Sepia Saturday – Miners who Fish

SepSat8Nov14Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

When posting the prompt photo for this week, Alan suggested that we might consider miners or anglers with fishy tales or three men. It’s hard to tell that these men are miners when not dressed for work and no mine in sight, but the source of the photo, the Provincial Archive of Alberta reveals their identity by the photograph’s title: “Miners’ fishing trip.”

My grandfather, Thomas Hoskins, was a miner – as was his father, his wife’s father, some uncles and cousins and assorted in-laws. He left school after completing the 8th grade to work in the coal mines in Mystic, Iowa.

And he loved to fish.

Here he is as an older man, many years removed from the mines. You can see his fishing rod beside him.
Tom at the lake copy

Like the men in the prompt photo, Grandpa is reclining on a hillside and doesn’t appear to be actively engaged in fishing. Perhaps it’s all about the the fresh air, the sound of the water, the time just to relax above ground in the light of day – fresh fish for supper an added bonus or perhaps a necessary source of food for the family.

My uncle told me that Grandpa once took him down in a mine so that he could experience the total darkness and stifling confines and the ever-present sense of danger. My grandfather did not like working in the mines and when he found an opportunity to leave the coal mines in Mystic, he moved his family to another town where he worked in a meat processing plant.

I can imagine that fishing was a pastime enjoyed by many miners.

Thomas Hoskins at lake copy

Lake Rathburn May 30,1971

Please wade on over to Sepia Saturday to enjoy some other fine fish tales.

Family Recipe Friday – Mom’s Pumpkin Bread

Mom newspaper recipes copyHere’s my sweet mama showing off some baked goods in the newspaper. Mmm-mm, she was a goooodd baker!

Mom newspaper recipes copy 2I love that cookie jar! It still sits on the refrigerator in Mom’s and Dad’s kitchen. It’s at least as old as I am – guess that’s why I like it so much. Of course, this old newspaper photo doesn’t do it justice.

We had recently moved to Joplin when this article appeared in the paper. I don’t know how it came to be. Guess I need to ask Dad if he remembers. Being a small city, I suppose it was pretty common to have news about the movers and shakers in the community – like the new assistant manager of the Sears store and his wife – featured in the paper. lol

I’m not going to post the whole article as there is just a little too much personal info that I don’t have permission to share, but here’s the headline.
Mom newspaper recipes copy 3. jpgMom shared two recipes – Pumpkin Bread and Maple Butter Twists. I don’t know what the third thing is on the counter, but it could be a second Maple Butter Twist with a slice cut out and shared with the newspaper person.

In our ESL class the day before Halloween, we had a discussion about the different ways pumpkin is prepared around the world. When I mentioned that I make pumpkin bread, one of the students asked if I would share the recipe. I’m going to share it on our group Facebook page today in hopes that some students will follow my lead and share some of the dishes they talked about in class – pumpkin curry; a pumpkin dessert made with fruit, cinnamon and milk; honeyed pumpkin seeds …. I hope they will!

Mom newspaper Pumpkin BreadOnce Mom found this recipe, she made it every year – mostly in the fall and at Christmas. She liked to frost her pumpkin bread with buttercream icing. At Christmas time, she would add a few sliced candied red and green cherries on top to decorate. Many loaves of decorated pumpkin bread were given as gifts at Christmas.

I make it every year too. It’s just so good and must be made. But I usually don’t frost it. It’s fine just the way it is.

One thing I notice her recipe doesn’t say is to grease the pan. I usually line the bottom with waxed paper or parchment paper too, so that it pops right out.

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon
1 cup salad oil
1 cup water
2 cups mashed pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Add ingredients, one at a time, in mixing bowl and blend well with an electric mixer. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees in a loaf pan, 9 by 5 by 2 3/4 inches. Turn out of pan at once. Frost with powdered sugar icing flavored with almond extract.

I usually use canned pumpkin – the slight difference in measurement doesn’t make a difference. Mom and Dad would often cook and freeze fresh pumpkin to use for pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie.

I’ll share the recipe for Maple Butter Twists another day.

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?
Family – let’s hear every story you can think of concerning pumpkin and pumpkin bread!

A Little Story about Voting – But Is It True?

Kathy voted

Yesterday I decided to commit to writing/posting something every day and I got busy and whipped out a little something. But is it true? 

The election results are in and I am not a happy camper, so now you can guess how I voted. Today is a chilly, rainy day and I’m not going anywhere. I’m just going to nurse my wounds and do as I please, which will include eating as much chocolate as my tummy will tolerate. I even cancelled my physical therapy appointment. I’ve been hurt enough.

I have a vague memory of learning about the voting process as a Girl Scout and eagerly looking forward to the day when I could cast my first ballot. My first voting experience wasn’t the joyful event I anticipated.

The presidential candidates that year were Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. I liked Humphrey as he seemed to embody values and ideas in line with mine. I was a Social Work student at Baylor University, a private Baptist college in Texas. It’s a great school and I have many wonderful memories, a good education, and my husband to show for it. But let’s say it like it was, and is – it’s a conservative institution populated by conservative-leaning people. For the most part.

As a freshman and sophomore at Baylor, you were required to attend Chapel every week. It was not always religious in nature. In fact, I don’t really remember it as being primarily a time of worship or religious activity. Before the election, two students spoke on behalf of the presidential candidates during Chapel. As I remember it, everyone listened attentively and clapped enthusiastically for the student who spoke on behalf of Nixon. The student body didn’t show the same respect (there were a few boos) and enthusiasm for the student who spoke on behalf of Humphrey. Instead of standing tall and proud as he exited, his posture was slumped and he seemed to hurry off the stage when he finished his speech.

I knew in my family that my dad would vote for Nixon. I heard my mom say a couple of things that made me think she kind of liked Humphrey, but I assumed that, in the end, she would also vote for Nixon.

So all the people who were important in my life didn’t agree with me. All of the people that I loved or liked or whom I wanted to like me (because I’m a dyed-in-the-wool people-pleaser) were of opposing opinions. Being a people-pleaser, I kept my opinions to myself so as not to rock the boat.

And then I found myself in the voting booth for the first time. I wanted to do my part, to be a good citizen, to participate in the democratic process. I looked over the ballot and marked it for …. Nixon.

I regretted my vote as soon as I slid my ballot into the box.

I regretted it because I was not true to myself. I allowed myself to be pressured by my environment and the opinions of my peers to vote against my conscience and my judgement.

Nixon won, of course, and we all know how that turned out.

And so I have always looked back at my first experience at the polls with regret. But I have never made that mistake again. I try to do my due diligence to be informed about the candidates and then I vote for the candidate that I think is best. I am usually at odds with my family and I am often in the opposite camp from many of my friends and neighbors, but I am never at odds with myself.

Ok – there you have my nice little story about voting. There’s just one problem. It isn’t true. Let me put it this way – it is based in truth, but I got a few things wrong.

This is the story that I have told myself for at least a couple of decades, but just as I was about to click “publish,” I decided to fact-check myself and – oops! – there are some problems with my memory.

Yes – Humphrey did run against Nixon, but that was in 1968 and I wasn’t old enough to vote. In 1972 (the election in which I did vote), the presidential candidates on the ballot were Richard Nixon and George McGovern. How had I gotten this part of the story so wrong?

The best answer I can come up with is that Humphrey was a candidate in the primaries and that, although he won the popular vote, he fell short of delegates at the Democratic National Convention. Perhaps I had placed my hopes on Humphrey being the nominee and my inability to vote for him added to my feelings of regret about my first voting experience…. and because of his significance to me, he became the candidate in my memory.

And what of the speakers in Chapel? I have a vague but definite visual memory of sitting in the auditorium and feeling bad for the student speaking on behalf of McGovern. My fellow students may or may not remember it the same way, but I think my memory is fairly accurate on that point.

So is my story true? Well, it isn’t factually accurate, so you could say that it is not true. But does the story contain a truth? Yes – the truth being that I voted for a candidate based on the opinions of those around me rather than my own best judgement and I regretted that vote.

I’ve always known that I don’t have the best memory for facts. And now, having just proved how bad my memory can be, I hope my relatives and friends will help me out by sharing what they remember. So if I ask for your memories while I’m working on something, I hope you’ll respond. And if you read something I wrote, but you remember it differently or know that I am wrong, leave a comment and help me out! I’d like to be as accurate as possible.

Please share a story about the first time you voted, or some other election-related memory.

Or your experiences of having a “false” memory.