Tattered Past

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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mrs. Wyatt Earp: Laughter and Tears

Meet Mrs. Wyatt Earp.

We went to the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix today for the performance by Terry Earp of Mrs. Wyatt Earp. Terry not only performs as Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, she wrote the play which has been performed throughout the country and is married to Wyatt Earp who also performs as the historical figure he shares a name with.

Terry put on an amazing performance which brought out laughs and a few tears as Josie who is rememberin- Wyatt a few years after his death in 1929. In the one-woman play she tells a feral cat about her memories of Wyatt and how she tried to get the story right.

Friends and fans of Terry and Wyatt Earp were stunned in 2006 when they learned Terry had been struck by a red light runner in north Phoenix and left with a severe spinal cord injury. Wyatt stayed by her side as she fought to recover. We were there when she returned to the stage at Schieffelin Hall in Tombstone, Arizona. Everybody left that evening with tears from the performance of husband and wife as Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt Earp.

I was a little surprised today to find myself teary eyed as I watched Terry perform again. I never tire of watching either of these wonderful people perform.

Terry will be doing her play as "Doc" Holliday's woman,  Big Nose Kate, at the Herberger starting October 3.

Lots of memories.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Remember When: Cowboy Love

I grew up watching all the television westerns: The Legend of Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Cheyenne, The Man From Shenandoah, Rifleman . . .  Well, you get the idea.

I still love Westerns, Cowboys, and the Old West. So do many of my friends. Some of those on Facebook have been posting photos from their childhood of the western outfits we all cherished.

My sister got me my outfit complete with black boots and hat. We never went for the frilly stuff so my duds weren't the Dale Evans style with the little skirt. I remember wearing the outfit to a rodeo with my sister and her date. Later we were walking through town and I had a very big blister which caused a limp. He called me "Chester" all evening. (You have to be one of those who watched those westerns listed above to understand that one.)

Here are the only photos I have from a fishing trip with my Mom and of her men friends. I don't remember anything about him, but I'm thankful for the photos.

I believe we were at the old sandpit outside of Great Bend, Kansas. Perhaps some of my friends from that area will be able to tell.

We did pretty good that day. It must have been a long one, I can feel how tired I was just from looking at this photo. Wind has always tired me out and it looks like we had a lot of the old Kansas wind that day.

Another story from the sandpit.

I was there with my sister and her girlfriend. They were sitting on a blanket talking and admonished me over and over to stay where it was shallow. I did, but a boat went by too close and pulled me out over my head. I managed to push myself up and could see them sitting up there talking but I was afraid if I yelled Betty would be mad at me. So I paddled my way back down and crawled a ways. Then pushed myself up to get air, then back down again. I finally found the ledge I had been pulled from and got up onto my feet and on to shore. I remember making my way to the blanket and lying down totally exhausted.

I don't think Better ever knew what happened that day.

Lots of memories here. Do you have memories of the television westerns? Fishing? Or perhaps nearly drowning?

Write them down and share a bit of your memory here.

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Sister's Art

My sister was ten years older than I. Here we are when she graduated from high school. More often than not she was more like my mother since Mom was trying to raise us both by herself and working two jobs. 

Betty was an amazing artist. One corner of our shared room was set up with her easel and a table covered with oil paints and related chemicals. Those smells always bring back a flood of memories. 

While still in high school she sold quite a few paintings and I remember her doing the door of some company's pickup in hand lettering. 

As she got older she dabbled in everything. Pen and ink (always my favorite), acrylics, carving, glass etching, ceramics, and so much more. She mastered each one in record time. 

She did this painting of raccoons on leaves. She seldom needed something to draw from. She just sat down and did it. 

One time while we were visiting them in Colorado she whipped out this pair of leaves for our mom. She said to never take the glass off as they crinkled as she pressed them in.

I cherish both paintings.

Betty loved to draw Western scenes. Lots of cowboys and long horned cattle. Her love was horses and her drawings were always amazing.  

She taught me a lot about art. Sometimes getting quite frustrated, possibly forgetting how much younger I was. Perhaps some day I will try painting on leaves. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Remember When: Fishing Hole

In my writing group last week we were told to write about summer. Big surprise.

We are only allowed around ten minutes to do each prompt so there is no way to add all the description and information to tell the whole story. I chose to write about going fishing with my grandparents. I don't think most of them understood what I was trying to portray.

We lived in southwestern Kansas. Hilly country with lots of creeks and county roads built on a grid. The countryside is split off into farms and cattle ranches. We always fished at the creek in Greene's pasture.

Before we left Grandad tied his cane poles to the side of the car. Much like this one.

The poles were tied to the door handles and over the side mirror. They pretty much reached 
from one end of the car to the other so whomever was in the passenger side couldn't get out
unless they slid all the way over. 

Grandad would pull up to a gate, get out, open the gate, get back in, drive through, get out, close the gate, and drive on to the next one. One of my uncles once counted over 20 gates to get to the creek. 

When other family members went with us there were others to help with gate duty. Mostly I remember Grandad, Grandma, and me. 

I loved to watch the prairie dogs standing on the edge of their holes watching us pass. To the ranchers  and farmers they were varmints needing to be exterminated. To a child they were magical as they guarded their villages. 

We'd pass bushes and bushes of sand plums that we would go out and pick in the late 
summer so family members could make plum jelly. 

The main catch at Greene's was catfish; like this prize catch held by Grandad. 

We also caught perch and frogs. One time Grandad caught a snapping turtle and let out a whoop that echoed off those hills. If Mom was there she seemed to get cleaning duty and spent hours at the kitchen sink getting our catch ready for the table. 

Our family settled that area in the early 1880s. They lived in dugouts and later lumber built and then block homes. They lived off the land as much as possible. It's heartwarming to think about my ancestors back to my great, great grandparents picking sand plums and catching fresh fish for dinner. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Remember When: The Greats

A few months ago a cousin on my mother's side started a "secret" Facebook page for the 
cousins on that line. I've been busy posting photographs as have others. 

It has been a great chance to get to share memories and to catch up on some of those that are 
far away or in the next generation. 

Today I posted this photo of my gr. gr.grandfather Francis Marion Martin and my gr. grandfather William Albert "Bert" Martin. Frank was born in Ohio in 1844. He lived in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas and Oregon where he died in 1925. Bert was born in Wisconsin in 1876 and died in Los Angeles in 1952. He left when grandma was young and she didn't see him again until he was very old. He was married at least 3 or 4 times. 

We have visited both of their graves. I was very disappointed that Frank didn't have a headstone although he is buried near his daughter and her family. 

The next greats are Salenia Alzadie (Freeman) Waggoner who was born in 1870 in Arkansas and died in the same state in 1948. Her husband was Isaac Tandy Waggoner who was born in 1864 in Tennessee and died in Arkansas in 1949. Isaac's father was a Civil War soldier and either died or disappeared during the War. His mother went on to marry again and live to a ripe old age as the saying goes. Salenia and Isaac were my great grandparents on my father's side.

After I became involved in the Facebook page on mother's family I decided to start one for my father's side of the family. I never knew my dad and haven't been in touch with most of the family so it is slower getting started because I don't have the contacts. I hope it will expand and grow so we can become acquainted.

A cousin on Daddy's side was here last week and we had lunch together, twice. One day we sat in 5&Diner going through a box of old family photos as she tried to help me identify and learn about those people. We've gone from not knowing each other to becoming friends.

Linda and I last week. 

Think about gathering your family through a secret FB page. Only those you invite and who join will see the posts. Reconnect with your family and share photos and memories. Don't them fade away in a box some where.