My niece, Michelle Stevens sees things that most of us would miss. Of course, when I say that, I am talking about seeing art in things most of us couldn’t even imagine. Not all of these things were her ideas, but she could make them work, because she is very talented. Her artwork is truly prize winning. Michelle has studied every form of art in her pursuit of her art education degree, and I think she could do any of them and will no doubt create some in the future.
Michelle has taken up crocheting. I did that once, but I don’t think I was nearly as talented as Michelle. She made a beautiful blanket for her little niece, Elliott Michelle Stevens. It is beautiful in gray, pink, and white. Little did Michelle know at the time she was making the blanket, but her sister-in-law, Kayla was decorating Elliott’s room in pink and gray. The blanket fit in perfectly. Of course, becoming an aunt to Elliott has been the biggest change in Michelle’s life for this year. She doesn’t get to see as much of little Elliott as she would like, because she and her parents live in Sheridan, and Michelle lives in Casper, but she is still Aunty Michelle, and that is very cool. Michelle has also taken up sewing with a sewing machine her mom, Alena Stevens gave her. She wants to make quilts and things. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few little baby outfits make their way to Elliott for her Aunty Michelle either. Michelle sees many different things as art, and she is very good at all of them. She makes wreaths, pottery, and is planning to take up mosaic glass art. Even Michelle’s fur babies, dogs Obie and Leia got gifts. She made them stockings, because she loves those puppies like babies and I hear they are spoiled rotten. Michelle is an artist in every sense of the word. Oh…to have such talent!! Unfortunately it is not in my sphere.
On top of all her artwork, Michelle is a great cook. When we had our family Christmas party last weekend, Michelle made crab stuffed mushrooms. They were amazing. Michelle loves to cook, and like everything else in her world, she considers it a form of art too. The more creative she can get with it the more she likes it. Oh…to have such talent!! Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Tuberculosis was a disease that brought terror to the hearts of people over the years…especially right after World War II, but even before World War II, being diagnosed with Tuberculosis was like being given a death sentence. People had to be quarantined, so they wouldn’t infect those around them, since the disease is airborne. All too often it was too late by the time they knew they needed to be quarantined. Any serious disease can be scary for the people in areas affected, but this one was taken to a completely different level. In an effort to prevent Tuberculosis from being passed from child to child, the schools began a new movement, known as the Open-Air School. The movement required the establishment of schools that combined medical surveillance with A method of learning that was adapted to students with pre-tuberculosis…an obsolete term for the pre-clinical stage of tuberculosis. The new institution was established by doctors researching new prophylactic methods, and educators interested in an open air educational experience.
In 1904, Dr Bernhard Bendix and pedagogue Hermann Neufert founded the first school of this kind: the Waldeschule of Charlottenburg, near Berlin, Germany. Classes were conducted in the woods to offer open-air therapy to young city dwellers with pre-tuberculosis. The experiment, conducted by the International Congresses of Hygiene, was immediately attempted throughout Europe and North America: in Belgium in 1904, in Switzerland, England, Italy, and France in 1907, in the United States in 1908, in Hungary in 1910, and in Sweden in 1914. The schools were called “schools of the woods” or “open air schools.” Often they were remote from cities, set up in tents, prefabricated barracks, or re-purposed structures, and were run during the summer. Some of the more noteworthy experiments were the School in the Sun, in Cergnat, Switzerland and the school of Uffculme near Birmingham, England. The School of the Sun used helio-therapy in 1910. Dr Auguste Rollier sent the children up to the mountains every morning equipped with portable equipment. The school of Uffculme, noted for its architecture, allowed each class to occupy its own independent pavilion in 1911.
After World War I the movement became organized. The first International Congress took place in Paris in 1922, at the initiative of The League for Open Air Education created in France in 1906, and of its president, Gaston Lemonier. There were four more congresses: in Belgium in 1931; in Germany in 1936, marked by the involvement of German doctor Karl Triebold; in Italy in 1949; and in Switzerland in 1956. National committees were created. Jean Duperthuis, a close associate of Adolphe Ferrière (1879–1960), the well-known pedagogue and theorist of New Education, created the International Bureau of Open Air Schools to collect information on how these schools worked. Testimonies described an educational experience inspired by New Education, with much physical exercise, regular medical checkups, and a closely monitored diet, but there has been little formal study of the majority of these schools.
According to the ideas of the open air school, the architecture had to provide wide access to the outdoors, with large bay windows and a heating system that would permit working with the windows open. The most remarkable of these schools were in Amsterdam, Holland by architect Jan Duiker (1929–1930), in Suresnes, France by Eugène Beaudoin and Marcel Lods (1931–1935), and Copenhagen, Denmark by Kai Gottlob (1935–1938). From what I have seen, most of these school were held completely outdoors. I don’t know if the impact on Tuberculosis was as profound as they had hoped, but there were good things that came out of the experiments. The movement had an influence on the evolution of education, hygiene, and architecture. School buildings, for example, adopted the concept of classes open to the outdoors, as in Bale, Switzerland (1938–1939, architect Hermann Baur), Impington, England (1939, Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry), and in Los Angeles (1935, Richard Neutra). This influence is the major contribution of the open air schools movement, although the introduction of antibiotics, which increasingly provided a cure for Tuberculosis, pretty much made them obsolete after World War II. Nevertheless, fresh air, exercise, and playtime for young children have all remained an important part of the school day, and thankfully, Tuberculosis is on the decline, although it still ranks in the top 10 of fatal diseases.
For my nephew, Chris Iverson and my niece, Cassie Iverson, life has not always been easy. The birth of their oldest child, Lucas, born with Down’s Syndrome brought the beginning of a host of future medical bills, but anyone who knows Lucas can tell you that he is just the sweetest boy. His parents and family wouldn’t trade him for the world. Nor would his little sister, Zoey, who loves him to pieces, and inspires him to progress. Chris homeschools the kids, and lately he has been trying to incorporate some extra work with Lucas, because he is, of course behind other children his age, but he has the added handicap of ongoing medical treatments that have plagued him for a while now. Zoey is two and a half now, so she is at just the right age for starting pre-school, so Chris is starting with her ABCs now.
In his spare time…when he can’t go fishing much…Chris is into video games, especially the online gaming. The competition makes it much more fun than just going against the computer. Right now he is into Horizon Zero Dawn. Now, I can’t begin to tell you what these games are all about, but I would assume some kind of fighting game. Chris has also been training the family dogs, He wants to get them well behaved before too much longer, since they are already no longer puppies. Life for the Iverson family has had its ups, and its downs, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, it too will come with its share of sadness.
Chris and Cassie are currently planning a move to Tennessee. It’s not that they don’t love Powell, Wyoming, because they do. Powell has been their home for many years, if not all their lives, but with the medical needs of their son, and the opportunity for both of them to get an education and improve their lifestyle, they need to be in a more populated area that has more to offer their special needs son. They have looked elsewhere, but there is nothing out there that is in Wyoming or even the surrounding states, so the move was inevitable. I know that their whole family will really miss them. It is always sad when your kids move away, but if it is the best thing for them, you have to simply let them go. I know that with Facebook, Skype, texting, and phone calls, they can stay close, and visits to Tennessee wouldn’t be the worst thing either. As for education, Chris plans to go to trade school to become a Plumber, and Cassie is planning to become a Real Estate agent…both occupations that will pay well, and provide for their family. While we will miss them, we also wish them the very best. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Michelle Stevens is an artist in every respect…including being an art teacher. I have watched her progression from the time she was a little girl, and have always found myself amazed at her abilities. Being an art teacher is not just taking a few art classes and getting an education degree. There are so many forms of art that her schooling took several years longer than most degrees, but I think it was well worth it. This has been a big year for Michelle. She graduated from Black Hills State University with an Art Education degree in May of 2017. After graduation, she and her boyfriend, Matt Miller moved back to Casper, Wyoming from Spearfish, South Dakota. The economy isn’t great for teachers right now, so she took a job at Casper Rental Agency as an assistant to her former boss at Lai Thai Restaurant.
While saving money and job hunting, she and Matt lived at his parents house in their camper for four months. When winter arrived, the camper was no longer an option, so they decided it was time to find a place of their own. Since Michelle works for a rental business now, she was able to get a nice big town home on the east side of Casper, and they are happily settled in and comfortable. She will continue to work at Casper Rental Agency until something opens up in the school district for Art teachers. That is her dream, and she is not willing to give up on it. Her parents, Alena and Mike Stevens are glad to have her and Matt back in Casper, because they missed them terribly, and the rest of the family agrees with that too.
These days, Michelle has branched her creative endeavors out a little bit, to the area of crafts. I was never really a crafty person, but I have always envied those who were. She has started making wreaths for her friends and family, and would like to see her wreaths turn into a side business. She makes wreaths for every season, so people are not just limited to Christmas. I really think her wreaths could sell easily, and I think that she needs to set up a website to promote them, because upon seeing them, people will buy for sure. Her Mom, my sister, Alena Stevens has been one of the special loved ones who has had the privilege to receive several of the beautiful wreaths. It is my hope that her wreath business really takes off. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As a little boy, my nephew, JD Parmely could usually be found hanging out with the men in the family, looking for ways to help with whatever they happened to be working on at the time. He was a busy little boy, and he wanted to be a part of the guys group. I guess he knew, even at such a young age, that he wanted to be a mechanic too. JD came from a long line of mechanics, so it was in his blood, it would seem…and that suited JD just fine. When he grew up, JD decided that he would go to tech school to learn everything he needed to know to be a professional mechanic, and so he spent time in Arizona at school…before returning to Casper, Wyoming as quickly as possible, to get out of what he considered to be the horrible Arizona heat.
While the majority of JD’s assistance as a child, was handing the men a tool…if he could figure out which one they needed, he has long outgrown the days when he doesn’t know about tools. Now that he is educated in the field of mechanics, he works mostly on his own projects…of which there are many, since JD is an avid car owner, who owns more cars at one time than most of us do in a lifetime…and drives them all!! JD is of the belief that one can never have too many vehicles. His “Day Job” is in the same field…mechanics. JD loves his work so much that he just brings it home with him…or, in reality, just changes locations, and works on his own vehicles in the evenings. He can’t think of a better way to relax, than to work on a car, and I think the rest of the men in the family are exactly the same way.
For many years, JD was the student, gleaning knowledge about mechanics from his dad, grandpa, older brother, and uncles, but at some point, the student became the teacher. In this family, we have mechanics who specialize in various pars of mechanics, as well as the same types as the others. What that does, is to provide a sounding board for the others, when they have an issue with something they are working on. It also provides for assistance when a job requires more than one mechanic. For me…lately anyway, it has seemed kind of odd, or maybe different, but not unexpected, that my husband, Bob, would be calling on his nephew, JD for information on a problem. I know it was bound to happen at some point, and has probably been going on for quite a while, but when I think about Bob asking JD for his help and ideas, I just have to smile, because the student has become the teacher. JD has come a long way, and yes he is another in a long line of mechanics, but somehow it just didn’t occur to me that he would be the go to guy for the other mechanics sometimes. Nevertheless, that’s what he is, and that’s what they are to him too. Today is JD’s birthday. Happy birthday JD!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
These days there are so many public schools in the United States, that they have become something we give little thought to. That was not always the case, however. As people moved West to populate this great nation, many mothers had to homeschool their children. Eventually, schools began to spring up across the prairie, but what about the schools back East. This nation didn’t always have schools. Things had to be established first. And considering the fact that America was discovered in 1492, it would seem to me that the schools were a bit behind the times. The first public school in the United States, was established on this day, April 23, 1635, in Boston, Massachusetts. The school was called the Boston Latin School. At the time the school was formed, English was not the only language spoken in the United States, so learning Latin, which was considered to be the root of European language, was also a priority, as it was with grammar schools in England. Seventeenth-century schoolboys throughout Europe, Catholic or Protestant, learned Latin, and which explains the focus of Boston Latin.
One of the main reasons for education, as far as the Puritans were concerned, was to be able to read the Bible. One of the main reasons for the pilgrimage to the new world was religious freedom, and they felt like it was essential that their students be schooled in the important languages, so they could read the Bible and other important books for themselves. Boston Latin School has prided itself on the number of its students who attended Harvard, or some of the other prestigious four year college.
When I think of the first school in the United States, and the history thereof, I think of my Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren. She mentioned in her journal that in writing a family history, the author should mention things that are interesting about the times the people in the family lived in. She also had a type of love-hate relationship with school. As a young girl, all she really wanted to do was to stay at home with her mother, but she also understood the importance of a good education, for without it she would not have been able to get the jobs she was able to get, which were good jobs, especially for a woman at that time in history. Whether we enjoy school or not, it is a gateway to almost every opportunity there is, and in the United States, it started with Boston Latin School.
I think it is always a cool thing when we look through old family pictures of people we never knew, or at least don’t remember, and suddenly find ourselves looking at a familiar face…one very similar to our own. Such was the case for my youngest sister, Allyn Spencer Hadlock, when she read my story a couple of days ago, about my great aunts, Mina, Bertha, and Elsa. For much of her life, Allyn had noticed similarities between her sisters and other family members, and in reality there are many strong family resemblances, but she just didn’t see one that she could say looked a lot like her. She just assumed that she was of the Heinz 57 variety…a mix of several or many other family members. All that changed when she read my story, and looked at the picture of our great aunt, Mina Schumacher Spare. The picture of Mina bore a remarkable resemblance to pictures of Allyn, and to certain looks she saw in her reflection in the mirror.
Something about Mina’s face simply reminded Allyn of herself. She mentioned it to me, and I set about looking at pictures of Allyn and Mina to see for myself. I think Allyn hit the nail on the head. While Allyn’s eyes are bigger than Mina’s, the rest of her face is quite similar to Mina’s. I always find it quite remarkable to be able to see ourselves in the face of one of our ancestors. I am finding more and more that the Schumacher genes in my family tree are very strong genes. There are similarities that have jumped out at us through several of our family members and the Schumacher family, which is to say our grandma, Anna Schumacher Spencer and her parents and siblings. I love finding look alikes among the family members and ancestors. It gives people such a sense of belonging to see just where their characteristics came from.
For Allyn, who had always felt like simply a mix of the ancestors, seeing a picture of Mina that reminded her so much of herself, was a very cool feeling, and I can relate. I have come across different pictures of myself that remind me of Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren, Aunt Ruth Spencer Wolfe, my daughter, Amy Royce, and my granddaughter Shai Royce. When you find that look alike, it seems to leap off the screen at you. It is just the coolest feeling, because even though you never had any doubt that you were a part of this family, you still wondered just exactly where you fit in. Then, when it has becomes so very clear, just exactly where you fit in, you start looking for other similarities you might have with that person, such as the fact that I laugh exactly like my Aunt Ruth…so much so, that every time I laugh, she comes to my mind. It is another connection I have to her, even though she passed away in 1992.
Unfortunately, Allyn and I don’t recall Great Aunt Mina or Great Aunt Bertha, so we are not aware of other similarities, although I have been told that I got my writing abilities from Great Aunt Bertha…a thought that I am honored to hear, because I consider her a great writer. Great Aunt Mina was a very capable woman, who got an education that was more than what many women received in those days, and that moved her into supervisory positions at her work. Allyn has that capability too, and in fact was just promoted to Clinic Billing Supervisor at Central Wyoming Neurology, where she has worked for some time now. She has shown that her abilities are just what they want in their office, and we are all very proud of her achievements. I’m sure her look alike, Great Aunt Mina Schumacher Spare would have been too. It is a testament to her belief if a good education, and never giving up just because you are a woman…something that we don’t have as big a problem with these days, but that Mina and her sisters, Bertha and Elsa dealt with for sure. Obviously, there is more about Allyn and Mina that is alike than just their pretty faces.
Years ago, most women didn’t work. In fact, the women who taught school were considered to be of reduced circumstances. The same was thought of women who had to turn their homes into a boarding house. Of course, we all know that times have greatly changed now. Most women work, and many in jobs that require high levels of education, as well as women in oil field jobs and other jobs that used to be considered for men only, and even in combat. Nevertheless, in the 1800s and even in the early 1900s, women working was not so common.
That said, there were a few forward thinking people who saw the future in a way that others didn’t. My great grandparents, Carl and Henriette Schumacher were two of those forward thinking people. They wanted to make sure that their children got a good education, including the girls. Because their parents felt that way, all of their girls got the kind of education they had, and if they needed to, the girls could take care of themselves as well as their brothers could.
My Great Aunt Mina, felt like she and her younger sisters needed to be able to do all of the clerical work that any office could need to have done. For that reason, they were able to get jobs that in many ways were better than some men could get…not that they were paid better than the men in most cases, but these girls were not simply left in the secretarial pool with other women who couldn’t run equipment that was more complicateed than a typewriter. The Schumacher girls were better at using much of the machines than their male counterparts, and were often called to train the men. I guess when you think about it, the training that my great aunts got was so far ahead of their time that people probably thought their parents were crazy.
I can’t say that my great aunts were never homemakers, just that if they needed to, they could easily support themselves. Their training did help them out in the years that they were taking care of their parents. They needed to have a job to have enough money to take care of them in the way they needed. While Mina was married, Bertha and Elsa didn’t get married until after her parents passed away. Even then, they had to take care of themselves for a while before they met and married their husbands. Then, their husbands didn’t live for very many years, so the girls had to take care of themselves again. I guess this proves that even back then, women needed to have an education that would allow them to take care of themselves if they ever have to.
In years gone by, many mothers were also their children’s teacher. I suppose that when it is just the way things are done, you step up and do what you need to do. Back when families first headed out west, there were no schools and no teachers, and yet the children still needed an education. The one difference they had then was that many, and in fact most of those girls who went through school ended up with a teaching certificate. It made sense, when you think about it. Many people were heading west and schools were scarce, so parents needed to know how to teach, so kids could get a proper education.
Soon schools popped up in every town, and homeschooling began to move into the past…or at least not in the forefront of life anymore. I’m sure there were still homeschooling moms out there, but they were no longer the norm, or even slightly common. In fact, for a time, moms who homeschooled their children were considered odd, and maybe even fanatical. In reality, they were probably very sensible, capable, and yes, wise parents…and quite misunderstood.
As more parents began to disagree with the curriculum that was being taught to their children, homeschooling has been making a comeback. These days, not every mother received a teaching certificate when she graduated, but then, school is more advanced these days too. It isn’t that mothers these days can’t teach, it’s just that teaching is complicated these days and in order to be a good teacher for their children, most of these parents have to learn the lessons they teach, along with their children…or just hours before their children anyway. It is a big job, and one many people don’t feel like they can do. I suppose that is why people still put their kids on public schools, even if they don’t agree with the teachings. Many households need two incomes to make ends meet too, so homeschooling isn’t always an option. Nevertheless, I have a great deal of respect anyone who chooses to homeschool…mixed with understanding for parents who don’t.
I don’t know very many people who homeschool their children, in fact I can only think of two right now. One of those, my cousin, Elizabeth Nordquist is a first time homeschooler. She is the mother of two beautiful little girls, Addie and Meadow. I’m sure she is very capable, but she expressed feelings of jangled nerves too, at the first of the school year. It is a big task to take on, and one that the parents don’t step into lightly. Many people don’t always understand the reasons why this choice is made, and I’m sure that the reasons are as varied as the parent and student. Some students just do better on a one to one basis, while others aren’t morning people and so that early schedule is tough. And for some families, it is totally the curriculum, and the many clashes between the family’s faith and the secular teachings that are so popular, and yet very often harmful to the students. Whatever the reason for the choice, it is up to the parents as to how their children should be educated, and I think is takes an amazing, and very special person to make the choice to educate their children themselves when the public school system disagrees with their own goals for their children. I also think that as time goes on and more people disagree with the secular views, we will have more homeschooling families out there. Sometimes getting your child’s necessary education is all up to you.
One of the first things I noticed about my niece, Michelle, as a baby even, was her eyes. They were beautiful, almond shaped, smiling eyes, that brought a sparkle to her entire face. When she smiled, her whole face smiled, and her laugh was and still is contagious. It’s all part of Michelle’s nature. She has a bubbly personality, and that makes her a lot of fun to be around. She never lacks for friends, because she has such a great personality and a love of life. A smile, laugh, personality, and great eyes, are all just part of the outward beauty that is Michelle, but it is her inner beauty that draws most people to her.
Like Michelle’s art work, her beauty comes from deep inside herself. As an art education major in college, and with only one year left before she will be able to teach, it occurs to me that many of our children will learn to express themselves and their own inner beauty from one of the best. Michelle will be a great teacher, as she has already shown in her work as a student teacher. I was never much of an artist, but I can tell great work when I see it, and Michelle’s art is so beautiful. I would love to be able to create the kinds of beautiful pictures and other art work that she creates with ease.
I understand that Michelle will have to go away to college for her fianl year, and that makes me very sad. I will miss seeing her at church on Sundays, or family gatherings, but I know that it will be a growing experience for her too. I only hope that she will be able to come back her to teach, because I think it would be really sad to have her talents go outside of our state. I think the students here would really miss out if she were to get a teaching position somewhere else. And, I’ll admit it…I would miss her very much. Today is Michelle’s birthay. Happy birthday Michelle!! We love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!