In light of the computer age and my very first personal computer with internet dial-up, I remember my father asking me one very simple question that spun my mind and really knocked into my head how far we’ve come in today’s world. Now, first you have to know my father was not sheltered. He was born in Europe, moved to the U.S and learned the English language at a very young age,(in three weeks, mind you) lived through the depression, fought in the Phillipines during WWII and went on to become a very successful small businessman.
Twenty years ago, computers didn’t touch my father’s life in any significant way. But his question and the curious expression on his face, was one I never will forget. “Can you tell me, how on earth a computer can catch a virus?”
I remembered babbling to him about how it all seemed to work, but let’s face it, 20 years ago, I didn’t know all that much about computers either. (And I still don’t!)
If a computer virus can baffle my very intelligent, man-of-the-world father, can you venture to imagine what our
ancestors might think if they were alive today?
What would Abe Lincoln say about movies and artistry that can make a man look like the spitting image of him on a big screen?
What would pioneers of the American West say about airplanes that could cross the continent in five hours? Or our Apollo missions that sent men to the moon?
What would Ben Franklin say about lazer and digital light shows for entertainment?
What would Clara Barton say about the technology that can replace a man’s heart? Or shock that heart once it stops beating?
What would the American Cavalry say about unmanned aerial vehicles aka predator drones?
What would any of them say about television, cell phones and microwave ovens?
It boggles the mind. Do you ever wonder what’s next? What new and innovative invention will come our way to make our lives better, safer, easier? There are times, when I wonder if we’ve invented everything there is to invent and then I laugh. Of course not! Oh, if only I could be a fly on the wall 100 years from now to see what my mind cannot fully imagine. Have you thought about that too?
The iPad is my best friend these days. I use it to read, text, answer emails and take pictures. I play games, watch videos, enjoy music and can actually locate a family member’s exact location, with it. (Would have loved this feature when my kids were younger!)
What one invention over the past ten years has made your life better? Have you thought about what the future will bring? What do you think is next?
I know. You thought it was going to be a person, didn’t you? Since this is the month for lovers and all…but my secret love is different.
I love cars. All kinds of cars. I think I could be a car salesman if I were a guy. I’m not sure what all the technical jargon means, and don’t really even care that much. I just know what I like.
My first car was a 1962 Chevy Impala that I had to share with my sister, who was divorced and had moved back home with her two kids. I had my first wreck in that car. I was coming out of the parking lot at one of our high school football games and turned the corner too sharply, hitting the end of a 3’ tall rail fence. I scratched the back passenger side door all the way back to the wheel well.
My next car was a 67 Impala. Now, the wreck I had in this one was not my fault, and it was so freakish that I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it happening to anyone else. I was on my way to college one morning, and a West Virginia State Road Dept. truck was merging onto the interstate. His back wheel axle broke and half of it, with the tire still attached, crossed three lanes of traffic and stuck into my front tire. I loved that car because it was all mine—but after that, the frame was wrecked.
When I met my husband, he’d just bought a hot little car—a German made engine for Mercury graced the “Capri”. It was a 1974 ½ “special edition” car. I learned to drive a stick shift on it, and that car is still my all time favorite car we ever owned.
I think we’ve had about every type of car, truck or SUV out there. Favorite SUV? My Isuzu Rodeo, hands down. I’d still be driving it if the transmission hadn’t quit. Favorite truck? The Ford Explorer Sportrack. Beautiful, great to drive, but about as “un-functional” as a truck could be. My brother-in-law, the wisecracking lawyer, told my husband it had a “vanity bed” in it. We still laugh at that—it was true—there was nothing you could haul in that thing.
I have to admit, when it’s time to go look for a new car, I don’t dread it at all. I know what I want, and I know what the payment has to be to make it work. My husband tells his buddies that they should take me car shopping with them. I’m a tough nut to crack.
My secret guilty pleasure? I LOVE watching Velocity TV. Wheeler Dealer, Pimp My Ride, Orange County Customs, Mecum auto auctions…yep. I get mesmerized, and I’ll watch those shows for hours. I look at the clock and feel like I’ve been sucked into a vortex somehow, of these never-ending car shows. I have to force myself to get up and go to the grocery store.
Our latest? I never thought I”d see the day, but my husband traded in his BABY–his Monte Carlo–for a Chevy Cruze. Gas mileage is important, but I think HIS guilty pleasure is the turbo charged engine.
Anyone else out there a car lover like me? What’s your favorite car you’ve ever owned? Any
memorable “car tales” you want to share? I wonder what kind of car some of our western heroes would have driven if they”d found themselves in modern times?
I hope you”ll bear with me today as I post here. My own computer is on the blink and I”m doing the blog today on an Apple (and am completely unschooled in how to post on an Apple).
I haven”t gotten the pictures down and so I copied them from other posts — but it didn”t come out exactly right, so please do excuse me. Anyway, enough of that…and onto the blog, which is about one of my favorites…history…rewriting of…as told from the victor”s point of view. So here we go.
long been an opinion of mine that unless we as a people know our history, we will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Now, aside from the fact that history is often told by the victor — and the fact that there are elements amongst us that would like our history to be hidden — it has been one of my goals in writing historical romances to try to bring a sense of the time and place alive again. Whether I accomplish this or not is probably in the eye of the beholder.
But, regardless, with this in mind, I thought I’d bring you some of the thrills of research — things that we aren’t really taught in history classes (which is really the fun of research, I think). Probably the most cherished historical reference I use to the long ago time (the 1830?s) is George Catlin. He went amongst the Indians round and about 1834 and he not only painted their pictures, he left a memorable record that for me brings the past alive.
Here’s a passage that really brings the past alive, I think: “I have just been painting a number of the Crows, fine looking and noble gentlemen. They are really a handsome and well-formed set of men as can be seen in any part of the wrold. There is a sort of ease and grace added to their dignity of manners, which gives them the air of gentlemen at once. I observed teh other day that most of them were over six feet high, and very many of these have cultivated their natural hair to such an almost incredible length, that it sweeps teh ground as they walk; there are frequent instances of this kind amongst them, and in some cases, a foot or more of it will drag on the grass as they walk, giving exceeding grace and beauty to their movements.”
Here’s another passage: “The fashion of long hair amongst the men, prevails throughout all the Western and North Western tribes, after passing the Sacs and Foxes; and the Pawnees of teh Platte, who, with two or three other tribes only, are in the habit of shaving nearly the whole head.”
And how about a buffalo hunt? Here’s a passage that makes me feel as if I am there: “The horses are all trained for this business, and seem to enter into it with as much enthusiasm, and with as restlaess a spirit as the riders themselves. While “stripping” and mounting, they exhibit the most restless impatience; and when “approaching” — (which is, all of us abreast, upon a slow walk, and in a straight line towards the herd, — until they discover us and run), they all seem to have caught entirely the spirit of the chase, for the laziest nag amongst prances with an elasticity in his step — champing his bit — his ears erect — his eyes strained out of his head, and fixed upon the game before him, whilst he trembles uner the saddle of his rider… …we started! (and all must start, for no one could check the fury of those steeds at that moment of excitement), and away all sailed, and over the prairie flew, in a cloud of dust which was raised by their trampling hoofs.”
Once more on the beauty of the people: “They live in a country well-stocked with buffaloes and wild horses, which furnish them an exellent and easy living; their atmosphere is poure, which produces good health and long life; and they are the most independent and the happiest races of Indians I have met with: they are all entirely in a state of primitive wildness, and consequently are picturesque and handsome, almost beyond description. Nothing in the world, of its kind, can possibly surpass in beauty and grace, some of their games and amusements — their gambols and parades, of which I shall speak and paint hereafter.” Bet they never told you that in history class, huh?
Nowadays, I can’t begin to tell you how many people write to me about obesity seen amongst the American Indians on the reservations. Of course this is a generality and hardly true of all people, but I want to emphasis that the foods that were sent to the Indians during the beginning of reservation days did not provide a diet that was healthful. Listen to this passage from George Catlin, written in 1834: “I have for a long time been of opinion, that the wilderness of our country afforded models equal to those from which the Grecian sculptors transferred to the marble such inimitable grace and beauty; and I am now more confirmed in this opinion, since I have immersed myself in the midst of thousands and tens of thousands of these knights of the forest; whose whole lives are lives of chivalry, and whose daily feats, with their naked limbs, might vie with those of the Grecian youths in the beautiful rivalry of the Olympian games.” But if that’s not enough, Catlin goes on:
“No man’s imagination, with all the aids of description that can be given to it, can ever picture the beauty and wildness of scenes that may be daily witnessed in this romantic country; of hundreds of these graceful youths, without a care to wrinkle, or a fear to disturb the full expression of pleasure and enjoyment that beams upon their faces — their long black hair mingling with their horses’ tails, floating in the wind, while they are flying over the carpeted prairie, and dealing death with their spears and arrows, to a band of infuriated buffaloes; or their splendid procession in a war-parade, arrayed in all their gorgeous colours and trappings, moving with most exquisite grace and manly beauty, added to that bold defiance which man carries on his front, who acknowledges no superior on earth, and who is amenable to no laws except the laws of God and honour.”
And while I’m on the subject, let me make one more quote: This Catlin writes about the Blackfeet: “There is an appearance purely classic in the plight and equipment of these warriors and ‘knights of the lance.’ They are almost literally always on their horses’ backs, and they wield these weapons with desperate effect upon the open plains; where they kill their game while at full speed, and contend in the manner in battles with their enemy. There is one prevailing custom in these respects, amonst all the tribes who inhabit the great plains or prairies, in these respects, amongst all the tribes who inhabit the great plains or prairies, of these western regions. These plains afford them an abundance of wild and fleet horses, which are easily7 procured; and on their backs at full speed, they can come alongside of any animal, which they easily destroy.”
Well, I hope that this post has conveyed a sense of the time and place for you. I hope that perhaps — for a short time only — you could picture how it might have been at that time. Oh, how I wish that politics, aberration, greed and evil hadn’t combined in some people to cause them to try to destroy another people who might have enriched the incoming culture with the wealth of knowledge that they had
accumulated. Imagine what could have been — for them — for the incoming culture. Imagine the wealth we could have today were that only the case.
I hope you”ve enjoyed the blog for today and I hope you”ll come on in an leave a comment. Let”s talk.
Hi! Elizabeth Mazer here. I’m delighted to be at Petticoats and Pistols to let folks know about a fun new editor pitching opportunity! Shana Smith, Emily Rodmell and I—three editors for Love Inspired—are looking to fall in love with some new romances for the Christian inspirational market. “Happily Editor After” is our planned online pitch session, designed to give writers a chance to make us fall in love with new, intriguing stories for the three Love Inspired lines: Love Inspired (contemporary inspirational romance); Love Inspired Suspense (contemporary inspirational romantic suspense); and of course, Love Inspired Historical (historical inspirational romance).
Details, guidelines, and instructions on how to sign up are all available at http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/1042-Happily-Editor-After (don’t just check it out, share the link with your friends!) so I’m not going to repeat that info here. Instead, I want to tell you just why we’re so excited about this pitch session, and why it’s such a terrific opportunity for new writers.
Every time an author pitches to me, I know she’s hoping that I’m going to tell her that her story
is exactly what I’m looking for. Here’s the chance to make that happen! With this pitch session, you don’t just sign up for a slot, you sign up for a specifically-selected editor. Think of it like online dating. Emily, Shana and I have posted our profiles—information on our backgrounds, our tastes, what we love, what aggravates us, and what we’re dying to see
in a story. Based on the profiles, you can pick the editor that you think is the perfect match for your manuscript—or you can see if our profiles trigger you with an idea for a new project that you could target directly to one of us! If you love to write the same things that one of us loves to read, then the editor/author match could truly be happily editor after for you and your story.
Not sure you’re ready to do an online pitch? That’s fine, too. Check out our profiles anyway! If you get a sense for our preferences and personalities now, then maybe it’ll help you decide who to query with a story idea down the road. But if you are interested in participating, please sign up as soon as you can, before all the slots are taken.
Got questions about Happily Editor After? Want to know more about Love Inspired? Looking for advice on which editor to pick? (Pick me, pick me! Come on, don’t I sound fun?) Ask away! I’ll be checking in throughout the day to respond to comments. Thanks to the lovely Renee for letting me share this opportunity. I hope to see lots of you in the chat room in May!
the old “Maverick” television series? Or, perhaps you saw the 1990’s movie based on the series? I loved the TV series (and James Garner!). Is it any wonder my books feature ranchers as heroes? ? To prove how much I love the West, I’m giving away an electronic copy of BRAZOS BRIDE to two people who comment today.
I have no idea where the surname Maverick came from, but have learned where the term “maverick” for cattle and wild humans originated. The term has come to mean independently minded or anyone who could not be trusted to remain one of his/her group.
Attorney Samuel A. Maverick helped lead Texas to independence and helped establish the Republic of Texas. In 1839, he was elected mayor of San Antonio. During the Mexican War, he had taken in four hundred cattle he didn’t want as settlement of a debt, and he had the cattle driven to a range in the Matagorda area. The cattle were marked with his MK brand, but Maverick did not brand the calves. Neighbors began referring to any unbranded calf as “one of Maverick’s” as early as 1857. Not until after the Civil War did the term spread into other parts of Texas and the rest of the West. Texas cowboys never called unbranded cattle by any other name.
When the Civil War broke out, Texans went off to fight (usually for the Confederacy) and their cattle ran wild. Men often returned to find their homes and ranches in shambles, their families near starvation, and their cattle living in brambles and canebrakes. While the humans hadn’t done too well, the cattle had thrived . . . and reproduced. According to my source, of the six million cattle roaming in post-Civil-War Texas, a million were unbranded. The cattle were wild, hardy, cantankerous, and able to survive on not much more than cholla, wild grass, damp air, and neglect.
Keep in mind, these are longhorns whose horns sometimes grew nine feet or more from tip to tip. Not an animal I’d ever want to have angry at me. Broke, hungry, desperate cowboys were willing to tackle these giant beasts that sometimes weighed from a thousand to fifteen hundred pounds. Ranches were founded on mavericks, and fortunes were established driving cattle to another market. Rounding up mavericks whose ownership may or may not have been uncertain was called “jacking mavericks,” and was accepted for a while. Later, the practice became illegal.
My current series, the Men of Stone Mountain, is a trilogy: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and the upcoming BLUEBONNET BRIDE.
Hope Montoya knows someone is poisoning
her, but who? Rancher Micah Stone has been in love with Hope since the first time he saw her. When Hope proposes a paper marriage in exchange for land on the Brazos River and much needed cash, her offer rubs his pride raw.. He and Hope have to stay alive and discover the killer before they become victims in the deadly assaults.
To be entered into the drawing for a copy of BRAZOS BRIDE please remember to leave your email with your comment.
Thanks for stopping by!
Caroline Clemmons writes western historical and contemporary romances. Visit her personal blog here or her website here. Click here to order her book on Amazon.
When I learned that my friend Nancy’s cousin has a historic cemetery with a Cole Younger connection on his land, I knew I had to find out more about it and the folks buried there.
This small Missouri graveyard is the last sleep for about 40 people, 26 of which are identified by death certificates. It was part of a community of former slaves called “The Kingdom.” Elizabeth, the matriarch of the community, had been owned by Cole’s grandfather, Charles Younger, a land
speculator. Charles fathered two children with her, Catherine (Kate) and Simpson, and freed them all upon his death in 1854.
His will also stated that the children be educated in a free state. At age 12, each was taken to Oberlin, Ohio, for preparatory education followed by enrollment at the college.
Elizabeth would not see her son again until he was 21.
While daughter Kate attended Oberlin (1861-2 and 1866-69), Simpson, at age 13, joined the 27th United States Colored Troops, becoming one of the youngest-ever soldiers of the Civil War. His name can be seen today on Plaque B-43 at the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington D.C. In the 1930’s, he was interviewed for one of the 93 slave narratives from the state of Missouri. After the war, Simpson pitched on one of Oberlin’s first integrated baseball teams; the college’s Resolute Baseball Team won their division.
In 1888, the light-skinned Simpson became enraged when a Kansas City theatre refused to seat his darker-colored female companion in the orchestra section which was reserved for whites. Simpson’s suit alleging equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment made it to the Missouri Supreme Court. (Although decisions all favored the theatre owner). Kate, who did not feel at home with her black family, married a white man who’s relatives shunned her. More tragic, her husband was a murder victim later on.
In addition to Kate and Simpson, Elizabeth had five more children and two husbands after Charles. The first was still a slave. He was killed in 1861 after a visit to his family, when he did not arrive back at his owner’s farm before dark. Her second husband was a freed black man who had lost his first family to influenza.
Charles Younger, who left his legitimate family in Cass County MO to live with Elizabeth, was buried on the land they shared. However, his legal wife had his body exhumed and reburied. She contested the provision in his will that gave Elizabeth the land she and Charles lived on, but his friends helped her hold onto it.
It is believed that Cole Younger and his outlaw gang stopped by “The Kingdom” whenever they headed through Missouri.
Elizabeth and her daughter Kate are buried in the cemetery. The first burial known for certain occurred in 1858, Theodore Younger, aged 4. At the last recorded burial, 1988, the cemetery had been in use for 130 years.
After acquiring the land, Nancy’s cousin cleared away overgrowth and shored up existing gravestones. His wife researched unmarked graves and they made additional markers.
I’ve always loved old cemeteries, the more forgotten the better, and I can’t wait to visit this “living history” if I ever get close!