Tattered Past

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sleepless Night

During my last night of the trip when I stayed at the hotel in Panguitch, Utah I couldn't sleep. This isn't unusual but more stressful when I know I have a full day of driving the next day.

One thing that helps is to doodle so I pulled out my composition book of ideas and started doodling. The doodling became ideas for a September Challenge of memoir writing. I wrote all kinds of thoughts and ideas:

As I thought about this on the last day of driving and ever since I wondered if I should do this in October, but no, it won't leave me alone so I'm going to do this project starting September 4.

The main thing about this project is it involves YOU. I want to help others develop the habit of writing, help you get your memories down on paper, and have fun.

Are you going to join me? The first step is to get or roundup some supplies. We will be working in a Composition book which are still on sale at some stores for .50. While you are there in the back-to-school section pick up a few other things that catch your eye. A pencil bag, sticky notes, pens, highlighters, a glue stick, index cards. These are the main things we will be using. However, stickers, colored pencils, and other fun things can be added.

Part of the theory behind this is that if we have fun things to write with our childhood memories will have a better chance to come to the surface.
What the challenge will involve:
Writing. Every day.
To fill a composition book during the month of September.
Prompts to write from and ways to save the memories and thoughts that those prompts bring to the surface for future writing. I will also be putting in things for you to think about and ideas of the importance of journaling.
I will be putting weekly prompts up, besides the ones I already do with "Remember When" on Tuesdays.
Why? I'm a genealogist and am convinced we need to write down our memories to be handed down to future generations. We also need to save the stories we have heard. The side advantage of this is learning about ourselves and how to deal with some of those memories and thoughts. Journaling has been proven to be beneficial for people dealing with depression, lack of interest, past issues and all other aspects of psychology.
I'm still wrapping my head around all the things that came to mind during that brainstorming session in my hotel room. This will be a learning experience for me too.
So tell your friends. Get your composition book and other school items.
It's time to do some homework like you've never done before.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Remember When: Trailing Ancestral Trails

This is a part of a group photo that has been handed down through about five generations of my family. It was taken sometime in the late 1800s. I should study the fashions and try to narrow that down. (Added to my list of genealogy to-dos.)
I'm not even sure who these people are although I remember grandma telling me the man with the badly buttoned sweater was James Thompson who lived all his days with his mother and had mental problems. I have found him in censuses. The family lived in southwestern Kansas after coming to the area around 1884 from Illinois. This photo is probably a church or school outing.
My family settled in what became known as Keith Canyon. In 1990 my daughter and I visited the area and were taken to where the old dugouts were by the local historian who I had gotten to know during my research. It turned out his mother and my grandmother were old friends.


You can see where they had dug into the side of the hill . . . the rounded section that has since collapsed. A front was put on the dugout and a roof put on. It was exciting to see this place. We also travelled the area around the canyon and the site of the old town. We found graves and other places where the family had lived.
This trip brought these ancestors to life as regular research can never do. However, by studying the history I can add flesh to the bones of my ancestor's lives. What was it like to live in a dugout? How long did it take to travel to this area by covered wagon? How did the people entertain themselves besides church/school outings?
If you can't travel the trails of your ancestors try reading history or even historical fiction to learn about them. If you have any stories or photographs be sure to identify them and write everything down for the future generations.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Starbucks and Abandoned Art

I spent the last few days running errands, cleaning house, doing laundry, unpacking, and working in my travel journal. Now here I am back on my schedule of writing. Laptop, Starbucks and a hot chai which tastes great because although it is hot outside it is Freezing in here.

My travel journal isn't full but at this point I don't plan on adding any more to it.

I figured out my mileage and I drove 3089 miles on this trip. Most of the time I was in the mountains and I was happy that my Kia still averaged about 33 mpg. The highest it got was 36 mpg.
Not bad.

This morning I got my first e-mail response to one of the pieces of art I abandoned on my trip.
"Found Treasure: Thank you for the surprise. I found it at the rest stop near Baker City, OR." Along with the following photo;

How cool is that? I love this whole concept. If you haven't already checked out please visit 
I don't know but this could have been the one I put in this spread in my journal.
This is the photo hiding under the tab on the left hand page.

The other page is a photo from the garden at Young Living Farms in Utah.
It was really fun having so many friends travelling along with me through my blog. I really enjoy travelling alone but it's nice to share some of the experiences at the end of the day. I think the thing I found that I least liked about travelling alone was the inability to take photos of scenes I passed. There are a couple of spots in Oregon that I'd love to get photos of but there's no way to pull over. Yes, I admit I did take a few shots while driving but certainly not in the mountains. I may push my luck a little but but I try not to be entirely stupid. lol

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 18: 2012. Home

I made it. It rained most of the day even here in Phoenix. I've unloaded what has to be done and had some of the ribs Doug put in the crockpot and now I'm going to pass out for awhile.

The chip in my windshield that I got yesterday in SLC spread 8 inches almost into my vision so I have to get that replaced asap. I also got another larger chip just north of Phoenix.

For my parting shot here's some photos from Sunset Point, north of Phoenix.

We made it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 16: 2012 What a day!!!

What a day this has been!! I'm here in Panguitch again. Safe and sound. Physically anyway.
I did not sleep well last night and finally at 6:00 am decided to hit the road. I had a terrible headache that pretty much hung in there all day.

I realized after awhile that I had missed my turnoff so I took the scenic route to Salt Lake City. A couple of hours later the exhaustion hit so I found a rest stop. Parked right in front of the visitor center where the guy was doing maintenance, locked up the car, pulled the blanket over my head and took a nap. I think I slept about 45 minutes and it was great.

Then I had the two hour white knuckle drive through SLC. I don't know what it is about that town but I hate driving through it and it really did take me almost two hours from when the "city" started until it ended.

South of there I hit a downpour. I'm not used to driving in rain and this was really heavy ... I actually thought at one point it might be turning in to snow.
I was still on the freeway and then had to take highway 20 across to catch 89 which is a two lane down into Arizona.
Part way through I got behind this guy . . . a wide-load and no way to get around him. Then an 18-wheeler came barreling down behind me and I was picturing what the two of them would do to my Kia. We were literally down to five miles an hour on the mountains and turns. It was awful!!

Yes, at five miles an hour I felt safe taking this shot. The only one I got all day.

I kept imagining what the people going the other way were thinking because I had passed another another truck with exactly the same load going the other way and felt sorry for all the people behind that one. Now I really wonder who was in charge of sending one full rig south and the other one north on the same day .. at the same time. Crazy!!!

I didn't get out of that fix until I pulled into my hotel here and luckily they had my usual room open. I unloaded and then drove the couple of blocks to the drive thru for fish and chips for dinner. Except I couldn't pull out of the hotel because there was some guy in the parking/safety lane going along in front of the hotel just coasting. I couldn't figure out what was going on to I decided it was safer to stay in the parking lot. Another guy in a pickup pulled up behind him and was apparently going to push him.

I got my fish and a yummy strawberry shake and returned to find the car and two trucks and a moped all grouped in front of the hotel so something had happened just after I left.

I called and checked in, ate my dinner, and now I'm going to watch some Beatles videos and go to bed.
Oh, and did I mention the chip in my windshield?

And I don't even have any chocolate. Tomorrow is home and I can't wait!!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 15: 2012 Homeward Bound

I know. The days are all messed up. I keep counting them up on my fingers and loosing or gaining days and then getting mixed up with dates.

If I'm counting right this really is Day 15. Regardless it is Monday and I left Yakima this morning after taking the boys on one last walk past the "bee tree." They helped me load the car along with the rocks they each painted for Papa and I to put in our garden.

I'm back in Bliss but a different hotel. The WIFI works better here and it is nicer, and cheaper.
Go figure.

Anyway, I was determined to find a place to get photos of the Columbia River as I passed over this morning and did get a couple.

At that point I was in Oregon and spend most of my time driving wondering what it was like for the people in the covered wagons. Those mountains seem endless in a car and I can't imagine waking up every morning and just seeing more of the same.

I pulled off at one overview and did a video of the view to show you the immensity of it all.

Then I left one of my little Art Abandonment packages at the view.

I left a couple more at rest stops but didn't get photos of them.

Idaho has been hit very hard with the wildfires. Since I came through Boise there has been mile after mile of burned areas along both sides of the highway.

When I got off at Bliss, Pop. 318 I noticed this old gas station. I'd love to rummage around in these old buildings.

So tomorrow I continue across Idaho and then into Utah and south through Salt Lake City. I plan on spending tomorrow night in southern Utah again.

I talked to Jessica a little bit ago and she said the boys are already missing me; especially Brendan. It's up and down like that. I sure miss them, too.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Days 15 and 16: 2012

John Martin is a distant relative of Jessica. He is buried here in Naches along with his sister Willie Ann who married Leonard Stump.
We went out to the cemetery Friday evening with dowsing rods and digital recorders and Jessica got this evp.

What do you hear?

Today we ran some errands including a cool craft store we don't have in Phoenix. I bought some stencils and some distress inks.
Tomorrow we will be having family time as I get ready to head south.

It's always nice to visit but I'll be glad to get home.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 13 and 14: 2012

A second dinner out with a handsome young man. This time we went to Panda Express and we both ate every bite. Then we went over to Walmart where I bought a few snacks and drinks for my trip home. It's hard to believe I will be heading south in three or four days.

I think Doug and Maggie are anxious to have me home.

Today we are just hanging out at home. I think we are still all recovering from the long ride and all the walking at Mount St. Helen's.

Art Abandonment

My art buddy; or maybe I should say art pusher, showed me this site a few weeks ago and I was instantly addicted. www.facebook.com/groups/ArtAbandonment. The idea is to make small pieces of art and abandon them to the world. Mine all have tags giving links to the group and a special e-mail I set up.

On my way to Washington I dropped them off outside gas stations and at rest stops.

I'm still leaving them in special places around town and
have made more to leave along the way home.

I absolutely love this idea of leaving little bits of art or random acts of kindness or word rocks or whatever might brighten somebody's day. I haven't received any messages back yet so I just keep on imagining extra smiles out around the world.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 10: 2012

 A family day in the mountains. Around past Mt. Ranier and then over to Mt. St. Helen's. Even Flat Stanley joined the tour.

Mount St. Helens from the blast side.
The edge of the blast zone where some trees were left standing but completely stripped bare.
Spirit Lake where the waves went up so high they pulled all the trees down into the water and there they stay looking like a white beach.

A couple of miners had a permit to be in the area. They were two of 57 who were killed by the mud/steam cloud that moved at over 300 mph.

I didn't get pictures but there was even snow when we went across Mt. Ranier.
The blast happened one month before my daughter was born. I remember them tracing ash to Phoenix. Strange to think we are here now. The devastation is hard to imagine and it's interesting how it has come back over 32 years.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day Nine: 2012

See this handsome young man? We had a big date this evening.

I always try to have a special meal out with each boy.

Today I introduced Brendan to popcorn shrimp. He thought that was pretty yummy.
He sat there and wrote a thank you note to his Papa and then we called him when we got back.

I don't know where Alex and I will go.

Remember When: Back To School

I have always loved school. Back-to-school was exciting. I loved the new crayons, prestine paint box, glue bottles and sharpening all those fresh pencils.
I still have to have my pencils freshly sharpened. Never use a dull pencil. I buy crayons just to smell them and using a fresh set of watercolors brings back fond memories.

School clothes were always special too. I learned quickly, though, that when Jessica was in school we didn't buy school clothes until later because the fall/winter clothes just weren't needed for a few months in Phoenix.

I still remember Mrs. Thompson and where I sat in Third Grade at Morrison Grade School. I had spent second grade at my grandparents so although I wasn't new at school it felt like it. This is also the year I got glasses and crawled more deeply into my shell.

That's me in the pedal pushers in the front row. Mom was aghast when she saw the photo and I can still hear her saying that she would never have let me wear "THAT" if she'd known it was picture day. I don't remember that day but I do remember those pedal pushers. I loved them.

What special memories do you have about back-to-school? Do you still like to buy supplies?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day Eight: 2012

Monday in Washington. Hot and windy. We got off to a late start on our walk and had to cut it short. I spent the time taking photos of bird houses. They are everywhere:


This one resembles a haunted house with that big cobweb.

This is my favorite time of year. BACK TO SCHOOL. I love buying school supplies and Jessica always jokes that I kept buying them for her even after she graduated. (Actually I think they were for me.)

So now I get to take the boys shopping and we got through both of their lists today including new backpacks.

Not the end of the day. They had their swim lessons at Children's Village center in Yakima.
Grammy may need a vacation from this vacation. lol.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day Seven: 2012

We have had a lazy Sunday so I'm continuing the mood and sharing some more pictures from the Young Living Farms south of Salt Lake City.

The gardens and grounds are used for training and workshops for Young Living representatives. These therapeutic grade essential oils are amazing and seeing where some of them are grown is awesome.

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day Six: 2012

This is a view of the Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima, Washington. We traced Jessica's fourth great grandparents here in this cemetery.

Joseph Remley was born in 1821 in Ohio and married Mary Jane Cahoon who was born in 1825 in Ohio. He died in 1901 and she died in 1902. Next to them is their son and then a granddaughter, Gladys.
We used dowsing rods like I learned during the Clarkdale Workshop and took many pictures, videos and audio digital recordings which I haven't downloaded yet.

Feeling like we were on a roll we stopped at the Naches Cemetery and found a distant Aunt and Uncle. Willie Ann Martin and Leonard Stump. They were married in Klickitat County, Washington Feb. 15, 1881 father's house.

Doing genealogy is amazing. Finding a physical connection, even if it's just a grave, is amazing.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day Five: 2012

The boys and I had our first early morning walk. And of course we had to go past the "bee tree."
This is a trumpet vine that has grown up over the power lines. Three years ago the boys and I were walking every morning and we were very careful passing the tree because it literaly buzzes with bees. It is a special Grammy and Boys thing.

Later the boys played with their slip-n-slide.

 And painted rocks for me to take home to Papa and put in our garden.

It was a very nice day.