Tattered Past

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





Friday, August 28, 2015

A Smoky Week

I just haven't been able to get into writing my blog this trip. Sometimes we just need breaks.

The smoke here in the Yakima Valley of south central Washington has kept us inside most of the time. One night ash fell and covered the ground and cars. It was eerie. It made the moon a bright red.

Here are a few photos from my time here:


The boys have birthdays in the fall so while I'm here I put on a "pretend" birthday 
party to share in some of the fun. 
Chocolate Cake!!

I also take each boy out for Grammy Day. We go to lunch at Red Lobster and then sometimes a bit of shopping. So I had two of my favorite foods in one week: snow crab and chocolate cake. Mmmm

One morning the smoke cleared a bit so Jessica and I went to downtown
Yakima so I could shoot some photos for a possible article. 


The Capitol Theatre burned in the early 1900s and was completely rebuilt. It is gorgeous.



A military memorial I need to research.


Back to school. Yes, I also got to celebrate my favorite time of year with the boys: Back To School. I love all the supplies. I made sure they are stocked up and added a few things to my stash.


Another somewhat clear morning we went to visit Doug's great grandparents. 


Joseph and Mary Jane Remley came to Washington around 1850.

Three more days here. It's always bittersweet. I want to get home, but I'll hate to leave.

I way lying in bed the other night and made a mental 
list of some of the things I miss (besides the obvious)

my own bed with all my blankets and pillows 
my work space 
 the quiet of being alone all day
my friends
my writing groups
Barnes & Noble (there aren't any bookstores here)
my essential oil diffuser/mister
my art supplies

Okay, I'll say it: My hubby and my dog.

Praying for the firefighters, families, animals, and the Pacific Northwest



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Days One and Two

I'm sitting in Bliss, Idaho, which isn't. It's just a couple of hotels, a market/cafe and a few other things. People must have loved it here once.

It's been a very long and hot two days. It seems that traffic has been heavier 
and slower than usual. I have made a few quick stops for photos so here's a brief tour.


Flat Stanley near Kingman, Arizona the home of actor Andy Devine.


The view from most of the way through Arizona and Nevada.
The long and dusty road. 



The view above was on the west side of the road north of Las Vegas and the view below was on the east. So amazing how the road, known as the Great Basin Highway is so different on each side. Makes me wish I knew more about geology. 



Of course, there was road construction. I sat staring at the back of this truck for about 20 minutes. We were on the northern end of Caliente, Nevada. At one point an ambulance and police cruiser tried to get around us and on up the highway. The ambulance made it, but the cruiser had a hard time because that was just when the pilot car brought the long line of cars from the other end.


The police car made it through and then when we got just a couple of miles north they were coming back with no lights so thankfully it wasn't a big emergency.

Now imagine this. I was five or six cars back in the line following the pilot car. The road was all gravel ready to be paved and that went on for many miles. (One of these days I will remember to make note of exact times and distances in these circumstances.) Anyway, just a little ways along we passed a few trucks and a couple of construction guys standing around talking. There wasn't any  other equipment on the highway and nothing being done. 

Se we go along following the pilot car like a train first on the right lane and then swerving over to the left lane. I could see the train following far behind. After awhile the pilot car would go back to the right lane and the train would follow. He did that about eight times before we got to where he turned around and we were allowed to find our own way along the newly paved highway. 

As we passed the pilot car I looked right at the driver and raised my hands like "What the heck?" I'm sure he saw me but I couldn't see him. I really think he was just having fun with us. 

It brought home to me how programmed we are. Just follow the leader. 

I finally made it to the old mining town of Pioche, Nevada and the haunted Overland Hotel. (For more about that look for the past episode of "Ghost Adventures.")

I had the same room I had before with this fake head on the wall. I thought Flat Stanley 
should have his photo taken again. 


I also took a photo of my other traveling companions. My key chain owls.



For some reason my left ankle swelled up so I didn't do much walking around town. I did 
find this cool rock house back behind the hotel. 


It's hard to imagine a whole family living there. 


Just into Idaho I passed this amazing scene. I couldn't get close enough to get a decent 
photo but there is a large lake and a number of waterfalls. This is at 1000 Springs Resort. 
The resort itself seemed to be pretty much closed down.



So here I am a few miles from that beautiful site in Bliss, Idaho. There is a lot of smoke 
from some of the wildfires. Tomorrow I will cross into Oregon and head north to central 
Washington. The fires there are really bad and my family can't even go outside. 

Who knows what adventures lie ahead. Thank you for joining me along the way. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On The Road Again, Almost

Summer is almost over and I'm getting ready for my yearly trek up North.

The first order of business is to prepare my Moleskine travel journal. I so love these and 
when I get a moment I will get a picture of all of them sitting on a shelf. I'm not sure how many 
there are, but quite a few. 


The most important part is a safe pocket for Flat Stanley. 
This year he has a title: Tour Guide.


It's funny when I start packing my art supplies each year. There is always some change. This year I am traveling light. I hope. That's the plan. I will have some stickers, scissors, watercolor paints, colored pencils, washi tape, glue stick, and a few other odds and ends. 

The biggest addition is my adult coloring book. I'm loving it. If you are on FB you've probably noticed that I'm not the only one. Sometimes I take my laptop and journal and go work in the cafe at Barnes & Noble. They have had an end-cap right next to where I set and it stops just about everybody, men and women. It is so wonderful to see so many people thinking about dipping into their creativity, and dealing with some stress. 

Back to the trip. I will be taking my grandsons on some walks and doing other activities. I always have a composition book for each of us for gluing in things we find, writing, and drawing some of the things we see. We also do collage and whatever else I can come up with. 

I'll soon be on the road again. 

Are you finishing up the summer with some special adventures? Please share.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clan Keith

My great niece has taken an avid interest in our genealogy since visiting a Scottish Clan Gathering. 
She traced down a few of our Keith ancestors on line and has been appalled at the state of some of the cemeteries in Find-a-Grave on the Internet. 

I thought I'd share a few more from pictures distant cousins have sent me over the years.

The first is Abner Keith. He is my fourth great grandfather and was born in Pennsylvania in 1778. He died and is buried in Perry County, Illinois in 1866. He served in the "Cornstalk" militia in Kentucky in 1803. 


 He is buried in the Nine Mile Baptist Church shown below. 




Abner was married to Magdalena Hunsaker. She passed away young and is buried in another county.
Their grandson, John Riley Keith married Nancy Ann Thompson. Many members of her family are buried in this cemetery including her grandmother, Margaret Norton Thompson who was born in 1784 in South Carolina and died in 1857. She married James Thompson who died in 1861.


This is James' sister, Martha Jane Thompson, who died at age 19. So many people died young in those days.

The files I can get to right now don't show who this is and I don't have time to search the records down. I'm putting it in to show the bad state of these stones.


The Keith's can be traced back to Alexander Keith who was born in Scotland 
around 1661 and immigrated to Maryland. 

I'm always excited to have younger generations get interested in our family history. 
I know all the work will be saved. 

Now I need to make sure it is in better state than it is.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coloring and Claiming Space

I'm still working my way through the adult coloring book I found in the magazine section at Barnes & Noble. 

I decided to try watercolors and pulled out my KOI travel set.



The main thing I have learned is that this paper doesn't take to water very well. So if you go looking for a coloring book and want to use watercolors or watercolor pencils check that the paper is made for that medium.


I also used my InkTense pencils. They are made for water but I thought I'd try them dry. They did okay and really are intense. The problem I've always had with them is the tips and the colored ends don't portray the color you will get on the paper; wet or dry. 



Some of my InkTense pencils.

So, I will be going back to my Prismacolor pencils for this particular book. 

In the meantime, I have been looking for a very narrow shelf thing to hang between the door and the shower in our bathroom. I finally found one on the sale rack at Michael's. Since I have other sewing notions displayed around the room I started finding fun things to put in the little shelf. 

Imagine my surprise when 
Doug decided to claim a space on the shelf with one of his little jeeps. 

He said he was looking around the house and realized everything is feminine so he wanted to put something of his up. Actually it looks kind of cute. He also tried to fit one of his antique oil cans - a little one that might actually have been for sewing machines - but it didn't fit. 

In case somebody is wondering, those red and blue things are for threading needles. The needle goes in a little hole and the thread through a slit. When the button is pushed the thread is pushed through the needle. Handy-Dandy. 

What are some little things that made you smile this week? 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mother-In-Law's Tongue

We all have some unusual memories from childhood. Some we try to hang on to. I remember Mom always had mother-in-law tongues in the house. These tall skinny plants are also known as snake plants, Saint George's sword and officially sansevieria trifasciata. 
I found this photo of out dog next to an old filled-in well. 

There, I believe, are some of Mom's mother-in-law's tongues. The date is May 1961 so this photo was taken about the same time my sister graduated from high school.
This photo is of an old friend of the family and her son. 

I put it here as that bookcase in the corner, behind the front door, always had a pot of mother-in-law's tongues on it. I'm not sure there is one in this photo. For many years there was  also a fish bowl with what we called guppies. They were small little silver fish; nothing like the fancy ones found int he stores now. 


It looks like some of my sister's horse collection is on the top shelf. I wish I could see more.

I've had these plants in my house forever. A couple of weeks ago they flowered. I didn't remember it ever flowering before. They were pretty and very sticky. Surprised by the flowers I did a little research and learned they only flower when in stress, as in being root bound.




These plants are very good for cleaning the air and are very easy to care for. In Africa it is used as a protective charm against evil or bewitchment. The strong fibers were once used to make bowstrings. 
So a little history, a few memories, and more stories to share. 



Monday, July 6, 2015

Coloring Books

I love to color. I love the smell of a new box of crayons. Coloring opens up my imagination, wakes up my muse, and is a great stress buster.

Now it appears the rest of the world has figured out the magic of coloring.


While most fads and crazes are geared to younger people this one is geared to adults.

This is an adult coloring book I found in the magazine section of B&N. I also found special displays throughout the store. The selection seems to be endless with more being published every day.

I bought those Crayola colored pencils and they are okay, but for many of these pages sharper pencils are needed.


 So I have gone back to Prismacolor colored pencils and I usually keep them very sharp.





I did this mandala with the Prismacolor pencils.

I even saw one of those television ads for adult coloring books for de-stressing. But wait! You can get two and even order a set of colored pencils, watercolors, and other coloring options.
 (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

Here's the page I'm doing now. 


Please, get an adult coloring book and something to color with and spend 
some time getting rid of the stress and having fun. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Anniversary

My mother passed away in 1990 when our daughter was just nine-years-old. One of the things I brought home from her house was a night blooming cereus. Not that it especially meant anything, but I couldn't leave it there to die. It was in a pot on her patio and has been in a pot at our house since.

The amazing thing is every year it blooms at significant times. In the early years, it was usually Mother's Day. The last few years it has been blooming more than once: Mom's birthday, the anniversary of her death, and other family dates in the spring.


Early this morning/last night it sent out two beautiful blooms. 
Today is our daughter's twelfth wedding anniversary. 

Happy Anniversary, Jessica and Matt.

Wishing you both love and caring from Nana,
Your Dad and I.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Long Lost Friends

Sometimes I wonder what happened to the kids I knew growing up. Other times I see photos like this one and wonder who that other girl is. This appears to have been taken in my grandparent's home town so I was only visiting. (I'm the one on the right in case anybody is wondering.)




Then there are life-long friends even though time has taken us to opposite sides of the country. This is my friend Lydia (on left) and I when we both still lived in Kansas. This is at the Long Branch Saloon at Dodge City's Boot Hill. We were around 13 at this time.



Stepping back in time, this photo was at our church. I'm the little girl in the middle peeking over the head of the little boy in suspenders. In the middle of the top row you can see my sister's head as she tries to hide behind another young man. Just that tells you about our personalities, doesn't it? BTW, Mom is in the back right-hand corner. I don't remember any of the other people.


And last, but not least, is a photo of my high school graduation. I can a few familiar faces and some I'm even still in touch with. Facebook has made a difference in those connections and I think is its main good point.


I often wish I had the time and energy to get all the photos scanned and identified. Then to try and find some of the people who have been lost along the way.

I suppose this is a start.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Memories in the Mountains

Saturday Doug and I drove up to the Globe/Miami area in the mountains east of Phoenix. It was a beautiful day if a bit warmer than we expected.

Doug has three or four generations who lived in that area which is full of history in its own right.

Globe was a silver/copper mining town and the county seat. Two state governors were from Globe along with other notables.


Doug's grandparents. 



His maternal great-grandmother. Lucy was born in Washington near where our daughter now lives.



We stopped at the El Rey Mexican Restaurant in Miami. It is right across the street from the pool where Doug often went as a child. Up on the hill the white house to the left of the blue one was his grandparent's house. He has so many memories of the house and falling down the hill. 

At the bottom of the hill are the railroad tracks. Granny hated him being down there and she caught him down there one day throwing rocks at a centipede. She told him he better watch out because centipedes will throw rocks back at him. He still avoids centipedes. 



Many family events occurred in this church, including Doug's baptism.
It is a beautiful old building.


Down in the old Miami shopping district we passed the old Franco Furniture Store. The yellow building on the left. It is so sad that most of the buildings are empty. The loss of mining and the economy has hit this little town very hard.

The store took the blue and yellow buildings in this photo. 


The Gila County Courthouse in Globe is now an arts center. The family would have visited this building many times for deeds, registrations, and other important documents. Doug's Grandpa Franco was the Miami mayor so he would have had many reasons to visit the county courthouse. 

We had a great day of being together, sharing memories, a good lunch, and learning history. 

The best part of the digital age, for me, is being able to take photos of everything. 
They will be special to our descendants.