Update about blog

Summertime in Black Mountain

My other blogs: Alchemy of Clay
Three Family Trees...the Swasey, Booth and Rogers families, now being published every other day or so...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Close or distant relations

I find it interesting that a cousin of some level of remove, has written that my ancestors from Sevierville, TN came to the Americas on the Mayflower.

However, my grandfather, George Rogers, who was a direct descendent from these Rogers, typed by hand, in the 1950s, from the recorded entries in The Rogers Family Bible.

The first entry in the family Bible under the listing of births, deaths and marriages was:

Henry Rogers, c.1741-1794. In American Revolution; of Farquier County, VA, Chatham County, NC, and Sevier County, TN

There are details which came from other sources showing that our branch came from England into Jamestown, VA.  Nothing about Mayflower.

Of course there were lots of wives and their fathers and mothers, and so maybe someone else came from MA.

I do know that I'm a direct descendent of those Tennessee pioneers, wherever they might have originally hailed from.  I've found that the early records in Sevier County were lost in a court house fire, which makes this primary source of information more valuable.

To continue with the typed record from my grandfather, out of the Rogers Family Bible:
Rev. Elijah Rogers  b. May 1774 Farquier County, VA d. 5.11.1841; son of Henry Rogers and Elizabeth Lankford Rogers of New Jersey.  Rev. Rogers was a Baptist Lay Pastor, fought with Col. Dogherty in E. Tennessee Militia against Cherokees, and with Col Dogherty to Natchez to force surrender of New Orleans by Spanish in 1803;  farm located at mouth of Little Pigeon River and French Broad River

This marker was pictured on Ancestry.com

A historical note is that the Tennessee forces didn't get to the Natchez Trace until after the war was over and peace had brought a lot of new territory to the United States.

I confess it's much easier to enjoy looking at the names and dates (about all that remains of some of these lives) than to keep track of the names and birthdates of my own close relatives.  I have no idea of the dates of my cousin's children, nor their marriages, nor their children.  So there are a lot of folks I'm related to which I haven't kept track of.

That's my own fault of course.  I left Texas as an 8 year old, and was raised in St. Louis until I left my parent's home at age 21.  Then I married and went off to raise my own family and then was divorced.  I'm sorry that while I was a young single mother with a career (who also went back to college) that I missed out on keeping track of cousins in Texas and Wisconsin.

Sometimes I see other young people doing the same thing, focusing upon the survival and demands of their own family.  Now I've got the time and the interest, and I won't be welcome I fear, by any of these relatives.

So I share what is available either through my grandfather's interest in his ancestors, or from here on the net, and maybe from various old albums of photos.   Since my grandfather was orphaned very young, his interest probably was similar to mine, to fill in gaps with people who had gone before rather than those who were around while we were growing up.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday for this week, and again I have nothing that's a direct inspiration from the photo suggested.  But you know I'll be looking at what everyone else has come up with.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grey Eagle and the Swannanoa River

Now that I've got a blog dedicated to Black Mountain and all of Western North Carolina, I seldom think of putting my local pictures here.

But you deserve to see something pretty here too!

Here's our sweet Swannanoa River as it goes by River Walk Park downtown.  Unfortunately the park is behind a huge grocery store and its parking lot, so most of our tourist visitors will never see it.  Close by is where it goes under I-40, probably the first time.  I think it goes curving along and probably goes back and forth again.

So from I-40, go north on Hwy 9, just a half block, and take a right into Bi-Lo Grocery parking lot, and skirt the parking area by driving on the left side of the lot till you get behind the store and see this sign.  Yes the gravel bank behind the sign is the railroad.  We have an active freight line, with trains rumbling and whistling all times of day and night.

The path along the river shows the difference between the wetlands along the river on the right and the store's loading docks on the left.

Until 1850's the town was known as Grey Eagle, as the Cherokee Indians had named it.

Then roads and trains came through, on the way to Asheville from the eastern North Carolina cities, and by 1893 the town name of Black Mountain was incorporated.

These are family names that were among settlers in the first century of Black Mountain's existence.  I think about how their lives evolved as they cleared land, started businesses, rode first just horses, buggies, trains, then finally cars along highways.

And the Swannanoa River kept on flowing.

Bridget, the fiery one

 The fiery one...keeper of the fire, but much more than that.  She is the goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft, (metal working, and jewelry.)
Bridget lantern
This was one of my earliest lantern shapes.  Since Bridget's Day (Imbolc) is coming up, February first, I thought I'd share her again.

I'll try to find some of the information that talks about her, quite an interesting goddess turned saint for the Christians.

At this time, nuns in Ireland now keep Bridget's eternal flame alight again.  Wikipedia says the Celtic goddess Brigid,was the goddess of agriculture and healing and also of poetry and fire.

She is known to have started the tradition of keening when someone you love dies.  And she taught people how to whistle, as a way of communicating through the woods at night.

Author Elizabeth Cunningham speaks of Bridget and compares her to Patricia Monaghan here.

A few miracles have been handed down from the stories, such as the one about her cloak and the king.  Wikipedia says it this way:
One of the more commonly told stories of St. Brigid was when she went to the King of Leinster to ask for land to build a convent. She told the king that the place where she stood was the perfect place for a convent. It was beside a forest where they could collect firewood and berries. There was also a lake nearby that would provide water and the land was fertile. The king laughed at her and refused to give her any land. Brigid prayed to God and asked him to soften the king’s heart. Then she smiled at the king and said “will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?” The king thought that she was joking and because Brigid’s cloak was so small he knew that it would only cover a very small piece of land. The king agreed and Brigid spread her cloak on the ground. She asked her four friends to hold a corner of the cloak and walk in opposite directions. The four friends walked north, south, east and west. The cloak grew immediately and began to cover many acres of land. The king was astonished and he realized that she had been blessed by God. The king fell to the ground and knelt before Brigid and promised her and her friends money, food and supplies. Soon afterwards, the king became a Christian and also started to help the poor and commissioned the construction of the convent. Legend has it, the convent was known for making jam from the local blueberries which was sought for all over Ireland. There is a new tradition beginning among followers of St. Brigit to eat jam on the 1st of February in honour of this miracle.  

But the eternal flame which used to be tended by the nuns at her convent, has been through several politically driven times, when it was allowed to go out, and now it is under the care of some of Bridget's followers.  When it was originally started, only 19 women were allowed to tend the flame, (with dire threats to any men who came nearby) for 19 days and nights, but on the 20th night, nobody watched the fire, because the goddess herself was tending it.

Imbolc is the Irish and pagan holy day which fits the agricultural year, the time of the ewes having milk returning as they get ready to give birth to lambs.

 I've already posted this same blog on Alchemy of Clay, because there is the lantern which I built.  But it is more appropriate to share this information here, I think.  So it's being given space today on each of my blogs!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flowers bloom then...

The delicate tracery of the flower cells shows through the light.  The Amaryllis has been growing and blooming since Christmas day.  Now is the time to cut it back, and let the bulb rest, and then hopefully have more growth this winter.

Since I'm trying to celebrate all stages of life these days, I've recorded the demise of the Amaryllis.  It does make me sad now.

Hanging in the kitchen as if they were herbs drying didn't last.  I kept seeing the red hanging there like a piece of meat.  It was sent to the recycling place very soon.

And into the living room came a gardenia bush that has been over-wintering on an enclosed porch (aka my studio) which didn't have much heat or light for the last month.

Now the other little plants will be fertilized and warmly welcomed where there's a southern exposure, and a heater all day.  They have been patient during the dark time.  And of course there's space for a cat to look out and leave nose prints on the window.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

who knows Sepia Saturday

I can't figure out a thing that relates to the picture Alan has given us.
So here I am again, browsing through old photos, wondering what you'd like to see...since it's obviously going to be some other topic completely!  I'll add this to a great group of photos on Sepia Saturday

It's June 1955.  Our family has a new Studebaker (the brand we always drove while I was young).

On the left is my grandfather Poppy, then my sister Mary Beth, and then myself around 13 years old.  Not sure what water is behind us.  But it may have been his and my grandmother's first visit to St. Louis, in which case we probably took them to see the locks on the Mississippi.  In the right hand picture, I'm playing like I'm driving.

Other women would have been my grandmother and mother, of course.

Don't you love those white wall tires?

Friday, January 25, 2013

The cats who chose us

Right after I turned 69, a lot was happening. My friend, The Enlightened One died after I came home from visiting my family in CT.  We (our church committee that helps people who are sick) planned to help with meals for care-givers, then out-of-town guests, and I was kind of coordinating that (except while I was out of pocket for 10 days).

Others planned a memorial (celebration of her life) service. 

The Women's group was asked to give a Sunday service for the church and I lost it at one of our meetings when I had conflict with another member, so I just took a minor role in it.

You've already read about my high school friend (The Flowery One) and her family who went through a major crisis in her life.  

And of course my internet servers (gmail, yahoo) started acting up, with me losing some of the mail that she sent me.

So here's the next thing I wrote to The Flowery One and The Brain (my other high school friend):

"I'm getting another cat.  The calico that my friend, The Enlightened One was adopted by...she was feral and just starting coming inside and sleeping with her (I don't know how long ago)...so she's somewhat skitish, timid until she gets to know you.  She often would come up to me when I was at the medicine wheel in The Enlightened One's yard.

"Yep, Painter is an indoor/outdoor cat.  She is beautiful.  I'll try to find a picture to attach.


"I'm so thrilled to have another calico (my very favorite, and I think I've had more than my share, gratefully).

"She'll have to stay inside a few days to get used to the idea that she's living here...

we'll probably do the "adoption" on Fri.

"I've been talking to Muffin about having a little sister/room mate.  So far she seems ok with the idea.  We shall see when it happens.

Famous last words, eh?  Well, they do both love being given attention, and they put up with each other!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Write a book

Emails from September, 2011, the events in Washington that were of major concern (see last 2 posts for backstory)

From my friend, The Flowery One:

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 9:40 AM
Subject: Busy, busy day
I hope I have time to write more than a sentence or two. Son M. is on his way to pick me up. He called last night to set up the time and how we'd do it. The Silent One can go home today any time before 10 o'clock at night, so the kids are arranging it for me. 

Thank goodness because I wanted to be there when they sprung The Silent One. 
 All that's important for now is that The Silent One is coming home today. Hooray!

And later this good news came:

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 9:02 PM
Subject: The Silent One is home!
The Silent One is home and resting. Whew, what a time of it for all. He has all weekend now to just sit and rest. Then Monday he has his doctor/psychologist's appointment. Then he has to stop at the clinic and see if they'll give him a prescription for more meds which he's been out of for FOUR MONTHS and didn't tell me. No wonder his blood sugar shot up so high...300. He's feeling better emotionally but still very, very fragile, and of course his body has taken a beating too. You're right about not expecting things to go back to the way they were. We don't WANT it to go back. That's what got him in the trouble and the depression he's in. Things will be on the upswing from now on.

We're going to stop working 24/7 and only work the hours they pay us.  We'll take that time to look for new jobs and a new place to live. We've been invited to live with the family if we need it.

In fact, son M. has broken up with his partner for good. We even helped him pack a little today until The Silent One got too tired. It helped get The Silent One's mind off things to do that. Anyway, son M. is moving out tonight and staying in his sister-in-law's spare bedroom. He'll be getting a new place in the next few weeks.

I'm just SO glad to have my honey (haha, almost typed "homey") back again, alive and on his way to being happier and healthier!!!! I can breathe again. Thanks for all your good energies, support, words of wisdom, and love!!!

And my other friend, dear Brain, got into the conversation also, of course:
Sept 25

Dear  ones,
 I've just read all your messages. Oh my! What a difficult time you've been going through, Flowery One.  I'm grateful your family was nearby and rose up to meet your needs.

My first thought when I learned The Silent One had been told his regular job was ending or changing was that the agency is having severe financial problems and had to cut back on their expenses and the first place they would look at is in the workforce. That's been happening all over the U.S. and globally. The entire country and states are facing unrest and governments are being overturned, rioting everywhere, wars are starting. 

I'm so sorry that you both were deeply troubled by it. You are such clever, efficient, and creative workers that corporate must have wanted to make sure that you'd be willing to stay on with lower pay. 

Dear Flowery One, I'd been thinking (before this) of you and The Silent One writing a book, selling it. Your imagination would help you write a novel. Now I'm thinking you could write something about surviving so many different things that you've been going through. Like depression, or job loss, or living with an extended or blended family, or sharing a home. 

Then the Flowery One answered her:
Thanks for your e-mail, dear Brain. Yes, things have been rough but all that matters now is that The Silent One is home safe and sound and will most likely not do anything like that again now that he knows what I went through. He also knows it was so unnecessary, that (and you're right about this) it was in large part because of the company trying to save money! 

 As to writing a novel, you've hit on another thing that might turn out like that in a way. We've been talking about starting back up our old business, where we write and sell books for activity directors. That's still very possible. We just need to get settled somewhere so we can have a place to work and a place to store the books we sell. 

When picking nick-names for my friends, it was hard not to call The Brain, Motorcycle Mama.  But I refrained, because I really respect her intellect.  However, there is that other  persona in there too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Troubles for The Flowery One

Some emails flying back and forth:

See yesterday's post about The Silent One going missing and why.  I'm sharing this touching story because it was so unexpected, to have a friend suddenly be hit so hard by events, and to just disappear.
From me:
Mon, Sept 19,2011

Dear Flowery One:

I hope that by now The Silent One has come home...

I don't know The Silent One well enough to say whether or not this is unusual for him...but I do just hope that he needed to get some space from all the people that have made him feel badly.  Not meaning you, but the whole live-in and work-there thing is kind of too connected at this point.

From the Flowery One:
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:00 AM
Subject: RE: Worse troubles
It's 8:50 pm and The Silent One still isn't home, nor has he called.  I'm so worried.
And no, this isn't at all like him. He'd never worry me like this unless he's lost his mind with worry and depression.  He doesn't drink so he's not at a bar, unless he's decided to start drinking now.  I can't file a missing person report until noon tomorrow, 24 hours.

Thanks for the support.

From the Flowery One
 Sept. 20
No news about The Silent One yet, but I filed the missing persons report at noon, so they're out looking for him.

Then from the Flowery One


We found The Silent One!  I've visited him in the hospital and hugged the daylights out of him. Turns out he drove a long ways in a state of shock and depression over being demoted. He took a gun before leaving. I guess he had one in the trunk that I didn't know aboutAnyway, he drove a few hours, parked out in the woods and got out of the car.

He was going to shoot himself but couldn't so he stumbled around confused and crying and got lost, laid out in the wet and cold shivering all night without a coat.  Anyway, then he decided to get help and drove back to a hospital and checked himself in. The hospital found out he'd tried to shoot himself, called the police who confiscated his gun. Then the hospital sent him to a recovery center a few miles away where he will remain for a few days. He's getting insulin, pills for depression and counseling.

Turns out that part of the reason for all this is his blood sugar had shot up to over 300 and he wasn't thinking properly. It was the added stress of being demoted plus he'd been working way too hard and not eating right. He'd also been depressed and hiding it for weeks. 
The Silent One called me and we said we'd be right there, which we did as fast as we could. We had a nice long visit with himWhat a day, but a happy ending.

More about our jobs later as we know. As it stands, The Silent One will be assistant manager and I'll continue to do activities and cleaning. 

We plan on agreeing to the new arrangements but also plan on getting new jobs as soon as possible.

More tomorrow, dear readers!  This was a terrible thing for my friend to live through, but she and her husband dealt with everything the best they knew how.




Monday, January 21, 2013

Flowery One had troubling events

The Flowery One has been an Activity Director, while her husband, The Quiet One was a manager, of a senior apartment complex in Washington state.  She and her husband had been authors of a book about activities when they were working many years ago in the field.  They moved from North Carolina to Washington to be near their adult children and their families several years ago.

Of course there's a lot more background that you can see on my post "High School Friends" but this might bring you up to date enough to understand the email I received from the Flowery One a few weeks after I turned 69 years old.

The Flowery One

First sign of difficulty was this email.  I've deleted some of the details, but you can imagine how my friend and her husband felt...

Saturday, September 17, 2011 10:07 AM
      The Quiet One was given a terribly big blow yesterday. He's been demoted from manager to assistant manager with me! Seems that after corporate didn't give him very much training on the re-certifications on tenants he has to do for each one every year, and then them putting in a new computer system that didn't work half the time, they're blaming The Quiet One for not getting the recertifications in on time. They said he's doing an "outstanding job" on everything else, like keeping the place full and handling maintenance and other matters well, and that I am too with activities.

As it is now, we don't know what's going to happen. So far they haven't fired us.  We just don't know if The Quiet One will get a cut or no pay at all other than the apartment. 

It's scary, but that's what we're up against and have to wait until Monday, or later, to find out how it will all work out. We might be on the streets by next week for all we know. The Quiet One is taking it pretty bad. I'm a Pollyanna and think there's always a way and worrying doesn't help anything. I'm mad as heck for The Quiet One's sake though. 

Monday, Sept. 19, 2:27 AM

Hi again. I'm up late after trying to stay asleep with The Quiet One tossing and turning. He finally got up. Now he's back asleep on the couch. He's taking this job thing hard, worrying so much about it before we even know how it's going to play out. In his mind he has us living in our car. It's depressing. I sure hope we hear something about it tomorrow so he can stop worrying and I can get some sleep!

And on

Monday, September 19, 2011 11:05 AM
Hi sisters,

We don't know what today will bring, but it's a good start to the day to find a message from S. in my e-mail. I wrote back but didn't say anything about our recent troubles since I don't know most of the details of what's going to happen.

 Whatever happens, we'll get through it somehow.

S. is The Flowery One's adult son who's working in Afghanistan presently.

Then an email with the title
"Worse Troubles"

Monday, September 19, 2011 5:45 PM
I'm really worried about The Quiet One.  He got an e-mail from corporate this morning telling him that he's not even going to be assistant manager but just key holder. 

  While we were in a tenant's apartment who we've become friends with, telling her about our recent troubles, The Quiet One just got up and left, didn't say where he was going. I followed him 10 minutes later and found that his car is gone. It's been almost 3 hours now. His cell phone is turned off and I can't even leave a message because he never set up his voice mail when he got his new phone last time. I'm worried sick!

I looked for him in town when I had to walk to the pharmacy to get a prescription refilled. I thought maybe he'd gone to the post office or bank for the company...well, guess that's a laugh and I was just trying to feel better about him up and taking off like that. So here I sit, worried as anything. I hope he doesn't do anything foolish.

Just had to talk with you about it. I'll let you know what happens.

This was the beginning of a major episode in my friend's life.  It happened just a week after the death of The Enlightened One, my close friend for whom I'd been one of the caregivers.  Her story is posted separately, here.

More of these emails will be continued in my next posting.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Brain's emails

"The Brain" is one of my two dear email friends, who I haven't seen for maybe 40 years, and she has MS (Multiple Sclerosis).  Her husband is "The Tall One."  She has an adult daughter and 2 grandkids living out of town.  She writes less often than she used to, probably because sitting at the computer isn't comfortable any more.  But when she writes, I can tell she's still the whip intellectual that she's always been.

Fisher, one of The Brain's huge cats

The Brain said (around Sept 30, 2011)

 Oh oh. TV  PBS is on now and they're warning us about new scams that target the elderly. Even though I blew up at one doctor who had treated me in the hospital and wrote his report calling me an "elderly" patient. I spoke sharply telling him he could refer to me as "old", or "aging" or a "crone". He's young and was taken aback, but he apologized. I called him Young Man, whippersnapper but was just getting started. rapscallion is one of the terms that came to mind. He was really repentant, I'm sure. I began to feel sorry for him, but it also felt good! I don't know if I explained "crone" to him. I'm sure I did. He turned out to be a very nice doctor. A urologist, I think, who oversees the Foley nurse and changes in how often it gets changed. The new nurse does an excellent job changing it. Her only problem is she's not a talker like the other ones.

At least she's not allergic to cats! The others have been dog owners and barely tolerate cats.

  ... if either cat does something wrong, The Tall One yells at him, and is REALLY loud. The cats are so quiet, they stop and run away. I was always telling The Tall One that the cats don't learn anything from that.  Tonight for the first time in our lonnnng marriage, I started to, then shut up. Just have remember to take a deep breath now. And not grit my teeth.

This is why I never have time to write!  I begin and never end.

I haven't complained enough. Have felt gloomy and bored and wonder why I ended up like this.

gotta run...let's see . Flowery One, I think you're doing an amazingly wonderful job plunging in to gather up your resources. You'll do so well, I know. Supply and costs take more of your abilities. From what you said, you've got your own army troops standing by to help by donating food from their gardens.

Not to mention your family living nearby.

It seems like everything you've been doing in the past few years has come together in anticipation of  this point.

Bart, The Brain's other huge cat!

Friday, January 18, 2013

My highschool friends

I am an introvert, and that means I had lots of friends, but wasn't one of those 'in-the-yearbook' kind of girls.
The Flowery One, (it doesn't help to enlarge the low res picture)
When I took a vacation in the early 2000s, I came to North Carolina (from Florida) to visit my old friend The Flowery One and her husband The Silent One.

The Flowery One and I had gone to school together back in St. Louis from 7th grade through 12th.  During those years we studied, learned about boys, played sports on teams together, dated boys, questioned everything grown-up, made out with boys, pushed boundaries sometimes, and giggled a lot.  I was even in The Flowery One's first wedding soon after high school. But in 2000, after almost 40 years apart, we again made contact because another student wanted to do a gathering of our graduating class via the internet.

Three graces come together (what? we don't look like that?)
Our other friend, The Brain, had responded to this other student that she wanted to get in touch with us, so we all made contact again.  I may have the details of this wrong, but basically we started writing emails regularly in 2000.

The Brain and I had also spent a year together in college as well as all through high school.  I had written back and forth, ("snail mail" it came to be called) with The Brain several times in my life, and always enjoyed hearing about her and her husband, The Tall One, and sharing whatever was going on in our lives, including kids.

The Brain and The Flowery One enjoying pictures and ??? as teens

My teenage friends, wearing the styles of the time, scarves, bangs and curls of hair coming toward the cheeks

The Brain, riding her scooter in 2012, having lived with MS for many years

The Flowery One several years ago, in NC
The Flowery One after treatment for cancer

The apartment complex for seniors in WA state, where The Flowery One and The Quiet One moved in 2011
The Flowery One and The Silent One, Halloween 2012

Our email let us see how many similar choices we'd made through the years, and we continued to share these common bonds. We all loved cats and had left the religion which was the sponsor of our high school.  We sent support whenever one of us went through a tough time, and we sure did continue to share our love of the silly, and cats, and humor, and Halloween, and laughs, and story telling, and creativity in lots of ways.

I've tried to keep a record of the emails we exchanged, in hopes of writing some kind of memoir of our lives.  But working with thousands of emails is very tedious, to say the very least.  You can't just turn them into computer savable documents unless you copy them out of the internet server, which I've done with many.  Most of them remain in the land of the web.

So if I guess at something, I can go looking for what one of us said back at that time.  But for purposes of these blogs, I may often just write from memory.  If something important happens though, I'll go cut and paste from the emails again!  (Unless I get enough comments saying that it's not a good idea, that is.)

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday this week.  Sorry it hasn't got a thing to do with Alan's picture idea.  But this is what I've been wanting to share for some time.