By as early as 1800 Independence Day celebrations were common. Traveling across the wilderness with little to call their own, celebrating the day on the Oregon Trail was a reason to escape the drudgery of 5-6 months of constant travel. Independence Rock was looked for eagerly, starting the trail in the early spring, the emigrants hoped to reach Independence Rock by July 4. If they had not arrived by then, they knew they were behind schedule. Many scribed their names in the rock as a memento. Diaries often mentioned the events.

Emigrant James Nesmith:

"Had the pleasure of waiting on five or six young ladies to pay a visit to Independence Rock. I had the satisfaction of putting the names of Miss Mary Zachary and Miss Jane Mills on the southeast point of the rocks."

Emigrant Margaret Hecox:

"Being the fourth of July, we concluded to lay by and celebrate the day. The children had no fireworks, but we all joined in singing patriotic songs and shared in a picnic lunch."

But for an unpublished story of my own I created a trail diary of a fictional crossing with a little more detail.

July the 4th We lay abed this morning. All had a go as you please. Some hunted and fished, others lounged, while the children played games. Flags hung from several wagons. Another train pulled up and joined us for the celebration of our country’s independence. A salute to our grand country was fired from 150 guns. All up and down the river we can hear similar salutes from those that left before and after us. With so many women with us the feast that followed was immense. Roast antelope, roast sage hen, roast rabbit, antelope stew, sage hen stew, jack rabbit stew, antelope pot pie, sage hen fried, jack rabbit fried, fish fried. Irish potatoes brought from Ohio, Boston baked beans, rice, pickles, white bread, graham bread, warm rolls, biscuits, pound cake, fruit cake, jelly cake, Sweetwater mountain cake, peach pie, apple pie, strawberry pie, custard pie. Our two from New Orleans even introduced us to something called dirty rice made with the innards of the fowl we had killed. I don’t know that I have ever eaten so much in my life. After dinner as much brandy as could be found was rounded up and a great many toasts to our fair country were had. No one could forget the rash of Stewart weddings that took place, Alexander Stewart and Helen Vandeveer, Daniel Stewart and Charlotte Houlton, Duncan Stewart and Delia Drake. I can’t blame them the boys are a pleasure to the eyes.

Have a great day!

#fourthofjuly #oregontrail

In my story The Mountaintop set in ancient Greece, there were so many things to research, but as far as clothing goes the Greeks made it an easy time.


The Ancient Greeks were not fussy about their clothing. Ancient Greek clothing was typically homemade and the same piece of homespun fabric that was used as a type of garment, or blanket. The garments they wore were made for function, and they were made simply. For every member of the family, except for infants who often wore nothing at all, an outfit usually consisted of a square or rectangular piece of fabric, pins for fastening, and sometimes shoes and/or hats. The style and type of the garment depended on who was wearing it, and the job or function required of the person. There were several types of garments, derived from a basic tunic. The tunic was worn by both men and women, and varied in length according to job and gender. And with Greek summers being brutally hot, the less fabric and complicating seams to deal with, the better.

From Greek vase paintings and sculptures, we can tell that the fabrics were intensely colored and usually decorated with intricate designs. The colors used during this period were bright hued, such as green, indigo, yellow, violet, dark red, dark purple. The white ideal comes from paint that had once covered the marble statues wearing off by the time they were found.

Clothing for women and men consisted of two main garments-a tunic (either a peplos or chiton) and a cloak (himation).

The peplos was a large rectangle of heavy fabric, usually wool, folded over along the upper edge so that the over fold would reach to the waist. It was placed around the body and fastened at the shoulders with a pin or brooch. There were armholes were on each side, and the open side of the garment was either left that way, or pinned or sewn to form a seam.

The chiton was made of a much lighter material, normally linen. It was a very long and very wide rectangle of fabric sewn up at the sides, pinned or sewn at the shoulders, and usually girded around the waist. Often the chiton was wide enough to allow for sleeves that were fastened along the upper arms with pins or buttons. Both the peplos and chiton were floor-length garments that were usually long enough to be pulled over the belt, creating a pouch known as a kolpos. Under either garment, a woman might have worn a soft band, known as a strophion, around the mid-section of the body. Men in ancient Greece customarily wore a chiton similar to the one worn by women, but knee-length or shorter. An exomis (a short chiton fastened on the left shoulder) was worn for exercise, horse riding, or hard labor.

The himation (cloak) worn by both women and men was essentially a rectangular piece of heavy fabric, either woolen or linen. It was draped diagonally over one shoulder or symmetrically over both shoulders, like a stole.

A few other pieces still based on the general shape were also used at times. Women sometimes wore an epiblema (shawl) over the peplos or chiton. Young men often wore a chlamys (short cloak) for riding. Greek babies wore cloth diapers when it was hot and when it cold they were wrapped up in blankets. Most of the time children wore only cloth (resembling shorts) wrapped around their middles.

A simple dress for a not so simple culture.

#history #greece #fashion #writing


I'm working on a rewrite of a story I wrote years ago called A Speakeasy called Hell and I've been living the 1920's. I thought I'd share a little of the Bright Young Things world. Time for cocktails. Originally, the term meant only those drinks that contained bitters, but now has come to mean any mixed drink. Cocktails have been around since the early 1800's, with the Sazerac one of the first known by name in the 1820’s. But with the advent of cheaply made illegal alcohol during prohibition they quickly became popular often to cover the taste of the inferior alcohol. Fashionable parties with fashionable drinks.

The following are all from the 1920’s.

Between The Sheets

3/4 oz. each; Rum, Brandy, Cointreau, Splash of Lemon juice, or Sour mix

Blend with ice, Strain & Serve up in a chilled cocktail glass.

Champagne Punch

1 cup water

2 tablespoons Orange Curacao

2 cups sugar

Juice 2 lemons

1 quart California champagne

2 cups tea infusion

4 tablespoons brandy


2 tablespoons Medford rum

1 quart soda water

Make a syrup by boiling water and sugar ten minutes. Mix champagne, brandy, rum, Curacao, lemon juice, and tea infusion. Sweeten to taste with syrup and pour into punch-bowl over a large piece of ice. Just before serving add soda water.

Old Fashioned

2 oz. Whiskey or Bourbon, Splash of Simple Syrup, Bitters & Soda. Fill rocks glass with ice, Add simple syrup, bitters, liquor & soda, Garnish with an orange slice and cherry

Mint Julep

1. Fill a tall glass or silver tumbler with crushed ice.

2. Put 2 sprigs of fresh mint in another glass.

3. Add 1/4 oz. of water.

4. Add 1 tsp. Sugar.

5. Muddle ingredients well.

6. Add 3 oz. of Bourbon.

7. Stir gently, but thoroughly.

8. Strain into glass with crushed ice.

9. Garnish with fresh sprigs of mint.

Red Death Cocktail

1 oz. Vodka, 3/4 oz. each: Amaretto, Triple Sec, Southern Comfort, & Sloe Gin, Splash of Orange juice, Dash of Lime juice

Shake with ice & Pour into a Tall glass

Mary Pickford

Stir well with cracked ice:

1 1/2 oz white rum

1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice

1/2 teaspoon grenadine

Strain into chilled cocktail glass and drop in a maraschino cherry.

Colony Cocktail

Shake well with cracked ice:

1 1/2 oz gin

3/4 oz grapefruit juice

2 tsp maraschino

Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Bacardi Cocktail

Shake well with cracked ice:

1 1/2 oz light rum

1 /2 oz lime juice

3 dashes grenadine

Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Barbary Coast

Shake well with cracked ice:

3/4 oz blended Scotch

3/4 oz gin

3/4 oz crème de cacao

3/4 oz heavy cream

Strain into chilled cocktail glass.


Shake well with cracked ice:

1 ¼ oz cognac

½ oz Cointreau

¾ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Strain into chilled, sugar-rimmed cocktail glass

French 75

Shake well with cracked ice:

1 ½ oz London dry gin

½ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

¾ oz simple syrup

Strain into highball glass full of cracked ice and top off with chilled champagne.

#1920s #speakeasynamedhell #history #alcohol