Tattered Past

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Remember When: Fears

I'm very young, standing in the middle of an auditorium with wooden floors.
 There is some event happening and there are quite a few people although it isn't crowded.
People are standing around here and there. Perhaps it is a family reunion or something like that.
No entertainment that I can see or hear.

All I can think about are those big heaters hanging from the ceiling in each corner. 
They scare me to death.
I have to keep an eye on them.

This one was in the lobby of the Cottonwood Hotel and brought back that little girl standing in the middle of the auditorium scared those big ugly things were going to do something bad.

I don't remember why they scared me; I think it was more than just having one fall.
Perhaps I thought there was something in there, they are kind of cage like. Or maybe I was afraid one would blow up. There was something in my child head that comes back to me whenever I see one of these big old heaters.

Later I will do some stream of consciousness writing about this.

Perhaps as I think and write more about the experience the details will come. I'll be able to understand that little girl I faintly remember.

Do you have childhood fears that come to you at strange times. Memories that are just snapshots of emotion? Write about them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Arizona History With a Twist

Arizona history is colorful, found in unusual places and very deep. The old mining towns are especially full of stories and legends. Last week Doug and I joined an historical workshop in Clarkdale and Cottonwood; two wonderful little towns often overlooked as travelers head for the more flamboyant ghost town of Jerome. This workshop not only took us on a tour of the more unusual sites but gave us a link to the past through the ghosts that roam the area.

We weren't meeting the group until after lunch so we brought our own and had a relaxing little picnic in the Clarkdale park. The flags at half mast were sad reminders of the horror that had just occured in Denver.

We met the group at the Clarkdale Historical Museum. This was once the clinic for the mining community. Clarkdale was started in 1912 so they are gearing up to their centennial celebrations in December. The museum is quaint and full of fantastic items. In the basement is one of the old jail cells.

Looking out over the Verde Valley from behind the museum.
Next door was the current police station, also part of the original dispensary of Clarkdale.
We were split up into groups of 9 or 10 and taken through the building by either the Chief of Police. Our leader told about hearing the door open and footsteps in the hallway. He's learned not to jump up and go look because he knows nobody will be there.

No matter where I visit I am drawn to the alleys, oldest buildings and backs of things.
This ghostly building backs up on "Suicide Alley" and is full of architectural interest. Rumored suicides and feelings of dread and sadness are reported here.

Everybody we met was helpful and friendly. We were taken on a tour of the Old Town with stories of speakeasy's, explosions, and epidemics. There are even stories of Al Capone being in the area.

Dinner at Su Casa was memorable for the talks about paranormal research, a dowsing workshop and lots of laughter and friendship.


At sunset we were at the Valley View Cemetery. You can just see Jerome on the hillside to the right.

After leaving Clarkdale we headed to Cottonwood which is just a couple of miles down the road. More to follow on our excursion in future posts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Remember When: First Pets

Do you remember your first pet?
Meet mine, Smokey.
He was a Pekingese.

My dad gave him to us when I was about 3 and he lived 13 years so he was pretty
much always there. For those in to such things isn't that a great sewing machine in
the background. I remember when Mom got her new Singer so for her it was
progress but now many of us would love to have that old one to display.

Back to first pets.
This is Duchess. She wasn't our daughter's first pet but she was the one
who became her companion and best friend.

Duchess was a great dog and this little pet show at the local park was a
highlight to Jessica. I truly believe it was a highlight to Duchess too.

I don't remember how old Jessica was but she did a great job explaining how
she took care of Duchess and all the things they did together.

I never did any special things with Smokey but I remember many snuggle moments
and him riding in the saddlebag baskets on my bicycle.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Observations

It's 103 degrees outside and I'm here at the Barnes and Noble cafe with a large green tea. Surrounded by books, puzzles, magazines and people doing their own thing mostly on laptops.

As I settled in there was a very tall teenager talking to his mother who's arms were full of books. He was trying to hand her another one and saying, "If you get this one I'll never ask you to get me another book." I'm laughing inside and commiserating with the poor mom who was obviously drooping under the load she already had. She reminded him that she already had two for him. He didn't miss a beat, "Well if you get these three I'll never ask you for another book as long as I live." The book ended up on her pile and I grinned at her. I couldn't tell if she noticed. Next Son was off to look at "one more thing." While Mom headed to the checkout. A bit later I saw them pass the windows on their way to the parking lot. I couldn't tell if more had been added to her pile but I don't think she was drooping just from the heat.

When I first came in the store I noticed a lady in a black and white print dress. It looked okay but the black cowboy boots looked really strange. I've always thought it looked odd to wear cowboy boots with shorts or a dress but I see it a lot. What do you think? Am I the strange one? Besides the way it looks,  boots without long socks are extremely uncomfortable and in this weather HOT.

So much for my fashion comments for the day.

One of the things I saved from my mother's house over 20 years ago was this potted cactus. Every year it blooms around Mother's Day. First it gets these long shoots that go on for a couple of days.

Then during the night these beautiful pale pink and white blooms open up.

I think this is the most I've ever seen at one time. When I told my daughter this morning she said she wished she had one. I'm going to take a little baby to her next month. We'll see how it does.

What have you observed today?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remember When: Summertime

 What are some of your summertime memories?

We played for hours and hours, long past dark, in the neighbors large grassy yard. Red Rover, catching June bugs, hide-and-seek, red-light-green-light, Simon says and collecting lightening bugs.

What about your ancestors? What did they do in the summer?
Church camp?

Fishing in the local creek?

Travelling? (My dad at Pike's Peak)
 Riding bicycles? (My uncles and their cousin.)

 Hiking and camping? (My husband and daughter in Arizona's White Mountains.)

Family reunions? (Four generations of my dad's family. He's the tall one in the back towards the right side of the photo.)

Relaxing on the front porch? (My husband and his mother.)

If you don't have family photos, old journals or letters to tell you what your ancestors did for summer fun try Googling the area they lived in and the years. Were there amusement parks? Were they near the beach or in the mountains? Did they travel? Did they visit the old home place?

It's possible to recreate your family stories if only with clues to what was happening. It's called bringing your ancestors to life.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reading Frenzy

My husband says he has never known anyone who reads as much as I do. For some reason I've even noticed I've been on a reading frenzy lately.

I belong to one book discussion group that meets once a month at the local Barnes and Noble. This has been great for me because it "forces" me to read books that I normally wouldn't even pick up.
 One such book was Clara and Mr. Tiffany. Susan Vreeland based this book on a collection of letters written by a female worker of Mr. Tiffany who appears to have been the one who designed and formed the wonderful Tiffany lamps. It was very interesting although I had some trouble with consistencies in the writing. Soon after I finished it my husband and I were strolling along Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale looking at galleries and there in a window was a Tiffany Lamp. I was able to look up underneath and see how it was put together and picture the descriptions in the book about choosing each piece of glass.

I've already told you about Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children here.
 I second book I learned about from one of my other favorite sources for great books: my writing groups. Triangle is about one of the most horrific fires in New York history when well over 100 women were killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. This was the beginning of labor unions and right

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is another book about civil rights, women's rights and indeed the rights of each and every one of us to medical privacy. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman with cancer who went to John Hopkins Hospital for care in the early days of cancer research and the use of cells. Her cells were kept and then spread throughout the world because they were they only cells they could keep alive indefinitely. These cells have led to numerous medical breakthroughs but at the risk of Henrietta's privacy or right-to-know.

The last book is one I found mentioned in a magazine and has proven very interesting to the collector in me.

Michael Popek's family owned a used bookstore and over the years he collected the bookmarks in whatever form they came in from books that passed through the his hands. Each piece of paper, letter, ticket, receipt and other bit of ephemera is shown along with the book it was found in. It is an amazing glimpse into past lives and fabulous books.

Today I purchased the book for the July book discussion group: Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden. The bookseller who rang it up (along with a moleskine sketchbook) said one of the male booksellers said it was a fantastic book.

I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remember When: Board Games

My sister was ten years older than me. Quite often she was more of a second mother than a sister. Of course we never really played but we did have some board games. I remember Parchesi being one of our favorites. Maybe checkers and Chinese checkers. An occasional game of cards.

Lucky for me I spent many summers with my cousins who lived in another town about 80 miles away. Here I am with Dean who is one year older (minus one day.) lol His sister is a couple years younger.

We had marathons with the board games. If the game tended to end too soon I seem to remember we made up our own rules to extend the length of the game. Especially Monopoly. And Risk. We always played on the floor in Dean's room and were able to move the games to the side so we could continue the next day and perhaps the day after that.

We also played Mouse Trap and Operation.
Here's my grandson with his Operation game. I hope he is making his own memories with his game.
I'm making plans for my trip to visit the kids in August. Perhaps we will play Operation. 

Too bad they are still too young for Monopoly.
I think that is my all time favorite board game.

What's yours?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wonderful Day

What a wonderful day.  I slept well last night, which is very unusual for me, and woke up with phone calls to make but plans to come to B&N to write.

I dealt with insurance companies and doctor billing offices and it all went well. Every body was nice and knew what they were doing. Didn't have to pinch any heads off.

Then an old friend called and we reminiscenced about high school and even the one month I spent at grade school here in Phoenix after we moved from Kansas. Turns out he is from Seattle where I will be going next month. I don't know why I never knew that or perhaps just didn't remember. 

Back to Phoenix. The monsoons have arrived although we've had no rain and even little wind and dust at our house. I took this picture a couple of nights ago.

Lava Flow?

As I settled in here at B&N Kenny Rogers and "Lady" was playing on the intercom. Reminded me of when we went to his concert quite a few years ago. We had fairly good seats and I was able to get some photos but I haven't scanned them yet.

He is a very charismatic performer. I don't remember who the female was that opened but the electricity when Kenny came on stage was so amazing after her rather blah performance.
I used to really enjoy concerts but now I have a hard time with the loudness and I can't stand for very long. I don't get why people insist on standing clear through a concert. I get reallly tired of the view when I'm the only one sitting. The last concert we went to together was Phil Collins. It wore me out just watching him. Of course I was working on a headache and the lights finished it off. Just can't handle that any more but Doug still enjoys going.

Other concerts we've been too over the years were John Denver, the Beach Boys, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Turtles, (Have I dated myself yet?) and

Before I met Doug I was at quite a few others. The Beach Boys many times, Arlo Gutherie, Gordon Lightfoot, Herman's Hermits, Elton John, Tom Rush, Steppenwolf . . .

Lots of memories hiding out in those concerts.
Or Sunset?

Hope you are all having a wonderful day too.