Monday, October 26, 2015

The Prayer of a Soiled Dove. A Poem by Marilyn A. Hudson

The Prayer of A Soiled Dove
A Poem By Marilyn A. Hudson, 2015

How do you wash a soiled dove?
One who has lived a life that is fast?
Give her your heart’s deepest love;
Chase away the ghosts of her past.

Daily the tears are like rain.
Quit moments of reflection are few.
Tears tug and wear at the pain –
Revealing old scars and bruises like new.
When your plumage is tattered and torn,
The mistakes of your life come clear.
On your face, now wrinkled and worn,
The price of your high times is clear.

How do you wash a soiled dove?
Turn a blind eye to her frail past.
Like a sister, a mother or your true love –
Give her respect that will last.

Oceans of tears fall but the marks remain;
Stubborn stains of regret and bad moves.
Soft gray rain falls down on soiled doves;
But nothing fills those deep grooves.
Love alone erases the deepest of stains.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Times They Are A Changin'!

By the 1890's there were numerous stories of women dressing like men, a practice often outlawed by communities and newspapers were quick to latch onto these arrests for 'masquerading as a male.'  Yet, when feminine attire of a more athletic and flexible movement arrived they were also quick to make fun.

Bloomers as a sensible and athletically friendly piece of apparel for women appeared first in America in the 1850's where it soon became popular as a reform fashion.  It was a preferred dress for many early women's rights activists due to its sensible approach to movement and the freedom it represented. Despite being worn by numerous women in the 1850-1880's as protest it never quite caught on. People could apparently support a health based reason for the dress mode but that was not how it was promoted.

Minerva Ardella TERRYThe bicycle and its cousin the emergent motorcycle (1885) were catching the attention of young people. They were  easy to make, repair, and were highly portable . In the Ozarks of 1898, a young brother and sister died while riding a motorized bicycle made by the brother. 

Minerva Ardella TERRY and her brother Granville H. Terry  died in Barry Co., Missouri  15 AUG 1898. They were siblings of my great grand-father. 

So, in the early 1890's, with the appearance and popularity of the bicycle, the bloomer took on new life and the argument was it would improve women's health by making it easier and safer for her to ride a bicycle. The nation was going through a health craze similar to the fitness focus on the 1970's and their was emphasis on healthy foods, exercise, and similar hallmarks of fitness.

In the Langston City Herald  (Oklahoma) of August 5, 1895 (pg. 2) was a small gossipy news item: "Mrs. Knauss is the first woman in the TY [territory] to come out and brave the multitudes in a pair of bloomers. Somebody must take the lead..."

This "Mrs. Knauss" may have been Crerrill Knauss born  Oct. 1846 in PA, wife of David and, according to the 1900 census, a resident of Stillwater, Payne Co., Oklahoma in 1900.

They Wore Pants, Carried a Gun or Rode Like A Cowboy: CATTLE ANNIE and LITTLE BRITCHES

They were the newspaper writers dream come true and the inspiration for numerous 'penny dreadfuls' and dime novellas. Often ignored for their more violent, gun toting brethren, these women are an important chapter in the history of the westward expansion.
The challenges of the west often meant that some aspects of ‘civilization’ tended to fall under the onslaught of necessity.  It was not unusual for frontier women, from the era of Daniel Boone and beyond to have mastery in firearms that would have shocked people in eastern cities. The further west people moved the more flexible were the social structures defining gender roles. Hunting, riding, chopping wood, and a host of activities that their more rarefied sisters back would have seen as unladylike by Victorian standards were commonplace.    

Wearing men’s clothes was not a fashion statement as much as a safer alternative when forced to do certain work.  There was, to the western woman, a practical streak.  There was also, historic precedence, because in every nearly every conflict of the American nation there were women who donned male attire, signed up or joined in, and fought the enemy as defined in that moment. In the American Revolution, the Civil War, and in the American Frontier women dressed as men to either pass as a man or as a means to do the task of a man forbidden them as a woman.

In Oklahoma, there were several of these stories.  They are delightful in the sense that some adopted the costume but never tried to hide their identities, some hid their gender and their companions, by mutual consent, accepted them for what they presented themselves as and some even pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes in their masquerade.  They cannot be labeled with any common word s they were soldiers, outlaws, and cowhands.  There are probably more of them, hidden from history and family alike, and one can imagine that may still bring a chuckle to the ghosts of these women who shook free of social constraints to establish their unique place in history on their own terms.
These 'desperadoes' were active for only a short couple of years but they captured the imagination of people.  Their youth is often the most striking aspect of their story. "Cattle Annie" was Anna Emmaline McDoulet Roach who was born in 1882 in Douglas, Kansas and who died in 1978 in Oklahoma City. She was sent to Farmington Correctional Institution in Massachusetts in 1895.   She married and settled down to a long-lived and very law abiding life.  

"Little Britches" was born Jennie Stevenson in 1879 in Barton, Missouri (where Wyatt Earp had lived with his first wife who died). She preferred to wear men's clothes and that, combined with her more diminutive stature, earned her the nickname.  In 1895 she married a deaf-mute named Ben Midkoff but soon left to hook up with Frank Wilson.  Selling whiskey to the Indians in Osage Nation they were arrested in Perry and brought to the local regional court in Pawnee by U.S. Deputy Marshall Frank Canton. No information has been found for what happened to her and no death information has been located by most researchers.

Rose Dunn aka "Rose of the Cimarron", along with "Cattle Annie", "Little Britches", Jessie Finley (Finley), and Flora Quick Mundis aka Tom King would fill dramatically the void left by the mysterious murder of Belle Starr in 1889 near Eufaula.  A fascinating page of truly unique history...found in Oklahoma...on the fringes of "Hell."

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