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.