Harriet's Odyssey - The Early Years

Tracings of her Earthly Journey & Tribute to Her Departure

Harriet Louise Holdeman (Sep. 11, 1918 - Dec. 13, 1953)
Harriet Louise Holdeman (Sep. 11, 1918 - Dec. 13, 1953)

An Extraordinary Person and Her Extraordinary Life

Harriet died untimely and tragically December 13, 1953 at only 35. Her short life was special, full and significant. She was my eldest sibling, fourteen when I debuted. To say that she was a major influence, both while alive and from beyond the grave is simply understatement.

Let me also mention that everyone else mentioned on this page except I, has passed on, Since writing this hub, my sister Ruth, who would have celebrated her 92th birthday October 25, 2012, was buried May, 25, 2012. Our brother died in Dec. 1990. They were all quite a bit older than I, so I decided to tell of these times because I'm the only one alive and able to. Each of them influenced my life in countless ways. The odyssey will continue.

Aware am I that the rush of life in the 21st century tends to blur the times and lives of a somewhat more graceful and also more rugged existence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in which my parents and siblings lived their lives. My appearance was enough later to have experienced the remainder of the 20th century and am now well into the 21st.

Those of us alive today who recall those earlier times cannot help but feel a sense of awe and respect for those times and for those who lived them. The times had split personalities - graceful and then harsh. It is in the spirit of those feelings I am impelled to write and to share some of what I remember or heard first-hand of them.

The expectant parents!
The expectant parents!
The bundle of joy!
The bundle of joy!

Extraordinary Heritage

Our parents were special people whose backgrounds and union led up to this moment of the birth of their first child. They were not kids themselves. They had each lost their fathers to death at early ages and each of them was the eldest in their families. Their road was not easy, but they were determined. They’d waited till they finished universities before marrying. Dad was 28 and Mother was 26 when Harriet arrived.

She was beautiful from the moment she was born, which occurred in Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington. She was the apple of our parents' eyes. Even our Mennonite paternal grandmother, Louisa Holdeman traveled over half-way across the continent from Indiana to the Pacific Northwest to be present for the birth. Grandma Holdeman had withheld her full approval of the marriage of her eldest son, Albert, to our mother Elcy Russell, You see, Elcy not only was not a Mennonite but she was an artist and a free spirit. Grandmother Holdeman was diametrically opposite. A tenuous truce between them prevailed. However, from all accounts, the occasion of the debut of this wonderful first grandchild overshadowed any of that completely.

Harriet Louise was named for her two grandmothers and stole everyone’s hearts from the moment she arrived.

Louisa had borne only sons and surely this beautiful girl-child was a dream come true, though, of course, beauty shouldn't be overtly admired in her stoic religion. Quality was admired, however, and Harriet exemplified quality in abundance. It was to be her trademark. Even as a child she instinctively knew the "right" thing to do, how to sit, stand and wear her clothes, and the right things to say for every occasion.

Maternal grandmother Harriet Russell had three daughters but was no less thrilled with the birth of her first grandchild! Her heart was with the new parents, though she was unable to make the journey from Illinois to Seattle.

The New Arrival

She has it all figured out!
She has it all figured out!

Harriet - The First-Born and Eldest

Harriet was, of course, the eldest of my three older siblings. The next two would be born in Electra, Texas: Ruth Lucile Holdeman, in 1920, and Harold Weston Holdeman in 1922. It would be another ten years after Harold’s birth until I would make my appearance. Let me assure you - to me, these were all giants in size and in all other respects, so that my world was populated by towering titans with strong personalities. Among the three of them, though, Harriet ruled and called the shots, I’ve been told.

From ample first-hand experience, I can vouch for her skill in doing just that. She seemed to feel “a calling” to be the arbiter of manners and mores in the Holdeman family.

But add to all her traits her charismatic charm and presence, and one scarcely had a choice!

The Three Older Siblings Years Before My Birth

Harriet The Con-Artist

A story I heard too often to doubt was that on hot summer days, Harriet would sweetly suggest to Ruth, “If you’d make us two lemonades, Ruthie, I’ll give you one!” – And Ruth would happily comply! And Ruth is a Mensa member with an IQ of 140 or more!

The Three Musketeers

Among the three of them in close-range age as young siblings, I heard tales of intrigues, manipulations, mischief and mayhem. But as the fair-haired one, Harriet, who had the ear of our parents, especially Dad, was seldom incriminated in any of it. In fact, if mischief had occurred in his absence, she felt duty-bound to report it and name the culprits!

Consequently, Ruth and Harold became very close allies and co-conspirators, a bond between them which would prevail throughout their lives. It’s my understanding that the final thrust of the barb was when, after she reported their offenses to Dad, she would lure the unsuspecting offenders to their fate by sweetly telling them to “come see what Daddy has for you!” Perhaps her feeling was that if they’d behaved themselves, none of it would be necessary. I couldn’t possibly identify with her motives. First of all, I had no one else to blame for anything and it wouldn’t have been my nature anyway. But in any case, she was their mutual warden/oppressor, if not their mortal enemy, although what is even more amazing is that if she chose to shine her charm or lavish her praise on them, she could still wind them around her little finger. No one was ever sure how she did it!

The Three Keep Growing Up While I Was Unborn

The Two Sisters

But as sisters, Ruth lived in Harriet’s shadow in many – or most -- ways. They each had a kind of beauty and were both gifted with good minds and creative talent. Harriet, perhaps due to being a bit older and more influenced by a kind of prevalent Southern Belle mentality, simply kept her intellect subdued while shining forth in overall feminine charms. One notices even in pictures of the three of them as youngsters, that Harriet’s hands are folded, her ankles crossed, her clothes look neat and smooth, her hair in place, with her expression open, agreeable and inviting. Ruth, on the other hand, holds her hands awkwardly, dangles her feet any-which-way, her clothes, though identical to Harriet’s and received the same general care, are a bit rumpled & unkempt looking, her hair is rather unflatteringly arranged and her expression is strained.

In the same photo, Harold looks like a pugnacious little brother who just wants to be “outta there” as soon as possible!

I make my unlikely appearance!

One can only imagine how little any of them felt an actual need for a baby sister in their group, though pictures reveal that they seemed to like me well enough!! However, I’m told Harold made some rather strong threats to be carried out in the event that I didn’t turn out to be a little brother! I’ll never know how seriously those guided his attitudes toward me from then on, though I honestly felt very loved and welcomed by all of them. You may feel free to notice I didn’t say respected, esteemed or highly regarded! I was virtually invisible as an equal. This resulted in various stresses in my relationships with each of them over the years. But there were no serious threats carried out at the time. I escaped being hurled from the window for my failure to be a baby brother.

Later Harriet would become alarmingly aware that I wasn’t getting full benefit of her guidance and would set about to remedy the situation!

Harriet Graduates High School

Harriet would join Ruth at Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 1937 after Ruth finished H.S.

Off To Mary Hardin Baylor

Harriet enrolled as a freshman at Mary Hardin Baylor University in Belton, Texas for the fall semester, 1935. I was three.

Harriet made lasting friends at Mary Hardin Baylor, Addie Truet, among many others too numerous to name, even if I did recall them all. Her charm and grace inevitably drew admirable folks to her.

Her grades were not outstanding, but she was deciding which direction she wanted to go in her life work. She loved design and had real talent for it. However, Dad insisted we all must prepare for careers with certain, solid employment, and he doubted there would be such assurance in the arts. Harriet chose to major in Home Economics, to teach or pursue one of many careers as a County Agent. She was eventually to do both.


It was at Mary Hardin Baylor that she met her first love, William A. Daniel.

MHB was not a co-ed college, but happened to have the best aeronautics course available in the area, and "W.A." was a pilot, studying the latest technology. Bear in mind that planes were largely bi-plane types. Our father disapproved of being an "aviator" on principle, but W. A. was not only determined to follow that career, but had his sites on becoming a test pilot for the latest developments, the planes which were to be used in the war which was brewing.

All too sadly, his career ended when the plane he was testing crash-dived into the Pacific Ocean in 1942.

Understandably, Harriet was crushed and heart-broken. In fact, she responded too emotionally, perhaps. But more of that later.

W.A.Daniel, Jr.

A Scarlett Likeness

During Harriet's early college years a coincidental event occurred which had an impact and effect on the course of her life.

In 1939, the movie based on Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind premiered in theaters across the country, starring lovely Vivien Leigh of the UK as Scarlett O’Hara, the feisty daughter of plantation Tara’s owners in Antebellum Georgia, becoming a perennially lasting, striking story. But in our family a most striking feature of it was an amazing resemblance between Vivien Leigh and our own Harriet. It surely helped set the course of Harriet’s life, since it was invariably noticed and seemed magically to open doors for her.

Years later when she had occasion to meet UK’s Randolph Churchill at a social event, he commented on the likeness.

Bear in mind that in those days, long before television, movies were the only animated visual media available. Kids watched cartoon features and Disney movies, wild-westerns and older kids and grownups watched romances, what might even be called sitcoms today. The movie industry was coming into its own big-time, and GWTW was among the first full-length features, other than animated cartoon features in full Technicolor. It's among the two top surviving full-color movies of that time, the other being, of course, The Wizard of Oz. Each had its effect on all of us, especially in the wake of the Great Depression. The color and possibilities seemed limitless. And, indeed, for some, they were!

POSTSCRIPT: The Rugged Training Ground

Especially amidst all that glamour, I can't realistically brush past this era without at least mentioning a family history situation which especially affected the lives of my elder siblings, and from then on, all our lives. The three of them knew intimately the rigors of life as it was.

In 1919, after leaving the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of a bigger dream, Albert and Elcy and baby Harriet headed for North Texas where the Burkburnett Oil Boom was in dramatic progress. They bought a house in Electra, Texas, which is where Ruth and Harold were born. Dad worked in the oil fields while Mother tended to her growing family and also pursued her lifelong love affair with painting. She'd earned her regular BS from the University of Chicago in Domestic Science (the early name for Home Economics) while Albert earned his BS in Agriculture from the University of Wisconsin, thinking to become a dairy farmer. Elcy simultaneously earned a BA from the Chicago Institute of Art. So painting was no slight whim for her and she would continue to paint and participate in Art Club activities the rest of her life.

She was also gregarious by nature and made many lasting friends in Electra, including the wife of the drilling company manager, for whom Albert worked on the drilling rigs. As far as Elcy was concerned, it "didn't get much better". She had a lovely home of her own, a young family to be proud of, good friends, a future which looked promising for carrying out her and her Albert's fondest ambitions, and ample opportunities to paint some of Texas' most gorgeous scenery, which was her forte.

Then life changed abruptly. On a hunting expedition to Mexico with some drilling buddies, Albert and the guys ran across an old water-well driller, who had a rather antiquated Model T drilling rig and a handful of contracts to drill water wells in some far-out county in West Texas not far from the Mexican border. Albert saw it as a golden opportunity and persuaded his buddies that they should all buy out the old guy, whose health was preventing him from fulfilling his contracts, and start a water-well drilling business. Only problem was, Albert was not only the only one with futuristic ideas, but the only one with any loose cash. So he bought the equipment and contracts at the old guy's price, with the idea that the others could buy into it if they could round up the funds. It turned out that they couldn't, so his thoughts of partners in the actual drilling processes would become dissolved.

Fortunately, no doubt, he didn't yet realize that when they returned to Electra and he announced to Elcy that they were going to head off to God-knew-where on a drilling rig. Of course, he'd have to leave his definite work, they'd have to sell their definite house and take the three toddlers and babies to "the jumping off place" of the earth in search of this bonanza. They'd move to Del Rio, which at 100 miles from the first of these contract locations, was the nearest town. At the time, Elcy didn't realize, nor did Albert, that he was to be the only driller involved.

By the time all the facts clarified, they'd pulled up stakes again and were headed south and west to the proverbial "end of the rainbow".

As it turned out, Elcy and the three little ones would accompany Albert on the drilling forays into the wilderness, camping in tents, sleeping on bedrolls and cooking on campfires. Naturally since the mission was to drill water-wells on uncharted land and since there were no surface streams or ponds, not only food but water had to be brought along. This situation went on for several years. They didn't actually live full-time in Del Rio, but in time it became necessary to live there during the school years when the kids began to be of school age.

Meanwhile, Albert had saved enough for a stake in some of the land itself, and bought what we always called "The Old Ranch" or the "Headquarters Ranch" or the "Y Ranch", because it was located in Block Y of the country. Albert and Elcy, with the help of the man, Jose Ramirez, who had been assisting Albert with the drilling, built the ranch house there. It was the be the last house of "her own" for Elcy until they moved to San Angelo in the early 1940s, as part of another venture, but that's later in the story.

Every summer the rental house in Del Rio was closed up and everyone spent the summer months when school was not in session at the ranch. This was still the practice all during my youth, as well. But I lacked the earlier experience of living out on the wilderness among the cactus and rocks which my elder siblings had. I am told that Mother Elcy and Harold took turns carrying me as an infant on the front of their saddles as they rode the fences which had been constructed by Albert and his growing team of honorable, faithful Mexican assistants around the premises and within them for the sheep and goats he was raising. All the ranch roads in that area of Terrell County were begun by his drilling rig striking out to find the locations for the wells he was to drill. Water wells are the heart of the ranches out there, so the locations of the wells determined the compounds of the ranches for the most part. In fact, he continued to drill wells all during the 1920s, even after buying their own ranch. It was by drilling a well on it in 1926 or so that he had the opportunity to buy the "New Ranch" - which is the ranch I now own and call The Flying Dutchman Ranch. Another ranch separated the two Holdeman ranches which are still in the family, though the management of the Y Ranch has been under someone else for so long that it's virtually forgotten who really owns it. Again, another story.

But obviously for both the adults and the children who experienced those early days in the 1920s under those conditions, the world had and always would have a certain somber perspective, as well as a kind of magical glow few others would fully perceive or comprehend. I'm not even sure whether I fully do, having heard the stories all my life and knowing the location intimately. I have a vivid imagination and can almost feel and envision how it was. But as it was happening, it was similar to the pioneer days of an earlier century.

I'm still in awe of an artifact from the time which is in my storage place in Del Rio. It's a "Carry Cooker", Mother called it. It consists of a very heavy metal two-welled box with deep very insulated walls around cylindrical "wells". Round concrete blocks were heated on the open campfire and placed in the bottoms of the wells, followed by the special cylindrical pots and/or half or quarter sectioned pots which could be assembled as required, to fit into the wells for cooking foods from beans to cakes! A tight-fitting heavy metal insulated lid assured the heat of staying inside while shifts of the heated concrete blocks were rotated in the bottom. One can only imagine the logistics of handling those items out on the dry rocky terrain, while keeping up with three small children and helping a husband with his work. If ever a woman deserved accolades, I believe that Elcy Russell Holdeman is among the best of them! All of her children benefited by her strength and joyous spirit. She did not complain and managed to keep her own candle lit and brightly shining!

To be continued. . .

The Saga continues for this special life and her denizons. . . watch here for a link to the next Odyssey part to follow soon.


More by this Author


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Nellieanna, What an interesting story of your life and that of your family. Times were so different back then. I love to hear my mother tell stories of old. They too are interesting and I have a certain fascination with history. I thought this was a very well written hub and enjoyed it very much.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Pamela! I'm most pleased that you read and appreciated it. It's a bit unnerving to write about one's own loved ones and closest family. It's something we all consider doing, I suppose, but it takes feeling the years slip by to motivate one to try to do it. Your kind words are encouraging. Hugs.

equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Reading your memories, drifted me on the wings of time to another era. It is so well described, it felt if I was there. The photos also added to the realness of the story of your family.

What a good idea of writing about those times. Younger generations do not always appreciate what the previous had to endure and go through.

I am waiting for the continuation of the story, in anticipation..

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Your writing, like your art, Nellieanna, just flows naturally and captures me from the very beginning. I will be following these memoirs as you write them to learn more about your family. Thank you for the snapshots which are an added bonus.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

There you go again, Nellieanna, regaling us with nuggets from your life - and the people that made it special! As always, I marvel at your ability to remember the past - and recreate it so vividly! :)

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Nellieanna, for the gift amd pleasure you gave me to read your family story. Iloved every word of it. You wrote it so well I could envy you.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Equealla - thank you, dear person! I enjoyed my earlier writings in "Magnolia", about the WWII years and the "Baby Boomers" which followed it from my youthful viewpoint at the time, from witnessing my siblings lives and vicariously hearing about my George's & his family's life, since he was the age of my brother and was actively engaged in those times.

I love history, especially when it bothers to bring into view the lives of the people during the various eras.

You're so right that some of the younger generations can't appreciate it - but "it" is something they really know little about. If they've even heard of the times before, it's often seemed dry and unrelated to what they know and value. Seeing it from the participants' perspectives may make it more "real". Sometimes they scarcely seem aware of what's going on NOW - judging from their ability to name key figures in government or in other highly public activities. Perhaps the plethora of news media coverage has jaded their awareness. In earlier times, it was rarer to see what had happened from a human viewpoint. Now it's everyday and more ho-hum, I guess.

I love movies set in other times, especially when the actual history of the times are woven into them, but showing people alive and breathing.

I'm looking forward to the continuation of this story too. Thank you!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

drbj - Thank you for the lovely praise. I'm honored!

Yes, I had some of those snapshots out before when I used them for my website "Attic" series, but now I have been looking into boxes of other pictures & memorabilia. It's like stepping back in time. It's rather inspiring and more than a little overwhelming! My parents were good about keeping letters and mementos, as well as pictures. Since their own memories go back into the 1800s, it's awesome. And too many of the old pictures are fading. I feel impelled to start to scan them to preserve them while I still can! There are even some tintypes and one imprinted on glass! In fact, Mother had a treasure trove of letters written by kinsmen during the Civil War - and I have my share of those!

I'm so pleased that this cameo of it was able to hold your interest!! Thanks!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - Aw, thank you! Yeah, - this has been brewing in the back of my mind for some time. Finally took the plunge!

Harriet was so special and is a good focal point to slip in some other family & life nuggets (hehe - love that word for them!).

It's good to remember the past, I guess - to help one deal with the present! My Dad always encouraged "learning from others' mistakes" - though I'm not sure I was always able to do so - - and probably left my own ample mistakes for those who followed to use as lessons. hehe.

Thank you - I hope to keep the story interesting while telling it. I guess it's an advantage of outliving most everyone involved. I can tell it like I recall it without too much fear of objections!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hi, hello, hello - Thank you for coming and sharing the story with me! I always welcome you and I'm happy to hear you enjoyed this.

I trust that you know I'm well aware and appreciate that you have no reason to envy anyone's writing! You write so well and with such a wide scope of subjects! I love reading your accounts of historical figures and events.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Oh, this was an enjoyable read. I love this kind of stories. I tend to romanticize it, as I do with everything not in my own territory – you know the grass on the other side of the fence.... :)

Harriet was a beautiful baby and young woman. I saw so much of myself in her! I am also the eldest, and I was just like her. Called the shots. Towering titan. My brothers (8-10 years younger) only remember me as a witch. Because ONE day our mother had to rescue them, for I was chasing them with a broom, determined to kill them because they walked over the floor I was busy to sweep, and another day.... :) Well, let me tell you, Nellieanna, it is not at all easy to be the eldest of five! You, being one of the spoiled babies, will never know the lot of an eldest child.... (Pulling your leg. Of course you can use your imagination :))

Can’t wait for the next chapter! PS: Please go check my latest hub – “My favorite hubbers.”

Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Hi Nellieanna,

What I try to do with clumsy attempts at humour you do with immense style and it makes for an awsome read.

I'm so glad you have taken the time to write this because it is something that could so easily have been lost forever.

It was a time so different from today and I seriously doubt that many of the younger generation who I hope will read this and learn a little of where they came from.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

Oh this is so beautiful, what a tribute to your family!!

And 'Gone with The wind'is my favorite movie of all time.

In my heart iv,e 'always' been Scarlett waiting for Rhett

to return.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Nellieanna I love your writing and pictures of your family. Your older sister was indeed beautiful and you write so well about the past and you make it very interesting. I look forward to more. Cheers.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

What a fabulous picture collection. I love reading about life in the 'olden days'. Glad you're writing down the happenings as it would be such a shame if all this were to be lost. Waiting for the next installment.

hope you're well

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

First -yes, dear Martie! - I visited your hub about your favorite hubbers earlier in the day and was so impressed with your choices and honored to be among them! Your words were like honey! Thank you!

Ah - so! You're the Harriet in your family!! I just can't picture you as the witchy one, though - not you! You're too sweet! But what do I know? YOU were there, after all! LOL - what a cute picture that paints, chasing your young brothers with a broom with doomsday for them in your eye! Lucky for them your mother was alert! LOL. And for such an offense too -merely walking on the floor you were aiming to sweep! But not too clever of them, seeing that you were armed with a broom!! hahaha!

No, I suppose it's not easy to be the eldest. But it's just like one of you to stereotype all younger ones as spoiled babies! hehe I know you're just pulling my baby leg!

Actually in our group, I was the only one who received that unfair and undeserved categorization. Just because I didn't have to rough it out on the range like they did! Hrmph! Actually Harold made me wait on him hand and foot, yelled at me if I happened to walk by when he was on the phone with Ducky Weathersbee, his girlfriend at the time. Both sisters consistently disapproved of my friends and Harriet corrected my posture (made me practice it with the proverbial book on my head), corrected the way I held my head, was a terror if she didn't approve of my tastes or the ornaments I wore on my blouse, thought my speech was too mousey (what else, with her to roar and drown me out?) lol And even when I was in my 50s, Ruth pleaded with George to not "make an adult of her"! Seemed that the last thing they wanted was for me to grow up! haha.

I greatly enjoyed your comments, Martie. You should have heard me laughing out loud and heartily! Wonderful!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Merlin - nothing you write is ever clumsy! But thank you for the lovely compliment. I try to keep it interesting. The rest is up to the reader! :-)

Yes, I needed to write this. I almost tremble to think of so much imagery I have - almost as vivid as a movie and can't possibly write it all. I have two kinds of memories of many of the happenings. My little girl impressions - overhearing our parents talking about what the older ones were doing or what they themselves were doing, for that matter. Then as I grew up, hearing accounts from all of them of events that happened, but hearing about them when I was more grown and able to relate. This dicotomy of viewpoint, often about the same events, lends them a sort of 3-Dimensional aspect as I begin to try to set them down in words.

It was years later when my brother explained about Dad's trip to Mexico and how it got him started drilling and eventually ranching in West Texas. But since Harold was just a toddler himself at the time, I suppose he gleaned it from our parents or perhaps at some time, Dad sat him down and explained it to him. But in any case, I'm the only one who knows these things now unless Ruth has flashes of lucid memory.

You're so right. Young folks of today really would have difficulty fathoming a lot of it. But then, I am sure I'd have had difficulty fathoming all that my parents' in their youths and their parents both endured and enjoyed. I do know that Mother's delight was having a boy with a nice horse and carriage ask her out to dance to the "Skip to M'Lou!" - LOL. That's always sounded so quaint to me! Almost surreal!

But I had first-hand experience with winding up the old Victrola and playing the thick old Edison records on it. Only "canned" entertainment at the ranch! hehe. There were narrated stories, such as "The Raggedy Man" and "foxtrot" music which made Guy Lombardo sound up to date, as well as some questionable scratchy classical music.

Really awful sounding when the windup wound down. And it was nothing to brag about to start with!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, dear, Always Exploring! . I was seven when GWTW came out (I had to correct the date in the hub, it was 1939) -It was making its first-ever rounds to the theaters across the country and Mother took me to the one movie theater in Del Rio on Main Street. No one had ever seen a movie that ran that long! Everyone was ready to stretch when the Intermission came! And eager to get back to the story when it was over! Everyone was enthralled.

As a teenager, I read the book over and over. When the movie recirculated eventually, of course I saw it again. I could never identify with any of the characters. - Harriet had become Scarlett for me and I was too young to be Melanie to her Scarlett. But I was awed and of course, in love with Rhett. Over the years, the film would be reshown in theaters occasionally and I always tried to see it when it was. But the distributors seemed to be greedy with it. Now I own it on DVD and watch it frequently! Amazing. What a world we live in. Harriet would never have believed the things we take for granted!

Someone wrote a sequel. But it was a bomb in my humble opinion. Better to be left with "I'll think about that tomorrow. - After all - tomorrow IS another day!"

I truly appreciate your comments. It pleases me no end that you came and enjoyed!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

LadyJane - so wonderful to see you and have you visit!! I've been missing you!

Thank you for the appreciative comments. I know you understand the sisterly bonds! Even with a lengthy space between us, they were strong. And I miss her so much.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Zsuzsy Bee - thank you so much! Pictures are so great to bring a story to life and especially helpful when trying to portray those olden days which are so different from the present. Looking through the boxes of old photos, I can't even relate to some of them.

I certainly wouldn't like for these things to be lost to recall. I appreciate your attention and comments! And, yes - am well - and hope you are too! Hugs.

technorican profile image

technorican 6 years ago from Houston

I see a lot of similarities in our family stories. My parents lost their fathers when they were young. I'm the middle of 3 sisters. My younger sister died last year at age 52. I'm the only who can tell my families' stories. Everyone has a life worth preserving. Great writing!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

technorican! How lovely of you to visit my site and I'm amazed at those similarities! Perhaps you'll see fit to write your family's history. It's rather mind-boggling to think about as a whole, but easier in smaller steps!

It wasn't uncommon for people of my parents' generation to lose their fathers at young ages. It often happened that their fathers were older, having been married and raised large first families, after which the wives died, leaving their husbands widowers with children. The children may have been old enough to fend for themselves or the fathers may have needed a wife to help with raising the first family. But in any case, they were likely to remarry. That was the situation with both my parents' fathers, and each of my parents was the eldest in their fathers' second family, and so they had half-siblings.

Let me hear how it goes!

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

What lives people used to lead in the old days. Your family must have been the last of the pioneers. I look forward to reading the next installment.

Nellieanna, nobody can accuse you of not living. What memories you must have.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I, too, am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Shame, Nellieanna, for the first time I realize that the ‘babies’ in all families have a struggle and a half to fight in their lives. I treated my ‘baby’-brother like a toddler until he was in his twenties, when he asked me one day politely and lovingly (but clearly fed-UP) to change. I should do a hub about this elder-sister-syndrome. You opened my eyes! I’ve got a lot of stories about this issue. Guess it is time to confess and send all my younger siblings apologies. On the other hand - they still regard me as the one who can do everything right and perfect; they can’t handle it when I’m normal, like going with the stream, floating on my back. I’ve got to do a hub about this! Love u!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christopheranton - yes - it was the last of an era. I can't speak for others who were settling into ranching where there had been nothing but cactus, canyons, mountains and space forever, but I know of no others who did it as my folks did, via camping & water-well drilling across large expanses of uncharted land - which is still relatively uncharted.

You're right - I do live fully and also have numerous quite vivid memories. The present is vivid as well! I love being alive and it's good to share some of the memories, too. Thanks for reading and for your comments!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Sally's - thank you! I'm eager to get onto it myself. Just having a few other pressing matters demanding attention. All quite educational!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Martie - Good for your baby brother. How wonderful that he stepped up and made his need for independence known. Actually it's really their responsibility to do so - but the dynamics of it are such that they benefit from feeling it's ok for them to do so.

I feel sure my elder siblings were only vaguely aware what they were doing when they assumed I was still a child & treated me accordingly. And oddly, though each of them struck out on uncharted paths which didn't always succeed as hoped, it seemed that any misstep I took served as proof positive that I was incapable of handling my own life! I haven't gotten to the part in the story in which Harriet took over my life while I was in college and left me so few choices that my only recourse even after graduation was simply to escape, which produced deep resentment in her Then she died onlysix months later, before it could be resolved. Now that's truly burdensome.

You see it wasn't that I couldn't handle my life, but I couldn't handle her control of my life without arousing her strong reaction, resentment & rejection, which is tough on a younger one, not too unlike when a parent won't let go and an offspring can't extricate from the double bind gracefully to become independent, and must either accept being kept down there or risk being an ungrateful kid & possibly failing besides, if he/she tries to spread the wings & fly independently.

Later when the three of us needed to deal with our parents' estates, we had numerous "meetings". - I actually taped one of them which was several hours long, and all during it, Ruth and Harold talked incessently to each other, the words back and forth like speeding bullets as though I wasn't even there. In fact, these meetings were staged at my house so I had host's duties, serving snacks & beverages, etc., so at times I wasn't even present yet they didn't pause the "business" discussion in my absense. If occasionally my little voice got a chance to ask or suggest something, Harold would simply turn his attention to Ruth and address his reply of my question or suggestion to her instead of to me! I'm not sure how deliberate it was - but it was very strong technique for assuring I couldn't feel like a fully acknowledged equal.

So in your case, I doubt that confession or apologies are as needed and helpful so much as simply changing to show honest respect for who they are as you would anyone, by accepting their individuality & respecting their right to an occasonal failure or goof-up without interpretation. At times failing is the way to best learn how to succeed. The younger one can learn by that method, the better, when consequences are less. But people all continue to try and test new situations and the results for anyone are not always perfect.

Relationships will be improved by your actually listening to their reasoning if they choose to tell you, and accepting it if they don't, but when hearing them out, commenting respectfully and graciously as you would to anyone's - without quibbling about it or stepping in to "fix it". Sincerely congratulate them on every effort to be their own persons and to apply their brains and/or creativity to their own issues. A change of treatment of them will go a lot further than an awkward show-down, which might even embarrass them & make them feel guilty and called upon to reassure YOU. But they'll notice, trust me, if you simply show them respect and acknowledge them as full-fledged persons.

Simply try to not step in and rescue them if they have problems unless your help & advice is specifically requested, and even then give it objectively without employing control techniques. You'll be freed too!

Of course - this is based on my own experience. Your and your siblings' situation may be different. But from a seasoned perspective of a younger sibling, what each of us needs and wants most -(and it's both - even if they don't know it's necessary for our own well-being) - is to just to be allowed to & expected to grow up and be our own persons - and actually to insist upon it as your baby brother wisely did when it was not forthcoming otherwise.

If it's all handled graciously - everyone wins and can feel good about it.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

That was truly beautiful a trip down memory lane you can not beat that. Families and memories are beautiful to relive. My mum and dad were true pioneers they emigrated to australia in 1923 and had a real hard but productive life. thanks for sharing this. Oh I loved the writing under the photos its beautiful.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Eileen. Amazing! Our parents were peers in the years as well as the pioneering activities! My parents also had dreamed of pioneering in Alaska when it was still all uncharted territory. In fact, they had me thinking it sounded good, so they promised I could go with them when the "Alaskan Highway" was finished, provided I remained single! haha - maybe that was a better offer than it might seem! Anyway - as it worked out, they didn't go on to fulfil that dream. But it illustrated their pioneering spirit. And I did marry, so...

I really want to thank you for stopping by and reading my hub. I'm pleased that you enjoyed it.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Nellieanna, I appreciate your respons so much! Just want you to know that I followed your advice many years ago. I’ve changed my ways. We never discussed the issue. Though sometimes during visits someone will ‘remember’ how bossy I was, and then we’ll laugh about it. Joke about it. I have changed; no need to please and explain. They’ve organised a surprise party for me on my 50th birthday a few years ago, and spoiled me rotten. I was just thinking, after reading this hub of yours, to send them each a message merely to tell them how much I have loved them and still love them and how proud am I to be their elder sister. For they’ve tolerated me, pretended that they accept my ‘leadership’, always respected me in spite of having those frustrations you had. We are truly a great family. Just missing our father. Love you!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, Martie -what a wonderful life, then!! You understood what was needed and supplied it. Sounds like they all matured gracefully as their own persons and were able to handle things. I often wonder what it would have been like, had Harriet lived and perhaps we would have been able to reach an understanding too. It seems quite likely that we would have done so. That could have set the stage for all of us. Anyway - one finds ways through each challenge and it's good to learn from them.

It's so nice to hear of the birthday surprise party your siblings threw for you! Sounds like much much love going on!!

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50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Nellieanna, Excellent write and read. I could feel your fondness you expressed in words of doing this piece, it brought back thoughts of the times past as well as family interactions. You have again impressed me with your talents. Thank you for sharing the historical aspects of your life with one and all, 50

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dusty - what great comments! I appreciate your opinion and assessment of the hub! Yes - there is much fondness involved! There's something about probing family history. It seems either to give one something to live up to - or to live down! LOL. Thanks for the appreciation! You're quite adept yourself! - hugs - Nellieanna

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miss_jkim 6 years ago


You have captured my attention and I look forward to more. I truly believe you have a book in the making and should honestly submit a query letter. You have such talent and a way of telling your story that brings the reader right into your living room.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Why thank you, sweet miss_jkim. Perhaps a book will materialize. Thank you for the fine vote of confidence!

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Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Here is me again. Just checking back and reading all the well deserved praises. Thank you for your wonderful compliment. I just feel a bit wobbly and most properly always will because English is not my language. However, I am trying very hard to get the grammar right. Regarding you last remark I certainly hope that you will write a book because it covers so much historical background and there is such a variety of your family life in every way. Looking forward to you next episode and thank you again for the pleasure of reading it.

I think, most of the elder brothers or sisters are a bit domineering. My brother was the same. I also was bushed aside and in one of your comments you mentioned the conversation of your siblings. When my mother died, my father and my brother disowned me. After that I was wondering and stil am if I belonged because in my mind you couldn't possible treat somebody like that. According to you comment and others it seems that I am not the only one having had that treatment. Somehting I have learned here and it does help somehow. That is why I like hubpages so much. People open up so much with all sorts of problems.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

hello, hello! - Your gracious words are most pleasant to hear. Thank you!

I can't even imagine the challenge of writing in a language not one's own native language! It would be a great challenge. You do VERY well! I'd hardly notice any grammatical errors. You're a very good writer!

That was, indeed, cruel of your brother and father to disown you! But of course, no one knows what is in the hearts of others or what motivates their actions. Most likely it's something in their characters & not anything about you which caused that. You must not think any more about whether or not you "belong". Of course you do. Your mother was there for you up till then and if there had been any question of your rightful place in the family, the others would have brought it up while she was alive. That it wasn't mentioned then strongly suggests that it was because your mother would have strongly protested it!! The way it was done really suggests other ulterior motives in your brother & father.

So take heart and put that all behind you. No matter what, you're here now, a wonderful person & a talented wirter with much to share!

warrioRR profile image

warrioRR 6 years ago from Rawalpindi Pakistan

You are always filled with knowledge.

The way you express is mind blowing

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Warrior! How good to see YOU! I have been concerned about the flooding over there. Hope you and yours were all safe.

Thank you for the great omments and compliments!

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saddlerider1 6 years ago

Nellieanna what an interesting life you lives as a child growing up alongside your industrious parents. The machinery, the cooker are amazing ideas. It kept you fed when there was no other methods I guess to cook with other than an open fire.

Being the youngest child I can see the age differences could cause some friction from time to time, the other 3 older siblings had their own plans of outwitting one another by the looks of it, he he.

Yes I can definitely see the sharp resemblance between your sister Harriet and Vivien Leigh of the Gone With The Wind fame. She could have been her body double and fill in if need be:0)

Sorry to see she lost her first love in that awful plane crash, how sad at such a young promising age for his to lose his life that way. We all have a destiny to fulfill and I guess our maker needed him somewhere else at that time.

Your family were sure pioneers in their own rights and along with you children, it kept them busy for sure raising you all up to be outstanding citizens. I look forward to the next Odyssey with impatience:0)) can't wait. You are a tremendous, colorful, artistic writer and you capture every moment with brilliance. Peace and hugs my Texas lady.

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

Nellieanna-I really enjoyed reading your families history. I could not take my eyes off the computer because your great story just pulled me in. I am so looking forward to the next part of the story...

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Ken - for the great comments. I wasn't in on the camping on the open range with all the food cooked out there though. It was several more years before I made my appearance; by then the ranch house was built & no family camping out in the open was required. I guess my earliest exposure was as an infant with Mother & my 10 year older brother taking turns with me on their saddles riding fences. I don't really remember that experience but I've been told of it enough that it seems almost as though I could remember. But comparitively I had it much easier than the older siblings, which they never forgot or let me forget!

Harriet's expressions & mannerisms were so similar to the character Vivien Leigh played in the movie that the resemblance was even more noticeable in person, seeing her movements & hearing her ways of expressing herself. Still photos show the resemblance but not as dramatically as in person. But you're right - she could have been a stand-in for the actress!

Yes, it was sad about her first love. I was pretty young while all that was going on but I was aware of how deeply she cared & what a deep loss it was for her when he died. Of course you're right - destiny unfolds & calls on its own agenda.

Yep, my folks had a full and challenging life. I often wonder what they'd have thought about today's world and its challenges! Whew!

Thank you for the encouragement and lovely complimenets. I've been quite busy the past week but am now eager to get back onto my writing. Hugs to you too!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Minnetonka Twin! Thank you, dear lady! I appreciate your comments and am so pleased you found the story interesting. I'll be getting the next part done soon, now that my previous week of busy activities has slowed down!

Hope all is well with you and yours!

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

I wanted this to go on and on... what a life you were born into! Your Harriet does look very much like Vivien Leigh and with her southern belle perfection, I can well imagine doors opening for her everywhere she went.

That cooker has me puzzled a bit. I was trying to imagine the wells and the pots - how it all worked but got stumped with the changing of cylinders.

You know, I could read an entire book like this quite easily and then be looking for more. :)

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Aw - that's so sweet, SG! Thank you! Yes - she truly had the "magic".

I'll have to either try to describe the cooker more visuaally, sketch it or see if I have any of the pots.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Very incredibly beautiful! Thank you Nellieanna!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, she really was! Thanks for the kind comment, Micky!

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Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, Nellieanna, and thank you for such heart warming words in every way. You are such wonderful person and I am so glad I met you. Thank you for your encouraging words about my writing and English. It is mostly the little words - in, on, at, and so on, I still have problems.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hi, Hello, hello! How gracious you are to thank me! I apprecite you! Yes - I can understand that those little words are the hardest to get right and easiest to mess up. The ones you mention are all prepostions, which are words that introduce locations and other specific modifications of the main words or parts of the sentence. But you probably know that - it's a matter of applying it. When I was studying Spanish, it was one matter to study and learn the grammar but quite another chanllenge to be able to apply it easily and correctly, any time and any place! Those are things one learns in one's native language almost without thinking about it and then we can use them just as easily without much thought. It's never that simple in another language.

I have a kindman who is an American but his wife is from Spain. Frome the time their little boy was born, they've used both English and Spanish with him equally and constantly. In fact, they take him to Spain for lengthy annual visits, to be sure he not only knows Spanish as an equal native language but gets a chance to use it among Spaniards.

So not to worry - your mastery of English is quite good - and much better than mine is of any other language!

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BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I'm thinking as I read this - about how familiar your sister looks - so I am glad you explained it when we got to the popular star of "Gone With the Wind" - definitely a striking and very glamorous lookalike.

You of course were a beautiful baby - and I am so glad you shared all the photos - a photo essay, wonderful!

This is priceless and I am enjoying it so much. I love the old and beautiful photos. It's like we used to be so glamorous at one time.

I'll keep reading. Rated up!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I will continue this odyssey. I ran across a lot of her letters to our parents among some of their keepsakes, which I've had for many years but hadn't really gotten into all the boxes. Some of the letters I find a bit disturbing. But written so long ago, the should't be, I know.

Thank you for reading this and giving me your feedback! I really appreciate it.

mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

You have written a wonderful hub, and the photos add so much to it! Two years ago I lost my older sister and my youngest brother. I am still grieving, but I hope some day to be able to write such a testimony to their lives. I realize, though, I'll never be able to come close to yours!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, dear lady. I empathize your losses. But yours are so recent by comparison. I made a hand-written and assembled scrap-book and story about Harriet's life in the mid-80s. So I had a bit of a head-start even though that was 30 years after the dreadful event which ended it.

I'm still planning a second part of her story but became a little stuck while looking through my parents' keepsakes for things to add to it and came across many letters - some which she wrote just prior to the accident, and a couple in particular in which she expressed her dismay with me for leaving Dallas after graduation. I had seen one of them before but the timing now while writing her story was distressing. All so long in the past, though. Were she alive, she would be 92!

You will be able to write yours about their lives, I'm sure. It's not any kind of comparison. Each of us writes her own personal style - and all the more when the subjects are so very personal. It would be boring if it were otherwise and all the writing were in a rubber-stamp mold! Good luck with yours!!

Thank you for the lovely comments, mysterylady!

mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

Thank you for your encouragement, Nellieanna. One of these days, when I have distanced myself from the events, I'll try.

I also look forward to reading a second part of Harriet's story. I can see why you felt pain at reading the letters from the past. Sometimes memories can become too real!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

My pleasure, ML. Hope that day comes. I'm going to continue the story, but you're right that memories can be too real at times. What is most unnerving is thinking it was nicely resolved in my heart and soul but being pricked and feeling almost the same as back then again for a bit. It's not my nature to dwell on negative things, especially those which can't be fixed or improved upon by endless dwelling on or in them, though.

I know it will be OK however, I just don't always know 'how" yet. At worst, I think of my guiding tenet, "there is no problem" - how can there be if God's in charge - or even if not!! I happen to think positive about that too!

At one point in my life when a situation was especially difficult, I coined a word for myself for that state of being when nothing seems to fit or be clear, & called that state my "fertile flux". So if and whenever it occurred, it wasn't so ominous, though just as tough as it was, - but having the name for it gave it limitations and hope. It reminded me it wouldn't last forever and that it was a dynamic time of growth, and that was why it seemed so "fluxy" - LOL. If I'd already known the lessons, I wouldn't have needed that time of unknowing and change!

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tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I really enjoyed this read about your family. Great stuff! Family histories always fascinate me - they light the similarities and differences in all our experiences.

The pioneering spirit seems to come out in so many ways.

The "carry cooker" is one of those artifacts that make family stories so interesting also.

We tend to forget how difficult life was for especially the women back then. One of my father's sisters, at under five feet in height and petite, repaired and drove heavy army trucks during World War II! Such stories keep us grounded and yet uplifted.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Love and peace


sentimental profile image

sentimental 6 years ago from India

A sincere and thoughtful narration...

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you,Tony. Yes - reading of families in various settings is amazing. One finds threads of similarities in even the most diverse, while those diversities keep our interest piqued!

Mother had so many colorful stories. She was a natural-born story teller and was always jotting down her notes for her own book or memoirs. I have some of them, but her habits of never wasting anything caused some of them to be jotted down in odd places on odd scraps of paper! I tend to prefer writing on elegant paper - or at least on consistent new sheets of paper. She would use the inside of an opened up envelope, or crowded pages of an unused daily pocket journal from some other year. Continuity of the account is therefore difficult to establish! LOL. But I want to get them out and try to decipher them anyway. Of course it was her verbal accounts which stick with me, as well as her interesting practices and styles - and she was never shy of effort and work, besides.

That is amazing that your aunt, so tiny, was capable of such demanding feats! Yes - these tales of heroic endurance, humor, mastery under the most trying conditions inspire and keep us tied to roots and to Earth.

Thank YOU for coming by and sharing your thoughts and comments, Tony!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Sentimental - thank you! I've dropped by your site and discovered your excellent poetry too!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

Nellieanna...What a magnificent tribute to your sister, as well as an intriguing history of your family!

Your parents were obviously strong and courageous people to strike out for west Texas and a difficult new life with small children. I look forward to future chapters....JAYE

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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

I got waylaid on continuing this odyssey. I had gotten out boxes of family keepsakes to get more material to continue writing the tale, but other things distracted and I didn't get back to it. But I still intend to. There is a lot of material!!

Thank you for commenting and for enjoying it!

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California

What an enthralling account of your family's life. I eagerly look forward to reading what happens next. Especially I want to know what happened to Harriet. She was indeed a very interesting person, I feel as if I'm looking at a movie. So many pictures, I am awed by that carrier cooker. Even though you explained how it worked, I just couldn't quite understand. Anyway very interesting and rich hub.

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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you Freta. I didn't get back to continuing the odyssey, mostly because I got caught up in all the poetry hubs, but also because there is a lot of sadness in the 'rest of the story'. She was a most interesting person, for sure.

I promise you and myself I will get back to it.

I guess it's hard to visualize how that cooker worked I need to take more pictures when I'm in Del Rio again- it's in a storage place at present and I haven't the means to bring it & the rest of the stuff in there to Dallas yet, including a bass boat!

But a picture is worth a lotto words.

I really appreciate your comments!! Hugs!

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dreamseeker2 4 years ago

Very interesting life, Nellieanna. Your sister was very pretty and sounds like she was quite successful in her young life. Your siblings seem to have character all their own, ones that would make a great movie. ; )

Thanks for sharing this with us, along with your great photos of the past. Look forward to hearing more of the life story. Voted up!

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Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you. It is quite a story, Gwen. It would make a movie. I'm planning to continue the odyssey. I appreciate the vote!

mizjo profile image

mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

What a fascinating history of the old west, brought to life. Harriet's story is equally as interesting as the story of the rest of the family! Your mom was a true pioneer, ready to roll up her sleeves for any occasion. Nellieanna, you had great parents, the ones who won the west!

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Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, mizjo! It truly is a fascinating history, which keeps me writing about it! Both parents were good writers, too and left many interesting episodes.

Since I'd not met you before, I just checked your hubsite. You have interesting looking hubs too - and I would greatly find more about your New York City of interest! In a way, we hail from opposite corners of the country! It's one of the best things about Hubpages - how we get acquainted with folks from all around the globe, and it truly feels like interacting!

I also like your treatment of winter skin. I'm 80 so it's very important to me to be vigilant! I've recently discovered the benefice of castor oil as a lubricant-moisturizer. I really appreciate organic treatments. I've always liked lanolin. Goes back to early life on the sheep ranch! haha My little job at shearing time was to get in the big bags into which the wool was packed and trounce it down as it was added. It was a greasy, grimy chore but it made me feel important, to have a job and I seemed compatible with the oil on the wool. I wonder how it compares with emu oil which you mention.

mizjo profile image

mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

Well, Nellieanna, you sure came from good stock, brains and all. And you look a fine lady for 80!

New York City - it's a lot safer than when I first got here in the seventies and eighties (settled twice, left the first time to return to Ireland with hubby).

Castor oil is a super efficient lubricant moisturizer besides having been found to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.

Research is bringing back all the old remedies to the forefront that have been pushed under the table for decades in favor of all those new kids on the block, the quick chemical cures that left more problems than they cured.

Lanolin is lovely too. I sheared a sheep once in Australia, and got that soft oil on my hands.

Emu oil is got from rendering the fat under the skin on the back. This oil too has a lot of great healing properties - besides being used in beauty products, it is a potent anti-inflammatory. Diseases of inflammation, like psoriasis, arthritis,eczema, sunburn, insect stings etc, benefit from topical applications of emu oil. It has been a staple medicine of the Aborigines of Australia for thousands of years.

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Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for the lovely compliments, mizjo. I'm something of a health nut, planning to live actively till at least 100. :-) I'll be 81 on Feb. 2.

I've used various cosmetics, but never have used any chemical peels, botox or surgery. I believe that what goes inside does the most good, but I do have to keep well lubricated.

I've read good things about castor oil. When I was young, it was just used as a laxative. But I thought it tasted good and got into some and drank it, but it was a self-curing activity! But even now when I use it on my face, I think it smells tempting. haha.

I just never heard of emu oil, though. Sounds amazing. We could learn a lot from time-tested methods. My parents started their married life selling home-remedy medical books and I grew up with home treatments for most things. At the ranch, there's a wild herb, horehound, which is a great cure for colds, sore throats, etc.

I take no prescription meds and when I go in for my annual medical checkup, I apologize for being so medically boring.

I've been in NYC once in my life in 1974, passing through & visiting with relatives-by-marriage, en route to Connecticut for more visiting. Spent time driving around in New England that Autumn and enjoyed it. Didn't have much chance to see too much of New York City but what I saw was interesting. I'm sure it would have changed a lot. I must confess that I was appalled at the grunge on many streets and sidewalks. But from the bay on a boat tour, it looks pristine and quite glamourous.

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wayne barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

Nellieanna, thank you so much for sharing this link with me. I got lost in your story; disappointed when it came to an end. My Grandmother, still living, was born in 1922 and I love sitting with her and hearing her life stories. After all these years, she still surprises me with new information that I had never know. As a matter of fact, I have just learned in the last few months that her grandmother, which I faintly remember, and her great uncles knew and had personal dealings with Frank and Jesse James. And yes, I do plan on writing that story!

I followed this in response to your comment on my poem, and I just want to extend my deepest sympathies. I lost my little sister last year, and I know they say time heals all wounds...but some wounds leave one hell of a scar!

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wayne barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

I wanted to share this one with you and wondered if you knew of this event.


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Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS Author

At last, I'm able to respond to your great comments, Wayne. Too many balls in the air here at present! But I've read your hub about that terrible New London School tragedy, and am so glad you sent it to me! Left comment there.

Harriet's life and my family's story are remarkable. I've thought so often about what it was like for them out on that rugged, dangerous land as they were. My own experience of it was intimate, too, but we lived in that house when we were there, safe and sound. Of course, I played out in the place, explored, got on an unbroken horse who took off with me across the hills when I was only about 7 - so many remembrances, but nothing like it was for them before there was a house, or a well of our own. Dad drilled the well on the place (The New Ranch") which I now own in 1927. It's 712 feet deep, with water at about 600 feet. Originally they all had windmills, but now almost all have electric pumps except those too far from rural electric power lines, which are still only at ranch compounds in the middle of much land. So if ranches have remote wells, they have windmills. I've such memories of the sound of the windmill going:- the mill itself, and closer to the tank, the water gushing from the earth into it.

Both sides of my family have very interesting genealogies, which I've always had access to in print form but I'm on Ancestry.com, combining them and tracing further back, as well as forward. I have several other hubs about my family history, btw. I'm not just a poet! :-)

Have you considered tracing your genealogy? You obviously have plenty of information to begin with. Ancestry.com provides access to information from others whose history touches with one's own.

Please do write that story about your ancestors who knew the James boys! My first love's ancestors also knew them but didn't preserve that story from the verbal family lore. It will be great for you to capture yours!

I'm so sorry you lost your little sister, and so recently, too. Harriet has been gone 60 years this coming December and it's as fresh and raw now as ever, when I think of it, which is always near the surface. So many other things in my life were set off by her death then too. I understand how those New London mourners felt. I went through some very trying atypical emotional times and challenges. My brave stand on my own was shattered by her death & unforgiveness and I actually ended up marrying the wrong guy because he'd been there to sort of help me through the ordeal, even though I could tell there would be some problems with his dominating personality. I was young enough to think it would work, and at the same time, I was especially vulnerable to a strong personality.

Of course, that's just background and helpful in understanding why but doesn't relieve my own responsibility for making a bad choice. Only when one takes responsibility is one empowered to rise from those mistakes. Still, it is good to know what led to them. And - haha - I had 18 years of that one to ponder it until it was out of my hands to end it, with considerable loss to everyone involved and near disaster to me. But here I am, 41 years later, spunky as can be and some of those losses are beginning to be repaired, almost miraculously!

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