When most people think of Hawaii, they think of a tropical paradise, but for my husband, Bob’s uncle, Butch Schulenberg nothing could be further from the truth…at least not during his days in the service. When we think of Hawaii, snow does not come to mind, but in reality, “It snows here every year, but only at the very summits of our 3 tallest volcanoes (Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala),” says Ken Rubin, geology and geophysics professor at the University of Hawaii. “The snow level almost never gets below 9,000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,000 feet, 13,000 feet, and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year. It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though.”
I had no idea, as I’m sure many of you could also say. I don’t know if Butch knew what he was getting into when he and the officer he was driving for, went to one of those areas where there was not only snow, but it was cold…really cold. In fact, the only way that Butch could even begin to stay warm was to bundle up in his sleeping bag. He probably would have tied it all the way over his head, if he could breathe that way. It was a complete shock to his system, as it would have been to mine. Being stationed in Hawaii would be the dream assignment, and here Butch was…in the snow. In fact, I can just hear him telling his parents, “It’s freezing here!!” The thought is almost laughable, or would have been if it weren’t so cold.
Butch told my husband, Bob and me several stories about his driving days in the service, when we were there for a visit about a month ago. It was interesting to listen to the details that a driver would have known about the situations that the company would have been in…and probably a lot of responsibility too. Much of the details of the movements of the company and the battles they engaged in, were classified, and to say anything at the time could have put people in danger or get them killed. A good driver would have known when to talk and when to keep quiet. Butch was a good driver, and well respected. I am proud of his service. Thank you Butch. Today is Butch’s birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In 1910 – 1911, my Grandpa Spencer and my grandma’s brother, my Uncle Albert Schumacher, spent the winter months trapping and working in the logging camps in northern Minnesota. This was before my grandparents were married. The men took several pictures before embarking on the journey from the Schumacher farm in Elliot, North Dakota in September 1910 for their “winter in the woods”. My grandpa took his 1895 Winchester 30-03, the gun that was his pride and joy, and Uncle Albert had a 1899 Savage and they headed off on their adventure. It would be a winter to remember. It was freezing cold, often getting down to 30° below zero.
They built what they called a flat boat to carry their supplies, two rifles, two handguns, plenty of ammunition, and plenty of dried and canned food. The boat could also be loaded onto a wagon when they needed to travel across country, although, I’m not sure where they got the wagon after traveling by water. Still since I have seen the picture with the boat on the wagon, I know that they got that part covered as well. In the end, the cold winter sort of won out. They trapped during October and November and then worked in the logging camps until spring.
While the cold winter, and the freezing conditions did change their plans for the winter, you could still say that they had a successful winter of trapping anyway. Now, I don’t know how I would feel about trapping skunk, because at some point you have to go and deal with that carcass, and to me that would be horrible. We have all driven by a spot where a skunk was killed, and…whew, what a smell!! Nevertheless, my grandpa and my uncle took that in stride and came away with a good amount of skunk and muskrat pelts for their efforts. My Uncle Bill, who I must credit for the information in this story, figured that in all, they probably made about $100.00 for that cold winter’s trapping venture, plus the money earned while working in the logging camps. It may not sound like much money for all that work and the freezing conditions, but in 1910 and 1911, it was a pretty decent wage.
Once in a while, you find yourself in a situation that requires you to be someone’s hero. That is the situation my son-in-law, Kevin and my daughter, Corrie found themselves in yesterday evening. Coming home from work, at about 5:15 pm, Kevin saw a little girl walking up and down their street, crying and obviously freezing. The temperature was about was about 20 degrees at that time. As Kevin got out of his pickup, the little girl let out a scream of frustration, fear, and cold. Kevin turned around to see what was going on, but was concerned that the little girl would not come to him. He went in the house and got Corrie, telling her that he thought the little girl might be lost or hurt.
When Corrie stepped outside, the little girl turned and started to walk away…obviously afraid. Then, after taking about 4 steps, and knowing that she was in a lot of trouble, and could die without help, she turned back around and started toward Corrie. Corrie asked her if she was lost, and she said that she was. Then, she hugged Corrie with such deep gratitude that it almost brought tears to Corrie’s eyes. Corrie said, “Oh my gosh, you are so cold!!” She shivered and said, “C-c-c-cold!” Corrie asked her if she knew her address or phone number. The answers were no to both questions. She is in Kindergarten.
Corrie asked to look in her backpack to see if there might be any information in it. She found a hat, mittens, a small notebook, and a juice box. The little girl’s coat was on but unzipped. She told her to come into her house so she could get warm and they would find her parents. She asked her how she got to where they found her. She said she rode a bus and some kids usually walked her home, but they weren’t on the bus yesterday. She thought she could make it home alone, but got lost. She had walked about 4 blocks from the bus stop, but who knew how long she had wandered around during the hour and fifteen minutes before they found her.
The little girl knew the bus number, so Corrie called the bus garage, and said, “I don’t know if you can help me or not, but I have a little girl at my house who got lost walking home from the bus stop.” The person answering the phone immediately said, “Is her name…?” Corrie asked the little girl and confirmed that she indeed had the right little girl. They told Corrie that her parents don’t speak English, and they had been calling the bus garage, frantically trying to find their little girl…their only child. They were certain their worst nightmare had happened to their little girl. The bus garage dispatched a bus to pick up the little girl, now warm from being in Corrie and Kevin’s house, wrapped in a blanket, and snuggled up with the family cat.
What do you do after an evening like that. Your adrenaline has been pumping like crazy. You have found yourself on the helping end of a parent’s worst nightmare. You were the hero. You saved the day, and more importantly the little girl. You got her safely back home to her terrified parents. What does a hero do after something like that…well, if you are Corrie and Kevin, you don’t shout it from the rooftops. You wouldn’t have even told your mom if she hadn’t called at the moment you were on the phone to the bus garage. No, if you are Corrie and Kevin…you simply go to Walmart to buy groceries.