Monthly Archives: February 2016

scan0027It happens every year, although maybe not to this degree, but when it has been a long cold winter, the ice can get really thick on Lake Superior, and when it begins to thaw, ice can make its way onto the shoreline because of the movement of the deep water. I saw a video a few days ago that showed Lake Superior thawing and the ice shards coming ashore. They weren’t thick, because this Winter, while bad enough back there, was not as bad as the one we had in 1958, when I was almost two years old. That year, the ice was so thick, that it came ashore as very large ice slabs. When the ice comes into the shore on Lake Superior, it can overflow onto streets and yards near the shore.

I can’t say that I recall the time we spent on the ice slabs that year, but apparently the scan0028ice slabs, shards, or just ice in general are things that the people along Lake Superior celebrate. I suppose when Winter is a longer lasting season, finding a way to have fun in it is essential. Enter the Ice Festival. From what I can see, and I hope some of my Duluth/Superior family members will fill me in, there are a number of events. On the website, I saw ice sculptures, ice princesses, bon fires and s’mores, warming houses with hot drinks to warm up with, food, fireworks, children’s story time, and crafts, so there is truly something for everyone, and it’s all about having fun.

I don’t know if we were at an Ice Festival when my parents took us out to see the ice slabs on Lake Superior’s shores, but in looking at the pictures, I must say that they were definitely impressive. I know that the ice festival is not as much about the ice scan0044slabs around the lake, but rather about the fact that, at this point, most people are really over Winter by now. Finding fun things to do that are associated with ice, as well as the coming Spring, is a way to lift everyone’s spirits. I can tell from the pictures my parents took at the time, that they and we were impressed with ice slabs that had come on shore that year. I think anyone would have been impressed, because they were huge that year. Some of them were half my height, not that I was tall, but that really is pretty thick. I’m sure it was somewhat cold out there, and back then, little girls wore dresses a lot of the time, but my sister, Cheryl Masterson, and I did not seem to mind the cold. I guess it was the wonder of it all. Maybe that is why they have an Ice Festival..so people can embrace the ice…so to speak.

Edward O'HareButch_O'HareIt takes many different kinds of soldiers, foot soldiers, seamen, and airmen, to win a war. One group supports the others, and without all of them, winning a war in modern times would be next to impossible. Partly because my dad fought in World War II, I find myself most interested in that war. I am very proud of the part my dad played in shooting down enemy aircraft from his position as top turret gunner, and along with his crewmembers, providing air support for ground missions. Of course, many of the heroes who are remembered in a war, are the men in the little fighter planes. The fighting they do is very dramatic, and watching movies or documentaries about the planes they shoot down is exciting. We know of the dangers they face every time they take off, and that adds to the amazement when they are successful.

During World War II, to acquire Ace status, a fighter had to shoot down five enemy planes. On February 20, 1942, the United States received it’s first Flying Ace of World War II. His name was Lieutenant Edward O’Hare. O’Hare was a US Navy fighter pilot with the Fighting Squadron 3, aboard the USS Lexington. The Lexington, sailed into the Coral Sea in mid-February, 1942. Then on February 20th, as the Lexington neared Rabaul, Japanese radar picked up the ship. Japanese bombers headed straight for it. O’Hare and his team went into action. They were piloting F4F Wildcats. In just four minutes, O’Hare shot down five Japanese G4M1 Betty bombers. This ended the Japanese attack and O’Hare became an Ace. It also ended the planned raid, because the element of surprise was gone. O’Hare was awarded the first naval Medal of Honor awarded in World War II. He was a great shot, but on November 26, 1943, his luck ran out. His plane was shot down during a nighttime fighter attack near the Gilbert Islands. It was never found. In 1945, the Navy named a destroyer the USS O’Hare after him. Later, Chicago’s Orchard Depot Airport was renamed, O’Hare international Airport after him.
Richard_Bong_in_cockpitRichard Bong
O’Hare was the first ace of World War II, but he was not the Ace with the most kills in World War II…that honor belongs to a man born in the same town I was…Superior, Wisconsin. Richard Bong shot down 40 enemy aircraft before he was killed on August 6, 1945 over North Hollywood, California, while testing a P-80A jet. The plane exploded causing Major Bong’s death. The flying aces of World War II were many…too many to name here, but among the notables are Edward O’Hare, Richard Bong, and Chuck Yeager. All the aces were heroes.

Tin Bath TubCCI06282012_00022_editeddaIn the days before running water in homes, people had to go to river to bath, or bring water into the house from the river, creek, or well, and heat it on the stove so the family could bathe. Since families were usually large, the whole process took time, and heating water over and over again was not really feasible. What that meant was that the family pretty much all bathed in the same bath water. For the last guy, that had to be…well, disgusting, but that was the way it was done back in the old west, and even in more recent times when there was no running water in homes. For the little kids, however, I seriously doubt if it mattered. Getting wet was getting wet, and it really just didn’t matter what the water looked like…at least to the little boys. Girls might have felt differently. I think I would have.

Personally, if I had a river or creek available, I think I would use that…in the summer anyway. Then again, there is very little privacy in a river or creek…and you can’t exactly put up a curtain around a river. I can’t really imagine how they lived that way exactly. I guess in that way I’m a modern girl, and don’t try to take my shower away from me. Maybe that’s why Bob and I don’t go camping…no running water, or if there is, it’s very inconvenient. As I have said before, I love hiking and being outdoors, but I like the modern conveniences of a hotel room afterward.

Of course, when homes got running water, bathing in an old tin bath tub went the way of all things old west. Nevertheless, for babies…it doesn’t matter if they are bathing or just playing in a bucket, pan, or clothes Lazy QuincyAmy in a Shoe Boxbasket. Kids just like to play in them. I don’t think there is anything so amazing about that, like a throwback to the old west days of bathing in a barrel, but rather that kids just like finding different places to play. Things like an old box, barrel, or clothes basket are perfect. In that way, they remind me of cats. If you have ever watched a cat, you will find that they see a space, and if it looks fairly close to a good fit, in they dive. Babies tend to be that way too…but, the thing that is the funniest about that is when the baby tries to fit into a box that is seriously too small. Nevertheless, it’s a baby or cat thing.

imageimageKids grow up so fast. It seems like yesterday that our family welcomed my grand nephew, Easton Moore. In reality, that was twelve years ago today. Easton is in his first year of middle school this year, and he is having a great time. Kids do so much changing in that first year of middle school. It always seems like they literally go from being a little kid to a young adult…overnight. Easton is still too young to participate in sports, because the kids have to be in 7th grade for that, and he is in 6th grade, but that hasn’t stopped Easton from practicing his moves. Easton spends a lot of his spare time playing football, swimming, track, and basketball. He wants to make sure that he knows a lot about every sport…keeping his options open, don’t you know. As with most middle school kids, Easton really loves having his locker. It’s such a grown up thing for kids to have a locker that they can have their own things in, and it’s all safe, because it locks. Add to that, the newness of going from class to class, rather than staying in one room all day, and you have a whole new experience.

Like his dad, Easton is very much an outdoors kind of guy. Whenever the family goes camping, his dad, Steve Moore, brings his guns and works with Ethan and his older brother, Weston, teaching them how to shoot, as well as gun safety. Easton has become an excellent shot. Last week, Easton’s parents took him to Cody, Wyoming from their home in Powell. They had had found a good deal on a 22 long rifle, and the told Easton that it was to be his birthday present. As you can imagine, and see from this picture, it was as if they had handed him the moon. I seriously doubt if he could sit still the whole drive over to Cody. Getting your first gun is so cool. All you can think of is the next time you can go out shooting. He will have and even better time now, when they go camping and shooting, because he will be shooting his own gun. Of course, that makes you a better shot too, because you learn how the gun is going to react.

Easton is still into Legos too. That has amazed me over the years. Not that Easton is still into them, but rather what Legos have become. Whoever thought up Lego Robotics, had a really good idea. Many a child had learned from that. Like most kids his age, Easton also likes video games. His favorites are Legos and Mindcraft on Xbox. The family got a new Xbox Live for Christmas, so he can really expand his building abilities.

Easton is a good helper around the house too. Many kids whine and cry about having to clean, but he and the rest of his family have taken a pitch in and get it done attitude, so the cleaning gets done really quickly, leaving imageimagemore time to play. He is also a snuggler, and believe me, every mom or grandma who has one of those, is very blessed. Lots of kids, especially boys get over that pretty quickly, and when they are done, it’s a lonely sad feeling for their mom or grandma. Easton’s mom, my niece, Machelle Cook Moore, takes all the snuggles she can get, while she can get them. She knows that all too soon, he will be too “old” for snuggles. For now though, he’s still her snuggly boy. Today is Easton’s birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! Enjoy that new rifle, sharp shooter. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Carol Carlson with Uncle Bill 3When someone has Alzheimer’s Disease, or any form of Dementia for that matter, their family and friends know that there will be moments of clarity, amid many days in the fog. Those are the precious moments. Such was the case a few years ago, when my first cousin once removed, Carol Schumacher Carlson and some of her kids went to visit my Uncle Bill Spencer, who is Carol’s cousin. I’m not sure how long it had been since Uncle Bill had seen Carol, but it was one of those wonderful days. He looked at her and said, “Well, Carol, how have you been?” It was such a sweet moment for both of them. I’m sure that Carol expected that her cousin would have no idea who she was, but he knew her.

Carol Carlson with Uncle Bill 2I have had those moments when I have been so pleased that the person I’m talking to, knows me and times when they didn’t. I can tell you that the times they know you are far better…but you don’t get to choose those moments. It’s just not up to you, nor is it up to the Alzheimer’s patient. It just is what it is. You have to treasure the moments of clarity, and deal with the fog, because the patient has no control of it. Believe me, if they could control it, they would. No one wants to lose their memory. Everyone treasures those memories, and when they start to fade, it is sad for them…at least until they just don’t remember them anymore. At some point, it becomes more sad for the visitors than it is for the patient, because they no longer remember that they forgot.

I am so glad that my Uncle Bill and cousin Carol had such a nice visit, and that my Uncle Bill was having a 384188_2661409807172_728643262_ngreat moment of clarity, because the visit meant so much to both of them. Carol suffers from Dementia as well, and while neither probably remembers the visit now, the rest of us could tell that it was a very special moment. Sometimes, without even realizing it, kids can do something so special for their parents that, whether the parents remembers it forever or not, makes no difference, because the other people who witness it or see pictures of it, can see just what an amazing moment it really was. This was one of those amazing moments that will live in my memory files forever. I think Carol’s kids are all pretty amazing. They love Carol, and see to her needs in such wonderful ways. I love each and every one of them.

 

M_A_S_H_TV_title_screenFor years many Americans, myself included, were drawn into the Korean War, or at least one aspect of it, in the form of M*A*S*H, a popular television show about the way a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was run…sort of. The show took on more than just the hospital side, by including a comical side that portrayed the antics of Benjamin Franklin Pierce, aka Hawkeye, and his best friend and co-conspirator, BJ Honeycutt. I can’t say just how true to life the show was, but we all cried right along with the doctors and nurses when they lost a patient, and cheered when they saved one.

In reality, the MASH units were a vital part of the war effort, and the saving of A wounded American is lifted onto a helicopter at the 21st Inf. Regt. collecting station at Painmal, Korea, one mile sout of the 38th Parallel, for evacuation to a base hospital. April 3, 1951 NARA FILE # III-SC-362636 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1451the lives of many soldiers. These were amazing surgeons who learned techniques that cut corners, making surgeries faster and more efficient, bringing lifesaving changes to medicine in the process. The MASH units were originally established in August of 1945, and then were deployed during the Korean War and later conflicts. The Army deactivated the last MASH unit on February 16, 2006, which I did not know, but I’m sure most of my military friends probably did. The MASH units were replaced by the CSH or Combat Support Hospital. I’m sure the CSH units are amazing units too, and maybe someday they will have as big a place in history as the MASH units did, but unless they do a television show that is as popular as the M*A*S*H show was, I don’t think their place in history will be as well known to the American people as the MASH units were. I’m sure that with all the improvements, the CHS units are probably better and more up to date than the MASH units were, but in the hearts of the M*A*S*H fans, the CHS units have big shoes to fill.

Mash Unit 1Many an evening has found Bob and I watching a M*A*S*H marathon. And during the original years, we watched it every night that it was on. We simply liked the show. I have to wonder if any other war has been watched as much as the Korean War…even though people didn’t necessarily realize that they were watching a war, or at least a part of it. While we may not have really learned a lot about the Korean War from this source, we did learn something about one part of the war…a vital part in all reality. Now that M*A*S*H is on again as re-runs, we often fine ourselves watching it again…even though we know how it will end. It is just one of those timeless shows. You just really never get tired of them…even the re-runs.

Anna Louise Spencerimg392Autographing a yearbook, or in the past, an autograph book is a tradition that really never goes away. The school year…or a certain period in a person’s life is coming to an end. Friends want to be remembered and people want to remember their friends, so they write something in their yearbook that they hope will sound profound, sophisticated, grown up, or at the very least, not sound too stupid. It doesn’t matter that you know the annual yearbook signing is coming, when the moment arrives, you find yourself on the spot again. Do you write a poem? Do you say something goofy? Or, do you say something with deep feeling, knowing that you may not see these people much anymore…if at all? Of course, it depends on who you are speaking too. Goofy works for the class clown, and profound might be great for the valedictorian, and if these are your good friends, you might write something with a little more feeling, but if the classmates are little more than acquaintances, what do you want to say to them? I suppose that is more when the poem or saying of the day comes into play. I mean, you are on the spot, and you can’t take all day.

Still, there are times when the poem of the day says exactly what you are feeling, like the friends of my grandmother’s and my dad’s who had hoped that they would not be forgotten as the years passed. In reality, I think most of us remember most of our classmates, whether it’s is just their face, or even their name, but that doesn’t mean that we spend a lot of time with them over the years, unless they were really a good friend. Nevertheless, there were very few classmates who completely faded into obscurity to the point that we don’t even remember that they were classmates at all, and sometimes classmates come back into our lives to a degree, as is the case with people we reconnect with on Facebook or in some other online form of social media. That still doesn’t mean that the friendship has been completely rekindled, but rather that curiosity came into play a little bit, for a little while.

The main reason for autographs, I think, is to make a way to remember a time in our lives that we really can’t visit again. Even with class reunions and such, you really don’t go back to that time exactly. You and your classmates might talk a little bit about what you did in school, and a lot about what everyone is doing now, but Allen Spencer as a boyimg487at some point, there just isn’t that much to talk about anymore. Your lives have taken different directions, and you have very little in common. That’s probably why class reunions last for just a weekend, because if they were longer, no one would go. There just isn’t a weeks worth of conversations, unless you continued on as friends after your school days were over, And then you wouldn’t need a class reunion to get you together so you could catch up at all. I guess that’s why I think class reunions put you on the spot all over again.

Valentine's DayA lot of people think that a day like Valentine’s Day is simply a commercialized day to get people to part with their money, and maybe to a degree it is, but why not have a day to celebrate love. Our world seems to get more and more filled with hate every day, so maybe we really do need to had a day to celebrate love. A person doesn’t have to have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife to celebrate love either, because your valentine could just as easily be your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or friends too. All it takes is to have someone you truly care about. In fact, it’s even ok to have multiple valentines too. In my family, it has always been tradition for our parents to give valentines to all the kids and grandkids, and my sisters and I have continued the tradition. Our kids and grandkids always had a valentine, because after all love takes many forms, not just romantic love. They can even be from brothers, and sent on a day that isn’t even Valentine’s Day.

When I look back on all the years of valentines from the time I was just a little girl, through the grade school Valentine heartsyears, to boyfriends, and on the my family, I must say that other that valentines from my husband, Bob, none were a sweet as those to me from my parents, and I hope my children feel the same way. I guess it’s like most of the boyfriends, that never measured up. You think that certain things are so important, like having a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. As a teenager, that seems like the most important thing, and if you don’t have one, you feel like the loser of the year. Nevertheless, later on in life, you realize that all those years, all those boyfriends…or the lack thereof, meant nothing. Those boyfriends weren’t the ones who stayed with you. Their gifts were nothing more that cheap glitter, even when placed next to the smallest, most inexpensive gift from the one who really loves you and has chosen to spend the rest of their lives with you. Just the gift of self from someone who really loves you, boyfriend or husband…well, it makes the others look like dirt, even if they cost more, because cost has little to do with it.

Beyond the romantic valentines, comes the family valentines. Those family valentines, even if they cost just Valentine from her brotherpennies…or nothing at all…are worth really, solid gold. Drawings done by your babies in pre-school or Kindergarten, are simply priceless, because they come from the best that is in your children, and they portray the love they have for their parents. When they are grown and out of your house, those little echoes of their younger years will be beautifully enhanced by things like valentines drawings done when they where little more than babies. Valentine’s Day is for lovers, it’s true, but some of the sweetest valentines are those that cost nothing, but are worth millions because they were sent with more love that anything that was purchased. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!! I hope your day is filled with true love.

imageAmy & Travis in SeattleYesterday was my daughter, Amy Royce’s last day at her job at Insurance Services Group in Edmonds, Washington. They gave her a nice sendoff, and were sorry to see her go. This wasn’t the original plan when Amy, her husband, Travis, and their son, Caalab moved to the Seattle area, but as things sometimes do, their plans were changed when they bought a house in the little town of Ferndale, Washington, which is ten miles north of Bellingham, an hour and a half north of their apartment in Lynwood, Washington. For that reason, it is no longer feasible for Amy to work in Edmonds. The drive home last night took Amy two hours, because of traffic…and that was on the interstate. A drive like that on a daily basis would be grueling…to say the least.
Guitars
I have a feeling that this new chapter in their lives is going to be very different from any other chapter in their lives. Having come from a city of 55,000 plus people, and then from Lynnwood, which has a population of 36,000 plus people…which is deceiving in that the cities in that area all run together, making the true population much higher in reality, this change is surprising for sure. You see, Ferndale, Washington is a small town of 11,415 people. It just grew by two, and when Caalab moves up, three, but that still makes it a small town. To top it off, their home is about 5.6 miles north of town. What that means is that my little country girl, turned city girl, is not a country girl again. That is totally shocking to me, because she couldn’t wait to move to town when we lived in the country. Things do change as you get older, I guess. What you didn’t like before doesn’t seem so bad now. Still, it’s strange to think of Amy using propane and having a well.

Now the real work begins. Amy and Travis will be unpacking and setting up their new home, while Caalab will stay at the apartment in Lynnwood until his last day at his job. He will join them toward the end of the month. PackingNew HouseI’m very excited to see how the house looks when they are done, but that may take a little bit of time, since they will start their new jobs on Wednesday. Both of them will be working in Bellingham, so they can take one car to work. I’m not sure of the name of the shop where Travis will be working, but Amy will be joining Rice Insurance. That is a great opportunity for her, because Rice Insurance writes for all 50 states. She has a lot to learn, but it will be exciting for sure. Caalab will be going to school soon, but that’s another story. I am very happy for them. This is going to be a great new chapter in their lives.

USS Macon aSparrowhawk hanging from USS MaconI think most of us have heard of the Hindenburg…the hydrogen filled blimp like airship the crashed in a ball of fire on May 6, 1937, bringing with it a loss of 36 lives…amazing when you consider that there were 97 people on board when that ball of fire crashed. What many people may not know is that the Hindenburg was not the only hydrogen powered airship. The USS Macon (ARS-5), named for Macon, Georgia and operated by the United States Navy for scouting and served as a “flying aircraft carrier” as well. It was designed to carry biplane parasite aircraft. Macon held single seat Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawks for scouting or two seat Fleet N2Y-1 for training. The Macon was a little under 20 feet shorter than the Hindenburg. The USS Macon also had a sister ship…the USS Akron (ARS-4).

The USS Macon was in service less than two years, when on February 12, 1935 it was damaged in a storm and crashed off California’s Big Sur coast. Most of the crew was saved, and the wreckage remains on the ocean floor. The site of the wreckage remains on the United States National Register of Historic Places. I find myself interested in things like shipwrecks and plane crashes, but the ones underwater are especially interesting, because they are so inaccessible to most people. The USS Macon, like the Hindenburg proved not to be the best choice of an airship. There were really to many conditions that could easily bring them down. And the fact that they contained so much helium made then a flying bomb, in all reality. I don’t suppose that was something they considered when making these machines, but I’m sure it later became the reason that they discontinues this type of airship. I find it quite sad that it too two crashes to realize that they were not the safest way to fly.

I suppose they served their purpose though. I think it’s amazing that they could actually carry a plane on a hook and let it take off from the air. Launching and recovery from the airship in flight was done using a skyhook. The Sparrowhawk had a hook mounted above its top wing that attached to the cross-bar of a trapeze mounted on the carrier airship. For launching, the trapeze was lowered clear of the hull into the moving airship’s slipstream. With engine running, the Sparrowhawk would then disengage its hook and fall away from the airship. For recovery, the biplane would fly underneath the airship, until it was beneath the trapeze. The Sparrowhawk airplanes from wreck of USS MaconUSS Macon Sparrowhawk hookpilot would climb up from below, and hook onto the cross-bar. Once the Sparrowhawk was secure, it could be hoisted by the trapeze back within the airship’s hull, the engine was cut as it passed the hangar door. To me, this seems like a tricky maneuver, but the pilots soon learned the technique and said it was much easier than landing on a moving aircraft carrier. Soon, the pilots acquired the nickname “The men on the Flying Trapeze” and their aircraft were decorated with appropriate emblems. Now to me…that is cool!!