Birthday Celebrations

pictures-me-baby-pic-at-the-ranch-copy
Taking a bath at Grandma and Grandpa’s house – Hotchkiss, Colorado

According to my mama, I was supposed to be a June baby with a due date somewhere between the 25th through the 30th. But since I was destined to be a stubborn one, I decided to wait and then wait some more. As the month of June crept by and as July opened its doors, my grandmother, Elva Bryant Allen, and my father began teasing one another that I would be born on their prospective birthdays: my father’s birthday was the eighth while my grandmother’s was the tenth. My mother, being equally stubborn, decided that I would be born on the fourth, so that I would be an Independence Day baby. And just like that, I was born on July 4, 1961 at Ft Lewis, Seattle, Washington. Since I was an army brat, my mom only had to pay for her meals. This little firecracker cost a measly $7.50. As a child when I was told that I was their cheapest baby, I cried!  Continue reading “Birthday Celebrations”

Finding Annie Part Two

1cherryvale
Main Street, Cherryvale, Kansas

The town of Cherryvale was nestled among the gentle sloping hills of southeastern Kansas. The town was aptly named for wild cherry trees bloomed every spring and an outpouring of wildflowers graced the landscape. By 1886, the railroad boom provided an atmosphere of adventure as this town began growing. The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway along with the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway had laid its tracks into this upcoming hamlet. Many businesses flourished and helped establish this developing area. Cherryvale had its own privately owned fire station. The town had six different brick factories; so many streets, sidewalks and buildings were built from sun-dried bricks. The city made use of the natural gas from the oil fields, for it was an inexpensive source of fuel. Electric streetcars ran the course of Main Street and provided access to the local  businesses. Cherryvale had a bank, churches, and a school. This growing community boasted three newspapers, The Herald and the Cherryvale Torch, and the Cherryvale Republican. It even had its very own opera house. The population had grown to about 2400, and life flourished in Cherryvale.  Continue reading “Finding Annie Part Two”

Finding Annie – Part One

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The camera only captured a glimpse of her…

Since I began researching my family tree, one great grandmother has eluded me. This great grandmother, Anna Strassburg, has initiated many restless nights as I have tried exploring her life. She has haunted me as I have searched record after record and web site after website. I have always wanted to learn more about her, but for a long time, it appeared that Annie just vanished. Once she left her home in Cherryvale, Kansas and arrived in Colorado, all trails ended in Gunnison.  Continue reading “Finding Annie – Part One”

The King’s Daughters

1-copy-2
Arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Standing on the deck of the ship, the wind tugged at her hair, pulling it free from the combs and pins that tried to keep rebellious strands in place. As she viewed the harbor and the lands before her, the beating of her heart quickened as she thought about the strange new life that waited for her. She could hardly imagine what secrets this new land presented; where would she live? What would her new life offer? But mostly she wondered about her future husband and her bewilderment consumed her.
Continue reading “The King’s Daughters”

Crossing Paths with Anne Bradstreet

2
Painting of Anne Dudley Bradstreet by LaDonna Gulley Warrick

“I am obnoxious to each carping tongue Who says my hand a needle better fits, A Poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong, For such despite they cast on Female wits.”

                                         -Anne Bradstreet

Traditionally, the role of a woman in American society has never really been an easy one. Too many requests from an outside world have continued to demand our attention, time, and energy. Out-dated traditions and norms have still generated tension as customs try to manipulate and shame the strongest of women. Throughout history women have struggled in this balancing act of managing love, family, beliefs, and work, whether they work in the home or out of the home, or more realistically and to the point, juggle both. Still, women have fashioned ways to stay grounded as they uphold responsibilities while finding ways to carve out time for their own creative undertakings. So, imagine my surprise and my delight when I discovered that one of my grandmothers was a strong woman of faith and a feminist in her own right who followed her dreams despite the societal and man-made religious mandates of her time. Although Anne Bradstreet lived in a Puritan society that strictly monitored the life of a woman, she still found the courage to write her poetry and share her spiritual insights and musings of a mother, wife, and a believer that lived in a strange new world.  Continue reading “Crossing Paths with Anne Bradstreet”

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition

My writing challenge for the year stems from  this challenge by Amy Crow Johnson.  Several months ago, I came across her family history site, No Story Too Small.
Although the challenge took place two years ago, I decided to follow the selections for this upcoming year.  I am excited!  Letting the writing begin!  Continue reading “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition”