furniture

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!!

For a number of years, I was out of touch with my cousin Dennis Fredrick, but all that changed a couple of years ago, when we started emailing. That has turned into a true friendship and I think it has been a blessing to both of us. Of course, our love of family history has given us common interests to explore, but there was so much more, because as cousins, we had a lot of memories to share too. I feel very blessed to have my cousin back in my life again. We are currently working together of different aspects of our research…or at least sharing our finds, because that is really what is so exciting about finding new family history information.

One of the things that I found out recently about Denny was that, like his dad, his grandpa, his brother, and nephews, Denny builds furniture sometimes. And he does a very fine job of it. Not everyone has the ability to build furniture, and if we attempt, it often looks like a box slapped together. Not so, with Denny. I think his work looks like it was made in a factory…perfect. The dresser is for his daughter-in-law, Carrie Fredrick, who is feeling very blessed right now. Denny comes by is skill from a long like of furniture builders. Our grandpa, Allen Luther Spencer built furniture, as did Denny’s dad, Fritz Fredrick, who built the baptismal font for the little church in Holyoke, Minnesota. Denny’s brother, Gene Fredrick, who sadly passed away a number of years ago, also built beautiful furniture, as did Gene’s sons Tim and Shawn.

Denny, as we have called him all my life anyway, has a heart of gold, and really wants to be a part of the lives of his family, even those of us who live far away. It’s so easy to lose touch with friends and family, and while we often don’t feel the loss until we reconnect, sadly sometimes that never happens, and when a loved one is gone, we really fell that missed time. For that reason, I am so glad that Denny and I have reconnected while we are both still alive, and young enough to remember and enjoy the connection. I just wish I had more time to stay in touch, because since Denny retired, he is able to focus on the things he loves to do, which would be lovely. Today is Denny’s birthday. Happy birthday Denny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When a child is born, their parents have high hopes for the baby’s life, not knowing anything about the child yet, or what talents he or she might have. As the years go by, the parents begin to notice different aspects of this new little person, and get little hints about their interests. Still, they don’t really know who this child will become. That part of their child is still in the future, and what they will be, remains to be seen. It always seems like it is so far in the future, but in fact, it isn’t. It will seem like just yesterday that you wondered who this child would be, and suddenly, they know.

That is the case with my niece, Chantel Balcerzak. When she was a little girl, she was such a little Diva, and trust me when I say that she is still a classy looking lady, but there is so much more to the person that Chantel has grown up to be than that little pretty lady she always was. Chantel’s artistic talents started to shine through early on. She loves to write, decorate, refurbish furniture, and paint…and I, for one, have been the recipient of several of her designs. These days, Chantel’s interests have turned to wedding planning. She has started a Facebook site called Next To The Dress, and she is very good at what she does. I love her ideas, as do the brides and grooms she has helped to achieve their perfect day. She is able to plan any style of wedding, and she makes them absolutely beautiful. I just love Chantel’s creativity. I could never put together the things that she does…both in her weddings and her hobbies. I think that one of the main reasons that Chantel is so good at what she does, is because of her genuinely caring heart. I think it would be unthinkable for Chantel to have a wedding go bad…not because she planned it, but because it wouldn’t be…perfect for the bride and groom.

I don’t know what Chantel’s mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson thought she would become, but I know that she is very happy with the outcome. When a child is born, we know that they are an unwritten book, waiting to fill the pages with the wonderful choices they can make. I think Chantel has written a beautiful book of life for herself, and I am glad that I got to be a part of watching her become the beautiful woman she is….even if she is still a “little” lady. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Gene FredrickMy cousin, Gene Fredrick was a man of many talents. He was the oldest of his parents’ two sons. His parents were Fritz Fredrick and Laura Spencer Fredrick, my aunt. As a boy, Gene was the helpful older brother, helping his mommy with his little brother, Dennis, who was always known to my sisters and me as Denny. Following their parents’ divorce, my Aunt Laura brought her sons to Casper, Wyoming to live near her sister, Ruth Spencer Wolfe, and her husband Jim, who were living there at the time. Casper was also where my parents would settle in 1959, and that meant that my family got to see our cousins, Gene and Denny Fredrick and Shirley, Larry, and Terry Wolfe quite a bit. Those were great times.

Of course, Gene and Denny were the oldest cousins, and so they married and while they both still lived in Casper, we got to see their children too. Gene and his wife Paula had two sons, Tim and Shawn, and Denny and his wife, Sandy had a son named David. Later they both moved away, so we didn’t get to see them very much. I’ve always felt sad that we lost touch, and I am grateful that we have Facebook now, and that has given us a way to reconnect.

Gene was always a soft spoken man, who shared so much of himself with his sons. He loved to make furniture, and was very talented at it. He also Denny and Geneconnected with our Uncle Bill, who has always loved the family history, but didn’t have the equipment or know how to scan pictures, or a computer to research people or organize the information. Gene became Uncle Bill’s right hand man, helping to get the family history in the organized condition I found it when my cousin Bill sent it to me to allow me to scan it. I can honestly say that we all owe Gene a debt of gratitude for all the help he gave Uncle Bill.

Gene taught his sons anything they were interested in. Tim tells about the years when he started becoming interested in photography. They set up a dark room, and Tim learned photography. I don’t know if Gene already knew how to develop pictures before, but they worked it together. Tim tells of making new prints from the old damaged ones. I think that Gene was an amazing man. Today would have been 76 years old today. Happy birthday in Heaven, Gene. We are all in your debt. We love and miss you.

Lacey Stevens Lacey's dressing roomSometimes, just when you think you know someone, some little thing changes in their life, and suddenly you find out things about them that you had no idea about. Such was the case with my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey is not the kind of person to brag about her talents, and in my defense, maybe that is why I never knew.

Recently, Lacey decided to move out of her parents’ house, and into a little house of her own. Lacey is a cosmetologist by trade, and she had been saving her money for furniture, rent, and the other things she would need to live on her own. While her parents are really proud of how responsible she has been in planning her move, they do, nevertheless, miss her at home. She has been so busy that they have hardly seen her, and that can be hard for first time empty nesters.

It’s not, however, Lacey’s responsible ways that took me by surprise. As I was planning my story, I thought I might show some pictures if Lacey’s new place. I asked her for pictures to showcase her place in my story, and Lacey's painting 2Lacey's living room that’s when it happened. It was a simple enough thing on Lacey’s part. She just sent the pictures to me and told me that her favorite room is her dressing room…which I can fully understand, by the way. What girl wouldn’t love it?

The pictures were great, but one thing caught my eye. It was the stunning four painting display on one wall, of a tree against a red, sunset like background. When I told her that it was beautiful, she said a simple, “Thanks, I painted those in high school.” Well, I about fell over. They are, as I said, stunning. Lacey is just so talented. Lacey’s sister, Michelle is going to art school, and I think Lacey should have gone too. I told Lacey that she needs to start selling her work. I think she would be quite successful at it. She is such a natural artist.

I think everyone has a natural talent for something. Lacey, like her mom, my sister, Alena Stevens is a very good cosmetologist, but like her sister, Michelle, she also inherited a natural talent for art. My mom, Collene Spencer is a pretty good artist too, and these girls must have inherited their talent from her or from someone Lacey's painting 3Lacey's painting 1on the Stevens side, but I can tell you that they did not get it from me, because I find stick figures to be a real challenge. Wherever her talent came from, Lacey is an artist in her own right. She just doesn’t pat herself on the back, but I think maybe she should. Of course, she won’t do it, because that’s just not Lacey’s way. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Lacey, your new place is absolutely beautiful. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Orin Eugene NoyesEvery time I look at this picture of Bob’s great grandfather, Orin Eugene Noyes, who went by Eugene, I can’t help but notice that he looks like the fictional character Geppetto from the book, Pinocchio, or at least the picture I have in my head of what he would have looked like. I never met Bob’s great grandfather, nor did Bob, because Eugene passed away in 1928, but when you look at him, you can see that he was a nice and very kind man. I wanted to know a little bit more about him, so I began to look for any stories there might be out there. I wasn’t very successful in finding any stories about him, so I decided to see what he did for a living. I don’t know, maybe I had a feeling.

As you all know, Geppetto was a wood carver, more specifically, he made wood furniture. That was how he came up with the idea of making Pinocchio. So, I started looking for any other information on Eugene Noyes. In my search, I found out that his dad was a farmer. That isn’t really anything that would tie in to my idea of who Eugene reminded me of. I kept looking and came across a census in 1910. I was quite surprised to find that Eugene Noyes was the owner of a furniture store. How funny is that? No, he didn’t build the furniture…at least not that I know of, but he sold furniture, and that was what Geppetto did too. I know it is a little odd, but Geppetto is who Bob’s great grandfather reminded me of, and as it turns out, he was a similar type of person.

As I look at this man, who had a big part in giving me my husband, I can see what a gentle soul he was. His face showed such gentleness…such kindness. I think he was a man who very much loved being a father and The Three Eugenes - Father, Son, Grandsongrandfather, and loved his family with all his heart. No, his life was not childless as that of Geppetto, but I believe that they shared a love of children, and that desire to be parents. Eugene wasn’t always a furniture store owner, but rather a farmer like his father before him. He started out farming, and then owner the furniture store, which makes me wonder if there was a drought, or the crops were lost for some other reason, and he decided to try something different. After about ten years in the furniture business, he decided to retire back to farming, and would do that for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, for those ten years, he was very close to the Geppetto that I have imagined him to be.

1385803_540236469386418_1650768861_nI don’t know how much of the Spencer genes, my cousins Gene, his son Tim, and even his grandson Daniel think that they have, but it’s possible that it’s more than they realize. Gene was a master carpenter, building beautiful furniture that anyone would be proud to own. In fact when I looked at pictures of the furniture Gene made, I wondered if he missed his true calling in life. Oh don’t get me wrong, because he was very successful, but that furniture…well, STUNNING doesn’t say enough!! Gene’s work was beautiful, and he passed that talent down to his son. Tim recently built a desk that is also quite beautiful, and shows that he has his dad’s talent. Daniel, while still a very young man, shows signs if that same talent for building things too.

Their talent is definitely amazing, but where did that talent come from. Well, I don’t know about the Fredrick side if their family, but our grandpa, Allen Luther Spencer had talent in that CCI12032013_0002area too. I have never heard anyone talk about his abilities as a carpenter, and usually when we think of carpentry, we think more on the lines of building a house, but the finer side if carpentry is furniture making. I hadn’t really given much thought to the type of work my grandfather did for the railroad, but when I saw the picture of the table Grandpa built, I was reminded of an dependent card my dad  had that said the his dad was a carpenter for the railroad.

Having been a passenger on the 1880 Train in Hill City, South Dakota, I have seen the work of the railroad carpenters. They have transformed those old train cars from junk to a thing of beauty. The carpenters who work on the 1880 Train have done just that. Still, of all these people, I have to say that the ones who have perfected the art of carpentry the most, would be the Fredrick family…and I’m sure you will agree with me on that one.

Gene FredrickThat first grandchild is such a unique event in the life of a grandparent. For years their family has had grown children in it, but no babies. Then comes that day that will take the family into a new era. The kids become aunts, uncles, and parents; and the parents become grandparents.  The funny thing is that no one seems to mind this drastic change that one would think feels like aging. The reason is quite simple…a precious new life has arrived, and that is what really matters. It is a new and exciting time, and there is a new little life to love. That is how my grandparents and their family, my Uncle Bill, my dad, Allen, and my Aunt Ruth felt, when my cousin Gene made his debut. Any of us who have been aunts, uncles, parents, or grandparents can fully understand what a special day this was.

The day was November 5, 1939, when Eugene Herman Fredrick was born. He was a gentle child, with a quiet disposition. He would grow to be a man who loved to learn about the inner working of machinery, and also a love of woodworking. He built furniture that his son, Tim would later call a legacy. Tim would inherit that love of woodworking from his dad, and I suspect that Tim’s som Daniel might too.

Gene was instrumental, along with his sons, Tim and Shawn, in helping his Uncle Bill get as far as he did on the family history. Gene was much more computer savvy than his Uncle Bill, so he was able to scan things for him and even save pictures that might otherwise have been lost forever. Uncle Bill mentions Gene fondly in several places in the family history, and was clearly devastated at his death, saying that his “grief and heartache at Gene’s loss would be very Gene Fredrick and grandson Danieldifficult to out live”. I don’t think he was alone in his intense feelings of loss, as Gene was a sweet, gentle man, who loved everyone, and was kind to all.

Gene’s greatest love on this earth was for his family. He was totally gone on his wife, Paula, and his boys, Tim and Shawn, and grandson, Daniel. His boys were his friends in so many things, sharing in his love for making things, especially wood furniture, and so many other things that would turn his sons into the wonderful men we all know today. There are many of us out there that will always miss him. Today Gene would have been 74 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Gene!! You are loved and missed very much by all who knew you.

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