Tattered Past

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Art Journals

I'm not sure when I got out of the habit of art journaling. I haven't done it consistently for a very long time . . . a couple of years, at least.

I've started some new journals but a few pages in I've given up, moved on, just quit doing it.

This was the first page of the first art journal I ever did. A bit of paint, some gesso, some magazine photos, an ink stamp, and a quote sticker. I remember thinking how fun and rewarding the experience was.

I think this page was from the same journal. More experimentation with paint and collage and more writing. The red is from another page when I forgot to put wax paper between the sheets.  

 One year I joined a group of on-line art friends and we did round robin journals. We sent our journal to another member and she did a spread in it and sent it on. Eventually we got our books back and had wonderful art from friends across the country. We chose a word or phrase that we wanted to be the theme of our journal. This was mine.

We met through another group that was doing a journal project from New York. The name of the program is The Sketchbook Project. It's kind of weird to think my journal could be there on the shelves they show on the Web site. For a few dollars you could order a specific blank journal, fill it with your own work and send it back in. People could then go to the library and browse the books and see every body's work. It was very inspiring.  

This was one of the spreads in the journal I submitted. I can't remember if there were prompts or I just did my own thing. 

Sometimes, I just do fun things like showing off a new box of crayons. I used to LOVE the smell of new crayons but I've noticed they just don't have that smell anymore. 

A few months ago I cleared my shelves of many of the art journals I'd done over the years. I kept that first one and a couple of others. Many of them I hand made which is another thing I learned to love to do over time. Either with rings like the book above or hand stitched. 

I've been missing the time with my art supplies, but so far not enough to get involved in the process again. I'll let you know if that changes. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Soldier Ancestors

As Memorial Day approaches I have been thinking of my ancestors who served in our country's wars. I am saddened that the Civil War memorials are being torn down. Saddened that there are people who say we should not honor the fallen on this day. Saddened by those who only see this as a three-day holiday. 

I only know of one ancestor who died during a war: Joseph Waggoner was born in 1836 and married before joining the Civil War and when he disappeared. Although I have found records of two men with that name who served for the Confederacy I don't know if either one is him. I do know he left a young son, my ancestor, Isaac Tandy Waggoner. 

Samuel Wilburn and his wife, Mary. He went off to fight in the Civil War before they were married. Thankfully he returned although at least one of his brother's died in the War. He served in Clarkson's Battalion, Confederate Cavalry, and Clark's Regiment of Missouri Infantry. He spent some time in the Rock Island, Illinois POW camp. 

John R. George was born in 1839 in what later became West Virginia. He served in Co. F, 15 Regiment of West Virginia Infantry from 1862-1864. He was captured near Richmond and spent three years in a Confederate prison. 

 James W. George's stone in Kansas. 

John Henry Covey served in Company E of the 11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. He spent much of the War guarding railroad connections. 

Other soldiers:

Reuben George fought in the Revolutionary War. He enlisted in 1777 In Culpepper County, Virginia in the 10th Regiment of Virginia and served until 1783. He was in the Battles of Germantown, Brandywine, and White Marsh. 

John Roush/Rausch came from Germany. Although he didn't serve directly he lent a great deal of support to the Patriots during the Revolution. Two of his sons were reportedly with George Washington when Cornwallis surrendered. One served at the Battle of Point Pleasant, Virginia (West Virginia) in 1774. 

I will be remembering these men and their fallen comrades this Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day celebration 2016, Pioneer and Military Cemeteries, Phoenix, Arizona.

"Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Art Abandonment

I haven't done much art or crafts in a long time. I finally decided to do a couple of things for the Art Abandonment group.

Founded by Michael deMeng, owner of Michael deMeng Art, the Facebook group is based on the premise of making a piece of art and abandoning it into the world for someone to find. Members are encouraged to take a picture of "the drop" and then just move away, leaving the art completely on its own. A tag is attached so the finder can contact the group with their story.

Some of the stories shared by finders are quite heartwarming. From just having a bad day to being homeless the stories show what just a little bit of random kindness can do to help a person.

Photos of ceramics, crocheted objects, mixed-media art, journals, jewelry, and painted rocks can be found on the Facebook page and are inspiring in themselves.

Some of the photos and stories have been gathered into a book available on Amazon:


There are over 39,000 members on the Facebook page:


I abandoned these little canvases this week:

In the past I have abandoned a number of different things all the way from Arizona to Washington State.

No matter what you enjoy making, or even just want to try your hand at, join the movement and spread a little kindness.

More information about the Art Abandonment Movement:




Sunday, May 14, 2017


A FB friend has been posting photos of the mothers in her family all week. I have enjoyed seeing the women of her family, even though I never knew any of them. 

So here is my offering of mothers who came before me.

I grew up in a small family of women. Since she was ten years older my sister was often more of a mother than a sibling. This photo is my grandmother, mom, sister, and her first child. Four generations of women. 

Both of my grandmothers (and an aunt by marriage). My mother's mother, Jennie (center), and my father's mother, Carrie, on the right. 

Three generations this time. My paternal grandmother, Carrie, is the baby. Her grandmother, Sarah, is holding her and her mother, Salenia, stands behind her. These women lived mostly in northwest Arkansas. Sarah was born around 1828 in Georgia.

One of the second great grandmothers on my father's side is Orpha Ann. She lost her first husband, and my ancestor, in the Civil War. She was born in 1844 in Tennessee.

 Nancy Ann was born in 1846 in Illinois. She is a second great grandmother on my mother's side. Grandma said she didn't remember that window pane ever being replaced; that pillow was always stuffed in that hole.

Mary was born in 1841 in Arkansas. She was going to get married but her fiance, Sam, 
joined the Confederate Army. He returned and they were married in 1866 and became my 
paternal second great grandparents.

Mary and Sam had a number of children, one of them was Thomas. 
He married Nancie Jane and they became by great grandparents. They made the move 
from Arkansas to Kansas. 

Of all those greats, and second greats I only remember Nellie. She passed away when I was 9. She moved from Illinois to Kansas in a wagon train when she was about 6 or 7. 

My Mom, Viola, at her eighth grade graduation. Her strength carries down to my daughter. 

We all have eight second great grandmothers. I'm amazed in pulling this together to see that I have photos of four of them. I have photos of all of my great grandmothers. 

As I was adding up the numbers I realized I'd missed one great grandmother. On the right 
is Nellie again. On the left is another Nancy, born in West Virginia in 1866. Both are 
maternal great grandmothers.

I has taken many years of doing genealogy, writing letters, and researching books to 
find all these photos. It was worth every minute. 

So there you have them. The women who came before. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Vegetable Soup

Thinking about my mom. Missing her.

They say that grief eases with time. That is true. It also comes and goes. Even after 27 years I have the bad times when I just want to talk to my mom.

I started a story in my writing group a few weeks ago about her vegetable soup. I thought at the time it might evolve into an essay I could submit somewhere. It didn't.

The basis was that mom made the most amazing vegetable soup. She managed to have all kinds of different vegetables in there but I don't remember her buying all that stuff. It would have taken small quantities of such a wide variety of things: corn, green beans, okra, tomatoes, peas, carrots, celery, onion, and more. As I was writing I started wondering how she did that.

So I think, perhaps, she had a plastic container in the freezer and kept adding our leftovers to that until there was enough. Then she made a pot roast and whatever was left from that was the basis for the vegetable soup.

Then I started thinking how vegetable soup kind of signified our lives. Mom was raising two girls and often working two jobs. Our home was always immaculate if small. The furniture wasn't new but she made it shine. She scrimped and used up and made do with whatever she could.

Somehow it all came together to make a home.

Thanks Mom. I miss you.