My niece, Chelsea Hadlock came into our lives when she met and then married my nephew, Ryan. None of us knew then how much she would change our lives…especially the lives of my sister, Allyn Hadlock; her husband, Chris; and their girls, Jessi, Lindsay, and Kellie. They received something they didn’t know they were missing. It wasn’t really a thing, but rather a person…Chelsea. They received a daughter-in-law/sister-in-law, who is so caring! Chelsea cares about each of them and each baby. She loves this family she has joined, and she goes out of her way to show each of them just how much she loves and cares about them. Chelsea is an excellent mother to her children Ethan and Aurora, a wonderful aunt to Adelaide and Makenzie, and an awesome sister to Jessi, Lindsay, and Kelli, as well as a wonderful daughter-in-law to Allyn and Chris. We are all blessed to have her in our lives!
Chelsea is super creative. She loves to go to garage sales to see what treasures she can find. You and I might see junk at garage sales, but Chelsea sees furniture and other items that are just waiting to have someone bring out their true beauty. Chelsea is just the person to do so too. She might find a piece of furniture for $5.00, and when she is done, it looks like something out of a magazine. She’s also really thoughtful. If she’s out shopping and she sees something that reminds her of you or of a story or inside joke, she’ll pick it up.
Chelsea has been taking her designs to the various Comic Con events too. She sells them there, and does very well on her trips. She makes all her costumes for the event too. She designs the dresses, cuts the fabric, and sews the entire costume. I know lots of people make clothes, but not many design them too. Chelsea is a very capable designer, who can make her designs into a reality. Now that’s talent.
Chelsea and Ryan bought the house Ryan grew up in from his parents, Allyn and Chris, who had built a house on Chris’ parents land after their passing. They house was filled with all the memories of the Hadlock children’s childhood years. While they love those old memories, they also need to make new memories for their family. Chelsea has been busy adding her personal touches to make the house their own home. The kids all say that the house doesn’t seem like the same house at all. She is adding her own decorations and furniture layout designs. Ryan’s sisters say, We only knew that house as ours growing up, so it’s fun to see them put their touch on things. We love to see how excited she gets and the ideas she has for their home.” Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When the Great Depression hit, people in the upper-middle class, like doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, saw their incomes drop by 40%, but the middle class and low income Americans found themselves with nothing. They had no jobs and no money, and even if they did have those things, they couldn’t afford the things they needed. The prices for everything from food to clothing were much more than their meager income could buy much of. People began to move from place to place looking for a job…any job. The problem was that there were very few jobs, and lot of people standing in line to get them. The average American lived by the Depression-era motto: Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without. People had to learn to be frugal. Clothes were patched when the started to wear out. People planted gardens and even kept little gardens in their kitchen. They stayed home, instead of evenings out. They were always in a private struggle to keep their cars or homes.
Paint was too expensive, so home fell into disrepair. As things got worse, things began to wear out, and people didn’t get rid of the junk. They simply put it out in the yard. I’m sure that they realized that every piece of junk had parts in it that could be used for repairs to something else. Everything could be reworked. They used the backs of worn-out overall legs to make pants for little boys and overalls for babies. They didn’t have disposable diapers back then. They made diapers and underwear out of flour and sugar sacks. When the older kids outgrew their clothes, but they were too big for the younger kids, they made smaller clothes out of bigger hand-me-downs. If their shoes wore out before a year, the children went barefooted. Many people resorted to bartering…not only goods for goods, but work for work. They tried to make their homes and their lives pretty, even in depressing times. They used patterned chicken feed sacks to make curtains, aprons, and little girl’s dresses. Worn out socks were kept, so that they could patch another sock. Nothing was thrown away. They saved string that came loose from clothing and added it to a string ball for mending and sewing. Toilet paper was a luxury that many people couldn’t afford, so they used newspaper instead. They saved every scrap of material for making quilts. People learned not to waste anything.
Every part of the food was used. Potato peels were food, not waste. They made soup out of a few vegetables and a scrap of meat…for flavor only. They hunted for rabbits and fished to put what protein they could on the table. When there was nothing more to eat, they had lard sandwiches. I seriously doubt if many people went to bed with a full stomach, but that didn’t mean that you turned away a stranger who was hungry. These people knew hw bad things were for them, and so they helped their neighbors. Nevertheless, during the Great Depression, suicide rates in the United States reached an all-time high, topping 22 suicides per 100,000 people. The living conditions were deplorable, and many people couldn’t take it. They felt that somehow they were at fault. still, for the majority of Americans, that didn’t mean that they gave up. Neighbor looked out for neighbor, and families came together to support each other, and while the effects of the Great Depression lasted for 12 years, this too passed, and the nation healed again.
My sister-in-law, Debbie Schulenberg Cook, is a woman of many talents. Over the years she has made clothing for her girls, Machelle Cook Moore and Susan Cook Griffith, including Machelle’s wedding dress. She made lots of other clothes for them through the years too. One thing that I never really had the patience for, was sewing, but Debbie was quite good at it. She sewed most of her own clothes too. I always thought it would be nice to be able to do that, but it just wasn’t going to be something I would master, and my shoulders just couldn’t stand the aching I got when I sewed, so it was what it was.
Debbie took up cross stitch, and made many pretty things to give away and sell at the craft fairs that she, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my parents-in-law used to participate in. Now cross stitch was something I could sink my teeth into, but I didn’t ever get involved in the craft fairs, because by then, Bob and I were bowling seven days a week…fanatical, absolutely. Nevertheless, they all did pretty well with the craft fairs, and very much anticipated each one with joy. I know that the people who bought the items they sold were very pleased with them, but I think the gifts she made especially for one family member or another were the very best, because of all the love that went into them. Something that is made with love is always a keepsake.
After her dad’s passing, almost three years ago, and after we had to place her mother in a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s Disease, we decided to take the clothes that didn’t go to the nursing home, and any material he mom had left, and make quilts for everyone. Debbie single handedly took on the task of making quilts for the grandchildren. It was a huge undertaking, because there are eight grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. Debbie did a wonderful job on those quilts, and they are something the grandchildren and great grandchildren will treasure forever, because the are from their grandparents clothing, and made with love for them by Debbie. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Toni Chase could be called a bargain hunter, because she loves to shop in thrift stores, but that is where her typical bargain hunter status would end. Toni usually has a plan for the things she buys. Yes, sometimes they are perfect as is, and she wears and enjoys the things she buys herself, but often, Toni sees something else in the things she buys…the possibilities. Toni is very creative, and when she sees the possibilities in something, she works on it to change it into her vision for it. Toni’s redesigned clothing, boots, and purses are beautiful. Often she sells them on E-Bay, but just as often, she gives them away, because Toni has a very giving heart. If a piece of clothing, purse, or a pair of shoes reminds her of a certain person, she simply gives it to that person. Toni found a couple of handbags that were perfect, as is, for her mother, Cheryl Masterson, so she just took them to her, and blessed her with them.
Toni and her husband, Dave love to travel, and they do so as often as they can. The love to go places where they can hike, but they also love the warm sandy beaches. I suppose that would be why they got married in Hawaii…and a beautiful ceremony that was. Family is important to them too. They go to visit he parents in Laramie often, and they love getting together with family here too. My sister, Cheryl’s whole family loves to get together often to have dinner and visit. It is the perfect way to stay connected. These days everyone is so busy that a family can easily drift apart. They don’t want that to happen, and they are all best friends anyway.
Toni is slowly adjusting to changes in her own family. Her only child, James is grown up now, and while he is still living at home while he attends college, he is nevertheless, a different person. He recently took a trip to the Netherlands to visit his girlfriend, who had been an exchange student at his high school, and then she made the trip here to spend Christmas with the family. Toni doesn’t know where that relationship will go, nor where his schooling and career will take him, but she is supportive of all his hopes and dreams. The changes in James’ life have made for a little bit emptier home for Toni and Dave sometimes, but they have that figured out too. Toni has a number of younger nieces and nephews. She and Dave like to have the little kids spend the night sometimes. They watch movies and eat junk food…a hit with all the kids, for sure.
Toni is a very thoughtful person. She is quick to see the needs of others, and then to meet them. Whether it is giving the parents a night off, or entertaining the kids, who love to come over. She likes to take the kids shopping for shoes or clothes, or other things they might need, and with her talent for re-designing, the possibilities are endless. It is such a great help to their parents too, because as we all know, raising kids is expensive. She has supplied things like shoes, coats, and clothing, because Toni is a giver. Toni is just a very good-hearted person, and that has endeared her to many people. Of course, Toni would never have told anyone about this, but I know a little birdie, and that gives me the inside track on the matter. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Babies are so cute. They do things that we as adults can’t do, not only because we would be looked upon as a little off in the head, but because, lets face it…we don’t bend like that anymore. Things like trying to suck on our toes, like my sister, Caryl Reed is doing here, would be looked upon as disgusting, if they were done by adults, and in all reality, most adults would be hard pressed to get their feet to their mouth, although, I’m sure there are those who can do it. If you are one of those, it is probably best to keep it to yourself, because, as I said, people will think you are a little off in the head if you were to do that in public. And yet, we all find the pictures of babies sucking on their toes, to be so cute, that they are definitely Facebook worthy which is one of the highest compliments a picture can get these days. Of course, your baby isn’t really sucking on their toes because they taste good, but rather because they are curious about them, still we would look pretty ridiculous doing the same thing. Kids can get away with goofy stuff, but adults…not so much.
Another way that kids have all the freedom over adults is the area of eating and table manners. No one gives a second thought to the mess kids make at the dinner table…until it comes time to clean it up, anyway. When a baby puts a whole bowl of spaghetti on their head, it’s funny. When they like their food so much that they use their hands and shovel it in to the point of wearing almost as much of it on their face as they put in their tummy, it’s funny. When they fall asleep in their food, because lets face it, eating is hard work…it’s funny, and you still have to wonder how they can bend like that. Most adults would have to be drunk to fall asleep comfortably in their plate of food, but kids often do it without a bit of trouble.
And, of course, there are the non-food things that kids do that we as adults probably had better not do. My niece Aleesia Spethman walks in the door of her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s house, and before very long, off come most of the clothes. And if there are any pretty shoes around, she is clomping around in those far too big for her shoes, looking like a princess, even thought all she has on is a diaper…or these days, underwear. Of course, Aleesia comes from a family, her grandmother and Aunt Chantel Balcerzak for sure, who are very warm blood people. The removal of the clothes can be a matter of being too hot. Nevertheless, her grandma and her aunt, certainly do not have the luxury of being able to run around in just a diaper, because as with so many other things kids do, that would be ridiculous. Childhood is a special time when these goofy, messy, and absolutely kid things can be done, and no one thinks it odd. It’s a time to find out about all the yummy things life has to offer, and a time to live free of embarrassment, restrictions, limits, and inhibitions.
Let’s face it…we all love getting presents. Maybe it’s the excitement of finally seeing what it is, or maybe we kind of knew what we were getting anyway, but now we actually have it. Whatever the excitement is for you, you have to admit that you love getting presents. I think it all starts about the time that you are old enough to realize what those things in that toy box are used for, and then suddenly to connect that with the fact that once you tear off the paper on that box you are given, you will find a toy to add to your collection. For a kid that is among the greatest things that could possibly happen to you. I mean, toys are the best…right?
Then, came the day when you were give the inevitable gift of…clothes, for your birthday or Christmas!!! Your first thought was, “How lame is this!!” You might have even got a little bit annoyed, sad, or just downright mad. Of course, I seriously doubt if your parents were very happy with you…especially if you opened the gift in front a bunch of friends or family members, and then got mad. Parents tend to think your rudeness is not so special. Still, for many kids, getting clothes is the ultimate bummer. They know they need them, and really they like the clothes they get, but clothes just don’t qualify as a present!! It should be the number one rule of gift buying and giving. Don’t parents know this? I mean, they were kids once too…right? And if the kids are little enough, suddenly, the reality completely sinks in…their parents were never kids!!! Otherwise, they would know that you never buy clothes for a gift for a kid…never!!
Now, I know that as adults many of us have even requested clothes as a gift, but even then, you have to admit that the thrill of getting a gift can be lacking…just a little bit, when the gift is clothes. It doesn’t mean that you don’t like the clothes. And I’m sure my girls and dad really did like them. In fact, I know that they all really liked the clothes they got!! Could it have been just a bad picture that revealed a face that was lacking in joy…you know, that, “wait!! I wasn’t ready” moment. At the very least, in the case of my dad, who would never have made mom think he didn’t like her gift, and as I said, he did. I know he did, because he wore that suit a lot. We all remember him in that one. So at least for him, I suspect it was a poorly timed picture. Nevertheless, the look on his face still strongly resembles that “clothes…really!!” look.
Over the years, my sister-in-law, Debbie Cook has tried her hand at a variety of different crafts. Debbie had always done a lot of sewing, and had made her daughters clothing. Sewing was never really my thing, although I could sew if I wanted to. I just never really wanted to. Debbie enjoyed it though, and the clothes she made were very nice. It was something she shared with her mother…that ability to sew and to enjoy doing it.
Debbie also took up cross stitch and for years made pictures that she sold at the many craft fairs that she and several other family members had booths at over the years. For the most part, the cross stitch projects were done by Debbie and Brenda, but there were a few others in the family, myself included. Nevertheless, Debbie made a number of sweet pictures to give as gifts to many people in the family, and we who have received them, have cherished them ever since we got them.
More recently, Debbie got into quilting, and like most people who find that they like quilting, she found that it was maybe her calling. I’m not sure when she got started exactly, but I remember that while her dad, Walter Schulenberg was alive, she made a quilt for him. I don’t recall exactly if she made the original one for him, but I think she did, and then, because of how cold he always got, she actually took it apart and turned it into two lap quilts. Now that ability really impressed me. It is one thing to make a quilt, but then to alter the quilt in such a way…well, that takes a degree of talent, especially when the quilt had the frayed edges that are so popular these days.
After Dad’s passing, we, the kids and children-in-law, decided that since Mom was in a nursing home now, we wanted to turn their old clothes into quilts to be cherished memories for all of us. We weren’t sure how big they would be able to be, and we had asked a family friend, Linda Hall to make the ones for the five living children. Then Debbie approached me and said that she had really wanted to help with those, so it was decided that she would use part of the material to make memory quilts for the grandchildren. Those were exciting days of anticipation for the children and the grandchildren. It was such a great idea that my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg had come up with.
All of the quilts were finished between Thanksgiving and mid-January. They were such a blessing to receive. Both of the girls did a wonderful job on them. Debbie has now decided that she wants to make a set for the great grandchildren, and we are all looking forward to seeing those too. What a blessing that will be for the great grandchildren, some of whom have never even met their great grandfather, or their great great grandparents, whose clothes will also be used in these, but will now have a memory of them anyway. We can’t wait. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Have you ever noticed that the minute you dress a boy in good clothes for a special occasion, they find a mud hole. They just have an uncanny knack for finding them right about then. It’s never their fault, you know. They always tripped and fell into it, or just didn’t see it. Of course, both excuses are designed to keep the guilty boy from being in trouble. They don’t even have to go outside to find dirt. It is attracted to them like a magnet. I’m not sure who this boy is, but Aunt Laura was quite content to stay clean and pretty.
Now I’m not saying that little girls can’t find a good bit of dirt too, but they tend to be a little better about staying clean when they are dressed up. Maybe it’s because the boys really don’t want to be dressed up, and little girls…in most cases…like to look dressy and pretty. Having had daughters myself, I can tell you that their clothes stayed pretty clean for the most part, so when they did get really dirty, like the time Amy backed into a pan of oil in her grandpa’s garage, because she was trying to see her Uncle Lynn, who is 6’6″…to her approximately 2’4″ stature at the time. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a complete accident. Girls also might get dirty if they are trying to put makeup on…as was the case with Corrie one time at my mother’s house. Even then, she didn’t get it on her clothes. They just weren’t the kind to get so messy on a regular basis. My granddaughter, Shai was the same way. She didn’t like being messy, and when she got messy…in any way…she cried almost hysterically until you changed her. She was always a girly girl, and getting dirty just simply didn’t fit into her plan for the day.
But those boys…all boys…seem to have no issue getting and staying dirty. And it doesn’t matter how old they are. Bob comes in from the garage sometimes just covered with dirt and grease, and it doesn’t bother him a bit. If I go out there to help him, and I get even a speck of grease or dirt, it must be washed of as soon as humanly possible. That is just the way it is. I don’t think of myself as a prissy girl, but I guess I am a girly girl. I can get down and dirty, but when I’m done, it is time to clean up, but for most boys, getting dirty is the best part of life.
Kids have always been…well, a little more open and free with their thoughts on things like the need to wear clothes. With summer upon us, people begin to think about things like the lake, the town pool, or for the little kids, the wading pool. If the kids are little enough, they can get away with swimming in just their underwear, and nobody cares. Of course, later on, things are a bit different…at least for the girls. The boys could practically swim in the underwear most of them wear today, because boxers look a lot like swim trunks.
To little kids, however, I’m not so sure that it is just swimming that makes them think that clothes are strictly optional. It seems to me that just about every kid decides that the moments after a bath are the perfect moment for them to become a little streaker. Back in the seventies, when I was in high school, some of the students even tried their hand a streaking. Of course, most of us either didn’t dare, or weren’t so inclined to running around naked. Little kids, however, have no such inhibitions…in fact, being in the buff is pretty much their favorite thing. I can’t say that I would like to be so free again, but little kids do have a great time trying to get away with as little clothing as possible.
I have known several parents who have talked about their own little streakers, and it would seem that at some point, every parent finds themselves with one of these little rebels. It’s hard not to laugh at them, even as you are trying to catch them. One of the funniest things though, is when your little streaker decides that the best time to make a run for it, is when you have company at the house. Even though many of these parents have been in the same position, they still can’t help but laugh when it is someone else in that position.
Of course, as they get older, most kids stop the full streak habit, but for many of them, it is real easy to stay in the partial streak mode…especially the men. I mean really, and be honest here, how many men still love to sit around the house in their underwear? More of them than will want to admit it, I’m sure. I guess the truth be told, there is a little bit of the Streak in all of us, but some of us just don’t ever outgrow it.
It’s funny how some of the most insignificant things can spark a memory of childhood that takes you back decades in an instant. As I was looking through some old pictures, from when I was about 4 months old, I noticed something at the edge of the picture. My sister, Cheryl and I were the main focus of the picture my mom was taking, but she also go a picture of the clothes hanging on the clothesline. Many home still have that clothesline in the back yard. For most of those homes, it is a forgotten relic of many years now in the past. Most people don’t bother hanging their clothes on the line to dry. We have a dryer sitting right next to the washer for that job. Of course, if we want to get that sunshine fresh scent to them, we have to as a chemically infused dryer sheet to the dryer, because otherwise they simply get dry…nothing more.
I remember, as a kid doing chores, that one of those chores was to hang the clothes on the line, and later to bring them in, fold them, and put them away. Of course, the clothes didn’t have that dryer induced softness, and so they might feel a bit scratchy at first, but that sunshine fresh scent was wonderful. It wasn’t the heavily perfumed scent that the dryer sheet produces, but rather the light scent of fresh air. I suppose that if you didn’t pay close attention, you could miss that scent, and therefore would think it was probably just my imagination, but I can say that I hung enough clothes on the clothesline to know what that scent smelled like, and I liked it, even if I didn’t really like the chore of hanging and folding those clothes.
These days, I dry my clothes in the dryer, because quite frankly, like most people I know, I don’t have time to spend hanging those clothes, waiting for them to dry, hoping the wind doesn’t blow them away, and taking them back down, before folding them and putting them away. The modern conveniences of the day win out in this day and age. And in reality, I suppose, seeing the clothes on the line in these pictures didn’t make me want to go hang clothes on the line, but rather it reminded me of the days gone by. The simple days of childhood, when the hardest chore was something like cleaning my room or handing clothes on the clothesline. We were so free then. No real obligations…we didn’t even have a part time job. We were kids, we did kid things, and we were living a carefree kid kind of life.