Monthly Archives: June 2015

scan0050 (7)Bob & CorrieShe got it from her grandma, my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg…that ability to go shopping for hours on end, looking for a bargain here and there. My daughter, Corrie Petersen is what many people would call a shopaholic, but what Corrie has on her grandmother speaks volumes. My mother-in-law looked through all the different sales flyers from the newspaper, as does my daughter, but Corrie has taken couponing to the highest level there is. When Corrie goes to the grocery store, she is able to buy $100.00 worth of groceries, and come out of there with the store owing her money. Who does that? Not many people. Not me for sure.

Now granted, my mother-in-law didn’t have a computer, and she wouldn’t know how to run one if she had. The internet has made a huge difference in all that Corrie has been able to accomplish. Nevertheless, to get to the level of couponing that Corrie has reached, took a lot of hard work and diligence, and that is where Corrie shines. Corrie is very skilled on the computer, and knows where to look for great couponing sites, and she Corrie with ChristopherCorrie & Kevintakes the time to search out the coupons that go with the sales that create the overage of discounts that create a situation in which the store owes her money for shopping. It’s an amazing feat, and one that makes me very proud of her.

Corrie has always been a stubborn woman…that part she gets from her mom, and once she puts her mind to something, she will not be moved off of her plan. She has the perseverance to stick to it, and that is why she succeeds. We, her family, might tease her and laugh about the long shopping trips she makes, but in all reality, we all wish we had the system in place that she does, because she has accomplished so much…gone so far beyond what we have done with the one or two coupons we manage to clip from the newspaper.

There is however, a part of Corrie that comes from her great grandmother, Nettie Knox…and that would be her birthday. Corrie not only made my husband’s grandparents Bob and Nettie great grandparents on this day 40 years ago, but she gave her great grandmother the best birthday present a grandmother could ever receive. Corrie with baby JoshCorrie and Grandma Knox 10002Over the years, they always celebrated their birthdays together, and the bond between them grew quite strong. I think one of the hardest days of Corrie’s life was when her dear great grandma passed away. There are still times she has trouble talking about her without shedding a tear or two. It was such a beautiful bond, and such a beautiful tradition, and one I was very sorry to see end. Happy 40th birthday to my beautigul daughter, Corrie, and happy birthday in Heaven to her sweet great grandmother, Nettie!! Two beautiful ladies. Corrie, have a great day!! We love you very much!!

President James Knox PolkEvery surname has an origin. That is because surnames were not always used. In the very earliest of times, people were known by their given name and the place they were from…meaning that I would have been Caryn of Superior. I’m not sure when the changes took place, but it often started by giving the people who lived in a town the town name as their last name, so since my husband’s family came from a town called Schulenberg, Germany, their last name became Schulenberg, and so it has continued to this day.

The Knox family name, however, has changed extensively over the years. The name is Gaelic, and it means a little hill. Figuratively is could also mean a stout man. The name was originally spelled Cnoc, and has since taken on many spellings, such as, Knox, Nox, Nock, Nocks, Nockes, Knock, Knocks, Knockes, Noke, Nokes, Noake, Noakes, and possibly more. What that says to me is that we may be related to many more people than we know, and how will we ever find out…seriously, how? This kind of a thing is truly a genealogical nightmare. Then, to complicate matters further, these people move from one country to another, and sometimes the records are not well kept, or worse yet, the names are changed to make them fit the country they are now living in.

The forebear of the Knox family was said to be Adamus, of Saxon origin, who received the barony of Cnoc or Knox in Renfrewshire as part of a dowry.  The first recorded spelling of the name was that of John de Cnoc, his son, in 1260 in the charter lists for Renfrewshire. Over the centuries the family has included royalty, oldest_knox_crestpresidents, and others from aristocracy. Some of those notables are names I recognized before I was even a part of the family, such as James K Polk, who was our 11th President. I still have to wonder how many others out there who might have been notable and related to us.

Since I have been more and more interested in Heraldry, I also checked into the heraldry of the Cnoc name. The oldest known coat of arms is in colors of gold and red. The gold signified generosity. The red signified warrior, martyr, and military strength. The helmet signifies wise defense. The dove signifies love and peace. In Ireland, the Dove was regarded as the bird of God. The shield Bordure – represents honor. It is a beautiful coat of arms, and is an item of proud heritage belonging to the Knox or Cnoc family. Nevertheless, while there is much known information, there is still much that is unknown, and that makes it a genealogical nightmare.

imageimageSince my grand nephew, Topher Spicer’s mom, my niece Andrea Beach has been a single mom for most of his life, he has given himself the job of being the man of the house. He is very protective of his mom. He doesn’t like it when she gets hurt and is the first one there to take care of her when she doesn’t feel well. He is more than a son to her, he is her best buddy!!

Topher is a kid who loves family. While he is his momma’s boy, he very much loves his dad and half-sister too. He loves spending time with them in Utah, but misses and worries about his mom, while he is away from her. He really is such a sweetheart, with a big heart of gold. He is also very close to his grandparents, my sister Caryl and her husband, Mike Reed. He enjoys coming to Casper with them when they come down to work on their ranch, and that lets the rest of the family see him once in a while too, since he lives in Rawlins. And as for Caryl and Mike…well, they tell me that Topher is a joy to take care of.

Topher is an independent young man, who has a great imagination, and is very creative. He is really into Pokémon…are they seriously still around…and Jurassic World…I can’t believe they are back, but I guess you have to be a ten year old boy to really understand the things they are into. He likes to swim and ride his bicycle, and he also loves to play Yahtzee and work puzzles…something I personally don’t have the patience for. But Topher is a kid who has the ability to focus, and he is ok with sitting still, when he is working on something. That fact was made clear to me when he came down the last time for a visit. As we were working on going through our parents’ things, Topher sat quietly and played on an iPad. The thing I found so interesting was that my mom’s cat, Lewie wanted to sit right next to Topher. I suppose that doesn’t seem strange to most people, but Lewie usually hides from all kids, so for him to choose to sit next to Topher was…well, amazing.

Topher is coming into his own in many areas, but one of the most important is his relationship with God. His mother, Andrea has taught him to love the Lord, and to have a close walk with Him. And Topher has made that relationship his own. To him, God is a friend…his very best friend. He has a strong Christian walk, and loves 20311_887826524617215_9048743171960109874_n988580_10206710115732403_7719499969783074275_nto talk to others about the Lord. The most important thing to Topher is to do the right thing in God’s eyes. Would that all people felt the same. I think this world would be a much better place. Strong Christian values are of the utmost importance to our world, and in our own lives. And Topher has those values. We are all very proud of him. Today is Topher’s 10th birthday…and, he got to go to Disneyland with his mom, and grandparents, Warren and Diane Beach. What a great birthday present for a ten year old boy!! Happy birthday Topher!! I hope your trip is amazing. Have a great day!! We love you!!

IMG_5984IMG_5935For a number of years now, Bob and I have made a trip to Thermopolis each year in early March in celebration of our wedding anniversary, which is March 1st. Driving through the Wind River Canyon that many times, I feel like I know the face of those canyon walls pretty well. Since rainy weather has dominated this Spring, many areas of the state of Wyoming and several other states, flooding is a word that we have all gotten used to hearing. Since our state has been in a relative draught for a number of years, the ground has had a hard time absorbing all that water that has been coming in. And then there is the fact that we have had a few fires in key areas around the state. That adds an additional danger to certain areas…one of which is the Wind River Canyon, which was hit with mudslides and rockslides earlier this year.

This morning, Bob and I decided to take a drive up to Thermopolis to see for ourselves, exactly how the canyon face had been changed by the mudslides. Our granddaughter, Shai Royce decided to come along to see it too. imageimageWe had seen the pictures of it on television and on the internet when it happened, but you really can’t get a clear picture of something like that until you see it up close. So, after breakfast we set out. It was a nice drive up to the Wind River Canyon, and at first, it didn’t look so different, but then we got to the area where the main slides were. It was much different.

I expected it to look different, and it did, but what I didn’t expect was to have it occur to me that I was looking at the changing face of the canyon. I thought about how the canyon had changed over the years of its existence. The river made most of the changes that had taken place, slowly carving out the depth of it with erosion. Soon, its walls were high and filled with the hard rocks that had survived the erosion process. The trees grew along the face of the walls, and in time we all thought it wouldn’t change much, but rock and mudslides can change the face of those canyon walls overnight. I found myself thinking about how easy it was to pick out the slide path of each imageimageslide area. The coloring of the upturned earth made it stand out as if it were florescent paint. I was able to see the complete path the mud and rocks took on their way down.

I realized that this was just one event, but it didn’t matter, because I was looking at the changes brought about by time. This was the canyon’s changing face, caused by the effects of weather, water, wind, and fire to bring about an entirely new look to a canyon that had been there so long, looking, or so I thought, always the same. In reality, it was ever changing.

grandpa spencer024A number of years ago…a little more than forty one, to be more exact, my parents, Allen and Collene Spencer purchased a cute little travel trailer from Mom’s sister, Evelyn and her husband George Hushman. I’m sure that to many people that fact would seem like an unimportant tidbit of information, but to my sisters and me, it was like taking a stroll down memory lane. Mom and Dad always loved to travel, and wanted to give their daughters as much of the world as they possibly could. I’m sure that sounds like most parents, or maybe to you, it sounds like we were spoiled children, but you would be wrong, if you thought that. To our parents, giving their daughters the world, meant showing us what a great nation we live in, and maybe even adding Mexico and Canada to that list of places we have been. As kids, we were viewed as very blessed, because we were far more traveled than most of our classmates. There may not have been tons of money for those adventures, but Dad and Mom always found a way to make it happen.

scan0097For many years we all slept in different areas of the station wagon they drove. Dad rigged it to allow seven people to sleep comfortably in that station wagon…an amazing feat in and of itself. Eventually however, we would really get to be too big to continue that sleeping arrangement, so they knew that a travel trailer would be needed. During that time, Mom and Dad had told Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George how much they liked their little travel trailer, so when they decided to sell it, Mom and Dad were the first people they thought of. Mom and Dad were so happy about buying that trailer. It was to be the next step in the traveling, camping, memory making kind of lifestyle they wanted. The kind of life they wanted to give their daughters. It was truly an exciting day for them.

The trailer has not been used now for about 15 years, sadly. Most of those years…the last ten anyway, were since our parents were sick, and since my dad passed away in 2007. Since Mom’s passing on February 22nd of grandpa spencer034this year, we decided to sell the trailer to my sister, Alena Stevens’ son, Garrett and his fiancée, Kayla. When we looked at the title, we took note of the date they bought the trailer. It was February 14, 1974. When my sister, Cheryl Masterson saw that date, her mind immediately pictured Mom and Dad on the day they purchased the trailer. She said, “And about the date of purchase, I can just see them walking out of the bank after signing the paperwork, and Mom saying, ‘Well, we got ourselves a trailer!’ And Dad saying, ‘Yeah. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mammy!’ And then they sealed that with a kiss! Can’t you see that?” Yes, Cheryl, I can see that. I can picture it very clearly in my mind, because that was the way they were, and the kind of love they had.

Caalab Rolles RoyceLittle CaalabEighteen years…not so many really, but in the life of a child, it’s…well, a lifetime…or at least a childhood. And then, that part of their life is over. They have graduated from high school, and begin their journey into the life of their choosing. That is a big step, and often one that their parents and grandparents aren’t really ready to have them take…but they are ready, and they will take that next step. I think that for this grandma, the hardest part of this particular now eighteen year old, is that my grandson, Caalab Royce has moved the furthest away, with no plans to move back here again. Usually when kids go away to college, they come home a lot during the year, but his parents moved to Washington and his school is there, so he won’t be coming here like his cousin, Chris Petersen does.

Thinking back on the years of Caalab’s life, my mind brings so many different moments to mind. Caalab was always my really huggy child, and anyone who knows him knows of his love of long hair. He couldn’t keep his fingers out of my long hair from the time he was just six months old. While I have had many children pull on or play with my hair, no other child was as gentle with it as Caalab was. Even at six months, he never pulled on it. If his play got to the point where it accidently pulled a little, I just told him to be gentle, and he was.

Caalab spent the night with us more than the other kids too. He just liked spending time with his Gma and Papa. Many kids grow out of that pretty early on, but he never did, and now that he lives so far away, those times that he spent the night become treasured memories for me. It didn’t matter what we did while he was there…even just watching television, because what mattered was that we got to spend together. He just liked being with us. Somehow, that never ceased to amaze me. It was a blessing beyond measure.

Caalab has changed in many ways over the years, and yet really, so very little. He is a loving, caring person with a tender heart. He hates to think that he might have hurt someone’s feelings, and will go out of his way to apologize or make amends if he thinks he might have hurt your feelings. It is a very endearing quality to have. It is also a quality that causes him to be one of the kindest people I have ever met. He is fun to be around, and CaalabCaalab with Grandmaloves people. That makes him a very social person, who can be friends with anyone. Nevertheless, Caalab is a family sort of guy. He loves his parents and grandparents, and his sister, Shai considers him her best friend. And I can totally relate to that. He may be my grandson, but Caalab is my friend too, and since I am a family oriented person too, he is one of my very best friends. Today is Caalab’s 18th birthday, and the first one I really haven’t spent with him, and while that makes me sad, I hope this is the best birthday for him ever. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!

Waiting for the planeI think that every nation has opportunities to do what can be labeled as defining moments…situations when the nation dealt with an enemy or situation so well, that it can only be considered amazing. That was how the United States reacted to one of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War. The Soviet Union decided to block off all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin, Germany. The move was designed to basically starve the people into submission…or at least that was the plan. It was also a move that would be in defiance to all the other allies in Germany at the time. Unfortunately for the Soviet Union, the blockade turned out to be a horrible diplomatic move, but for the United States, it became a defining moment. The United States emerged from the confrontation with a renewed purpose and confidence, as well as a reputation for being a humanitarian nation.

When World War II ended, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and eventually France were granted specific zones to occupy. Each nation was there to accept the surrender of Nazi forces and restore order. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, and the other Airlift to West BerlinAllied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was divided into four sections as well. The differences between the United States and the Soviet Union were immediately evident. The Soviets were intent on thoroughly breaking the Germans…making them neutral and disarmed. Punishment was going to be at the top of the list. The United States saw things differently. They believed that the economic recovery of Western Europe depended of a strong, reunified Germany. The United States also felt that a rearmed Germany was going to be a stiff deterrent to further Soviet expansion into Western Europe. In May 1946, the Americans stopped reparations shipments from their zone to the Soviets. In December, the British and Americans combined their zones; the French joined some months later. The Soviets viewed these actions as a threat and issued more demands for more say in the economic future of Germany. On June 22, 1948, negotiations between the Soviets, Americans, and British broke down. On June 24, Soviet forces blocked the roads and railroad lines into West Berlin.

When the Soviets blocked the roads and railways, the Americans were furious. The question now became, what to do about it. Inside West Berlin there was panic. The people thought they were going to die. For a few tense The crew of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain load up a cargo of milk in Frankfurt Rhine-Main, part of the Berlin airlift during the Berlin Blockade, August 1948. The Soviet Union had blocked Allied access to West Berlin by land. (Photo by Henry Grant Compton/FPG/Getty Images)days, the world waited to see what the United States would do next. Then, just two days after the Soviets began the blockade, the United States reacted in a way that was so unexpected, and in the end, it would be a way that brought about that defining moment, and really set the stage for the humanitarian reputation the United States has today. A massive airlift of supplies was sent into West Berlin in what would become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. They looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. The successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union. On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.

San Francisco Cable CarWhile Bob and I were in San Francisco a number of years ago, we had the opportunity to ride the cable cars there. Cable cars, or trolley cars are pretty much a novelty in most places, but they used to be pretty commonplace. There are still many cities that operate a modern day version of the cable car, which is reality is more like a inter-city train than a cable car. But, the traditional cable car, street car, or trolley car were really very different from their modern day cousins, and the ride on the older version was really a lot of fun. Many cities had cable car systems that few people even remember. New York for example, has a huge subway system, but this came to be after the trolley system became problematic. Now, the old trolley system is just a faint memory, and in reality, one that is not very well known.

In fact, problematic was maybe an understatement when it comes to reality concerning the cable car system. Once the automobile became a common item in the American household, there were a number of incidences involving the automobile and the trolley The Ride Denver100_0262or cable car. I’m sure you can guess who won that battle. The trolley or cable car was bigger, and it was after all, limited as to where it could operate, while the automobile was free to go where it chose…pretty much anyway. Nevertheless, there were collisions between the two forms of transportation…as well as traffic jams at times. Eventually, with automobiles becoming so commonplace, the trolley or cable car began to go by the wayside…Finally ending up as the novelty it is today.

When my daughter, Corrie Petersen and I were in Minneapolis in August of 2005, we had the opportunity to take a city tour on an old trolley car. Of course this one was of the variety that had come out when the automobile came out. It needed no cable, but was rather a trolley car bus, I suppose. The seats and the windows were definitely authentic trolley car though. The tour was a lot of fun…probably mostly because it was a novelty trip. Bob and I had an additional opportunities in Alaska, on a tour of Anchorage. I really like the Forsyth, Montana Cable Cartrolley car tours.

The other day I was looking at some old pictures of Montana history, and I came across something about Forsyth that I didn’t know about before. The little town of Forsyth, population about 1400 people in 1914, with one maim street is a place that you can easily walk across in just a few minutes. Nevertheless, the little town of Forsyth, Montana had a cable car in 1914, so people could ride the length of that main street…probably eight to twelve blocks. I was amazed to learn of that little tidbit of Forsyth history, which was the place where many of Bob’s family members lived, and where many still live today.

GiGi and AleesiaNot every great grandmother is so blessed to have a really close relationship with their great grandchildren, and it is even more rare with the youngest of twenty great grandchildren, in which the oldest one is twenty four. My mother, Collene Spencer was a very blessed woman. Her relationship with her youngest great grandchild, Aleesia Spethman, who is my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s granddaughter, was one that was the rarest of the rare, and just as blessed for both of them. Aleesia has three older brothers, and at two years of age, taking her to all the activities the boys are into is difficult. That works our really well for my sister and it also worked quite well for our mom, because they got to see the baby often.

For Aleesia, the two relationships were different, even though they lived in the same house, and spent the time together. She loved both her grandma and her great grandmother, but the relationships were very unique. Aleesia decided that Mom would be called GiGi. Aleesia is too young to know that our mom was her great grandmother. The name GiGi seemed very fitting to my sister, because Mom was, after all Aleesia’s great grandmother, or GG. Aleesia loved coming over to GiGi’s house. Every time she came over, she would run in calling for GiGi. Then she would run over to see her. Aleesia trusted GiGi implicitly. Every time she was there, she would pull Mom’s walker over to Mom’s chair and climb up on it. Then she would jump from it into Mom’s arms. It never occurred to Aleesia that Mom wouldn’t catch her…she knew her GiGi would always catch her. It was a relationship that was so sweet to watch.

When Mom went to Heaven, the family and especially Aleesia’s parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, and my Catch me GiGisister, Cheryl, were worried about how Aleesia would deal with that, especially since Cheryl would continue to live in Mom’s house. She has done pretty well. She asked about Mom often at first, then she seemed to understand that GiGi wasn’t there, but even a two year old Aleesia is not immune to those ton of bricks moments. The other day, as Aleesia and my sister, her grandma, Cheryl were coming to the house to spend the evening at Mom’s house, Aleesia ran up to the door excitedly like she used to before, and knocking on it she said “We see GiGi?” Then she stopped and looked down, like she realized something. She turned and saw Mom’s car parked on the street, and with a really sad face, she said, “She’s not home.” Such a sad thing for a little two year old to have to try and understand, because her GiGi has always meant so much to her.

Allen L SpencerDad SchulenbergAll dads are special in their own ways, whether they are dad to boys, girls, or a mix of both, once they become dads they truly become a totally different person. A man who has never been a dad, can love children or not, but when the children are his own, they are just different…special, and well…perfect. Their own children are always amazing, and its simply because their are their own. It doesn’t really matter if they wanted boys or girls, or some of each, because when that little one arrives, their Daddy’s Heart kicks into high gear and they find themselves thinking that there never was a greater kid than the one they were given. And each new child is viewed the same.

I’ve seen the Daddy’s Heart in so many people, beginning with my own dad, Allen Spencer, then with my Bobhusband, Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg. Whatever their kids needed was priority. I don’t mean to say that we were all spoiled rotten, because we had rules and discipline, but when it came to making our lives wonderful, they were right there, making sure that we were so very blessed. It was not about lots of things, but rather the love they showed to us every day. Whenever things were wrong in our lives, there were our dads, with a hug and the words, “It will be alright.” And, of course, they were right. Everything was always alright, because our dads made sure of it, or maybe it was just their wisdom, in that they knew that the tragedies we faced today were most often not as bad as we thought they were, and tomorrow was another day…that would usually be much better, because things usually look very different the next day.

Then, I watched my sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce step into that role with their children, I could see that another generation of children in my family were in the very best of hands. Their dads, just like my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband before them had the Daddy’s Heart. They would do their very best to Kevin PetersenTravis Abraham Royceteach the kids the right way to go, and to fix the boo boos of life as they came along. Kevin and Travis are dads, and like all good dads, their kids are their top priority. And since their kids are pretty much grown now, I know that they will someday be the grandpas of their family. It is a place of honor and wisdom, and a place of being a little bit different kind of dad than they were before, but still a great blessing nevertheless. Happy Father’s Day to the dads in my life, and all dads everywhere. And a special Happy Father’s Day to my dad and my father-in-law in Heaven. We love and miss you very much, every day.