Tattered Past

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Remember When: Books

How many of you are members of Goodreads?
It is a listing of books where you can mark the ones you have read, want to read or are currently reading.
You can also connect to friends and find out what they are reading.
I get to it through Facebook but there might be other ways.

(Here are some books I read last year. I recommend them all.)
This morning I spent some time updating my lists on Goodreads. I just finished A Dangerous Mourning by Anne Perry and I'm currently reading The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher which is the next selection for my book discussion group.

(This was last months book discussion book.
I can't believe I never read it. I loved it.)
Sometimes I just enjoy going through their lists of books and adding them to my lists. This morning I came across a bunch of books that brought little memories to surface. The Good Earth reminded me of high school English and my freshman teacher who is still a friend (and a connection on Goodreads). Another was The Far Pavilions which I read in my twenties and I remember our minister at the time talking about it during a sermon. I'm sorry to say I can't remember what he said but I thought it was neat that he was reading a book I enjoyed so much.
(This book has a special memory. I picked it up in the sale room at the Tempe Public Library after giving a talk there last year. It was a fantastic book and made me really think about the history we seldom learn about.)
Do you have "memory books" that spur special memories? Have you tried going through lists to see what memories surface?
Memoir Prompts:
Would you rather read or watch a movie?
Describe a favorite aunt or uncle.
What do bells remind you of?
What was your favorite past-time as a child?
How did you spend your summer vacations?
Did you ever tease or bully someone else?
If you could spend the next five days in any place or time from your past when and where would it be?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Remember When: More photos

When I began doing family history in 1976 we didn't have computers, scanners or any of the other things that researchers take for granted now.

I had a 35 mm camera and found a set of three micro lenses that I could use in different combinations to take photographs of old family photographs as part of the preservation process.

As I found long-lost and distant cousins they graciously shared their own family photos so I could copy them for my direct family's files.

Now I am having all those negatives put on to cds at Walgreens. They estimate about 300 photos per cd and so far I have two done. I know there are well over 1,000 negatives just in this collection. After they are all done I will go through and identify each of them. I'm also backing them up in both computers and to the cloud. Copies will be made for other family members.

Here's a few of the photos from one of the cds:

This photo was sent to me by a distant cousin. I don't have the identities of all the people handy but
the lady on the right is my great great grandmother, Mary McFerran Wilburn. She was married to Samuel Wilburn a Civil War Soldier.
Since she was my main interest at the time I zoomed in on just her to take another copy of the photo.

I love her expression and so wish I could have known her. She died in 1924.
This is my father's line.
This photo was in the collections of my mother's family. These are unknown children, but because of the research in the family in that area I have possible names for them.
F. M. Steele was a famous Kansas photographer and there are whole web sites with his work which specialized in photos of ranches and ranching in the late 1800s.
This process is taking a lot of time but will be worth it. One of the goals of my life is to have all the genealogy I can ready for my descendants.
Is there a custodian for your family? Do you need to take on that job?
Memoir Prompts:
What are some eccentricities of some of your older family members?

Do you like to stop at historical sites during road trips? What are some of the ones you have seen?

Make a list of the towns or states you have lived in. Some may even go as far as countries. Try to add dates.

Do you prefer boots or flip flops? What other clothes identify who you are?

Write about cafes, restaurants, roadside diners you remember from childhood.

Have you ever been to a county or state fair? What was your favorite part?

What are some things you learned in art classes in elementary school?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Remember When: Old Songs

I don't watch much television or very many movies. I'd rather be on the computer or reading a book. Doug, however, loves movies. He can sit all day and into the night watching one movie after another.

The other evening I was propped up in bed reading a book. We have a small house so Doug in his chair in the living room is about the same distance from me on the bed. Funny, I never noticed that before.

Anyway, I don't know what movie he was watching but suddenly I heard, "Trailer for sale or rent. Room to let 50 cents . . . King of the Road." How many of you remember that song? Well, it took me flying back through time to the kitchen in the house I grew up in.

Mom had a Roger Miller album that she played quite often. She was also dating a guy named Bob who went around singing that song all the time. He was tall, very slender and always dressed nice. I remember liking him.

(Main street in the town I grew up in.)
What amazes me is I remember who sang that song and could probably even tell you most of the lyrics. I haven't thought of that song in years. It came out in 1964 (the only part of this post I had to look up). I was eleven.

The point of all of this is you just never know when a memory will come flying in the window. Don't let it get away. Write it down as soon as possible. 
Memoir Prompts:
What songs bring back memories of your childhood?
Write about your parents friends.
What did your parents collect or do for hobbies?
Did you ever have a Kool-Aid or lemonade stand?
Did you ever have watermelon seed spitting contests?
What is your favorite fruit?
Have you ever travelled abroad?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

M is for . . .

When I was growing up Mom often worked two jobs to support my sister and I. Betty was ten years older and getting on with her own life. I spent many summers with my aunt and uncle and/or grandparents in other towns.

For second grade I spent the entire year with my grandparents. I don't remember a lot except it was a good year. I wasn't teased and tormented as I always was at home. I had friends and enjoyed the rural school. The year stands out in many ways.

I remember going to music class and learning the song from this plaque.
I still remember it very clearly.
Grandma had a doctor's appointment in a nearby larger town and I found this present for my Mom. I don't know if it was for her birthday in March or for Mother's Day.
She always kept it. Now I have it hanging in my hallway.
On the back I wrote:
"to Mother I love you from Rita"

When I became a mother my Mom was on cloud nine.
Here she is with my seven day old daughter.
Every picture I have of them during those first months Mom is just sitting and staring at her.
I'd never noticed that before I started looking for a photo for this blog.
Happy Mother's Day Mom and Jessica.
Both great mothers.

             M is for the million things she gave to me.
                                  O means only that she's getting old.
                                  T is for the tears she shed to save me.
                                  H is for her heart of purest gold.
                                  E is for her eyes with love light shining.
                                  R means right and right she'll always be.

Put them all together they spell
A word that means the world to me.
(Garden City, Kansas)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Remember When: Photograph Dilemma

I've been pondering "The Photograph Dilemma."
What to do with all these family pictures that I can't identify that were my Mom's or my Grandma's or other family members'.
Friends who are special to me but mean nothing to my extended family.
But also all these animal, flower and other photographs that I love to take.
Do I leave them for my descendants?
Will they care?
Should I just scan them all?
For example. There was the trip to the Phoenix Zoo
with my grandson's last year.
The dragon.

And the big cats.
These pictures are cool and they bring back memories
but how many of them do we need?
Of course, there are always the "no question" photos like
this one of my husband and youngest grandson.

In this digital age I worry about these photos surviving. Will the computers of the future hold them? Will I loose them all somewhere along the way?
I know all the rules of backups and putting them in different locations. I still worry.
Are you dealing with "The Photograph Dilemma?"
Memoir Prompts:
Did you enjoy going through family photos as a child?
Who is the keeper of the photos in your family? Have scans or copies been shared?
Have you ever had a flat tire? Did you change it yourself?
What special memories do certain flowers bring back to you?
Did you or your kids ever eat the pet food?
What is your favorite type of bird?
Do you have photos of where you live now? Of the neighborhood that might be changing?


Monday, May 6, 2013

Remembering Mom

 My mother passed away 23 years ago today. I'm finding it harder and harder to remember her. My grandkids never got to meet her. I'm working to save the memories and record them.

This was Mom's cirrus plant. Every year it blooms around Mother's Day. Today the little buds are coming out. It may just bloom by Sunday. Last year I took some "babies" off this plant to my daughter in Washington.
This is my Mom when she worked for the Great Bend, Kansas police department. I always wanted to wear a uniform just like hers.

Some more memories:
One year while my husband and I were dating Mom hung mistletoe in her hallway. Doug "cornered" her and gave her a big kiss. She turned bright red and took off down the hall.
Not long after we moved to Arizona we went ruin hunting out in the desert. Mom found a pile of beans and as she kicked them around with her toe she asked if they could be eaten. My cousin said no as they weren't beans but deer droppings. Every meal we had together he brought up the "beans."
Mom had a little brown and tan dish that was always filled with salt. When she cooked she never used a shaker but took a pinch of salt from that bowl.
Grandma always told this story about Mom when she was little. One year when they went to visit her Mother, Mom asked what they were having for dinner and was told pot roast. Mom wanted chicken. So she went out to the chicken pen and killed a chicken. They had chicken with the pot roast.
Mom loved to garden and could grow anything. She wanted a Bird of Paradise but for some reason couldn't get one to grow. I don't know how many she went through but she finally succeeded and it was beautiful.
You never left Mom's house hungry or with empty hands.
She loved to watch her "soaps" and my daughter is still addicted.
Her favorite singer was Jim Reeves. She wore out many of his records. She also liked Nat King Cole and Bobby Vinton.
Her favorite color was orange and her favorite flowers were roses.
Miss you, Mom.