Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some Fascinating Historical Facts...

We've Got It Easy, Even When We Think We Don't...

A good friend reminded me today that blogging sometimes needs to be about more than book excerpts and competitions.  I was honored when Mirella Patzer, an author of significant historical knowledge cited me as an authority on the old west.  I stopped and thought about it, and realized I really am.  I've spent countless hours reading about the Lakota Sioux, researching their tribal traditions and rituals, and studying the trials and tribulations pioneer men and women faced.  For Sparta Rose, I researched the area, to familiarize myself with historical landmarks, schools, banks, and hotels from the past.  I may not be a "true" authority, but I sure know a lot more now than I did when I began writing historical novels.  For those who don't think your credibility as an historical author is important, you couldn't be further from the truth.  If you make a mistake with regard to the era of which you write, someone will let you know about it.  *smile*  In my debut novel, someone took issue with the fact that my Indian hero made coffee on the prairie.  I guess that person missed the part of the book where he stayed with the white heroine for months and developed a taste for the "white man's" brew.  Of course, that wasn't the only thing he grew to like.   Okay...that was yesterday's book. I digress.



This morning, I bemoaned the fact that I needed to change our bedding.  While I slipped on clean sheets then stuffed the "used" ones (I started to type "soiled" but that conjured up a big ewwww) into the washing machine, I realized how very spoiled our generation is.

 Had I lived in the old west, I might not have owned anything that resembled a mattress.  Although by the 1800s, beds raised off the ground were commonplace to avoid insects and rodents, poor pioneers often slept on straw covered with quilts or blankets. If they were lucky, rough wooden frames with crisscrossed rope created the foundation. Feather beds were common only among those wealthy enough to have access to down feathers. In some cases, straw was sewn into a bag, and cleaning the bedding meant dragging the heavy sack outside and beating the dust from it. Same for anything that covered the wood or dirt flooring.  No Hoovers or Dust Devils then!

As I added detergent to my washing machine, I thought about the women of the old west who at one time beat their clothing clean on rocks, and later marveled at the invention of a scrub board and a wringing device.  Oh, talk about thanking God for my life.  Do you know that in some third world countries, women still do laundry this way?  Don't you feel lucky?

I promise more of these types of posts.  I love western history, don't you?


Note from Ging:  If this look familiar, it's because it appeared on my other blog, Dishin' It Out in 2010.  Now that I have a place to share "western" themes, I thought this fit the bill, although I did tweak it a bit.   I'm loving this blog.  :)

15 comments:

Cheryl St.John said...

I'm doing bedding today, too! Did the kids's yesterday. Only day I didn't have somewhere to run and running the washer is a snap while I'm writing. We have it so easy, es we do. Nothing to complain about here. I may not have every gadget known to man, but I live in luxury and ease, thank God.

Lynette Eason said...

Very nice. I'm working on a western historical so I might be picking your brain in the weeks to come. :) Thanks so much.

Liz Flaherty said...

I love your blog. Good luck with it and with your writing, too.

Vickie McDonough said...

I love to write stories set in the 1800s, but I'm glad I live in the modern world. My grandma was born in 1876, and she lived to be 95, outliving all but four of her ten children. My dad was the youngest of the brood.

Carla Gade said...

Nice blog! Cheryl st. John sent me your way. My first novel comes out in Jan. A southwestern historical.

Victoria Bylin said...

Your post made me WANT to do laundry! In goes the soap, on goes the machine, and out comes a load of clean clothes. Now if someone would invent a way to get them out of the dryer,on hangers and in drawers, I'll be set!

P.S. Cheryl St. John mentioned your blog on fb . . so glad she did! Really enjoyed it!

Ginger Simpson said...

Thank you all for visiting, and special thanks to Cheryl St. John for sending her friends my way. If anyone would like to blog on Cowboy Kisses, I'd appreciate the help in getting some good fodder to help build a fan base. You can email me at mizging at gmail dot com and I'll hook ya up! Now, I'm going back to stare at that hunky cowboy on the blog. He gives me shivers. :)

Margaret Brownley said...

Cheryl sent me your way. Good luck with your blog. Cowboy Kisses is a winner!

Linda Broday said...

You're a woman after my own heart. I love western history too. Anything and everything. Which is good since I write western romance. I honestly can't imagine how those pioneers made it without a microwave, electric cookstove, soft bed, T.V., and washer and dryer. It boggles the mind. But, people had so much respect for each other back then. Love the code they lived by. It served them well and it would us, too, if we adopted those simple rules.

Good luck and wishing you much success with your new site.

Mary Connealy said...

GInger, I was in the museum under the St. Louis Arch in September, an absolute world class museum. It's about westerward expansion. Fascinating. And I met a woman there doing a special show and she was absolutely PASSIONATE about historical LAUNDRY.
She was so fun to talk to. Man can she go on about the pros and cons of BLUING. This is just one example of all her knowledge. Clothes pins? Starch? Tubs? Scrubbing boards? She knew EVERYTHING.
It was great.

Mary Connealy said...

I follow a twitter account called First World Problems and it's so funny. All the pathetic little things we fret about today. It gives you a real feel for just how spoiled we are.

Ex.
"Google Earth doesn't have a 3D model of EITHER of my Hampton houses!"

Betsy said...

I love western history and am lucky to live in Washington State where there's no shortage of cowboys! Cheryl St. John sent me over too.

Betsy

Caroline Clemmons said...

I do love western history. I realized that I, too, am something of an authority on the west and pioneering. I hope some of this knowledge comes through in my books!

Avery Cove said...

Love your handsome cowboy! And I love the romance of western history, but not the Real day-to-day stuff. Don't we have the best of both worlds? BTW--Cheryl St. John sent me your way--and I'm glad I came. :)

Morgan Mandel said...

Where did you find that yummy cowboy?
Great blog name and header. Will he be on your book cover?

It sounds like you are truly qualified to write Western Romances. I'm glad you're branching out.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel