Tattered Past

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Remember When: Christmas Memories, 2013

Over the years as the kids have gone to other states and finances have become smaller we've pretty much ignored Christmas. We buy for the kids and then send off the packages and then we share a quiet meal at home after phone calls. We don't exchange gifts because seriously there isn't anything we really need. 

We do get a present for Maggie. She gets so excited. This year it was a stuffed sheep and a bone in a bag. She was so happy she ran around the house with the whole bag in her mouth. 

She eventually got it open and is now inseparable from her sheep. 
(Note her Christmas bandanna. She has one for all occasions and loves them.)

Doug did a standing rib roast on the grill. It was fantastic. He likes me to take photos of his masterpieces. 
I didn't notice until I downloaded this one that his Goofy coffee cup was in the background.

I've been trying to find time to put together a Remains of the Day journal for 2014 and 
since Doug was watching a movie I sewed. 

I love making these and using them. I made them for the kids, too.

The inside front cover with a little calender I found on line. I couldn't figure out how to 
attach it so it just fits in a pocket. 

A couple of the scrappy inside pages.
Yes. A nice day. No stress and good food. Who could ask for more?

Memoir Prompts:

Write about  your special memories of this holiday season.

Do you have special homemade ornaments? 

Do  you prefer an e-reader or a real book? 

Write about a special pet memory.

Which would you choose? Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha or Caramel Brulee Latte?

Do you enjoy crossword puzzles?

Write about trees.

I'm not planning on continuing this series in the New Year. I have other ideas.
Stay tuned. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Painting Cats and Dogs

I'm trying to do more and more hand crafted items for gifts. The hard part is waiting for the holiday to come and go so I can share them with my blogging friends.

This year I was inspired by some paintings I saw to make little acrylic paintings for my friends and family.

The first one is for a friend who has cats. She is also a big tea drinker. 
This one has it's own little stand. It was so fun. The little dots on the blue background 
don't show up too well in the photo.

The dogs were for my family members. Although there are cats in the family we tend to be dog people.

 This one took a couple of tries to get it the way I wanted it but once I had the what
 I wanted going it was fun to bring some personality to the pups.

They are all a combination of acrylic paints and acrylic ink with a dip pen.

I also made some journals but I forgot to get photographs.

I enjoy making things for the special people in my life. 

I wish them and you, Dear Readers, the greatest of New Years.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Remember When: Snow Days

I spent the first thirteen years of my life in southwestern Kansas. 
I had to walk miles and miles . . . er . . . 
four or five blocks to school. 
This is my sister. She left Kansas to go to Colorado. 
She always wanted me to move up there and she'd tell me it wasn't that bad. 
Then she'd tell me about having to go out and break up the ice in the stock tanks and being 
snowed in and wearing thermal underwear on a daily basis.

My great grandmother (far left) lived her early years in Illinois and made the trip to 
southwestern Kansas when a young girl. 
This photo includes five of her six grandchildren. My mother is on the far right.

And here are two of my uncles. I think it says "Winter of 1940."

Here's winter where I live now. 

Which would you choose?

Memoir Prompts:

Write about walking/riding to school. Did you pass any interesting places?

Write about building snowmen or snow forts.

Did you lick ice sickles or eat snow? 

Do you prefer gloves or mittens?

Do you remember driving around town to see the Christmas lights?

Have you ever gone skiing? Where? When?

What is your favorite holiday television show?

Don't forget to visit my writer blog here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Remember When: Magic

Last week I met my "Artday" buddy, Barbara, at Paradise Valley Mall to share lunch, conversation and art. We are both working on tangles.

I'd forgotten there was a carousel there. As I waited for her to arrive I watched the children and parents enjoying the color, music and magic that only carousels provide. I tried to decide which animal I would most like to ride on; a prancing black horse, the turtle, the seahorse, the pig, the giraffe. I couldn't decide. I did notice there was only one unicorn on that carousel and every little girl that had the chance chose that magical unicorn.

This carousel is on the wharf near Pike Place Market in Seattle. I can remember one in San Diego and of course the one at Disneyland. They always make me smile.

Which animal would you choose to ride?

Memoir Prompts:

Write about all the carousels you remember.

Write about a special carousel memory with a parent or grandparent.

If you've been to one of the Disney parks; what is your favorite ride? Has it changed over the years?

If you came across a carousel tomorrow would you ride it?  Explain.

Are you afraid of heights? Speed? What rides, if any, scare you.

Write about the last book you read.

Do you prefer bright colors, pastels or warm colors?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Phoenix Pioneer Cemeteries

On my quest to spend more time around our home town and get to know its history we went to a membership drive for the Phoenix Pioneers' Cemetery Association. We are now card-carrying members.
This is the 1897 Smurthwaite House; headquarters for the organization.

The house was beautifully decorated for the holidays. 

 Upstairs are the offices and records gathered by the volunteers. 

I knew one of the early members, Marge West, who did constant research on the cemeteries, the pioneers and the people buried in these downtown Phoenix cemeteries. 
 Time has taken a toll on the graves and the monuments. 

The cemeteries are surrounded by modern buildings and streets.

Some graves are little more than piles of rubble. Long forgotten.

There are modern monuments to soldiers and others. 

If you live in the Phoenix area consider helping to support its history. 
You can learn more here.

If not in Phoenix, perhaps there are similar programs in your area.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Remember When: Musical Memories

Over the weekend we went to the Musical Instrument Museum in North Phoenix. It is amazing. I've heard so  many people say that but the word doesn't come close to describing the place itself.

You can get some idea of it here.
We didn't see the special event of
Women Who Rock. Even so, we
spent five hours pretty much
moving right along.

The highlight was the piano John Lennon used to write "Imagine." It was also the 33rd anniversary of his death so there was some emotion there. I pretty much grew up with the Beatles and still love their music, mostly the older stuff.

 Another tear was shed at the John Denver display. It contains the guitar given him by his grandmother on which he learned to play. We saw him in concert a couple of times; most notably a benefit concert which he played and sang by himself (no backup band) for over two hours. It was in a huge place but it felt so personal.

Galleries include The Artist Gallery (Lennon, Denver, Elvis, Roy Orbison and so many others), Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe, North America and the Mechanical Music Gallery.

Here's my husband in front of an automated band. The drums and other things move and play.
I had no idea bagpipes came from so many countries. "A World of Bagpipes."

I took around 170 photos so you, readers, will be seeing many more as the weeks go on.

For now think about musicians who have stood out in your life. 

Memoir Prompts:

Describe how you felt when a favorite musician was lost to the world and how you remember them?

Did you grow up amid specific cultural music? 

Describe any musical instruments that have been handed down in your family? Did you learn to play?

Describe a museum that really stands out in your mind.

Did you play an instrument in school? Do you still play?

What is one of your favorite songs? 

What instrument would you like to learn to play now?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Remember When: Jogging

Jogging memories that is.
Here I am at about 2 1/2 or 3 years old. I don't have any idea
who the lady is. Probably a friend of my mother.
This was the "green house" where we lived when my parents divorced. I don't
remember the house but since we moved just down the street I saw it for
many years and it was green for as long as I remember.
I once told my mom I remember a chest of drawers near the back door. She said that made sense since that was where my toys were. The back yard was in common with the church yard next door. My Great Uncle Bill lived on the other side and was the pastor of the church.
We also had that couch for a long time. It was pink. Those little shelves are still in the family but somebody did a poor job of painting them white. Those must be my daddy's shoes by the door. I never noticed them before. Since I don't have any memories of him that touches my heart.

Putting these photos on the computer and blowing them up is helping my memories. There aren't any family members left to fill in the gaps but pictures are worth a thousand words.
Memoir Prompts:
Find a photo of you as a child and write about all the things you remember.
Do you remember going roller skating at a local roller rink?
What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes?
How and where were your toys kept?
What is one of your proudest moments?
Do you prefer pie or cake? What flavor?
Write about window shopping with a friend of family member?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I've become addicted to doing doodle art, tangles, "Zentangles" or other names. It is a meditative way of doodling that is somewhat planned.

Some I do freehand and others from templates supplied by Ben Kwok on the Facebook group "Ornation Creation." There are many books, blogs and Web sites that show how to do this. The great thing is all you need is a felt tip pen and some paper.

Once you get the hang of it you can add color with colored pencils or whatever else you have at hand.

Here's my turkey from a Ben Kwok template.  You can see Ben's unbelievable work at: http://www.bioworkz.com/Ben
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Remember When: Grandma

My great grandparents lived in southwestern Kansas which at that time was mostly farms, ranches and small towns. Great grandma Nellie's parents arrived in the area in the early 1880s and quite a few family members followed. Her husband was new to the area and his father lived there for a short time.

Nellie and Bert were living closer to Meade but for Thanksgiving went to visit friends or family in Englewood in the next county over. I'm not sure of the distance but it would have travelled by wagon and may have stayed more than one day. While preparing the meal Nellie went into labor and my grandma, Jennie, was born on that day in 1902. It happened to be Nov. 26 that year. She told me many years later that every seven years her birthday fell on the holiday.

This week she would be turning 111 years old I'm often amazed at the things she saw during her life time (she passed away at 96.) She learned to crawl in an old dugout with sewn flour sacks as a rug
When she and her father went to town to get a stove for her mother they rode in a wagon. Sometimes he would pick her up at the country school on horseback.

A kind of strange thing is her brother was born the day after Christmas in 1910. (With eight years in between I wonder if there were miscarriages but I never asked.) Anyway, sadly he only lived until January 12. (I was also told he died January 6. I don't know which date is correct at this point.)

He is buried next to his mother in the Meade cemetery. Last time I was there he only had a small wooden marker. Some of the family talked about putting a stone on the grave but I don't know if it was ever down.
Recently I found an article about the loss of this baby in the local paper.

Yes this is a sad subject for the holiday but it is also a reminder of all we have
to be thankful for in this day and age especially in the medical field in saving mothers and babies.
Bert abandoned his little family a year or so later.
Another little blurb in the newspaper of July 9, 1914 reported the following:
Mrs. Nellie Martin and Miss Jennie, returned last week from their stay
with relatives near Englewood.
I wonder what stories were told of the Thanksgiving when Grandma Jennie was born.
Taking the time to find these little tidbits adds so much to the lives of our ancestors.
Memoir Prompts:
Do you know any stories of the birth of your family members?
What medical "miracles" have affected your family?
Have you ever ridden in a wagon or cross country on a horse?
What is your favorite thing about autumn?
What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Did you have kids tables when you were little? (The kids were put at a smaller table sometimes in the kitchen so the adults could all sit at the main table.)
Where were you when John F. Kennedy was killed? What do you remember about your feelings at that time?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remember When: Dogs

While thumbing through an art magazine this weekend I found the following quote:

A house is not a home without a dog.

This will seem obvious to anybody who has dogs. I find it interesting how many dogs have been a part of my family history. I don't know the names of all these dogs, but I do see they were loved and they loved in return.
These young men are probably related on my Keith line. Perhaps one is my great grandmother's younger brother. Those hunting hounds look like hard workers.

This is me with my grandparent's dog; Butch. He was a favorite of the whole family.
He was a beautiful red.

I don't know who this is. Grandma once told me it was my grandfather but others said that isn't true.
It's still one of my favorite photos.

My Great-Great Grandfather remarried long after first wife died. This is one of his step-daughters.
There are a lot of photos of this dog. He was certainly loved.
Here's my Great Grandfather Martin, his step-mother and step-sister and that beautiful dog again.

I believe this lady was the sister of my husbands Great Grandmother. This family lived here in Arizona but that dog reminds me of the one above which was in Oregon.

My sister and I with Smokey the dog I grew up with. Sometimes I still miss him.

Another picture of Smokey. Isn't he cute?

My sister told me the name of this dog but I don't remember it at this time
This is my dad. I think you can see where we got the love of dogs.
Dogs have always played a part in my family history.
This is my current puppy love, Maggie last Christmas.
Memoir Prompts:
Do you have photos of family dogs? Can you give them names?
Write a story about a special dog.
Have you or any of your kids eaten dog food?
What is your favorite movie about dogs? Did you watch "Lassie" or "Rin Tin Tin"?
What is your favorite scent for candles or air freshener?
What is the main thing that makes a house a home to you?
Do you write poetry? Add a poem about a favorite pet to your memoir journal.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Remember When: Military service

My dad was in the service for a very short time. I'm not even sure he made it through boot camp. He was discharged due to health problems. I haven't dug out his discharge papers for a very long time so I don't remember the exact reason but it was something like back pain or foot problems

He's on the left holding my sister. Next to him is a friend of his. I don't know his name.

My daughter was also in the service. She almost made it through boot camp when she got very sick; they said she had asthma which she didn't. There's no arguing with the Air Force. My Father-in-Law, Frank, is retired Air Force and did talk to her CO who said she had done great.

She spent many years working towards the goal of following him into the Air Force. It didn't work out.  She isn't a veteran or a hero. She didn't see battle or even get out of the country. But she worked hard and she had goals and was devastated when they didn't work out.

We have ancestors who fought in all the major wars and many minor ones. The Revolution, the Civil War, the Mexican War. Other relatives were in the World Wars. My husband was in Vietnam. A very unpopular "war."

Since I am writing this on Veteran's Day I want to honor all those men and women who fought for us.

I honor them all. Those who fought, those who died, those who tried.

Thank you.
Memoir Prompts:
Do you have any family stories related to the military?
Write a review of how you spent the last weekend.
Do you prefer Lincoln Logs, Legos or Tinker Toys?
Write a little story about each of your siblings.
What television character do you most identify with?
Have you ever been to any of the Disney parks? What was your favorite ride?
Have you ever bought a book just from its cover? What was it? Did you like it?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Remember When: Life as an author

In 2006 my first book was published after three years of historical research.
O.K. Corral Postscript: The Death of Ike Clanton is now out of print. However, I am working on an update which I hope to have out in the spring.
This weekend I will be travelling to Tombstone to visit with my friend and cousin of Ike Clanton.
Here's Terry "Ike" Clanton and I at a book signing in The Town Too Tough To Die.

Book signings are fun, especially when in the midst of other enthusiasts such as all my friends and associates in the Old West history genre.
I've experienced lots of other events. Here's Terry "Ike" riding on the hearse for the 125th anniversary of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. A moving day for everybody but especially those connected to those men who were involved in that fateful 30 seconds in history.
Being a writer has always been a dream of mine. However, for many years I wanted to write a mystery novel. Perhaps one day.
In the meantime, I'm happy with the genre that in a way chose me. I'm also happy associating with writers. I love sharing ideas, inspiration, challenges and accomplishments.
To help with this I have started a new blog at http://ritaackerman.wordpress.com/.
I hope you will visit.
Memoir Prompts:
Have you ever wanted to become a writer? What type of writing did you dream of doing?
Who is your favorite author?
Have you ever visited an orchard and eaten fruit straight off the tree or vine?
Have you checked the Internet to see if there is a page for any of the schools you attended?
Write about an embarrassing moment in elementary school.
Have you ever attended or been a part of an historical event?
What was your favorite childhood television show?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remember When: Halloween

My art buddy, Barbara, gave me this fun little coffin filled with goodies the other day.

It's always so fun digging through something like this and see the buttons, stickers, erasers, 
and fun little things.

A few weeks ago I printed some clip art pages from Kristin Hubick, thinking I would do an art journal page. With all the things Barbara gave me (with the hint that she thought I might use them to make something for the grand kids) I decided to make each of them a postcard. 

These were a lot of fun. With the clip art images, things from the coffin and some stickers I already had lots to work with. I hope the kids enjoy them as much as I did making them.

Happy Halloween!

Memoir Prompts:

Can you list all the costumes you had as a child?

Have you ever gone ghost hunting?

Tell about a haunted house you went through.

Have you ever been on a hay ride?

Did you ever play in piles of leaves?

Do you remember making Halloween decorations at school?

Tell about carving a pumpkin.