Beautiful Ohio: Day 3 – The Whittlesey Indians

Native Americans are an integral part of Ohio’s history, from the wars that were fought to the culture and tradition absorbed by early settlers to the towns, rivers, lakes and counties that still bear the names of tribes who were once resident here.  One of the earliest settlements (1000 to 1600 AD) were the Whittlesey Indians who lived here in Northeast Ohio.

Since I started working at Fathom, I have used the Canal pathway (along the Ohio-Erie Canal) as a place to walk.  Last fall, I went a different direction, down the path which runs between the Cuyahoga River and the Canal and eventually ends up near Tinker Creek.  Along the Towpath Trail (as it is called) there is an Ohio Historical Marker (80-18), which states:

“Directly across the Cuyahoga River from this spot is the South Park Village. Here, archeologists uncovered the remains of a four-acre, Native American settlement populated by people of the Whittlesey Tradition. The people of South Park lived in communal structures and grew maize, beans, and squash in the floodplain fields that surround you. Food remains found in the village excavations reveal that they hunted deer, elk, black bear, and other game and gathered clams and fish from the Cuyahoga River. South Park was abandoned and reoccupied several times between A.D. 1000 and 1600. Numerous seasonal campsites have been found on the floodplains and terraces on both sides of the river. The first localized cultural development unique to this area, Whittlesey sites have been identified upriver from here in Summit County and in the Chagrin and Grand River valleys to the east. “

South Park Village and the Whittlesey Tradition

South Park Village and the Whittlesey Tradition

This is not the only Whittlesey settlement in Northeast Ohio — it’s just the only one I’ve “seen” personally.  Their culture is a Late Prehistoric group.  This settlement was typical in that they tended to occupy plateaus overlooking streams (or Lake Erie). Archaeologists also discovered that they often surrounded their settlements with a pallisade or a ditch, implying that they needed to defend themselves — either from other tribes or from wild animals.  One of the things that differentiates them from earlier, similar cultures was a distinctive type of pottery they created.

Charles Whittlesey, a 19th century geologist and archaeologist who was a founder of the Western Reserve Historical Society and who was deeply involved in research on these tribes, provided their name.

Z, Zed and Zee End!

Today’s the last day of April and the last day of the A-to-Z meme.  I thought I’d pay tribute to the lowly ‘z’, last in line in the alphabet and at one point, eliminated from the alphabet by the Roman Censor Claudius Appius Caecus.  According to an interesting article at dictionary.com :

His justification was that z had become archaic: the pronunciation of /z/ had become /r/ by a process called rhotacism, rendering the letter z useless.

Later, the Romans brought it back, but only for words of Greek origin.  The letter ‘z’ is one of only two that came directly from Greek (the Greek letter ‘zeta’), rather than Etruscan.

In American English, the letter is pronounced “zee” — a pronunciation common in 17th century English English, which was probably brought here by the Pilgrims and their contemporaries. Of course, the rest of the English speaking world tends to pronounce it ‘zed’.  This latter version is almost certainly a variant of ‘zeta’, and thus, perfectly understandable.  A Canadian gentleman by name of Bill Casselman has a brief history of ‘zee/zed’ here that you might enjoy reading. (I apologize for my idiot countrymen who ran the spelling bee, Mr. Casselman.  We’re not all so Amerocentric.)

And that’s the end of the A-to-Z meme.  I might go looking for another one to push me to post to this blog! 🙂 Thanks to everyone who took time to read my posts.

“Y” is for (mellow) Yellow

Since I missed doing this when I did “D”, this is my chance to celebrate Donovan getting into the R&R Hall of Fame.

I don’t remember all of his songs from my childhood — mostly “Hurdy Gurdy Man”, “Wear Your Love Like Heaven”, “Sunshine Superman”, “Catch the Wind”, “Jennifer Juniper” and of course “Mellow Yellow”.  Actually, that’s quite a few of his songs, come to think on it.  I liked him a lot — being a kid and not much into politics (of music or otherwise), I didn’t know about his fuss with Dylan (who I also liked).  I just knew his songs appealed to me.

Stephen King liked him so much that he used “Atlantis” as the basis for his book “Hearts in Atlantis”.

“Sunshine Superman” in particular has an actual day tied to it as a memory.  My mom, a child of the Great Depression, tended to be a bit frugal.  I came to understand why and if I told you what her childhood was like, you would too.  However, she had a thing about stuff that was different — unusual tourist sites, strange food, different stores (some time, I’ll tell you about the realio-trulio general store we went to) and off-beat beverages.  On the day in question, we had driven to Canton to buy Kickapoo Joy Juice (a kind of off-brand Mountain Dew).  We also (my sister and I) talked her into buying us Batman and Robin t-shirts.  So in honor of that cherished memory, here’s Donovan and “Sunshine Superman”.  (I know — it should be “Mellow Yellow”, but I like this one better.)

“X” never, ever marks the spot…

That line is from the third Indiana Jones film “The Last Crusade” (it should have BEEN the last movie, but I digress).  Indy’s teaching class and trying to disabuse everyone of the idea that archaeology is about finding treasure, that there are no treasure maps and thus — “x” never, ever marks the spot.

Of course, he gets to eat his words later in the movie when a critical discovery is marked by an “x”.  Really, it’s a Roman numeral for 10, but an x is an x. Right?

I think that’s a great cautionary tale against raging generalizations.  Indy wants his students to believe that archaeology is all books and only a certain amount of field work even as he knows that’s not the case… (at least in HIS universe)

Here’s the clip from the film.

“W” is for “Wooden Writing”

I have a confession to make.  I read Harlequin (and Mills and Boon) romances.

This is a relatively new habit for me. I’m the kind of person who reads the same writers over and over again because I find it so hard to pick up new ones.  I may have said this in a previous post, my memory being what it is, I’m not sure.  But when I’m in the library (buy books? moi? [laughing hysterically]) I look at title, cover, subject and author.  If the book at least looks intriguing, I’ll take it off the shelf and read the first half-dozen pages.  IF the writer manages to not make me 1) like a character or 2) wonder what’s going to happen next or 3) captivate me to the point of wanting to sit for a minute and read further, the book goes back on the shelf.

Well, one day, all of my putative books to borrow having let me down, I picked up this pink-covered book from the large print area. To this day I have NO idea why. It managed to pass the test.  In fact, I wound up quite enjoying it (even if I did have to restrain the impulse to climb into the book and slap the heroine silly — it’s a convention of romance novels that quite often either the hero or heroine needs an attitude adjustment in the worst way).  There were several other of these books in the same area and I took them out as an adjunct to my other “usual suspects” (Alan Gordon [recommend!], Dick Francis, Robert Heinlein, Janette Oke, etc.) and discovered that they weren’t all that bad.  I especially like the “Dante’s Inferno” series (Day LeClaire) and there are a couple of other writers who I’ve gotten into.

Where does wooden writing come into this?  Well, I’ve continued to read these books, and lately, I’ve been let down.  Not so much by the plots; I mean, there’s only so much you can do with the basic premise, assuming that you stick to the modern world and the Alpha Male/Feisty Female motif.  Of the last dozen, I actually read all the way through two.  Maybe one and a half.  The writers were clueless about realistic dialog (internal and external), exposition, even characters.  And the writing itself was just cardboard.  I wish I had one of the books here to show you examples, but you’ll be spared that.

Is it a surprise that romance novels don’t attain to Dostoyevskian heights? No, of course not.  However, I can think offhand of several writers (Sandra Marton, Barbara McMahon, Ms. LeClaire, above, Kim Lawrence) who manage to provide entertainment and keep me liking the story, characters and general feeling of their books enough that I not only read them through, I look for more books by the same people.  (And there is one writer, an [I think] Australian woman, whose books I would only pick up if I needed paper and kindling to start a fire.  She’s that bad — I honestly don’t understand why they keep publishing her.)  I should say, too, that I prefer the books where the physical relationship between the leads is hinted at or waits until a marital commitment is made. I’m not into sleaze and when it gets that way, an author either loses me completely or I skip half the book.  YMMV.

I realize that they crank so many books out that quality is likely less of a consideration than quantity. Still, I’ve not gone through so long a period (the books come out monthly) where things have been consistently so bad.  And that’s a shame.  Get your act together, Harlequin.

“V” is for “I’m being a _Very_ bad writer”. I’m behind again.

This is why I usually don’t try memes.

Real life has a way of swamping my good intentions.  A year or so ago, I started a movie meme a couple of my friends were doing and I think I posted exactly one post.  Maybe two.

Now granted, part of that was due to me not being as movie savvy as my friends — I know this will shock you, but there are tons of good older movies (and when I say older, I mean pre-1950s) and heck — there are a fair number of current good movies — that have never crossed my vision.  So I was a little intimidated at the thought of knowledgeable people reading my posts and going — “Sacre Bleu! Favorite foreign film, CYRANO? The woman is mad.  Has she never seen “La Dolce Vita” or “Pierrot Le Fou” or “The Seventh Seal”? (my note: Yes, yes and no).  It is hard enough as a writer to put yourself out for criticism when you know exactly what you’re doing (or at least think you know). Doing it from a fairly wide base of ignorance was asking for it.  So I let myself get off track and never got back on.

Anyway, this is my shot at catching up, and it was almost a second “U” post until I remembered that I had done “U”. 🙂  The next one won’t be so Seinfeldian.

U is for U2

The first time I heard U2, I was in the bookstore at Kent State. I was only halfway listening, when some words the singer was singing grabbed my attention:

“… and the battle’s just begun, to claim the victory Jesus won …”

If you know anything about pop and rock music in the late 1970s, early 1980s, it was that:

1) Jesus was rarely mentioned (and rarely respectfully) and
2) If He was mentioned respectfully, it was usually in some “Kumbaya”-like folk song (I didn’t know about Jesus-people rock until much later)

I went up to the front desk and asked the guy behind the counter what they were playing. He showed me this album with a young boy on the front and the title of U2 War. The guy explained the band was called U2 and they were from Ireland and they were also Christians.

My budget didn’t run to albums (even though they weren’t that expensive, really) and I put the band’s name on my mental backburner and went on.

Down the road about five years or so, we all heard about Live Aid. I watched it, and there was U2 again, the lead singer drawing my attention by his antics. But the music caught my attention, too, and when Joshua Tree came out, I bought it and listened to it over and over again. Here were guys my age

singing things I believed in. I fell in love with the group and have loved them and their music ever since.

So today’s for U2 — still “Magnificent”. “Walk on”, guys.