Tattered Past

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





Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Family Gardens

They say that smells are the strongest memory inducers of all. One of my favorite smells is tomato plants.
I pick up the on-the-vine tomatoes at the grocery store just to smell the plant.
The smell of tomato plants brings back memories of my grandma who always had a very large garden until she moved to Arizona and lived in a trailer court. Her counter was covered with fresh vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, okra, radishes and onions.

Fresh corn reminds me of my Aunt Marie who always had a garden. Corn was my favorite at her house. One summer they teased me about how I managed to eat my corn-on-the-cob without two front teeth. Nothing as simple as loosing my baby teeth would keep me away from fresh corn with lots of butter and a dash of salt.
This year Doug and I decided to plant a garden. Well, I decided and he went a long with me. As I was picking out seeds for lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes and green onions he threw in the corn. It is coming up fast and neither one of us can wait to have our own fresh corn.

We also put in okra plants and now we have little baby okras. Our mouths are watering already.

Oh, and there's the cantaloupe plant, the purple sage and some lavender.
Having a 26 x 12 garden in Arizona isn't the easiest of tasks but I'm on a roll.

As are the memories. Grandma and Aunt Marie bent over pulling weeds. Wilted lettuce and cucumber salads. The heavenly smell of tomatoes.

What memories do you have of family gardens and the harvest they produced?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Home Economics Class

Ah, home economics class. Seventh grade, 1965.

I found a picture of some of the girls in my class and the teacher at a fashion show. I didn't get to go. My mom always worked so I missed out on a lot of things. Besides, I was so shy and withdrawn I would never have done it. The photo was fun. It was from the Great Bend Daily Tribune at ancestry.com. However, by the time I got around to making a journal page I lost it. I decided that might be a good thing so worked without it.

One semester was for cooking and the other for sewing. We made a checked (mine was blue and white) toilet paper roll holder, an apron and a pleated skirt. None of those items have survived.

What did I learn in home ec?

Never ever put pins in your lips/mouth.
Sewing gathers is kind of fun; especially when you get to pull on the one thread.
Basting is boring and really pretty useless.
Patterns tear easily and like to fight back.
Zippers are horrible to put in.
Seventh grade girls are just plain mean especially when sitting around sewing by hand.

I don't know how I ended up at a table with a group of girls who thought the class was called "torment Rita."
Like I said, I was shy and withdrawn and never fought back. I won't mention their names but I remember them well. Their hands weren't idle but it didn't keep their mouths shut.

Now that makes me wonder about all the stories that were told, and possible feelings hurt, when the ladies all got together for a quilting bee.

And yes, I always put the pins in my mouth. I've never choked on one but I still can hear Mrs. Evan's voice.

Did you have home economics? Or perhaps wood shop? What did you learn?

My sister tried to take shop and the school wouldn't let her. They even called our mother in to complain. Mom said to let her do whatever she wanted. That was in the 1950s.

Isn't it amazing how one small memory leads to another and another and another...

Materials used on Journal Page:
Gesso
Vintage pattern
Caran d'Ache neocolor II watersoluble crayons
Pitt markers
Phrases from computer
Matte gel medium

Friday, May 20, 2011

Favorite Place and a Rant

Here I am at my new favorite place to get away from the office and work: Barnes and Noble coffee shop. I have a hot chai and blues are playing on the store intercom. It's a beautiful day except for a bit of wind. All should be well, right?

Instead, I have a rant.

I've been thinking about this post all week. I don't like to get off into issues here, that's not the reason for this blog. But sometimes...you just have to say what you feel.

I've been a fan of John Walsh and "America's Most Wanted" for years. Sunday the president of Fox announced the show would be cancelled except for an occasional special. The reason he gave was the show isn't making money. He didn't even go by ratings...with over 5 million viewers every week they must be better than many other shows he's keeping.

The way my husband put it the only people who will be happy about the cancellation will be child molesters, rapists and murderers. Not the families of victims, the found children, and the people who's lives have been changed because this show helped make people aware of problems in our society.

In the 23 years since the show began they have led to the arrest of over 1,000 offenders around the world. John Walsh has been an advocate for children and the formation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The Adam Walsh Act for the registration of sex offenders was passed and named after John's murdered six-year-old son.

Saving money may be one of the most important issues to everybody right now but this should be a reminder that no-matter-what making a difference is what really counts. John has made a difference in so many ways and as my hubby and I always say after John announces another capture on the show, "YEAH JOHN!"

Jim Sitton, who's daughter and two other family members were murdered on Thanksgiving 2009, started a facebook page to Save AMW. There are numerous blogs and campaigns to save the show. There are addresses to contact Fox officials and local stations to voice our opinions. Visit www.amw.com to see up-to-date information on the show.

I hope you will join me in making a difference.

My Maggie, the rescue dog, agrees.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Drive-In Theater

Last week a few people thought I was writing about drive-in movies. Well, I have to admit I was thinking about them so I thought I may as well write about those memories, too.

The Great Bend Drive-In was on the edge of town and looked very much like the one in this photo...except the playground was more on the other side. Remember those times of the whole family piling in the car, often with our own food and munchies, and heading to the drive-in. We often had to try a few spaces to get one of those window speakers that worked. Then, we  kids were allowed to go down to the playground while the parents stayed in the car. Remember that scene from "Grease" when John Travolta is down at the playground after having a fight with Olivia Newton John?

It was a treat to get to go to the snack bar. At least for us. The hamburgers were pretty bad but I have to admit I sometimes stop at a fast food drive-in and get the cheapo hamburger just because they remind me of those from the snack bar.

As I became a pre-teen they started having "battle of the bands." The concession stand had a flat roof and local rock and roll bands would set up on the roof and play all night long. This was a fun time for the kids. I don't remember a lot except "G-L-O-R-I-A" was a favorite. That and the beach song with the rolling drums.

The ad on my journal page is from one of those "battles." What I don't understand is it says Freddie and the Dreamers were there. Now I can't imagine this being the real Freddie and the Dreamers so I wonder if we had a local band that mimicked them. Do any of you even remember Freddie and the Dreamers? Okay, we'll go there another time.

I don't remember any of the movies but I'm sure I saw all the Westerns especially if John Wayne was in them. One summer I went to Colorado to stay with my sister. I went to the drive-in with my aunt and older cousin and we saw "A Hard Day's Night" starring the Beatles. That was so fun. Yes, I have that movie on video and still enjoy it...especially the accents.

Okay, so the drive-in movies theater has taken me all all kinds of tangents with my memories. How about you? What memories come to you when thinking about the drive-in?

Like the Beach Boys sang, "I love the drive-in."


Materials used for this journal page:
Black watercolor oil pastels
White gesso
Photos from Google Images and ad from "Great Bend Tribune" on the Internet
Matte gel medium
White ink
White Sharpie poster pen
Punch out letters



Friday, May 13, 2011

Hanging With Writers

I love being a writer.
I love hanging out with writers.
I love sharing the excitement of writers being published.

When my friend Amy came out with her book of folk poetry I not only had to get a copy but I had to make her something special to commerate the event.

 I love the technique I learned from  KC WIllis for making wall hangings so I copied the beautiful cover of Amy's book and made her a hanging.

It is geared to Amy's cowboy poetry.

The quote from the back cover is:

"This book is a collection of Western Folk Poetry about life, love, and cowboyin'. What else is there?"

You can find Amy's book here, along with some of her poetry. Isn't the cover gorgeous?

As a thank you Amy gave me a dozen fresh eggs. Yummy.


And, no, I can't tell the difference between the different type of eggs but fresh is Always better.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Drive-In Restaurants

Going out to eat was a special event when I was small. Even a trip to the drive-in. There were two or three in my home town...that I remember. There was Stewart's which looked just like this picture I found on Google
 Images... at least as far as I remember.
My usual fare was a barbecue beef sandwich and a limeade along with whatever fries or onion rings I could con out of my mom and sister. When mom was feeling a bit richer I was able to get a shrimp basket.
A super treat.

I don't remember if they had carhops on skates. I don't think so.
Here's the ad from their grand opening in 1960. The year before my sister graduated from high school.

I found this ad from the Great Bend Tribune on the Ancestry.com Web site.

Another one was the A&W but I'll write about that one another time. I can't remember the third except I think my sister worked there for a bit and it was on the very edge of town and very, very small. More like a walk-up shack.

Did you go to the drive-in? What were your favorites?

The supplies I used to make this journal page were:
Image from Google
Acrylic craft paint
Pitt pens
Stamps with Staz-on ink
White Sharpie marker
Gesso
Sequin waste
Bubble wrap
Gel medium

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Genealogy Mysteries

Every genealogy, indeed every family, has a mystery. For researchers these are called brick walls.
Grandma Thompson 1811 - 1900 has been my brick wall for a long time.
Grandma is buried in the cemetery in Meade, Kansas along with her daughter, son-in-law and many others and granddaughter; my great grandmother, Nellie Keith Martin, who I'm written about in many posts.

My Grandmother Jennie told me who Grandma Thompson was and how she was related and I realized the stone was put on about the same time as Nellie's; 1964.

I couldn't find a death record, or even her name, for a long time. So I went on about my researching. I traced the Keith's back along the wagon trail to Illinois and found Grandma Thompson again. And now she has a name...Jane Thompson married to Soloman Thompson. WooHoo. Progress.

As research progressed I learned Jane Thompson's maiden name was Malone and she was born in Tennessee sometime around 1811, Solomon died on September 9, 1871 and Jane, at age 79, made the choice in 1884 to travel west with her married daughters and sons-in-law.

I have her homestead papers from Kansas. On this page it describes her house as  made of sod, 16 x 18 feet with 1 door and 1 window. She had a sod hen house that was 12 x 12. That's almost as big as her house! It also says her house is "habitable all seasons of the year." I wonder if any of us would agree.
The next document shows us Jane was illiterate as she signs with "her mark." The clerk would have signed her name and then she made her mark in the middle. She could probably recognize that much.


So I don't know much more about Jane. I don't know her parents. I don't know when or where she was born. But I do know that she was one tough woman to emigrate to Southwestern Kansas in the 1880s. Although she was illiterate she managed to keep up her household. She remained close to her family daughters until she died.

Do you have a mystery in your family? Have you tried to track it down. It's taken a lot of work to find out these things about Jane but I'm happy to know more than what was one her gravestone.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Journal Prompts and Inner Critics

My friend, Teri, over at Quinceberry has started a week of journal prompts to trigger childhood memories.
She will present a quote and prompt each day. Today's post has brought back many memories that I plan on getting down as soon as I finish here. Pay Teri a visit and get some of your own memories flowing.

Another friend, who had ordered some of  the Inner Critics from my Etsy shop, presented them to some friends who were at her house having an artsy weekend. She wrote the following:

"Your inner critic dolls were an absolute hit. I gave one each to my artist friends who came to spend a couple of days with me over Easter for an artist retreat.

"We just had so much fun with them. While we were having a drink before dinner, when one felt like commenting on what the other was saying, she'd get the doll out and make HER speak. It was hilarious. Then they'd get them to make all sorts of faces. We had a great time and they were definitely a winner."

When writing memoirs, or any type of writing, it is important to zip the Inner Critic while getting those first thoughts down. There is always plenty of time to edit and rewrite after the first ideas are down on paper or displayed on the computer screen.
Last Tuesday we had a lot of wind. When I got to Desert Ridge Market Place I noticed all the palo verde blossoms blowing around on the walkways. Some people think this is messy. I call it "God's confetti."