For many years, I thought my Spencer line came from England, but some things didn’t quite add up. When I started seeing DeSpencer and Le DeSpencer, I suspected that we might have immigrated to England from France, which my DNA proved to be correct. I’m more French than English. Nevertheless, for centuries, my Spencer ancestors did live in England, married English people, and so the line blended into more English blood in the current Spencers.
One Hugh le DeSpencer, who was the 1st Baron le DeSpencer, whose connection to me, while most assuredly there, would have to be researched to determine the level of cousinship, or whatever other relationship it is; was an important ally of Simon de Montfort during the reign of Henry III. He served briefly as Justiciar of England in 1260. In the “Middle Ages in England and Scotland the Chief Justiciar was roughly equivalent to a modern Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as the monarch’s chief minister.” Baron le DeSpencer also served as Constable of the Tower of London. “The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. In the Middle Ages a constable was the person in charge of a castle when the owner…the king or a nobleman…was not in residence. The Constable of the Tower had a unique importance as the person in charge of the principal fortress defending the capital city of England.”
As chief justiciar of England, Hugh Le DeSpencer, first played an important part in 1258, when he was prominent on the baronial side in the Mad Parliament of Oxford, so called because they apparently argued a lot… and because of a possible misspelling of the word insigne as insane in whatever this says…”Hoc anno fuit illud insane parliamentum apud Oxoniam.” In 1260 the barons chose Le DeSpencer to succeed Hugh Bigod as Justiciar, and in 1263 the king was further compelled to put the Tower of London in his hands. He was the son of Hugh le DeSpencer I, born in about 1223 and was summoned to Parliament by Simon de Montfort. Hugh was summoned as Lord DeSpencer on December 14, 1264 and was Chief Justiciar of England and a leader of the baronial party, and so might be deemed a baron, although that may not have been completely legal.
He remained allied with Montfort to the end, and was present at the Battle of Lewes. He was killed fighting on de Montfort’s side at the Battle of Evesham in August 4, 1265. He was slain by Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Wigmore. That killing caused a feud to begin between the DeSpencer and the Mortimer families.
My grand-niece, Elliott Stevens is quite a girl. She is totally funny, without even trying. Her imagination runs wild, and she doesn’t need anyone else to make her fun. Sure, she loves to play with other kids, especially her cousins, but she is just as happy to play at home, totally entertaining her parents, Kayla and Garrett. Elliott sets the pace for the day with her antics.
Elliott loves to play make-believe and dress-up, a fact her grandmother, Alena Stevens knows well, so she is always looking for outfits for Elliott. On our recent trip to Wisconsin, Alena found the perfect birthday gift for Elliott…a chef’s outfit, complete with a chef’s hat, apron, and hot mit. The apron expressed Elliot’s imagination perfectly. It said, “Miss Bossy Boots.” It’s not that Elliott is any “bossier” than any other child of three years, but she does like playing the mom/boss/teacher kind of parts. Well, the outfit was a huge hit, and Elliott spent much of her birthday party wearing the outfit, and serving her guests a make-believe meal, that she had prepared herself…of course. Now we just need to add her adorable cowboy boots to the mix.
Elliott love to swim, and her parents got her a wading pool, which is great for these hot summer days. Elliott also loves to slide, and her pool has a slide, so she can do both things together. She also loves the big pools and the lake. Recently, the Stevens family got together at the lake, and Elliott got the chance to really swim. She loved it…so much so that she didn’t want to get out…even to warm up. Her little lips were so cold that they were almost blue and she was shivering. Nevertheless, she wanted to stay in the water. She finally had to get out, of course. Maybe they coaxed her with smores or something. I don’t know for sure, but I now she had a wonderful time, as she always does. They even managed to tame her many curls with the cutest little braids.
And speaking of wonderful times, Elliott got to go to the fair this year. I don’t know if it was her first, but I know that she had a blast. She rode every ride that could take her on, as well as the fun house, which her daddy had to go with her on. It was comical to see Garrett running after his little princess while trying not to bump his head, because the fun house is mostly designed for little kids. I laughed and laughed when I saw the video. Garrett is a great dad, and little Elliott keeps him wrapped firmly around her little finger…along with her mommy too. They are both quite taken with their little princess, Miss Bossy Boots, tumbling, swimming, entertaining baby girl…as are we all. Today our little Elliott turns 3 years old. Happy birthday Elliott!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As I was thinking about my brother-in-law, LJ Cook’s birthday, I decided to talk to his daughters Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith about the special memories they had of their dad. Susan started thinking back on all the experience her dad had gained while he was in his working years, and how that made him the person he is today. She thought, and I agree that those things are LJ had been a Deputy Sheriff and later a truck driver, but he really always wanted to live in a small town. I think he liked knowing many of the people he lives around. So, he and his wife, my sister-in-law, Debbie moved their family to Thermopolis, Wyoming. They loved living in Thermopolis, and my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce loved going up there to stay for a week in the summers to hang out with their cousins. Then LJ got an offer he couldn’t refuse, and the family moved to Powell, Wyoming where he began managing Empire Gas. That move would change the life paths of the whole family. Susan tells me, “Dad was the manager of the store, and was put in charge of all the propane tanks in the Big Horn Basin, which is a big area. It was his job to go to each tank and refill them. It was the late 1980s, so there were more people then using propane than there are now. They needed the propane to cook, and some to heat their houses with. He tells me about some of the places he got to go to switch out the tanks. He met a huge array of people and got to see a lot of cool places that the average person doesn’t get to see, since all of the tanks were on private land. Listening to him talk about the job made it sound like the most ideal job.” I think for LJ, it really was.
LJ has always been a jokester. He told Susan about this one day at work. There was a bee (or some kind of bug) on the window sill of his office while he was working at Empire Gas. He said he somehow cut the head off the bee (Susan thinks he said with his pocket knife). Well, it kept flying around without it’s head. Every time it hit something it world sting it. Susan says, “He said he told his secretary what happened and she took off out the front door. Which is exactly what I would have done if there was an AWOL bee flying around. He laughs so hard when he tells the story. It must have been pretty funny to see her take off out of there so quickly.” And speaking of bees and LJ, apparently they really don’t bother him a bit. LJ’s daughter, Machelle tells me that he has been helping his best friend, Bill with his bees!! LJ does cover up a little, but doesn’t mind getting stung. Bill has a truck load of bees he goes and gets every year in California. LJ goes around to different places where Bill has the bees to collect the honey for him. I guess he wouldn’t have run out of a room with a bee in it.
Recently, LJ had to have back surgery. He was in so much pain, he could barely walk…with a walker. Following his back surgery, LJ Cook had to take things rather slowly for a while. He and Debbie normally spend much of the summer in the Big Horn Mountains camping, but this year was turning out to be vastly different. As he has recovered, he has been able to start swimming, and hopefully that will help with recovery and mobility. He has really missed out on things since his back really got bad. His daughter, Machelle told me that they did manage to get up to the Big Horns over the 4th of July to spend time with the family, and they really enjoyed it.
Machelle told me that LJ has several extra vehicles, and so decided to sell a couple of them. It was his grandson, Easton, who decided to buy the Bronco. Machelle remembers that when they first got the Bronco, she was never allowed to drive it. So, now that her son is going to be the owner, and not her dad…will Machelle be allowed to drive it? Time will tell, I guess. With this family of jokesters, my guess will be…not for a while, hahahaha!!!
Susan tells me that while she was growing up, if she was in a bad mood he would always find a way to make her smile and feel better. You could say he is the best girl-dad Susan could ask for. Even though he used to embarrass her terribly sometimes. Susan reflected, “A few weeks ago, I came down with a bad bug that gave me a low grade fever and it made me think of when I was super little, I would go sit on my dad’s lap and just sitting there made me feel a little better. When I was sick, I was wishing I could go sit on my dad’s lap. Well that definitely can’t happen anymore because I would then get him sick and the world seems to be a different place with regard to sicknesses right now. I know I can still go sit on his lap, but it’s just not the same as an adult.” No, I don’t suppose it would be. Today is LJ’s birthday. Happy birthday LJ!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer and my aunt, Laura Spencer Fredrick were birthday buddies. That seems to be a much more common thing than I ever knew. My grand-niece, Elliott Stevens also shares this birthday with her 2nd great grandma and her 2nd great aunt. Though they never got to meet her, I know they would have absolutely loved Elliott and sharing their birthday with her. Grandma and Aunt Laura spent a lot of time together in her early years. Aunt Laura was her parents pride and joy, and their only child for 10 years. No one has been able to tell me why they waited 10 years to add to their little family, but add they did, with sons, William and Allen, and daughter Ruth, all in fairly quick succession. Nevertheless, it was Aunt Laura who would spend 10 years doing absolutely everything with her mother. They visited friends and family together. They kept house together, with Grandma teaching her little daughter all the things she would need to know as a grown woman. Those were special bonding years for both of the birthday buddies. I would imagine that those birthdays were cause for an extra special celebration too.
I have looked through my grandmother’s photo album many times, and I have seen some of their outings. Pictures at historic sites with a cannon, a zoo, and the homes of friends and family are displayed in between the covers of Grandma’s book of treasured memories. I wish I could have know her, and it makes me sad that she passed away just 6 short months after I was born. I did get to meet her, of course, but I don’t remember those times, sadly. All I have are old movies with Grandma and me.
Grandma loved to show her daughter, Laura and later her other children, William, Allen, and Ruth as much of the world as she could. I sometimes wonder if it was Grandma or Grandpa who put the wanderlust in the hearts of their children, because they all loved to travel and see the great country we all live in. They all traveled extensively, some to other countries too. There is much to see out there, and they wanted to see it all. They were all adventurous people. Grandma nd Uncle Bill eventually went home to the area they loved most, the area of Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota, but the other children would move to other places. Laura ended up in Portland, Oregon; my dad, Allen ended up in Casper, Wyoming; and Aunt Ruth ended up in Newport, Washington…all beautiful areas of the country. All of them have now moved to Heaven, with my Uncle Bill passing away on Christmas Day, 2020. I miss them all, and can’t wait to see them again in Heaven. Today is the anniversary of birthday buddies, Anna and Laura’s birthdays. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma Spencer and Aunt Laura. We love and miss you both very much.
My nephew, Sean Mortensen was probably hoping his daughter, Jadyn would be born on his birthday, but she came a day early. That hasn’t really changed their relationship, however. They are very close and they, along with Jadyn’s mom, Amanda Reed are a wonderful family, who love doing just about everything together. Sean loves Seminoe Reservoir, and in the summer months, they are out there at their mobile home almost every weekend. They love getting together with friends to go boating, swimming, and well, partying. They look forward to Summer with great anticipation, but then they also look forward to Winter with great anticipation, because they are truly four-season people.
Sean loves all the toys…boats, snowmobiles, 4-wheelers, motorcycles, and of course, his vehicles. People can’t really thrive without vehicles anymore. And his vehicles are his “babies,” but not like his true toys. Sean was featured on the Team Timbersled Tour Episode 1, as was his daughter Jadyn. I have no doubt that they will both be featured in videos again in the future. They might even do their own videos, and with their talents, they could go viral. While his partner, Amanda Reed hasn’t been in the videos yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her there too.
Sean loves his girls very much. They are his life. Theirs is a close family and they do almost everything together. It’s always great when a family is all wanting to go in the same directions. Even as Jadyn was little, she was into everything they were. Of course, that is because, Sean and Amanda never left her out of things because she was “too little.” She was their girl, and they wanted her to be with them. That has paid off in the greatest ways. Jadyn is an excellent athlete, and loves all kinds of weather, and the sports that go with them. Sean is a great dad, and partner. Jadyn and Amanda feel very blessed to have him in their lives.
Sean works hard to take care of his family. He works at the Sinclair Refinery, which is a hard job, but that isn’t the end of things, because Sean is always taking care of and making improvements to the home he and Amanda bought a few years ago in Rawlins. And if he isn’t working on the job or house, he is in the garage working on the family vehicles. Maintenance is important, and Sean takes his responsibilities seriously. He is a good man, and a blessing to his family. Today is Sean’s birthday. Happy birthday Sean!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-niece, Jadyn Mortensen is a complex girl. She has many sides, and many talents. I think that first and foremost, Jadyn is her parents’ daughter. She loves her mom, Amanda Reed and her dad, Sean Mortensen very much, and she is very loyal to them. Jadyn is their only child, and they love her very much too. She also makes them very proud. There seems to be nothing Jadyn can’t do when she puts her mind to it, and she wants to experience life to the fullest.
Jadyn loves horses, and she has a way with them. She is a very talented barrel racer. I have watched her career from vantage point of the pictures her family takes. Jadyn is very photogenic, and Jadyn on a horse is just amazing. She loves her houses and they love her. The two together are a perfect team, acting in unison.
While Jadyn is an excellent equestrian, she is also great at just about every other sport there is, or at least the ones she is interested in. She loves the snow, and snow sports, she loves the water and being at the lake with her parents and their friends’ families. The summer weekends are always full of activity, most often at Seminoe Reservoir. Jadyn fits in with children and adults alike. She always has.
The Covid School Year stole so much for our students, but it was more for the high school students, because they missed out on prom, graduations, sporting events that might have meant scholarships, and so much more. Nevertheless, for the ones, like Jadyn, this year was a second chance at the things they missed before. Jadyn got to got to prom this year, and she looked stunning in her gorgeous red dress. She is a beautiful girl, inside and out, and really looks stunning in a prom dress or a pair of jeans, shirt, and cowboy boots. I’m sure rodeo was different too. Many events, if they were held, were without spectators, and that is sad. Parents should be able to watch their child perform. For our kids, we can never go back to such a thing again. Nevertheless, Jadyn has continued to excel, and she has a bright future ahead of her. Today is Jadyn’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-niece, Zoey Iverson is an active six-year-old girl with a vivid imagination. Zoey is into sea animals like octopus, jelly fish, and mermaids. I’m quite sure that her little girl’s mind can imagine herself diving and swimming beneath the ocean…looking for octopuses and jelly fish, but secretly hoping to find a real mermaid. She might even decide to bring home a starfish or two, because lets face it she is swimming far beneath the ocean and this is all make believe anyway, right.
Like most six-year-old girls, Zoey loves Barbie, and that makes Barbie Live TV on YouTube a big deal. When Barbie was invented, somebody knew little girls and had the right idea, because Barbie has the glamor and the accessories to make every little girl’s dreams come true, but it’s not the only thing Zoey likes to do. Zoey is learning to ride her bicycle. She is using training wheels, but we all know that doesn’t last long. Kids figure out their bicycle and the freedom it provides pretty quickly. Zoey also love to swim in the pool in the back yard. With the heat of the summer, the backyard pool is the best place to be, and this summer has been pretty hot.
Zoey is headed for 1st grade next year. She will be the youngest student in her class, but she is excelling very fast, so she will not be the bottom of the class by any stretch of the imagination. Zoey is a very smart girl, and loves to learn. She loves writing, practicing her letters, and…coloring everything…even the walls. Yikes!! Its a good thing most crayons wipe off easily, and there re good cleaners to help. After all, an artist needs her canvas…wherever it may be. Imagination simply cannot be corralled!!
With summer, the family has been camping and enjoying the scenery. With the Big Horn Mountains nearby, and so many other beautiful spots in Wyoming, the are lots of camp grounds to choose from. Zoey loves to catch bugs with her bug catcher, go swimming in the creeks, and spend time helping her older brother, Lucas, who is special needs. Zoey has been instrumental in his development. We are all very proud of her. She loves Lucas so much, and he loves her. That might be the reason she is doing so well in school. Teaching others is a great way to learn. Today is Zoey’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Zoey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In years gone by the average person couldn’t afford many books, if any books. All books were hardback, and expensive to purchase. Most people had to make due with checking out a book from the library. taking a book with you to read on a train wasn’t feasible either. They were heavy, large, and bulky. Now, most people wouldn’t think of a waddling, surprised-looking bird would be on the list of working-class heroes…if there is such a thing, but somewhere in the world of books, it is a penguin that changed the lives of many…at that time anyway. The penguin still stares out blankly from the covers of Penguin books published today. Change is constant, and today, many people again don’t won books, because everything is going digital…but that is a story for another day.
The story of Penguin Paperback Books is an interesting one. A man names Allen Lane was at the Exeter Railway Station heading home after having spent the weekend interviewing one Agatha Christie. As he prepared to board his train, he was looking around for something inexpensive to read on the ride home. There was simply nothing to be found…except reprints of Victorian novels and magazines. Lane was unimpressed, and he decided that the world needed a change. I’m not sure how the publishing companies felt about his plan, but then again, how well could their businesses be faring, if no one could afford their books.
Once he was back in London, Lane decided to set up a company selling contemporary fiction cheaply. He had some ideas, and wanted a logo that was “dignified but flippant.” His secretary suggested a penguin. An employee was dispatched to the London Zoo, sketch pad in had, to draw a penguin. I don’t know if I think a penguin is “dignified,” but the idea seemed to serve the purpose it was intended to, and on July 30, 1935, the first books bearing the ubiquitous penguin were published. The design was color coded, with orange for fiction, blue for biography, and green for crime. Each book cost sixpence, or $10.00 US. That seems like a lot of money for the time, considering that they sell for about that today, many years later. Still, there was the novelty of it all to consider. Leading the rollout were names like Ernest Hemingway, Andre Marois, and Agatha Christie (who may have inspired the idea in the first place).
Traditional publishers turned up their noses at the popular paperback revolution, but that didn’t stop Penguin selling millions of books to avid readers of A Farewell to Arms and The Mysterious Affair at Styles in its first years. I suppose they thought their sales would be hurt by these “disposable” versions of their great books. I wonder what they would think of the Kindle versions and the Audible versions. I would imagine they would really be cringing, but change really is the only constant.
My grand-niece, Raelynn Masterson, is growing up…right before our very eyes. Suddenly, Raelynn is 18 years old…an adult. Covid had an effect on Raelynn, like it did every student, except those who were exclusively online. Many students have chosen to do things differently now, and Raelynn is one of those. So, this past year, she switched from Natrona County High School (NCHS), to our third high school, Roosevelt High School, and not only does she love it, but it has been the best for her learning style. NCHS is a large school, and so there are larger classes, meaning that each student has less individual time with the teachers. The online classes showed Raelynn that the one-on-one time was important to her. NCHS also has longer class times, and alternating daily schedules, where Roosevelt uses the old method of the same daily schedule and shorter class times. Either schedule works, but Raelynn’s personal preference is the old style.
Recently, Raelynn started a new job, her second, at Walgreens, which is where her mom, Dustie Masterson works, but not they are at opposite stores. Raelynn is at the westside and Dustie at the eastside store. Raelynn got tp work once at her mom’s store, and mid-August, Dustie is going to help out at Raelynn’s store. They get along great, so working together, even if only occasionally is a lot of fun. They both have the same sense of humor, and they don’t get embarrassed about some of the goofy things I (and Dustie) have posted online about them. They both love to be silly, and it’s rather a no-holds-barred situation when it comes to teasing. Being a “good sport” is a must when they are teasing each other.
Raelynn has not been in a hurry to learn to drive, in fact she didn’t even start to learn until this past year. She is taking it slow to make sure her really has a good handle on it. There is no sense in rushing and then immediately having your first accident. There are a few kids out there who start out driving like “an old lady,” and never really change that. I think I would rather see a prudent new driver, than one who scares everyone who is in the car with them.
Turning eighteen and graduating from high school next year, Raelynn is looking to the future. She knows that she wants to get her own apartment after high school. She already has a friend in mind to be her roommate, so that’s good. She also plans to go to college. She is a good student, and she wants it all. She has a couple of ideas on what she wants to study, but nothing that has been nailed down enough to say for sure. Nevertheless, she is planning ahead, and that makes Dustie and Rob (Raelynn’s dad and Dustie’s husband) very proud.
Planning ahead is one thing. Having the cool things you want in life is another, and while Raelynn is saving and planning, she did spend that whole first check on…well, her mom doesn’t really know, but stuff she needed, apparently!! Nevertheless, once Raelynn sets a goal, nothing is going to stop her. Dustie says, “She reminds me a lot of me, but much sweeter. She must get that from her dad! This year marks her as an adult but when I look at her I still see my first little miracle (quite literally) from God. He must have known better than me what I needed in my life.” I just couldn’t have said that any better. Today Is Raelynn’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Millions of people visit Niagara Falls each year. It is a beautiful sight, and one you will never forget once you’ve seen it. The boats that take you close to the bottom of the falls guarantee a “rainy” ride. It all seems so safe…right? Well, maybe not always. On July 28, 1954, a huge section of Prospect Point observation area at the brink of the American Falls, collapsed in a pie shaped section. It’s something you would never expect, and yet when you think about it, erosion can happen when you mix water and dirt or rock. Combine that with Winter’s ice, and you get expansion. Now, when you think about it, can you see how the collapse might have happened, because I certainly can?
The collapse, when it came sent an estimated 185,000 tons of rock thundering into the Niagara River Gorge. Park officials worried that additional sections of Prospect Point would collapse before blasting operations could begin. Following the collapse, engineers and geologists conducted surveys to determine whether blasting would be necessary to stall further rock falls into the gorge. Two sections of Prospect Point were hanging precariously over the 170 foot gorge. Officials estimated that a new fall could send an additional 50,000 tons of rock into the gorge. Engineers appeared to be at a loss as to what to do about the huge pile of rocks now at the bottom of the gorge, as well. A few have said the view from the base of the American Falls has been marred by the mass of rock now laying at the base of the falls. They weren’t even sure if the elevator to the Maid of the Mist landing at the base of the American Falls could be re-opened.
For the sake of safety, Park officials temporarily erected a fence around the collapsed area to keep the curious bystanders away. Thousands of tourists were there that day. They witnessed the huge masses of rock tumbling into the gorge. It was the worst rock fall at Niagara Falls since January 17, 1931 when a huge section of the American Falls tumbled into the gorge. Engineers from the Niagara Frontier State Parks Commission estimate the size of the rock fall as 400 feet long from the lip of the gorge…50 feet wide and 150 feet deep. This included an estimated 20 feet off the Falls crest-line crashed to a point 70 feet down the face.
After the collapse, three giant boulders were silhouetted against the red and blue mist of the Niagara Falls night display. The boulders, some as huge as houses, lay in a jumbled mess beneath the rocks from which they had fallen. Because of the mist, it was hard to see the new scar on Niagara’s face from the lower river. The north face of the American Falls, however, now introduced a raw and torn face to the Canadian side. There would necessarily be some repairs. A face lift would be needed for the new observation area according to Andrew M. Anderson, Executive Secretary and Chief Engineer for the Niagara Frontier State Parks Commission. He also indicated that the new face would be smoothed off by engineers. A new sidewalk and guard rails would be constructed once the area was proven to be safe.
The elevator shaft and tunnel to the Maid of the Mist landing below the Falls although cracked, appeared to be in no danger according to maintenance workers. Cracks in the shaft and tunnel appeared only yesterday showed no signs of widening when checked last night. Water which had gushed from the crack earlier in the day had dwindled to just a trickle. Geologists examined the building that day and it reopened as soon as it was declared safe. Because so many were able to get pictures and videos of the collapse, some people even thought it was a publicity stunt.