Monthly Archives: February 2014
Every time I look at this picture of Bob’s great grandfather, Orin Eugene Noyes, who went by Eugene, I can’t help but notice that he looks like the fictional character Geppetto from the book, Pinocchio, or at least the picture I have in my head of what he would have looked like. I never met Bob’s great grandfather, nor did Bob, because Eugene passed away in 1928, but when you look at him, you can see that he was a nice and very kind man. I wanted to know a little bit more about him, so I began to look for any stories there might be out there. I wasn’t very successful in finding any stories about him, so I decided to see what he did for a living. I don’t know, maybe I had a feeling.
As you all know, Geppetto was a wood carver, more specifically, he made wood furniture. That was how he came up with the idea of making Pinocchio. So, I started looking for any other information on Eugene Noyes. In my search, I found out that his dad was a farmer. That isn’t really anything that would tie in to my idea of who Eugene reminded me of. I kept looking and came across a census in 1910. I was quite surprised to find that Eugene Noyes was the owner of a furniture store. How funny is that? No, he didn’t build the furniture…at least not that I know of, but he sold furniture, and that was what Geppetto did too. I know it is a little odd, but Geppetto is who Bob’s great grandfather reminded me of, and as it turns out, he was a similar type of person.
As I look at this man, who had a big part in giving me my husband, I can see what a gentle soul he was. His face showed such gentleness…such kindness. I think he was a man who very much loved being a father and grandfather, and loved his family with all his heart. No, his life was not childless as that of Geppetto, but I believe that they shared a love of children, and that desire to be parents. Eugene wasn’t always a furniture store owner, but rather a farmer like his father before him. He started out farming, and then owner the furniture store, which makes me wonder if there was a drought, or the crops were lost for some other reason, and he decided to try something different. After about ten years in the furniture business, he decided to retire back to farming, and would do that for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, for those ten years, he was very close to the Geppetto that I have imagined him to be.
My Grand Nephew, Easton Moore, who is the youngest son of my niece Machelle and her husband, Steve, is having his tenth birthday today. Turning ten, is a big deal to Easton, as it is with most kids. He is leaving the little kid days of a single digit age behind, and moving on into the much more grown up days of double digit ages. Nothing could be more important to a guy than that!! After all, it is the beginning of so many new phases in his life…right??
Well, it is…but those new phases can seem a little bit daunting too. Many kids at this age, think it’s babyish to say things like, “I love you Mom!” For Easton, that could be a problem, because one of his favorite things is to sit on his mom’s lap when she sits down to watch television, and then tell her that he loves her about every 5 minutes. I hope that is something that Easton never allows to bother him. My grandson, Caalab is like that, and even though he is going to be 17 this summer, he still gives me a hug and tells me he loves me…and he is very macho, so don’t worry about that, Easton, ok.
Easton is not sure he likes having his own room either, and he can often be found sleeping on the floor in his brother’s room. Again, that is not too unusual at this age, especially since he and his brother shared a room until recently. That is a problem he shares with his Aunt Susie, and seems to happen when the younger child finally gets their own room. The older one shared until they were old enough not to be bothered by that aloneness. Time will cure that little problem.
One thing Easton definitely doesn’t miss is being in the back seat of the car. He is now big enough to no longer require a booster seat, so he finally gets to ride up front with his mom…and now she is the one who finds that odd. I’m sure that Easton loves being closer to the radio, so he can turn it up when his favorite song, “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx AM comes on. Of course, he is into anything Zombie, like his favorite movie, “I Am Legend” and his favorite game, “Walking Dead”, both of which I will leave to him, since I don’t like zombies or vampires or walking dead people…at all!!
Basically, Easton is a goofy kid, even if he is 10 years old now. He likes to make all the faces that are so in style these days and pick on those around him, like hiding on the floor of the car so he can scare the person getting in. He likes to pick on his cousin, Kaytlyn too…but I’m not sure she finds that very amusing. Today is Easton’s tenth birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! We love you!! Have a great day, but quit growing up so fast, ok!!
These days, with most towns having multiple schools, our school days are often taken for granted, and even viewed…by many students and boring, grueling, and basically something to get through and over with, so they can move on to real life. But, schooling in the old west, and even into the mid 1900’s wasn’t always such an easy thing to accomplish. As our nation grew, and people spread out across its vastness, schools were one thing in short supply. Many parents had to home school their children, which is becoming more of a luxury item these days, because with home schooling, comes the loss of one income, and many people can’t or don’t want to make it on one income.
When my great grandparents, Carl and Henriette Schumacher moved their family from Minnesota to North Dakota, they were quite a way from the school, but they saw the importance of educating their children. The family spoke German at home, and when the older children started school, the teachers made fun of their lack of the knowledge of the English language. Henriette immediately set out to change that. German would no longer be spoken in the home. The whole family would make the switch to English. The distance to school was a big problem, but Carl made sure that his children were there…no matter what.
That worked well for the older children, but at that time in history, many children didn’t go to school after the 6th grade, and some quit sooner. So, when Bertha and Elsa, the youngest children were in school, a new problem presented itself. The school was nearer to them now, but often there were not enough students to warrant keeping it open, thus their education became hap-hazard. That is not to say that they did not get their education, because they did, and even went on to college. Theirs was just a little bit different than their older siblings.
Bertha tells of going to school in the small school, with very few students, but she also talks of the year they were home schooled but their oldest sister, my future grandmother, Anna. She talks of the time that they spent in a small house in Lisbon, with Mina staying with them so they could go to school. And of course, there were the times they went by horse and buggy into school. Those were hard times, and I have to wonder how the girls kept up with the other students, and were able to continue on to the high school in Lisbon. It’s not that I wondered about my grandmother’s ability to teach, but with little or no regulation, how did the school in Lisbon know anything about their prior education.
I suppose they had to take some kind of test or visit with the teacher for a time so they could determine where they were in their education, and therefore could be placed in one grade or another. I know that often in homeschooling situations today, the students are ahead of their age group, but I still wonder if that was the case then, because their materials were few and there was really no clear way to know if the teacher was keeping up with other classes for their pupils’ age groups. Those must have been hard and confusing times for Bertha and Elsa. Nevertheless, they both finished school, like their older siblings, and went on to college, but their education was definitely at The School of Hap-Hazard.
Most of us have gone through a time in our lives when we hated our name. We wonder why our parents would have considered such an awful name for their child. It doesn’t matter what the name is either. It could be the cutest name on earth, and it’s owner would probably at one point or another, hate it. As an early teenager, I thought my name was too strange. I suppose I was at an age where it seemed important to blend in with the crowd, and an unusual name simply didn’t do that for me. I often thought I might like to be named Carrie, and yet, I never took that or any other nickname. I guess deep inside, I didn’t really dislike my name at all, but was rather at a self conscious age, and the name seemed as good a scapegoat as any. These days, I love my name, and I wouldn’t want any other.
My mom had told me that she was ok with her first name, Collene, even though most people mispronounced it and called her Colleen, which is not her name at all. Collene is pronounced with a short o sound, while Colleen is pronounce with a long o sound. This was not the name she disliked, however. Mom disliked her middle name, which is Ione. I never could understand why that name bothered her at all, because she didn’t have to tell anyone what it was, so what was the problem. Then again, I suppose that if Ione had been my middle name, I might have felt the same way in those awkward teenaged years. Mom eventually got over her dislike of her middle name, I guess, because she doesn’t mention it anymore. People usually grow up and decide that those little things don’t really make that much difference anyway.
My Great Aunt Mina Schumacher, however hated her name all of her life. She was baptized Minna Albertina Schumacher, and I guess Albertina didn’t bother her, or maybe it was simply that she told no one what her middle name was, if it did. At that time, like often happens today, people added “ie” to the end of a child’s name and so, Minna became Minnie. Most people thought it was a very pretty name for a little girl, but Mina did not agree. Maybe it made her feel like she was always considered a little girl, and she wanted to be grown up. Whatever the reason, she hated it, and when she became an accountant, she decided that the name Minnie had to go. Her solution was to drop the “nie” from her nickname, and go, simply by Min. Her sisters Bertha and Elsa, and most of Mina’s friends decided that name suited her better than any other, and for them, she was Min from that time on. Mina’s husband, John Spare, who was going by his middle name, Clark when they met, liked the name Minnie, and called her that for some time, but gave in to her need for a more grown up name when they married. Later, when John became head of the Engineering Department of the State Highway Department in Bismarck, North Dakota, the need for a more dignified name arose, so Mina dropped one “n” from her baptismal name and became Mina.
According to Mina’s sister, my Great Aunt Bertha, children should simply be called “Hey” until they are old enough to decide on a name they really like. I suppose that would be a possibility, and I’m sure she was just joking, but it could also be very confusing, since there could be entire classrooms of children going by the same name. Just think how confusing it would be as the teacher called on her students. I suppose one could say that using the last name would solve all that, but then again, since classrooms back then had all the grades in the same class, including brothers and sisters, that would still be problematic. Having three Hey Smiths in the class would be very confusing. I guess that is why it is your parent’s choice as to your name, whether you hate your name or not.
Farm work in years gone by, was a much harder job than it is these days, but with the invention of machinery, things got easier. Still, most people couldn’t afford to own those machines in the early years, so they either did the work by hand, or hired the threshers to come and do it. Soon, most farmers were hiring the threshers to come. It was a lucrative business for someone who had enough money to buy a machine…or better yet, several. I know that those members of my family, who were farmers, did hire the threshers, or else, they had enough money to buy their own machines, but I have to think that most people in those early years did not think the machine was a good value, if a man was going to just use it on their own farm, so the work was mostly hired out.
When the threshers were scheduled to come to your farm, it was a big day. The women would get up early and start cooking for the men, who would be very hungry by lunch time. This was heavy work, even with the help of the machinery. Nevertheless, everyone was excited when the threshers came…from the adults to the little kids. I’m sure that being able to watch the big machines working was a novel thing in those early years, and nobody wanted to miss out. Not only that, but everyone wanted to get their picture taken with the workers too, so that they could say they had been there when they were working. It was almost like having a celebrity visit your house, I suppose. It is a day like no other in the year. Everyone wants to be in on all the excitement, and it’s hard to keep the little kids out of the way. Nevertheless, they had to stay out of the way, because the huge machines were also dangerous and could easily kill a small child.
With the excitement, however, comes hard work. When the threshers are done. The grain had to be bagged for storage or sale, and the straw stacked for use in the barns. Nevertheless, it took a lot less workers to harvest the crops, and many farm laborers were not happy about that, because they faced the loss of their jobs. I suppose that with every bit of progress designed to make our lives easier, comes the possibility of job loss. Every time a machine takes over the hard labor, a worker becomes unnecessary. People have to adapt and change, educating themselves to run the equipment so they can move into a job that takes more skill, and thus creates job security. I know that for the farmer, the machines were the best thing to come along. The wages they didn’t have to pay out to the laborers added up to pure profit for them, even with the cost of the threshers. It was a new era, and things would never be the same again.
The morning was beautiful, calm, peaceful, and clear. The perfect day for a Valentine Wedding. The national day of love has become a day to always remember for Lindsay and Shannon. The background was the Atlantic Ocean with the Deerfield Beach Pier stretching out into the calm waters. They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. All the guests gathered, as well as the addition of curious onlookers, who wanted to share in the moment they had stumbled upon. They only served to add to the special beauty of the occasion. Lindsay’s dress was stunning, and was only outshined by the beauty of the bride herself. Shannon was handsome and very happy, as he looked lovingly at the bride, whom he had waited for all his life. They are the picture of a perfect couple, and their long and happy life stretches out into the future. For them, Valentine’s Day will always mean much more than it does for the average couple, because it is the day that they will celebrate as the most wonderful day of their lives…the day the two became one.
As we all know, Valentine’s Day is the day that we celebrate love, and for my niece, Lindsay and her now husband, Shannon, nothing could be more true. This morning began with their wedding on Deerfield Beach in Miami, Florida and will end with them celebrating their love on a ship bound for the Bahamas. When Lindsay told us of their plan to be married in Florida, I must say that I was a bit surprised, because they lived in South Dakota, but they wanted something a bit different when they said, “I do.” Their wedding was certainly something different for this family, but little did they know as they planned their wedding on that beach so far away from their home, that it would now end up being quite near their home. As it turns out, Shannon was offered a job at Florida International University, and they will be living just a few miles from the beach where they were married this morning.
It is hard for me to believe that my cute little niece, who has always had a wonderful, bubbly personality is all grown up and married now. Time goes by so fast. She has been a go getter all her life, and I always knew she would go far, I just didn’t expect it to be far away.Nevertheless, I can’t be sad, because she is going to live in a beautiful place, and the beach where they got married, will most likely become a favorite hangout for them. The years ahead hold so much promise for Lindsay and Shannon, and I am so happy for both of them. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Moore, on your marriage today!! I know God will bless you with all the best things He has. We love you!!
With Valentine’s Day coming up tomorrow, everyone is buying candy and other goodies for their favorite valentine. In that spirit and in conjunction with the Super Bowl, our church always has a Chili Luncheon and Cake Auction. We bring in cakes, and then bid on them, paying insanely high prices to buy the things needed for the Sunday School classes. It is a great way to have a good time and see what great cooks we have in the church…and believe me, we have great cooks!!
My niece Jessi bid on and won a pink layer cake that she shared with the family at the luncheon, and it was amazing. It was what I would call the sleeper of the day, because had anyone known how amazing that cake was, Jessi would never have won the bid. Some of the well known cakes go for as much as $300.00, and this one would have been right up there. That said, I’m glad for us that no one knew, because we got to have it. It had like 4 layers, including a fruit topping and cream layers, along with the cake layers. It was absolutely Heavenly!!
Because the cake was pink, and in honor of the coming Valentine’s Day holiday, the perfect final touch was three red heart suckers. This worked out very well, because we had three little ones in our family that were there at that point, so they each got one of them. Now, anyone who has ever eaten a red sucker, or any other color for that matter, knows that all that pretty color is going to show up on their tongue, and that was exactly what happened.
Yes, all of them had the red tongue, but Aurora being a girl and a little older than her cousin Aleesia, is very into sticking out her tongue for the camera, just like the bigger girls do. I never could understand the whole sticking your tongue out thing. It reminds me of throat cultures, but the way Aurora does it is more like sticking your tongue out at someone you are mad at, except with a smile on her face. Because she likes doing that, she was happy to have me take her picture, so that everyone could see her Valentine Tongue.
Growing up, I recall that my sisters and I were often called, with a degree of surprise, the Spencer girls. I know that a lot of people would say that was simply our last name, but that didn’t really seem to be the reason. Even our boyfriends got that. People would say, “You are going out with one of the Spencer girls?” like they were shocked about it…or like they wondered how they had managed to live through meeting our dad…which couldn’t have been further from the truth about how our dad was. I know that some dads are the kind of guy who practically threatens any guy who wants to take out their daughters, with bodily harm if they break her heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, because our dad would have done whatever he needed to do to protect his daughters, but he was a man who would give a guy the benefit of the doubt…until they proved that they were trouble. Nevertheless, every guy we went out with was a Knot Head!! I suppose that was Dad’s way of saying that, in his opinion, no guy was good enough for his little girls…and believe me, most of them weren’t. The keepers were the ones who showed Dad that they weren’t Knot Heads.
We used to get…almost annoyed with Dad when he called guys Knot Heads, but deep inside, we knew that it was really his way of telling us that he wanted the very best for us, and this guy would have to prove himself before he would believe that he was worthy of our love. He wanted us to have men in our lives who would be good to us, treat us like ladies, protect us, and most of all, love us…until death we do part. How could we ever really be mad at him about that? It simply showed the love our dad had for his daughters…and down the road, granddaughters and grandsons, although the girlfriends weren’t Knot Heads.
Dad always had a way about him. He was able to tease us about boyfriends and yet, really mean that he wasn’t sure this guy was any good. Even while we protested at the name he gave them, we knew that it was more about us than the guy. He wanted us to know that his love for his daughters made him doubt most of the guys we went out with. He knew what most teenaged boys and even young men in their twenties were really like. Marriage and respect weren’t what they had in mind…unless they were the right guy, and that guy would endure the scrutiny and the doubt, and go on to prove to Dad and his daughters that they were the kind of men Dad wanted for his daughters…and not the Knot Head that he had thought them to be.
Looking back now, I am thankful for the scrutiny my dad used to view the men we dated, because it was through that scrutiny that I ended up with my husband, Bob. Yes, Bob was a Knot Head when we first started dating, just like every other guy I dated, but in later years, after he endured the scrutiny and passed the test, Dad often told me how proud he was of Bob. He liked him a lot, and respected him very much. Dad knew he could count on Bob to help out when anyone in the family needed help, but more importantly, he knew that Bob would be there for me throughout our lives. And he was right. Bob had proved himself, and in the last days of Dad’s life, Dad knew that he could count on Bob to help with the caregiving work that was needed in our family as well as in Bob’s, because Bob was definitely no longer a Knot Head.
I have noticed in the family history books that my Uncle Bill Spencer put together over the years, that people in the family, or maybe that era, would sometimes just pick up and go visit a different branch of the family…often without much or any advance notice of their impending arrival. I suppose that sometimes they just got excited about finding out about a different branch of the family, and decided to go check it out for themselves. Being a bit shy around strangers, family or otherwise, I find this type of visit to be very strange indeed. What do you say to those people after the initial, “Hello, You don’t know me, but I am your relative from Wyoming.” I would simply have no idea. That is probably why most people who do go to visit relatives they don’t know or don’t know well, take someone else with them…to help carry the conversation. I can’t imagine going alone, and yet that seems to be the norm for some people.
My grandfather did just that when he went out to visit his Aunt Tessie, as did his brother, my Great Uncle Clifford. Oddly, both of them just dropped in on Aunt Tessie!! I don’t know if Uncle Clifford just liked what he heard about Aunt Tessie from his brother, my Grandpa Allen Luther Spencer, or if he was curious about her and her family too, or if he even knew of the prior visit by a member of his family, but he went, and he went alone. I also have to wonder what Aunt Tessie thought of the whole thing…like, “What is it about me that makes these people keep just showing up here?” It appears to me, as it did to my Uncle Bill, that my cousin Cornelius Davis, who was Aunt Tessie’s son, found his cousin a little strange, or maybe the entire visit was just strange to him. It’s possible that he was wondering why these relatives just popped in like they did too, without any advance notice…or maybe he was wondering just how long this guy planned to stay.
Bob and I have gone many times to visit his family in Forsyth, Montana, but we always told them that we were coming, and our stay was just a week. I guess, in days gone by, when it takes a long time to get somewhere, it didn’t make sense just to stay a week, because it probably took several days driving out, so if all you had was a week, you would have to turn around and leave again. Still, I can’t imagine going for a visit without letting anyone know. Of course, the phone was not widely used in those days, so it would mean a telegraph, but it seems that many people just went and didn’t worry about it. Whatever the case may be, my cousin Cornealius seemed to think it was rather a strange visit indeed.
Into each life, comes change. It is the one constant. My sister, Allyn’s life is no different. Allyn is my youngest sister, and within the last 6 years, the road of her life has taken many twists and turns, as does every life. One of the biggest changes, however is the empty nest. Allyn’s transformation to empty nester began with the marriage of her son Ryan to his wife, Chelsea. Then, just nine short months later, Allyn and her husband Chris, became grandparents when their first grandchild, Ethan Christopher was born. Before long, Ethan was followed by his little sister, Aurora Briann. Allyn was now a grandmother of two, and she is loving every minute of being a grandmother…something any grandparent can totally relate to.
During this time, Jessi had moved out, and Lindsay was away at college, so all they had was their youngest daughter, Kellie at home. I’m sure the house fell pretty big in those days, but it wasn’t an empty nest yet. Through those years, the three girls might have move out and comeback home a couple of times, and I’m sure that felt kind of nice to Allyn and Chris, but then came the day, a year and a half ago, when their daughter, Jessi would get married to Jason, and she would permanently move out. Lindsay was living and going to college in Brookings South Dakota by then, and Kellie took over Jessie’s rented house, making Allyn and Chris officially empty nesters.
Of course, with all that change takes away from a person, it also adds to the person. Not only did Allyn and Chris now have a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law, and the two grandchildren, but this was also about the time that the grandchildren started to be old enough to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa…thus alleviating the loneliness that often accompanies the empty nest. It is really the biggest blessing of having grandchildren, as any grandparent will tell you. Your children’s children can fill that void left in your life when your children move out. And their parents don’t mind the free babysitting service either. Now, in just 4 days, Allyn’s daughter, Lindsay will marry Shannon in Florida, where they are moving. Her husband to be was just hired at Florida International University in Miami. While I know that Allyn is very happy for her daughter and soon to be son-in-law, I also know that she will miss them very much, as it will be harder for them to run home for a weekend visit.
With all the twist and turns on Allyn’s life’s road have changed her life dramatically they have also enriched it. Before long there will be new grandbabies and one more wedding, and I know that Allyn is looking forward to each of them, as their time arrives, because as we all know a growing family is always a great blessing. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!