my life is an art project

….adventures in annieland


A letter for future generations, from 1961

Scan14(Note on the back, in my Grandmama’s handwriting states:  “Vernon Aubrey Neasham is the handsome boy in the 1st row and second from right. He was born August 28, 1908 in Reno, Nevada. He became a PHD Historian with the National Park Service. He was the wonderful father of Ann Neasham and he died March 11, 1982 of brain tumors. These probably are his fraternity brothers at U. of Calif. at Berkeley, CA.”)

In previous posts, I have mentioned my maternal great grandfather, Vernon Aubrey Neasham- he was a historian for the state of California, worked with the National Park Service, and loved nature and history dearly.

033Scan17(A note on the back, made by my Grandmama, reads: “Vernon Aubrey Neasham under arrow. Aubrey worked here in summers to pay for his college at U.C. of Berkeley, CA. 20 Singing Trail Camp for Girls Huntington Lake, CA 1933)

034Scan17(The note on the back of this postcard, written by my Grandmama, states: “The Staff. Camp Kelousa for Boys, Singing Trail Camp for Girls, Huntington Lake 1932. Postcard. Vernon Aubrey Neasham 4th from left. Aubrey worked here in summer to earn money to pay for college at U.C. of Berkeley, CA.)

028Scan16(My great grandfather, Vernon Aubrey Neasham, his wife, my great-grandmother Ruth Jackson Neasham, and my great-uncle Vernon Aubrey II, Berkeley, CA, 1930)

Recently, while at my parent’s home, looking through some family photographs and documents, I came across some of his typed documents- letters, stories he had written, photographs, and some other things.

Among these documents was a letter, written in 1961 to “A Future Generation:”

Scan51 Scan51b Scan51c

My great-grandfather’s message is even more fitting now. It is so important that we protect our country’s varied cultural history, artifacts and archives, and, more importantly, our natural spaces, landscapes and wild areas, because these have become, in essence, our nation’s monuments. Thankfully, fifty-three years after my great-grandfather wrote this letter to us, there are even more natural spaces being preserved and protected for future generations, but we still have so much work to do. Will we, or our Earth, for that matter, be around in 2061, like my great-grandfather hopes? He writes to a generation that is still forty-seven years off, and, in his positive view, that future generation is intelligent, responsible, and self-accountable. If I live to see the year 2061, I will be approaching eighty-two years of age. Fifty-three years after this letter was written, are we really any better at protecting and preserving nature for future generations? At this point, the serious work we still need to accomplish in terms of our care for natural, wild areas is evidenced by places like the Appalachian Mountain regions, which are endangered by mountaintop removal, fracking, and industrial chemical spills, the Chesapeake Bay tributaries, which are being monitored for rising rates of pollutants and toxic “dead zones,” and California’s current astronomical drought conditions. The work we still have left to do is evidenced by my visits to local fishing holes and creeks- which are overrun by garbage and sewer runoff, by the widespread corporate use of antibiotics, pesticides and GMOs, by the die-off of pollinating insects and a wide variety of other creatures, great and small, and by the very fact that global warming is even being disputed.

In the past fifty-three years, many, many advances have been made- wind, solar and water power, renewable resources, recycled materials, electric vehicles and so many other brilliant resources allow humans to live minimally on the globe. That being said, we have caused the Earth, our home, so much harm, harm that the Earth, and we, as humans, might not be able to recover from. Let’s hope there is still time to make even better choices that show we care for the home and wellbeing of our future generations.

036Scan19(Aubrey Neasham, August 28, 1908-March 11, 1982)




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Six Ton Shogun

My awesomely awesome husband plays bass for Six Ton Shogun– an excellent bunch of guys who’ve all been playing music and hanging around/interacting with the local music scene for quite awhile. These guys are FUN to hang out with, and FUN to watch. You never know if a didgeridoo will be pulled out, if Brandon (their vocalist) will strip down to his boxers, or where the guys will tell the audience they come from (coon farmers in Alabama?).

Here’s a little video I made of one of their last shows, click to play.



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Ten Year Scar

My husband played bass in this band for several years in the mid-2000’s, with a great bunch of guys who became, in essence, the brothers I never had. I went to all their shows with them, whether they were local, or as far as Michigan, taking photos, videos, making flyers and artwork, and generally, having an unbelievably good time.

I created this video from some of the many photographs, flyers and pieces of art I made for Ten Year Scar through the years. Click to play.


This excellent live video was filmed by Tim Sencindiver, and recorded and produced by Rich Bowen for Sight and Sound Studios out of WV in 2007.Click to play.


Great times, great friends, great experiences, great memories. There is something fascinating and wonderful about the folks you meet in small town music scenes, and something absolutely soulful about watching people make music.

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The Phoenix


This work, entitled “The Phoenix,” features imagery of Tibetan prayer flags, the Om symbol, the landscapes of the western US (as inspired by photographs that my Dad took from small airplanes on his way out west for NPS training details), and the skeleton of a bird called a “kite.” This work represents, among other things, spiritual, mental and physical rebirth. The Egyptian goddess Isis was said to have taken the form of a kite on occasion. This work is sized at 22″ by 22″, and was created with acrylic paints, including touches of gold.

© “The Phoenix” 2014 Annie O’Dell Hendrick



Emma, part one

021Scan7(Emma Jackson…what a sweet face she had)

The kindly looking lady above is my great-great grandmother, Emma Charlotte Heidolph Jackson. She was born in Fritzlar, Hessen, Germany, in June of 1871, just after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. 

Fritzlar_Marktplatz_81-019(“Der Marktplatz in Fritzlar mit dem Marktbrunnen, um 1900 {The Marketplace in Fritzlar with the Market Well, 1900),” photograph by Albrecht Meydenbauer)

At the age of two, she was orphaned when her mother Magdelena died. Emma’s father, George, a court writer, had passed from typhoid fever shortly before Emma was born. When Emma’s mother passed away, Emma was separated from her four older siblings, and taken to Cassel by a friend of her mother’s, a deaconess named Mrs. Behre. Later, Emma was sent to live with a family in Stolberg, which was nearly two hundred miles away from her siblings.



035cScan31b(Just a few selections of the extensive handwritten notes taken down by Emma’s children during discussions with their mother about her origins in Germany. Eventually, these will be transcribed and properly preserved)

Eventually, Emma’s siblings traveled to the United States, and in an effort to contact them, she placed advertisements in American newspapers. The story my Grandmama tells me is that Emma became so sad and despondent that she attempted to commit suicide by drowning herself in either a river or lake, only to be stopped by a great voice telling her that it wasn’t her time to die. At any rate, however rare the chances of her siblings reading her advertisement might have been, one of Emma’s siblings, her brother Fred, actually found her advertisement in a St. Louis, MO newspaper.



Scan29b  Scan29d(I believe that this letter may be the first that Emma received from her brother Fred after placing advertisements in American newspapers attempting to locate her siblings. The letter is addressed to Emma at her foster parents home in Germany, and was written in 1893, the year that Emma departed for the US)

On May 3rd of 1893, at the age of twenty-one, Emma departed from Bremen, Germany on a ship called The Darmstadt, sailing with 1,990 other passengers for Ellis Island in New York.  The Darmstadt arrived on May 16th of 1893.

darmstadt(The Darmstadt, built in Scotland in 1890, by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company. Photo and information courtesy

Upon her arrival, Emma made her way to St. Louis to reunite with her brother.


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