Monthly Archives: October 2015

Denny FredrickMy cousin, Dennis Fredrick and I have been emailing back and fourth for a few weeks now, and it has brought our relationship back to what if used to be, years ago. Time and distance make it difficult for people to stay in touch…even relatives. That is what happened with Denny and me, and now that we have begun to move our relationship back where it should be, I think we are both much happier about it. It’s amazing just how much you miss of someone’s life. The years go by so fast, and before you know it you can feel like you hardly know them anymore, and that is a sad thing to see happen between cousins. The good news is that it’s not too late to change all that, and that is exactly what Denny and I have set out to do.

Denny recently retired, and that has given him more time to devote to the family history. It’s perfect timing, because I have some pictures that I wanted his opinion on, and he has found some great documents that most of the family had never seen before. Denny’s mom, my Aunt Laura Fredrick has been working on the family history for years, and being the oldest of my grandparents’ children, she had the opportunity to have a copy of her parents’ marriage certificate. With her passing, her years of hard work on the family history were passed on to her son Denny. Now, with Denny’s extra time, and my knowledge of Ancestry.com, it is my hope that we can make some the information available online, as well as to other family members who are online, but maybe not on Ancestry.com.
Just Me
Of course, the family history is not the only thing that Denny and I have been talking about. There are so many memories to talk about. Our families were so close when they lived in Casper. we loved it when they came over. There was always something fun going on. The conversation was interesting, and there was a closeness between the families. After their move to Oregon, we didn’t get to see them as much. That is the part that both Denny and I feel a loss over. Nevertheless, it’s never too late to catch up on the past, so that’s what Denny and I intend to do…making up for lost time. That is our ultimate goal. It might be a long road, but it will be worth it in the end. Today is Denny’s birthday. Happy birthday Denny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

First Camerascan0027_editedI remember getting my first camera. I was probably 6 years old at the time. Once I got it, I was almost never without it. I can’t say that I took the greatest pictures in those days, but what I can say is that I was often behind the camera rather than in the pictures. That had its good and bad points to it. The good thing was that I took pictures of the things that held an interest to me. The bad part was that often, I wasn’t in the pictures. I had never really given much thought to that until we began looking for pictures to use in the slide show for my dad’s funeral. It was hard to find some of me with my dad. I felt quite sorry about that. in the end, we found enough pictures, but I started thinking about the years ahead. I knew that I needed to do something different.

Being a photographer is a wonderful thing, and I will always love to be a photographer, but I have learned that the photographer sometimes has to relinquish the camera and be in the picture. If you never do that, it’s hard for anyone to know that you belong to the group being photographed. While that isn’t always a problem, there are times in life when it is a problem…such as the time I mentioned before. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is great fun to be the photographer. When I see the pictures taken by other photographers, I get great ideas for shots I want to take myself. Of course, there are just pictures that happen, and no planning could make them any better than the shot you got almost by accident. Personally, I love taking wildlife pictures, with birds in flight being at the top of my list. Those are among the most difficult to take. The birds are moving so fast that by the time you get the camera ready and focused, the birds are long gone. It is a type of shot that takes lots of practice, but one that is very rewarding once you succeed.Annual Picnic 3John Seagull

It’s strange to think that the hardest lesson for a photographer to learn can be to make sure you get in a few of the pictures yourself. You would think that would just be second nature to someone who knows the value of pictures. I’ve never felt like I am very photogenic, and maybe that is why I don’t feel such a need to be in the pictures, but after many years as an amateur photographer I realize what a folly that is. Good, bad, or ugly, I needed to be in a few of those shots.

Uncle Jim RichardsMy Uncle Jim Richards is a family man with deep values and loyalties. He is not one to turn away anyone in need. His home has been a shelter for a number of different people over the years. That said, I can tell you that his home has also been very blessed because of his generosity too. I don’t think that we can be givers in this world without God returning good things to us too. Uncle Jim and his wife, my Aunt Dixie have been blessed with three children, Jeannie Liegman, Jim Richards, and Raylynn Williams, as well as five grandsons and one granddaughter. They are a close family, who gets together every day. I suppose that there are people who think that is odd, but I think it is wonderful. Children and grandchildren are among God’s greatest IMG_6712blessings, and to have them close is priceless…and any grandparent who doesn’t get to watch their grandchildren grow up would tell you the same thing. Those years go by so fast. You have to enjoy while you can.

Uncle Jim is a gentle man with soft spoken way. I’m sure he could get angry if the situation warranted it, but I’ve never seen him angry. That says a lot about his level of patience…to be around all the kids in our whole family, all being rowdy at the same time, and to still have patience with them…amazing. It is especially amazing when the children are not his. That is just the kind of uncle he is though.

Uncle Jim and Aunt DixieUncle Jim has always been a soft spoken man, with a great smile. His joy in life shows all over his face. Uncle Jim and his family have always lived in the country, raising chickens and such. it seemed a life he was suited to. Over the years, they have taken care of many of the children in the family while their parents worked. I have spoken to several of them, and they all have fond memories of their time at Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s place. Every one of them had a wonderful time out there. That speaks volumes about the loving atmosphere they built into their home. When the children in your care have fond memories of the time they spent there…even when they are adults, you are doing something right. Today is Uncle Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

IMG_2058Because Bob and I took a cruise to Alaska last year, I have found myself interested in all things Alaskan. I don’t really think I would want to move to Alaska, because I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to snow and cold, but I have to say that Alaska is absolutely beautiful…and yes, I would got back for a vacation again…in a heartbeat. While I didn’t like the cool weather, Alaska is a place like no other. The United States took possession of Alaska on this day October 18, 1867, after purchasing it for $7.2 million…less than 2 cents an acre. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson. Many people thought the purchase was frivolous. Public opinion of the purchase turned more favorable when gold was discovered in a tributary of Alaska’s Klondike River in 1896, sparking a gold rush. Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959, and is now recognized for its vast natural resources and great beauty.

Since we were there, I found an app for my phone that tells me about earthquakes around the world, and since Great Alaska Earthquake 1964Alaska gets a lot of them, the names of some of the places we were at have shown up on my app periodically. There haven’t been any huge earthquakes, but there are still earthquakes. The reason earthquakes grabbed my interest was because of a movie we watched in Anchorage, about the about the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake that occurred there. It was the largest earthquake in the history of the United States, registering 9.2 on the Richter Scale. The devastation from that earthquake is something that I will never forget. I wasn’t even there, and I will never forget it. When we walked past the area where so many houses were simply swallowed up…well, it was an eerie feeling. It was hard to shake it. One minute people were living their lives, and the next they are buried alive. Still, life moved on, and people persevered.

It takes a rather tough breed of people to live in Alaska. The weather gets extreme, and much of the state is, and always will be a wilderness area. Half of the year has extra long days, and half of the year has extra long nights. Yet, even with the extreme and sometimes brutal weather, the people of Alaska stay there. They work hard all summer to prepare for the long winter, and in summer’s long days, they are outside enjoying the fresh Big Alaskaair well into the nighttime hours, because they know that the winter is coming and with it will be the short, cold, dark days. I don’t think most of us could handle Alaska, and yet those who do feel that it is a gift. And that is something I can understand.

While I didn’t get to see the Aurora Borealis, I know that I would go back to Alaska for an Aurora Tour in a heartbeat. The mountains there are beautiful, and everything has a feeling of vastness. Alaska is a beautiful state, and one I would really recommend that people visit. While I wouldn’t live there, I would definitely go back there. You simply can’t see Alaska in a one week trip. All that does is whet your appetite. I’m really glad that we purchased Alaska, even if the people weren’t sure it was a great idea at first.

BR two years agoTwo years seems like such a long time in many ways, but in others, it is no time at all. Two years ago today, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg was in the midst of a medical crisis. She went into the hospital with Congestive Heart Failure, Cellulitis, and Severe Sleep Apnea. She was in a lot of trouble. Her future looked very grim. Brenda had a big decision to make, and she had to make that decision for herself, because no one could do it for her. Brenda either had to lose weight…a lot of weight, or she was not going to live much longer.

Believe it or not, most people would have given up at that point, but Brenda isn’t most people. She decided that 50 years was not enough to call a full life. She wanted more. Nevertheless, the task of losing the weight and actually getting in shape seemed daunting. To really get into the kind of shape she needed to, Brenda would need to lose about 340+ pounds. Of course, part of that was going to be skin in the end, but it would take at least 340 pounds to get to a good weight for her 5’3″ frame. Nevertheless, losing the weight was only going to be part of the transition for Brenda.

In order to be healthy and keep the weight off, Brenda was going to have to get some activity into her life. The logical activity was one that a number of her family members love to do…hiking. For Brenda, the hike began indoors at Sunrise Shopping Center. That first hike was a short one, because it took everything she had in her to do it. Using a walker, and stopping frequently, she made that first hike. The short indoor hike using a walker is far in Brenda’s past now. These days, Brenda loves to hike Casper Mountain, with the Bridle Trail at the top of the list. Two years ago, the Bridle Trail seemed an impossible dream, but no more. The Bridle Trail is one that Brenda now hikes often.

One of the things that Brenda was told is that at some point, she will not look at activity as exercise, but as fun activity. I know that she never thought that day would come either, but these days, exercise is a thought that is far in Brenda’s past, and activity is what she does now. Brenda has become an inspiration to many people, BR after two yearswho have begun to follow in her footsteps now. She has decided to try to become a mentor to others who are in the position she was in. She wants to let people know that they can change their life, and all it really takes in the first step.

Today, as Brenda celebrates two years of really living, she will celebrate with a hike…of course. A group of her friends and family will hike the Bridle Trail. I have to wonder what Brenda is thinking about this years hike. What had seemed like an impossible dream is now a possible reality. Looking back and reflecting on all she has done, and just how far she has come, one realizes just what an amazing accomplishment this has been. For anyone who thinks they can’t do this, I recommend that you ask my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg what she thinks about that. I can tell you, without a doubt that she would tell you to focus on the finish line, and never give up. The impossible is possible, but only if you don’t quit. The only way to fail to reach your goal is to quit. Congratulations Brenda!! You have come a long way, and the future is bright now. Never quit, and you will always be strong and healthy. We love you!!

Allyn Spencer graduationI think it is always a cool thing when we look through old family pictures of people we never knew, or at least don’t remember, and suddenly find ourselves looking at a familiar face…one very similar to our own. Such was the case for my youngest sister, Allyn Spencer Hadlock, when she read my story a couple of days ago, about my great aunts, Mina, Bertha, and Elsa. For much of her life, Allyn had noticed similarities between her sisters and other family members, and in reality there are many strong family resemblances, but she just didn’t see one that she could say looked a lot like her. She just assumed that she was of the Heinz 57 variety…a mix of several or many other family members. All that changed when she read my story, and looked at the picture of our great aunt, Mina Schumacher Spare. The picture of Mina bore a remarkable resemblance to pictures of Allyn, and to certain looks she saw in her reflection in the mirror.

Something about Mina’s face simply reminded Allyn of herself. She mentioned it to me, and I set about looking at pictures of Allyn and Mina to see for myself. I think Allyn hit the nail on the head. While Allyn’s eyes are bigger than Mina’s, the rest of her face is quite similar to Mina’s. I always find it quite remarkable to be able to see ourselves in the face of one of our ancestors. I am finding more and more that the Schumacher genes in my family tree are very strong genes. There are similarities that have jumped out at us through several of our family members and the Schumacher family, which is to say our grandma, Anna Schumacher Spencer and her parents and siblings. I love finding look alikes among the family members and ancestors. It gives people such a sense of belonging to see just where their characteristics came from.

For Allyn, who had always felt like simply a mix of the ancestors, seeing a picture of Mina that reminded her so much of herself, was a very cool feeling, and I can relate. I have come across different pictures of myself that remind me of Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren, Aunt Ruth Spencer Wolfe, my daughter, Amy Royce, and my granddaughter Shai Royce. When you find that look alike, it seems to leap off the screen at you. It is just the coolest feeling, because even though you never had any doubt that you were a part of this family, you still wondered just exactly where you fit in. Then, when it has becomes so very clear, just exactly where you fit in, you start looking for other similarities you might have with that person, such as the fact that I laugh exactly like my Aunt Ruth…so much so, that every time I laugh, she comes to my mind. It is another connection I have to her, even though she passed away in 1992.

Unfortunately, Allyn and I don’t recall Great Aunt Mina or Great Aunt Bertha, so we are not aware of other similarities, although I have been told that I got my writing abilities from Great Aunt Bertha…a thought that I am honored to hear, because I consider her a great writer. Great Aunt Mina was a very capable woman, who Min Schumachergot an education that was more than what many women received in those days, and that moved her into supervisory positions at her work. Allyn has that capability too, and in fact was just promoted to Clinic Billing Supervisor at Central Wyoming Neurology, where she has worked for some time now. She has shown that her abilities are just what they want in their office, and we are all very proud of her achievements. I’m sure her look alike, Great Aunt Mina Schumacher Spare would have been too. It is a testament to her belief if a good education, and never giving up just because you are a woman…something that we don’t have as big a problem with these days, but that Mina and her sisters, Bertha and Elsa dealt with for sure. Obviously, there is more about Allyn and Mina that is alike than just their pretty faces.

scan0036For most little girls, their daddy is just about the greatest guy on earth. They are their hero, and often the guy they want to marry, or at lease someone just like their daddy. Some kids want to marry their parents, but I don’t recall ever saying that to my dad, but I guess I don’t remember everything I ever said, so I might have. Nevertheless, my sisters and I thought our daddy was a pretty great guy, and we always felt very blessed that he was our daddy.

My sister, Cheryl Masterson had the advantage over the rest of us in that she had more time with Dad than we did, simply because of age. I’m sure that the rest of us probably had the chance to do some of the things Cheryl did too, but maybe we didn’t think of it. I think a lot of kids, boys and girls alike are quite fascinated with the whole process of shaving. I remember watching my dad whip up his lather in a mug that he had, because when he started shaving, there was no such thing as conditioning shaving cream. The men made their own lather from soap in a mug. To us, that was a cool process, and we really didn’t get tired of it. Watching Daddy shave was one of the best things about mornings when we were little. We didn’t always get to watch though, because oftentimes he had to go to work early, and we were still in bed. Nevertheless, when we did get to watch, we might end up with soap on our noses, a common occurrence, and then we would get to help with aftershave, or we might even get some on us…early perfume, and we didn’t even care if it was for men.

Of course, we always knew that our daddy could do anything. Of that fact, there was no doubt. Daddy could give two kids a piggy back ride as easily as he could give one kid a piggy back ride. That was because he could do anything. We always knew that. I think lots of girls think that their daddy can do anything. It’s because we just love our daddies so much, and as far as I’m concerned, my daddy was the best daddy in the whole world. I suppose all kids say that, but I believe that with all my heart.scan0025

When I look back on all the wonderful things our dad did for us, I get a sense of just what a saint he was. My sisters and I were always very afraid of moths…even if they were all the way across the room. Dad never got mad, and he never made us kill the moth ourselves. He just took care of it, because his little girls didn’t like them. The same thing applied to spiders, or any other creepy crawly bug. With our dad, we got to be girly girls…even if that seems wimpy to some people. Dad knew we were girly girls, and it didn’t matter, because we where his girly girls…and he was our amazing daddy. Life was great…in fact, it was perfect. It doesn’t get any better. We love you Daddy.

007b1 Mina SchumacherYears ago, most women didn’t work. In fact, the women who taught school were considered to be of reduced circumstances. The same was thought of women who had to turn their homes into a boarding house. Of course, we all know that times have greatly changed now. Most women work, and many in jobs that require high levels of education, as well as women in oil field jobs and other jobs that used to be considered for men only, and even in combat. Nevertheless, in the 1800s and even in the early 1900s, women working was not so common.

That said, there were a few forward thinking people who saw the future in a way that others didn’t. My great grandparents, Carl and Henriette Schumacher were two of those forward thinking people. They wanted to make sure that their children got a good education, including the girls. Because their parents felt that way, all of their girls got the kind of Bertha Schumacher Hallgreneducation they had, and if they needed to, the girls could take care of themselves as well as their brothers could.

My Great Aunt Mina, felt like she and her younger sisters needed to be able to do all of the clerical work that any office could need to have done. For that reason, they were able to get jobs that in many ways were better than some men could get…not that they were paid better than the men in most cases, but these girls were not simply left in the secretarial pool with other women who couldn’t run equipment that was more complicateed than a typewriter. The Schumacher girls were better at using much of the machines than their male counterparts, and were often called to train the men. I guess when you think about it, the training that my great aunts got was so far ahead of their time that people probably thought their parents were crazy.Elsa Schumacher

I can’t say that my great aunts were never homemakers, just that if they needed to, they could easily support themselves. Their training did help them out in the years that they were taking care of their parents. They needed to have a job to have enough money to take care of them in the way they needed. While Mina was married, Bertha and Elsa didn’t get married until after her parents passed away. Even then, they had to take care of themselves for a while before they met and married their husbands. Then, their husbands didn’t live for very many years, so the girls had to take care of themselves again. I guess this proves that even back then, women needed to have an education that would allow them to take care of themselves if they ever have to.

scan0038An only child, or a child who doesn’t have a sibling yet, simply cannot understand just how much fun a sibling can be. It isn’t their fault, and it isn’t that they don’t want to play with other kids, it’s just that they don’t have a lot of other kids around on a regular basis. Those kids simply learn to be around adults, or they learn to entertain themselves. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this in any way, just that when there is a sibling in the family, things change.

For two years, my sister, Cheryl Masterson was an only child, but then I came along, and those days were over. I know that she was very excited about having a little sister, even though she did have a cousin, Pam Wendling, who lived just on the other side of the back fence, but I was her first sibling. We used to have lots of fun together, like most siblings do. It’s just something new, and even later on, you always have a friend. Sisters as you know are forever friends.scan0037a

Once, Cheryl had a little sister, life as she knew it changed. As kids, we did a lot of things together. I recall movies, in which Cheryl tried to keep up with me in a crawling race, and apparently, I was too fast for her, because she ended up standing up to try to beat me across the room. That isn’t so odd, when you consider that most of us quit crawling when we learn to walk. That would tend to make us a little bit slower when it came to crawling in a race. Anyway, in crawling races, I won and she lost. I’m sure that when it came to walking races, she had it over me, because after all, I had to crawl, since I hadn’t learned to walk yet.

The biggest problem that Cheryl had, as far as our time together was concerned, was when I was napping and she was awake. Once a child has a sibling, they don’t like waiting for their sibling to wake up when they want to play. That naptime thing can seem endless. They begin to wonder if that kid is ever going to wake up. There is fun to be scan0033had, games to play, and well, just stuff to do, and all that kid wants to do is sleep.

That was where Cheryl found herself on one particular occassion. I was sleeping and apparently she had taken her nap and was now waiting for me to wake up. I guess I was taking too long, because, she started to ask Mom why they couldn’t just wake me up. Well, I don’t know if I was grouchy if they woke me up early, or what, but I guess Mom wasn’t too keen on the idea. Cheryl, on the other hand looks very annoyed that I was sleeping, and Mom would do nothing about it. Sorry Cheryl, if I had only known, I would have woke up just for you, but I simply had no idea, because, I was asleep.

10527326_10202299152067747_6858961738343546900_nAt this time of year, many people turn their attention to the fine art of…hunting. And my nephew, Ryan Hadlock is no exception to that rule. This year, Ryan’s interest has turned to duck hunting. While any kind of hunting is a challenge, I think it would be especially difficult to shoot a flying target. I love to take pictures of birds, especially in flight, but they are hard to capture. The camera gives me far more chances to capture a bird in flight than someone with one bullet at a time. For that reason, I have to respect someone who can shoot a bird in flight. I don’t think that is such an easy thing to do.

Ryan is a great husband to his wife, Chelsea, and a great dad to his children, Ethan and Aurora. Those are the most important jobs of his life, even if they don’t feel like work. Ryan and Chelsea have always had a lot in common, and that made them compatable from the very start. Sharing your life with someone is easy, when you are both going the same direction. Then, when they had their children, they both showed everyone what great parents they are. Ethan and Aurora are wonderful kids with good manners and sweet personalities, even if they do take after their dad in the teasing department.11986937_10207241894556588_5179927847889566122_n

Of course, it could be all in the way Ryan was raised…and I don’t mean by his parents. Ryan is the only boy in a family of four children. His sisters have picked on him unmercifully. Not in a mean way, of course, it’s just the way that family functioned. And don’t get the idea that Ryan couldn’t dish it out, because he could. One time he told his youngest sister, Kellie not to dance with boys at the prom. Needless to say, her date was…you guessed it…a boy!! Everyone in this family teased everyone else. Ryan was slightly outnumbered, however. I’m not so sure that really mattered, but the girls did try to gang up on him some. And, even when it comes to his birthday card, which his sisters, Jessi and Kellie laughed about uncontrollably for the entire day. The card read, “Once upon a time, a very special person was born, who was destined to change the world.” And inside it said, “Calm down, it’s not you, it’s Jesus. I think he’d want you to have a happy birthday though.” You have to admit…it was funny!!

As to the serious side of Ryan, if there is one, he loves his job and works very hard at it. Ryan is a compression operator for FDL Energy, LLC. FDL Energy bought Anadarko which is where my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens and also Ryan work. In fact, Mike is Ryan’s supervisor, and they both get along very well. Gas compressor 10396299_10202299151787740_4098311407718402878_noperators follow a schedule provided by petroleum engineers or production supervisors to operate compressor engines, pumps and auxiliary equipment in a way that allows for appropriate flows of gas. They are responsible for adjusting controls and valves, regulating pressures and monitoring meters. Gas compressor operators keep records of meter and gauge readings to determine the temperature, amounts of gas received and dispensed, pressure and consumption rate variations. They may also collect gas samples for laboratory testing. I’m not sure how much of that Ryan does, but it was interesting to learn about his job. Ryan is a man of many skills. He can learn just about anything he sets his mind to. That’s what makes him a great employee. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!