Monthly Archives: January 2017

grandpa spencer109Recently, I heard a saying that has really made me think. “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” The thing about that thought that struck me the most, was when I considered moments otherwise gone…forever. I have always loved photography. From the time I was a little girl and received my first camera, I was hooked. There were years I wasn’t so good about taking pictures, and mistakes I made, such as not including people in my photos enough, not writing down the names of people and the locations, and the biggest one in my mind, not being in the pictures enough. So many people these day take selfies, and then there are the selfies that are ridiculed because “the person takes too many selfies.” I suppose that can be an issue, but when you think about it, they will always have that moment, and if that selfie made them look and feel especially pretty or handsome, so much the better. It is a moment, frozen in time…a memory that will always be with them.

When I look back at the funerals of my parents and my father-in-law, and the slide shows we did for them, I 10672247_10204889373973024_7368351269192225684_nfound myself amazed that I was having trouble locating pictures of me with them…particularly with my dad. It was a strange thing for me to realize that, until I thought about how much time I spent behind the camera and not in front of it. Since that time, I have made sure to take those pictures of my mom and me, my father-in-law, and me, and my mother-in-law and me, because I want to have those return tickets to those precious moments of the past. It’s not just about the slide show either, although that is a permanent memory of their lives, but it’s about the time spent with them. In his last two years, my dad and I spent many hours together, while I was one of his caregivers. I got to enjoy his wonderful sense of humor, as we teased each other every day. In my memory files, I can see him pretending to be asleep when I came in. Then, I would softly flick his hand, and he would accuse me of hitting him, saying, “Oh!! You struck me!” Then we would both laugh about it, because we knew that in a million years, that would never have happened. We pretended to argue, as I dressed his wounds, and helped him get dressed. Then I would step out while he finished the process, and he would come out into the living room. Whenever I am in their house, I can see those moments as vividly as if they were still there. Still, there are many moments that aren’t quite as clear, and a picture would tell the story IMG_3580so well. And now that it is too late to take them, I really wish I had some of those moments in pictures.

There are countless people who tell me how much they hate having their picture taken. I find that really sad, because it isn’t about them. They are denying others the right to have a return ticket to those precious moments. So few people think about it that way…until the day when they really wish they had a picture of them with someone special. That’s when it finally hits them. Pictures aren’t just something silly to post of Facebook. They are memories. They are return tickets to a moment otherwise gone. I think I’ve improved on those return tickets quite a bit, and for that, I am happy.

Chris and CassieMy niece, Cassie Iverson has been into taking pictures for a while now, and lately, her husband, Chris has really been getting into photography too. Both of them have always loved nature, camping, fishing, and just enjoying time spent outdoors. I can relate to that, because my husband, Bob and I feel the same way…at least about being outdoors…not so much camping and fishing. Anyone who has spent much time relaxing in nature, will naturally be drawn to the photography of nature, because the beauty of it is something you always want to hang on to. Photography allows us to hang on to those memories. In fact, I saw a saying once that really describes the way a photographer feels, “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” Our memories can be so quickly lost, if we have done nothing to preserve them.
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I think that is something Chris and Cassie both understand. They are both very hands on parents. Having a developmentally disabled child and a child who is not disabled, is quite a handful, but they manage very well. Chris has taken to dancing around the living room with the kids. That is a cool thing, because they develop a love of music and get some exercise. I’m thankful that he is so helpful, because having kids is a lot of work, and if the dad isn’t really involved, it takes a toll on the mom. Kids need both parents to be involved in their lives, because they learn different things from each parent. They also like to have special lunches with the kids. Including the kids in activities is a great way to make the kids a part of everything. It’s all part of living life.

Chris fishingAs to Chris’ own hobbies, he is a sportsman, so fishing gear and guns are simply a part of the plan. Chris likes to make sure his guns are in perfect working condition, so he makes sure they are properly cleaned. Anyone who is a gun enthusiast knows that having a dirty gun, can be bad in so many ways. It may misfire or worse, if it is not properly cleaned. I think that for most people in Wyoming, if you don’t own or appreciate guns, you are very strange. And the people in our family are definitely gun enthusiasts. Chris also likes to work on his Blazer, although it has been giving him so trouble lately. As I told Cassie, mechanics is a never ending story. There is always something that needs to be worked on. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

IMG_6310Over the years, many people have done all they could to create a world of peace, but is that really possible? I don’t believe it is. There is always a nation or group of people who have something they don’t like…whether it is politics, religion, boarders, or any number of other reasons. Periodically there are groups that try to find a way to promote peace. Some try to do so through protests against war, which is not very effective, because the protests are seldom peaceful themselves, but they do get publicity. Others try to appease the enemy, which also doesn’t work, because it is viewed as a show of weakness and compliance, causing the enemy to feel empowered.

When I was in high school, a singing group came to the school to perform for us. The group was called, “Up With People.” Their purpose was to unite the world through charity and song. It’s a noble effort, and in the Hippie Generation, of which I was a part, it all seemed possible. Of course, it wasn’t…not really. That effort ended, and another cause began, and failed as well. Oh, don’t get me wrong, people were helped, lives were changed, and everyone felt like they had made a difference. I suppose they did, but not in the area of world peace…which is, I believe, a myth. I think we as people traveling through life on earth, can help each other, donate funds, be kind, and reach out, but to make a world where there is no war…a world of peace on earth…no, I don’t think it is possible in this age…or any other.

I’m not against humanitarian groups that try to help those in need. I believe that we as humans should be IMG_6309compassionate and willing to help as needed, but the reality is that we must also understand that while we can help a current need, or even some in the future, we cannot stop the evil and hatred that exists in this world. There will not be peace on earth in the way that people think it can happen, because there are too many differences…differences of opinion, beliefs, rights, wrongs, and desire, not to mention agendas. No singing group, protest, or humanitarian effort will ever make it so. I guess that in the end, all we can do is try to create peace in our own little corner of the world and pray that it multiplies so that it affects those around us, and not get so upset when we can’t find a way to create world peace, because that is an impossible feat for the human race.

General John BurgoyneFew people think about the American Revolutionary War any more, because it was so long ago, and we have been an independent nation for so long now, that is almost seems unimportant, but nothing could be further from the truth. The strategies used then, were among the most amazing ever, when you consider the times, and the weapons available to these armies. Just moving the cannon from one place to another was a huge undertaking. Each one weighed upwards of 4500 pounds. The cannon was a major weapon, and was truly necessary if the army was to have a chance of winning a battle. Guns didn’t shoot far enough to have much safety from enemy fire. Getting close enough to successfully fight the enemy meant putting the troops at great risk, during a time when medical assistance was not readily available.

For the English, fighting on American soil was hazardous anyway. They had the disadvantage of not knowing the terrain well, so hiding places were much more well known to the Americans. The British were at a serious General Burgoyne's plandisadvantage. Then, on January 28, 1777, John Burgoyne, a poet, playwright, and British general, submitted a plan to isolate New England from the other colonies, which took in modern day New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. That area might not have been a really big area, as territories go, but it was a big undertaking for any army. Nevertheless, it was the plan that the British decided to use. Burgoyne’s plan called for 8,000 British troops from Canada to move southward through New York by way of Lake Champlain and the Mohawk River. He planned to take the Americans by surprise. General Burgoyne thought he and his troops could take control of the Hudson River and isolate New England from the other colonies.

In his plan, the isolation of New England was designed to free British General William Howe to attack Philadelphia. Unfortunately, while the plan seemed to be working, Burgoyne miscalculated the part distance would play on his plan. His supply line was stretched in a long, narrow strip from the northern tip of Lake Champlain south to General Burgoyne's surrenderthe northern curve of the Hudson River at Fort Edward, New York. As Burgoyne’s army marched south, the Patriot militia was circling north. They cut off the British supply line. What had begun as a major victory, ended up as a defeat in Bennington, Vermont, and bloody draws at Bemis Heights, New York. On October 17, 1777, a frustrated Burgoyne was forced to retreat 10 miles and finally surrendered his remaining 6,000 British forces to the Patriots at Saratoga. France, upon hearing of the Patriot victory, agreed to recognize the independence of the United States. With France’s support, the Patriots took the ultimate victory. Following the defeat at Saratoga General Burgoyne returned home in shame and defeat. He was severely criticized and soon retired from active service.

11167992_1023182441026687_1480521992843607678_nWhen we think of a cosmetologist, we think of someone who cuts and styles hair, probably dyes it too, as well as doing make up and nails a lot of the time. It is a profession that caters to a lot of people, but few really give it much thought after the appointment is over. I don’t go to a cosmetologist, but my niece, Lacey Stevens is one, and if I did go, she would be the one I would go to. Lacey is very dedicated to her career and to her clients. When I look at Lacey’s Facebook page, I see several people who have posted their gratitude for her work. One post in particular comes to mind. Her client posted, “Thank you for making me so pretty for my birthday! I love you!” Lacey and her expertise helped this girl have a wonderful birthday because she felt beautiful, which made her day extra special.

Lacey takes a special interest in makeup, and watches tutorials all the time on the latest look and how to apply 12208777_1104716806206583_2823102096553446044_nit correctly. Eventually, it is her dream to make her own makeup tutorials. That dream was actually in the works at Christmastime, but was waylaid when her boyfriend, Michael Tanner’s car was broken into and his Christmas presents to her, stolen. Now that makes me mad. A camera and a lighted makeup mirror for the purpose of creating her own YouTube videos showing makeup techniques. So, as soon as the insurance is settled, they will purchase those things again and she will be on her way. I am very excited about that. Some of the new makeup techniques, like contouring, a technique which seems to escape me, are so great. Maybe that can be Lacey’s first tutorial.

Michael is a very giving person, and for Lacey’s birthday, he has planned a trip to Boston and New York City in February to see a comedian they both like. The trip is to Lacey Louise Stevens_editedinclude a luxury train ride from Boston to New York City. Lacey is very excited. Trains are great, so that will certainly be major highlight of the trip.

Lacey is one of the up and coming hair stylists. She is one of the most requested hair technicians at Supercuts, where she works. Her personality and her love of beauty glows from her face, and people are naturally drawn to her. Then, they are never disappointed in the results. She is also a top seller of the products that the store sells, because if Lacey recommends it, her clients know it is a great product. Today is Lacey’s birthday. You’ve come a long way, baby, but the best is yet to be!! Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

MargeeLinda Knox, Margee Knox, Marlyce Schulenberg, Debbie Schulenberg - 1954With the recent passing of my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s great aunt, Helen Knox, came a reconnection between our side of the Knox family, and Helen and her husband Frank Knox’s side. We immediately sent condolences out to Helen’s family when we heard of her passing, and just like that, we are reconnected. Through an email with Frank and Helen’s son, Greg Knox, I have connected with his daughter, Katherine “Kate” Knox West, who is their family historian. We are both anxious to explore our connections. But the big story for me was Greg’s recollection of a summer vacation from his youth. When talking about the memories of the person who has passes, you seldom expect a memory from a childhood, involving a cousin to be one that is remembered…after all those years, but that is a favorite memory for Greg.

Greg, who is the middle of five sons of Frank and Helen Knox, was telling me about his childhood in the mid-1960s. One of his fondest memories was of the that of my husband, Bob’s Aunt Margee Kountz and his Aunt Linda Cole taking turns going out to Pullman, Washington to “supervise” Greg and his four brothers, Robert, David, Wesley, and Richard. Now, I’m not sure exactly what that meant to them, or how many fights ensued over the summer, but it must have been lots of fun, because it is something Greg remembers. And he remembers his cousins, Linda and Margee dearly. I think I can understand that, because both of them have always been very sweet. It was interesting to me to think about those two girls going to stay with their aunt and uncle for the summer months. It would have been like a great adventure…spending the summer far from home, but still safe with your aunt and uncle. Getting to know your cousins better as they grew up. And getting to visit a pretty area of the country. Things were different then. People didn’t just hire babysitters. They usually Frank and Hellen Knox Familyhad family take care of the children during the summer months. So, that’s what they did then. And it was a sweet blessing for the boys, and for Linda and Margee. And a sweet memory for me to be able to share on Margee’s birthday.

Margee is and always has been a wonderful person, eager to help out whenever she can. I don’t know what I would have done without her when I had to take my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg to the doctor. We couldn’t leave my mother-in-law home alone, due to her Alzheimer’s Disease, and Margee came to stay with her. It was such a help to me and to my father-in-law. Today is Margee’s birthday. Happy birthday Margee!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Cullinan Diamond roughStar of Africa IIt is the symbol of love. It’s a big part of the thing every girl wants to receive from the man she loves. Lot’s of people think that the size of the diamond is a show of stature, and I suppose it is, but there can be a point that would qualify as extreme. Such was the case on January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, when a 3,106 caret diamond was discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it was the largest diamond ever found. Now, girls…I’m sure that you would love to have a large diamond ring, but carrying around a 1.33 pound ring on your finger would be just a little bit much. Still, I would have thought that the owner might have cut the stone into as large a cut stone as possible to be used for a museum piece, but he had very different plans.

Frederick Wells was 18 feet below the earth’s surface when his light flashed off of something embedded in the wall just above him. I’m sure he had a pretty good idea of what he had. His discovery was immediately presented to Sir Thomas Cullinan, the mine’s owner. Cullinan decided to sell the diamond to the Transvaal provincial government. Transvaal presented the stone to Britain’s King Edward VII as a birthday gift. They were worried that the diamond might be stolen while in transit from Africa to London, so King Edward VII arranged to send a phony diamond aboard a steamer ship guarded by detectives as a diversionary tactic. While the decoy slowly made its way from Africa on the ship, the Cullinan was sent to England in a plain box. It was an amazing plan, and I can certainly understand their concerns. King Edward VII entrusted the cutting of the Cullinan to Joseph Asscher, head of the Asscher Diamond Company of Amsterdam. Asscher had cut the famous Excelsior Diamond, a 971 carat diamond found in 1893. He studied the Cullinan stone for a full six months before even attempting the cut. On his first attempt, the steel blade broke, with no effect on the diamond. That had to be enough to break his confidence. On the second attempt, the diamond shattered exactly as planned, but Asscher fainted from nervous exhaustion immediately after.

The Cullinan was later cut into nine large stones and about 100 smaller ones. In total, the diamonds were Cullinan diamonds nine largestvalued at millions of dollars. The largest stone is called the “Star of Africa I,” or “Cullinan I,” and at 530 carats, it is the largest cut fine quality colorless diamond in the world. The second largest stone, the “Star of Africa II” or “Cullinan II,” is 317 carats. Both of these stones, as well as the “Cullinan III,” are on display in the Tower of London with Britain’s other crown jewels, so I guess that part of the diamond ended up in a museum. The Cullinan I is mounted in the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter, while the Cullinan II sits in the Imperial State Crown. Both fitting placements for such stones. Of course, the value of the stones would increase with cutting. The original stone was insured for $1,250,000 in 1905, and would be valued at $30,179,000 today.

Shoichi YokoiThese days, lots of people have considered living off the grid. It’s almost the latest thing. Most of them really just want to do away with the bills that go along with being on the grid…water, electric, gas etc, but some of them are really wanting to lead a disconnected life. They want to shut off the phone, television, and computer, and just enjoy nature. To me, that sounds like fun for about a day…but then I am more a child of the age of technology than even my kids and grandkids are sometimes, and that’s saying something, because they are technological people, in one way or another. I have to wonder how the off the grid people would feel about it, if they had been Shoichi Yokoi.

At this point, I’m sure that you are wondering who Shoichi Yokoi is and what was going on with him that made him such an off the grid type, so I’ll tell you. Shoichi Yokoi was a Japanese sergeant, from World War II. Shoichi was stationed on Guam, which had become a United States territory in 1898. In 1941, during World War II, the Japanese attacked Guam and captured it. The 200 square mile island, located in the western Pacific Ocean remained in Japanese Hands for three years. Then, the United States attacked and retook the island. As the Japanese forces retreated and surrendered, Yokoi made the decision not to surrender, and he went into hiding in the Jungle. He dug a tunnel, that would be his home while he was in hiding. Yokoi, who had been a tailor’s apprentice before being drafted in 1941, made clothing from the fibers of wild hibiscus plants and survived on a diet of coconuts, breadfruit, papayas, snails, eels and rats. “We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive.” While living in the jungle, Yokoi carved survival tools and for the next three decades waited for the return of the Japanese and his next orders…three decades!!!

Somehow, this man was so far off the grid that he had no idea what was going on in the world for almost three decades, and he assumed that World War II was still going on. He spoke to no one. He hid from anyone who might have come near him. Then, he slipped up…a good thing, as it would turn out to be. After 28 years of hiding in the jungles of Guam, local farmers discovered Shoichi Yokoi hiding in the jungle. I’m sure he was totally shocked to find out that he was the only one in the world still fighting World War II!! After he was discovered on January 24, 1972, he was finally discharged and sent home to Japan, where he was hailed as a national hero. I guess Shoichi must have grown to love Guam, because when he married, he and his new bride Shoichi Yokoi home on GuamGuamreturned to Guam for their honeymoon. Shoichi went on to live a long life, and passed away on September 22, 1997 at the age of 82. The people of Guam and the governments of the United States and Japan must have though that his story was so amazing that his handcrafted survival tools and threadbare uniform are now on display in the Guam Museum in Agana. Shoichi might have been an enemy of the United States, but I can’t help but think that he must have been a very faithful soldier, to have held out that long.

Spencerian bookAfter I wrote about my ancestor, Platt Spencer, who developed Spencerian Script, which was used in the United States until 1925, when the Palmer Method took over as the main penmanship, I became interested in learning how to write the Spencerian Script. As I was looking for practice sheets online, I stumbled upon another family ancestor, Enoch Noyes, who also developed a penmanship style that was used in the United States prior to the Spencerian Script. An Analytical Guide to the Art of Penmanship by Enoch Noyes, was published in 1839, and while I can’t find evidence of this style being widely used in schools, I can understand why it wouldn’t have been. Enoch Noyes focused on the elegant and ornate style of writing. He believed that penmanship really could be art. I would expect that the wealthier people might have used his style of penmanship as a way of emphasizing their stature.

The different penmanship styles of the past remind me of the vast array of font styles that are available on the computers now. The biggest difference between the two ways of writing, are that with penmanship, students are often taught one style. Each student can elaborate on the style to make it their own, and most people have done that at one point or another. With the computer fonts, it’s easy to change your font style at will, then back again. That allows the imagination to run noyes penmanshipwild to create a personalized look, and there is no need to learn how to write out the font.

As I was researching the different penmanship styles, and there are more than just the ones I have mentioned here, I was a bit surprised that there seemed to be a battle, of sorts, to have each persons own style be the accepted style of penmanship in the schools…much like trying to pick a font out of the hundreds of styles available. It made me think of a battle, or duel to be the accepted font. I suppose that sounds like a silly idea, but I can envision that very thing…complete with elegant script styles, with hands, legs, and eyes, walking the paces before turning and aiming their guns…like dueling fonts.

Helen KnoxNellie , Nettie, and Helen KnoxThe first time I met my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s great Uncle Frank Knox and his sweet wife, Helen, was in the summer of 1976, when they and their son, Richard so graciously brought Frank’s parents, Edgar and Nellie Knox to Casper to visit their son Robert’s family, of which I was now a member. It was such a kind act for them to bring Edgar and Nellie, and it showed the kind spirits that they were. Edgar and Nellie were getting on in years, as was their son Robert, who was their eldest son. Edgar was 93 years old at the time, and little did any of us know, that his life was nearer its end than anyone could have expected. The visit took place the end of July of 1976, and Edgar would pass away on August 28, 1976, just about a month later. Nellie would live another 8 years and was blessed in that Frank and Helen would again bring her out to Casper for a visit, about four years later. Again, I was moved by the acts of kindness they showed to Frank’s parents. Nellie passed away on February 10, 1984, at 97 years old, having lived a good long life.

I am reminded of the fourth Commandment of God, which says, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” I know that for their kind and loving acts, over the years, Frank and Helen have been very blessed. Frank and Helen married on June 13, 1946. Their marriage was blessed with five sons, Robert, David, Gregory, Wesley, and Richard. They were good people, and raised good children, and the rest of the family feels very blessed to have known them. Over the years, they made several trips to Casper, and it was always fun to see them. Frank and Helen have long since retired, and their memories have faded, which I find very sad, because they both had amazing minds. They knew so much and they were willing to share their knowledge with anyone who was interested in listening. The last time I spoke to Frank was when my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg passed away. I could tell that his memory was diminished, but it was a good visit, and he did remember some things He told me that Helen’s memory wasn’t as good as his was, and that made me sad too. I haven’t spoken to her in a number of years.

Last might, we got the word, that Helen had passed away on January 11, 2017. While I was very sad that she is gone, I know that she was very blessed. You see, Helen was 99 years old. How many people get to live to be scan0099 (2)scan0129 (2)99 years old. Helen’s kindness over the years to everyone she knew, but especially to her parents and to Frank’s parents have given her the benefit of God’s promise of a long life, and since Frank is still living, at 96 years old, it is very obvious that he will also reap the benefit of that same promise. They are both wonderful people. Rest now in peace, Helen Knox. You will be greatly missed, but I know that you are happy in Heaven, and your memory has been restored to you again. We love you, and miss you already.