Monday Laundry

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Aunt Omer’s Hospital

Aunt Omer's Hospital

While home last weekend, I was helping Mom select photographs for a family collage she has been wanting me to put together.  I spied this picture, flipped it over, and the notation was “Aunt Omer’s hospital.”  Omer (short for Wyomer) was a “nurse” though with no formal training.  This was the family home for the Beckham’s and she was married to Caswell Beckham in 1895.  They had several children, and Caswell was killed in a train wreck in 1905.  Records indicate that the bottom floor was the hospital and the family home was on the second floor.  It was opened in 1915, 10 years after Casewell’s death.

The house is still standing, though in need of repair, at 710 Grove Street, Graham, Texas.

Aunt Omer's hospital 2015In 2914, 3 Graham businessmen chartered a hospital for Graham and constructed a $40,000 facility a few blocks over.

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How do I love thee? Enough.

birds at feeder 9The snow has begun in earnest now.  I posted earlier on the Lottabusha Chronicles about the beginnings of the winter storm.  I went out early this morning to fill bird feeders, and it has gone from this:

red birds yellow birdsto this:

birds at feeder 11I am such a sucker for birds at the feeder, from the little nondescript brown and gray ones to the gorgeous cardinals, both female and male.  It was enough to make me don my boots, put on a hoodie, wrap a scarf around my face, pull on leather gloves, and venture forth through about 6 inches of piled up snow to refill the feeders.  Unfortunately, the one in the above photo and I had a bit of a mishap whilst rehanging it, and after falling on my head, it landed in a pile of snow and half of the seeds spilled out.  Because I had replenished all of the other 4 feeders out there, I opted not to unscrew that very difficult apparatus yet a third time.  It’s their favorite though, because the overhanging roof is better protection against the snow in the seeds, not to mention it has an easier perch.

Enjoy, my little feathered friends!  This is how much I love thee.

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Finding solace in a whirlwind

dead flowersYep, this is pretty much how I feel right now—like last spring’s flowers, droopy, ice-covered, in a fading pot.faucet in treeI have those intermittent moments where it seems like there is a spotlight showcasing something of importance…like photography and blogging.  You know, those things that help me keep my sanity in this world “spinning hopelessly out of control” (Willie Nelson, “Hands on the Wheel,” 1975).feeder with fake moonNot too long ago, a fellow blogger said taking a picture–even on a phone camera–was like looking through a spyglass.  Focus.  It is all about the focus.

I suppose that is the good thing about finding solace in a whirlwind–focus.  When you train your eye on the one thing, you stop focusing on the giant whirlwind encompassing you–obscuring the view in the maelstrom.

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Give a warm welcome to Son House!

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Libby invited Son House to come in and play.  He said he would think about it.

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Elbert School Revisited

Elbert schoolThis building was still standing, albeit barely, and in very poor shape, when I was there in December 2011.  The original post can be seen at the link to the Elbert School.  This is the school my mother attended in Texas from 3rd grade until she went to high school.  It was closed in 1956 when Elbert consolidated with Throckmorton schools.  Prior to that, she walked across the pasture, with her father accompanying her and picking her up on horseback if it was bad weather, to a small rock school for the rural students–the term rural being relative, since the town of Elbert a few miles away was still rural–very rural.  Is there a word for more rural than rural?  In Alaska, they call it the bush, or remote.

Elbert School MemorialMy assumption is the piles of dirt and equipment surrounding the building in 2011 meant it was about to be demolished.  In August, 2014, this is what remains–a “memorial” of sorts.  There was a brief effort by some of the alumni of the school, or at least those who still lived in the area and had connections with the building, to address its rapidly deteriorating status about the time I took the photographs in 2011, but clearly, that was not a successful outcome.  In a community with 51 residents, I suppose they asked pragmatically what they would do with the building if it was saved, and where would the money come from for renovation and upkeep.

One of these days, when I get a “round tuit” I will go through all my abandoned school building photographs and scan them into digital files and create a series of my favorites from Texas.  Back in my younger days, I would boldly go into the buildings for photographs, but these days, I am considerably more restrained.  Those old stages, some with velvet stage curtains still hanging, should be memorialized at least in some way, as I am sure they are now long gone.  I always wanted to jump up on them and tap dance, or sing, or recite a few lines from one of my favorite plays…and sometimes, I did.

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How Suzassippi became a horse…a tale from Lottabusha County

ShuttersBack in 2011, I was asked to do a week of guest posts for Preservation in Mississippi, which was a WordPress blog. I had been blogging on Blogger, and the two platforms are quite different so I started this blog as a way to practice using WordPress before I was up for publication.  A year later, I was asked to start doing regular contributions, so I needed a gravatar.  On Blogger, I had used my actual photograph, as did most of the blogs I followed, but on Preservation in Mississippi, I noted the norm was non-human images, so not wanting to seem all egotistical and out of step, I tried to find something to represent me without being me.  I had taken the above photo in Natchez, and liked it, and from that, pulled the name Suzassippi: red shutters to distinguish from Suzassippi’s Lottabusha County Chronicles.  I rather liked my red shutters, but it seemed as if every time I turned around, I got a message suggesting I needed a better image on my gravatar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan ya’ll tell I like red?  I have always loved this photograph of wine barrels, taken on my first visit to South Africa in 2001, so I played around with using them.  Cropped to fit the gravatar space, it just did not work.  I left the shutters alone for a while, and then decided to try something a little more colorful and defined.  Enter the crossroads.

CrossroadsThat’s all about Mississippi, right?  On Blogger, I updated my profile photo fairly regularly, because, well, people change.  I am a cat person, so I tried a cat.Cinco de 2014Now, Cinco, adorable as she is, is not that well “defined” or colorful.  In a gravatar size, she looked kind of like she does in real life: a mottled mess.  A couple of days of that, and I knew it wasn’t going to work for me either.

I definitely prefer the WordPress format, and it will do so many things Blogger cannot.  I have contemplated changing over, but the reality is that the two blogs are different in focus and I kind of like to keep it that way.  It does not, however, solve the problem of finding a gravatar that I like and that resonates with me.  I hit on Rio a few days ago.

RioRio is my 89 year old father’s horse, and I have gotten extremely attached to him in the past two years of regular trips to Texas to help with caregiving.  When I am home, I feed, fork hay, clean out Rio’s barn, clean his water trough, and spend a lot of time out in the pasture with him since Dad can no longer do it.  At Thanksgiving, Dad’s little jenny died, and Rio has missed her, so I am excited to head to Texas tomorrow for a week and see my boy again.

And that is how Suzassippi became a horse.

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