Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Filling Her Shoes. Photo Montage by Ruth Zachary

Foraging Near Cottage Street

My mother said In 1910,
there were still trees and thickets
and ponds around Kingsley.

“Grandma Bowers used to take
me to the crick, that crossed the
meadow down the street.
We used to catch fish on a pin,
with a worm and heavy string
or button thread on a stick.”

“We used to go picking berries
like we do now,” she said.
There were raspberries,
huckle berries and black berries.
My mother’s favorite were little
red berries of wintergreen,
or their bright green leaves in spring.

Writing and Images are the exclusive Copyright of Ruth Zachary

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The Bowers Homestead. Photo Montage by Ruth Zachary

Homestead Near Kingsley

The Bowers came to Kingsley
in 1884 or 85. They settled on a farm
near the railroad where the train
went rumbling across the corner,
its steam whistle warning
anyone on the road.

When the Bowers family came,
to Michigan, they brought
Esther, Ruth and Ethel.
Lilly was born in 1886.
Pearl came five years after, in 1891.

In ’93, when Pearl was two
her mother, heavy with a child
in her belly, heard the warning
and went running to the tracks,
barely pulling her daughter
off the rails in time. Was that why
they moved to the village in 1893?

Or was it for the birth of Grace,
Born in September of the same year?

All writing and images are the exclusive Copyright of Ruth Zachary.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The Starr Matriarchs - 1800s. Photo Montage by Ruth Zachary.

The First Theory Of Relativity

1 Dr. Comfort Starr came to this country
on the Mayflower from Ashire England in 1620.

2 Thomas Starr was put in prison
for being sympathetic with the Indians.
He was later released and given a tract of land
in Connecticut as compensation.
He raised his family in Thompsonville, CN.

3.Elias Starr

4. David Starr

5. Johnathon Starr was married to Sally Starr.
The couple had three children,
Sara and William J. (third unknown.)

For two hundred years
Women from other families were only
Married into the Starr Lineage,
And were not truly Starrs.
Other family names were extraneous.

By the fifth generation,
Women married into the Starr line
Became Starrs by association.
An Alternate Theory of Relativity

Generation 6.
William J Starr was born Nov. 8, 1843
He died Mar.19, 1907
He married Eliza Jane Reynolds, (Dutch)
In Fallsburg N.Y.

Eliza was born Jan. 20, 18--?
Her parents were Andrew Reynolds
And Catherine Vanbenscoten (Dutch)
Eliza died Oct 7, 1886
Twenty-one years before her husband.

They had thirteen children
In New York State.
Eight daughters, and five sons.
Their farm prospered, and
They were one of the first
Free Methodist families in the country.

Since William outlived his wife,
Either he chose to observe his
Wife’s family history, or perhaps
some of his eight daughters did.

Was there a cultural shift in thinking,
because of educating women who now
Could write down their maternal connections?
Or was it the invention of photography
That affirmed that women existed?

Was this a small act of subversion,
Or was it a Dutch tradition that the
Women stayed in touch with
Relatives no matter how far
removed by patrilocation?

Whatever the reasons, a shift occurred.
Sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, Grands…
Grandmothers, grand daughters,Greats….
All kept abreast of each others lives,
And proudly passed down their traditions.

Mother Rite

Mothers are the keepers of culture.
For a good while, I ignored my own
mother’s stories, but she whispered them
again and again from her spirited lips
to my sleeping ears in dreams,
reminding me of the ways that in life,
she stitched the Mother rite into my body,
threaded it through my brain,
nourished me with stories of
women’s lives, struggles, victories.
She clothed me in a patchwork,
cut from the cloth of their aprons
and wove me into the tapestry of
our mingled family heritage until
I understood I was one of them.

All Poems and Images are the Copyright of Ruth Zachary. Permission is required to reproduce them.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The Sainted, Photo Montage by Ruth Zachary

Snowstorm 1903

A heavy snow, they said
came suddenly that year in Kingsley,
When you were born in 1903.
Relatives said the doctor
had to take a sleigh to their home
to deliver you into the world.

The day you arrived was
barely in time to survive
your own young mother,
taken by Scarlet fever.
Terrible, to gain your own life
while your mother lost hers,
a burden you carried all your days.

Your father was honored in his sorrow,
but useless in his grief,
to care for an infant,
wandering the country for three years
seeking answers, or his own death,
which nearly took him more than once.

She was first of six Bowers girls
to go. Her family became
death-obsessed. Her picture
was placed above the piano,
to make sure all revered
her memory; altar-like, a shrine
to her saintly status…
by virtue of having died.

And you, by virtue of being her child,
became a half -saint as well, because
if you were sent to take her place
how could you be otherwise, and
what was there to do but treat you well,
while living in fear for your fragility?

Montage Images and Writing are the property of Ruth Zachary.