Tattered Past

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





Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remember When: Halloween

My art buddy, Barbara, gave me this fun little coffin filled with goodies the other day.


It's always so fun digging through something like this and see the buttons, stickers, erasers, 
and fun little things.

A few weeks ago I printed some clip art pages from Kristin Hubick, thinking I would do an art journal page. With all the things Barbara gave me (with the hint that she thought I might use them to make something for the grand kids) I decided to make each of them a postcard. 





These were a lot of fun. With the clip art images, things from the coffin and some stickers I already had lots to work with. I hope the kids enjoy them as much as I did making them.

Happy Halloween!

Memoir Prompts:

Can you list all the costumes you had as a child?

Have you ever gone ghost hunting?

Tell about a haunted house you went through.

Have you ever been on a hay ride?

Did you ever play in piles of leaves?

Do you remember making Halloween decorations at school?

Tell about carving a pumpkin.






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Remember When: Birth Day

This is where I was born; more-or-less. My parents owned a cafe in this location and had a small trailer next door. I was born in that trailer in the middle of the night.
The doctor that came to the house was Dr. Amzy A. Hull. I still remember my grandma, who was just 3 years older than him, telling me over and over that he always considered me his "miracle."

I was very premature and spent a couple of months in an incubator. 


After delivering me the doctor put me in bed with my ten-year-old sister to keep me warm while he cared for Mother. Sissy always told me I was the ugliest little thing she'd ever seen.

My sissy and I. I'm guessing I was 2 or 3. 

This post has taken me hours to "write" because I decided I needed to know exactly who the doctor was and where the hospital was. I think the hospital was what later became the Bethel Home. I'm not sure of that.

I did learn that Doctor Hull died in September 1986 after retiring to another Kansas town. It's funny to think that he might have been able to meet my daughter when we traveled back there in 1981. 

I've often thought of trying to get the old town paper on microfilm to read about the family. I printed out the reference and plan on ordering it soon. I know the cafe burned down when I was still little and they only saved our trailer because somebody hooked it up to their truck and pulled it off the lot. Sissy always wondered about the specifics. I'm to late to tell her but I'm going to find out.

What stories can you research and fill in for your family?

Memoir Prompts:

Do you know anything about the person who delivered you? 
Was it a doctor, family member, nurse, midwife?

Where did you fall in the birth order of siblings?

Did you attend kindergarten? Do you have any memories?

What is your favorite month of the year?

What is something you have always wanted to do but never got around to?

How far back can you go on your family tree?

Did you ever have a tree house?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Birthday highlights

I've had a week of birthday fun. And it is continuing. 
Tuesday after writer's group Cindi and Susanne took me to dinner. I didn't get pictures of that but Cindi gave me this wonderful twirler for the patio. (Thank you, friends.)

Friday a package came with these instructions. I was heading out the door so I didn't 
get to "savor and enjoy" until later.

Chocolate and nut covered strawberries. Jessica called as I was opening them. She asked how big they are so I put a penny in the photo. They are very big and very yummy.
Thank you, Lydia.

(There's nothing like chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast.)

Saturday my mother's night blooming cirrus started growing blooms. It has never bloomed in the fall before. Actually it has been blooming all summer which is very unusual.


What a better way to spend the day then with a group of writers. 

Cindi, again. This time introducing our speaker at the Phoenix Writers Club luncheon. 

Laurie Schnebly was our 
speaker and she was quite entertaining. 


Eileen wore her Halloween costume but I think maybe she was just adding sparkle to my birthday. lol


After the Phoenix Writers Club I stopped by to see another friend promote her SEVEN books.
It was very nice and I came home with one about Ireland. 
Very nice, Michele. Thank you.
(You can find Michele Venne's books on Amazon.)




And last, but certainly not least, today my hubby is making his Best in the West baby back ribs with little red potatoes and asparagus. He also baked lemon poppy seed muffins.

When we get a chance we are going shopping for a new lens for my Canon camera. 
WooHoo. Being 60 is great!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

North Mountain Visitor's Center




Last weekend I went to a writing workshop at the North (Phoenix) Mountain Visitor's Center.
I didn't even know this place existed. 
It is beautiful. 


The center is the beginning point for miles of desert hiking paths.

More than that it has display areas, classrooms, a gift shop, a library and so much more.


One of the displays on desert flora, fauna and friendly and not-so-friendly creatures. 

A cool horny toad bench. 


And a javalina statue for those who know to stay away from the real thing.

I wasn't dressed for even a short hike and I didn't have time to explore the center but I'm going to keep it in mind for a future visit. Especially when the grandson's come.  


Saguaro cacti and a beautiful fall day in the desert. 



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Remember When: Writing Memoirs

I am taking a little break from my usual post to share a few things I learned at a special memoir writing workshop presented by Phoenix area author and publisher Patricia L. Brooks.

Patricia is president of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers and the presented was hosted by the Arizona Authors Association. 

The workshop was held at the North Mountain Visitor's Center which I've never seen. 

As you can see it is a beautiful facility and it was a beautiful Arizona fall day.

A few things that Patricia said about memoirs are worth noting:
Truth is telling Your story.
Truth is more exciting than fiction.

She stressed finding the who and what you will be writing about and making a rough outline. She also stressed, over and over, the importance of journaling. 

Watch for the themes and threads that come out over time. 



Your memory may be different tn somebody else's but it is Your memory and Your truth.
Some poetic license is okay. For example you may not remember a conversation exactly but as long as you stay true to your memory your memoir will be appropriate. 

Do whatever you can to bring your memory back. Visit the locations, study photos 
and documents, talk to those involved. 


Most important, to me, is of course to keep the pen moving. In that light here are this week's prompts:
(And a special thank you to Patricia for sharing her expertise.)

Memoir Prompts:

Visualize a favorite place you visited as a child. Rebuild it using all your senses.

Who was your best friend in elementary school?

Can you speak a second language? How did you learn it?

Write about seeing a squirrel or chipmunk. Did you feed them?

Describe breakfast time in your childhood home.

Is there someplace in your town that you've never visited. Why not?

Write about fall leaves, traditions, foods and special memories. 





Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Remember When: Grandma Great


When my sister was a little girl she called our great grandmother, Nellie, "Grandma Great" and that name always stuck. This is her and my mother or one of my aunts.

I'm not even sure where this was. It's one of those photos I wish I'd talked to my grandmother or others about when I could.

When I look at photos like this I spend as much time looking at the background as I do the people. What was going on? What were all those things in the background? Why is that stuff piled on that table?

I love these little "slice of life" photos and perhaps one day I will sit down and use this one as a writing prompt and make up my own stories about "Grandma Great."

Memoir Prompts:

What "slice of life" would show up in photos of your present life?

Write a story, real or imagined, about one of your ancestors.

Who do you need to talk to about your family and the old photographs while you still can?

Draw a map of your childhood neighborhood.

Describe your elementary school.

What did you call your grandparents and/or great grandparents?

What nicknames did your family members have?


Friday, October 4, 2013

Tempe Town Lake

When I posted a photo on FB about our anniversary and walking around Tempe Town Lake 
I received many comments about not recognizing the area. Or some realized it was Tempe but 
couldn't figure out the lake part. 

For those that have been away for awhile they dammed up the Salt River and made a lake front. It is a wonderful area to walk, take photos, fish and just relax. There are water fountains for adults, children and dogs. Bikers and joggers share the paths. The parking lot was filled including a limousine and a party bus; probably on their way to the ASU game.

There's boating.  



These two views are the Mill Avenue Bridge. 


Looking towards the old Hayden Mill. Offices and condos line the waterfront.

I lost count of the number of photographers doing shoots of pregnant couples, engagement 
couples, models, and other groups I wasn't sure about. I got to wondering where they all went 
to do shoots before the lake opened. 

The Tempe Center for the Arts is at one end of the park.

Lots of feathered friends.

To learn more about the area and see the history of the development go here.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Remember When: Strong Women


The women of my life have all been exceptionally strong. 

I've been missing them lately; even more than usual.

This five generation photo was taken in 1989 a few months before my mother passed away. 
Since then we've lost three more leaving only my great niece, the little girl.
The women are my mother on the left, my niece, my grandma and my sister. 

Grandma grew up in Southwestern Kansas and learned to crawl on a dirt floor with flour sacking for a rug.
My mother was a divorcee in the 1950's and raised my sister and I completely on her own.
My sister grew up watching our abusive father and then raising her own children, running a farm and keeping us all in line by sheer will. 
My niece had numerous health problems and still raised her two children by herself.

Her daughter, Liz, is raising a son on her own and following in her granny's (my sister) footsteps of holding the family together. 

A few weeks ago Liz commented that I am now the matriarch of our family. I  hadn't thought of it this way because I always think of the direct line of five generations of women. I also have a daughter and she and her husband are raising two boys with ADHD and/or autism.

I don't feel strong enough to be a matriarch but I do my best. 

Who says women can't lead the world?

Memoir Prompts:

Who were/are the matriarchs of your family?

What traits do you most remember about women in your family?

What animal do you most identify with? 

When was the last time you were at a lake?

What is your favorite season?

Have you ever had your handwriting analyzed?

If you could have any type of food right now, what would it be?