Monthly Archives: February 2015
When death silently steals the one you love…your best friend and the love of your life…it is the most life altering moment that anyone can ever experience. You had thought you would grow old together, and now you find that is not to be. Two days ago, the life of my dear cousin, Greg Hushman was altered by the loss of his precious wife, Dustine. Her passing was unexpected, and that made it that much more shocking to all of us…especially Greg. Dustine and Greg met in Casper, Wyoming after both of them had been divorced. It was a second chance for them, and it would become their happily ever after.
Their blended family would share many wonderful times. They would see the weddings of their children, and the birth of grandbabies. Their love grew with every passing day, week, and year. Their marriage was blessed in so many ways. At times, it seemed too good to be true. When I asked Greg’s daughter, Stephanie Willard for a little bit of information on Dustine, it was a bit hard for her. They live on different sides of the country, and so don’t get to see each other very often, except on Facebook. Nevertheless, Stephanie said something that has remained in my heart, although she probably doesn’t even know what she said. It was one of the nicest things a step-daughter could say, I think, and the most mature. She said, “Dustine made my dad happy, and that made me happy.” What a tribute!! In this life, filled with its ups and downs, happiness and sadness, love and loss, what better thing to be remembered for than the simple truth that you made your spouse and family happy. To some, that may seem like a less than stellar goal, but not to anyone who has truly found such happiness.
When my sister, Cheryl Masterson, my mom, Collene Spencer, and I went to Washington in 2013 to visit our cousins there, and attend the funeral of my Uncle Jim Wolfe, we had the opportunity to get together for dinner with Greg, and his brother, George. We had hoped their wives could have come, but it didn’t work out that way. It had been a very long time since we saw either of the girls, especially Dustine. As we talked, Greg told us that he had bought Dustine a new car, and you could just see how pleased he was with that. His eyes sparkled with delight, at being able to do this for her. You could see that he was reliving the moment over and over in his memory. Yes, I agree with Stephanie, Dustine made Greg happy, and Greg made Dustine happy too.
It makes me feel so sad to know that Dustine has left us now, but like Greg, I am glad that the constant pain she was in since an accident at UPS many years ago, is over now. She will always be in our hearts, as grief eventually gives way to memories of happier times. We love you Dustine. Rest in Jesus now, until we see you again in Heaven.
Life is strange sometimes. It’s pathways intertwine with the lives of different people as the journey takes us to this place and that place along life’s road. I have been amazed at how many times my life has crossed paths with different people who would become a part of my family down the road. Such was the case with my Uncle Jack McDaniels. My mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg had done a lot of sewing for Uncle Jack’s mother, and then my father-in-law worked with Uncle Jack at Casper Concrete. In the middle of all this, Uncle Jack married my Aunt Bonnie on February 14, 1959, and became my uncle. Then I married Bob and the circle completed. It was kind of cool to know that our lives were all intertwined that way, because of how much the different people in in that circle have meant to me.
Uncle Jack was most in his element when he was at his place out in the country, along the Platte River. He loved to tinker around in his shop, and then take walks down the lane to get the mail, or just to enjoy nature. I’m sure he spent time fishing down at the river, and watching all the different wildlife that wandered around in the area.
Nevertheless, as with most families, people get busy and we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like. After a while it comes down to a family picnic and a Christmas party…along with occasionally bumping into each other around town. It’s funny how it seems like as we get older, instead of meeting our friends and family at a bar, we meet up at Walmart. At least that is where Bob and I seem to see all of our family and friends. And, that is where we saw Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jack. It was always a treat to run into them, and get to visit and laugh together. They were always so good together and so much fun. Their love for each other was so obvious. It makes me sad that Uncle Jack is gone from us now. Today would have been Uncle Jack’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Uncle Jack. We love and miss you very much.
My grand nephew, Easton Moore is growing up so fast. At eleven years old, he will soon be starting middle school, and before we know it high school. Kids grow up so fast. It seems like only yesterday that Easton was all about hot wheels and super hero toys, and he may still play with them, but those days are numbered, because Easton is growing up fast.
Still, he is all boy, and probably one of his favorite things is to be outdoors…especially camping with his family. When you think about it, what could be better than spending as many summertime days outside as possible. School will start back up before you know it, and then you find yourself wishing for summer again. I’m sure Easton knows exactly what I mean, as does every kid in school. They live for summer and weekends, don’t they? Sounds like me!! I think we can all relate to those summer, lazy days, and wish we could have them back again.
Easton, being the little brother to Weston, has often had to be the one who gets to look at his older brother and wonder when his day will come. When will he get to stay at grandma’s house? When will he be old enough to go play at a friends house? So many whens. Unfortunately, whens are a part of every young life. Nevertheless, there comes a time when suddenly when is now. At eleven, Easton is getting to that age when his whens become nows. That is an exciting time in the life of a kid. They are finally old enough to be trusted to go places without their parents, because they either don’t get scared or act out when they are away from home. I suppose that school has a lot to do with that, because they have to abide by a certain code there.
Easton has always seemed like a bit of a shy guy, at least around those he doesn’t know well, but in his eyes, I can see an obvious glint of mischievousness. I think he could easily be a trickster, if given the opportunity. In a house full of boys, my niece, Machelle Moore is most likely the target of choice too…unless the boys are playing with their cousins Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Moore. Like most kids these days, Easton likes playing on the trampoline and of course, video games are another best source of fun. He and his brother, Weston like to play catch on the trampoline, because it’s almost impossible for the ball to get away, thereby eliminating the need to run after it. Don’t think they don’t get their exercise though because bouncing around on a trampoline is pretty good exercise too.
Before long, Easton will begin to change before our very eyes. Middle school does that to a guy. I hate that kids always grow up so very fast. You always wish you had more time with them when they are little. But, that is not to be, because for every child there is a time when almost all their whens become their nows, and that is when you know that they are all grown up. Today is Easton’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When something happens to a child that leaves them missing one limb, it seems like they have a tendency to meet that adversity with a strength and determination that many adults simply don’t. It’s not that the adults couldn’t, but rather that as we get older, sometimes we tend to feel sorry for ourselves instead of making up our mind not to let this become a stumbling block for us.
Since I have been conversing with my husband, Bob’s Uncle Butch Schulenberg, my thoughts have often gone back to his dad, Bob’s grandfather, Andrew Schulenberg. I did not know Grandpa Andy until my children were five and six years old, but when I met him, I liked him immediately. He had been the sheriff in Forsyth for many years, and if you had the Schulenberg name, they knew who you belonged to there. The people of Forsyth really liked him. I was very thankful that we had the chance to meet him. It was a visit that I have never forgotten, and have always been thankful to have had.
At first, I wondered if he had lost his leg later in life, because I couldn’t imagine a sheriff with a wooden peg for a leg. Of course, I was wrong, because he lost his leg as a young boy of just fifteen years. He had gone antelope hunting with his friend, Harold Stewart, when his gun accidentally discharged, sending a bullet through his leg. It was a cold October morning in 1921, and medicine not being what it is today, the leg just couldn’t heal. Andy spend 23 months and 11 days in the hospital. Try as they might to save the leg, it simply was not to be. The leg was amputated in June of 1922, eight months after the accident. It was a devastating thing for a teenaged boy, but young Andy determined not to let it stop him.
For Andy, time stood still to a large degree, as it always does when you are in the hospital. I cannot imagine spending almost two years in the hospital, even if a large part of it would be in pain, or so out of it that you barely noticed. I also can’t imagine how it must have been for his parents, who were having to deal with not only the loss of the much needed help of their eldest child, but also with the rest of the family, which was continuing to grow. Andy missed the birth of his little sister, Bertha, who was born in December 1921, just two months after the accident. That must have been so hard for him and his parents.
Nevertheless, Andy didn’t let the loss of his leg defeat him. I’m sure it took a long time to figure everything out, but he did, and in the end, became a successful man. When you think about it, people lose limbs in many ways, and it isn’t about the limb in the end, but rather about the constitution of the man or woman that determines the success or failure of the rest of their life. Andy was the kind of man who was made of plenty of determination, and that made all the difference.
For many people researching the family history means looking for things like famous ancestors, family occupations, historical locations, and eventually the family crest, also known as the Coat of Arms. The problem with the family crest is that there are so many, and the process to make a legal claim to one is difficult, because the right to bear arms in the legal sense of a coat of arms, must be researched and proven through attested Genealogical records. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people can’t pick out a crest that bears their name and use it, even without the legal documentation. They can be displayed as decorative reproductions, derived only from the association with your name. That use, while legal in the sense that you are not committing a crime, is not the legal right to bear arms that is normally associated with the crest.
Sometimes, for those who are very fortunate, the family coat of arms might be found in a grandparent’s attic, but most of us will not discover our true coat of arms in this manner. Because of the difficulty in locating the necessary information to claim a legal right to a family coat of arms, most people just don’t bother with this part of a full family history. According to LG Pine, author of Heraldry And Genealogy, “At the onset, there is a curious fact in the relationship between the two subjects. While students of Heraldry do take to Genealogy, and acquire a considerable knowledge of it, those who begin as genealogists seldom if ever take any interest in Heraldry. This is most unfortunate, because the two subjects are necessarily related.” I suppose this is true, but once you have stumbled upon a family coat of arms in your research, like I did a few years ago, you simply do become intrigued.
Nevertheless, I had no idea about the legal right to bear arms until I was doing some research into the coat of arms of the Leary side of Bob’s family the other day. I had found several family coats of arms for the Spencer, Byer, Pattan, Fuller, and Schulenberg sides of the family, and planned to look for some of the others in the near future. While I will still do that, I have to wonder about the accuracy of the ones I have, and just how difficult it will be to verify their validity. I can see that I will need to do some research on just how to move forward on this matter in the correct way.
The biggest obstacle I see in researching Heraldry or Genealogy is that the spelling of names changes. Whether it is because the person moved to a new nation and was made to change their name or spelling, or like many people do with their first names these days, the person experimented with the spelling of their last name. William Shakespeare was known to spell his last name Shakespeare, Shakespere, Shakespear, Shakspere, and Shaxpere. So to the researcher, I suppose it would be a matter of searching for documentation under multiple different spellings. You can see that the further you get into a search, the more difficult it is to determine the accuracy. So now apply that to the search concerning the legal right to bear arms, and I think you might have the answer as to why so many people avoid this area of research altogether.
The dukedom of Marlborough is one of the titles in the Peerage of England. The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Scotland were replaced by one Peerage of Great Britain. The peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which is constituted by the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honors system. The dukedom of Marlborough was created by Queen Anne in 1702, for John Churchill, who was the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
I can’t say that I completely understand all there is to about the peerage of Great Britain, but in the peerage, a Duke is a higher rank than a Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. Thus Prince William is the Duke of Cambridge, because as the prince, it would not be right for him to have a lower rank than other members of the peerage. Originally dukes were the rulers of the provinces of the Roman Empire. Now however, the title of duke has become in almost all cases a nominal rank, without possession of an actual principality. The province that a duke was titled over, is known as a duchy. As I said, in modern times dukes aren’t really over a duchy, with the exception of Lancaster and Cornwall, both of which do include land and ownership. Lancaster belongs to Queen Elizabeth II and Cornwall to Prince Charles. The title of duke cannot normally be handed down to female heirs, but the Dukedom of Marlborough is the exception to that rule. It is one of the few titles that allows females to inherit the title, and the only current dukedom to do so.
In the Spencer family, there have been a number of titles, but it wasn’t until Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, widowed following the death of his first wife, Arabella, daughter of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, married Anne Churchill, that the Dukedom of Marlborough first came to the Spencers. With this dukedom, Charles Spencer was first introduced to politics, making this alliance between Sunderland and Marlborough a very important one for Charles and his descendants. From his marriage to Anne Churchill who would become the 2nd Duke of Marlborough, the Spencer family would retain the dukedom for all time. At the current time, the dukedom is at 12, with Charles James Spencer-Churchill, 12th Duke of Marlborough, born in 1955, as the current duke.
To date, I cannot say how many dukes and duchesses were or are Spencer descendants, for names change with marriages over the years. Nevertheless, the Spencers have played a great part in the peerage of Great Britain, and with Prince William and his descendants, beginning with Prince George, the Spencers will continue to have great influence in that nation for the rest of time.
Traditionally, we think of Valentine’s Day as a day of romance and love, but is that really what it is all about? There are several versions of the background surrounding Valentine’s Day, and all of them include St Valentine. The one I find most intriguing involved not love and romance exactly, but rather a time when it was not allowed. St Valentine was a priest who lived around 270 AD in Rome. He found himself at odds with the Roman emperor of the time, Claudius II.
During Saint Valentine’s life time, and under the ruling of Claudius II and other insane administrators, the quality of life in Rome, what had previously been known as the Golden Era, came to an end. There was strife, education declined, taxation increased, and trade declined. This caused a need for more and more soldiers and officers to protect the nation from takeover by the Gauls, Slavs, Huns, Turks and Mongolians from Northern Europe and Asia. In his insanity, Claudius II felt that married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and thus, will not make good soldiers, and he needed many soldiers now. He believed that marriage made the men weak. So he issued an decree forbidding marriage to assure quality soldiers
The people of Rome were afraid of the emperor, and when he made the decision to ban marriage, the people dared not protest, even though they were shocked. If Claudius II had given any thought to the consequences of his ban, he might have realized how futile it was. If the people did not marry, or at least reproduce, his army would dwindle down to nothing in a matter of years, and if they did at least reproduce, weren’t they still having the same emotional ties as married people? This just goes to show how insane Claudius II was.
Saint Valentine was a bishop at this time in history, and so began holding secret marriage ceremonies for the soldiers, in complete opposition to Claudius II’s ruling. Saint Valentine was a kindly bishop, and he saw the trauma the unjust decree was causing to young lovers, who had given up all hope of marrying and having children. So, he began secretly performing these marriage ceremonies on the soldiers and their young ladies. Unfortunately, these marriages could not remain hidden for long, and when Claudius II found out about this “friend of lovers”, he was furious. Saint Valentine was arrested and put in prison. Claudius II was impressed with Saint Valentine, when he met him, but when he would not convert to the Roman gods and agree to abide by the marriage ban, Claudius II was angered, and sentenced him to death.
While awaiting his death sentence, Saint Valentine was approached by his jailor, Asterius whose daughter was blind. Asterius had heard that Saint Valentine was a healer. He asked him to heal his daughter, who was blind. Saint Valentine prayed and the jailor’s daughter was healed. After she was healed, a deep friendship developed between Saint Valentine and the jailor’s daughter, and she was grieved over his imminent death. Right before he was beheaded, Saint Valentine wrote her a farewell message, and signed it “From your Valentine”. It is this note that is said to have begun the traditional Valentine card. Saint Valentine is believe to have been executed on February 14, 270 AD, hence the date for our romantic holiday. In reality it is a day to celebrate the Friend of Lovers. Happy Valentines Day!!
Since my oldest grandson, Chris Petersen turned eighteen last February 28th, and had to register for the draft, and my grandson, Caalab Royce will be registering in June after he turns eighteen this year on the 25th, I have wondered a little more about the making of a soldier…in any war. Since the draft is something that almost never happens these days, it was not a real priority in my mind, however. Then I started looking at my Aunt Bertha Hallgren’s journal again, because she was such a great writer, and because I haven’t referred to her work in a while. I stumbled across a reference she makes to the experience of a World War I soldier. Since my grandfather, George Byer fought in World War I, that part of her journal made me curious.
The story Aunt Bertha wrote was funny to a large degree, although I doubt that the soldier she wrote abut thought it was funny exactly. I suppose that as a eighteen year old boy, at a time when education was not always the top priority, he did not always understand the new to him words that were being thrown at him, being asked if you were an alien, might make you wonder if they were asking if you were sick right now, but the humor was somehow lost on the officer who was asking the questions. And when he asks you your name, and he has known you all your life, because he’s your milkman, it might be hard not to say, “You know my name.” Nevertheless, you must quickly learn that knowing you in life and knowing you in the military are obviously two very different things. You had better just answer the question and not act like a smart-aleck.
After getting past the registration area, and getting the feeling that these guys didn’t expect you to make it past the first week in combat, you might start looking for the door, and wondering if there was any way to make them believe you were only seventeen after all. Nevertheless, the line moved forward, and there was no way to get out of it, so you followed along. At some point you were issued a uniform, which the soldier Bertha was talking about described as one of two sizes…too small or too big. He pointed out that the pants were so tight that he didn’t dare sit down, and the shoes were so big that he could “turn around twice, and they didn’t move”. Sadly, I think that is the way it was during World War I. A guy could probably deal with the loose fitting clothes, but those tight ones wouldn’t last long. And to make matters worse for our particular soldier, he passed an officer, who immediately asked him if he had noticed the uniform the officer was wearing. In his typical eighteen year old mouthiness, and his lack of understanding the meaning of the question, our new soldier, asked why the officer was complaining. Hadn’t he seen how ill fitting the soldiers uniform was after all. I seriously doubt if the officer saw the humor in that.
After another mouthy session, the soldier found himself digging a hole…then being told to dig another one to throw the dirt into. I guess you can see where this task was heading. If our soldier didn’t figure out pretty fast that he needed to keep his sarcasm to himself, then it is my guess that he spent a lot of time peeling potatoes, scrubbing floors, and digging holes…when he wasn’t fighting for his life that is. As time went on, I’m sure he figured out that they didn’t care about his opinion, and if he gave it anyway, he was going to wish he hadn’t. While this type of soldier would not really make a great soldier, he would probably have made a funny movie. I’m sure he got over the need to be funny once the bullets started flying too. By the way, I really don’t recommend that any of the soldiers, who might be coming up the ranks, act this way. I think that while sarcasm in school might make you the class clown, and make you popular with your friends, because that’s what kids do, it will not have the same affect on your commanding officer in any way, shape, or form.
Probably my favorite historical President, would have to be Abraham Lincoln. Even in elementary school, I found his political acts to be most interesting. Of course, my favorite speech would have to be the Gettysburg Address. Every time I hear that speech, I get Goosebumps. I’m sure I’m not alone in that either. That was such a moving speech. It was at a time when our nation was severely divided, and on the brink of splitting in two. No one could agree on what we should be like. And yet, I believe that Lincoln made the right call. Owning slaves was wrong, and if it took a war to free them, then that was the way it would have to be. I am also glad that our nation did not divide, as I think we are a great nation because of our strongly united stance.
Apparently, our nation agrees with me on just how great Abraham Lincoln was too, because on this day…his birthday…in 1914, the first stones were laid for the Lincoln Memorial. I doubt that the connection was lost to those who were doing the work on the splendid memorial, and maybe the work had officially been planned for that day for that very reason. Lincoln was known as the “Saviour of the Union” because of his actions to keep our nation together. The inscription reads, “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” And beneath these words, the 16th President of the United States sits immortalized in marble as an enduring symbol of unity, strength, and wisdom. I have to wonder if Lincoln would have been embarrassed or humbled by such a display. I’m sure he would be humbled, but I also think that because Lincoln was such a humble man, he would have also been a bit embarrassed.
Abraham Lincoln came from humble beginnings. He was raised in what was then the western frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. He was mostly self educated, and became a lawyer in Illinois. He was a member of the Whig Party, which is now gone, and then became a member of the Republican Party in 1854. He hated slavery and spoke out against it many times. He didn’t have much support in the South, of course, but he swept the Northern states and became president in 1860. He also reached out to the War Democrats, those who supported the war. He also confronted the Republicans who wanted to punish the South after the war, and called for more compromise with the anti-war Democrats who hated him…trying to bring peace within the government even before the war ended. Nevertheless, just six days after Robert E Lee surrendered, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, who was a Confederate sympathizer. Today, we remember Abraham Lincoln on the 206th anniversary of his birth.
In any war, each side has just one goal in mind…winning. Of course, this is not just a video game or war games, but it is really a life and death challenge. In retrospect, I find it interesting to see some of the strategies the different sides use. While I cannot agree with anything the Germans did under Hitler’s rule, because Hitler was unbelievably ruthless, hateful, and cruel, there were some strategies that either he, his admirals, or his soldiers executed that were quite spectacular, though surprising in nature, because the Germans didn’t usually coordinate their efforts this well. I would never have wanted the Germans to win in World War II, because of their horrible treatment and murders of the Jewish people, but they did have a way of fighting that has captured my interest…at least on this day.
The Germans had controlled and occupied France since June of 1940. Their ships docked in French ports were drawing fire from the British. It became clear that the ships needed to escape. The German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst had been anchored at the port of Brest since March of 1941, and the heavy cruiser, Prinz Eugen had been there since May of 1941. They were periodically subjected to bombing raids and damage at the hands of the British. Now it was time to turn a bad situation into a successful failure, as it were. The Germans knew they were not going to hold onto France here, so now they needed to steal away in the night without getting caught.
It was decided that they would make a mad dash up the English Channel to the safety of German waters. The key here was to make the Channel Dash right under the watchful eye of the British Royal Navy without their notice. It was quite risky. Despite the watchfulness of the British submarines and aircraft, the German Vice Admiral, Otto Ciliax launched Operation Cerberus to lead the ships out of the French port, and to the safety of the German ports.
On the evening of February 11, 1942, they set their plan in motion. Accompanied by six German destroyers and twenty one torpedo boats for protection, they moved north late that evening. When daylight hit, they were joined by German planes to provide air cover as well. The air cover was led by ace pilot, Adolf Galland. He was joined by 250 other fighters in a coordinated joint effort of the German Navy and the Luftwaffe…an unusually well coordinated joint effort. The British Royal Navy scrambled to coordinate its own attack, but the late start would prove to be the undoing of the attack, because they did not realize that the escape was in progress until the afternoon of February 12th. All three of the German warships made it to a German port on February 13th, although the Gneisenau and had incurred damaged by British mines along the route. In addition to the embarrassment of the well planned escape that was carried out by the Germans, the British lost 40 aircraft and six Navy Swordfish during their confrontation. The Germans, on the other had, only lost one torpedo boat and 17 aircraft.
Nevertheless, the British would exact a revenge of sorts, when British warships sunk the Scharnhorst in December of 1944, as it attempted to attack a Russian convoy. The Gneisenau was destroyed during a bombing raid, while it was still being repaired from the prior damage, and the Prinz Eugen survived the war, but was taken over by the US Navy at the end of the war. It isn’t that I want to commend the Germans for their sneaky escape, because I don’t. They simply lived to fight…and ultimately lose, another day. It was, however, a good strategy, and I guess that even crazy dictators like Hitler, and the men he trained, could come up with an occasional good escape plan. Nevertheless, evil must not be allowed to continue, and the Germans had to be shut down, so the British, and all the other nations who stand for what is good, had to continue to fight, until Germany and its allies had no choice but to surrender. Still, February 11, 1942, the day of The Channel Dash would stand out as one of the best fights put up by the Germans, or at least, the best escape plan.