Tattered Past

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Grandma Great"

Every Friday evening I attend a writing group at a local used book shop. We have a lot of fun and if there isn't a speaker we learn from each other. 

Last Friday I arrived early and was able to sit and chat with the speaker for awhile. Kiki Swanson is a genealogist, novelist, and writing instructor. One of her novels is based on her grandmother and we got to talking about the lives our ancestors lived and how similar they were in many ways. She turned her grandmother's story into a novel because she didn't know enough to make it her own story. 

Her grandmother is pretty much the same generation as my great grandmother who my sister dubbed "Grandma Great" when she was little. Her name was Nellie and she was born in Illinois and moved with her parents and siblings to southwestern Kansas in the early 1880s by covered wagon.

There she lived in a soddy, a barn, and in town. Her husband deserted her and her young daughter and Nellie survived by working in the first telephone office in the area, running a boarding house, and even baking bread for the local store which grandma delivered in her wagon. 

I have long wanted to write about Nellie but always get sidetracked. Last night I was having trouble getting to sleep and it almost seemed like Nellie was telling me to get busy and to get this done. I decided to gather all my notes and photographs and then contact all my relatives who would remember her and ask them to send those memories. I want to put all this into a small book to make available to those who are interested for a nominal fee. 

I'm already writing articles and a book on history but I need to get started on this. The plan was reinforced today when these photos popped right up when I was searching for blog ideas. Okay, Grandma Great, I hear you. 

Probably a church group in Fowler, Kansas. I recognize some of the faces from other family photos Nellie is right in the middle with the v-shaped collar. 

Nellie Grace (Keith) Martin

Nellie in black and her daughter (my grandmother) sitting second from right. This may be another church group and might have been taken in Montezuma.

Is there somebody you need to write about?
Now is the time.

PS. To my family members who read this, please pass it on to others. I can't do this without everybody's help. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Friendly Visitor

As most of you know I never knew my dad, or any of his family. I have no memories of him except one time when he came to visit when I was around eight years old. 

This photo, I believe, is around the time he left. It's Dad, Mom, and the puppy he brought us, Smokey.

Dad had two brothers and three sisters. (Strangely, my mom was one of six siblings. Three males and three females.) As I got older when any of them visited Arizona they made sure to get in touch with me. Now one of my first cousins comes here regularly because her son married a local girl. 

So I've been lucky to get to know the family. One of my aunts had a puppet ministry which another cousin has since taken over. When Jessica was tiny they were in town and brought one of the puppets in to visit. I don't remember the puppet's name but I'm sure one of my cousins will fill that in. 

This is my cousin, Pam, and Jessica getting to know the special visitor.

I was afraid she might be afraid of him but she thought he was great.

On another visit my aunt bought Jessica a Lamp Chop puppet and taught her some ventriloquism but she didn't keep up with it. I think she still has Lamp Chop though.

Such fun memories.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Around Town

I have always loved photography. I would carry a camera everywhere if it was easier. I started taking photography classes in high school and have had many cameras over the years. 

The main reason I finally went with a smart phone was so I could have a camera with me all the time. Although I'm not thrilled with the quality sometimes. 

I find that roaming around town with a camera in hand makes me more aware of the beauty 
and quirkiness of the places I visit. 

I thought it would be fun so share a few of the photos I've taken around Phoenix. 
I don't like to touch things up with Photoshop. 
To me photos should be left as taken, at least this type of photo.

So enjoy the tour!

In front of the federal building on Central Avenue.

The Irish Cultural Center.

A fun coffee shop on Seventh Avenue.

Desert Ridge Market Place.

Clarenden Hotel.

Japanese Gardens.

Japanese Gardens. 

I hope to go roam around town, camera in hand, before summer is upon us. 
There's so much to see in this beautiful city. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

There have been some posts on FaceBook about how we used to dress for Easter. 
It shows little girls with fancy dresses, lacy socks, white patent 
leather shoes, hats, and, yes, even gloves. 

I'm not sure this first photo with my mom was Easter. She loved frilly dresses, bonnets, 
and dressing me up. She carried that over to my daughter. 

The second photo is my sister and I. Betty was old enough by then to put her foot down about how she dressed. She was never a frills and lace kind of girl. I remember that little cloth coat; it was turquoise.

A few years ago Betty and I were looking at photos and when this one came up she said she was so mad that day. I was really sick and she didn't like that we had to get all dressed up like that. She always looked out for me.

Jump forward a few years to my daughter's first Easter. If I remember right this was the first day she took off walking. A little bit of frill and the white socks and shoes, but not as much as I'm sure her Nana would have liked. 

This is about a month earlier and is in honor of spring. Jessica's favorite flower is still the tulip and she grows many of them in her own yard. 

A woman kept going on-and-on one day that you can't grow tulips in Arizona. I proved her wrong. These came up every year for a long time. Then suddenly they stopped.

Here's another nod to spring. This was the house I grew up in. My favorite spot was in that crab apple tree. There was a branch that was perfect for sitting and I spent many an hour thinking up on that branch. Or as Christoper Robin said to Pooh, "Doing nothing." I'd also sit up there and wait for mom to come home from work. It was a beautiful tree and smelled so sweet. 

Do you have some special Easter or spring memories to share? 
What is your favorite flower?

(My favorite flower is the tulip too with a close second or maybe even tie with sunflowers.)