Monthly Archives: July 2016
When I think of a lost people, I think of a tribe in Africa or somewhere very isolated, but I never think of someplace in America! Nevertheless, it happened right here in America. Of course, it was a long…long time ago. It was long before people could easily track someone down. The year was 1587, the day was July 22. That was the day when the new colony arrived in Roanoke, North Carolina, which was colonial Virginia. On August 18, 1587, the first English baby to be born in the Americas, Virginia Dare was born. The group had been dispatched by Sir Walter Raleigh, and was led by John White, who by the way, was Virginia Dare’s grandfather. Upon their arrival, they found nothing of the English garrison that had gone ahead, except one skeleton. The people really didn’t want to stay there after that, but the fleet commander, Simon Fernandez would not let them return to the ship, and the ships sailed with the promise of new supplies to come.
John White was not allowed to stay, and so returned to England on August 27, 1587…vowing to return in three months time. That was about the time of the Spanish Armada attack in 1588, which delayed White’s return to Roanoke. White tried desperately to return to the little colony for the next three years. When he was finally able to get there, he came rushing onshore, only to find that the colony was gone. Among those missing was the little girl, Virginia Dare, White’s granddaughter. They had arrived on what would have been her third birthday…August 15. Whites return was delayed because of the Anglo-Spanish war, and the Spanish ships that robbed the expedition of the supplies they were taking over to the colonists. It is suspected that the colony disappeared during that war, but there is no clear clarification as to where they went or who took them.
There has been much speculation as to the fate of the Roanoke Lost Colony, but the sure fate of the settlers left behind is unknown and the colony is known as the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke to this day. Over the years numerous attempts have been made to find the Lost Colony, including the Lost Colony DNA Project started in 2005. Recent investigations speculate that the Lost Colony relocated to where the Chowan River meets the Albemarle Sound in present day Bertie County, North Carolina. Nevertheless, recent discoveries found European objects in the Hatteras Island area, including a sword hilt, broken English bowls, and a fragment of a slate writing tablet still inscribed with a letter. These could point to the presence of the colonists on Hatteras Island, some 50 miles southeast of their settlement on Roanoke Island. There were also some found at a site on the mainland 50 miles to the northwest. Some people have thought that the Native Americans took the people or at least assimilated them into their tribe, because there are in some of that modern day tribe of people with strangely gray eyes. I suppose we will never really know the reality of what happened, but I would rather think that the Native Americans took them in, than to think that they were killed.
People don’t think of war as being something they want to send their children into…much less witness one themselves, or even one battle of a war. War really isn’t a spectator sport, after all. Nevertheless, there was a time, when people didn’t really seem to realize that. Early in the Civil War, the Union military command believed that the Confederate army could be easily defeated, and that the war would be over very quickly and with very little loss of life.
In July of 1861, the folly of that overconfidence was sharply pointed out when General Irvin McDowell led a premature offensive into northern Virginia. He set out in search of the Confederate forces, leading 34,000 mostly inexperienced troops, who were also poorly trained, toward the railroad junction of Manassas, which is just 30 miles from Washington DC. General Beauregard of the Confederate forces, was alerted of the advance, and so brought together 20,000 troops there. He was soon joined by General Joseph Johnston, who brought 9,000 additional men by way of railroad.
On the morning of July 21, 1861, the people of the area heard of the opposing forces, and that a battle was about to break out in their vicinity. Hundreds of civilian men, women, and children turned up to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream. The Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. General Beauregard had set up a strong defensive line backed up by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas Jackson. From a concealed slope, Jackson’s men began firing a series of Federal charges. It was this plan that gave Jackson his famous nickname Stonewall. The Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart captured the Union artillery, and General Beauregard ordered a counterattack on the exposed Union right flank. The rebels came charging down the hill, yelling furiously, and General McDowell’s line was broken, forcing his troops in a hasty retreat across Bull Run. The retreat soon became an all out run for their lives, and supplies littered the road back to Washington. Union forces endured a loss of 3,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action while the Confederates suffered 2,000 casualties in the bloody battle.
The horrific battle not only the frightened spectators at Bull Run, but the United States government in Washington as well, which was faced with an uncertain military strategy that would obviously need to change, if the South was to be stopped. I have a hard time understanding how the people could possibly have thought this was something to go out and watch…much less to take their children to. Of course, these days I think we have seen so much war on television, that no one in their right mind would go to watch a battle and no one would take their kids, because war is not a spectator sport.
For quite a while now, my husband, Bob Schulenberg has been thinking of retiring. Then, with the economic downturn, he was offered an early retirement package, and it was such a sweet deal that he took it. By coincidence, his retirement came the day before a planned vacation to the Black Hills, so I don’t really think it sunk in that he was retired. It was just a vacation. Following the vacation and the retirement party that we threw for him, Bob set out on another trip. This one was to move our granddaughter, Shai Royce out to Washington to live nearer to her parents and her brother, Caalab. This trip was different in several ways. For one thing, I was not with him, so it did not feel like a normal vacation. For another, I was back at work, so it was odd that he wasn’t. I think it was during this trip that the realization began to come to him, that he was retired. Still, it was a little bit like a vacation, because he wasn’t at home either…he was still traveling.
Bob was gone ten days, and the trip was a lot of fun for him. He got to spend time with our daughter Amy Royce and her husband Travis, as well as their kids, Shai and Caalab, with whom he traveled to Washington. It was such a great time. They treated him to all the fun things they could think of. During the days, while Amy and Travis worked, Caalab, who mostly works at night, and Shai who doesn’t have a new job yet, showed him all the sights of Bellingham. They went on the trails, and to the parks, as well as the many food places around. Then, when Amy and Travis were off, they had a barbeque, went to the beach, a festival in Seattle, a baseball game, and of course, a jam session with our own guitar players, Travis and Caalab Royce. Bob got to see their new home, and was quite impressed with their…BIG garage and bonus room, also known as the “House Divided” room, where half is decorated with Chicago Bears memorabilia and half with Green Bay Packers memorabilia.
The trip was over all too soon, but somewhere between the day he left, and the day he came back, Bob became a whole new man. He is more relaxed, less pressured, and maybe even quicker to laugh. I could say that the trip to visit our daughter and her family was good for him, and I would be right, because he had such a wonderful time, but this was something more. I think that during this trip, it suddenly hit him…”I’m retired!! I don’t have to go back to work when I get home…in fact, I don’t have a job to go back too. I can go home and do what I want to…when I want to.” Yes, Bob came back to me, a whole new man. Retirement looks good on him. I think I’m going to like this new relaxed man of mine. He really is…a whole new man!!
Yesterday, while watching television, one of the shows I like to watch…Why Planes Crash…came on. This particular episode included the cause of Flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa. This particular crash had an enormous impact on my own life, and that of my mother’s family. It was the one in which my Great Aunt Gladys Pattan Byer Cooper was killed. I have watched the footage numerous times, as well as the episode of Why Planes Crash that contained the answer, but it seems that each time, I learn something new about the crash. I’m not sure why some of the information didn’t stick in my head the first time it was aired, because it most certainly was information that was pointed out. Nevertheless, it didn’t stick in my head that first time or even the subsequent times…until now.
I have often wondered why it takes so long to find the cause of some of the plane crashes…especially the ones where there were survivors and where the black box was so easily found, but sometimes it just does take time. One of the possibilities is that some of the tiny parts, or even large parts of the plane seem to be missing. That was the case with Flight 232. The entire fan disk of its tail mounted General Electric CF6-6 engine failed and disintegrated. I’m sure that the investigators knew that something happened to the fan disk, but without it, they could not say what happened. The initial explosion that was heard was over Alta, Iowa…about 60 miles from their final crash site in Sioux City, Iowa. This was the point when the fan disk disintegrated. Now, 60 miles may not seem like such a large distance, but add to that the fact that the plane circled around trying to burn up it’s fuel, and trying to stay upright, and the fact that when the fan disk disintegrated, it was traveling at a tremendous amount of speed. In the end, the fan disk was discovered quite by accident three months later, on October 10, 1989, when Janice Sorenson, a farmer harvesting corn near Alta, Iowa, felt resistance on her combine, and after getting out to investigate, discovered most of the fan disk with a number of blades still attached partially buried in her cornfield. The rest of the fan disk and most of the additional blades were located later in the harvest. That would be the point that the investigation could finally bring to a conclusion the actual cause of the crash that had taken my great aunt’s life.
That event has always been a little fuzzy for me. Not the crash, or even the loss of Aunt Gladys, but the whole investigation. For years I’m not sure I really wrapped my mind around the cause of the crash…at least not until I saw the animated reenactment of the crash. Then it became crystal clear what had happened. The breaking up of the fan disk, caused by a crack that happened when the disk was made, due to impurities in the Titanium, brought down the plane. The crew, including a flight instructor who happened to be onboard, did an amazing job in their efforts not to crash. In the end, it would be on slight dip of the wind caused by a failed hydraulic system that would cause it to tap the ground and cartwheel the plane. It was the event that would forever change our family, from one who had never had someone killed in an airplane crash, to one the had. We would never forget it, and we deeply miss Aunt Gladys to this day.
The date was July 18, 1953, in Casper, Wyoming…not a particularly special day in the grand scheme of things, but in my family, it was the most important day of all, because without the events of that day we would not be a family. That was the day that two very important people got married…my parents. Mom and Dad had known each other for quite some time, because Dad was a family friend. Mom was too young to be his girlfriend when they first met, but that doesn’t mean that she was too young to have a school girl crush…and boy, did she. She thought that Allen Spencer was the most handsome man she had ever seen…and that was when she was a young girl. Her view of Dad never changed, and from the dad standpoint, his daughters all felt the same way…he was the best. Dad’s view of Mom never changed either. Collene Byer Spencer was his princess…his Doll, and he treated her accordingly, and the daughter who didn’t had better be prepared to get into big trouble from Dad. They were the greatest parents on earth.
Mom and Dad loved to travel, and as kids, we got to travel to a large number of the states, as well as Canada, and for my younger sisters, Mexico. I remember some of our camping trips. Mom and Dad were a team when it came to getting their five girls ready for the day. I often wondered, in later years, why they took so long to get out of the campground in the mornings, but after all those years of slow little girls, and later primping teenaged girls, they were just used to taking things slow. They were on vacation after all, so what was the rush. It wasn’t like the “Vacation” movies where you were on some kind of a serious schedule. They lollygagged when they felt like it, and we still saw everything we wanted to see. We may not have jumped out of bed and rushed around the camp, working to get out of there, but one thing I can say is that we thoroughly enjoyed each and every campsite…well most of them anyway. And when the vacation was over, we felt rested.
The years of my parents’ lives flew by far to quickly in my opinion, much like my own life. There are so many times I wish I could go back and re-live some of the past…not to change anything…but rather to savor the moments once again. We seldom think to savor those sweet times when we are living them, because it doesn’t seem necessary then. I have been privileged to lead a blessed life, with a wonderful family, and those memories that I have carefully tucked away in my memory files will always be the most special memories on earth. Today would have been my parents’ 63rd anniversary. It’s their 2nd together in Heaven. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. We love and miss you very much.
When your children grow up and start dating, you begin to hope that they will be able to pick the right spouse, so theirs will be a “til death do we part” kind of marriage. It’s really hard to let your kids make their own choices, because you wonder if they will know what true love is, but then does anyone know at first. I don’t know how my girls both managed to get that perfect mate…just like I had…on the very first try, but they did, and I couldn’t be happier for them. Each new year of their marriage is sweeter than the year before.
My daughter, Corrie Schulenberg Petersen, married her husband Kevin Petersen 23 years ago today, and their marriage has been richly blessed. She was only two weeks out of high school, but they knew that it was right. I remember being so busy with both wedding and graduation. I barely had time to think about the fact that my little girl was getting married and leaving the nest. In fact, I recall being a bit surprised that I wasn’t torn up about it, and then just chalking it up to the fact that Corrie’s little sister, Amy was still here at home, so it wasn’t really an empty nest.
The wedding went off without a single problem. It was beautiful, and the kids were both so happy. The reception went off perfectly as well. The kids were relaxed and enjoying the time to visit with their friends and family. The cake was beautiful, the wedding gown stunning, and the rings were exchanged, but of course what made the wedding so amazing was the love shared by two young people who were now ready to set out on their own and begin a new life. Even then it didn’t occur to me that I would feel any of the common empty nest feelings. Then came the time for them to leave to begin their honeymoon. Everyone went outside to see them off, and they drove away waving and smiling. The day was over, except for the clean up.
There were still a number of guests there when I went back in, including my sister, Cheryl Masterson. As I came in the door, I turned to her and said, “Well…they’re gone.” Immediately, the floodgates burst. The tears that flowed were completely unexpected, but could not be stopped. My baby girl was a married woman, and she was heading out to start her adult life with her husband. They had each other now, and she no longer needed her mommy to guide her through life. I realize now that I was wrong, and that those were the thoughts of a newly, if not just partially, empty nester. There would be many times she…they would need me again. They were married, not gone forever. Their lives have taken many turns, and there have been many times that they have needed me, and I have needed them. They couldn’t possibly be more of a blessing to me. Happy Anniversary Corrie and Kevin!! We love you both very much!! Have a totally amazing and wonderful day!!
Alzheimer’s Disease is a thief…I’ll give you that, but as I’ve tried to convey to several people, it is not, in my opinion, the worst thing that could happen to a person. I know that sounds so odd, especially to those who feel that Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that steals the mind/memory of their loved ones. It does do that, eventually, but if you take a moment to view it differently, you might be surprised, as I was, to learn that it is not as bad as you thought it was. Most people are stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease later in life…at a time when many of them feel that their life is over. They aren’t as active as they were. They have more aches and pains. They begin to lose loved ones, and eventually that brings grief to most of us. They might even feel depressed. I don’t say that Alzheimer’s Disease alleviates these things in all people, but it did for my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg. I know that in her later stages, much of her memory will be gone, but maybe it won’t either, because she has had Alzheimer’s Disease since 2004 that we are sure of. That’s twelve years, and those old memories are still there. It’s just the new memories that she doesn’t keep, and still, I don’t think that is a bad thing.
With all the negative aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease, there are a few aspects that stand out to me, as very good things. My mother-in-law was always busy doing things. She had a routine. She wasn’t super active, but she knitted, sewed, crocheted, canned, cooked, and baked. These were the things that gave her a feeling of self worth, and oddly they aren’t gone now. If you ask the nurses and aides at the nursing home where she lives, you will find that when it is time for dinner, she tells them that she will be cooking it. She will pick up the blanket on her lap and begin “working” on her crocheting…often using her oxygen tubing as her crochet hook. She tells me about her grocery shopping trips to town, and the things she buys there. She feels no grief for loved ones now in Heaven, because to her they are still right here. She informs me that she will wait to eat dinner until Walt (my father-in-law, who passed away May 5, 2013) gets home. Dinner can’t wait that long obviously, so I just tell her he is at Walmart, in the garage, or at the neighbors, and said for her to eat without him. He might even be at work, although he retired many, many years ago. She talks of her parents, her daughter, Marlyce, and family members who live too far away for visits, as if they are still here, and yet when her daughter, Brenda visits in the morning, she doesn’t remember it later that day. Still, Brenda knows she was there, and that is what is important. She made her mom happy.
I know too, that when Bob and I, or my daughter, Corrie Petersen and I leave her side, she doesn’t remember that we were there either, but we know that we were there, and while we are there, she knows that we are there. And that is really what matters anyway. I guess it’s all in how you look at Alzheimer’s Disease. You can grieve the changes, or be thankful for her, that she is missing nothing. All the memories she needs are still in there, and they peek out once in a while…and it’s good enough. Is it really necessary for her to remember all the sad things? I just don’t think so, and I will keep them from her for the rest of her life, by telling her what she really needs to hear that day. It makes her happy, and happiness is all that matters.
Kids have gone to summer school for a number of reasons over the years. Some go because they got behind in school, or need extra help to keep up with their class. Some go to get ahead on their studies for an early graduation. Some go as college students, so they can graduate in a timely manner. I never went to summer school for any of those reasons. In fact I really never went to summer school at all, but I can’t say that I never spent time at the school in the summer…because I did. For me, as for most kids, there was no desire to step one foot inside a school building in the summertime, but the playground…now that was a different thing.
As I was going for a walk last night, I heard voices coming from the playground. I looked and saw a number of kids playing on the swings, the monkey bars, and the slides. I’m pretty sure that those kids, like my sisters and me, had swings and such at home, but somehow it’s just different at the school…especially when you don’t have classes, but rather just an afternoon of recess time, minus the crowds that always seemed to be around the playground equipment during the school year recess period. Half the time…unless you were the fastest runner, or were in a classroom right near the swings, or you were watching the clock so you could bolt out the door at the sound of the recess bell, you ended up being one of those kids standing in line hoping someone would get tired of the swings so that you could have a turn before it was time to head back inside. Most often, the child on the swing was taught by their parents, just like I taught my girls, “If you had it first, you don’t have to give it up.” It was a great rule, unless you were the one waiting for a turn on the swings.
Summertime on the playground was a different thing, altogether. Either we were the only kids who thought to go play at the school, or everyone came at different times, or kids were at daycare, or they were out of town, but there was never the kind of crowds you saw on a school day, and you could play on the equipment to your heart’s content. It was a great time to be a kid. As I walked on, the laughter of the kids on the playground faded, but in my thoughts, I continued to reminisce about the good old days of complete summertime freedom. Those days are long gone now, of course, and daily adult duties have replaced them. Gone are the summer days when you didn’t have a job, you could sleep in, and asking Mom if you could go to the school was usually met with an affirmative answer, because after all, you were driving her nuts at home anyway. A couple of hours of peace and quiet were a welcome change from the constant whining school kids make in the summertime, about being bored. Oh, to be bored again…wouldn’t it be grand?
My nephew, Shannon Moore, who joined our family when he married my niece, Lindsay Hadlock Moore on Valentines Day, 2014, is the Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends coach at East Carolina University…home of the Pirates. Prior to being hired on at East Carolina University, Shannon was the Special Teams coach at Miami International University. The move to East Carolina University was a definite move up for Shannon, and Greenville, North Carolina, where the University is located is a real football town…quite a change from Miami, where the beach was more important than football. Greenville even has the ECU Ladies Football Clinic, which is really a football camp for women. To see Lindsay and Shannon interacting on the football field is a little strange, and from the looks on the faces of the other women, I think it might be an interaction that the other ladies might not consider, since it looks like Lindsay takes advantage of the fact that she is married to the coach. I’m sure the other ladies actually got a kick out of it, because Lindsay and Shannon can be very funny when they get going. And I think that Shannon kind of enjoyed the whole coaching the women thing too.
Along with football, Shannon likes to do most of the guys things…like camping. I’m not sure how much camping he did before he met Lindsay, but since her parents have a place on Casper Mountain, he has come to really enjoy it. Now with summer upon us, and his work less busy, he and Lindsay have been exploring the Greenville area. The other nice thing about having more time in the summer, is that they can make trips home to see the family. The spent a week in Nebraska camping with Shannon’s family, and will be coming here this week for camping and a family wedding. We all look forward to seeing them again.
Shannon finally has a big garage again, after a number of years without one. Apparently, he is quite handy with the carpentry tools. His garage has become the carpentry shop. He built Lindsay a standing desk for her office. She works from home, and doesn’t like sitting all day. He also built a pallet bed for one of their guest rooms. I hadn’t really seen a pallet bed that had a finished look before, and I must say that Shannon is quite good and what he does. His work is amazing, and innovative. Lindsay says he is also quite handy at projects around the house, whether it’s yard work or building something. He just loves it. As Lindsay says, “It must be a man thing.” She also says that he is quite busy being an amazing husband…biased…maybe a little, but we all love Shannon, so we have to agree. Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Anyone who has lived in Wyoming for any length of time knows that the state is dotted with forts from the old west. These forts shaped the state by protecting the inhabitants from the Indians…or at least the did their very best to do so. One such fort that didn’t work out so well was Fort Phil Kearney. Construction on the fort began Friday July 13, 1866 by 18th Infantry Companies A, C, E and H of the 2nd Battalion, under the direction of the regimental commander and Mountain District commander Colonel Henry B Carrington. The post was named for Major General Philip Kearny, who was a popular figure in the American Civil War. The fort was located along the east side of the Bighorn Mountains in what is now northern Johnson County, approximately 15 miles north of Buffalo, Wyoming. Along with Fort Reno and Fort C F Smith, Fort Phil Kearney was established along the Bozeman Trail in the Powder River Country at the height of the Indian Wars to protect prospective miners from the Indians while they were traveling north from the Oregon Trail to what is now Montana.
By fall, Carrington had erected an imposing symbol of American military power. A tall wooden wall surrounded a compound the size of three football fields. Inside the walls, Carrington built nearly 30 buildings, including everything from barracks and mess halls to a stage for the regimental band. Only the most massive and determined Indian attack would have been capable of taking Fort Phil Kearny. Unfortunately, Carrington’s mighty fortress had one important flaw…a failure to plan really. The nearest stands of timber were several miles away. To obtain the wood essential for heating and further construction, a detachment had to leave the protection of the fort every day. The Indians naturally began to prey on these Wood Trains. In December, a massive Indian ambush wiped out a force of 80 soldiers under the command of Captain William Fetterman.
Fort Phil Kearney was named the “hated post on the Little Piney” by the Indians, and it played an important role in Red Cloud’s War. The area around the fort was the site of the Fetterman Fight in 1866 and the Wagon Box Fight in 1867. By 1868, the Union Pacific Railroad had reached far enough west that emigrants could reach the Montana gold fields through what is now Idaho, which made the dangerous Bozeman Trail an unnecessary route. All three forts along the trail were abandoned as part of the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. Shortly after the treaty, Fort Phil Kearney was burned to the ground by Cheyenne Indians. I guess they really did hate it.