My father, engineer

Eldred W. Hough 1916-1990

This slide rule belonged to my dad, the engineer. Eldred W. Hough, although he was the oldest son, wasn’t named for his father, Thomas C. Hough. Instead, his younger brother got the name Thomas Hough. So, why did the younger one get the father’s name? That’s kind of odd. Dad’s names came from his mother’s […]

Thomas Hough, immigrant and entrepreneur

626 Church St., Carrollton

Thomas Hough, an enterprising young man, was born in 1844 into a lower-class family in Yorkshire, England, and didn’t like his prospects. His education stopped at the sixth grade, and his dad was a wagon driver. He got a job at the local  cotton mill as a lift operator, but whenever there was a pay […]

Granny Jennie’s mother, stuck on the prairie

Switzerland?

This is about Granny Jennie’s mother Mary Jane, who dominated the Illinois prairie around her in the late 1800s but may have longed for a trip to … Switzerland? My great-grandmother, Mary Jane Robertson, always wanted to go to Switzerland, or so I imagine. So she painted this fantastic landscape with a crooked chalet and […]

Granny Jennie, a genteel lady

Phyllis Wheeler's family heirlooms

My Granny Jennie, born in 1885, hand-painted this pitcher in an art class in college. She had a college degree, rare for her generation, especially for women. I remember her the best of all my grandparents, because she traveled south to live with us in the winters when I was small. She spent plenty of […]

My grandfather, a surveyor

surveyor_instrument_TCHough

I am sorting stuff from the attic and basement. I ran across my grandfather’s precision surveying instrument. Later on I knew his wife Granny Jennie — she was as mild-mannered as they come. But I never knew Grandpa Tom. He died before I was born. I’ve heard that Grandpa Tom could be hard to get […]

What do disciples, writers, and faith have in common?

tanyaeavenson

How many times have we as writers been discouraged, passed over for a book contract, received a rejection letter or fought writer’s block? What did we do? Peter gives us a great example of what we should do. His faith inspires us to step out of our comfort zone and meet Jesus. But we can all relate to what happened next. Peter turned his attention to the storm.

The Writer, Your Servant

rachelstarrthomson

I had a big hurdle to get over when it came to becoming a writer—someone who wrote seriously and often, as opposed to someone who just scribbled down thoughts now and again or played endlessly with stories in her head.