Reservation Nippers

Following the lead of GA I’m posting these pictures and a little story about their lives.

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This picture was taken in 1905 and it is of students at Tunassassa Indian School.   This was  a Quaker run boarding school for Indians.   My grandmother is the girl above the left shoulder of the matron in white.   My grandmother married another student from the school and had three children with him.   After he died she married my grandfather.  He had gone to Thomas Indian School.  They had two children, my uncle and my mom.

One of the many things my grandmother learned in school was how to quilt, and she is the reason that I became a professional quilter.

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This is my aunt in the raggedy dress that she had to wear at Indian School.   She was 14 years older than my mom and married when she was 18.   She had a stepdaughter and four children.   The other people in the picture are my grandmother and Ernst, who died in 1930.

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This is my mom.   She attended the local school, and went away to college where she met my father.  They were married for 43 years until his death.  She had seven children, me and my brothers.  She died after a long illness 2 years ago.

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She attended a one room school house, then went to high school with white students.  She hated to have to wear braids, and when she went to high school she cut her hair and never wore it long again.

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This is one of my cousins.   She was only a little younger than Mom and they grew up together.   She married, had children and lived next to my aunt on the reservation.  Her husband was the only native speaker of Iroquois that I ever met.   She was an elderly woman the last time I saw her when I visited the reservation.  Because we lived so far away, we did not get to see these relatives very often, although I did spend a summer with my aunt.   My older brother moved to the rez before he joined the Marine Corps and met his wife there (she was a friend of my cousin Jenny).

 

Winter sky

Because the mountain sits to the west of town, the sun goes down pretty early in the winter.  But we sometimes get fabulous skies because the sun is still shining on the clouds.  The sky lights up in golden splendor until the sun sinks a little lower into darkness.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Deer – Real and Fake

We have a lot of deer in the city.   They come down out of the mountains and like what they see,  plenty of watered landscaping,  streams, and not too many predators.   They live in town year round.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

They’re pretty secure and not really afraid of people.   However, they might reconsider once they have seen this:  the invasion of the fake deer.

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Just like the recent invasion of giant spiders they seem to be taking over!   I hope the real deer band together to fight this threat.

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She turned her head so she didn’t have to look at the fake deer in the garage!   😉

Holiday

Thanksgiving

I’m not sure if the real holiday is Thanksgiving or Black Friday.   Thanksgiving has it’s roots in the Christian idea of having a special feast to give thanks to God.   Pilgrims are usually cited, although a possible prototype is the 1621 feast put on by the Native Americans for surviving English Dissenters.   It was not declared a federal holiday until 1863 by Lincoln.  He declared the last Thursday in November to be a national day of thanksgiving.   Franklin Roosevelt moved this to the fourth Thursday in 1940 to give an economic boost to the country (another example of his fuzzy thinking, perhaps he is the father of Black Friday).   It has become the official kickoff to the Christmas shopping season.   The Black in the name is not supposed to be ominous, it means that stores are out of the red ink and into the black.   So everybody has deeply discounted sales and there is a mad crush to scoop them up.   The sales used to start at midnight, but now they have crept into Thanksgiving Day itself.

Thanksgiving Day involves massive quantities of food usually eaten with family while watching American football.   Many years ago only two teams were willing to play on a holiday, so now they always get to play (and make the extra TV money).  My Thanksgivings are patterned after my paternal grandmother’s feasts.   She loved to cook but always complained about how much work it was.  When she had her house built, there was an “nice” main level with a formal dining room topped by a bowl of wax fruit (if you consider plastic runners on the carpeting and old towels that covered the furniture to protect it ‘nice”, ) and a finished basement with a kitchen.  So we were always relegated to the basement.  One thing that she said to me which sums her up is: “Gee you look fat, come in and have something to eat.”

Mr. Google said that the most requested recipe in the state is something called “frog eye salad”, which has round pasta, coconut, pineapple, mandarin oranges, miniature marshmallows and whipped topping, but no actual frog’s eyes.   It will not be on my menu.

Me and Miss Dog will have roasted turkey, mashed potato and gravy, Waldorf salad, my grandmothers salad, corn pie and pumpkin pie.  Her birthday is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so she’ll get an extra feast then and a new squeaky toy.

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Fly tippings

I started keeping little books of quotes I liked a couple of years ago.   They are interspersed with little drawings, grocery lists and phone numbers.   My friend the librarian told me that such things are called ‘commonplace books’.  The quotes are quite idiosyncratic, just whatever struck my fancy at the moment.  They are things that I read, and lines of dialogue from movies and tv that struck me as funny.  GA sent me a link on fly tipping and that started me on a new conceptual art project.

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Rita Mae Brown in some novel.

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This quote is either by Ian Rankin or a TV writer and was from an episode of Rebus.

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Neil Gaiman in “Sandman”.   These skeletons and roses were a present from the teacher in a sewing class.

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I don’t remember the source or why I wanted to use this, but here it is.

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And this quote is for you GA, from Dennis Severs in “18 Folgate Street: A Tale of a House in Spitalfields.

I was at the store and some young clerk asked me what I had been up to today.   He was rather surprised when I said ” making art”.   I guess I don’t look the part.

I was excited about doing a new project, so thanks for push GA.   I expect that I will do more of these later.

Another favorite toy

My other favorite toy is the great Godzilla.   It’s hard to describe my exact relationship with Godzilla, but for starters we are the same age, so I guess we grew up together, separately.  There is an ambiguity about him:  he is sometimes bad, sometimes good, and a visit from him always involves a certain amount of mayhem and sadness.   In questioning why he doesn’t destroy them, a character in Godzilla 2000 says “there is a little bit of Godzilla in all of us”.

This is Rex.  While technically not a Godzilla, he does seem to be related, perhaps a grandfather of sorts.   I worked at a toy store when I first moved here.   I bought one of these for my friends’ dad as he loved mechanical toys.   It was so cool that I had to have one too.  Rex is about 30 years old and has gotten rather creaky in his joints.

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The first Godzilla I bought is Japanese.   He’s a tiny thing, but I love him.

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This one is my favorite, the classic, original Godzilla.   I love the expression of his face.

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I also have the newer Millennial Godzillas.  I don’t think that they really capture the essence of his appeal.   CG is not nearly as interesting as a person in a monster suit.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

The European premier of the latest incarnation of Godzilla took place when I was in London, so I went over and and saw some of the movie stars, but Godzilla was a no-show.   (After seeing the movie I understand this, after all he had hardly any screen time.)

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There are lots of Godzilla blogs and I ran across two that I like.

http://godzillahaiku.tumblr.com/       and

http://blacksun1987.blogspot.com/        who did an entire year of blogging  pictures from previous movies.  While I’m not completely obsessed, I do have a special place in my heart for the big lizard.

 

Toys

My father had a love of robots.  I’m not sure if it was driven by science fiction movies, or the idea that robots are invincible against us puny mortals.   Since it wasn’t very fashionable for adults to collect toys, he would buy robots for us, and these robots  were not particularly invincible against young children.

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About 37 years ago, I bought a wind-up toy as a birthday present for a child of a friend.   It was so delightful and cleverly constructed that I had to have one for myself, and that was the start of my collection.  The toys have to be wind-up toys, although I have allowed a few of other sorts to slip in because they were so irresistible.  I go through spurts of buying, and manufacturers are always coming up with new designs as well as repeating older ones.   Here’s a some of the toys from this year.

toystoys1toys2toys3

 

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These are walkers, side movers, hoppers and spinners and were purchased locally.

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I bought these in England, but they are from the same manufacturer as the others.  That’s globalization for you, and they were more expensive since I paid in pounds.  These are flippers, a walker, roller, and a swimmer.

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Halloween walkers purchased in Santa Fe.  I was there with a fellow toy collector and got inspired.

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More toys from Santa Fe.

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Hopping heads, purchased downtown.

I have hundreds of these little things, I’ll share more of them later.

My Favorite holiday

When I was growing up we did not get candy on a regular basis, it was a special treat.   However, I went to All Saints School and All Saints Day is November 1st.  This meant that on Halloween me and my brothers would go out and collect massive amounts of candy, both store bought and homemade (except for the health nuts that gave out apples) and there was no school the next day.  This made this the perfect sort of holiday.

When I was a young adult not too many grown-ups celebrated this, but I would make cardboard costumes for us.   They had to cost less than $1 and we would go “trick or drinking”, and make friends give us drinks.

Now I don’t have too many kids in my neighborhood, but I always stock up on plenty of good candy to give out.   I even give candy to the parents who are out supervising the kids.   My sorority is putting together sacks of candy for everyone at an elementary school that we support.  And Miss P will wear her latest Halloween costume and supervise the giving out of the candy (although she would personally prefer to eat every last bit of it herself).

Because of Halloween some of the houses have been attacked by giant spiders.

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And the usual assortment of skeletons, graveyards, witches, etc.

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Miss P’s costume.  In American football there is a position called wide receiver, so people thought her costume was funny.

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