What’s A Little Pillow Talk?

Hi everyone, are you a picky pillow person? Ha, say that fast three times! Do you have a Mr. Pillow? I’m kinda picky and like the flatter kind, but not filled with feathers. Nope. And not one that makes a noise in my ear when I move. Good heavens! Some sell for enormous sums. I bought mine at Walmart about ten years ago and it’s beginning to go really flat but I hesitate buying a new one.

Remember how all the pillows were overstuffed and we got cricks in our necks sleeping on them until we mashed them down? Glad they aren’t that way anymore.

But choosing one now days is quite a chore. They come in every type from soft to very firm. The value of the global pillow market in sales is 17.6 billion.

I think pillows have been a problem since the beginning of time. Cowboys use their saddles and that can’t be very comfortable but it beats a rock. Did you know the first pillows were in fact curved stone bolsters that elevated your head? Those were used in Mesopotamia about 7,000 BC. Five thousand years later, the Egyptians improved on that with a flat rectangular base with a straight shaft and curved neckpiece. It was supposed to mimic the rising sun. But oh my poor aching neck! The Pharoah Tutankhamun had no fewer than 8 of these in his tomb. These pillows were thought to dispel demons and they believed they could banish evil from the dark night in both life and death. No thank you! You’d have a crick deluxe that you’d never get out. I wonder if they had chiropractors?

Compliments of the Glencairn’s Egyptian Museum
Courtesy of the British Museum

Actually, the Romans were the first to stuff a sack with reeds and straw. The wealthy used feathers. Now you’re talking.

So we’ve come a long way. The first International Pillow Fight Day was held in 2008 and is celebrated every year since on the first Saturday in April. We just missed it! 

I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to a commenter who tells me what kind of pillow they use.

Anne Bronte: A Writer Ahead of Her Time

Early women writers had to fight for their place in the literary world and that’s how it was for Anne Brontë who published under a male pseudonym.

No one can dispute that Anne Brontë (1820-1849) was a writer ahead of her time, even though she wasn’t as well-known as her sisters – Charlotte and Emily. She was born the last of seven children of Patrick and Maria Brontë. Her mother, Maria, died of tuberculosis when Anne was only one year old. Their first two children also died at age eleven with the same disease. Patrick encouraged his children’s imaginations and urged them to stretch their minds so it was no surprise that they all became poets, writers, and Branwell, his only son, a painter. Creativity ran high in all the children due to the early exposure to a multitude of literature pieces.

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne all attended Miss Wooler’s school in Roe Head, England then worked as governesses once they graduated. But all of them wrote poetry as a regular escape from work.

Anne Bronte sketched by her sister Charlotte in pencil. Permission granted by Wikipedia.

After much struggle of finding a publisher, Anne released her first book, Agnes Grey in 1847, the same year Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights made an appearance. But they were all published under male pseudonyms until 1850 after the deaths of Anne and Emily. Finally, Charlotte revealed their true identities.

Anne’s second book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was published a year before her death and the subject matter of it as well as her first book made people uncomfortable. She shined a light on martial abuse, alcoholism, opium addiction, infidelity, class inequality, and the right of a woman to choose her own life. No one spoke of these things, they simply endured them. Her sisters Charlotte and Emily glossed over these subjects and tended to romanticize such issues of the day.

Anne died at twenty-nine years of age with two published books to her name and a body of poetry. Charlotte lived to age thirty-nine, the longest of all seven children. They all died of tuberculosis and it’s sad that their father outlived them all.

Of the sisters, Anne wanted to write the truth no matter how painful or that no one wanted to hear it. She felt she owed it to herself to expose the problems of the times and be truthful. That simply wasn’t done in her day. Literary scholars proclaimed her far ahead of her time and celebrate her books.

Here is what she wrote just days before her death: I have no horror of death: if I thought it inevitable I think I could quietly resign myself to the prospect … But I wish it would please God to spare me not only for Papa’s and Charlotte’s sakes, but because I long to do some good in the world before I leave it. I have many schemes in my head for future practise—humble and limited indeed—but still I should not like them all to come to nothing, and myself to have lived to so little purpose. But God’s will be done.

If you had lived back then, do you think you’d have read her books? I think I would’ve been curious. I loved Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by her sisters.

The Practice of Barn Advertisement

I think we’ve lost some fun in this modern age before billboards. Really quite a few things but one was the colorful barn and store advertising in the 1950s that painters used to put on buildings for certain products. They were eye-catching and, the money they paid the owners was more than they had.

Permission to use from Flickrr.

Painters of such were known as “Wall Dogs.” Don’t ask me why. I get the wall part but dogs?

Whoever came up with the idea of using barns to tout products was pretty smart. The barns were just sitting there all plain and nondescriptive and ended up really different. Of course, it depended on the product too. One of the largest advertising to grace barns was Mail Pouch Tobacco. Painters put that on 20,000 barns in sixteen states. Quite a sales tactic. Plus, they gave the farmer free Mail Pouch tobacco for a year.

Lucky Strike cigarettes featured a smiling doctor on the ad. You sure wouldn’t see that anymore.

Photo by Gail Stephenson at Fine Art America

 

Photo Compliments of Pixabay

There were a lot more barn advertisements up north than down here in the south and I don’t know why that was. Maybe there were more painters up there. I read that one painter could do three barns in a day. Man, that’s fast! They didn’t do only barns either. They put their advertising on the sides of businesses as well.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

 

By The original uploader was Pollinator at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA

The Highway Beautification Act brought this practice to a halt and they all disappeared. But the art is kinda catching on again a little bit, not products but murals. I noticed in several Texas towns, someone painted beautiful scenes on the sides of buildings in the downtown areas. They were so eye-catching.

As a girl, I always loved to read billboards as my family traveled across the country. My paternal grandparents lived in Southern California and each year we would make the trip to see them. Our route took us across the Mojave Desert. It took us hours to cross that scorching part of America and it was very boring. Then the Burma Shave company began to put billboards across there, spaced every mile or so, and they had the cutest sayings. Here are a few:

  • Does your husband / Misbehave / Grunt and grumble / Rant and rave / Shoot the brute some / Burma-Shave
  • A shave / That’s real / No cuts to heal / A soothing / Velvet after-feel / Burma-Shave
  • Shaving brushes / You’ll soon see ’em / On the shelf / In some / Museum / Burma-Shave

They were quite entertaining. Not as good as a barn though. Do you remember seeing some of these barns or signs when you went down the road?

 

Linda Has a Winner!

Oh my goodness, you sure know how to put a smile on my face! Thank you all for reading my genealogy post and leaving comments.

I wanted to give everyone a gift for coming.

But, I couldn’t and the random selector chose……..

COLLEEN

Yippee! Congratulations, Colleen. I’ll contact you so watch for my email.

Linda Broday: A Few of My Favorite Things

 

Most writers do a lot of other things that bring fulfillment and satisfaction. Some love to cook, sew, or travel. The favorite things in my post last year were my rock collection. I just love collecting rocks. But on this one I want to talk about another love of mine that’s dear to my heart–Genealogy and researching my family history.

I’m very drawn to everything on the subject. PBS public broadcasting has a program on Tuesday nights here called Finding Your Roots and I watch it every week if I’m home. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. researches and delves deep into each his guests’ history. Sometimes the results will blow your mind and often the stories his team unearths are sad. It certainly beats fiction.

In my  family, I’ve uncovered a lot of surprising things that often leave me with more questions than answers. Ancestry.com has billions of records of births, deaths, census records, and newspaper articles. Through them, I discovered that the man I was led to believe was my grandfather isn’t. When he was twenty-three years old, he ran off with my grandmother who was almost forty and she was seven months pregnant with my mother. She already had five children, the oldest of which was married herself. She looked old, tired and used up, not some gorgeous woman. I’ve asked myself why? What would tempt a young man with his life ahead of him to do something like that? She never divorced her husband John Ellis and there are no records where she ever married this young man who lived on a neighboring farm in Arkansas. My mother said Ben used to get drunk and yell to her that she wasn’t his kid.

So fast forward thirty-seven years and Ben is dying of Black Lung Disease. He’s fathered another daughter and buried my grandmother. Who does he ask to take care of him? My mom. And she does. Not sure why, but I’d like to think he begged her forgiveness. So many questions I wish I had asked Mom.

Another story was about Ben’s brother, my uncle. Or at least I was told he was. William Henry died when he was twenty-six and I had a difficult time trying to find what happened to him. Then I ran across a newspaper article published in 1917 that told how was killed in a construction accident. He fell off a roof into a large vat of fresh cement and was buried in it. He died before they could get him out.

There are so many stories that grab your heart. I love knowing about these people and finding out that I have some of the same strength as my ancestors did. I come from a long line of immigrants. A few years ago, I did my DNA and 80% was English and Scottish. I had small percentages of Norwegians, Swedes, and Irish. That surprised me because I’d always thought I was mostly Irish. But no. I love knowing that I might’ve descended from Vikings. They regularly invaded England and Scotland and must’ve married one.

Have you ever done your DNA? Or have you researched your ancestors? Or tell me about one of your favorite things. Leave a comment to get in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.

Linda Broday Has a Winner!

Thank you all for coming to leave a comment on my Tuesday blog!

Now for the drawing for the Amazon gift card…..

And the random winner is…….

CATHERINE

Congratulations, Catherine. I’ll contact you so be watching and check Spam if you don’t see it.

The Oldest Continuously Run Publication in America

Do you know what the oldest continuously published periodical is in the U.S? It’s The Old Farmer’s Almanac and goes on sale every year on the 2nd Tuesday of September. Farmers everywhere race to get a copy. It was first published in 1792 during George Washington’s first term as president. The founder and editor was Robert B. Thomas and it sold for six pence or nine cents a copy.

It originally carried the name of Farmer’s Almanac but the word “Old” was added to the title in 1848 after several other farmers almanacs came out by different companies. They needed to set theirs apart so people would know which one they were buying.

Farmers and city dwellers alike have depended on the Old Farmer’s Almanac to know when to plant and what the weather for the next year will be like. It also tells fishermen when the fish will bite. A lot of people have found it indispensable.

Robert Thomas came up with a complex formula using his observations of natural weather cycles to predict the forecast. He had amazing results and was said to be uncannily accurate 80 percent of the time. (Even today, his formula is kept locked away at the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.)

In 1858, it’s said that Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer at the time, used the Almanac to defend his client and refuting an eyewitness who claimed to have seen the crime by the light of the moon. The Almanac recorded the moon was in the first quarter on this night and riding low in the horizon. It wouldn’t have given much light at all. Abe Lincoln won the case.

The Old Farmers Almanac has only had fourteen editors since its existence, the latest of which is the second woman to take the helm. Her name is Carol Connare and she took the reins in 2023.

In the beginning, the book focused mostly on farming but it does much more now. It has advice on gardening, cooking, and fishing in addition to lunar cycles, and horoscopes. Sometimes there is a blend of trivia and human interest stories and even recipes. You can find most anything in one of these books from anecdotes to fashion predictions for the coming year.

In 1942, the almanac came close to halting publication when a German spy came ashore on Long Island, New York and was apprehended by the FBI. They found a copy of the 1942 Old Farmer’s Almanac in his pocket. It appeared the Germans were using the Almanac as a source of weather forecasts because it was so accurate. Indirectly the book was supplying information to the enemy. From then on until the war’s end, the editor quickly changed the format to only show weather indications, not forecasts.

In September 2018, they predicted that Texas and Oklahoma would have the driest winter on record and, Lord knows, that certainly came true. The Texas Panhandle went 192 days without any moisture. I was living up there then. We had very bad fires and dangerous winds that year.

It’s very gratifying to see something that’s been around for 232 years and still going strong. It’s a great resource for writers.

Today the Old Farmer’s Almanac comes in paperback, trade size, and hard back and sells between $6.94 to $14.24 for hard back. And there’s a Kindle editor. Folks swear by the information inside each copy because it’s rarely wrong.

Have you ever or anyone you know ever used the Old Farmer’s Almanac? I’ve always found it interesting and full of valuable information. There’s wonderful recipes in it as well. I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to a commenter so leave me something.

Christmas Decor Crawl ~ Linda Broday

One of the things I love about Christmas is the beautiful colors and decorations. For various reasons, I don’t put a Christmas tree up any longer but I love pretty wreaths and always have one on my door and several on my walls.

I wondered what wreaths signify and found some surprising and not so surprising facts. Wreaths originated in ancient times and the tradition of displaying them for Christmas is still evident everywhere you turn. It means that you’re inviting the spirit of Christmas into your home and are a symbol of good luck for the occupants.

But wreaths were used for various other things. In ancient Rome, they symbolized victory following competitions. Some were worn on the head. Wreaths are also hung on doors following a death and symbolize the circle of eternal life and victory of the eternal spirit over death. In Christianity, a wreath of thorns was placed on our Savior’s head as a mockery to believers.

This is the wreath I have hanging on my front door.

I also have two small ones I made myself hanging on my wall.

My Little Reindeer guarding my door and my boot centerpiece.

                                                   

And this was taken of me on Christmas 1953 with my new doll, stroller, and phone.

Mama really had fixed my hair. Sure wasn’t me.

Even if you don’t put up a tree, do you decorate your house? I’d like to hear your traditions if you have any.

Happy Holidays to all

Linda Broday

Cowboys & Mistletoe – Linda Broday

(POST  1 of 3  for Wednesday)

Hope’s Angel is a sweet romance about accepting others who are different and showing compassion.

When a horrendous accident leaves Jericho Cane disfigured, he retreats to the dark refuge of his childhood home. People label him a monster, a phantom and jeer. Only while the town sleeps can he find courage to venture out and seek solace in midnight rides.

But who is making mysterious repairs to broken items, leaving food on doorsteps and wooden angels on children’s graves?

Newly arrived, Irish doctor Kathleen O’Shea, has no fear of Jericho Cane. Armed with determination, she offers hope for him to live again. Still, can he thrive walking in daylight amongst the ones who call him a monster? If she fails, the darkness will consume him for good.

A holiday read that will touch your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time of acceptance, kindness, and for healing wounds.

Kindle Unlimited or buy for $2.99

AMAZON LINK 

I’m giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Below you will find three statements, two are true, one is not. 

Guess which is the lie in the comments to be entered in the drawings.

Winners and answers will be announced on Sunday 12/03.

I published my first book when I was 52 years old

I studied abroad for a year out of high school.

My sister is also a published writer and we had a sister who painted pictures.