Monthly Archives: August 2017

For some reason, there are certain areas on the United States, and the world, where earthquakes are…unexpected. There are just no real fault lines in these places, and no man-made reasons for it, like mining or drilling. So often people think they live in an area that is completely safe from an earthquake. Nevertheless, that does not mean that an earthquake can’t happen, as the people of Charleston, South Carolina found out on August 31, 1886.

The first indicator that something strange was going on, came on August 27 and 28, when foreshocks were felt in Summerville, South Carolina, where my first cousin once removed, Stephanie Willard and her family live. While the tremors were odd, the people of the area didn’t think they were a warning for what was coming. Then, at 9:51pm on August 31, the rumbling began. The 7.6 magnitude quake was felt as far away as Boston, Chicago and Cuba. Buildings as far away as far away as Ohio and Alabama were damaged. But, it was Charleston, South Carolina, that took the biggest hit from the quake. Almost all of the buildings in town were seriously damaged. About 14,000 chimneys fell from the earthquake’s shaking. It caused multiple fires, and water lines and wells were ruptured. The total damage was in excess of $5.5 million, which would be about $112 million today.

While that was a disaster in itself, it was the loss of life that was felt the worst. More that 100 people lost their lives that fateful day, and countless others were injured, in what is still the largest recorded earthquake in the history of the southeastern United States. The quake damaged as many as 2,000 buildings, including buildings as far away as central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia and western West Virginia. The strange part about this quake is the fact that there were no apparent surface cracks as a result of this tremor, railroad tracks were bent in all directions in some locations. Acres of land were liquefied. This quake remained a mystery for many years since there were no known underground faults for 60 miles in any direction. Then, as science and detection methods got better, scientists have recently uncovered a concealed fault along the coastal plains of Virginia and the Carolinas. While this fault is now known, scientists think that another quake of this magnitude remains highly unlikely, though not impossible, in this location.

I guess I don’t quite understand that concept, except to say that if it is the only fault and has nothing to connect to, maybe there is less chance of a small tremor turning into a big quake, and maybe that is why they don’t expect another quake of that magnitude. Still, it is always good advise to realize that no place is immune to earthquakes. Oklahoma has found that out in recent years, as underground mining work has created quake situations that weren’t there before. It is still my hope that the Charleston area never has another quake like the one they had in 1886.

Last night as my husband, Bob and I were heading out for our evening walk at about 7:15pm, we were met by a concerto of song coming from the pine tree in our next door neighbor’s yard. Of course, it was the birds settling down for the night, since it was heading into the evening hours. I was immediately reminded of the day of the total eclipse that Casper had just been in the center of. As the sky grew darker, the birds began hurrying to and fro in search of their places for the night. They began singing their evening songs, just as they were doing when we stepped out of our front door last night. Birds, of course, are programmed to begin bedtime preparations as the daylight starts to fade, unlike humans who might not go to sleep until the wee hours of the morning.

The concerto also reminded me of one of my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s favorite movies…The Sound of Music. Of course, the song they sang on that movie was The Hills Are Alive, and not The Trees Are Alive, but my imagination is allowed to make those little changes…basically taking a little poetic license, and change the wording a little bit to fit the situation. So, while I heard the melody of The Hills Are Alive, the words that sang out were The Trees Are Alive.

Since we began taking evening walks a number of years ago, we have found ourselves rather fascinated with the animal life around us. The birds flying here and there, with what appears to be no specific destination in mind; the rabbit with a broken leg that has managed to survive most of the summer, even though he can’t hop as fast as so many other rabbits; the dogs who are sure that we are their friends, even to the point of vying for our attention with the other dogs in their yard or next door; and even the deer, who stand and watch us, not moving unless we do something to appear to be coming toward them. They are all very interesting in the way they interact with people. The birds don’t seem to want to fly too far from their original spot to get away from us as we approach, almost as if they are saying, “I’m not scared of you.” The rabbits sit bravely still, hoping that we won’t notice them, sometimes allowing us to get only a foot or so away from them, providing we continue to walk along without stopping.

Animals are funny sometimes, doing things that almost seem like human activities, and even the wild animals who seem to want to interact with humans…from a safe distance, anyway. The mourning doves and other birds that like to look at us from their safe perch on the power lines or light poles above us, always strike me as funny. They know we are there, and they seem curious about us, but they don’t want to get too close, after all they aren’t stupid, just curious, as they allow us to share their space. And of course, there is nature’s version of Twitter…when a large group of birds flock to one tree, and everyone is tweeting at once…as was the case when we left for our evening walk last night.

As my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg’s birthday approached this year, I have found myself thinking a lot about the man who was like a second dad to me for 38 years. As with my parents, I still find it hard to believe that he is gone, and yet it has been more than four years already. There are many things I really miss about my father-in-law. One of the main ones would be his smile. Whenever we were at his house, he was always so genuinely happy to see us, and his smile made that so clear. He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. He was an experienced teaser, and since I come from a family of teasers, we always got along well. In his last years, I had the privilege of taking care of him, and I can honestly say that it was a privilege, and a blessing to be able to spend that time with him. We talked about family history a lot, and he helped me to fill in a lot of the holes in that side of the family. And we just talked about life and the past. Those were sweet times.

My father-in-law was always there to pitch in and lend a helping hand. He worked hard until the job was done. I always called him a workaholic, and I wasn’t kidding, nor was I wrong. He instilled that same work ethic in his children, all of whom are hard workers too. His philosophy was that you should work hard until the job was done, and done right. He believed that if a job was worth doing, it was worth doing right. He took that work ethic with him to the various job he did over the years, and each one was very sorry to see him move on.

He worked hard, but the really important thing in his life was his family. They were his top priority. He loved every baby, grandbaby, and great grandbaby with all his heart. He made toys for them, played games with them, and let them “help” with the jobs he was working on at home, teaching them the ropes as they went along. Every one of the kids and grandkids had a chance to help Grandpa with his work, and they all loved to be able to do so. He never made them feel like they were in the way. Of course, they most enjoyed playing with him, but what child wouldn’t? He was a dear dad and grandfather to every one of the children and grandchildren, a well as to his sons and daughters-in-law. I feel very privileged to have known him. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 88th birthday. I wish he were here so we could all celebrate it with him. Happy birthday in Heaven Dad. We love and miss you very much.

My niece, Lindsay Moore is a private consultant for South Dakota State University, Michigan State University, University of Missouri, Purdue University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ohio State University, serving as their Project Coordinator for all states. She basically manages their project and research activities and personnel, focusing mainly on South Dakota, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Minnesota, and Michigan. She was originally employed at South Dakota State University, but when her husband, Shannon took a new job at Miami International University in Miami, Florida, it looked like Lindsay was going to have to find a new job, but her boss, Suzanne hated to lose such a valuable employee, so she went to work to find a way for Lindsay to work as a private consultant. The job took off and expanded to include several other universities, and it have been quite successful for all concerned, and it worked out especially well when Lindsay’s husband took a new job at Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends coach at East Carolina University, bringing a move to Greenville, North Carolina. It is really nice that Lindsay doesn’t have to look for a new job every time her husband takes a better job, which is very common for football coaches.

Part of Lindsay’s job includes speaking at conferences in different location in the United States and even in Canada. She has made trips, with her boss, Suzanne, to Victoria, Canada; Washington DC; and her latest trip was to California, where Lindsay spoke at a conference about food availability for under privileged communities and helping make healthy food available for those who are unable to get it. They use a power point presentation and present the way their six states are helping people get healthy food instead of just commodities, and they do studies with communities for ways to help people get and stay active. Lindsay is an avid nutritionist and exercise expert focusing on how the body moves. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, and then her Masters degree in Nutrition, Exercise, and Food Science, making her the perfect person to head up the projects concerning food availability, good nutrition, and exercise.

Lindsay really enjoys working from home. It provides her with the freedom to travel with her husband on his scouting trips, take vacations during the summer while he is off work, and go to see her family in Casper, Wyoming several times a year, and when she and Shannon begin having a family, they won’t even need a babysitter. It’s a pretty sweet deal, and a far cry from her original plan of becoming…a firefighter!! Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

In the 18th and 19th century, going swimming was not done in the same way as it was today. While it was considered ok to swim, the clothing was not considered appropriate, and so men and women were segregated during swimming. I don’t suppose going to the beach was as common, and so it problem might not have come up every day, but it came up enough to create a need for a “proper” way to accomplish an outing involving swimming. Enter the Bathing Machine. The bathing machine was basically a small room built on wheels that could be taken to the beach. People entered the machine while it was on the beach, wearing their street clothing. In the machine they changed into their bathing suit, although men were allowed to bathe nude until the 1860s. They then placed their street clothes into a raised compartment in the bathing machine, where they would remain safe and dry.

I believe that all bathing machines had small windows, but one writer in the Manchester Guardian of May 26, 1906 considered them “ill-lighted” and wondered why bathing machines were not improved with a skylight. Once the person had changed, the machine would be wheeled or slid into the water. The most common type of these machines had large wide wheels and were pulled in and out of the surf by a horse or a pair of horses with a driver, but there were some that were pushed in and out of the water by human power. Some resorts had wooden rails into the water for the wheels to roll on, and a few had bathing machines pulled in and out by cables propelled by a steam engine.

Once the machine was in the water, the occupants stepped out from the sea side, and proceeded down steps into the water. Many of the machines had doors front and back, but those with only one door would be backed into the sea or need to be turned around. The most essential element of the machines, was that it blocked any view of the bather from the shore. Some of the more luxurious machines were equipped with a canvas tent lowered from the seaside door, sometimes capable of being lowered to the water, giving the bather greater privacy. Bathing machines would often be equipped with a small flag which could be raised by the bather as a signal to the driver that they were ready to return to shore. Some resorts even employed a dipper, a strong person of the same sex who would assist the bather in and out of the sea. Some dippers were said to push bathers into the water, then yank them out, considered part of the experience. Wow!! I’m not sure I would like that much, but then, to me this whole process seems like it would make the idea of bathing a bit too much of an undertaking, not to mention the added cost to go swimming, because I don’t think anyone would operate a bathing machine for free.

Bathing machines were most commonly used in the United Kingdom and parts of the British Empire with a British population, but were also used in France, Germany, the United States, Mexico, and other nations. Legal segregation of bathing areas in Britain ended in 1901, and the bathing machine declined rapidly. By the start of the 1920s, bathing machines were almost extinct, even on beaches catering to an older clientele. For those of us who grew up in the modern era, this process would seem like a bit of insanity, but then that was simply a different time.

When people hear the word step-dad, it doesn’t usually come with a lot of good feelings. Most people think of a guy who married a woman with a child, and really wishes she didn’t have that child, but with my niece, Susan Griffith’s husband, Josh, they would be wrong. When Susan met Josh, she didn’t know how he would feel about her daughter, Jala Satterwhite. Susan needn’t have worried. Josh stepped into Jala’s life and became the dad, that he didn’t have to be. Jala has a dad, but if she was going to be happy with her mom’s husband, there was going to have to be something in it for her too. That’s all any child wants…to be accepted and loved, as if their step-dad were their biological dad. When Josh became Jala’s step-dad, he took his role very seriously, and he became a great father figure for Jala. She never feels like his step-daughter, because he has never made her feel that way. Josh and Susan have another daughter, Kaytlyn too, and Josh loves both girls the same. They have never felt different.

Josh is pretty good at making people feel comfortable, and less fearful. I guess it’s a knack he has. When he and Susan first met, she was really afraid of 4 wheelers. Josh came up with a way to ease Susan into the idea by starting with horses. I’m not sure how horses could ease the fear of 4 wheelers, but maybe it’s because both of them eliminate the closed in feel of a car. One thing they have found is that horses are expensive…but as with any hobby that a person loves, the horses are worth every penny. They bring the family joy and they get them out in nature, and in that way they are truly a blessing.

Josh is an avid outdoorsman. He is really at home in the mountains. The family stays very busy in the summer, trying to cram as much fun and activity into the few short months before the girls go back to school, and winter arrives. They go camping, fishing, horseback riding in the Beartooth Mountains every other weekend. In fact, living in the mountains would not be out of the question, except that the kids have all their activities. Maybe someday, when the girls are grown and on their own, that dream can become a reality, but for now, they know that the kids need school and friends. For Susan, it is clear…she and Josh will be together forever, because they are true soul mates. They are both going in the same direction, and the are very happy with their traveling companion on life’s journey. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Aurora Hadlock is a sweet, slightly bashful little girl, who is a blessing to be around. She is very loving, and always quick with a hug, but don’t let one side of her fool you as to the other side of Aurora, because Aurora has a goofy, teasing, funny side that comes out to play when she gets to know people. Aurora and her mom, Chelsea Hadlock love doing things together, along with her brother, Ethan, and her dad, Ryan Hadlock. It’s fun to go camping on the mountain, and hiking the trails there. Ryan and Chelsea keep the kids busy with lots of fun activities.

This summer, the kids joined the many people in the latest fad of painting rocks and them placing them around town for others to find. The idea is two-fold really. Some people…mostly kids…keep the rocs they find like a sort of free souvenir for the hard work in hiking around to find the rocks. Others, like my husband Bob and me, re-hide the rocks we find, so that someone else can enjoy them too. Its really quite interesting. Aurora and her brother, Ethan had a great time, with their mom painting the rocks, and then setting out to hide them around the trails. Lots of people post their finds on Facebook, in the hope that the artist can see the happiness their painted rock brought to someone else.

Aurora is a girly girl, and she loves her dresses and other costumes that make her feel like the princess she is, but don’t let her girly girl side fool you, because Aurora is her daddy’s girl, and anyone who knows Ryan, knows that teasing comes with the territory. Ryan got it from his dad, and he is working hard on passing it down to his kids. Of course, it’s all in good fun, and the kids aren’t mean about, it, but they are little experts at it. Once in a while the students become the teacher, and for Ryan, that has been the case on more than one occasion, when the kids have decided that it’s time to show daddy their expertise. Ryan is a good sport though, because I’m sure he did that to his dad too. If you are going to tease, you have to be able to take a joke too.

School will be starting next week, and Aurora will be a grown up first grader. She is a good student, who loves going to school, and learning. She loves to read, and especially to play with her friends on the playground, because no matter how good a student you are, recess is still everyone’s favorite class. I can’t believe how quickly our little Aurora is growing up, Today is Aurora’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Most of us think of surfing as a sport that began with the 60s Hippie Generation…or at least, I did, but surfing is actually one of the oldest practiced sports in the world. Thought of as, the art of wave riding, it is a blend of total athleticism and the comprehension of the beauty and power of nature. Surfing is also one of the few sports that creates its own culture and lifestyle. From surfing came the beach bum, and the draw of the coastal areas. Surfing began with a wooden board in Western Polynesia over three thousand years ago. The first surfers were actually fishermen who discovered riding waves as an efficient method of getting to shore with their catch. After realizing that surfing was fun, catching waves changed from being part of everyday work to being a pastime, and the sport of surfing was born. I have never considered surfing myself, but I think it is interesting to watch.

While I’m not a faithful fan of surfing, I do find it interesting to note the different boards surfers have used over the years. The first boards were little more than a wooden plank, and I have to wonder how the surfer ever got to shore. It would seem to me that without the smooth rounded or pointed front edge, the board would simple dig up the water, dumping the surfer in. And maybe that was the problem. It didn’t take long before the loyal surfer was smoothing the edges of his board to make it more streamlined in the water.

Recently, I came across a picture of some young surfers in the 1920s, and while their suits were odd for our day and age, the thing that shocked me the most was their boards. They were literally a wooden plank, squared off at the end, with braces in a couple of placed in the middle. I began to wonder how they could even make them work. The I started looking at other surf boards through the years. They went from the tiny Boogie Board, used for body surfing, to a surf board that looked like a small boat. I wondered how the surfer even carried that board…or transported it. Those big boat sized boards were often more than twice the size of some of the women standing in front of them. I think it is quite interesting that people have been able to use such a wide variety of boards, and actually manage to navigate the waves without falling in every time, but then I guess practice makes perfect.

A baby’s first year is always so exciting for the parents, especially if the baby is their first child. My grand niece, Adelaide Ione Sawdon is turning one today. She is a sweet little baby girl, who was named after two of her great grandmothers…one being my mom, Collene Ione Spencer. Addi is filled with happiness and a few little antics that make everyone around her smile. She keeps her parents, Jessi and Jason Sawdon quite busy…and I don’t think she is even walking one her own yet. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that she can’t get into things.

Adelaide has learned to throw kisses, and it is the cutest thing. She throws them backward…kissing the back of her hand before she throws it to you. She loves working her way into her bath seat, even if it is comical sometimes. She also loves making funny faces with her Aunt Kellie Hadlock; playing the guitar with her grandpa, Chris Hadlock; going to the office with her grandma, Allyn Hadlock; hanging out with her cousins, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock; or going shopping with her great aunts Robin Nelson and Jen Christman. She has even spent some time learning to drive with her daddy…but don’t tell anyone, because after all, she is a bit young, and he is a highway patrolman, so he shouldn’t let her drive just yet.

I only wish I had anywhere near the energy that Addi has, because I think she could out do any ten people. Addi loves her dog, Daisy, and Daisy loves her too. In fact, when Addi came home from the hospital, Daisy loved her immediately. Now they play together and they are the best of friends. Yes, Addi has had a very interesting and exciting year, and so has the rest of her family. She is so much fun to watch, and her parents make sure that we get to see lots of pictures of her activities. Today is Adelaide’s first birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Steve Spethman is a great husband and dad. I have known Steve since he was twelve, and like most kids, he was carefree and a little mischievous. Nevertheless, he has grown into such a great man. Steve’s top priority is his family. He is very active in the activities of his three boys and his daughter. Steve loves guns. He wants his kids and his wife, Jenny to know how to defend themselves, and he also loves to hunt, so he wants the kids to be able to hunt too, as they come of age, so he has trained them on every aspect of gun use and safety. Of course, they have to take the hunter safety classes too, but the two older boys have passed with ease. I know that his younger two children will do so too. Steve is an excellent marksman and is willing to help anyone with their shooting ability. I have been blessed to have him show me some things to help me shoot better, so I know that he is patient, and qualified. Now, I just need to go with him again to practice, hahaha!!

Steve is a hard working man, and even takes on extra work to help out family and friends, and to earn a little extra money. He does excellent carpentry work, and has helped .y sister, Caryl Reed and her husband, Mike to build the home they have been working on at their ranchette near Casper. The work Steve has done there is beautiful, and I know that Mike has been grateful for his help. He is currently working on so renovations at the family home, and while Jenny is dreading the mess, she is really looking forward to the nice new kitchen she will have when all the renovations are done. I can’t wait to see the results. I know their kitchen will be just beautiful!!

Steve is very active. He loves to ride his motorcycle with his wife, Jenny. They really enjoy the summer months. If they aren’t riding the motorcycle, the might be taking their kids to the lake to swim, or on the mountain for a picnic. Winter finds them on the mountain on their 4 wheelers, but summer is their favorite season. Jenny and Steve love to be outside playing with their kids and enjoying the great weather. This year they had such a great summer, that they all hate to see it end, but fall brings football, and that’s ok too. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!