Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Nanny's kitchen

While out working on leash training our chiweenie pup this morning, these brilliant mushrooms standing out against the gloom of an overcast morning caught my eye. I just had to stop and take a picture, much to the dog's annoyance.

As I continued on, I noticed more and more mushrooms growing in the fresh mounds of mulch surrounding the trees along the sidewalks. Stopping to take more pictures, ignoring the puppy's protests, my thoughts drifted to Nanny's kitchen.

Nanny was Effie Lorraine Parmer Martin, my maternal grandmother. I don't know why she chose "Nanny", but "Grandma" was already taken by her own mother.

Nanny's kitchen was decorated with hand painted wooden plaques which she made herself. They consisted of mushrooms and various garden critters displayed in a line over the kitchen sink and cabinets. She even had a set of mushroom-themed cookware, the kind you could probably only find at garage sales or ebay these days.

Her kitchen wasn't large, but she had a closet-size pantry where, in addition to food, she kept the dominoes, playing cards and poker chips. My parents and grandparents would sit at the kitchen table playing 42 in the afternoon, while my sister and I entertained ourselves in the living room or outside. In the evening they would move to the dining room table on the other side of the kitchen to play poker.

She loved to cook, and try out new recipes she found. Every time we came over, Nanny had some freshly baked treat for us. She made us our first Rice Krispie treats and peanut butter corn flake bars.

So, today, I am thankful for the mushrooms that remind me of Nanny's kitchen, and all the good times we had over there.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Motivation Monday: The science of productivity

I consider weekends family time, because Saturday and Sunday are usually the only days my husband and daughter can be home all day (barring sickness or major holidays). And on weekends, I sometimes find myself browsing YouTube on the PS3 while relaxing with the family. One of my favorite youtube channels is AsapScience.

This last Saturday morning, while browsing through the AsapScience channel, I came across The Science of Productivity. Immediately my mind went to the blog post I had started a couple of hours ago, then abandoned to watch YouTube.

What I got out of watching, and re-watching, this illuminating video was that I need to set goals. I mean, "Get as much done as I can before I die," doesn't really set any targets. I need to break it up into small projects, plan about how long it should take to complete, and dedicate a specific time of day to work on it (instead of work on it until I'm exhausted and no longer want to mess with it).

Family history isn't a job for me, it's a hobby (one of many!). I have no boss, no deadlines, no one to grade me on the quality and accuracy of my work. No one is holding me accountable but me, and admittedly, I tend to cut myself a lot of slack.

So today, I am going to choose a specific point in time for one ancestor, I'm going to give myself one week to research, outline and write. I will only work on it for 90 minutes at a time, take a short break, then get back to work. And when the spawn gets home from school, I will stop for the day. Let's see how that goes...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday's faces from the past: Bettie Frances Nowell Davis family

Bettie Frances Nowell was George Eugene Nowell's youngest sister, and Grandma Zula's aunt.

I can't say for sure when or where this photo was taken. Or even who everyone is. But I can make a few guesses from the data I've collected. Maybe someday, someone from this branch of the Nowell clan will stumble across it and be able to verify the identities.

One copy of this photo was labeled "Aunt Betty's family, children & in-laws" (I have two scans, this one was the larger of the two). Bettie and Sam Davis had eight children that I can account for, that were probably still living when this photo was taken (they lost one child prior to 1910).

The oldest daughter was born about 1901, and I swear, her name on the 1910 census looks to be "Daniel". I haven't been able to find anything else on her to confirm her name, so for now, I'll just refer to her as Danni. :) Second child, Verna, was born 21 Feb 1903. Their third daughter, Della, was born about 1911. I haven't been able to find any more on her, either.

So, I think the women in this photo are Aunt Bettie and her three daughters.

I also have a photo (on the right, there) of Verna Davis and her husband, Lester "Bud" Wright. Perhaps someone with better facial recognition skills can figure out which one is Verna. I think that might be Verna and Bud on Bettie's right, but I'm not certain of that at all. And, of course, it's also possible that any one of them could be a daughter-in-law instead.

Now, the two boys in front are probably Aunt Bettie's youngest sons, John Travis Davis born 1 Aug 1920, and Robert Franklin Davis b. 2 Nov 1917 d. 8 May 1978.
I'm terrible at guessing ages, but I'm going to take a shot anyway, and "guess" that the youngest there is around 10 years old. So if that is John Travis, that would put the year somewhere around 1930. Aunt Bettie and her husband, John Samuel Davis, were probably still living in (or near) Chandler, Henderson County, Texas.

Bettie and Sam's other three sons were George M. Davis, 22 Mar 1906 - 28 Jul 1941; Harry Thomas Davis, 15 Jul 1908 - 2 Jul 1961; and Jack A. Davis born about 1915.

I know I'm straying a bit from the topic, here, but something of interest that I came across while researching this branch was Harry's cause of death. According to his death certificate (free member account at required to view the image), Harry Davis was "Shot four times with .22 rifle, in shoulder above heart and stomach", and "Homicide" was marked on the certificate. I know my family loves the gory details, so I thought I'd go ahead and mention it. Back to the photos.

I have two more photos of Aunt Bettie. This first one was probably taken around the time she and Sam got married, about 1900, likely while they were still living in Comanche County. But it might have been taken later than that.

The one on the right is labeled November 15, 1943. They were living in Chandler in 1940, having moved back after living in Liberty County for a while. So this may have been taken in Chandler.

If anyone needs these photos for their research, or to hang on their "ancestor wall", be sure to click on them first for the full size image.
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