Otto Frank Visits Anne Frank Museum 1960

I came across some old photos and have been inspired to write blogs about them. This one is a photo of Otto Frank upon his return to the attic where his family hid from the Nazis for two years. I can’t even imagine the emotions he felt upon seeing the place fifteen years later.

1960 otto frank visiting attic the only survivor

 

His daughter, Anne Frank, was born in Frankfurt, Germany on 12 June 1929. She was the second daughter of Otto and Edith Frank, and she had a sister, Margot, who was three years older.

diaryIf you haven’t read The Diary of Anne Frank, I’ll shorten it for you.

Hitler came into power in the 1930s, and Otto thought his family would be safer in Amsterdam, away from the Nazis. All went well for a while, but in May of 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. The first step they took against the Jews was to force them to register with the ‘state,’ thereby identifying and isolating them. As a Jew, Otto Frank was no longer allowed to own his own business, and soon, teenage Margot was called up for  duty at a ‘work camp.’ Otto needed to protect his family, so they went into hiding in the attic of the family business. Friends took care of them while they were in hiding, and this is the place Anne wrote her diary.

Anne made the last entry in her diary on August 1, 1944, and on August 4th, the family’s hiding place was found out. Anne was now fifteen years old and had been in hiding for two years. Anne, Margot, and their mother were initially sent to a concentration camp in Holland, then moved to Auschwitz, and then they were split up and the girls moved to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Their mother, left behind at Auschwitz, took ill and died in January of 1945. Both of the girls caught typhoid in the deplorable conditions of the camp. Margot died in February and Anne died in March of 1945.

Otto was the only survivor. When he returned to Amsterdam, he was given Anne’s diary, which had been overlooked by the Nazis in the raid and held in keeping by a former employee who had help guard the family.

The diary was published in 1947 and has been translated into more than fifty languages. The hideaway in Amsterdam was eventually turned into a museum in 1960, and this is when Otto visited. The photo of his visit is very haunting.

Strange Family Trees

As an amateur genealogist and family grave hunter, I find family trees fascinating. Most are trees of real people that I could stare at for hours and hours, after all, that’s what people like me do.

There are other trees, though. Trees that are created by artists and people with larger imaginations than mine. For the last few days, I’ve been enamored by some of these trees. My favorite, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is the Genealogy of the Supermarket by astounding artist Nina Katchadourian.

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Miss Katchadourian has managed to take all the supermarket icons we’ve grown to know and love and combine them into one large family. I wasn’t able to find a list of who’s who, but I recognized a few. One of the Brawny Paper Towel guys (there are two) is married to Mr. Clean, and they have adopted the Gerber Baby. Jolly Green Giant is married to the Land O’ Lakes butter Indian maiden, and the Argo Corn Starch lady is their child.  Little Debbie is sister to the Charmin Baby. By far, my favorite is the Quaker from Quaker Oats who is married to Aunt Jemima. Seeing as it was the Quakers who were the first abolitionists, I find that hilarious. His son by another wife is Chef Boyardee. Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima are siblings. Samuel Adams and the St Paulie Girl are married and are the parents of the Brawny boys.  I guess if you’re going to spill all that beer, you need some paper towels to wipe it up. I did recognize the Gorton Fisherman, but I’d have to see the work in person to recognize any others.

This tree is absolutely brilliant!

Another tree that has caught my attention is the Star Wars Family Tree by Joe Stone. I really enjoyed the last Star Wars movie and how all the characters connected.

star wars

It sure does get your brain spinning. How about a tree of TV sitcom characters? Or a tree of your favorite fictional characters? Or a tree of characters in songs? “Black Betty had a child, bam-a-lam” “She called his child Jesus” If you didn’t get that, those are lines from “Black Betty” and “Levon.”

I’d love to put some time into creating an unusual tree, but I need to work on my real tree.

Better Late than Never for “The Weekly Smile”

weeklysmile1Apparently, bloggers are working to make the world a nicer place, and darn-it-all if I missed it. Over at Trent’s World, they are doing something rather cool – posting a weekly smile. In his words, “What made you smile in the last week? A photo? A kind word from a friend or stranger? A random act of kindness witnessed in life or on the news? Seeing a small baby or talking to an elderly parent or grandparent?  A joke? A song?” Well, let’s join in and make the blogosphere a happier place. What made you smile this week?

 

The following not only made me smile, it made me laugh out loud – hold my stomach and roar, actually. If you are a musician or have a good ear for music, you’ll be astounded, amazed, and tickled pink over this video. If you’ve ever accompanied a singer, you’re going to die! It’s priceless!

The Strawberries are Here!!!

My local farmer’s market had “Strawberry Fest” this morning!

I can’t even believe how good these smell and how beautiful they look.

strawberries at Franklin

 

I bought ten pounds of these beauties. Enough to freeze…

beauties

 

Enough to make jam…

jam

 

And a few left over for a strawberry shortcake and a late-night snack.

strawberryshortcake

 

God bless strawberry growers!!

If you’ve ever canned, you know my kitchen is popping away right now. 🙂

Quilting. What was I thinking?

IMG_20150908_180218183_HDRWhen I was a young girl, my paternal great grandmother made me this quilt. When I was at her house, I noticed her sewing in the evening while watching television. It was done completely by hand. It never occurred to me that she was sewing it for me.

At the age of fifty, I still have the quilt and I treasure it. At some point, she made me a second one, and my maternal grandmother, who was a professional seamstress made me a third. I should probably pass them down to my children, but I can’t bear to part with them.

 

I have long been an artist. I make music professionally. I write novels professionally. I’ve made all of the artwork in my home, from paintings to rugs to throw pillows. Well, I was bored and decided to take on the time-consuming project of making a quilt. What was I thinking??

quilt piecesIt started with cutting out 680 pieces. Sigh. That took a couple weeks. Then, fortunately, I had house guests, so I put it all in a box and ignored it for a couple weeks.

 

 

 

 

pinwheelsWhen I pulled it back out, I began making pinwheels for the center of the blocks. Twenty pinwheels seemed daunting, but using a sewing machine, (not sewing by hand, you silly rabbit!) the pieces came together fairly quickly, but still….there was twenty of them.

 

 

 

 

octagonsNow, I had to cut these square pinwheels and turn them into octagons. Not owning a special ruler or being able to find one at JoAnn Fabrics, I spent hours figuring out how to do this. After I had a total meltdown, my husband quietly worked on the computer constructing a template for me. In the meantime, I found a video on Youtube showing an easy way to turn a square into an octagon. When I cut one in two seconds and showed him, he was awestruck by the simplicity. “Well, if you want to do it like that,” he said sarcastically.

The original pinwheels were 7” squares, and after I turned them into octagons, I needed to sew corners on them, making them 6.5” squares. At the time, I was thinking this was some kind of cruel joke, but as the pinwheel got new corners, it began to change shape. It looked like a cross. Weird illusion.

 

 

starNext, I started working on the star points. They were time consuming, but they came together easily. The octagon/square was placed in the middle of the star points. Notice in this photo, the octagon still looks like a cross, and the completed square has two star points pointing up. Well, that’s also an illusion and won’t look like that for long.

I was supposed to cut these completed squares into large circles, but as with cutting octagons, that was just too much work. So instead, I sewed together frames, sewed them onto the completed squares, lining up the seams with each star point and creating a whole new angle on the original square. I flipped it over and trimmed off the excess corners on the square. That was so much quicker than trying to cut a perfect circle, hoping I didn’t cut it too small. From the wrong side of the quilt, it’s pretty sloppy, but from the right side, you can’t tell, and it saved me tons of time and probably a half bottle of whiskey.

 

one finished squareSince the octagon and the star points shifted with adding the frame, you can see in the finished square that the cross is gone and the star only has one point sticking up. This whole quilt is one big illusion.

1910 seams later, the quilt top is finished. I need to sandwich it and start quilting. But I think I need to take a break for a couple weeks first.

 

finished top

 

 

Won’t it be fun if my great grandchild won’t part with this quilt?

Mother’s Day Gratefulness

I read a blog yesterday written by a woman who was condemning Mother’s Day. She said it makes women who are not mothers feel bad. She also said she’s raising her son to not observe Mother’s Day because she doesn’t want him to feel obligated to buy her anything.

First, I think the woman is a gigantic twit. What about all the other kids making special construction-paper gifts at school for their moms? Is he supposed to sit in the corner and not make one, because she doesn’t want a gift? She’s obviously got emotional problems that need to be addressed, and she’s teaching her son to be ungrateful. If we’re not grateful for what we have in our lives, then we are doomed to be chronically unhappy. Perhaps he can find another nurturer to give his dandelion bouquet to.

lambSecond, there are also maturity issues here because Mother’s Day is not about buying gifts or getting gifts. It’s about giving. It’s also not about being a biological mother and feeling bad if you’re not one. It’s about thanking the person who nurtured you, who pointed you in the right direction, who loved you unconditionally. Hopefully, we all have someone who did that for us.

 

From a mother’s viewpoint, raising children (even furry ones) is not an easy job. It’s often painful and sometimes feels futile, but we do it. Do you know why we do it? Because we love. And love is the most important thing on the Earth. I don’t expect or need anything from my family in return, but I know what they will do on Mother’s Day. My daughter will send flowers and/or chocolate-covered something because she knows I love chocolate. My son will call late in the day and claim he forgot it was Mother’s Day. He will simply say, “I love you.” I raised them. I know what they’re like. My husband will buy me something to show he’s thankful for the way I raised the kids. Obviously I’m not his mother, but he’s showing his gratitude. I don’t need anything from them, but the moments of acknowledgement are sweet. They tell me the pain and futility of the job was worth it.

 

lionBack to the woman’s blog. If you haven’t done that painful job, why would you feel bad when other women who have done the job get special treatment and you don’t? Doesn’t make sense. The holiday is not about getting, remember? Get off your immature, egocentric horse, and go find someone to be nice to. Buy them a flower. Give them a hug. Call them late in the day and claim you forgot it was Mother’s Day but you just wanted to say, “I love you.”

 

Sure, some people, like me, don’t have a mother any more. Some mothers have lost children and grieve them on Mother’s Day. Some people have mothers who they wished they didn’t have. No one’s life is perfect. But, that’s no reason to squash the love that comes out on Mother’s Day.

To all you nurturers out there in the blogosphere – Thank you for loving someone and making the world a better place. Happy Mother’s Day!

horse

 

Egocentric Genealogy

 

Me.-Center-of-the-Universe-T-ShirtsEgocentric: regarding the self as the center of all things.

As with most people tracing their ancestry, my research and conclusions always revolve around me. How far back? How many generations? Where did my family migrate to and when, and how did I get here?

A few years ago, I had trouble tracing past my maternal great grandmother. (Keep that maternal word in mind for a moment.) She lived in the back hills of Mississippi and didn’t leave a paperwork trail. No census. No education. No land grants. Her family lived on the same land since the 1830s, or maybe even before as there is a Choctaw Indian connection. Members of my family still live on the land today.

A few years ago I found her brother, whom we called Uncle Sug (as in Sugar), and the family opened up. He left a paper trail. I could trace him. I didn’t realize (or care) who he was in my childhood, but now, he became extremely important to my research. He married Aunt Zeffie in 1918. He was 18, she was 13. I imagine him marrying such a young girl because of his raging hormones. He was always a flirt, a sweet-talker, a ladies man, traits I’m sure he didn’t create in his sixties. He was probably always like that.

Okay, stay with me here. The reason I found him was he was listed on my paternal great grandmother’s obituary. Yep, here’s where my family tree stops forking. He was listed as her son-in-law. Aunt Zeffie was my grandfather’s sister. Uncle Sug was my grandmother’s uncle. (This is the point where I had to explain to my mother that her Uncle Sug was also her mother’s Uncle Sug. Welcome to Mississippi.)

Here’s where the egocentric part comes in

Upon finding that info, I always assumed Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie met because of my grandparents. I pictured them having cocktails at family gatherings, since my relationship with my grandparents was peppered with numerous family gatherings at their country house. I pondered if other members of the family questioned their attraction. Wouldn’t you wonder why your sister liked some distant relative? I wondered if anyone on either side disavowed their marriage.

This morning, my egocentric view swiftly collapsed into a smoldering pile all around my feet.

I found out Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie got married (as stated above) in 1918. Never before have I questioned the years, but my grandparents were both born in 1914. They were both four years old at the time of the wedding.

earl culpepper and ina burkePhoto: In my mind, these are not and have never been little kids. —>>>

The thought of my grandparents knowing each other as children blew my mind. I have always pictured marriage beginning with a young couple meeting in their teens and falling in love. Must be the romantic fairy tales pounded into my brain as a young girl. I can’t emotionally comprehend that more-often-than-not people simply married the best person they could find in their small town. My grandparents had known each other for fifteen years before they got married. Did they like each other the whole time, or did they settle for the best person available? I wish I could ask them, but they’ve long been dead.

My egocentric view of my grandparents being the cause of Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie’s marriage is totally and completely wrong. As a matter of fact, since my grandparents probably met because of Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie, I think that makes me the product of my Uncle Sug’s 18-year-old testosterone. How strange… and a little creepy.