Yesterday, my newest little great grandson, Axel Ray Petersen was born. He is a sweet little boy who looks like his daddy, I’m told. I haven’t met him yet, and I can’t wait until I do. Axel was born at 12:02pm on September 18, 2023…exactly 9 days after his dad, Josh Petersen’s birthday; and exactly 9 days before his mom, Athena Petersen’s birthday. He weighs 8 pounds 1 ounce, and he is 19¾ inches long. He has dark hair and more of it than many babies. Axel comes into the world, the second child of his parents, Athena and Josh Petersen. He has a big brother, Justin Petersen, who doesn’t like it much when his brother cries. In fact, it breaks Justin’s heart to hear his precious brother cry, and so he cries too. Justin is not quite a year old yet, so he just doesn’t understand why his brother is sad.
Axel is a sweet baby boy who doesn’t cry much, and he is such a sweet blessing to his family. I can’t believe he is here already. It seems like just yesterday that we found out that Axel was coming, and now suddenly he is here. Nine months goes by so fast. Before we know it, we will be celebrating his first birthday and beyond. Time goes by so fast, and kids grow up so quickly. I am excited to find out who Axel will become as he grows, and excited to see the relationship he will have with his brother and any possible future siblings. Justin is a happy boy, and I’m sure that happiness will spread to his younger brother. There is no way to know the interests these brothers will have, but I know that they will have a wonderful life, and they will be best friends forever.
For little Axel, life is just beginning. The journey ahead has yet to be determined. The same applies to his “Irish Twin” brother, Justin. Irish Twins are siblings who were born less than a year apart. Axel and Justin’s grandmother, Corrie Petersen is also an Irish Twin. It’s a really cool thing to be. The older one doesn’t remember life without the younger one, and the younger one never lived life without the older one. Either way, they feel like they have always had each other, and they pretty much have. It is my hope that Justin and Axel will embrace that part of themselves and make it a special part of their lives. Happy day of your birth Axel Ray Petersen, and welcome to the world and our family. We love you so much already.
While life hasn’t always been easy for my aunt, Jeanette Byer, who is the widow of my uncle, Larry Byer (my mother’s brother). She worked hard all her life, helping to take care of their large piece of land and house in the country between Casper and Glenrock, Wyoming. They had a number of outbuildings and lots of trees. The land belongs to her children, Larry Byer and Tina Grosvenor now, because with Uncle Larry in Heaven, Aunt Jeanette has moved into an apartment in Casper. It’s just easier for her now, because her eyesight is failing, with Macular Degeneration, so to be on sch a big place with so much care needed would be too hard for her…and she is older now, so she couldn’t do the upkeep anyway. That is a job for younger people.
Nevertheless, while things in her life changing, Aunt Jeanette is still a person of smiles and sweetness. You have to tell her who you are when you see her, not because she doesn’t remember people, but because she can’t see them…even right in front of her. Nevertheless, the last time I saw her, I had a nice little visit with her…even though it was at the funeral of her son-in-law, Glen Grosvenor. We didn’t talk long, but it was good to know that she was still doing well, and still smiling. She has such a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity.
Aunt Jeanette liked doing crafts, and at one time she had a little ceramic shop on their place, so that the family could all gather around the ceramic design work and enjoy not only the artistic time together, but also just the time together itself. Many cute decorations were made in that little shop, and many great conversations too. She doesn’t do ceramics anymore, of course, but Aunt Jeanette always enjoys a little visit and time with family. She now has grandchildren, and quite great grandchildren to entertain these days, although she may not get to see them as often as she would like. At least some of them live in Florida. Nevertheless, there are many way to keep in tough these days, including phone, facetime, skype, and a number of others. I don’t know how well Aunt Jeanette can handle these things, but I’m sure there are those who can help. Today is Aunt Jeanette’s 87th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Jeanette!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I was born in Superior, Wisconsin and at that time, I had one grandfather, George Byer, who was my mother, Collene Spencer’s dad. My grandfather and grandmother, Hattie Byer lived in Casper, Wyoming, where my mom was born, and where our family would eventually move back too. Sometimes, I wonder if my grandparents were happy about having us moving back. It wasn’t that they weren’t happy to have us closer, but now they didn’t have an excuse to visit the beautiful Wisconsin area.
Grandma and Grandpa made a few trips up to see us, as did my Aunt Sandy Pattan and possibly some of my other aunts and uncles, and they always had a wonderful time. I don’t think you could gage kept my grandpa away, because when it came to kids, he was a big softie. About the time he knew he had a new grandbaby, he was ready to go.
Grandpa was the same way with his own kids. He loved coming home from work to have all of his children around him. The girls would often comb his hair, and even paint his fingernails. If his buddies at work ever laughed about that, he didn’t say, and I doubt he cared. I’m sure he just likes having the attention his kids loved to give him, especially after a long hard day at work. The evenings were often spent listening to the radio or reading a book out loud so the whole family could hear. They also sang, and after Aunt Dee bought the old piano, maybe they played that, although I don’t think anyone really knew how. Nevertheless, evenings were for family time, and Grandpa loved it. Today marks the 130th anniversary of my grandpa’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa Byer. We love and miss you very much.
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s grandparents, Walt and Vina Hein were so much fun to go visit in Forsyth, Montana when our family was young. They owned a ranch outside of town, and while Bob and I also lived in the country, our little place outside of Casper, Wyoming was no ranch. Grandma and Grandpa had chickens, horses, and cows, and that gave our girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, the experience of seeing life on a real ranch. They lived going to see Grandma and Grandpa every summer. It was a big part of their summer break, even though it was only a week out of the summer. It meant the world to Grandma and Grandpa too, that we wanted to come each year. Their photo albums were filled with pictures of their little great granddaughters. It’s hard to live so far away and never get to see those great grandbabies.
Grandma and Grandpa Hein are parents to Esther Hein, Eddie Hein (who went to Heaven on October 16, 2019), and Butch Hein. Grandma also had two children from her first marriage, Marian Kanta and my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg. Theirs was a happy marriage, even if life on the ranch was hard at times, including the fact that they had an outhouse for all the years they lived in the ranch. That outhouse was a bit of a culture shock for my little girls the first time they had to use it, but they soon adapted, and it was…just normal. Of course, when they got married on June 7, 1939, outhouses still weren’t that uncommon. At least not like they are in these modern times.
Grandma and Grandpa Hein were truly wonderful people, and I was always glad to go and spend time with them. It also gave our girls a chance to get to know their great grandparents, which was something I didn’t have for most of my life, because my own great grandparents died before I was born, or when I was a young girl. The prospect of having great grandparents, some close by and others further away, was very exciting to me, and something I wanted for my girls. All too soon all of the great grandparent left us for Heaven, and that made me very sad. Happy anniversary in Heaven, Grandma and Grandpa Hein. We love and miss you very much.
At the mouths of the Thames and Mersey rivers in the United Kingdom, you can still see what amounts to the remains of the Maunsell Forts. These forts are armed towers built during the Second World War to help defend the United Kingdom. At that time, they were operated as army and navy forts. They were named after their designer, Guy Maunsell. When the war ended, so did the need for the forts, and they were decommissioned in the late 1950s. They weren’t torn down, however, and were later used for other activities, including pirate radio broadcasting. Later it was found that they were not really stable enough for use, and the broadcasting stopped.
The Maunsell naval forts were built in the mouth of the Thames and operated by the Royal Navy. Their purpose was to deter and report German air raids following the Thames as a landmark and prevent attempts to lay mines by aircraft in this important shipping channel. There were four naval forts: Rough Sands (HM Fort Roughs) (U1), Sunk Head (U2), Tongue Sands (U3), Knock John (U4). In reality it was an artificial naval installation, and it is similar in some respects to early “fixed” offshore oil platforms. “Each fort consisted of a rectangular 168-by-88-foot reinforced concrete pontoon base with a support superstructure of two 60-foot tall, 24-foot diameter hollow reinforced concrete towers. The walls were roughly 3.5 inches thick. The overall weight of each fort is estimated to have been approximately 4,500 tons. Everything was a useful space. The twin concrete supporting towers were actually divided into seven floors. Four of the floors were used for crew quarters. The rest of the floors were used for dining, operational, and storage areas for several generators, and for freshwater tanks and anti-aircraft munitions. There was a steel framework at one end supporting a landing jetty and crane which was used to hoist supplies aboard. The wooden landing stage itself became known as a ‘dolphin.'” A dolphin is “a group of pilings arrayed together to serve variously as a protective hardpoint along a dock, in a waterway, or along a shore; as a means or point of stabilization of a dock, bridge, or similar structure; as a mooring point; and as a base for navigational aids.”
“The towers were joined together above the waterline by a steel platform deck. Other structures could be added as needed. That area was also the gun deck, on which an upper deck and a central tower unit were constructed. QF 3.7 anti-aircraft guns were positioned at each end of this main deck, and two Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns and the central tower radar installations atop a central living area that contained a galley, medical, and officers’ quarters. The design of these concrete structures is equal to a military grade bunker, due to the ends of the stilts, (under water) that are solidly locked into the ground. They were laid down in dry dock and assembled as complete units. They were then fitted out, and the crews went on board at the same time for familiarization, before being towed out and sunk onto their sand bank positions in 1942.” They also had some unexpected uses. Many species of fish live near the forts because the forts create cover…who would have thought about that. The forts have also provided landmark references for shipping…an added perk.
On the day of her birth, December 19, 2020, my grandniece, Hallie Joy Moore also went to Heaven to live with Jesus. We know that Hallie is so very happy with Jesus, and she is also very proud of her parents, Lindsay and Shannon Moore, and her big sister, Mackenzie Moore, who have continued to celebrate her special day for what it is…a celebration of her life. Hallie’s name was chosen for her with much love and happiness in mind. Her name Hallie means “Praise the Lord” and Joy, of course, means “happiness.” That is how her loving parents have chosen to remember their daughter’s birthday, and we are all very proud of them for it. They have named this special day “Happy Hallie Day” and they want to “invite you to celebrate her, by reflecting on your previous year and praising the Lord for all the GOOD He has done in your life – big things, small things and everything in between!” So, that is what we will do. Happy 2nd birthday in Heaven, Hallie!! Have a wonderful celebration with Jesus and your grandparents!! We love you so much!! Happy Hallie Day II.
First confined for killing a bartender in a brawl, Robert Stroud was sentenced to Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas, in 1909. His sentence was almost completed in 1916, when he stabbed a guard to death. Stroud claimed to have acted in self-defense, but in the end, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to hang for the crime. Stroud’s mother was devastated, and she tried everything she could think of to have the sentence commuted to a lesser sentence. She was not having much success, until in desperation, she wrote a handwritten plea to President Woodrow Wilson, which finally earned Stroud a commuted sentence…with a twist. Stroud was now considered to be so dangerous that no one really wanted him to be allowed in the general population…especially not the guards. So, along with the sentence commutation came a stipulation…permanent solitary confinement. Most of us could not imagine spending the rest of our lives alone. The only people you might see would be a hand bringing you food. If that person chose not to be accommodating, they might not even speak to you, which means no true human contact. I don’t know if he had a television set later on, or a radio, but it could have been a very silent life.
With a death sentence averted, but another “almost as bad” sentence given, Stroud began serving solitary confinement. I guess he must have been allowed visitors, because for the next 15 years, he lived amongst the canaries that were brought to him by those visitors. I guess that is one way not to be completely alone. Stroud quickly became an expert in birds and ornithological diseases. His interest in birds actually began in 1920, when he found a nest of injured sparrows in the prison yard and raised them to adulthood, becoming the “Birdman of Leavenworth.” Basically, he was as happy as could be expected in solitary confinement, at least until he was ordered to give up his birds in 1931. I might be soft-hearted, and maybe the point is punishment, but making him give up the birds seemed like cruelty on top of punishment. They were his only companions!! Nevertheless, taking it in stride, Stroud redirected his energies to writing about the birds he loved. He later published his first book on ornithology two years later. For those who don’t know, and I was one, Ornithology is the scientific study of birds. I assumed it was just the study of the diseases that birds get. Truly, by the time Stroud was done, he knew everything there was to know about birds…and more, having lived among them too.
The book was a success, but the publisher was a crook. He failed to pay Stroud royalties, knowing that Stroud was barred from filing a lawsuit. That is just wrong, but undaunted, Stroud took out advertisements complaining about the situation. That didn’t help his situation, because prison officials retaliated by sending him to Alcatraz, the federal prison with the worst conditions. Serving one’s sentence is one thing, but abuse while in prison is clearly another. Stroud gained notoriety at Alcatraz too, being later nicknamed “Birdman of Alcatraz.”
Stroud gained widespread fame and attention when author Thomas Gaddis wrote a biography that heralded Stroud’s ornithological expertise. Then, in 1943, Stroud’s Digest of the Diseases of Birds, a 500-page text that included his own illustrations, was published to general acclaim. One might think that all this success would have made him feel better about himself, but in spite of his success, Stroud was depressed over the isolation he felt at Alcatraz. So many years alone, would take a toll on anyone. He attempted suicide several times, and finally, on November 23, 1959, it was decided that he could come out of solitary confinement. He stepped out of that cell for the first time since 1916…42+ years of solitary confinement. Of course, freedom from solitary confinement didn’t mean freedom from the prison. November 21, 1963, at the age of 73, with no cause of death, Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud died at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.