Caryn

After his mother, Ramona Hadlock passed away, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock and my sister, Allyn Hadlock inherited his parents’ place on the North Platte River east of Casper. Chris always loved his childhood home, and he can’t wait to move back there. Chris’ parents bought their place in 1973, put a mobile home on the land, and the rest is history…family history, that is. For the most part, Chris and his younger brother, Doug were the children still at home. They loved country living. In the winter, the river and the creek on their property froze, and while they didn’t ride bicycles on the river, they did on the frozen creek. They also took turns pulling each other behind a bicycle on the frozen creek. Chris often talks about his life there and his thoughts are filled with the Christmas barbecues and summertime picnics in the back yard which sits right on the river. Those were happy days when both his parents were still alive, and the time he spent learning things from them.

Chris and Allyn have been busily tearing out anything useful in the old mobile home that his parents lived in, because they plan to sell their home in Casper to their son, Ryan and daughter-in-law, Chelsea and their family. With the proceeds of the sale, they will build their new home on the river, in the place they love to be. It was in this back yard that their rehearsal dinner was held the night before their wedding…37 years ago. And this is the land where so many other family gatherings have been held. It’s no wonder it holds such a big place in Chris’ heart. I’m sure that when he is there, he can almost visualize his parents all around him. I know that because it is the way I feel when I am in my parents home, which is now where my sister, Cheryl Masterson lives. Being able to go back to your childhood home is such a blessing, and I know that is how Chris feels too. The tearing down of the house was something they could not bear to watch in person, because it was Chris’ childhood home, and it felt so final to tear it down, but now that it is gone, they have been able to move forward with the plans for the new house, the construction of which is scheduled to begin soon.

These days Chris talks about the new memories they will make at his childhood home, because while the house is gone, and a new one will soon take it’s place, and his parents’ echo still remains all over the land. That will always be with him. He plans to continue many of the traditions of his parents, and of course they will start many new traditions with their own family, and with the families of their combined siblings too. The place is beautiful and quite big, so it can accommodate lots of people, and at the back fence, you can sit and view the lazy river going by. There are wild turkeys and lots of other birds, and of course, the fresh air and wide open spaces. I know that as Chris and Allyn live on the land, it will grow into a wonderful place where they will want to spend the rest of their lives…other than their place on the mountain, of course. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

There have been many inventions that were discovered by accident, but none was sweeter than the Chocolate Chip Cookie. My sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg loved to make cookies, and she knew that I was partial to her chocolate chip cookies, but she didn’t invent them. We have to thank Ruth Graves Wakefield for that. It was one of apparently several “mistakes” Ruth made in the kitchen. We’ve all been there, but this mistake was not disastrous.

Ruth and her husband, Kenneth owned Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth prepared the recipes and cooked for the inn’s guests. One day in 1930, she had a problem. She was out of baker’s chocolate for her scrumptious Butter Drop Do cookies. She knew that her guests always looked forward to those cookies and would be upset if she didn’t have any. She gave the matter some thought, and decided that she could just break up a bar of Nestle’s semisweet chocolate into tiny chunks and mixed them into the batter. She assumed that the chocolate would melt, spread into the dough as it baked, and create a chocolate-flavored cookie. Unfortunately, chocolate is a little be more resilient than that. The chunks melted…to a degree, but pretty much held their position in the cookie dough. When she took the cookies out of the oven, she noticed that the chocolate chunks only melted slightly, holding their shape and forming a creamy texture. It was too late to do anything else, so she served the cookies to her guests, who absolutely loved them.

Ruth’s chocolate chip cookies began attracting people from all over New England. After her recipe appeared in a Boston newspaper, Nestle gained a huge spike in sales. Everyone wanted Nestle’s semisweet chocolate bars to make Ruth Wakefield’s cookies. Andrew Nestle came up with a great marketing idea that would be beneficial for both of them. Nestle agreed to give Wakefield a lifetime supply of the chocolate in return for her recipe printed on every Nestle semisweet chocolate bar. Later, of course, they printed it on the bags of chocolate chips, because who wants to break up all that chocolate, when it could be done for you and placed in a bag. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t had chocolate chip cookies in their lifetime, and we can all thank Ruth Wakefield and her cookie mistake for that scrumptious treat.

When Audrianna “Anna” Masterson was born, her mom, Dustie Masterson, knew that the baby girl completed their family. Now, 12 years later, her mom says that Anna’s very presence makes her smile. Anna loves cheesy jokes as much as her mom, so they laugh and joke off of each other a lot. Still, those 12 years weren’t all carefree and easy…just mostly. Once, when Anna was just three years old, she gave her parents quite a scare. They were freaking out because she had buried herself in a pile of clothes and fallen asleep. Anna slept so soundly, that she did not hear her family yelling and screaming her name. Still, if that is the worst thing Anna ever does, I’d say she’s a keeper. Her parents, Rob and Dustie are finding it really hard to believe Anna is turning 12 this year.

Anna is very into Anime…which is hand-drawn and computer animation game out of Japan. I’m told that her sister, Raelynn can be held responsible for this. Apparently, she doesn’t love board games…or so she says, but when the family sits down to play, she has a blast. The same applies to bowling. The latest thing these days is Comic-Con, and Casper is holding their very first Comic-Con. Raelynn and Anna are going this weekend. Anna graduated from elementary school this year and her graduation gift was a ticket to go to Comic-Con with her best friend Julie. She was also invited to go with a close friend of the family and his daughter who is a good friend of Anna’s too.

Anna loves to read, and can often be found reading on her phone. I can relate to that. There is a whole world of stories and information out there. All we have to do is pick up a book, or even our phone. Anna is a very soft hearted girl, and she depends on her siblings, with whom she is very close, whenever she is upset…which isn’t really very often, but she counts on them when she is. She looks to both of them and will call them on the phone, if they are not home. While she depends on her siblings, Anna really enjoys having her own room for the first time ever. As she grows up, she is finding out that having your own space is really cool too. Today is Anna’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Most people have attended a circus at one time or another, although they are becoming a little more something from the past. Nevertheless, they used to be huge attractions, and when the circus came to town, almost the whole town turned out to watch the show. That was something that worked against the people of Hartford, Connecticut on July 6, 1944. At that time, Hartford was a city of approximately 13,000 people. The Independence Day festivities had just passed and now the circus was in town to continue the week’s excitement for the townspeople. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum Baily Circus was famous for its incredible show, held under a huge circus tent. At 8,000 people in attendance, about 2/3 of the town was there. It was going to be a great show, and the children of the town were beyond excited.

With the tent filled to capacity, a fire is the worst nightmare, but that is what they had. No one knows exactly what happened, and the 8,000 people inside really had no time in which to react. As panic spread as fact as the fire broke out under the big top of circus, killing 167 people and injuring 682. Two thirds of those who perished were children. The cause of the fire was unknown, but it spread at incredible speed, racing up the canvas of the circus tent. Suddenly, patches of burning canvas began falling on them from above, and a stampede for the exits began. People became trapped under fallen canvas, but most were able to rip through it and escape, but after the tent’s ropes burned and its poles gave way, the whole burning big top came crashing down, trapping those who remained inside. Within 10 minutes it was over, and some 100 children and 60 of their adult escorts were dead or dying.

The fire investigation revealed that the tent had undergone a treatment with flammable paraffin thinned with three parts of gasoline to make it waterproof. These days, no on would consider using gasoline for such a purpose, but unfortunately at that time it was used. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus eventually agreed to pay $5 million in compensation, and several of the organizers were convicted on manslaughter charges. In 1950, the cause was finally uncovered in the case when Robert D Segee of Circleville, Ohio, confessed to starting the Hartford circus fire. Segee claimed that he had been an arsonist since the age of six and that “an apparition of an Indian on a flaming horse often visited him and urged him to set fires.” In November 1950, Segee was convicted in Ohio of unrelated arson charges and sentenced to 44 years of prison time. The Hartford investigators raised doubts over his confession. Segee had a history of mental illness, and it could not be proven he was anywhere within the state of Connecticut when the fire occurred. Connecticut officials were also not allowed to question Segee, even though his alleged crime had occurred in their state. Segee, who died in 1997, denied setting the fire as late as 1994 during an interview. Because of this, many investigators, historians, and victims believe the true arsonist…if it was indeed arson…was never found.

We have all made plans for the future we wanted to have, and truly, expected to have, only to have something happen that changed everything. Our plans as kids and young people are often the first plans to change, as we grow up and decide our plans were just not for us. Then, we decide that we want a whole new life plan. Still, sometimes, it isn’t something tragic or amazing, but rather just something that changes the way we see things…changes our priorities.

As a girl I wanted to be a school teacher…of high school, no less. These days I can’t imagine teaching high school, but I still have a knack for teaching people things. I think I would prefer adult students, and technology as a subject…if I were going to teach, but then I don’t have all the necessary training for that field either. After having a family and raising our girls to junior high, I went back to work, and a year later became an insurance agent. I had found my niche. I understood insurance, and therefore, I was a good insurance agent. I thought this would be my career for life, and I was correct in that, since I have been an agent for 30 years, and retired from insurance May 1, 2019.

Nevertheless, life took some unexpected turns that made me realize that sometimes, we can possess talents that we didn’t know we had. Talents that come out at a time of extreme urgency. That is what happened with me. When my dad, Allen Spencer got sick with Pancreatitis. That would begin a journey of caregiving that lasted over twelve years, and took place in conjunction with my insurance career, causing me to miss many hours of work. I was one of the caregivers who were blessed with a boss who allowed me to do what I needed to do. Not many jobs give you that kind of freedom. It is something I will be forever grateful for. It was during these years that I discovered that I had a knack for the medical world, and had I considered it, I probably could have been a good nurse. Unfortunately, it was too late in life for that and I was too busy, plus I liked my insurance career.

During the years of caregiving, which I shared with my sisters, in-laws, children and grandchildren, and after my dad passed away, but I was still caring for my mom, Collene Spencer, and my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg, I found myself needing a form of creative release. My daughter, Corrie Petersen suggested that I start a blog. She helped my get started and then introduced me to “The Ultimate Blog Challenge,” which inspired me to write every day, something I have been doing for almost ten years now. So began a “career” of writing a blog every day. It was a way to step outside myself and my busy life and to hopefully a chance to write interesting stories for my readers. It’s strange where life takes you. The twists and turns that help you find yourself and your talents in ways you never expected. Twists and turns that change your life into something so different from what you thought it would be.

For many years, my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I have gone to the Black Hills to celebrate Independence Day. It has been our tradition for about 30 years. This year, things got changed up a bit. Our daughter, Amy Royce and her husband Travis invited us to come to Washington to spend the holiday with them. We will be watching the fireworks display at Semiahmoo Bay on the 4th. Bob and I went there a couple of years ago when we spent Thanksgiving with Amy’s family. The bay is beautiful, and I’m sure it will be even more fun in the summertime warmth…although it wasn’t very cold in November. We have never seen fireworks set off over water, so that will definitely be something new, and something about which we are very excited.

Celebrating our nation’s independence has always been a favorite holiday for Bob and me. We love everything about it. The fireworks take my thoughts back to history lessons, of the Revolutionary War. The rockets shot at ships, and the fighting that took place because we were a nation ready to be our own country. The fighting was sometimes brutal, but it was necessary. The patriots willingly gave their lives for the cause of independence. The fighting took place on land and water, and yet we have never seen fireworks over the water…until now. In my mind, I can see the ships from the Revolutionary War out in the bay. I can imagine the fireworks are the rockets, and the war is real. Nevertheless, I am glad that it isn’t really real, because I would not want our soldiers to have to relive that, but I can feel like a mouse in the corner, watching as history unfolds in front of my eyes…at least I can imagine it.

Of course, the fireworks aren’t the real thing, but rather just reminder of what our nation and the soldiers who fought for our independence, went through. My imagination of happened is just that…a figment of my imagination, because those events are long in the past. Still, I don’t believe that we should ever forget the lessons of war. There is always a reason we go to war…a wrong that must be made right, tyranny that must be stopped, killing that must be squashed, and slaves who must be made free. Good nations don’t go to war for evil purposes. I believe that the most important lesson to be taken away from any war, is that we must never trust our enemies, and even more importantly, we must never allow the enemy to infiltrate our nation and our government. Happy Independence Day to our great nation…the United States of America. Forever may our flag fly and forever may our nation stand.

My grand nephew, Lucas Iverson is a sweet boy who is eager to learn new things. Lucas has Down Syndrome, but that has not slowed him down. Lucas is attending summer school, which will help his to stay on track with his studies. He is going to be in second grade next year and is doing very well in school. Because of Lucas learning disabilities, the school is working with innovative new ways of teaching him, and he is doing very well. They are using a picture communication book to teach him. Lucas uses Velcro stickers to ask for what he wants or to answer questions. The idea is that if Lucas needs to go to the restroom, there is a picture of a toilet. If he is thirsty, there is a picture of a glass of water. There are pictures of food, a bed, a car, a park…you get the picture. The best part is that it’s working for Lucas, and he is excelling at it.

One of the things that is helpful to Lucas is to have a schedule that is followed religiously. Everyday schedule changes are difficult for him to deal with, so keeping him on a strict schedule helps him to stay on task. His learning works best in an environment of stability and organization, and since he is doing so well in school, his parents, Cassie and Chris Iverson don’t want anything to get in the way of that. Lucas has been an inspiration to them…and to many of the rest of us in the family too.

Of course, no kid wants to do nothing but study all summer, and Lucas is no exception. So, the family has been doing lots of fishing this summer. And they are planning to go to the fair to celebrate Lucas’ birthday. They have been doing lots of gardening too, and Lucas loves to play outside in his new backyard with his little sister, Zoey, and helping his mom with new photography ideas, like the lens ball. But one of the biggest things that is going on with Lucas is that he is growing like a weed. He weighs 40 pounds and he is 40 inches tall. While that isn’t average for an 8 year old boy, it is pretty good for Lucas, who has struggled with his digestive system, and has been through multiple surgeries. Lucas is a strong, brave boy, who pushes through every time, and always with a smile on his face. The very best news is that he is doing so well in his health right now, that he doesn’t have to go back to the doctors for 6 months. Now that is something to celebrate. Today is Lucas 8th birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Chelsea Hadlock, wife of my nephew, Ryan Hadlock, has spent a number of years being a great stay-at-home mom, raising their kids, Ethan and Aurora. She is a great mom and both of their kids are just as sweet as they can be and very well mannered. Chelsea and Ryan have done a wonderful job with the kids. Chelsea and the kids are hanging out this summer, gardening, going to the summer movies and making a couple of trips to Loveland to see their grandma, Debbie Moss. Chelsea and Ryan get together with the Hadlock family for barbecues and dinners at each other’s houses. It’s a great part of summer. Chelsea makes an excellent potato salad and a super yummy dip which the family always asks her to make always ask her to make. I know from experience Chelsea is an excellent cook, and we have all been treated to her cooking and believe me, it is excellent.

Now, Chelsea has decided to get her real estate license, so she is studying very hard for her test. She will make an excellent realtor. My sister, Allyn Hadlock thinks real estate may just end up being Chelsea’s niche! I can see that. Chelsea is a very social person, and she knows houses and decorating too. Chelsea and Ryan are going to buy my sister and brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock’s house when they move to their new home. Ryan and Chelsea are hoping she will be able to be the realtor when they sell their own house. This is going to be a really good thing for their family. Real estate is a great career move.

Chelsea is such an asset to our family. In the 11 years since Chelsea joined our family, she has shown a willingness to help out wherever she’s needed and she is a much loved member of the family. Chelsea has a beautiful smile, and always makes those around her feel good. She has always want to be a mom, and have a family, and so her own family has been a dream come true. For my sister and brother-in-law, they couldn’t have asked for a better person to be their only daughter-in-law. We all love Chelsea, and we couldn’t be happier to have her in our family. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When we think of space exploration, I think most of us think about the moon or the International Space Station, but NASA has really done more exploring of other areas that it has of the moon. One such mission was NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, and the Huygens probe. Cassini launched in 1997, along with ESA’s Huygens probe. It was a joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency, or ESA, and the Italian Space Agency. For six months in 2000, the spacecraft contributed to studies of Jupiter, before continuing on to its destination…Saturn, on June 30, 2004 and starting a string of flybys of Saturn’s moons. The Huygens probe was released later that year on Saturn’s moon Titan to conduct a study of the moon’s atmosphere and surface composition. In its second extended mission, Cassini made the first observations of a complete seasonal period for Saturn and its moons, flew between the rings and descended into the planet’s atmosphere.

Upon arrival at Saturn, Cassini-Huygens began its mission by doing several flybys of Saturn’s moons. Saturn has at least 150 moons and moonlets in total, though only 62 have confirmed orbits and only 53 have been given official names. Every year, it seems, more moons are discovered. Most of the moons are small, icy bodies that probably broke off of Saturn’s impressive ring system. In fact, 34 of the moons that have been named are less than 7 miles in diameter while another 14 are 7 to 31 miles in diameter. However, some of its inner and outer moons are among the largest and most dramatic in the Solar System, measuring between 155 and 3106 miles in diameter and housing some of greatest mysteries in the Solar System. These moons aren’t all round, but rather have taken on several unusual and interesting shapes.

The rings of Saturn posed a particular problem if the Cassini was fly through them and descend into Saturn’s atmosphere. The rings of Saturn are the most extensive ring system of any planet in the Solar System. They consist of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometers to meters, that orbit about Saturn. The ring particles are made almost entirely of water ice, with a trace component of rocky material. No one really understands exactly how the rings are formed. Although theoretical models indicated that the rings were likely to have formed early in the Solar System’s history, new data from Cassini suggest they formed relatively late. That and several other things about Saturn are the reasons for its exploration. On September 15, 2017, twenty years after the Cassini-Huygens mission began, it was over, and Cassini began its Final Entry into Saturn’s Atmosphere…breaking up as it broke through.

Since I became a great grandmother a little over a year ago, I can say that I can relate to just how excited my husband’s grandmother, Nettie Knox felt when she became a great grandmother. Of course, for her, becoming a great grandmother was also a birthday present. It was a gift she was very pleased with. That birthday present was one that I gave her, and I didn’t even know I was doing it…her first great grandchild.

After my daughter, Corrie Petersen was born, Bob’s parents and grandparents came to the hospital to visit. The very first words spoken as they walked in the door were from Grandma Knox when she said, “She was born on my birthday!!” She was literally floating on air, and that was just the beginning of an amazing bond that would last until Grandma’s passing, and for Corrie, it has continued in her heart and will always be a part of her. I’m sure that Grandma feels the same way too in Heaven, because a bond like that continues on forever. They shared far more than just a birthday.

Becoming a grandmother is a wonderful experience, as any grandmother knows, so when your grandchild has a child, and you find yourself a great grandmother, you realize that your legacy has gone to the next level. Your line will continue on into the future, and the next generation will no doubt witness even greater things than your generation, or that of your children or even your grandchildren. The future will find things common place that this generation thought were science fiction. Grandma Knox saw many changes in her years of life. Airplanes were very new then…just 5 years since the first flight. The first Ford Model T was produced that year. I wonder what she would think today, knowing that we have cars that have actually driving by themselves. Telephones, for most of us anyway, were still attached to the house. Cell phones came out in 1973, but they were something only rich businessmen had for a long time. Grandma passed away on July 29, 1990, having witness many changes in this world, but there are many that have happened since that would be completely shocking to her. Those things are for her descendants to experience. That is a part of what has become her legacy as a mom, grandmother, great grandmother, 2nd great grandmother, and now a 3rd great grandmother. I think she would be pleased with her family. Today would have been Grandma Knox’s 111th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma. We love and miss you very much.

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