grandma

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My sister, Cheryl Masterson is the oldest of the five girls that my parents had. For me, the second child, maybe more than the others, Cheryl was a mentor of sorts. As the sister who was just two years younger, following the footsteps of my big sister was just what I wanted to do. She was always the cool one. She could dance, and I was really awkward in that department, no matter how hard I tried to learn the latest dance steps from her, I just didn’t have the moves. She never ridiculed me, which she might have been justified in doing, but rather just showed me again.

Today, my sister is once again becoming a mentor, as we move through these chaotic times in the history of our nation. The worse things get, the more Cheryl encourages all of my sisters and me to press into God. While things seem to be heading in the wrong direction, we all know that God has a plan for us all. We are seeing such a great turnaround in our nation. The faith of many is being tested, and it is up to us to find out where we are in our faith life’s. Cheryl is very rooted and grounded in her faith. She is in the word pretty much every free moment she has.

Cheryl is also very family oriented. Her whole family comes to her house to have dinner on Tuesdays, and they have a wonderful time. Cheryl has five children, 15 grandchildren (two who live in Heaven now), and six great grandchildren. Of course, they can’t always make it to her house, but they try to get there. Her youngest granddaughter, Aleesia Spethman, is the granddaughter who is after her heart. They are two if a kind, and they love to spend quality time together. In fact, Cheryl and Aleesia are so close that they try to spend time together almost every day. These are sweet times for my sister, who knows that the years go by too quickly and there will come a day when Aleesia is more interested in friends than spending time with her grandma. Nevertheless, Cheryl has been a wonderful mentor to Aleesia too, and that will go with Aleesia all of her life. Today is Cheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Cheryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandma, Hattie Byer was a mother of nine children. She had her first child, my Aunt Evelyn Hushman on November 9, 1928, when she was 19 years old. She had her youngest child, my Aunt Sandy Pattan on October 26, 1945, when she was 36 years old. She had nine children in 17 years. That is a lot for any mom to handle, but Grandma Byer was well able to handle her children. She was a tiny woman, barely 5 feet tall…in her tall days, but her kids knew that her absence of height had nothing to do with her ability to discipline her kids. Messing with Grandma was not a healthy idea.

While Grandma could easily handle her nine children, she could also bring the sunshine and happiness into her home. Grandma got her kids together to do the chores, and while they were working, they would always sing, laugh, and tell jokes. Grandma had no problem making chores fun…well, as fun as possible. Nevertheless, the kids all have fond memories of those days when everyone was together at home doing chores and making happy memories. We all like to think back of our childhood with its fond memories. Of course, some family memories are better than others, and the memories that Grandma Byer created for her children were of the very best kind.

I remember spending time with my grandparents. If you behaved yourself, you were going to have the best time, but I’m here to tell you that if you got out of line, Grandma was not worried about whether or not her children would be upset about her disciplinary tactics. Of course, we…the grandchildren…knew that if we got in trouble with Grandma…trouble with our parents automatically followed. The best we could hope for was that Grandma didn’t tell our parents what trouble we were in. It was our only hope of avoiding the inevitable “whooping” from our parents was to pray that Grandma kept our secret. Today is Grandma Byer’s birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma. We love and miss you very much.

My husband’s grandmother, Vina Hein was an amazing cook. The food she made wasn’t fancy, and in fact I suppose it was what would be called “comfort food” these days. Grandma learned to cook as a girl taking care of her dad and brother after her mother left them when she was about ten years old. She loved her dad and brother, and for a while, it was just the three of them. Then her dad remarried, and things changed again. Grandma didn’t talk about that time much, but she endured and grew to be the wonderful woman that we all knew.

There wasn’t much that Grandma couldn’t handle, and when she married Walt Hein, she became a rancher’s wife. They had a big spread out in the country, and she cooked, canned, helped with the animals, gardened, and kept the house. It was work she had trained for since she was a child. She was destined to be the family matriarch, and she was good at her job. Over the years she helped out with grandchildren when their parents worked, and the kids absolutely loved to be at Grandma’s house. Even the grandchildren who lived far away loved to come to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

My husband, Bob Schulenberg went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa just about every year. He helped out around the ranch, and in general, got to have a great time on his “almost like summer camp” visits. And when he was grown, he still liked to go visit his grandparents. When we got married, he wanted to pass that tradition on to his girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, and to me. We loved going for visits, and that is something I miss to this day. Grandma didn’t always like to play cards, like Grandpa did, but she would do it for us. You had to have partners, after all. Grandpa would have played for hours, but Grandma had other things to do, so after a couple of hours, Grandpa would head out to the barn to take a nap, while Grandma and our family did other things around the house. He didn’t want to interfere with the dinner preparations, after all. Grandma always had wonderful things, like real cream, thick and cold, a taste I have never found in a store. Strawberry Rhubarb pie and jelly too. Wonderful home raised beef, and farm fresh eggs. And of course, her canned vegetables and garden-fresh vegetables too. It would have been worth the drive just for Grandma’s good cooking, for sure, and I would sure love to have one of her meals again right now. Today is the 113th anniversary of Grandma Hein’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma. We love and miss you very much. And it looks like Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of Winter, but I guess that no longer matters to you, like it did when you were a kid.

Years ago, especially in the old west and during the depression years, travel wasn’t so easy, even from just one town over or across town, so quite often, holidays were mixed with weddings, just because of the convenience of it, and so that family gatherings could serve two purposes. I’m not sure if that was the reason why my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, chose Christmas Eve for their wedding day or not, but the fact that they did, made Christmas Eve just that much mor special for our family. It always seemed like that day had more sparkle and shine to me. I think it did to them too. Having the anniversary cake as part of the celebration…especially a celebration that more often included pie, was just extra.

I think of them more this time of year, even though they have been in Heaven now for 41 and 33 years, respectively. They were the only grandparents I really knew, since my dad’s dad passed before I was born, and his mom just 6 months after I was born. So, Grandma and Grandpa Byer were my only grandparents, and when they left us, it was a very sad day. Of course, we know that they are in our future now, and we will see them again, but on this their joyous wedding anniversary, we miss them even more than we normally do.

Grandma and Grandpa always made a big deal about Christmas. Even when the family got to be too big to get together on Christmas Day, they started a tradition that continues to this day…the Byer Family Christmas Party. By doing the party, and renting a hall, we could all be together at the same time. There was no way for the family, as big as it had become, to get together on Christmas Day in Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or anyone’s house, for that matter. Their nine children have grown to a family of well over 400, and the Byer Family Christmas Party continues on, in their honor. Grandpa once said to Grandma, “Mommy, look what we started.” Yes, they certainly did start something that has grown into a something big and beautiful…an amazing family. Yes, I do think about them a little more this time of year and miss them even more. Merry Christmas in Heaven Grandma and Grandpa, and all the family who has gone to Heaven before us. We can’t wait until we are all together again.

My grand-niece, Aleesia Spethman, loves being in the water. Whether it’s Water World, the lake, city pools, or the pool that has been in her yard all summer, spending time in the water with family and friends is the best way to spend the summer. Aleesia’s favorite pool at Water World is the Wave Pool. The wave pool allows people to surf the waves, even though they are not on the ocean. Even if you don’t surf, I guess you would get the feeling of swimming in the ocean anyway.

Aleesia and her mom, my niece, Jenny Spethman are best friends. She is Jenny and her husband, Steve Spethman’s youngest child, and their only daughter (here on Earth, anyway. Aleesia’s sister, Laila lives in Heaven). Jenny always wanted a girl, but after three boys, and Laila’s passing, wasn’t sure she would get one. Jenny loves all of her children, but the boys are into sports, and working now, so Jenny and Aleesia get to do the girl things like shopping. Aleesia likes to shop with her mom, but she also likes it when her dad goes to the mall with them, because she and her dad can play in the video arcade while her mom goes shopping. Aleesia loves her dad, and she really has him wrapped around her finger. She can get him to do just about anything she wants him to, including dancing at her cousin’s wedding…in front of people, which Steve would rather not do. Nevertheless, for his girl…he will do it…just because she is his girl. Jenny has a three wheeled bicycle with a basket in the back, and Aleesia loves to be taken on rides in that bike, with her mom, or even her brothers.

Being the only girl child in the family isn’t always easy. The boys protect Aleesia, but they also pick on her. Aleesia’s brother Xander has a girlfriend now, Alli Simpson. That has been a good thing for Aleesia, because now the girls can stick together, as I’m sure the boys pick on Alli too. Of course, Aleesia has a group of girlfriends that she has known since she was 1 year old. They are all best friends, and love to do the same things, so whenever she can, Aleesia “escapes” the boy world she lives in and hangs out with her girlfriends, in Aleesia’s world. Aleesia also has another best friend…her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson. They love to hang out after Cheryl gets off work most nights. It’s been a long standing tradition almost since Aleesia was born. I suppose that one day that tradition will end, but my sister sure is enjoying it now, and hoping it continues for quite a while before that day comes. Today is Aleesia’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-nephew, Topher Spicer is a great kid, but he’s not really a kid anymore. At 16 years old, he is really a young man, and I really can’t believe we are there already with him. I shouldn’t be surprised, because Topher is in his second year as a tour guide at the Wyoming Frontier Prison. I love that he has chose a job in history for his first job. It is very unusual for a young person to decide that they want to share a unique time in history with other people, by guiding them through the actual place where so much history took place. Topher is the youngest guide at the prison, and it’s cool that he gets to work with his best friend Zach too…the character lying under the bench, beneath Topher, which made me laugh…once I noticed him hiding there.

Of course, Topher isn’t all about history. He has a great group of friends that he likes to hang out with. He and his mom, my niece, Andrea Beach is one of those people he considers a good friend, even if she is his mom. When he is not working or going to school, Topher can often be found at home with his mom and their dog, Butter Cup Topher has a way with animals. I have seen that in how he was with my mom, his great grandma, Collene Spencer’s cat. That cat doesn’t really like kids much. He finds that most kids play a little too rough, so he will usually go and hide when there are any kids around, but he likes Topher, and my grand-niece, Raelynn Masterson. Both Topher and Raelynn are calm people, who don’t feel the need to “bounce off the wall” all the time. They would sit there and pet the cat gently and that made Lewie very comfortable with them, and very happy with all the attention.

The third annual Black Hills trip with his grandma, Andrea’s mom and my sister, Caryl Reed is coming up, and Topher is very excited. The trip has become a wonderful summer vacation for them…something our whole family can relate to, since we all take at the very least a weekend there each year, and many of us spend a week there. The Black Hills has so much to see and do, and it just never gets old. Topher likes the Black Hills so much, that he is considering Black Hills State University for college. That would be great. Its not too far from home, and the scenery is amazing. There is a lot of history there too, so my guess is that he could get a part time job in any of the historic sites in the area. They are always looking for people with some experience. We are so proud of the young man Topher is growing up to be. Today is Topher’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Butch Hein is a rancher in Forsyth, Montana. Over the years, Bob and I have made many trips up to Forsyth to visit the family up there. While Butch is Bob’s uncle, he is only 9 years older than Bob is. That said, they had similar interests over the years. Butch didn’t really seem like an uncle to Bob, exactly. When he was a boy, Bob spent several weeks in the summers up at Grandma and Grandpa Hein’s house…Butch’s parents. Bob went to see them, but also to help out on their ranch. That was before Butch went into ranching himself, so the boys worked together in whatever need doing. Working together made for a closer relationship I’m sure, so when Bob was out of high school, and living on his own, he and his friend, Paul went up to visit the family in Montana. While that was a great idea, it was also a recipe for disaster…at least to Grandma Hein.

Butch, Bob, and Paul went out to the bar that night, because it was legal for Bob and Paul to drink in Montana, so the three of them went to the bar…mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of other things to do in Forsyth, Montana, due to its small size. The three of them had an…interesting evening. While sitting in the bar, and with Bob and Paul being somewhat inexperienced in the art of drinking, Butch had them try several drinks that he liked. Well, maybe some people can mix different kinds of alcohol and have no problem, but Bob and Paul were not those people. By the time they left the bar, both Bob and Paul were pretty tipsy…and that, is an understatement. Then they had to go back to Grandma’s, where they were staying, and it was at that point that they became her problem. I haven’t heard that the boys got sick or anything, but I would not be surprised. Nevertheless, in the morning, Grandma had two very hungover young men on her hands, and a son who, in her opinion was to blame. Butch was in the dog house with Grandma for quite some time, but Grandma finally forgave Butch for leading Bob astray. I’m sure he was very relieved. Nobody wants their mom mad at them.

Butch went on to become a great dad and later grandpa. He and his son, Scott run a large and successful ranch in the Forsyth area, and they are always busy. They are often on horses for hours a day. Butch had to have back surgery a while back, and I don’t know if that was caused by ranch work, but I would not be surprised. I don’t think he has ever been thrown off of a horse, but I don’t hear just everything that goes on. I suppose riding a horse and falling off of a horse go hand in hand sometimes. Anyway, he is doing much better since the surgery, and I pray it stays that way. Today is Butch’s 76th birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock has always been a woman with a sweet, loving spirit. Many times, the youngest child is the most spoiled, but while Allyn received the least amount of discipline, it was not because she was spoiled. Our mom, Collene Spencer told us once that the reason Allyn got less spankings was because her spirit was just so grieved by a simple tongue lashing, even a couple of disciplinary words…that mom didn’t have the heart to spank her much. If Mom told her something as simple as “that was naughty,” Allyn was heartbroken. She felt so awful…about so small a transgression. Oh, to have that kind of a gentle spirit…that kind of a heart for God and doing what is right.

That spirit has never left Allyn. She is such a giver. She wants to do anything she can to help the people around her…whether she knows them, whether they are family, or not. She gives of her time, as well as her abilities. There is a softness in Allyn’s spirit that I just love. That little girl, who had such a soft heart, who always wanted to do what was right, the one that my sisters and I always said was always good, hasn’t changed one bit. She still does whatever she can to make life easier for those around her. She is a helper, as I’m sure those she works with will attest. She doesn’t quit until the job is done. Allyn has worked in medical administration for years now, and while her company name has changed, she has been at the same place for a long time. Today, she works for Wyoming Medical Center. She is well liked there, and well respected by her co-workers and subordinates alike. Her position is in supervision in the billing department, and she enjoys it very much. She likes the people she works with, and they all work well together.

As much as Allyn loves her job, her first love, after God that is, will always be her family. She is wife to Chris, mom to Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock. She is a beloved mother-in-law to Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore. She is also grandma to Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore, as well as Jonathan Sawdon and Hallie Moore who both live in Heaven. Allyn’s family is the most important thing on this earth to her. She loves each and every one with all her heart…and they love her. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband’s grandmother, Vina Hein was an amazing woman. We always loved going up to visit her and Grandpa Hein. They lived on a ranch outside of Forsyth, Montana, and that place will forever live in my memory files. I can see every part of the house and the different things we did there. I remember all the nights of playing cards. We always played “Spades” and Grandma always had a funny saying when she looked at her hand and it wasn’t a good one. She would tell us that she had “a hand like a foot!!” We often looked through all the old photo albums too. Those pictures are great treasures, and I feel privileged to have been able to look through them. They were pure family history. Going to see Grandma and Grandpa Hein was such a blessing, and one I will always cherish.

Grandma Hein was born on Groundhog’s Day, a fact that she enjoyed very much. It seems that finding out if spring would come early each year was something special. Of course, the biggest problem with that is that all too often Punxsutawney Phil was, and still is, very wrong. I have given up on that silly ground hog!! Even with this morning’s prediction that we will have 6 more weeks of Winter, it would be just a coincidence if that is the way it went, because that silly ground hog gets it wrong 99% of the time. Still, for Grandma, it was cool to have that birthday. I guess that when you think about it, at least you were on the downhill side of the Winter, so spring was coming.

I think Grandma was like me, in that Winter was her least favorite season. Living in the country is more work anyway, and the Winter weather makes it worse. Montana winters are notoriously bitter, so I can see why she would rather have any other season. Grandma wasn’t one to have lots of flowers in the house, that I recall, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t grow a garden, because she certainly could. She canned vegetables and made jellies and apple butter. She also made wonderful strawberry-rhubarb pie. there was also always plant of fresh real cream on her table from the cows they milked. You haven’t tasted cream, until you have had it fresh, without all the processing. Oh my!! It is so good. I will never forget the trips we took to see Grandma and Grandpa Hein. I will always have those cherished memories. Today would have been Grandma Hein’s 112th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma Hein. We love and miss you very much.

My husband’s aunt, Margee Kountz raised her children as a single mom for most of their lives. She was there for them in every way. From early childhood, through the school years, and beyond. She has been a hands-on mom, grandma, and great grandma. As we all know, life isn’t always a bed of roses. It has it’s ups and downs, and especially for kids, we need to help them get through all of it. Margee was very supportive of her family, and took them through most of life’s sad times, and well as celebrating the good times.

I think that one of the greatest joys of Margee’s life was the time she got to spend with her grandchildren. Part of that time was spent helping to raise her son, Dan’s two children, Zech and Staci Kountz, who lost their mother at an early age to cancer. They needed her…all three of them, and she was there for them. To be there for someone like that, even your own child, takes strength…incredible strength. Margee has carried her kids through good times and bad times. It’s what a great mom does, and Margee is a great mom.

Margee is the youngest of her parents, Bob and Nettie Knox, kids, and the last one left now. She was a great sister to Joanne Schulenberg and Linda Cole. While she couldn’t always go see them, she did her best to stay in touch. She saw Joann mere, because she was in a nursing home here in Casper, but Linda lived far away, so it was hard. Nevertheless, Margee loved her sisters dearly, and they loved her. I remember so many years in the past and some of the great gatherings we all had. Margee had learned cake decorating, and often made the birthday cakes for our celebrations. They were beautiful. I miss those gatherings. We had such a great time when we all got together. The family is spread around some, and of course, we get busier by the day, but in my memory files, I still see this family, all together and having a great time. Today is Margee’s 72nd birthday. Happy birthday Margee!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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