Baking Up a Storm #1

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I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt.

Baking Up a Storm is a new historical fiction tale I’m working on, set in southern California in 1935. Clara Ayers, and the family members mentioned in the tale were real people. In 1935 her baked goods won four places at the Los Angeles County Fair. She placed second with her Light Rolls, Ginger Bread, and Chocolate Drop Cookies. Her Molasses Drop Cookies took first place. She and her recipes are listed in the Prize Winning Recipes cookbook from the fair that year.

Any historical tidbits mentioned in the story are true facts. But the conversations that take place and Clara’s thoughts and actions are all fictional creations from this author’s brain as she tries to honor Clara’s life and bring her to life. Dear Clara, please excuse me if I’ve erred in any way in this historical recreation.

In honor of Clara Ayers and her four prize winning recipes of 1935, join us as we step back in time, to a time when the citrus groves in the valley south of the San Bernardino Mountains reigned (and the foothills were clear of smog.)

This week we write to the prompt ‘bone.’

For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

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Clara grabbed a flour sack towel from the counter, wadded it slightly and used it to lift a pan of cookies from the oven. She carefully laid it on a cooling rack before turning towards her daughter who sat at the kitchen table nursing a cup of steaming coffee. “Hazel, dear, hand me that spatula, will you? I want you to try one of these.”

Patting her trim waist, Hazel tried to decline. “Now, Mama, you know I don’t need another cookie. I’m trying to watch my figure. Don’t want to get old and fat so Ted won’t want me anymore.”

“Phssaw. You don’t need to worry. As much running around as you do, helping him with the dairy, you’re not going to turn fat.”

“You never know. Now that I’m thirty-seven, food’s starting to collect around my middle.”

Lifting a fresh cookie from the tin sheet, Clara sat it on small, green plate and handed it to Hazel anyway. “Just one. Don’t give me no bones about it. I want to know what you think. Want to make this one for the County Fair this year.” Pausing, she watched Hazel nibble at her offering, anxious to hear the verdict. “Well? Good enough to place? I aim to come home with a Blue Ribbon this year.”

“Mmmm. Mama, this is delicious.” Hazel held out the empty plate towards her mother. “Now, I know I shouldn’t…but I believe I’ll have just one more. What’s this one called?”

“Molasses Drop Cookies.”

“Must be why I like it so well. You know how I love anything with molasses in it. Share the recipe with me?”

Clara felt a giggle surfacing. “Maybe after the Fair. You know how us cooks treasure our special recipes. Especially when we win.”

After downing the second cookie in just a few bites, Hazel brushed the crumbs off the oilcloth tablecloth and into her hand. She rose and walked over to where a bowl filled with potato peelings sat on the counter. “These going out to the chickens?” After her mother nodded yes, she dropped the crumbs onto the top of the vegetable scraps. “I’d better get back. Ted’s likely to think I ran away. And it’s getting close to milking time.”

“Wait. Take some cookies to the kids as you leave. Ada’s little ones are here for the day. They’re out in the grove.” Clara put five cookies on the plate Hazel had just emptied. She looked up just in time to see a tear gather at the corner of Hazel’s eye.

“I saw them playing when I came in. Stopped and gave them all a hug.” She grabbed a handkerchief that was tucked in her waistband and dabbed at her eyes. “You know, it’s been two years and I still can’t believe it some days. I miss my sister so much. It’s still hard to believe she’s gone. It was all so sudden.”

Gathering the dirty mixing bowls, Clara tossed them in the dish pan full of sudsy water, as if keeping in motion would keep her from feeling too much. “Pneumonia can be. Your daddy was fast too. One day he was here and the next day gone.”

“I remember. Even though I was only nine, I remember those days. Must have been hard on you, all of a sudden being a widow with three young children.”

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For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

 

 

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Historical Saturday New Release: “A Hundred Tiny Threads” by Judith Barrow

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HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY – ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’ by Judith Barrow – the prequel to the Howarth Family Series was published a few days ago. Starting in 1911 over the years we uncover the threads that bind Winifred and Bill together.

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds
of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.”
Simone Signoret.

I had the good fortune to be able to attend the packed launch event of this long awaited book at Waterstones in Carmarthen.

You can read all four books in any order, they are stand alone books but as we discussed this issue with Judith, the consensus was that reading them in the order they were written might be the best option.

I’ve been a fan of Judith’s amazing stories and her lovable persona for years and enjoyed joining her large group of readers and supporters…

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D: Diaries #AtoZChallenge

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Thanks for stopping by! During the month of April, we’re participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’re posting every day (except Sundays) to the letter of the day – A to Z through the whole month. Vintage Daze’s theme for April is RESEARCH. Join us as we get down and dirty in the archives.

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Diaries are my favorite source of historical tidbits. Not only do you find a lot of information about events in the past, but the writer’s personality and traits shine through, giving you a glimpse of the person that lived on this earth many years before we did.

Countless diaries have been published and even more used as historical background for fictionalized tales. I think some of my favorite have been diaries of women and young girls traveling the land in covered wagons, in search of a better life for their family. Diaries of immigrants are fascinating also. I also enjoy reading Civil War diaries – although they leave my heart saddened.

One of my favorite discoveries was a five year diary, written by Flora Caldwell Luper, during the years 1948-1952. Some of her entries are like this:

March 8, 1948 Bad weather again. The horses got out. Went to Stamper’s. Sold my eggs to Leo Ball. 40¢ per. doz. Rode to the store with Loy. Back with Lynn.

March 12, 1948 Cold this morn. Apples froze in the cellar. Al gone to work. Saw no one today. Cold and bad weather. Sewed some. Tea towels. Al about sick with cold.

It’s seeing a small slice of life, lifted from the pages of the past. I wrote a little more about it on this blog – Dear Diary: Fayetteville Arkansas 1948.

I shared what Flora’s five Christmases were like during this period on – Flora Luper’s Christmases.

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What are your thoughts on diaries? Have you read any good ones?

C: Census Records #AtoZChallenge

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Thanks for stopping by! During the month of April, we’re participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’re posting every day (except Sundays) to the letter of the day – A to Z through the whole month. Vintage Daze’s theme for April is RESEARCH. Join us as we get down and dirty in the archives.

C: Census Records

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Census records are a useful source of historical information. Genealogists regularly find tidbits they’re searching for in census records. Other researchers, other than genealogists, also can find missing pieces buried in these years of archives.

Just last night I found a name I needed through the 1940 US Census. I was researching names that were in a 1935 Los Angeles County Fair prize winning recipe booklet. I wanted to use some of these real women as characters in a fictional short story for my writing group.

The women’s names and cities – sometimes even specific addresses – were listed in the cookbook. However, as was common during this time, many of the women were listed as: Mrs. Walter E. Carey, Mrs. Glenn Morgan, Mrs. R. J. Hoover, or Mrs. Sam Teeter. I doubt as the women gathered to hear who won the baking contests they referred to each other as Mrs. Walter E. Carey. I needed some names. Fortunately I had a city and discovered that Sam Teeter, who still lived in La Verne, California at the time of the 1940 census had a wife named Martha. She was 42 years old at the time of the census, making her 37 at the time of the baking contest in 1935. I now have a few specifics to use in my fictional re-creation.

The 1940 census is the latest census available to us. US Census records are considered confidential for 72 years. The 1950 census will be the next one released – to be released in April 2022. Persons named in the census and their heirs may request specific information prior to the census records being made public.

Individuals may request their own records (before they are publicly available) via the Census Bureau’s Age Search service. This service provides individual information from censuses that are still protected by the 72-year rule, but only to the named person, his or her heirs, or legal representatives. There is a Congressionally-mandated fee for this service. Individuals interested in requesting a search of their personal census records must complete a form BC-600 [PDF 142k], Application for Search of Census Records (form BC-600sp [PDF – 156k], Solicitud Para Busqueda De Registros Censales).

Per the United States Census Bureau:

Individual census records from 1790 to 1940 are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, not the U.S. Census Bureau.

Publications related to the census data collected from 1790 to 2010 are available at https://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html.

Visit the National Archives Web site to access 1940 Census records
http://1940census.archives.gov.

1930 Census of Population

The 1930 census became available on April 1, 2002, as National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T626, Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930 (2667 rolls).

The 1930 census and all existing Soundex indexes are available at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001; the Archives’ regional facilities around the country; many public libraries; and for a fee at online commercial genealogy sites.

For more information about using the 1930 census to complete your genealogical research, visit the National Archives’ 1930 Federal Population Census Web Site.

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The small community of Fargo, Texas struggles to survive in the post-Depression years. Besides the lack of money, years of record breaking heat and drought threaten the farming town. But the women of the town have a strength and resolve common to many of the time. They gather together and produce a cookbook for their church. Fargo Women Plot and Plan is a fictional tale about real women represented in a real cookbook. Historical details about the town, time, and people are real. The tale that weaves the pieces together is totally fictional – a figment of this author’s imagination. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, BACK STORY, and I’ll send you this short story for free.

 

B: Bible (Family Bibles) #AtoZChallenge

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Thanks for stopping by! During the month of April, we’re participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’re posting every day (except Sundays) to the letter of the day – A to Z through the whole month. Vintage Daze’s theme for April is RESEARCH. Join us as we get down and dirty in the archives.

B: Bibles

VD_family bible.jpgFamily Bibles are important sources of vital family statistics, often containing a plethora of historical names and dates. Some families have maintained better documentation than others in these family heirlooms. Some Bibles contain line after line of vital dates and records, while others only provide a smattering of information.

The downside to using family Bible’s for research is that there’s only one item – and often dozens of descendants. Who gets the Bible? Who has access to the information?

Fortunately, one benefit to the new technology available with computer and the internet is that this information can be digitally saved, giving access to unlimited numbers of people. Several sites exist where people are beginning to post digital family Bible records. As this becomes more known, more records will become available to others. Many states are also beginning to start a family Bible site.

Here are a few sites that that have Bible records and images:

Ancestor Hunt

There are over 500 pages of Bible records and images accessible from this page. I am continuously adding to these Bible records transcribed from old Family Bibles so keep checking back for your family names. Be aware that most Family Bibles contain more than one surname, particularly in the marriage records section. Often times Bible Records will help you find that elusive maiden name you have been searching for or help you locate the birthplace and birth date of an ancestor. Some Bibles even contain names of Godparents and baptismal records. In addition to the data and photos from the Bibles, I have added census records wherever there was enough information provided to enable a census search. I have begun indexing ALL names found in these Bibles. When you find a name in the index and click on it, you will arrive at the Bible page where that name is found. You will then have to find the name in that Bible transcription.

Ancestors at Rest

Find your ancestors in death records. Search free genealogy death records such as coffin plates, death cards, funeral cards, wills, church records, family bibles, cenotaphs and tombstone inscriptions on AncestorsAtRest.com Find links to other genealogy death records like cemeteries, vital stats, and obituaries.

Bible Records Online

Bible Records Online is a site dedicated to transcribing and digitizing the contents of family records that were written inside family Bibles and in other important documents from as early as the 1500s through today. Often, these were the only written records of births, marriages and deaths of a family, and these remain solid components to proving a family genealogy.

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Bible Records Databases

Ancestry

Missouri Bible Records, Vol. 1

New York Family Bible Records, 1581-1917

Tennessee Marriage and Bible Records

Free Bible Records

NC State Library Bible Records Collection

Virginia – Search 6000 Family Bibles

 

The small community of Fargo, Texas struggles to survive in the post-Depression years. Besides the lack of money, years of record breaking heat and drought threaten the farming town. But the women of the town have a strength and resolve common to many of the time. They gather together and produce a cookbook for their church. Fargo Women Plot and Plan is a fictional tale about real women represented in a real cookbook. Historical details about the town, time, and people are real. The tale that weaves the pieces together is totally fictional – a figment of this author’s imagination. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, BACK STORY, and I’ll send you this short story for free.

Trisha Faye is captivated about people, places, and pieces of the past. When she can tear herself away from researching, she writes stories about the fascinating snippets she discovers, such as the stories in her book, Wash on Monday.

You can find Trisha on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blogs – Trisha Faye, Vintage Daze, or Embracing Life.

A: Athelstan, Iowa #AtoZChallenge

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Thanks for stopping by! During the month of April, we’re participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’re posting every day (except Sundays) to the letter of the day – A to Z through the whole month. Vintage Daze’s theme for April is RESEARCH. Join us as we get down and dirty in the archives.

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A: Athelstan, Iowa

Athelstan IA is a small now almost non-existent town sitting on the Missouri/Iowa border. While few people currently live there, it was once a small thriving farming community. I never would have known of its existence except for some quilt squares I happened upon at a yard sale in California. The squares were not in prime shape. They were obviously very old and the stitching on most appeared to be done by younger stitchers. But they all had names stitched on them. Once boasted the year ‘1934’ in the bonnet.

I tried putting names in the computer to see if I could locate any common links. I failed. And the squares were packed away through two moves. Several years later I ran across the page where I’d made notes of the names and common fabrics. I sat down at the computer again and in less than an hour I had Athelstan.

By then, a 1925 Athelstan, Iowa census had been posted online and several of the names were on it – including many who were young girls or toddlers in 1925.

Much more research – hours and hours over weeks and months – revealed more information about the women and young girls that had stitched these squares in 1934. I’ve since become friends with several of the descendants of these squares. Although the set of quilt squares no longer belong to me. I took them back home in 2014 and gave them to the Taylor County Historical Museum, where they can be enjoyed in the area they began in over 80 years ago.

While researching results like this are not common, it’s fueled my obsession with researching people, places, and items from the past.

Come back for more researching fun through the month – every day – A to Z.

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The small community of Fargo, Texas struggles to survive in the post-Depression years. Besides the lack of money, years of record breaking heat and drought threaten the farming town. But the women of the town have a strength and resolve common to many of the time. They gather together and produce a cookbook for their church. Fargo Women Plot and Plan is a fictional tale about real women represented in a real cookbook. Historical details about the town, time, and people are real. The tale that weaves the pieces together is totally fictional – a figment of this author’s imagination. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, BACK STORY, and I’ll send you this short story for free.

Trisha Faye is captivated about people, places, and pieces of the past. When she can tear herself away from researching, she writes stories about the fascinating snippets she discovers, such as the stories in her book, Wash on Monday.

You can find Trisha on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blogs – Trisha Faye, Vintage Daze, or Embracing Life.

 

A to Z Theme Reveal – Researching

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The A to Z Blog Challenge is gearing up for its 2017 launch. Join us in April as thousands of blogs participate in the challenge. Each day, except Sundays, we post a blog for the letter of the day. April 1st is ‘A’, April 2nd is ‘B’, etc.

For the challenge this year, Vintage Daze is blogging about research. We’ll talk about a lot of the fun (and sometimes frustrating) pieces about digging into the past, looking for clues to either our family research, historical research for our writing, or simply what we’re curious about.

We’ll talk about Bibles, diaries, historical societies, museums, quilts, war records and more. Come back and join us as we get down and dusty in the archives. Click to follow VINTAGE DAZE and you won’t miss any posts. And don’t worry, after April we go back to our posting once every week or two, so your inbox won’t explode.

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