Monthly Archives: February 2016
These days, when a new president makes the move from their current home to the White House, it is a huge production. Very little of the packing is actually done by the first family. Things were much different in 1861, when President Abraham Lincoln was moving to Washington DC. When Abraham Lincoln moved to Washington DC, he packed his family’s belongings himself. His wife Mary was in Saint Louis on a shopping trip, so she would join him later in Indiana. It was on this day, February 11, 1861 that Abraham Lincoln boarded a two car private train…probably the only special thing about this transition. After an emotional speech to his fellow Springfield, Illinois citizens, Abraham Lincoln moved to Washington DC. The day was cold and rainy…much like the mood as Lincoln left his friends. He spoke to a crowd before departing: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being…I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.” One of the people who attended the speech, said that the president-elect’s “breast heaved with emotion and he could scarcely command his feelings.”
It’s hard to say if Lincoln had an inkling that he was not just saying “goodbye for now” to the citizens of Springfield, Illinois, or not, but there is no doubt that he knew that his presidency was going to be difficult…to say the least. Since his election, seven southern states has seceded from the Union. The nation was in the middle of a national crisis. President Lincoln knew that the nation was quite likely heading for a civil war. In short order, he was proven to be correct, when our nation embarked on one of the most bitter wars it ever fought…waged against its own people, over slavery.
When Lincoln said that it was possible that he would never return to Springfield, he was ironically very correct. While he returned in body, he did not return in life…as we all know, because he was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, and died at 7:22am the morning of April 15, 1865. Booth opposed Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves, and maybe felt like killing him would somehow change that. Of course, it did not. After his passing, Lincoln’s body made a two week train trip back to Springfield, Illinois for burial, taking a route that would allow the people to pay tribute along the way. Memorial services were held at different towns when the train passed through them. It was the only time he rode in the new private train car that had been built just for him.
My youngest sister, Allyn Spencer Hadlock was born when I was 7 years old, so by the time I married when I was almost 19, she was just 12 years old. That was really just about the time she was coming into her own. Really, before that time, she was mostly the baby sister, and even at the time that Allyn and my other two younger sisters, Caryl Spencer Reed and Alena Spencer Stevens sang at my wedding, Allyn seemed like such a little girl…especially when I look at the pictures of the girls on my wedding day.
Little did we know about all the amazing abilities my baby sister would have as an adult. Allyn is someone I would trust in any office setting. She has been an insurance agent, a billing specialist in a medical office, as well as in a radioligy office and an oxygen supply office. In the middle of her employment history, when she was getting married herself, Allyn discovered her ability to make silk flower bouquets. In fact, her own wedding was the first, and they were beautiful. Since that time, she has become the family florist, because as we all know, silk flower bouquets are so much better. They always look amazing, and they become a permanent memory for the bride and groom.
Other than being a mother, I think that Allyn’s greatest and most favorite role is that of grandma. Allyn is currently grandma to Ethan and Aurora Hadlock, the children of her son Ryan and his wife, Chelsea, but I know that she is looking forward to more grandchildren in the future. As grandma, Allyn gets to be a kid again. That is a big thing for grandmothers, as most of them will tell you. Allyn and her grandkids love to play in the leaves in the fall, and of course, watch all the latest cartoons. I really had no idea just how much fun cartoons could be…until I had my own grandkids. I’m sure she feels the same way.
Allyn also loves to travel to see her daughter, Lindsay Moore, and her husband, Shannon, who live in Miami, Florida right now, but are in the process of moving to Greenville, North Carolina. I’m not sure how Allyn feels about this latest move, because she has really enjoyed the trips to Florida in the winter. It made for a great escape from the frozen Wyoming winters. Nevertheless, I know that if Lindsay and Shannon are there, they will be happy to visit. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Few things change a man as much as becoming a father. I think most women understand how they feel when they first hold that baby in their arms, but unless the baby was adopted, the mother carried that baby inside her for nine months. After that, you almost know that baby’s personality. Things are quite different for a man. They don’t have the insight that the mother has. For them, that insight comes when they first get to look at their baby. Suddenly, they know that this little tiny person is a part of them too. Mothers have that understanding every time the baby kicks, but fathers get that little revelation when they first see and hold their child. It is a defining moment in their lives…and it shows on their face. Everything is different now This little human being is theirs. They have a responsibility to take care of this little baby and the baby’s mother. They are now a family man. It’s very exciting, and maybe just a little bit intimidating too.
For Jake this past year has been filled with such wonderful blessings. He is engaged to a wonderful girl…Melanie Price, and is step dad to her little girl, Alice. Jake and Alice get along so well, and they have lots of fun, but now there is little Izabella to complete the family…at least for now. One never knows what the future will hold for them. Right now they are just enjoying their little family to the fullest. If Jake had the jitters concerning his little daughter, he really hasn’t shown it much at all. He has stepped into his new role with confidence and a style all his own, and that is awesome.
Jake has grown and changed much over the last few years. He has been with FedEx for a number of years now, and is a supervisor for them. He loves his job, but of course, he loves coming home to his family even more. I always knew that Jake had potential. I knew that he was going to turn into a good man and a great father. Above all else that Jake is…he is a kind man. He is quick to show his love for others. He is full of energy, and like many men, he is a big kid at heart, but when it comes right down to it, Jake would give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. He comes from a long line of people who are like that. For Jake, and his fiancée, Melanie, the journey to their future is just beginning…and, it’s going to be a great life. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s 2nd great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin DeGood was a blacksmith in Galena, Kansas in 1900. He and his two oldest sons ran the business together, as often happened in families. If the parents were farmers, often so were the children. So in this case, because their dad was a blacksmith, William and Clyde grew up in the trade, and began working with him. In 1900, Galena was a town of 10,155 people…the largest population it had before or after that time. The railroad established the territory of Galena in 1871, but the town wasn’t established until the discovery of lead there in the spring of 1877. As with any mining operation back then, there were other occupations that became necessary, blacksmiths being one of them.
Benjamin and his family were living in Nebraska, when Bob’s great grandmother, Nellie DeGood Knox was born in Springfield on October 6, 1887, but by the birth of her younger brother Ernest on December 31, 1892 the family was living in Columbus, Kansas. By the December 9, 1898 birth of Benjamin’s youngest daughter, Beulah, the family was living in Galena, Kansas. Then in the 1900 census, Benjamin and his two eldest sons had a blacksmith shop in Galena.
I have to wonder what it was like to be a blacksmith in the 1900s. Cars had made their first appearance on the scene in 1893, and while I’m sure many people were sure they were a passing fad that was less than safe. It’s also quite possible that they were too expensive for the average person, but as a blacksmith, I have to wonder if Benjamin could see the writing on the wall. The days of the blacksmith having steady work were numbered. Nevertheless, he had to continue to do the job he knew as long as there was work to do.
At some point after the untimely deaths of Benjamin’s youngest daughter, Buelah and son, Theodore, both of whom died as young children, and possibly because of the declining need for blacksmith services, or maybe due to declining health, Benjamin moved the family that was still at home, to Polk, Missouri. I have not found any real indication of declining health, but given the fact that blacksmiths in those days were exposed to asbestos, before we knew of the dangers, I have to think that a man who dies at 58 years of age, even as early as 1907, must have had something major going on. Lung diseases caused by asbestos would definitely qualify. I would think that the life of a blacksmith would be a hard one in every way, and when it brought with it an early death due to the occupational health hazards, it became an occupation I wouldn’t want my kids to go into…even if it was the family business.
This year’s Super Bowl game will the historic 50th Super Bowl. That’s a milestone by any standard. That made me start thinking about the origins of the Super Bowl. Now I’m sure that most men can tell me all about it, but let me see if I can tell them something they didn’t know. The Super Bowl is the championship game played annually between the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference). It must be played at a different stadium each year. As most of us know, it is the most watched professional sports event in the United States. The Super Bowl even draws the football widows in to watch the game…and the Super Bowl is the game that sometimes, as in my case, turns a football widow into a football fan. It has been likened to a national holiday. The half-time show is performed by popular musicians and singers and the only day in which more food is consumed…is Thanksgiving. I’m sure many of you knew or could guess all that.
So, what brought on the need for a Super Bowl in the first place? It was a result of the NFL (National Football League) merging with the AFL (American Football League). The NFL fought for dominance in the professional sport, fending off several professional leagues, including the AFL. The fierce competition for players finally led to merger talks in 1966. On June 8, 1966, the merger was announced, the winner of each league’s champion would meet in a final game to determine the world champions. Of course, that game would need a name. AFL founder and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt jokingly referred to the proposed game as the Super Bowl, after watching a group of kids play with a toy called a Super Ball. The name was consistent with college “bowl” games, and became the permanent name of the football championship game.
Since the first two Super Bowl games were completely dominated by the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, there were doubts as to whether or not the AFL was an inferior league. All that changed the third year when the AFL’s New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The following year, another AFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs won the game against the Minnesota Vikings to put the two leagues at a tie for games won. Super Bowl IV was the last championship played between the two leagues. After that the two sides were called the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference), but the championship game would continue. The trophy that is given to the winning team at the Super Bowl is called the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the coach of the Green Bay Packers who won those first two Super Bowl games. It was first given to the Baltimore Colts at Super Bowl V.
This year’s Super Bowl game will be held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The teams playing are the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. That makes it especially exciting for me, because the Broncos are my team. The Panthers are good team too. This game could prove to be a nail biter, so hold onto your seat…the game is on!! By the way…did I tell you something you didn’t know before?
There are some people, who bring a mixture of sparkle and strength to the table of life. My niece, Jenny Masterson Spethman is one of those people. Life has not dealt Jenny a perfect hand, but she has persevered anyway, and has come through every trial a stronger, more caring, loving, and faith-filled woman than she was before. Jenny is the kind of person who puts her trust in God in every situation, and doesn’t look to her own understanding in any matter. That makes for a strong woman no matter what life hands her. While Jenny’s life has not been without sadness…the kind that never leaves you, she has still managed to study to show herself approved of God, and to strengthen her faith. She will never understand all that has happened in this life…at least not until the next life, but she trusts God to continue to bless her and her family, and He certainly has. Jenny has also been a blessing to those around her, as anyone who has had a need can tell you. Jenny is someone you can always come to for help, no matter what the situation.
Jenny has a sense of style that is all her own. She knows the styles she likes, and she doesn’t really care if they are completely in style or not. Nevertheless, her style always works, therefore, making it in style. Jenny loves to dress her little daughter, Aleesia in adorable outfits and then takes lots of pictures of the two of them to show those who know them. You see, Jenny waited a very long time for her daughter. After three sons, Jenny and her husband Steve had a baby girl, named Laila, but she passed away just 18 days later. It was a devastating blow, but they chose to look to God and trust in Him, no matter what. Now, they have been blessed with a second daughter…a Rainbow Baby, who can never replace her sister, of course, but brings much joy to their world.
You might think of Jenny as a wimpy little girly girl, and while she is a girly girl, you would, nevertheless, be very wrong about her. Jenny is an excellent marksman. She and Steve have been gun owners and have been shooting for years. They have taught each of their boys how to shoot, and two of them, Xander and Zack have already passed the Hunter Safety class. Isaac isn’t too far behind them I’m sure, and in time, Aleesia will also pass the course. Those children have the benefit of a great firearms education, and could protect the family easily, if required to, as could their parents. People might think it a difficult thing to mix sparkle and strength, but Jenny really has no problem doing just that. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Yesterday morning on my way to work, I saw a man driving a white Buick Park Avenue. I know that seems like a completely normal event, but for me, it triggered a memory. The man driving the car wore a baseball cap. I couldn’t see his face, but it wouldn’t have mattered, because the image was already in my head, of my dad, Allen Spencer driving around in my parents Buick Park Avenue. It was their idea of a luxury car. They wanted one they could be comfortable in, when they went on vacations. The Buick Park Avenue fit the bill perfectly. Mom and Dad loved that car. When they pulled the trailer all the time, of course, they used the Suburban, but when it was just the two of them and maybe a few more, they really enjoyed the comfort of the Buick.
When I saw that Buick yesterday, I felt a twinge of sadness, but still I had to smile, because in my mind, I saw my dad…healthy, happy, and just enjoying the drive. You see, my parents loved to just go for a drive. It didn’t have to be going to anywhere, because it wasn’t always about the destination. It was about the journey. Sometimes in the evenings, when we were kids, we would all load up into the car and Dad would take us for a ride. We always ended up someplace where we could see the whole city. We had dubbed it the jewelry box, and as little girls, we could imagine that all the lights were diamond necklaces, and other jewels glistening in the sunlight…even if it did have to be dark to see it. It was never about where we went though, because it was just the whole family together going for that drive. Driving was a pleasure my parents never got tired of. Even when they no longer drove, they wanted to take a drive. My sister, Cheryl Masterson often took them on those drives…a memory she will always cherish.
As I drove on to work, I felt a mix of happiness and sadness, because of the man in the white Buick Park Avenue. Happy, because it was such a sweet memory of my dad, and sad, because I miss him and my mom so much. I feel so blessed to have such sweet memories of them. They did so many things in their lives, and they were so truly happy together. That is a greater blessing than many others, in a time when so many marriages don’t last. A family that has two parents, who love each other, and who manage to create such sweet memories out of something so simple as going for an evening drive, is a blessed family indeed, because later on, you will find that it isn’t the big moments like a trip to the Grand Canyon or New York City that will really stand out in your memory. It is the little moments…the everyday moments, that seem so insignificant, but have such a sweetness to them, that you will always remember. And you just never know when something will trigger a reminder of those sweet little everyday moments.
In this day of the internet, cell phones, television, and radio, a new form of patriotism has emerged. The rights our American soldiers fought for are in peril. In a year in which many Americans were offended by literally everything, and the internet, specifically Facebook, has become one of the greatest sounding boards there is, everyone has stepped up to the plate to state their views and yes, even to hear the views of others. Of course, hearing the views of other people, is not always something that is well received. Sometimes, people lose sight of the fact that since we each own our own Facebook page, we also have the right to say what we want to say. Others may not agree, but that doesn’t matter, because this is our page…our right to free speech.
Of course, people with differing views have the right to challenge our views…to state their own case, as it were, but they don’t have the right to challenge our right to speak our own opinion on our own page. If we are offended by the views of another person, we need to move past the post. Never is this more evident than when the opinions of one person in a family offends another, and they decided to take things to the next level…unfriending. I won’t do that, because while I will state my opinion, and I will respect the rights of my friends to post what they choose, and to debate my opinion, the family connection is far too important to me to argue in such a way.
In history, patriots had to go to the place they were going to protest. And of course, by the time they could get there, it was probably too late to protest. I suppose maybe our politicians were more honest back then, or maybe we just didn’t know all that was going on. It has been said that some presidents would never have been elected if we could have seen them. That is so true, and sometimes I think maybe that should be how it is today. If race, gender, and maybe even party affiliation weren’t able to be seen, who would we elect? That might be something to think about. Maybe we need to stop giving a pass because of race or gender, and make the politicians do what’s right.
It isn’t very often that we have the chance to get just a little glimpse of what a man was really like, as a child. Oh, we might think we know what the child was like, mostly because all kids are the same…or pretty close to it, right. In reality, I think we would be very wrong. Every child is unique, and unless someone wrote things down, no one will ever really know the truth. That said, I have to say that, while I have never met my nephew, Dave Chase’s mother, Nancy, I find myself quite impressed with her anyway. I hope she doesn’t mind that I read her incredible account of her precious children. That she took the time to write about her children starting when the boys, Dave and Danny were just three and two, and later added little sister, Janie was amazing in it’s own right, but the insight she gave into the real person each of them was is even more amazing. I wish I could tell you about all three of the children, but I will focus on my niece Toni Masterson Chase’s husband, Dave.
I have always known that Dave was a smart man, but in his mother’s writings, there are so many little insights into the kind of man Dave would become. He was much that way from the time he was a child. Oh, there were the typical little three year old boy things in her writings, such as calling a helicopter, a “Heepercopter!” in a voice filled with the excitement that only a child can display. There were the typical fights with his brother Danny, just a year younger than Dave was. Yes, Dave fought with his brother, true enough, but often, he would fix the fight without letting his little brother know the truth…that Dave was kind of a softie where his brother was concerned. Still, there was something else that Dave’s mother saw in her oldest son. There was the little boy who piled all his favorite songs, poems, and sayings into his prayers to God, because it was the very best things he had to give to God.
Nancy commented on her son’s memory, which she called elephantine, when he mentioned a bee in the car the prior summer on a trip to Wyoming. Dave was just two at the time. Dave was also quite logical. When told that a girl had butterflies in her tummy, he quickly remarked that, “No girl eats BUTTERFLIES!” His remark almost implied that no girl would have the guts to eat butterflies…and almost that maybe a boy would. Being the big brother was a big responsibility. When Dave’s baby sister, Janie arrived, he wanted to make sure she knew who he was, so he would introduce himself, saying “oo know me, baby, David Chase” repeatedly. I think Janie knew his name pretty early on. After all, he was her big brother, and he made her feel important. When given an explanation of how the sun “burned off” the fog over the base, Dave commented, “the sun is smart.” I think that this little boy was smart…and quite possibly the apple of his mother’s eye…along with his siblings of course. Today is Dave’s birthday. Nancy, thank you for this little bit of insight into your boy, who is now a special part of our family. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I can’t think of Groundhogs Day without thinking of my husband, Bob’s grandmother, Vina Leary Schulenberg Hein, who was born on that day. I don’t suppose that first Groundhog’s Day mattered much to her or to her parents. They were too busy having a new baby to think about whether or not it would be an early spring. I think later on though, Grandma liked sharing her birthday with Groundhog’s Day…at least we all knew that she thought it was special, because she did mention it a few times.
Groundhog’s Day is one I have a love/hate relationship with. If the groundhog predicts an early Spring, I love the day, but if he predicts six more weeks of winter…I want to slap him. By February, I think most people are ready for Spring to arrive…my sister, Cheryl Masterson being the exception to that rule. Since she loves Winter, the thought of an early Spring is reason to slap the groundhog, but if he promises an early Spring, I’ll gladly protect him from my sister. So fear not Punxsutawney Phil…I’ll save you. If you predict an early Spring, that is. If not…watch out for me!!
Bob’s grandmother would have been 107 this Groundhog’s Day…if she were still with us. I miss her a lot. I was always short on grandparents, because my dad’s dad passed away before my parents were married, and my dad’s mom passed away when I was six months old. Growing up, all we had were my mom’s parents, and they were both gone by 1988. By 2004 all the grandparents were gone, and I miss each and every one of them. I was grateful to have Bob’s grandparents to be my own too. They always made me feel welcome.
Every year as Groundhog’s Day approaches, I find myself looking for the upcoming weather reports for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, since that is where Punxsutawney Phil lives. I have often wondered how a groundhog in Pennsylvania could predict the coming Spring in Wyoming, but they say he does. Nevertheless, every time he predicts six more weeks of Winter, I hope he fails in that years prediction. They say he is never wrong, but I think he certainly could be…especially when we have cloudy weather here, so seeing his shadow would not be an option here. This year they predict partly cloudy weather for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, so an early Spring doesn’t seem likely, but I can dream can’t I. Today would have been Grandma Hein’s 107th Groundhog Birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma. We love and miss you very much.