Tattered Past

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





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WOW - Childhood Memories

I am writing today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” mass-blogging event celebrating the release of Finding Emma by Steena Holmes.).
Steena is a woman who believes that 'in the end, all things succumb...to the passions of your heart'. Steena's life revolves around her family, friends and fiction. Add some chocolate into the mix and she's living the good life. She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories. (For a guest post by Stenna check back here on June 16.)
Finding Emma has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children's Society of Canada - an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit www.mcsc.ca for more information.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating the "Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories" day, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma!
To read Steena’s about childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the "Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories" day please visit  The Muffin.
The Women 
Coming from a broken home with only one sister; women have always played the major roll in my life. Oddly there were 5 generations of strong women.

My great grandmother, Nellie Martin, was a pioneer who came from Illinois to southwestern Kansas by wagon in the early 1880s. She lived in dugouts, soddys and barns. Deserted by her husband she raised her daughter by herself in a time when divorced women were frowned upon. She held her head high; worked as a telephone operator and stayed active in her church.

I only have flashes of memory of "Grandma Great" as we all called her. She was always crocheting or tatting and watching her family grow.

Her daughter, Jennie, grew up and married a barber. They had six children and she was always in her garden or cooking. She could crochet anything and when she tatted her hands flew so fast they were a blur.
 "Grandma Jennie" moved to Arizona after my grandfather died and I spent a great deal of time with her. I learned to crochet and knit. She tried to teach me to tat but I only got the basics because her hands were always so fast. (And frankly I didn't stay with any of them which I'm very sorry to say now.)

My mom, Viola, was also a young divorcee. She raised my sister and I on her own. I remember her working two jobs and making every little bit stretch as far as possible. What was a roast one day was open faced sandwiches the next and eventually the best vegetable beef soup I've ever had.
Mom collected chickens and loved to garden. She could grow just about anything. I learned to cook from her but there are some of her recipes that I won't even try because only Mom could make them. Mom was happiest when one of her grandkids was near.

The next woman in my life was my sister. Since she was ten years older Betty was more of a mother and sometimes I resented her for that. At other times I don't know what I would have done without my "Sissy." Betty was an amazing artist in all mediums. She raised goats and chickens and learned to spin. She could do anything she set her mind to and NOBODY got in her way.

Betty taught me to draw and gave me my love of the Old West. Whenever I need strength I just have to think of her.
 Next in line of descent is my niece. Because my sister was so much older there was only eleven years between Jackie and I. I loved my niece when she was little and I thought she was the greatest thing on earth. As we got older we became closer and closer until we were "sisters," "best friends" and "soul mates."
Jackie and I could spend hours watching Elvis Presley movies, drinking Pepsi and eating Reese's peanut butter cups. We both loved to read, write and make miniatures. She loved Eeyore and playing her flute. We always laughed and laughed; she had a very infectious giggle.

We both had daughters who are close enough in age to be sisters and who often fight like sisters.

My daughter, Jessica, on the left has two boys and Jackie's daughter, Liz, on the right, has one son. The line of women has come to a close (unless Liz should surprise us one day.) The legacy of these women will always live on through the things they taught us, the  strength they left us and the love we all share. (BTW: Liz is now the tatter of the family.)

12 comments:

  1. "Jackie and I could spend hours watching Elvis Presley movies"...my sister and I devoured Elvis movies. We pretended to tolerate them for mom's sake, but we LOVED them. I can hum a few bars from G.I. Blues or Girls, Girls, Girls and my sis will sing along. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. There's something about those movies even the really, really corny ones. Glad you enjoyed this. Good luck in the draw.

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  2. WOW - the strong women in your family are amazing! What a legacy to have! Thank you for sharing this with me as part of my memory tour.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for inspiring this great tour.

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  3. This could be an entire memoir. Really enjoyed the photos and your precious recollections of the special and important women in your life.

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    1. Yes. There's so much I could write about these women. Just have to DO IT.
      Good luck in the draw.

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  4. Rita - what a fabulous line of female relatives! It will be imtereesting to see how this history of strong women affects the perspectives of the next generation of little men.

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    1. Sadly the young men never knew any of them. I just have to do my best to be a good Grammy.
      Good luck in the draw.

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  5. Mom, I love all theses pictures! The one of Nana is my favorite! Brings back so many memories! I loved her kitchen, and I remember spending most of my time there, as I watched her cook. I was pregnant with Alex in that picture of Liz and I. Seems so long ago! I love you and I am so proud to be a part of this family! ~Jessica

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    1. Thank you. They all left something of themselves to you and now you have it to pass to the boys. Love you.

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  6. First of all, I love the header on your blog--cool title and cool photos. What an awesome tribute to your family. You are all lucky women.

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  7. Thank you very much.
    I think about these women nearly every day but writing about them this way has been very emotional.
    Good luck in the draw.

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