Amanuensis Monday...Mattie's Journal and Letters

Mattie's Journal and Letters
The Year of Mourning

Trail of Tears
by Sandra S. Pittman

July 26, 1895
Today is Pa's birthday. He has been sad since Mama died. He misses her something terrible...we all do. I tried my best to make supper special for him. I baked sweet bread and cooked a stew. Pa said it was good and thanked me for setting the table with Mama's embroidered table cloth. I put a dish towel over it for baby Grady. We all held hands as Pa blessed the supper. He thanked the Lord for us and sent our love to Mama in heaven. Amen. Mattie

August 20, 1895
Dear Beulah,
      How are you? We are all doing fine. Grady fell off the porch last week and cut his arm. Lizzy has been helping me with the washing. She is tall enough now to hang the clothes over the fence. The garden is ready for picking. Mama would be happy to see all the seeds she planted made a good crop.       We should be shucking the corn in a week or two. I am hoping you can come for the tomato and okra canning. I am not sure I know how to do all the canning by myself.
     Pa and the boys have been working from morning til dark in the fields. Chappo says the cotton crop is good this year. The cotton chopping has been hard with the weeds growing so thick. It has been the same in the garden. We are mindful to take a hoe when picking tomatoes. I chopped off the head of a snake a few days ago.
      Pa wanted to know if you would get the canning supplies before you come, Beulah. He can't get to town before then, and said you would know what to buy. He will pay you when you come. Mama's jars are washed and ready. I hope there will be enough of them. I'm glad you and Lula are coming.
      Today is Mama's birthday. We all miss her more than I can say. I am trying my best, but it seems I never get done with the daily chores. How did she do it all? We are all counting the days until you and Lula can come.
Your sister,
Mattie Maude Pittman Faulkner
Born: October 23, 1880
Died: April 14, 1948  
Daughter of: George Washington Pittman and Emma June Howell Pittman
Dear Readers,
     Although these are a fictitious journal entry and letter, they are based on documented, timelined events and historical research.  Mattie was the sister of my paternal grandfather and one of my notable Texas Women Ancestors. 
For more about her 'Year of Mourning' and the 'Trail of Tears' Legend,
please enter Tracks of My Texas Ancestors  and continue reading.

The Post Chapel - Fort Davis, Texas

The Post Chapel ruins and the historical account of it's importance at Fort Davis, Texas.

This past September HiHoney and I visited Historical Fort Davis, Texas.
Here are the CollectInTexas Gal Posts about our trip.
Photos by CollectInTexas Gal.

HighO' Silverado
Fort Davis Photo Tour...The History
West Texas Frontier Fort Life...Enlisted Men
Frontier Wife's Kitchen
Sick In The Head?...There's A Pink Cure


The Good Ole HiTech Turkey Days

"Those were they days...yep, The Good Ole Days"
HiHoney, do you remember the Thanksgiving we served 'Thanksgiving and Christmas?
You know Sue, funny you should mention those two birds, I was just thinking about them. 
Has it really been 20 years?

Thanksgiving 1991 will always be one of my favorite Turkey Day memories. 
In the spring that year, we were given two baby turkeys which I named Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
Being a practical country gal, it seemed the best thing to do was to feed out these two cute baby birds and have them ready for the Holiday Platters.
My, how things have changed in 20 years.  HiHoney and I no longer live in the country.   We still drive a Truck...but switched from Ford to a Texas Edition Hi O Silverado Chevrolet!  And thanks to the HiTech Dudes, we don't have to pull over in Rankin to use MaBell's Pay Phone.  Ain't It Amazin'!!!

This Thanksgiving we made the 'Good Ole Days Trip". 
You know, the "Over the river and through the woods" to somebody else's cooking!  
It's been several years since we spent Thanksgiving with HiHoney's Sisters. 
It was just like "The Good Ole Days"!
Since I didn't cook, I volunteered to wash dishes!

Yes, we are Thankful and Blessed!
Then and Now!
You know HiHoney, I bet in twenty years we will look back at Thanksgiving 2011 and say,
"Those were the Good Ole Days"!!!

PS...Christmas and Thanksgiving did make it to the Holiday Platters in 1991. 
HiHoney said they were the toughest turkeys he ever tasted. 
Me?  I could not eat a single bite of those cute baby birds!
We should have Pardoned them!

Thanks Beverly for Always Making
Saturday Pink!!!


Wednesdays Foto Focus ... Turkey Platter and Blessing

Wishing Ya'll a Blessed and Bountiful Thanksgiving!

We Give Thanks
For each New Morning with it's light
For Rest and Shelter of the night
For Health and Food

For Family and Friends
For Everything Thy Goodness sends.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Talented Tuesday - The BroncBuster and The HorseWhisperer

"That dang bronc had thrown every cowboy on the ranch including me more than once. We were about to send him to pasture, when Gid drove up in that broken down thing he’s so proud of.

He asked us if that sorry mount was too much horse for all us broken down bronc busters. A couple of the older wranglers swelled up and said they’d get that black devil broke before the week was out. 

Gid opened the gate, walked around talkin’ real quiet and soothin’ like, all the time inching closer to the horses’ head.   We was all gettin’ a spot on the corral fence thinkin’ we’d be seein’ that ‘Old Man’ hit the dirt like the rest of us had done tryin’ to break this black beauty. It was somethin’ to see, I’ll tell ya that. That horse was bewitched or somethin’. He never twitched a muscle as Gid stroked his neck and talked in his ear. I had a hell of a time just getting the saddle on him not an hour earlier, and there he stood as docile as an old broodin’ mare after pitchin’ everyone of us in the dirt."

My Dad, the Bronc Buster, told this story many times while we sat on the 'Horse Whisperer's front porch.   The stories always started out with, "Gid, do you remember the time when...".  And then Dad would tell about how Gid could charm horses, all sorts of critters and people.  Why he knew for a fact that Gid could charm a rattlesnake right out of it's skin.  Gid was a remarkable man with many talents and a photographic memory....so they said. 

The Bronc Buster was a gifted horseman and the Horse Whisperer was a gifted story teller.  I was the 'Bronc Buster's daughter, the 'Horse Whisperer's adopted granddaughter, a great porch sitter and a good listener.  It is my great pleasure to share one of their remember whens!

Rattlesnakes, Sidewinder and Flyin' Contraptions
by Sandra Sue Pittman

The days had passed into weeks and the weeks into months, and as time had a way of doing, the months added up to a few years since Bob Offield* had seen Willard and MD. Those Pittman boys were the closest folks he could call family. “Lordy, I sure regret not makin’ the marriage to Martha Jane* work out,” Bob thought as he sat rockin’ on the same porch where Willard and MD visited mite near everyday after school. “Yep, those two rowdy boys growed up purt near right before my tired ole eyes and left Chappo* livin’ by hisself down there by the ‘Ditch’.” 
Last he’d heard MD had joined the Air Force. Now that was somethin’ to think about. Air Force. It taxed his mind to understand all them new fangled flyin’machines. It amazed him to see the planes fly overhead as they took off and landed at the Rattlesnake Air Field* over in Pyote. “Why, I remember the days when the only thang flyin’ over hot dusty West Texas was buzzards,” he mused as he looked to the sky.

Down the dusty road just before crossing the ditch, Willard wondered if ‘Old Bob’ would be porch sitting. It had been six months or more since he’d had a day off from the Wristen Ranch*, and today he was on his way home. Sure enough, ‘Old Bob’ was on the porch in that old chair, looking at the sky. As soon as Bob saw the cowboy, his hand went up in greeting and he leaned heavily on the arms of the rocker as he stood to meet Willard at the edge of the porch.   ....continued HERE!


Tis Not The Season...for Pink Roses!

Texas Mother Nature has had Her Undies In A Wad All Year! 
So I guess we should not be surprised that the
 Bloomin' Rose Blooming Season
 changed from September/October to this late date in November.

So there Ya'll have it...Pink Roses In November!
Thank-you Texas Mother Nature!
Beverly at How Sweet The Sound

And as Always, Thanks Beverly, for Making Saturday's Pink!!!!


November Roses?!?! TexMotherNature Gone Nuts!!

Thank-you Texas Mother Nature for 'This ONE White Rose' from the
 One White Rose Bush that has here-to-fore in the best of Rose Blooming Seasons
 never produced anything but
 'Whimpy White Roses'. 
 The Bee's thank-you, too!

Ya'll Come Back for
Pink Saturdays Pink Rose Bush Photo Party!


Wednesday FotoFocus...Go Fish

Many men...and women...go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
  ~Henry David Thoreau~

We went Fishin' on The Concho River!
Here's what HiHoney did!
He and Henry David Thoreau think alike!

Another of HiHoney's Fishin' Philosophies...
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. 
Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day. 
Here's what I did!
There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast,
 others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home.
  ~Roderick Haig-Brown, Fisherman's Spring, 1951
What Our Bobber did!
There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot. 
~Steven Wright~
So true Steven...that's why I always Go Fishin' with NeatONikon.

Then I just look like an idiot standing on the bank baiting the fish to jump out of the water and say Cheese!
~CollectInTexas Gal~

Anyways, if you really wanna know the truth...
Fishing is the sport of drowning worms. 
A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work. 
Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.
Besides...of all the liars among mankind, the fisherman is the most trustworthy.
  ~William Sherwood Fox, Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, 1954~

So, Go Fish, Ya'll
And may the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it. ~Irish Blessing


Tuesdays Tip~Photo Detective

I don't know about you, but my Family Picture Takers and Photo Album Keepers
must have thought that the Future Generation Viewers were going to have
Super Deductive-MindReading Powers.
It is RARE that I find a picture with ANY hint of WhoWhatWhenWhere!

Like this one sent to me in 1996 by my Dad's First Cousin Tom Pittman and his wife Jean.  It was from their Photo Album and he thought I should have it since it was an early picture of me, my parents and siblings along with his Mother and his children. 
A note came with the photo that filled in a few VIP Facts:
...found the picture of your Mom and Dad's visit in El Paso so many years ago...I will have a copy made.
...There are 3 children in the picture...you, Tommy and a baby.
...PittMama is holding our Judy and son Larry is to her right.
...the photo will not copy...so enjoy!
Needless to say I was thrilled to have the original and the information about the picture.
For the rest of the Who's What's Where's and When's...
....My SuperDeductiveSleuthin' Powers!

#1.  The Baby is my Sister Sonja born in November 1950.  She looks to be close to one year old.
#2.  My Dad...Willard C. Pittman...with HAIR...I don't remember him ever having that much hair...loved seeing that.
#3.  Dad's pockets held Camel cigarettes and box matches.  *a vip hint for future reference.
#4.  I had a CURLY head of hair.  I have naturally STRAIGHT hair...Mom must have given me one of her famous 'overly processed Perms'...probably a Toni!
#5.  I'm wearing shorts....it was SUMMER.
#6.  I guess I was born with KNOBBY KNEES...I still have them...wonder what ancestor started those!
#7.  My brother Tommy was a Shrimp!  His size 3Slim jeans were really probably size 4Slims rolled up and belted.  Mother was a believer in making things last....like Wranglers and Toni's.
#8.  Mother was a FashionIsta!  Rolled up Jeans, sleeveless blouse, dark lipstick and a Home Toni!  She was beautiful...still is!
#9.  My Great Aunt Mary Ella Carroll Pittman aka PittMama to her children and grandchildren.  Her sister was my Grandmother Estella Carroll Pittman...Dad's Mother.  Notice that their Maiden and Married names are the SAME.  *a vip hint for future reference.
#10.  A cousin I didn't know I had.  He's also wearing shorts...it's Summer!
#11.  Back of the photo!  Confirms it came from a photo album with the sticky sheets and even if Jean had written on the back it would not have been visible.  Maybe she had a tag!  For sure it was a special photo for Tom and Jean.
SuperSleuthing Deductions
When:  Summer...August 195l
Where:  El Paso, Texas at  Tom and Jean Pittman's home in *Wherry Housing near Biggs Base.
Who:  PittMama...nickname for Aunt Ella.  *Larry - Jean's son by former marriage. *Judith Lee born in January 1951 in El Paso and described as having her Grandmother's...PittMama...strong willed mind of her own.
What...I learned...There is more to a Photo than meets the eye!

More SuperSleuthing Questions!
Who took this picture?
What happened to Larry?
What is Biggs Base?

I bet I will find the answers to these questions in this book written about Tom Pittman.
It's where I found the * (asterick marked) facts in the Deductions.

*vip future references
*Camel cigarettes-the most recognized cigarette package even by children...
In 1991, the American Medical Association published a report stating that 5- and 6-year olds could more easily recognize Joe Camel than Mickey Mouse, Fred Flintstone, Bugs Bunny or even Barbie.  (Wikepedia)  I was 4 years old and Tommy was 3 yrs. old.  Dad smoked from about the age of 10 years old until his death in 1988 of lung cancer. 

 *Maiden and Married names the SAME:  Sisters Stella and Ella Carroll married Brothers Chappo and Cobb Pittman.  This made their children including my Dad and Tom, Double Cousins.  It has been amazing to see how much the Cousins looked alike...more like Siblings!

Tuesdays Tip
A picture is Worth MORE than a Thousand Words...
...even without the
Who What When and Where's!


More Photos of Vintage Photos Collection...A Kinda-Sorta Tutorial

Thank you so much for your interest and comments about my Photos of Vintage Photos Collection posted on yesterdays Pink Saturday.  I thought I'd elaborate on my 'Setting Em'Up" techniques...not really techniques, but more like grabbing this and that, borrowing from here and there, and well, okay...a few Techniques for Successful Setups.

First, I will tell you that many of the photos in my collection are NOT my People/Ancestors, but Vintage Photos that I find in my Junktique Adventures.  I do buy a few, but mostly, I take photos of them in settings like the one shown here of the old Philco.

 Of course it helps that I am an Antique Dealer and have access to an Antique Shop where I am able to 'SetEm'Up' and photograph.  Most Antique Shops are very accomodating about photographing in their shops, but it is a good idea to ask for permission.

Sometimes finding the photos can be a challenge as many Antique Dealers with old photos tend to hide them in boxes and stick them under the bottom shelf where only dustbunnies and creepy crawlies live.  You'd think they really didn't want to sell them, and if you are lucky enough to find a whole Album of old pictures...you have hit the jackpot!

Once I have found the photo or photos as in the case here of what is apparently photos from the same family....always look for like framing and studio markings, and I think they look like brother and sister.  Then I start gathering the rest of the props.  On this particular setup, I actually started with the Focus Prop....the old Philco radio/record player and thought about how my Grandmother would have used it in her living room.  So, from here and there I borrowed the rest of the props and photos...always remembering where I borrowed them from so they could be returned.
Once the 'SetUp' is ready, I take multiple photos from different angles.  Some with the entire 'SetUp' showing the booth in the background and then Closeups.

Here are a few Rules of Design to consider when 'Setting Up' a Still Life:
~Something Large, Something Medium and Something Small.
~Group the Lrg-Med-Sm in THREE's.
~Consider Colors and Textures
~Overlap, Layer and Stack

Turn your camera for verticle shots, horizontal shots and diagonal shots.

Much of the fun is in the Editing when you get home to your PC.  I use Windows 7 Live Photo Gallery where cropping, exposure, changing Effects, Sizing,and many more Editing features can be used.  I also use Paint.  It is my 'Old Standby' for Editing and I often take photos from WinPhotoGallery to Paint for some 'Sue Special Techniques' like these....

 These certificates and photo are from my Mothers high school scrap book.  In paint, I am able to enlarge, copy, paste and layer images to create the collage.  Takes some practice, several open windows and did I mention practice.  Paint was my First Editing program, and with the Windows 7 Version it is pretty User Friendly.  This Photo of my Vintage Photo Collections was featured in Scrapbook Revelations...Thelma the Scabby Knees Stenographer.

Another Paint Collage of my Great Great Aunt Palmyra used in the post

And lastly, my Favorite SetUp Photos...my own Family Memorabilia and Photos.
This one of a letter from my Grandmother Estella,  her vase and the photo of my brother and me
 with our Grandmother we met only once. 
That story on Tracks of My Texas Ancestors

I hope some of my Photo SetUp Ideas will give you some
Ideas and Inspiration!
Thanks again for your interest in my Vintage Photo Collections,
CollectInTexas Gal and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors.

PS...One More Tip...Most any Photo can be made to look Vintage!  Just change it to Black&White or Sepia Tones.  You can do this in most of your PC Photo Programs.  In Windows Live Gallery it is an EFFECT choice.  And for even more Fun Effects...give PICNIC a try. 


Vintage Photos...Collecting and Sharing On Pink Saturday

I love old photos...especially ones of my ancestors...but related or not, I find collecting them to be an intriguing look into the Past.  I am afterall, looking at 'Real People' who lived real lives with real families, hopes dreams and aspirations.  

  One of my favorite ways of collecting old photos is as part of a Still Life Photo.  Like the two I'm showing here for Pink Saturday.  They are not part of my physical collection, but part of my Photos of  Vintage Photos Collection.   I start with a photo and add pieces to the set up that relate to what the photo says to me.  For instance, the young man in the heavy coat.  Just look at that coat with those big buttons....old cards of big buttons....perfect prop.  I knew I'd be using this for Pink Saturday so I needed a touch of pink and found it in the vintage pin cushion of fabric from about the same era.   Don't you think that the coat looks a bit too big for him?  Hmmmmm....there's a STORY in there, too...another Prompt for another Pink Saturday!

Here's a list of Vintage Photo Websites that might interest Ya'll.
Be sure and check out the SideBars of each of these sites for
Links to More Vintage Photo Sites.

I am very fortunate to have these Family Heirlooms and original photographs of my Great Grandmother. 
 Don't they make a wonderful Photo for My Vintage Photo Collection?
See My Great Grandmothers Vintage Photo Album in the Post below

Speaking of Treasures....Beverly at How Sweet The Sound
And As Always...Thanks Beverly for Making Saturday Pink!


TreasureChest Thursday...Family Heirloom Photo Album

Dear Great Grandmother,
I am writing you today on Great Grandfather Stephen's 139th birthday, to let you know that your Photo Album is safe and treasured.   I wonder about your thoughts as you placed the photos in the album. 

Like the Family Portrait of you, Stephen, Othello, Merritt and Estella, my Grandmother.  You wrote on the back 'self and family..all children brown eyes' and then signed your name, address and directions to the farm where you were living.   Did you know how important that bit of information would be?    Did you wonder about me?

I think you must have, for if not for you, I would not be me.  And The Album... well, Martha Jane Marley Carroll....it is proof that you were a Family Genealogist....just like me.

Your Grateful GreatGranddaughter,
Sandra Sue

Stephen Bennett and Martha Jane Marley Carroll's Family Heirloom Album
can be viewed on
Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
Link HERE.
The Album is a Restoration Work In Progress
Many of the Photos are still unidentified.