

  2. I love that baby photo. How intently she is looking at the camera!!

  3. Wish my parents had kept better records of their parents but it is what it is ;) I never met either one of my grandfathers because we lived overseas when I was younger and both of them passed while we were stationed in Africa. My fathers mother traveled alot and came to live with us in every country and state that we lived in: Taiwan, Panama, NJ and Maryland and we were so glad because we actually got to bond with her. She had 11 children, 9 boys and 2 boys and was always full of life. My mom's mother was also a hot ticket...my Dad use to teach her and call her a "banny rooster" cause she would get hot under the collar and chase the kids all over. She had 6 boys and 6 girls and I admire both of my grandmothers to have been born as women at the turn of the century and to grow up during the depression and raise their families...ALWAYS with the power of faith and hope. They both were suvivors of multiple births, failed kidneys, car accidents and economic strife...and they did it with grace and faith and raised amazing families.

  4. I love the pictures of your grandma! Oh, the things you can do and make with those precious pictures! And thank you for visiting me and my birdies. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. What lovely photos and story, Rita. I enjoyed reading it very much. I only knew one of my four grandparents, and my fondest memories of her were the "alone" times we had. As the youngest of four I didn't get much one-on-one time, so I always appreciated those moments.


Please leave a comment so I know you were here. Comments are like Internet hugs.