Surviving on the Texas Frontier, Personal Recollections of Life in the Nineteenth Century Texas, Sarah Harkey Hall, Introduction by Paula Mitchell Marks -
Few accounts of life in 19th Century Texas provide either the vivid personal detail or the poignancy of these recollections set down by Sarah Harkey Hall in 1905. Her narrative, written at age 48 for her children, captured the rhythms of daily and seasonal life in Frontier San Saba County and chronicles her struggle for physical and emotional survival, as well as the struggles of her family and community. Unlike many pioneer memoirs written for later generations, Sarah does not assume a nostalgic or triumphant tone and does not glide over the daily hardships of life in a new country.
The result is a remarkable record of Frontier endurance, a record more bitter than sweet. Sarah's parents settled in 1853-1854 on Richland Creek in Central Texas, within the then vast boundaries of Bexar County. They were among the first immigrants in the region, locating "one mile east of Richland Springs among the recently vacated wigwams of the Comanche Indians." Sarah's transcript was transcribed by her great-granddaughter, Maridell Henry of Kingsland.
I try to read this book every now and then. What those folks must have endured in those early times! I'm mentioning it again to start 2008.
And from the Texas bookshelf:
Identical Strangers, A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited, Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein -
Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn't until her mid-30s while living in Paris that she searched for her biological mother. When Elyse contacted her adoption agency, she was not prepared for the shocking, life changing news she received. She had an identical twin sister. Elyse was then hit with another bombshell. She and her sister had been separated as infants and, for a time, been part of a secret study on separated twins.
Paula Bernstein, a married writer and mother living in New York, also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother. When she answered a call from her adoption agency one spring afternoon, Paula's life suddenly divided into two starkly different periods: the time before and the time after she learned the truth.
As they reunite and take their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are also left with haunting questions surrounding their origins and their separation. They learn that the study was conducted by a pair of influential psychiatrists associated with a prestigious adoption agency. As they investigate their birth mother's past, Paula and Elyse move closer toward solving the puzzle of their lives.
This is the life story of two women who come to terms with the hand fate has dealt them, and the exceptional imprint it leaves on each of them.
And, a beautiful coffee table sized book I must mention -
It's a treat even if the reader is not planning on building or restoring a cabin, camp, or lodge. Rustic Revisited is full of hints, via beautiful colored pictures reminiscent of the Adirondack camp style, to name one, and other homes in Colorado, New York, the Carolinas, as well as many more. Ann Stillman O'Leary, with photographs by Andrew Wellman, put together this fabulous book.
See you at Rylander!