Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Talented Tuesday: Mom, Budding Author At Age 10

I think I mentioned last week that I've recently subscribed to NewspaperArchive, an online repository of newspapers from around the US and across the globe that claims to span the years from 1607 to the present. Old newspapers are a great place to find all sorts of information about our ancestors and how they may have lived, especially if they came from small towns where the newspapers covered even the smallest events. While online subscription services may make it easier to find articles in certain publications, you don't necessarily need to pay good money. I've discovered old stories in my own hometown paper just by going to its website and searching the archives. 

I've found a crazy amount of newspaper articles about my family members in the last week while messing around in NewspaperArchive, particularly articles that covered my Grandpa John and Uncle Dutch's rodeo competitions in California. In Kansas, there are decades worth of mentions in the society pages of the Emporia Gazette about the comings and goings of my Bartram relatives (and we thought there was no privacy on the internet...).

One big surprise, though, came to me in the Sunday, June 2, 1957, edition of the Oakland Tribune in Oakland, California. There, at the top of the page, was a prize-winning story by little 10-year-old (actually 11, by the time that edition ran) Becky Bartram, about her beloved dog, Mitzi.

It didn't take long for me to realize that this talented writer was my MOM! I posted the story on her Facebook page the other night, and she was so surprised to see it. She didn't even remember writing this story. I've always known that Mitzi was an important part of my mom's childhood, because she still talks about her to this day. I've also always known that Mom was a good writer, and I hope that rubbed off a little bit on me!

It's a bit difficult to read the story in the above image, so here's the text:
A Story of Mitzi, Beloved Pet
Becky Bartram, 10 Years
Prize Winner 
I got Mitzi four years ago when I was six years old. She is an Australian shepherd. She was just a puppy then. She has been with our family ever since. She is a well-behaved dog. She is clean and she likes everyone. She comes in the house at night and in the daytime. She has had two litters of pups. 
One dog out of the first litter looks just like her. She likes to play with me. One of her favorite games is tug-of-war. We use a rope to play. She puts the rope in her mouth and I put it in my hand. We try to see who ends up with the rope. She always does. Mitzi likes to ride in the car with my family. Mitzi is a very pretty dog. 
Everyone likes her, especially me. Our family treats her like one of us, and she is. Mitzi is black with a tannish-brown face. She is one foot, eight inches tall. 
Mitzi never comes into the house with dirty feet. She lies on the rug and licks her feet. We give her a bath about three times a year. 
She is a smart dog. In the morning when she wants to get in and Daddy is at work, she barks at the bedroom window and I let her in. She likes to lie on the lawn with me in the summertime. She is a very good cow dog. I will always lover her as long as I live. 
I'm sure I have a photo of my mom and Mitzi somewhere, but I can't seem to find it now. Until I locate that, here's another very sweet picture of her at play!

Little Becky Bartram on her tricycle!


  1. I LOVE this story! Your seeking out of your family history has seemed to bring you so many treasures. I really enjoy reading about it.

    1. Thanks! It's really opened up a whole new world for me, and I've had a lot of fun sharing all my new findings with my family. I'm glad you're enjoying my little adventures, too!

  2. Wow, Wendy, you honor me and make me feel so happy. I love the way you told this little piece of history.

    1. Thanks, Mom! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hey, do you happen to have a photo of you and Mitzi? If so, I'll add it to my post so everyone can see. I love you! =)

  3. That's a fantastic find. I have been trying to decide if it would be worth it to get a subscription. I hate to subscribe and then find out the papers I need aren't there.



    1. Hi Betty. I subscribed for just three months to see if it was worth it. I might end this subscription at the end of the three months, and then subscribe to something else for awhile (another service that has different newspapers, for example). Sometimes, you can also find services that allow you to pay by the article.

      Best of luck in your search!

  4. That's adorable! What a special find!
    I'm a big fan of old newspapers too. I had a very useful subscription to Newspaper Archive a few years ago, and I'm getting pretty curious to see what they've added since... Cheers! :)