Jul 23, 2017

A view from the boat on the Detroit River

Last weekend a friend and I took a mini vacation. We traveled to Detroit and then made our way around the city.  It was our goal to go on a river tour, which I love doing. We climbed onto Diamond Jack's boat and sailed along the river. The sky was ever changing that day.  

Ambassador Bridge

One minute it would be bright and you could see the blue sky and ten minutes later it was clouded over.  I stood at the hull of the ship and tried to take in as much as I could of the scenery. I felt like I was in a different world.  And I was. 

Orthodox church on the river front, Windsor, Ontario

This is a few shots that I took and worked on yesterday.  The church intrigued me with its missing top on one of the steeples that was rust stained down the sides. I wanted the picture to look like a painting or an old postcard. The narrator told us the name of the church but without pen or paper it is lost to me. 

Detroit Princess
I wished that my passport was updated so that we could have gone across the Ambassador Bridge and explored this church. Maybe have fish and chips or tea and scones or both. 

The luckiest people live next to water or mountains, preferably both.  But I live in corn fields, where the land is flat.  

Jun 17, 2017

In the year 1812: On being a widow and the Lover's Eye

The war of 1812 isn't discussed much in the history books.  At lease, that I can remember. A few days again I encountered this woman at the Old Fort in Fort Wayne.  The Old Fort was up and running filled with actors portraying people from the time period.

As we walked towards the Fort we encountered a woman sitting in a tent with shear curtains all around it. It had several chairs inside so that when someone came in they could sit and chat a while. The woman was wearing very heavy white makeup, rouge, and thickly drawn eyebrows. During that time period the white foundation was made with lead and fats, which could be deadly. But beauty must come at a cost. Only the wealthy women during the 1800's wore this kind of makeup. 

She called herself Lady Liddington. On this day she was my history teacher. 

On her left hand there was a black onyx ring with a diamond in the middle to show others that her husband has passed away. A tiny pin fastened to her dress in the front contained a lock of hair from both she and her husband. A part of him will always be with her. The dark purple dress signifies that she is still mourning but not deep mourning. This also means that she is not interested in training another husband, because the first one was difficult enough. 

By the widow's side a miniature portrait of Lord Liddington was securely fastened into a picture frame and draped with a black scarf sitting neatly on a small table. The detail of the portrait was amazing for an item that was so small. Lady Liddington went on to say that during the same time period portraits were drawn of an eye. This eye miniature could be that of a child, spouse, lover, etc...These portraits could we worn as a bracelet, necklace, brooch, ring, or pendant. The fad began in the 1700's and the miniature became known as "Lover's Eye." Sometimes a lock of hair was incorporated into the portrait. This sounds a bit romantic to me. 

Jun 15, 2017

Ketner's Mill, Whitwell, Tennessee

I think that is was love at first sight for me when we drove up the road trying to find an old mill that we had heard of.  The dam was built on the Sequatchie River in Whitwell, Tennessee by early settlers to the area. 

In 1824, three orphans, David, George, and Elizabeth Ketner arrived in Sequatchie Valley, Tennessee. 

Ketner's Mill is named after David's son Alexander, who built the mill in 1868 and it ran fairly steady until 1992 when the mill closed its doors.  

The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The mill is surrounded by small mountains and an abundance of trees. On the third weekend in October a fair is held at Ketner's Mill and people gather together to buy and sell their arts and crafts.  This year the country arts fair will take place October 21-22.  

But if you need to get away for a couple of hours before then, bring yourself a chair, sit down, and listen to the sound of the running water.  I would like to be there right now. 

The address is 658 Ketner Mill Lane, Whitwell, Tennessee. 

Jun 4, 2017

Silverdale Confederate Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tennessee

While visiting Chattanooga last weekend my cousin and stumbled upon a cemetery that I had never heard of before. 

It is located at 7714 Lee Highway next to McKay's Books, which was our intended destination.  As we flew down the street my cousin saw the Confederate Cemetery first and I was just as thrilled as she was to explore it. This was our first time seeing a cemetery like this. 

After loading the car with at least 50 books and DVD's we headed back down the street.  We turned onto the narrow driveway and hoped that no one else was coming back down. 

There are 155 unknown soldiers who are buried in this small graveyard.  Can you imagine that many men who have not been returned to their families? Relatives not knowing where their husband, son, or nephew is buried.  This was disturbing to me. 

Once inside there was only a few markers.  Initially the soldiers had wooden markers with name, rank, and division but they decayed over time. There were no records of the men who were buried there.  The cemetery is surrounded by a stone fence with a large gate in the front. 

From what I understand the soldiers fought in the Battle of Perryville and were brought back to Chattanooga to recover. 

All of the burials took place between July-December of 1862. Below is an excerpt from Thunder Creek Harley Davidson web site that gives a brief synopsis of the cemetery. 

General Braxton Bragg succeeded General Beauregard as commander of the Army of Mississippi shortly after the Battle of Shiloh and on July 21, 1862 ordered 27,816 men to Chattanooga, Tennessee in preparation for his famed Kentucky campaign. These men had been in camps in northern Mississippi where poor water, shallow wells, mosquitoes and dysentery had made many of them sick. The number of troops made it necessary for most of them to be located outside of town. 

The men buried at Silverdale are from General Withers’ division hospital. His division consisted of men from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The hospital was housed in 100 tents. It remained at Tyner’s station and in control of Withers’ division until after it was moved to Cleveland, Tennessee in December due to the weather becoming too cold for the men to remain in tents.

 If you like history, you will find this off the beaten path cemetery a fascinating place.  I would like to go back again to sit down and listen for the voices of the men lying beneath my feet.  Maybe they have something to say if only someone would listen. 

May 14, 2017

A Garden of Statues

Have you ever driven by a house and the yard is packed with junk? Then you wonder what their neighbors think of them.  I know that I wouldn't like it. But who am I to judge? 

From end to end the property is jammed with statues. Some statues are large and others are small. 

The statues are beautiful. And I honestly wouldn't mind having a few of them in my own yard. 

A property owner has a bit more leeway in the rural places, but in town, well, there are your neighbors to think of.  

What would you do if you had a neighbor whose yard looked like this? It is sort of like a distracting co-worker who always make sure that you know they are there. 

Apr 30, 2017

Looking for Art in the Alley

It has been raining for days. I sat in my little office and watched videos on Youtube to pass the time, but I longed to be outside. My mood began to feel like the weather, all drippy eyed. Then I thought, " I am going out to photograph whether it is raining or not.  
The tea is that way

My cousin told me about some art that was on display in an alley downtown. She saw an article in the paper about it. "What an odd place to display your work," I thought to myself. So, last night I tried to find it, which is rather stupid of me, I will admit it.  What can one find in the dark anyway? 

Artwork by Alex Mendez

This morning, after driving around for what seemed like an eternity, I found the alley.  When I first went into the alley way there was a large metal guitar. I wish that I had a wide angle lens because this is lovely and massive. At the other end of the alley were four pictures. 

Allen County Courthouse 

Embassy Theatre

Lincoln Bank Building

The above artwork is by Dianne Allen Groenert.  The picture below is by three artists: Theoplis Smith, Alexandra Hall, and Terry Ratliff.  The piece is called People Moving

People Moving

If you would like to see the artwork it is located at 117 W. Wayne St. Fort Wayne, Indiana. The alley is located in between The Double Dragon & MKM Architecture + Design buildings on Wayne Street.  The alley is right there but you must get out of the car to see anything. This is not a drive by viewing place.  

Apr 2, 2017

Blossoming in the place of Solitude

Sometimes the world can seem like an overwhelming place. Our environment is filled with all kinds of stimulation that can bother those of us who are sensitive. When the world seems like it is too much then I retreat to a quiet place.  I blossom in this place of solitude. My best ideas come to me in the quiet. 

Mar 19, 2017

My Campbell relatives rubbing shoulders with George Washington

This week was my spring vacation. The skies were overcast, it was cold, and dreary.  So, what better way to pass the time than to dive into the research pool. I've been at this genealogy thing for a long time. It is something that I really enjoy and has opened my eyes to how people have not really changed over the centuries. I've found a couple of murders and a possible  "Who is the baby daddy?" in my lineage. 

But this week produced a really big surprise. I started looking seriously at the life of John Campbell, the second son of Archibald Campbell. Archibald is my seven times great-grandfather. At the time of the Revolution, the Campbell's were living in Bedford County, Virginia. 

 Archibald Campbell was a member of the Continental Army and provided beef for the soldiers during the Revolutionary War. He was granted a 300 acre land grant from Governor Thomas Jefferson afterwards. However,  Archie wasn't the only one in his family to contribute services in the Revolution, two of Archibald's sons enlisted and fought for the freedom of this country as well.  

Archibald's son James, my six times Great-Grandfather, enlisted in the 10th Virginia Regiment as a private in Captain Clough Shelton's Co. of Foot December 2, 1776. He served three years, his time expired at Morristown, New Jersey in 1779.  James was at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in May 1778 along with General Washington. But this is not the only time one of my family members was in the same company as our founding Father. 

My six times Great-Uncle John Campbell (James' brother) signed up for three tours.  He volunteered in June 1778, served three months as a private in Captain Robert Adams Company, Colonel Charles Lynche's regiment, and Lt. McReynolds guarding the lead mines in Virginia for three months at Fort Chiswell. 

He volunteered in February 1781 and served as a private in Captain James Dickson's Company.  They marched directly to North Carolina and was attached to Colonel Otho Holland William's Virginia Regiment of Regular Infantry and had a severe action with the British at Whitesell's Mills on a branch of Haw River (March 1781). Shortly after this action he was attached to Colonel Lynche's regiment and marched to Guilford Court House North Carolina and fought in the Battle of Guilford. According to the transcription of John's pension record he thought that the division of the army to which he belonged General Robert Lawson was the commander. They marched to a place called Troublesome Fire Works, North Carolina and was discharged for six weeks. 

In August 1781, John was drafted for a three month tour and entered service under Captain David Beard's Company, Colonel William Trigg's regiment and marched directly to Yorktown, Virginia where they joined the main army under General George Washington and remained there in service until the surrender of the British Army under Cornwallis (Oct 19, 1781).  Shortly after the surrender, John, was discharged after serving only two months on that tour. 

After I read the account of the military service of John Campbell, I decided that I needed to visit his grave and soon. I discovered that John is buried in State Line Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio.  

John Campbell, second son of Archibald Campbell 

I packed up my car and headed down south to see the grave of a relative that I have only read about. The Hamilton soundtrack kept the adrenaline flowing as I sped down the highway.                                                                                                                       
I found the tiny graveyard. The moment I saw the headstone a sob started in my throat and tears filled my eyes. I stood there looking at the stone that I had only seen pictures of. Then, I felt compelled to speak. I talked to him for a long time. Most of all, I asked him to help me to find the link across the pond. He knows who his people are. He knows their names. Give me a clue John. 

I didn't think to bring flowers to his grave. The only thing that I had with me was a stone from South Carolina that a friend gave me.  I went back to the car. I retrieved the stone  and put it in front of his stone explaining that the this was the closest thing I had to the place that he called home. Then I climbed back into the car. Hamilton was still playing in the CD player...

Sarah Vance Campbell, Wife of John Campbell
...and the world is gonna know your name. What's your name man?  John Campbell, My name is John Campbell. 

Mar 14, 2017

Do what you can't

Have you ever had someone tell you that you can't do something because...? Well I take that as a challenge. Because you don't have the guts to do something new or dare to dream doesn't mean that I have to fall into the hole with you.  Be a creator. Be unique. Be yourself. Then take the dive.

Mar 13, 2017

Rusty Porch Swing

Oh I remember these swings.  They were made of metal and were ice cold when you sat down but warmed up once you have been sitting there for a while.  It was made to endure time and eternity.  

Mar 12, 2017

Panther Creek State Park Tennessee

Last August I went to Morristown, Tennessee for a mini vacation. While there I visited the Panther Creek State Park.  It was such a lovely place. The peaceful effects of water and the mountains in the distance was heavenly.  I want to go on anther vacation to such a place. One day I may never return to the cornfields. 

Feb 19, 2017


The sunsets have been incredible this past week. Last night while driving to see a couple of friends who live in the country, I noticed how beautiful the barren trees looked against the glowing sky. 

The temperatures have been fluctuating from high to low all winter. Last night it was warm enough for a bonfire. We huddled around the fire with our blankets wrapped around us and chatted away. The brightness of the stars that hung in the heavens shown down upon us. Our gaze went upwards in amazement at the beauty of it all.  

Not all beauty is lost in winter.  Sometimes we have to look a little harder for it or maybe not. 

Jan 29, 2017

Lion: A Review

I went to see Lion at the theater a couple of weeks ago.  I was deeply moved by this lost and found tale of an Indian boy.  Within minutes of the beginning of the story I was in tears. 

Poverty was a stark reality for Saroo and Gaddu. Their father left them and the mother tried to make a living by moving rocks. In hopes of helping their mother they went to look for things they could sell or coins that fell to the ground by the passengers on the train. Saroo was only five years old, and was not able to stay awake while they looked around the train station. Gaddu left Saroo on a bench to sleep, promising to come back. Saroo woke during the night and his brother never came back. Saroo looked everywhere for his brother but wasn't able to locate him. Saroo searched a train that was stopped at the station and he fell asleep on one of the seats. The train began to move and it took Saroo on a long trip across the country. 

He ended up living on the streets of Calcutta for three weeks and then was adopted by an Australian couple. He didn't know his last name or the city he lived in. The authorities began a search for Saroo's family but nothing came of it. Saroo lived in Australia for 25 years but always longed for his family. Then his search began.  Google Earth was his vice to find his family. 

The film is based on a true story which makes it more compelling to watch.  Dev Patel does an excellent job portraying Saroo Brierley. 

Jan 22, 2017

Photography Exhibition

Friday evening was the opening for the IPFW Professional Photography Graduate Exhibit at the Garrett Museum of Art. The place was packed from 6-8 pm with barely enough room to move around.  We filled the museum with our fine art photographs that we compiled throughout the year. 

I think that I worked harder for this certificate than I did my degree or maybe I wanted it more.  The experience of this exhibit made me feel like a celebrity for a couple of hours. But more than this, the support from friends and co-workers was overwhelming. I talked of nothing but the exhibit for months and I am sure that they were sick of hearing about it.

During the evening, I thought about my parents, especially my mother. She would have been so proud.  

Jan 3, 2017

Cloning and having a soul

I just finished reading the book Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I've never been one of those who reads all of the most popular books that are out currently.  Sometimes it takes me years to get to some of those books if at all. I found this by chance while looking for something to watch on YouTube. I watched a snippet and decided that this would be interesting to watch.  Then I went to my local resale shop and found both the book and the DVD. 

When the first sheep was cloned back in 1996 and Dolly arrived on the world's platform, I was amazed. Somehow, I felt that maybe we trying to fill God's shoes in the creating department or on the verge of it anyway.  Then I began to wonder if the sheep had a soul or if any being that was created in the lab had a soul. Does it or doesn't it? Isn't there something magical that happens at conception? 

The story centers around three characters, Kathy, the story teller, Tommy, and Ruth. Kathy narrates this sordid tale about their secluded existence in a place called Hailsham. The children were treated very well at this home for clones, unlike some of the other centers around the country we hear about in the story. All of the children are the same age, which piqued my interest more deeply as I read. It is hinted to them what their short lives will consist of but it is never out in plain sight. They are lied to, tricked, and manipulated so that they will be resigned to the fate for which they were created. 

They were encouraged to be creative and if they became good enough their "art" was taken to Madam's gallery.  Everyone aspired to have their work at the gallery even though they would never get to see it on display. If a student doesn't do well creatively they are made fun of by the other students. Why did they have such an intense focus on being creative?  Hint: It has to do with the soul. 

If you never read another book then this one should be your last. I was enthralled by this novel and how it played out.  Throughout the story I kept asking myself what I would do if I were in that situation.  The author kept my mind twisting and turning the whole time, not wanting to look at the horror of their lives, but peeking nonetheless.