new year’s eve party
The new year is always a little bittersweet for my family…at least since my mother, Collene Spencer passed away on February 22, 2015. Mom’s birthday was the party event of the year, because her birthday was on January 1st. That’s the party event of the year for most people, but even more so for us. We celebrated the end of the old year, Mom’s birthday always made our New Year’s Eve party the best of all of them. You couldn’t have paid us to go to some other party. Even the ball dropping at Times Square, couldn’t compare for us. We were already at the best party event. I miss those parties. Oh, we still celebrate, but one guest is missing…Mom. The parties just aren’t the same without the part about welcoming the new year and then telling Mom happy birthday. Now, we can only give her our birthday wishes from Earth to Heaven.
Mom was a special kind of person. She was a child of God, who wanted everyone to know her Savior, Jesus Christ. She told people about the Lord, even when my sisters and I thought she should give up on the person. Mom couldn’t stand the idea of anyone going to Hell. She had such a pure heart that way. When I think about all the people she talked to over the years, and the fact that if even half of them got saved…well, Mom helped bring a whole lot of people to the Lord. Looking back on all the times I was embarrassed by her “mission” work, it makes me feel ashamed. She was doing what she knew to be right, and I was a kid who knew nothing. She took the high road in it. I wish I had.
Mom was a character to say the least. She would do the funniest things and make the funniest faces, just to make us laugh. Especially if we, her five daughters, Cheryl Masterson, me (Caryn Schulenberg), Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock, were fighting. Of course, we didn’t all fight at the same time, but rather two or three at a time. Just imagine having five daughters who were either fighting or playing loudly. We must have driven Mom crazy at times. Still, she loved being a Mom, and had visions of the perfect children, like all moms do…until they have kids anyway. Then the reality hits. Kids are kids, and they make noise and they fight. Mom loved to creatively stop the noise…even if that meant making funny faces. She also loved to sing us a song. Her favorite, “You Are My Sunshine” was a staple in our house. She was the sunshine in our house, and we always knew that we were her sunshine. Today would have been my mom’s 85th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much.
For many people, starting the new year off right means making New Year’s resolutions, and planning to make big changes in whatever areas they don’t like about themselves and their lives. That is a noble idea, even though most New Year’s resolutions are forgotten by February, but that is not how my family started the new year…nor did we finish the last one like most families either. That was because of my mom, Collene Spencer. It wasn’t that Mom did anything to make the new year extra special…she was a typical mom who loved her family, and worked hard to give us a happy life, but then so did most parents. It was the fact that Mom’s birthday was January 1st, that started the year off special…and ended the prior year in a special way too.
My dad, Al Spencer loved our mom so much. She was his princess, his “Doll,” and he was always happiest when they were together. Dad worked hard to make our lives, and especially the life of his “Doll,” the best life anyone could ever have. And he succeeded very well. We were a very happy family, and New Year’s, both eve and day, were very special. Our year ended with a New Year’s Eve party…one that we kids got to attend too. It was a gathering of friends and family at our house, when we were little. Many parents go out and get a sitter for their kids on New Year’s Eve, but we lived where the party was, and we were welcome, as were our cousins, and later our friends. Dad never wanted his kids to be out in the world on New Year’s Eve, because of the obvious dangers of drinking and driving. We always got to party, and we were always safe at home. The party was about the end of the year and the beginning of the new year, but mostly it was about our mom. This was her celebration, and our dad always made it an awesome one for his “Doll.”
New Year’s Day always included a big birthday dinner for Mom, and of course, birthday cake and her presents. Our year always started of with a big celebration. While many people used the day as a way to get over their hangover, and mostly sleep the day away, our day was filled with joy, laughter, and fun. That was because of the great love our dad had for Mom, for us, and for making our lives fun. The memories my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I, as well as our families, have from all those New Year’s celebrations over the years will always warm our hearts. Mom and Dad are in Heaven now, but we do our best to continue the tradition in their honor. Today would have been Mom’s 84th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Mom. We love and miss you very much. We will see you and Dad again soon.
My uncle, George Hushman, became the first in-law in my mom’s family, when he married her sister, Evelyn Byer. He was a novelty, I suppose. I know that is how the younger siblings always feel when it comes to brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law. It all new and fun, and the younger siblings are always made to feel special. Funny thing about little kids, each new family member is as awesome as the last, but somehow that first one always holds a special place in their hearts. It’s like suddenly their horizons are broader. They learn about the fact that there are people outside their little world, who somehow fit into their little world. Then too, as the new children come along and subsequent in-laws are added, the love in the family just seems to grow everyday.
That is how my sisters and I have always felt about Uncle George. I guess it was because we were close in age to their kids, and Mom and Dad were friends with Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George, as well as siblings. Our families did things together, and the two couples did things together, such as bowling. It was their weekly outing, and they always had such a good time. I suppose that is how bowing became a family tradition. It seems that if you enjoy a sport, you pass it down to your kids. Many of both families have bowled at one time or another, and some continue to do so, such as my husband, Bob Schulenberg and me.
Many a New Year’s Eve party included Aunt Evelyn, Uncle George, and their kids, and we always had a great time. My parents liked having a party, because the 1st of January is my mother’s birthday. It seemed a perfect reason to have a big bash. And my sisters and I always felt like it was a better party when the families got together for it…especially if they brought the kids. I’m not sure how some people might have felt about that part, but Mom and Dad always wanted to include the kids, and I think their families appreciated that. I mean, how many New Year’s Eve parties include the kids? Very few. I know that as kids, whenever Aunt Evelyn, Uncle George and their kids were over…it was a good time. Today is Uncle George’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle George!! Have a great day!! We love you!!