Make September 9 a World Wide Holiday!
Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson (28 December 1794 – 22 April 1890) was awarded the first US patent for a hand-cranked ice cream freezer in 1843.
Sainthood may not be good enough an honor! Ms. Johnson invented the hand cranked ice cream churn as a way to reduce the time required to make ice cream. Ice cream was originally made using very intensive labor over several hours. Johnson essentially created a way to make ice cream faster and easier.
Originally, there were many steps to creating ice cream. President Thomas Jefferson had an eighteen step recipe. Johnson’s brilliant idea changed ice cream making into a much easier and faster route to happiness. On September 9th, 1843, Patent numberUS3254A was issued for the. Artificial Freezer and antedated on July 29th, 1848.
A Philadelphia housewife married to Walter Rogers Johnson in Medfield, Massachusetts. Walter was a scientist and first secretary at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Nancy, herself, was a very successful inventor. This was very uncommon in her days, because women’s legal identities were taken away when they married. Under the laws of coverture, women were not allowed to control their own finances, own property, or sign legal agreements. Men represented their wives, mothers, and daughters. Nancy was a bold and determined woman who empowered women, teaching them they can make their own way for themselves.
In 1843, she filed for her patent for the first hand-cranked ice cream churn (US3254A). Her invention was called a “disruptive technology” because it made it possible for everyone to make quality ice cream without electricity. This technology changed the way that ice cream was made forever and portions of her patent continue to be used today.
Johnson received $1500 during the course of her lifetime for her Artificial Freezer. She adapted her original patient and refiled September 9th, 1843. She sold the rights of the patent to William G. Young, a Baltimore native, who improved some on the ice cream freezer on May 30th, 1848. Johnson sold the rights of the patent to Young for $200.
People erroneously credit Young as the inventor, but it was a Nancy Johnson who made the world a better place.
There are some people who should receive sainthood for the amazing deeds they do. Heroes should receive awards. We need to recognize the people who have made a difference in this world.
September 9 should be celebrated around the world! Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson should be known universally for ice cream.
We all scream for ice cream.
And scream most loudly for Nancy.
Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson, thank you, thank you, thank you. You made my life and the lives of so many better.
(Information derived from Wikipedia)
Marlene is available for her speaking engagements. She is an award winning author and her books are available through amazon.com and scribblersweb.com. Join www.MsRatWrites.com for her monthly newsletters.
We have just returned from our vacation to Alaska. We went 21 years ago with our son, friends John and Margie Sawyer, their daughter Mylinda, and husband Chris Moore. It was the trip of a life time. But our lifetimes do change.
This trip was a little different. Mylinda, Chris, and their 19 year old daughter joined us. They brought her mama, Margie. One of my dearest friends, Cece (Cecelia Landress) also took the trip. John, who is legendary in Georgia for his baseball coaching skills, can no longer travel.
Things I learned:
The trip was good. We had a great time. It is our last adventure with Margie. Our families have traveled many places together. This was our last hurrah. Know what? The airport, lost luggage, and diarrhea (Yeah, I left that part out), money hungry retailers, and everything else... I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything.
One last great thing. I taught high school art was called Art Woman or Ms. Rat. One of my former students, now friend, lives in Seattle. We have stayed in touch over the last 50 plus years. Richard Kromm came out to meet us. We had a couple of hours together. Richard and being with Margie and our extended family is what made the trip priceless.
I’d do it all again, even the airport.
My father, James E. Ratledge was born November 21, 1916. After he died, Mama said he never left. He was still sitting in his recliner, waiting for her. I believe it. I think Mama is sitting on my right shoulder and Daddy is on left one. Both are whispering in my ear.
I can still see them walking hand-in-hand. Daddy was over 6’4” and Mama was about 5’5” in her prime. They almost always held hands. As Mama would shrink, she would have her arm bent even higher and Daddy would lean over a little more.
They met on a blind date at the Atlanta Water Works while working at White Provision Company in 1943. The old Atlanta Water Works was a favorite picnic place. Mama said he was the handsomest thing she had ever seen. She first saw him as he was approaching where she and her friends were. He was over 6 feet 4 inches, had beautiful blue black hair and a golden olive completion. He was wearing a white suit with a black shirt and a black sling supporting his injured arm. She said that was it. He was too beautiful to forget. They married May 1, 1944. Daddy never forgave World War II for separating them. I have 746 700 love letters he wrote during WWII reinforcing his love.
Mama and his brothers called him Bob. When he was young in the early 1900’s male children wore their hair long. When it was time for James to get his big boy haircut, his two older brother teased him and called him “bobtail.” He was Bob ever since.
Daddy was a perfectionist and could do just about anything from electricity to plumbing and wood working. He even did a little black smithy on the old forge at my Grandparent’s place. Daddy and his mother flipped houses before there was such a thing. Mama’s family place didn’t have electricity or running water. Daddy put in their first furnace, stove, running water and bathroom. You name it, he did it.
185, later changed to 585 was Daddy’s radio code number for the City of Atlanta Police Department/Atlanta Board of Education School Detectives. In 1947 Atlanta developed specialized detective units within the agency. In 1952, The Atlanta Board of Education and the Atlanta Police Department joined forces and created the Atlanta School Detective Unit. In 1953, my Daddy and Julian Stephens were the second and third officers to join Sgt. J. D. Nash, Commander. There was another School Detective Department being formed about this same time in another state. The only two in the nation. The School Detective Unit was the fore-runner of what we now call School Resource Officers in Georgia.
Daddy was good at his job. I don’t know about now, but he held the record for the most cases solved for over 15 years. I have all of his old reports. Someday I am going to write that book I promised him. Now he is gone and I only have his paper reports to rely on. I regret we never found time to write his book.
He did some interesting things in his life. During WWII he escorted military prisoners. I have his secret identification and name that he used. One night while hospitalized, the nurses on duty asked Mama what Daddy had done for a living. She told them about his having been a police officer. One of the nurses was one of my former students and spent a lot of time visiting with all of us. Ellen told Mama that Daddy was talking about having a different name. Daddy had been part of the Secret Police. The night Ellen was checking on Daddy, he was the other military policeman taking a Nazi prisoner somewhere “special.”
Once it was learned that his father, Luther Edward Ratledge, had been a train engineer before becoming a police officer, and Daddy could do medical core and train repair, he was reassigned. Daddy built the first hot water shower on one of the medical trains in Europe. After that when they would be in a station somewhere Daddy teach other train personnel how he had run the lines so their trains could also have hot water showers.
One night when he was so sick and on morphine, he was back on that train. I spent the entire night, rebuilding a train engine with him. He would tell me what tool he wanted and I handed it to him. In his drugged imagination, all those machines in that room were part of the engine. We did a good job, too. By about 4:30 in the morning, he told me to “fire her up and let’s get moving.”
When the Allied troops captured Adolf Hitler’s private train, it was damaged. Daddy and his medical train happened to be in the same location. One of the officers on Daddy’s train suggested they ask my father to look at the damage on Hitler’s train. Rat could “jury-rig” anything. I don’t know what was wrong with the train, but it couldn’t be moved further into Allied territory because of the problem. Daddy went over and did whatever was needed to get it moving again. While Daddy was working on the problem, a team of US and other Allied personnel were cataloging every item in the train.
Daddy reported the repair had been completed to the officer in charge. That officer was part of the team cataloging Hitler’s belongings. He was in Hitler’s private dining car. The officer picked up a small cream pitcher from Hitler’s table and handed it to Daddy thanking him for his help. The pitcher has the swastika emblem and Mama wrote a note about what Daddy told her and stuck it in it. The cream pitcher is marked with the Allied catalog number.
Daddy could do anything. Daddy was the builder, Mama was the painter and designer. He built his grandson an airplane swing with a 6’ wing span and working joystick, rocking horses, and any other thing he thought his namesake James could want. Daddy made a table that was James’ height and the legs could be extended to grow with him. They did a lot of drawing and coloring on that table.
He and Mama refurbished old houses to rent or sell. Daddy made the entire kitchen set, stove, refrigerator, cupboards and even a sink with a turning faucet for the Kindergarten class of H.O. Burgess Elementary School (1955). That set was still in use some 10 plus years later. Our class had wooden animals to paint that he cut from scrap lumber, too. One of my classmates mentioned remembering them. I have several still. He and Mama created the most beautiful gardens outside of Calloway Gardens you have ever seen. He worked hard. And he adored Mama.
He and Mama taught me to be independent and self-reliant. I learned how to lay a wooden floor, to use most any kind of tool, paint a room, fire a gun, swim, and defend myself physically and mentally. He made sure Mama and I were loved and well taken care.
Rat accomplished all kinds of things and best of all, Daddy was mine. And I miss him. Mama used to say there will never be another one like Bob Ratledge. No, there won’t. I bet Mama and Daddy are holding hands right now.
Well, I am a day late and dollar short once again. Things have just been demanding and time has fled from my grasp. I hope you all are having a wonderful Easter Sunday.
My next book, Tips, Tricks & Techniques. A Self-Directed Search for Easier Learning should be available within the next two weeks. I think this book did not want to be written. I have been trying now since the first week of December to get it out. I seem to be the only person really thinking it should be printed and available.
If you are a female in the arts field (music, dance, visual arts, writing) look up National League of American Pen Women, Inc. (www.nlapw.org). We have and Atlanta Pen Women chapter and meet monthly (second Wednesday at 10 am). Pen women is very encouraging to artistic women. If you would be interested in joining, send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Founded in 1897, the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. (NLAPW) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that supports and promotes professional women in arts, letters, music, and allied professions.
I have just accepted a position on the Board of Directors for Southeastern Writers Association. they have the best conference each year at Epworth by the Sea (St. Simons, GA). If you are a writer, check out this group. It is wonderful.
Here is a little piece I wrote this morning. I hope you will enjoy it. Now I need to go water all my indoor flowers, the orchids are blooming!
Antique or Vintage?
It is my birthday. I am not sure which category I fall into, antique or vintage. I suppose if something has to be 100 years or older it is an antique. That makes me vintage. Like a fine wine, but a bit tangy, occasionally sweet. Perhaps even a tiny bit bitter. I suppose it could be worse—dried up bottle of dust.
Our tractor is celebrating its birthday, too. It is one year older than me. So is my husband Snell’s favorite car, a Cadillac Sedanette. Both were born in 1948. Snell has kept all three of us going for years.
1949 is really the year of my birth. Easter Sunday at 5:05 pm. Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta, GA. I am not sure where the Ford tractor or the Cadillac were born. Anyway we have all arrived in Georgia, the land of slow vowels and beautiful springs.
1949 is the Year of the Ox on the Chinese calendar. I thought I was a hog or a rat, but I am an ox. Well, I guess I am kind of shaped like one now in middle-old age. I am going for longevity here. 74 is middle aged if you live to be 150.
Oxen are described as “industrious, thrifty and clever, and they make careful calculation and strict budgeting for everything. Also, they never do the things beyond their capability, so they seldom suffer losses; they attach great importance to the fairness of benefit distribution. They are destined to have average luck in early years, favorable luck in middle age, and excellent luck in old age.” Still waiting on some that to mature! I need to learn to say “no, thank you” more often.
And I am an Aries. According to the information I found Aries are the trailblazers. Passionate, independent, loyal, smart, and impulsive. They always have multiple projects on their mind, and won't be satisfied until their work, social life, and personal lives line up exactly with the dream life they've envisioned. Aries are all about initial attraction. They can sense chemistry in the first sentence uttered by a potential partner. (This is true. I knew on our first date when Snell kissed me goodnight that I would marry him. That was in 1975, still together. I had to work on him though!) Forthright and unabashed, an Aries will do everything in their power to go after someone they want.
A combination of an ox and a ram. No wonder I am who I am.
Another truth, I am a liar. I lie about my age. Lots of people do. When I first started teaching I had a student who was only a year younger than I. When asked about my age I lied. Sometimes I would be ten years older, other times twenty.
I haven’t formally taught in many years and trust me there are no students even close to my age now. No reason to lie, you think. There you are wrong. I add ten years to my age. I look good for some in their mid-eighties, not so hot for mid-seventies.
So middle-elderly aged, fat and sassy, blessed with a wonderful husband, a great son, who is regular middle aged, dear friends, and an old tractor that still works—happy birthday to me.
In researching this I found a quote in the Aries description. It is my new motto.
"When you know yourself, you're empowered. When you accept yourself, you're invincible."
(Marlene is an award winning author who is available for speaking engagements. Her books are available on www.scribblersweb.com and www.amazon.com. You can reach her through www.MsRatWrites.com or MsRatWrites@gmail.com)
Once again we have sung Auld Lang Syne and made our plans for an exciting new year. What shall we do? What shall we change? Should we change?
Do you make resolutions? I never made them with any sense of seriousness. I guess I knew I would never hold to them all that well. There were flashes of losing weight, exercising regularly, being more organized. Yeah, they still don’t work. I don’t even write them down. Actually, I am short and fat and although I was once an athlete, I am now an old woman with way too much to do in my life.
I once was very organized. I never left work that my desk wasn’t clean and things were filed in the proper place. All I had to do the next morning was pull one basket toward me and take out the first item. I had left things in proper sequence from the evening before. Today, I have three baskets, overflowing. Three calendars to be updated and checked and no way do they match up.
I would like to be more organized—like I used to be. When I was working 8 to 10 hours a day, I had to be organized. When I left work there was another world I had to take care of. Now I work 12 to 18 hours a day and you can’t tell I’ve done a dern thing. (Dern, that is southern for damn.)
Time has a way of taking care of a lot of things. Given enough time my whole house will be filled with cat fur balls, enough dust to write the Magna Carta in, twice, and a short, fat, old woman with still too much to do.
Maybe I should have only one New Year’s Resolution. Saying no. No is one of the hardest words for me to pronounce. My friends know this. That is why they call. Sometimes I wonder if I hear from these people because they want to see how we are or if they just need something. I know that isn’t true. When Snell and I were so sick with Covid and he thought he had the right to die on me, friends dropped off food, gathered out mail, and offered help.
“No, I appreciate your asking.” “No, I’m sorry I wish I could.” “Thank you for thinking of me, but no, I can’t.”
How hard was that to write? Not at all. How hard is it to say out loud? REALLY hard. I must practice.
Whatever your new you is, smile and think with pride “I am me. I have another day to be the best me I can be.” That is the best resolution.
The picture in this article is of Rich’s Great Tree. The lighting of the Great Tree in Atlanta was the beginning of all things holiday. Everyone watched on TV or went downtown to see the annual phenomena. Time magazine featured it on the cover of December, 1961. It was a world impressing event.
The tradition began in 1948. An Eastern White Pine at least 70 feet to 90 feet tall would be selected each year for Rich’s event. Television coverage of the tree being felled and transported to Atlanta was on the news coverage. We would see the cranes lifting the tree from the street to rooftop some eight floors above.
Once in place, the decorating would begin. Balls five feet in diameter would hung with huge ropes of garland and lights. The top star had to be 10 feet tall and shown like it was leading all of us to Bethlehem or Holiday shopping nirvana. The tree could be seen for miles.
Parents and children would walk through Santa’s Workshop on the way to visit with Santa Claus. Inside the store, was "Santa's Secret Shop" which was off-limits to the adults. The "spirit of Christmas" started at the street level with animated window displays. Moving mannequin handing out gifts, trains transported them to other windows, dancing couples, and angels playing violins. It was magical.
The roof top home for Santa would be opened for children in awe of the great man. Eight reindeer would live on that roof top from Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas. A miniature suspended monorail “flew" from the ceiling of the toy department, outside the building to a rooftop Christmas village that surrounded the Great Tree. The original Pink Pig was named Priscilla. A second pig, named Percival was later added to meet the high demand to ride the pig. After completing their journey, riders received a sticker that said "I rode the Pink Pig.” I still have one of the prized stickers.
On Thanksgiving, crowds would start to assemble in the streets. TV personalities would begin the countdown. The four floors of the Crystal Bridge would gleam with local choirs, decked in robes and best voices. There were eight choral groups performing. Each would be featured for a few minutes. Christmas carols could be heard all over Atlanta. A local celebrity would read the Christmas Story as anticipation of the moment built.
There were hours of entertainment this night with the music and lights. But suddenly, all was still. All was silent. Someone threw the switch. The entire city of Atlanta and through the state through their TVs would let out a mighty “OOOOOHHHHH--AAAAHHHH.”
And it was OOOHHH and AAAHHH inspiriting. The dark sky lit up and the Great Tree shown with a magnificence not to be seen for another year.
Alas, neither Rich’s nor The Great Tree exist anymore. Several moves to other store locations were tried. It was never the same. And now the “Great Tree” is a much smaller artificial one. It has lost it greatest. Somehow for those of us of a certain age this dims our excitement of the season’s start. Anyone can put up a tree and put glittering balls and lights on it. Only Rich’s could have a 70 to 90 ft. beacon of the season.
Stores do not decorate for the Holidays as they once did. I guess it is too expensive or offensive to someone. It isn’t as exciting to visit the Malls and see the holiday beauty, because there really isn’t a lot of lovely, spirited decorations.
No matter the décor, welcome to the holiday season and the tying up of all those loose ends of the year. We have so much for which to be grateful. We all can get lost in the demands of the season.
Take a minute. Make a gratitude list. List everything from the smallest to the largest. Now this is hard part. Make a list of those people you need to forgive. Oh yeah, include yourself. Be grateful and be gracious to yourself and others.
I am grateful I saw Rich’s Great Tree many times. My best friend and I never missed the occasion. I remember it with fondest and that wonderful childhood memory brings a glow to my heart. I wish you could share one of the Great Tree lightings with you.
Hold your memories dear and your dear ones close.
This is something my son told me one day when we were discussing Christmas and if he would be eligible for presents or a sack of switches. “‘Tis the season and Santa knows if you have been naughty or nice.” I said. “Well, I have been naughty, but at least I was nice about it. I told you before I did it.” Replied my honest little boy.
(Rich’s Department Store opened in 1867 and was dominate retail center over the southeastern United State.)