Tattered Past

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Journal Prompts: Class Reunions

I've been home from Colorado for a couple of days. I really haven't had time to settle in and figure out what all I need to be doing.
Except for one thing: I finished the National Novel Writer's Month challenge of writing 50,000 words during the month of November. WooHoo!!!
While I was in Colorado I came across my sister's yearbooks and photographed them.

Betty was ten years older and finished school in Kansas.

This is her senior picture. Isn't she pretty?
Tomorrow my graduation class is having kind of a mini-reunion to clebrate a
couple of class member's brithdays. I'm proud and happy to be part of a class who
has made so many efforts to stay in touch.
We share memories, memorabelia,  and friendship.
I'm looking forward to catching up.
Seven More Journal Prompts:
Write about your high school graduation.
Write about high school class reunions.
Describe a bad haircut or permanent.
Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?
What were your school colors and mascot?
Write about homecoming; before and after your graduation.
How did you get to and from high school?


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Remember When: Lost

 Here it is my last evening in Colorado. I was so worried about the cold weather and it's been really nice. The only snow I've seen was in the distant mountains. That is NOT a complaint!

I'm here visiting my brother-in-law, great nephew, great niece and her son. We haven't done anything but eat, visit and be together.

One morning Liz, her toddler and I went to breakfast at a nearby Village Inn. When I got out of the car I saw this sign and memories of my mother came flashing through my mind.

My mother was notorious for getting lost. When I was about 12 we were still living in Kansas and we decided to visit my sister and other relatives in Denver. My Aunt Marie and Cousin KayLee were with us. We crossed the Kansas/Colorado border below Pueblo and headed North.
When we reached Colorado Springs we stopped at a Holiday Inn for dinner. It was really nice. I had trout. Mom pulled out of the parking lot and headed South. Besides getting lost Mom tended to not believe me. She was Very headstrong. I told her we were going the wrong way and she answered with an abrupt "No we aren't."
I could tell by her tone to keep my mouth shut, mostly. I did try one more time with the same result.
When we reached the northern limits of Pueblo Mom said, "We're going the wrong way!" and turned around.
I did NOT tell her I told her so.
One of the things I've been doing while here is copy the photos in my sister's box. Here's one of my Mom on one of our many trips to Colorado.
I have many stories of Mom getting lost.
Do you have a memory of being lost to share?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Journal Prompts: Hope

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans.

For those who have been around for a while will remember our "Hope Baby." For the rest of you go visit here.

This is the collage I made for my great, great nephew, Trent, with a little help from my poet friend Cindi.


I've visited the little guy a few times when they lived in Seattle but missed them this year because my great niece Liz and Trent moved to Colorado to be with her Papa.
Since Liz's brother is also here from the armed forces we decided we'd spend today together.
Hope and joy abound.
Trent, now three-years-old, being silly with Auntie Rita.
Seven writing prompts:
Write about an extended family member.
What is your favorite holiday dish?
List 15 things you are thankful for.
Do you remember making special holiday decorations at school?
Tell a funny story about a child.
What is the farthest you have ever travelled to be with family?
What are some of family stories about get-togethers?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Remember When: Dessert

A few months ago I was at a luncheon for the Phoenix Writers Club. At the beginning of the meal Elaine asked for bread. They said they didn't have any but maybe they could come up with a biscuit.

We finished our meal. No bread. Suddenly they came out with a bunch of trays of humongous
biscuits. I love biscuits and these were really good especially when I nabbed the honey another friend had asked for to go with her tea.

So our table is laughing over the biscuits and then the honey but that was just the beginning. They then brought out dishes of ice cream. They had apparently filled the dishes and set them in the freezer where they became hard as rocks.
Our table was the only one that knew why we got biscuits for dessert. The whole room got a kick out of trying to chip away at the ice cream. 
Then we had to leave but we still joke about the biscuits and ice cream.
Have you ever had an unusual dessert?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Journal Prompts: Memory Boosters

Do you recognize this guy?  Just seeing him brings back so many memories.
Just thinking about Shari Lewis and her wonderful critters: Lamp Chop, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse didn't bring back the memories the actual figure did. We can't always be lucky enough to come across a vintage collectible like this, but with the Internet we can find photos and an endless number of memories.
How about Googling all the childhood shows you can remember? Keep a list in your journal to refer to. Just like the movies television brings back memories. What about watching shows from your teen years? Look at the clothing. Did you wear mini skirts and white boots?
Ah, such memories.
Another week worth of memoir prompts:
Tell about experimenting with make-up, nail polish or hair products.
Did you ever enter a science fair?
Tell about a small kindness somebody once did for you. Or one you did for somebody else.
Write about a family mystery.
Describe one of your bad habits.
Write about a favorite piece of furniture. (Now or in the past.)
What were some silly nicknames in your school.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Remember When: Old West Days

Saturday we went to the Mesa Old West Days. Mesa is part of metropolitan Phoenix but has kept much of its small town flair including this Main Street event. The street is lined with historical buildings and about three blocks were closed for the event.
There were many people in authentic costumes including our dear friend, Angel (center.)
And this fantastic plains Indian.

 There were all kinds of booths, many geared to the Old West, and others, well, not so much. Food a plenty including our favorite: Navajo Fry Bread.
And a wild train ride for the kiddies.

The best memory for us was seeing Joe Bethancourt. Before we were even married we often went to see this guy perform at little place across from the old Christown Mall in West Phoenix.

He plays 65 instruments and sings all kinds of folk and western music.
He performed one of the best renditions of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" I have ever heard.
It was a great day. Full of memories, some cold wind and a bit of rain.
Have you been to a street festival lately? Do you remember childhood train rides or a favorite local entertainer?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Journal Prompts: Old Movies

A couple of nights ago Doug was browsing through the list of streaming movies on Netflix. I happened to walk through the living room and noticed "Houdini" starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. This movie was released in 1953. I remember a couple of scenes that have kind of haunted me over the years.

As I thought about this, and Doug added it to our instant queue, I kept getting a very strong sense of watching this movie on the black and white television in what our family refers to as "the little house." We lived in that house from about 1957 to 1966. It is very likely this "feeling" is a memory. I'm wondering if I will feel more when we have a chance to actually watch the movie.

Do movies have specific memories for you? Are there movies that give you a "sense" of something that doesn't fit the movie? Could it be a memory trying to find its way to the surface?

Try scanning different lists of vintage movies and see if memories surface.

The television in the "little house" in the summer of 1960.
P.S. We watched "Houdini" this evening. I remembered quite a bit including the scene in the river that has "haunted" me all these years. The movie is in color, I remember it in black and white which strengthens my notion I watched it on this television.

Seven more journal prompts:

What was your favorite movie as a child? As a teen? Now?

Describe the naughtiest thing you ever did and any consequences.

Describe an attic you were once in.

Describe some of your neighbors.

Write about your first motorcycle ride.

What was your favorite subject in high school?

Tell about a visit to a zoo.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Remember When: Ghost Stories

Over the weekend my husband and I took the new Phoenix Ghost Tour downtown. Joe, the tour guide, is very personable and knowledgeable about what went on in various buildings along the tour which starts at the historic Orpheum Theater pictured below.

The Professional Building has many strange happenings.

The Hotel San Carlos where celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe stayed and where at least two women jumped to their death.
The Securities Building at the other end of the block was connected to the hotel by a tunnel. Find out why.

Part of the Phoenix Ghost Tour group in front of the Westward Ho Hotel.

The Orpheum Lofts cater to the wealthy.
One guide dog wasn't too happy there.
Back at the Orpheum and heading home for the night.
A prior tour guest had an interesting shadow in one of the Orpheum windows.
I haven't had much time to study my photos. Do you see anything?
 You can learn more about this fun tour at http://www.phoenixghosttours.com/. And at http://www.examiner.com/article/phoenix-ghost-tours-offers-history-haunts-and-mayhem?CID=examiner_alerts_article
I think this was the last night but if he gets a lot of requests I bet there will be more!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Journal Prompts: Keep the Pen Moving

As NaNoWritMo begins I am reminded of the importance of keeping the pen moving. Don't stop and think, just write. In memoir writing that is what opens the subsconscious and brings forth those hidden memories.  Go with details. If you get off track keep going with the new thought. There's a reason your mind is following that train of thought.

Seven more journal prompts:

Have you ever had a recuring dream?

What have been the greatest challenges of your life?

Have family members, or others, ever lived with you?

Did you ever make mud pies?

Have you ever gone boating?

Where was your favorite place to shop?

Write about having childhood diseases.