|Cochise's son Nach-ti and his wife|
|Cochise's son Nach-ti and his wife|
While writing LAKOTA HONOR I did a fair bit of research. One of the things I researched extensively was coal mining in the 1800’s. I came across some pretty interesting and disturbing facts about mining back then. However, what I found the most disturbing was that children were called to work in these mountains and did so up until the end of World War I.
This is a seven-year-old boy in a Welsh Coal mine.
Today, rather than talk about the Old West, I’d like to share with you my inspiring weekend with fellow members of Yellow Rose Romance Writers. Based in Grapevine, Texas, northeast of Fort Worth, we are a small, intimate chapter of RWA.
Once a year in October, we invite our members to a weekend retreat to talk writing and enjoy each other’s company. We just spent two days in a gorgeous residence on Eagle Mountain Lake, a few miles west of my home. Awesome surroundings, good food, fellowship and a few glasses of wine made for great fun! Best of all, our special guest, isten Lamb, presented a fantastic workshop on the use of Social Media, blogs in particular.
Kristen is a smart, funny lady who entertains while she teaches. She had us all laughing at stories about her “spawn” – her adorable four-year-old son and life in general. At the same time, she explained how to build an audience on our blogs and develop loyal fans for our books. One point she stressed is the need to connect with readers on a personal level. That’s something I plan to work on starting here and now.
Right, but how? Thinking, thinking . . . aha! Let me get the ball rolling by telling you about a time in my childhood when I was bullied. It’s a topic we hear about on the news all the time, but that’s not the same as experiencing it yourself. I did more than once while growing up.
The first time occurred when I was in fourth grade. There was this boy who thought he was top dog on the school playground. Every day at recess, he threw his weight around. The other boys followed his lead, intimidating us girls, especially me because I was the bully’s rival in class. He resented me for one-upping him when the teacher asked questions. I admit I was kind of a showoff. Blame it on my dad. He was handicapped the same as I am, but that man was nobody’s pushover. He was proud and competitive and expected the same of me, which led to my confrontation with the bullyboy.
One day he and his pals had been pushing the girls around, including me, showing us who was boss. Well, I got mad, picked up a rock – not a real big one, but big enough to sting – and threw it at him. OMG! You’d think I’d shot him. He starting balling like a baby and went running inside to tattle on me. Moments later I stood in front of our teacher, getting chewed out for throwing the rock. It wasn’t pleasant for a girl who loved being teacher’s pet, believe me. But I had the last laugh. After that day the bully steered clear of me.
Have you ever been bullied? I’d love to hear your story. Or, if you have experience with social media you’d like to share, bring it on.
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After supper I got my men in the barber shop, pulled out my three cards [3-card Monte will be explained below], and began to throw them, at the same time telling the men I had lost $1,000 at the game, and that I was going to practice until I could throw equal to the man that had beat me out of my money. They all took a great interest in the game, and could turn the right card every time for fun.
About this time the “capper” came up, and said he was positive he could guess the card, and kept insisting on betting me $100; so at last I concluded to bet him, and he lost the $100.
Then the fun commenced. One of the chicken men [chicken farmers who had just sold their stock] saw the corner of the “right” card turned up; so he jumped up, and wanted to bet me $500 that he could pick out the “right” card.I told him I did not want to bet, but if he made it $2,000 I would bet him, and if I lost I would quit. At the same time I pulled out a large roll of small bills, with a hundred dollar bill on the outside, and laid it on the table.The chicken men held a council of war, and of course they all saw the corner of the “right” card turned up. They went for their sacks of silver, and planked down four of them, with $500 cash in each.I put up and said: “Gentlemen, you must all agree on one card, and select one man to turn it, as I must have the two chances.”They picked out their man; he turned the card with the corner turned up; but, of course, it was not the “right” card.
|Fort Knox, Maine by Seth Eastman Oil on canvas, 1870-1875|
|The original deed. Note the lined paper.|
|The Guardhouse, one of the only original structures left. |
This became the living area from the Braeutigams.
|My father and me in front of one of the buildings, circa 1980.|
|The top photo is circa 1908, the Braeutigam family with Henry on the left, Christine Braeutigam in the center with Hortense behind her. The photo was taken in front of the smokehouse/cellar, the building with the wagon in front.|