A Rediscovered Book from Childhood

Oh the wonders of the internet, Google, ebay and Facebook! And the kindness of fellow bloggers! This time I reconnected with a book from my childhood.

Kat Mortensen blogs at Acadianeire’s Heritage. I met her through Sepia Saturday and she is also participating in The Book of Me and now we are Facebook friends. One day back in October, Kat posted that she was looking for a book from her childhood that held special memories for her. In a very short time she found images for it and posted them. She was so successful that I told her about a book I have always wanted to find from my childhood.

The description I provided her was very brief! The book had a red cloth library style cover with a black line drawing. The story was about a little girl who went to the circus, but lost her ticket. She went all around the circus looking for it, but it was stuck to her cotton candy. I assumed the book had been published in the late 1940s-early 1950s. I didn’t remember the name of the book or the main character.

In less than 10 minutes, Kat found the book! Once I knew the name of the book, I went looking for one with a red cover just like mine had – and I found one on ebay.
book.Sally Goes to the Circus coverbook.Sally Goes to the Circus inside

Since it was just days after my birthday, I decided to give myself a present. :)

I had forgotten that it is a “chapter book” with 12 chapters divided among 44 pages.
book.Sally with mom   book.Sally arrives at circus

Maybe I related to this book not only because I liked the thought of going to the circus and Sally’s adventure, but also because I often rode the city bus – and I seem to recall riding alone at a fairly young age.

Or maybe it was the thought of all those treats Sally just couldn’t resist.
book.Sally treats

Poor Sally, the show is about to begin and she still hasn’t found her ticket!
book.Sally looking

Cuckoo the clown found her ticket and Sally got into the show just in time! Her father was there waiting in the stands for her. Whew!
book.Sally finds ticket

Here is a picture of Sally dressed to go to the circus.
And a picture of me dressed almost like Sally. Our coats are even open almost identically showing our dresses underneath!

Me in front of Elsie Swick's house on Brick Row, Ottumwa, Iowa

Me in front of Elsie Swick’s house on Brick Row, Ottumwa, Iowa

I wasn’t sure of the location of the picture, although it looked like the street where my grandparents lived. I posted it on Facebook and my aunt confirmed that it was taken on their street, two houses to the west of my grandparents’ house. Elsie Swick was a good friend of my grandmother, Eveline Coates Hoskins.

Thanks, Kat, for helping me find this little piece of my childhood!

If you enjoy children’s books, I previously wrote about a few other books I had as a child here. And I mentioned this book that I hoped to find someday!




Sepia Saturday – Eveline’s Changing Penmanship

I’ve been thinking a lot about handwriting recently because of the time I am spending with the Bryan Family Bible. In my most recent post about it, I made a case for identifying one of the writers as my 2nd great grandfather, George Washington Bryan.

Also, I’ve started “collecting” ancestor signatures. I got the idea from Jana Last at Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, where she added a page for ancestor signatures and said she got the idea from another family history blogger. I love how we can steal share great ideas!

I haven’t added my ancestor signatures page to Abbie and Eveline yet because I only have a couple of signatures ready. I took a look at it this morning and realized I should add dates to those signatures before I publish them. So … I started looking at papers … and you know … got side-tracked … and so here I am deciding that I’ll spend a little time looking at how my grandmother’s handwriting changed over the years.

Because our handwriting does not stay the same over time.

In fact, sometimes mine changes in the same paragraph. I have a couple of different ways that I form some letters and, who knows why, but I’ll write the letter one way in one sentence and a different way in the next sentence. Sometimes my handwriting is really neat. Sometimes it’s sloppy. Sometimes the slant changes too – perhaps it has something to do with my mood?

It does make the identification of handwriting tricky.

I’m pretty good at identifying my grandmother Eveline’s handwriting. I was exposed to her writing for many years. But there are windows of time that her handwriting doesn’t look as I remember it.

Here are samples I might or might not recognize.
Coates, Eveline signature abt 1916-1918 cropCoates, Eveline writing sample 1916-1918

I don’t have a date on the above, but they are from a school paper – a book review of “The Mill on the Floss”. I’m thinking maybe she was about 17 years old. It is the earliest signature I can find among her papers. I might recognize the larger sample as hers, but maybe not the signature by itself.

Grandma signed a teacher contract in 1920. The capital E here isn’t anything like the one above! Maybe she was trying to demonstrate the cursive style that a teacher was expected to use at that time – wanting her bosses to know she could write like a teacher should.
Coates, Eveline. signature Teacher Contract 1920 crop

By 1923, Grandma was married so, of course, her signature changed a bit then.
Coates, Eveline signature teacher contract 1923 crop

Here is a sample from 1934.
Coates, Eveline signature 1934

I don’t really have any writing samples that I can date as being in the 1940s-1950s, so I’ll skip to this sample from 1975 – a letter she wrote to my parents and sisters (I was already out of the house). It looks very familiar to me.
Coates, Eveline writing sample 1975

I am lucky to have quite a few letters that Grandma wrote to me. She would have written more if I had been better about writing to her! This sample is from December of 1983 and Grandma was a just couple of months away from her 84th birthday. When writing to me, she didn’t sign her name, of course….
Coates, Eveline writing sample 1983

… except when she began to age and those little mini-strokes began to chip away at her memory. Then she would sometimes sign her letters “Eveline” instead of “Grandma.” And she sometimes complained that her eyesight was dim.
Coates, Eveline writing sample 1986

As age and dementia marched on sometimes she wasn’t sure who I was, but she always answered my letters. Her handwriting became less like what it had been. This letter from March of 1987 is the last letter I have from her.
Coates, Eveline writing sample 1987 last letter

If all I had to go by were samples of handwriting from Grandma at age 17-20 and age 87, I don’t know that I would recognize them as being written by the same person.

But here they are. And I don’t have to guess. I know who wrote them.

sepia sat july 6 2013I didn’t intend to participate in Sepia Saturday this week. But, unlike most weeks, the prompt itself is a plaque rather than an old photograph. So I’ll stretch the prompt idea to include the words my grandmother put on paper – memorializing a bit of her life.

Please visit other Sepia Saturday participants and see what they have prepared for today’s prompt.

Sepia Saturday – Arise All Women (and Men) Who Have Hearts!

I have a couple of four generation photographs to share for Mother’s Day.

Abbie, Doris, Kathy, Dorinda, Eveline

Four Generations; Me as a Baby

I’m the baby in the arms of my great-grandmother, Dorinda Webber nee Strange. My grandmother, Abbie Smith nee Webber is on the left; my mom is in back; and my grandmother Eveline Hoskins nee Coates is on the right.

I was born in mid-October in Iowa, so it seems unusual that everyone is in short sleeves. The older ladies look a little dressed up, especially my great-grandmother, who is wearing a hat. Abbie’s apron indicates that the picture was taken at her home and that she hosted a meal. I bet I was the guest of honor!

Everyone looks happy – well Abbie may be concerned about a roast in the oven. Or maybe the sun is shining just a bit in her eyes.

New life. A new mother. So much loving ahead. So many possibilities.

This next picture was taken several years later. It features Eveline on the left; mom in the back; and I am sharing a chair with my great-grandmother Mary Coates nee Harris.

Mary Coates, Eveline, Doris, Kathy copy

Four Generations

My parents were divorced by this time and my mother and I lived with her parents – and so did my great-grandmother. Lots of love and hugs readily available for this young girl.

Whenever I look at this photograph, I get a little sad….. but not for a reason you would assume. It makes me sad because I had a better picture taken at the same time in the same pose. My grandmother’s eyes were open…. we all just looked a little better.

And I lost it! How could I have been so careless?

I took it to church with me to share at a women’s Bible study and I must have dropped it on my way to the car. I lost another picture at the same time of my grandmother Abbie. I didn’t have a “second” of that one.

I can’t remember the exact reason I took the pictures with me, but it had something to do with people (or women) who had had an impact on your life.


Me, Mom and Kay

My grandmothers – as attested to in the name of this blog – had a profound influence on my life. As did my mother, of course. And my great-grandmothers. How lucky I was to be embraced by love every day – and to always be in the care and protection of my mother and grandmothers.

Mother’s Day did not begin as a day to buy cards and send flowers and take your mother out to brunch. Or to share pictures of them on Facebook. Or on your blog.

The roots of Mother’s Day in the United States began as a call to peace in 1870. And later as one daughter’s remembrance of her mother who worked for that call to peace.

The women in my family, as I knew them, were nurturers and peacemakers – or peacekeepers. Their care and concern extended beyond their immediate families. I knew them to be women who had hearts.

And so I’ll end with this link to ‘From the Bosom of the Devastated Earth,’ a History of Mother’s Day for Peace by Matthew Albracht, published in The Huffington Post 05/07/2013.

And this excerpt from Julia Ward Howe’s “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World” also called the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”, written in 1870 in the aftermath of the U. S. Civil War  and the Franco-Prussian War.

“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!… We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

May we all have hearts that are tender and reject violence in its many forms in honor of those who nurtured us.

You can read the full text here:

Mothers Day Proclamation copy

Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division

Sepia Sat May 11, 2013And, although I did not stick with the theme this week, this is my contribution to Sepia Saturday. Please pay other participants a visit.