Tattered Past

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Time Stands Still in Jerome

 Time has been getting away from me. I can't believe I haven't posted in three weeks. 
I got to thinking that perhaps it would be nice if time could occasionally stand still as with this clock in Jerome, Arizona. 

I'm currently reading an Utopian fantasy Pangaea by Anna Questerley. It is about two dimensions; one the normal Earth time and Pangaea where the years pass slower, 15 Pangaean years equals 1 Earth year.

Would we get more done? 

Jerome is a place where the past and the present seem to slide along together. This old head frame is over a shaft that is as deep as the Empire State Building is tall. 

This little cage is how the men were lowered into the shaft. 

There have been many fires and years of neglect before the town became a 
hippie, artist, escape mecca.

Up on the hill is the Grand Hotel, once the mining company's hospital and reputed 
to be the best equipped in Arizona if not the West.

History, legends, and ghost stories abound. It's easy to find a corner and imagine time standing still. Perhaps that is the best we can do in this modern age of hurry, hurry, hurry. 

What would you do if you had more time?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reading Challenges and BOOKS

I love challenges and when this reading challenge came across Facebook I had to take it on. You can find it here.

This challenge contains a list of types of books such as:

*A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet.

*A book your mom loves.

*A book with magic.

*A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't.

Some of these I won't be able to do because I don't know a book my mother loved and I read all the books I was supposed to in school. At least as far as I remember.

I have already read these:

*A book with more than 500 pages. The Glass of Time by Michael Cox.
*A book you can finish in a day. Inspiration Sandwich by SARK.
*A book by an author you've never read before. Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

I am also in a monthly book discussion group and have challenged myself to read 67 books this year on Goodreads. Luckily many books will fit all three.

I joined the book discussion group a few years ago to challenge myself to read a broader range of books. It's worked. I've read a very wide variety of books. Some I loved and some, well, not so much.

Books are not dead and I honestly believe never will be. Reading is good for you. How can you challenge yourself to find the time to read more? What books are on your list to read?

If you have a great book you'd like to share please list it in the comments. I'd love to hear about them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kansas Winters

I lived in Kansas until I was thirteen. Yes, I had to walk to and from school in the snow. It wasn't fun and I don't miss it one bit.

I was talking to my massage therapist yesterday and she said, "I'd rather sweat than shovel." We were discussing how people in Arizona complain about the summers but they are shorter and easier to deal with than the winter most of the country is having.

This photo is from Montezuma in southwestern Kansas. I don't know the year but I'm sure it was a common sight.

The article below was cut out and saved by my great grandmother, Nellie Keith Martin. The date is February 7, 1956 but the story is from 100 years before that. 

Basically the story is that Miss Martha Perkins, about 16 years old, went to visit her brother-in-law and on the way home it started snowing, hard. She was on foot and lost her way a mile from home and took shelter in a deep bushy ravine. She was able to build a little house out of weeds and spent the first night without food, warm clothing and fire.

The next morning she started out again but went the wrong way. She wandered through the day sometimes in four feet of snow. That night she built another weed house where she lay for days. Finally a search party found her. She had been lost in the storm for four and a half days in weather reaching 17 to 20 degrees below zero.

Somehow she kept herself awake during that time fearful that if she fell asleep she would never wake up. The prognosis was that she would totally survive although at the time of printing they weren't sure if she would loose some toes.

Here's another Kansas winter with my great grandmother standing in front of the family home with five of her grandchildren including my mother on the far right.

Imagine all the winters she saw during her lifetime first in Illinois and later in Kansas. I'm glad I don't live where it snows and am certainly glad I don't have to deal with the cold as she did.

Did you grow up or do you still live where there are heavy winter storms? Do you have stories to tell of your own or somebody else's struggles with living in that type of weather?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


 I love journaling and art. 
Art journaling is the best of both worlds. 
This year I am starting off with four art journaling projects. 

These are the books I am using. 

The top one is made from the front and back of two old hardbound books. The binding is fabric and hand stitched. This is the first time I tried this stitch and I'm rather happy with it. The pages are folded sketch paper.

The second one is a Strathmore Mixed Media spiral bound journal available at most craft and art stores.

The third one is another hardbound book but I left the covers alone and just went through and pulled out a number of pages to allow for paint and collage. 

The bottom one is a "PaperBlank" I found at Goodwill. The person who donated it had only written on a few pages, notes from some seminar, so I just covered those up with other paper and away I went. 

This page is from the hand bound book on top. This is for the Daisy Yellow Prompt60 challenge. 
It is a collage of papers, stickers and washi tape from my stash. I still have to do the journaling around the edges. You can learn more about this project here.  

This is a doodle mandala from the same project. It was a lot of fun. 

The Strathmore book is just for me and I have no plans for it. I think it is necessary to
have a play book and this is it. There isn't anything in it yet.

The bottom book is for the 30 Day Prompt challenge by Lisa Sonora. I didn't take a photo of it because it is just writing although I add a little doodling and maybe some color to the edges. 

The last book is the white one. It is done on regular book pages which I cover with paint, collage or whatever. It is for Journal 52 which is done once a week for 52 weeks. I did it off and on last year but hope to do better this year. 

This prompt was "Pathways" and I copied what I wrote unedited below. The photos came from an old gardening magazine I found at Goodwill.


I love the look of pathways that lead to unknown places -- even if it's just around the corner.

We follow many pathways during our lives -- we can usually only guess what is around the corner.

We can follow with confidence and wise, informed decisions.
When there is a division or "Y" in the path we have to do our best -- find the way that will lead to peace and harmony and help others along the way.

Along the way it is also important to stop and smell the roses and to be appreciative of the beauty and joy around us. To greet even the rough places with gratitude.  (1-3-15)

Write about your pathways and how some of your decisions have affected your life. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Childhood Home

 This is the house I grew up in. I'm guessing not too long after we moved here. It was small but it was home and I still miss it. There were great trees all around including a cherry tree and a crab apple tree which was my favorite place to sit and ponder life.

For many years I shared a room with my sister (on the left, I'm in the center and Mom on the right.) We had bunk beds and she always had the bottom. They moved around, sometimes stacked and sometimes on opposite sides of the room. At one point my sister had all of her oil paints and easel set up in one corner. I was so envious of all of that and her amazing talent. She sold paintings of dogs and horses while still in high school.

There was a big kitchen and an average living room with the big black and white console television. So many memories. 

Last week the girl who once lived next door visited the home town and snapped this picture of the house for me. Thank you, Jan. The years have not been kind. When I last saw it (in 1990) the shutters were there but it was in better shape. I have since thought that it was perhaps three smaller houses put together at some time, or at least an addition on the back for the bedroom and part of the kitchen. 

I lived in that house for about nine years. Betty got married and moved out so I finally got my own room. You can see the window at the back of the porch. I spent hours listening to the Beatles and others in that room. 

What are your memories of your childhood home? Do you have photos?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


This is the time of year for families and memories. This photo is from Jessica's second Thanksgiving at my mother's house. She still remembers looking up at the table and being overwhelmed by all the food. Mom's favorite thing in life was cooking and sharing the fruits of her labor with her family. That's Doug with her.

A month later we were on to Mom's for Christmas dinner. We stopped off at the stables 
to give Blaze a few holiday carrots. He enjoyed them. 

She got her first doll house that year. We still have it and our grand kids have also played with it. 

Since she has married and moved to another state we haven't shared Christmas except by phone. She was ten when we lost mom. Things change but memories stay the same.

Be sure to share your memories with your family and friends this and every year. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


My cousin recently sent me this photograph of my old tricycle. She found it out in a junk pile at the family farm. Even though the front tire is broken she brought it to her home to decorate with.

She is a few years younger than me and apparently it was given to her when I outgrew it. Now, its so hard to believe that her grand daughter is sitting on that tricycle. 

Here I am sitting on a tricycle which I thought was the same one. However, now that I look closer this is a smaller one. This photo was processed in 1958 so I was about four years old. This one doesn't have the bar across the back.

I do remember the bigger one and later on when I got my first bicycle.

Do you remember your early wheels? 

Do you have photos and special memories to go with them?

Monday, December 1, 2014


In case some of you haven't noticed: I LOVE OWLS. I love to watch them, I love when they visit our eucalyptus tree in the night and talk to the moon, I love things that are made as owls.

My husband got me this journal a couple of years ago. I love it. I've written two special quotes in it. It's one of those things that I'm afraid I'll use up or mess up or something.

I'm that way with kitchen towels. We've been using these ratty, stained towels for years. I've bought new ones but we use the old ones because we might want nice ones if somebody ever comes to visit.

Good dishes. Good bath towels. Good linens. Good candles. Good etc., etc., etc.

I've been working on shifting my attitude. Using one of those good kitchen towels felt nice. I'm special. I deserve nice things. I'm going to use them. We just don't entertain anymore. The only visitors we have are family and they don't care.

How about you? Do you have nice things you are saving for company or the future when you get the house remodeled?

Treat yourself. Use those things. Take the time to notice the new kitchen towels and how nice they feel. Use those fancy journals.

I'm going to.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Family GatheringsWhen I grew up

When I was growing up mom had an old blue cosmetic case where she kept the old family photographs, I poured over them by the hour, wondering about these people. Sometimes I'd ask questions but usually there weren't many answers.

In 1977 I started doing my family genealogy and found a lot of the answers. I kept asking questions of my mother, my grandma and eventually distant cousins I found through my research.

I know the people in this photo are connected through my Keith and Thompson lines who settled in southwestern Kansas in the later 1870s and early 1880s. They lived in dug outs and married locals and became a part of the growing community. They gathered for special holidays from the countryside and various small towns. Those were special occasions for the holidays, an anniversary, a birthday or a funeral. The women spent all day if not more than one in the kitchen preparing a spread of food and traditions that each of them grew up cherishing.

I believe the lady on the far right is the sister of my gr. gr. grandmother, Nancy Ann Thompson Keith.  Hester Ann Thompson married Jacob Heape and had three children Fanny, Ruth and Ethyl. I don't know what happened to these people. Sadly I never followed up on where these girls went or if they have any descendants. The other possibility is her sister Helen who married a Crawford. I feel sad that I didn't follow up on these ladies.

I wonder what their favorite holiday foods were. What things they later made for their children. What stories did they tell around that table?

As the holidays approach take time to ask the questions. Make note of traditions or foods you've had all your life and haven't thought about. Record the answers for the kids who are now too young to ask themselves.

Americans have a Happy Thanksgiving. If not keep this in mind for your next family gathering.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


See that? It's a real letter I received last week. I love real letters but in this day and age I don't write them and don't receive them. I think that is a real shame.

When I was in school we wrote novellas in the form of letters. I loved the feel of pen on paper. I still do and usually write in my journal to keep that going. It is therapeutic. Then I'd receive an answer. Many pages of paper folded neatly into an envelope. They felt good.

We were just writing about our day-to-day activities and thoughts. An important thing for teens although we didn't realize that at the time. Pouring our feelings out on paper which were letters to dear friends that felt safe to us. That therapy doesn't happen through a keyboard and email.

It is sad that most schools are no longer teaching cursive writing. Printing is okay but I don't believe it has the strength of flowing cursive words. This will be such a loss to our children. Besides not being able to write in cursive they won't be able to read it.

How will they read letters handed down in the family? What if I wanted to share a part of this letter with my grandson? Our ancestors fought for the right to learn to read and write and it seems we are throwing that away. Sure there are books and emails and other printed sources but it just isn't the same.

I hope when I answer this letter she will write back. I hope we can find the joy we had years ago in handwritten letters.

Who could you write a real letter to today?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


 I've been watching some of those ghost hunting shows that are so popular on television: "Ghost Adventures," "Ghost Hunters International," "Dead Files, "Most Haunted." I love to see the buildings and hear the history. I even make notes if the locations are in the West because the stories could lead to an article.

I do find it interesting how people describe the apparitions they see. Often a description will include "really old," "late 1800s," "turn of the century" and other statements putting these people in the far distant past.

As a genealogist and historian I am more aware than most that these time periods aren't really that old. When I began doing my genealogy about 35 years ago I made contact with Dottie. She was a cousin on my Keith family. Here's a photo of her with her mother, Mattie.

This photo would fit many of the descriptions those people give of the really old apparitions. 
I don't remember when Dottie was born and it doesn't matter but she was still alive in my daughter's lifetime. We exchanged many letters and I still cherish them. 

This photo seems very old with that car. The lady in the center is my great grandmother whom I remember well. I think the other lady was her sister Laura. The man was a family friend and I knew his grandson and my grandma grew up with his wife.

I really had to laugh one day when one of the people on the show said the ghost she was seeing was really, really, really old and probably from the Civil War.

I realize it's all perspective and of course the younger you are the older these people seem but in reality the Civil War was just 150 years ago. I can remember when a Civil War soldier's widow died. It was all over the news.

Our grandparents and great grandparents saw an amazing period in time. Travel, communication, cooking and many other aspects of daily life changed. My grandma was born before cars, long before airplanes, she did own a microwave in her later years but her mother cooked on a wood stove. Wyatt Earp of the Old West was still alive when my mother was a little girl.

Another thing I heard the other day was that the researcher was going to meet with the descendants of two young men who committed suicide. Impossible. The person could have been a descendant of one of them or of their parents through another child but not the two young men. A descendant is somebody who descends from a particular person. Otherwise you are related to that person and descend from an earlier ancestor.

Every field or interest has it's own terminology. We all use terms incorrectly but as a genealogist this descendant thing really bothers me.

When you are watching television, a movie or reading a book think about how your family relates in time to what is happening. Could your ancestors have lived in that old haunted manor house in Lancashire, England? It can be quite mind boggling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remember When: A Special Moment

I was watching a YouTube video by Ilene McInnes on art journaling the other day. I love to kind of zone out with these and let the inspiration soak in. As she was working on the VIDEO she was sharing her thoughts which I found quite interesting.

Our favorite actors or other performers make us smile. We enjoy their work and we watch for them because we enjoy their work.

As artists (or writers, or bakers . . .) we send our work out into the world and hope it will make somebody happy. Make them smile or touch them in some way. What a joy it would be to share our work with one of those celebrities.

One of my favorite shows is still "Little House on the Prairie." Anybody who watched Melissa Gilbert grow up as "Half-pint" fell in love with her. Her sun bonnet hanging behind her and her pigtails flying is such a classic.

I was really in to making miniatures for awhile and even sold a few items. One of my favorites to make was a sun bonnet. I read that Melissa Gilbert also collected miniatures and I really wanted to send one to her as kind of a thank you for all the smiles she brought to me.

The scale is one inch to one foot. 

During the same time period my husband and I were very involved in author, historian and celebrity events in Tombstone, Arizona. Although we worked the events we were more with the authors than the celebrities. They were kept more shielded.  

I'd come prepared with a sun bonnet and had another friend give it to her at the signing event. 

She smiled and waved at me. I was honored.

I did get my photo taken with her after the banquet that night. Here's another one I shot while she was posing with her son and and one of the author's spouses. I wish I'd waited to hand it to her myself but I didn't know if another chance would come up.

I'd met her husband at the time, Bruce Boxleitner, a few times and even had lunch with him and a couple of friends at one of the earlier events. That is him in the white hat standing behind Melissa in the photo above.

I thank Ilene for bringing up that memory and will send her a link to this post. It has me going through the large box of photos from those days and I hope to slowly get them all scanned. I will be sharing more here as time goes on.

Thank you for sharing my memory and please share any similar stories you might have.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Remember When: Owls

We finally found a day we could celebrate our anniversary. Hubby's schedule 
has been crazy and I've been under the weather.

We made up for it. 

We headed to Joe's Crab Shack in Tempe and indulged in crab stuffed 
mushrooms, clam strips and steamed snow crab. 


Then we took our new ghost hunting equipment to a local cemetery and enjoyed the beautiful weather and learned how to use the equipment. We haven't had time to analyze it all.

As we were sitting under a tree we kept hearing an owl. I walked around and 
around that tree until I finally found him. For those of  you who haven't noticed:


I have a lot of memories connected with owls. I have an aunt who has collected owls forever and her whole house is completely filled with them. I never got pictures of them but they filled the shelf under her coffee table and every other nook in the house. They were from all over the world and made of everything imaginable.

When my grandson was two they were living with us and he'd come in at night and sit on my chest and we'd sing and make animal sounds. My favorite of course was: What does an owl say? 
Who Who Who

After shooting a bunch of stills I got out the other camera and tried to video tape him. I got him looking at me and all round and staring off into the sunset but I couldn't seem to get him Who-ing.
Just as I was giving up I finally got what I wanted.


When I was in Washington this summer I tried to explain to that same grandson that I don't know anything about his video games and although I'm glad he's so good at them I'd like to talk about something else.

So he kept asking me all about owls. What their eggs look like, how big they are, what they eat, etc.
He's getting a book about owls as soon as I can find one. 

I also hope to be better prepared for his questions next year. 

Do you have any owl memories?

Oh, and I almost forgot, for about a year we had an owl that loved to sit in the eucalyptus tree in our yard. He has since disappeared but we both loved to wake up and listen to him Who-ing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remember When: Wedding Day

This photo was taken thirty-eight years ago this week. I remember a time when I didn't think I would live past 30 (a common notion in the 1960s.) Now I've lived twice that long and been married more than half of that.

We met at a disco. He had just gotten out of the Navy and I was in my senior year at ASU. So young, so many dreams.

We lived in an old rock house in south Phoenix which has since been torn down for a freeway. It was a wonderful old house with a fireplace and wooden floors. Later we bought our current house in north Phoenix and raised our daughter and a number of cats, dogs, rabbits, birds and even a horse.

Many of our dreams were put on the back burner and then eventually forgotten. We had our ups and downs but we hung in there.

Now our dreams are smaller. To watch our grandsons grow, to do a little traveling, to visit all the haunted hotels in our state. Our interests have changed sometimes growing apart and sometimes shared. We've met some amazing people and shared some stupendous experiences.

Some things never change. I still love white dress coats with black slacks. He still loves to wear flannel and we both live in jeans. Our favorite music stretches from rock (him) to New Age (me) with Western Ballads and Oldies in the middle. Even though we differ we usually have a central point where we meet.

How has your dreams and life changed? What things have stayed the same? Where does your gratitude lie?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Remember When: Critters

My sister had a way with critters. She always preferred their company over most people. Over the years she had horses, dogs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, and, well, I'm sure I'm forgetting some of them. (She hated cats and only allowed them in the barn but she did have them.)

 I remember her in this position. Her forehead on that of an animal, talking softly, and making peace with the world. They always listened as if they understood every word and wanted her to know it.

She was like Ellie Mae from the "Beverly Hillbillies" except she reminded me more of Granny with all the spitfire and gumption. Betty wouldn't let anybody get away with anything. 

At times it was embarrassing. Like in a store when she grabbed a salesclerk's tie and pulled him over to where she wanted to be to ask questions. She never got in trouble for that. I often feared for her but people seemed to take her in stride.

There was the time she went to the high school band room with her grandson and saw one of those kids with his pants down around his hips. I was told she went right up to him, pulled his tee-shirt up and told him to get a belt. 

I think she shocked them so much they just went along. But, nobody ever came back and filed a complaint or anything. 

Yeah, my Sissy was a handful. I often wish I had her gumption and strength to do the things she loved. Besides all her critters she was an amazing artist. In high school she was selling oil paintings. She could etch on glass and ostrich eggs, she did ceramics, and amazing pen and ink drawings her entire life. 

Most of all she loved her critters. Especially the goats and dogs. She had to give up the horses and eventually the goats because of health problems but there was always a dog at her feet. 

Is there somebody in your family or friend list who had a way with critters? 

Write a story about them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Remember When: Yearbooks

Do you still have your high school yearbooks? (Assuming you were in a time and place to get one.)
When you come across fellow classmates do you run to look them up? Or flip through the pages to find a face to go with a memory? 

I love my yearbooks and they have a choice position on my shelf. I was on the yearbook staff in high school and college so there is that added connection. 

Friday night I met two energetic and fun author's: Chris and Bev. After talking for a bit Chris and I realized our families came from the same tiny town in southwestern Kansas. Further "do you know?" questions led to the fact that people with her maiden name married into my family a couple of generations before the move west. So we may or may not be cousins. 

Over the weekend I dug out my mother's 1941 yearbook. She was a senior in that tiny little town. So was Chris' father. 

This yearbooks isn't just for the high school. All classes are in this slim volume. Some of my aunts and uncles are on the other pages. 

There's my beautiful mother second from the bottom. She wasn't on the yearbook staff but the girl shown below her was. I won't point out Chris' father but he's up near the top of the page. They were both in the glee club and in band. 

I have a really hard time imagining my mother as a teen. I don't know if she had a job or helped out at home with her five younger siblings. Her grandmother ran the switchboard in Fowler for many years. Her father became a barber. Chris' father or grandfather was a barber (perhaps both.) Her family also owned the ice cream parlor. 

I'm sure Chris and I will have many stories and hopefully some photos to share. 

You just never know when this small world will shrink right onto your own doorstep. 

Do you have similar stories? Have you imagined your parents as teens? 
The possibilities for memories and stories are endless when you use your yearbooks as a memory jogger. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Art Journal Fun

I haven't shared my art journals in awhile. In the meantime, they've taken on a whole new look. At least for now.

That is one of the wonderful things about these journals. Nothing is right or wrong. It is just how you feel at that time. I've gotten away from the layers and layers of paint, paper, stencils, tape, stamps and anything else that comes along.

I've learned and adapted this technique which I learned partly through my friend Barbara and partly through a couple of on-line classes taught by Kelly Kilmer.

Kelly calls this "painting with paper." I find this technique more restful and certainly easier to do when on the road.

Basically with a couple of magazines, bits of left over paper from other projects and some gel pens I'm ready to go. Oh, some scissors, a glue stick and a glue tape runner.

For this project I was simply working in a Canson multi-media art notebook. It has heavy paper meant for "regular" art journaling but I like the spiral binding. I've also done this in books I've stitched myself and, well, any book I like.

I put one large picture from a magazine down and then start adding stuff on top. 
A focal point, stickers, washi tape, and finally pen. 
I did these first few pages while at my daughters and soon my grandson had his spiral book out and was doing his own pages. 

You just never know when a memory will be made.

The one thing I'm carrying through this book is making a quote or saying with some plain word stickers I'd picked up at JoAnns. The page above became "life is a journey." 

This page grew out of thinking about things I like and want to do. You can see all kinds of cutouts from magazines, stamps, scrapbook papers, and some artwork. Whatever happened to be in a folder I had with me and a magazine. 
(I really like working from magazines about flea markets and thrift stores.)

This one got a bit whimsical. Mostly because it just wasn't coming together. That's okay. 
The butterfly sticker on her nose topped it all off. 

I did this page after I got home and had a little more to work with. Whimsy, fun. It came from losing some friends last month and facing a bit of my own mortality. Sad, yes. But I'm not going to let my inner child fade away with sadness. The friends I lost and certainly the friends I see now wouldn't want that. 

So gather some paper, tape, glue, stickers and anything else that strikes your fancy
and go have some fun. 

Let YOUR inner child play.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Remember When: Summer Casualties

That's my cousin, Lisa, in the laundry basket and Granddad Cecil who put her there. This picture is dated June 1960 but that is the developed date so it may have been a year older. I do remember this because everybody was rushing to get cameras to take a picture of Lisa in the basket. I was about seven years old. Granddad was probably reaching into his shirt pocket for a Camel cigarette.

My grandparents lived in a small Kansas town where most everybody had huge gardens and the farms rolled right up to the edge of the property. I don't remember if Grandma had a ringer washer but we did at that time. Laundry day was a big job but those sheets and pillowcases strung out in the Kansas sun smelled so fresh.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. They lived in another town. Mom would drive me there and leave me for a few weeks and then come back and get me. I loved to explore and seldom wore shoes. I stepped on many a bee and rushed in crying to have grandma put a poultice of baking soda and water on the area to "draw the stinger out." I also had more than one run-in with red ants.

Stubbed toes were common, still are. I got a good one on the bed leg this weekend. Also splinters and other vicious pointy things. It was all part of growing up.

So was a family laugh over some little thing that would have been forgotten if somebody hadn't grabbed their camera.

Do you remember childhood injuries from going barefoot?
Do you remember a grownup doing something completely unexpected?
Do you have an old photo that needs the story to go with it for future generations?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Remember When: Thoughts

 Saturday was my niece's fiftieth birthday. Or it should have been. We lost her way too soon. Here's Jackie in the first four generation photo in the lap of my grandma. My mother is next to her and my sister standing. They are all gone. My niece's daughter pointed out that I am now the matriarch of the family. That was really a strange thought to me. I don't feel strong enough to live up to these women.

This post is about my niece. She was 9 years my junior and as we got older became as one. We were so close in so many ways. Through my teen and college years and her growing up years I missed a lot but as she got older we bonded in special ways.

We would talk about our memories and one of them was this planter. I loved this planter which apparently the rest of the family hated. I imagined little people climbing around the edges and going in the door. I made up stories about this house.

When Mom and I moved to Arizona she apparently gave it to my sister. I didn't know that and as an adult I bought a replacement at an antique store. There were so many memories of making up those little stories and losing myself in them.

One day Jackie and I were in Prescott and we came across another one. She told me about doing the exact same thing as she was growing up. We bought her the third version. Sometime later we were telling my sister we found one and she said, "That ugly thing? I have it. You could have had it if I'd known."

I don't know where the original is or even the third one but I still have mine on the shelf over the television.

As time went on Jackie and I found we both loved history, Reese's peanut butter cups, Pepsi, writing, and so much more. We'd spend hours watching Elvis movies and eating those peanut butter cups and drinking Pepsi. We'd laugh over the smallest things. Often only a knowing look between us would set us off.

I miss her very much, but I'm glad to have the memories and to be able to share them.

Write about a special person in your life. Or a special object that nobody else seemed to care about.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remember When: Ice Cream

I have many pictures of my sister and I. She was ten years older and so many of them look more like mother and daughter. She never liked having her photo taken so I'm surprised there are as many as there are.

This one makes me smile because of the pure devilment in her eyes. I'd hate to be the person on the other end of that look. lol She never lost that look; it just got more intense.

I'm not sure that is an ice cream cone in her hand, may be a candy bar, but I decided to write about ice cream. I don't remember having a lot of ice cream growing up. There was a Dairy Queen across from the park in town and also a Tastee Freeze a few blocks from our house. Oh, and the A&W with root beer floats. sigh

Now it's everywhere and there are so many flavors it seems impossible to decide on a favorite. I think back then there was chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. And Neapolitan: the combination of the three in sections. Usually my favorite because I wasn't never good at making decisions.

My favorites now are chocolate chip and mint chocolate chip. Matter-of-fact when I was carrying my daughter mint chocolate chip ice cream was my primary craving.

I also love Ben & Jerry's. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and sometimes Cherry Garcia.

Ice cream isn't spurring any major memories except going to my cousins and watching them make ice cream with a hand crank machine. I don't remember if I helped, except when it came to the eating part.

I just got a memory flash of my sister in high school with a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. We must have had it more than I thought. Do you remember the Hershey Syrup in the cans that had to be opened with pointed can opener and then we never quite knew what to do with it.

As always, once the memories start they lead to more and more memories. Write about your favorite ice cream as a child and now. Did you use Hershey Syrup? Did you have homemade ice cream? What other memories do you have?