retired

This past year has been filled with many exciting changes for my sister, Caryl. She retired from her long time career in respiratory therapy at the Carbon County Memorial Hospital, but stayed of the board of respiratory therapists. That position has kept her somewhat busier that she had originally anticipated, but it has also been fulfilling. Still, when you are retired, you don’t really want to have too many obligations. The whole point of retirement is to have as little obligations as possible. Most retired people want to be able to pick up and go somewhere on a whim, not have places they need to be every day.

Caryl and her husband, Mike Reed have spent the past year building their retirement home on their ranch outside of Casper. It will be very strange to have them living in Casper. Caryl hasn’t lived in Casper for years, so it will be nice to have them back here again. Their new home is a beautiful, open concept home with granite countertops and floor to ceiling windows in the dining room, which looks out on a beautiful view of the mountain. The entertaining space is big enough to entertain our whole big family, which is just great, because there are enough of us to need a big space. Caryl loves to entertain, so I know that we are all going to enjoy many good times at their house. It will be a whole new life.

Caryl has always loved horses, but for this birthday, she got a different kind of power…trike power. Her husband got her a trike for her birthday, and she absolutely loves it. It is a beautiful dark red Harley Davidson, and I know they will have many wonderful adventures on the open road. They like to travel, and this will be a new kind of travel for them. I’m not a fan of motorcycles myself, but there are many in my family who are, so this bike fits right in with the rest of the gang, and Caryl is very excited about riding it, so that’s what matters. I’m sure that in the future Caryl will have a couple of horses of their own, and while they won’t take trips on the horses per se, they will enjoy spending many hours riding them as well. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The longer we are married, the more blessed I feel with my soulmate. And…I’m not the only one that is blessed by my husband. Bob is a mechanic…through and through. For years before he had his own garage, we went to his parents house so he could work on cars there. When we bought our current house, it didn’t have a garage either, but it had enough room in back to build one, so we did. It was strange for him to simply have to go out in the back yard to get to the garage where he was working on someone’s car, but it made him very happy. In fact, I can’t think of a “gift” Bob has enjoyed more, or gotten more use out of than his garage. Most people would not even consider the garage to be a gift, but for Bob, it really was. No longer would he have to stand out in the wind and cold to work on a car, or make a trip to his parents’ house to work on a car. He had a place of his own to do that.

Bob has been working on the cars of his friends and family for as ling as I’ve known him. People often ask him, or me, if he ever gets tired of it. The answer is always quick, “No, he likes it. It makes him happy.” Most people want to come home after a long day at work and just relax, but not Bob. There’s lots of time to relax after it get dark. I suppose that Bob is of the “make hay while the sun shines” generation. After a long day at work, Bob would often put in another couple of hours out in the garage. Finally, he found that he had too much to do to waste time going to work anymore. That was a couple of years ago, and he hasn’t changed his mind about that one bit. He likes working for himself much better!!

After his retirement, I think lots of people thought Bob was just going to park in front of the television set and fade away. They were wrong. Bob’s work continued..it just changed locations…and bosses. No he simply walks out the back door to go to “work,” if that’s what you choose to call it. As to his boss, I’ve tried to tell him that I’m his boss now, but he doesn’t believe me. In fact, he seems to think that he is his boss, and I supposed he is right, but I don’t think I’ll ever admit to that. It doesn’t matter anyway, since he is doing what makes him happy…no matter who is bossing him. Today is Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday Bob!! Have a great day!! I’ll love you forever and ever.

When a man retires, life slows down, and he begins to take it easy. Ok, let get real. he majority of men retire and have dozens of “honey-do’s” to get done, and not only for their wives. Somehow the “daddy-do’s” are just as big a part of life now…not that Daddy would want it any other way. After all, at least for my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook, his girls, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith are his princesses, and what they want or need, he will try to get it for them. And of course, now that he is retired, he has lots more time to spend with his grandchildren, Weston and Easton Moore, Jala Satterwhite, and Kaytlyn Griffith too.

Over the past month, Lynn has found himself in the middle of a daddy-do at his daughter, Machelle’s house. For quite some time, Machelle and her husband, Steve had to shovel the snow off of the grass, because there was no sidewalk. Anyone who has done that, knows that it can be a pain in the neck, but you don’t want to wade through the snow ether, so you shovel the grass. Recently, Machelle and Steve decided that the time had come to put in a sidewalk and a patio. Thankfully, they were able to call on Lynn to help with the work…and it does help to know people, who know people. Lynn was able to find a dump trailer and skid steer, and then he worked on digging everything out while Machelle and Steve were working during the day. It was a wonderful help to them!! They all worked together, digging some areas by hand and others by machine. Finally they were ready to pour the cement, and when it was all done, it looked amazing. Machelle and Steve couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Of course, when Lynn isn’t doing his daddy-do’s, he and my sister-in-law, Debbie, his wife of 43 years, love to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains. They will head up the mountain, and stay there two weeks of so, just hanging out, enjoying the quiet peacefulness, and the crisp mountain air. It s a retreat they both love very much. When they aren’t camping, Lynn has been fixing things up around their house…just to keep busy, and enjoying his retirement by spending time with his family. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I’m sure that most people have seen the movie, Twister. It is a personal favorite of mine. There is one line in the movie, where Aunt Meg said to Jo, that Bill always went his own way, which was usually the same way Jo was going. Well, I can’t say that Bob was going his own way, or that I was, but I can say that we were usually going in the same direction. Maybe that is the key to it, I don’t know, but I like that Bob and I like to do the same things. I never have to find a hiking partner, because Bob and I both love to hike. I don’t have to worry about a bowling partner, because we do it together. We both tend to like to be at home in the evenings…at least after that evening walk, and of course, we both love our family. I think the thing we most like to do though, is to be together. We are best friends, and I like that very much.

Of course, there are a few things that Bob likes to do that I really don’t, such as mechanics. Bob is an excellent mechanic, and has spent the majority of his life working on cars. They say that if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I think for Bob that is a true statement. He really loves mechanics…from the diagnostics to the dirt…he loves it all. I personally don’t want to be all greasy and dirty, but Bob just doesn’t seem to mind, and you just can’t spend much time under a car without getting grease and road dirt all over yourself. All I ask is that he doesn’t wear something that I care about, because after one car, any great shirt he is wearing is no longer very nice. Nevertheless, he sure does clean up nicely.

These days, Bob is trying to wrap his head around the fact that he has been retired for a full year. Of course, he can’t really say that he is retired, because he is still doing the same work…just in a different location. Now he does all his mechanic work at home. I’m glad that he has that, because I think he would go stir crazy if he was just sitting around. Mechanics is what he loves, and I’m sure it is what he will always be doing. If I want him to myself, I still have to take him out of town, where he doesn’t have cars to work on. The good news is of course, I always know where to find Bob…out in the garage. Today is Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday sweetie!! Have a great day!! I love you!!

007b1 Mina SchumacherMy great aunt, Mina Schumacher Spare really was a remarkable person. I wish I could say that I knew that first hand, but while she was still alive when I was born, I don’t recall if I ever met her. Nevertheless, from her sister, Bertha’s writings, I feel as though I knew her well. Mina was a woman who could see that the world was changing. She knew that women would soon have more of an active role in business, and so she decided that her training should be more that just a teaching certificate, and she encouraged her two younger sisters, Bertha and Elsa to get the same education, which they did. Her wisdom in the choice of training she should have, was what landed her jobs that men had usually held, and she was better at it than they were. Of course, Mina was a smart girl, and that was a rarity at that time. Or perhaps there were other smart girls, but they didn’t let anyone know about it. In many ways, I find that sad. I am not a feminist, and I don’t agree with most of what they do, but I’d think a woman who is smart should be allowed to use her abilities in whatever way she chooses.

Mina’s first position was as a Steno-bookkeeper, and she worked office jobs from that time until her retirement with the possible exception of the years when her little daughter, Pauline was born, and then until she went to school. Mina finally retired in 1956, at her husband, John’s insistence. She fought him on the idea of retirement, but once she actually retired, she thoroughly enjoyed herself. Her husband, John joined her in retirement in 1963, and they moved to Boulder, Colorado to be closer to their daughter, Pauline (Paula) and her family. Their retired freedom was now ahead of them, but in reality, the time for blissful freedom would be short. Like her mother, Mina had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Mina passed away September 30, 1970, just seven short years after John retired.

After Mina’s passing, Bertha and Elsa had also moved to Boulder, and actually lived right next door to John, but years later, when John spoke of the anguish he felt after Mina’s passing, they were shocked. These were things John had kept to himself all that time. When he finally spoke of it, John said, “I would never have amounted to John Clark Sparea ‘darn’ if it hadn’t been for Min.” And years later, in 1981, he said, “For the first four years after she was gone, I thought sometimes I couldn’t stand it. I would stay down stairs, where there were no memories. Upstairs I would see her everywhere.” You see, Mina was unable to navigate the stairs the last two years of her life. All her things were upstairs in the end. John’s heart was so in tuned to Mina’s, that he felt like he was left just half a man without her presence. I know many people feel like they almost can’t take it when their spouse passes away, but somehow, for John, it seemed more truth that just a feeling. Nevertheless, John knew that Mina wouldn’t have wanted him to just lay down and die, so he went on to live a full life. He passed away in 1986, and went to join his beloved Min. On their grave are these fitting words, Together Forever.

Mountain ManPeople joke about being tired after they retire, or at least that is what the hats all say, but I don’t really think that is the case most of the time. After all, let’s face it, when you are retired, you can sleep in as long as you choose, and if that still isn’t enough, well, just take a nap in the afternoon. I think that most retired people get up early, because of that afternoon nap. Seriously, there are only so many hours that a person can sleep. I don’t know if my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook is one of those early risers, who nap in the afternoon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Many retired people head south for the winter, or travel all over the country during the rest of the year, but for Lynn, and my sister-in-law, Debbie, the big draw that retirement held, was camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Their idea of a relaxing time is being in the quiet of the mountains, preferably with just the birds and other wildlife as neighbors, unless their kids come up to join Campthem, that is. During the summer months, they will stay in the mountains for weeks at a time, unless some specific thing requires them to come back to town, and back to reality. I think lots of people would call that a little slice of Heaven on Earth. I would have to agree that being in the mountains is most likely right where I would want to be too, but Bob and I would most likely not want to camp out, however. We like to hike, and then we want the comfort of a motel room…at this point anyway.

Since Lynn used to drive truck for a living, and was always on the road, long term travel doesn’t really appeal to him much, but the short drive to the Big Horns is something he really likes. He is getting a little better about other travel on occasion now too, but as far as I know a long trip means driving from Powell, Wyoming to Debbie & LynnCasper, Wyoming…not exactly what most of us would consider a long trip, but it’s a pretty big step for him.

Since his retirement, Lynn has become more and more of a mountain man than ever before. I think there was always a bit of Jeremiah Johnson in him, but since he would live on the mountain in a tent these days, he seems more and more so. Even then, I can’t exactly blame him. I would love to have a cozy cabin in the mountains where I could hole up sometimes…especially when the responsibilities of life get a little too overwhelming. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Walt & Joann weddingWhen Bob’s aunt, Margee Kountz was born, her oldest sister, my mother-in-law, Joann was dating and planning her wedding to my father-in-law, Walter Schulenberg. He was working in another town, and so they wrote letters back and forth, because they didn’t get to see each other as often as they would like. Of course, they talked about the normal things, like missing each other, and such, but they also talked about the future, and what they wanted it to be.

One thing that has stuck in my mind about those letters, is how my father-in-law felt about his soon to be sister-in-law, Margee. She would only be 4½ months old when they married, and he just thought she was the cutest little baby he had ever seen. He mentioned several times in the letters they wrote back and forth, that when they had a little girl, he wanted his Margeedaughter to be just like Margee. He simply loved his little future sister-in-law so much, that he would have loved to have a dozen or so of them. In the end, he didn’t have a dozen daughters, but he did get four of them, as well as two sons, so I guess his dream of lots of kids, and especially daughters, came true.

Through the years, Margee remained a big part of their lives. She has pretty much always lived near them, and has shared a good portion of their lives. Holidays, birthdays, and barbeques were among the things the families shared, and of course, these always included Grandma and Grandpa Knox, the sister’s parents too. It was the way they kept the families close, and it was a good thing for all of us.

As the years flew by and everyone got busy with their own lives, it might have seemed that we didn’t spend as much time with Margee as we used to, but when we needed her, she was there. She worked for most of her Mom and Margeeadult life, but when her sister, Joann, my mother-in-law, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, began to need someone to stay with her when my father-in-law had appointments, we might have had a big problem, but Margee, by that time retired, agreed to come and sit with her sister. I truly don’t know what we would have done had she not been able to do that. There were times when my father-in-law was in the hospital, and we all worked. There was no way to just find someone to take a week off to go and stay with her, but once again, Margee stepped in and bailed us out. She spent the days, and we took care of the nights. I hope she knows just what a relief that was to us. It was a debt we can never repay. Today is Margee’s birthday. Happy birthday Margee!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Paul NoyesI have been telling you about some of the family connections I have made recently, and how surprised I have been at just who some of these people are. It isn’t always about them being famous, but rather about what amazing things they have done in their lives. So often we don’t hear what our family members have accomplished…mostly because they are too humble to really share all of their accomplishments. Recently, I made a family connection with the Noyes side of my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s family. This would be Bob’s grandmother, Nettie Noyes Knox’s side of the family. The connection was one that in all reality, I stumbled on. I had been searching for information…over a year ago, and I had copied the web addresses of several sites I thought might help, and put them into a Word document. There they sat for far too long. Finally, I found the time to check on one of them, and found the email for Paul Noyes. What an amazing find that was!!

Paul has blessed me with information that I hadn’t found, and I sent him some pictures I had of Noyes family members, to add to his tree. Then he sent back more information on one of the pictures I sent him. He had no idea where that would lead…but I knew, because I had been thinking about a story about him and his family since I received his first response to my email. I love making these new connections, but some of them turn into a great cousinship and friendship too, and those are the most special ones, for sure. I had sent a picture of Eugene Noyes Jr in uniform…but Paul knew from looking at the uniform, that the uniform was from World War II. He knew this because of the 15th Army Air Forces shoulder patch on the uniform. I suppose I might have caught that too, since I had seen my dad’s 8th Army Air Forces shoulder patch, but it was simply something I didn’t notice at all.Eugene Noyes Jr, military

In my defense, I am not a retired after 22 years veteran…and Paul is. Well, that got my curiosity going again. I asked Paul to tell me about his service time. True to the form I have seen with most military men and women…a humble breed…Paul told me a little bit about what he did. He spent most of his 22 year Army career was as an Army aviator. He started out as an Airborne Ranger, then served in Vietnam in Special Forces, where he was wounded. While recovering from the wounds, he was selected for flight school and served in Army Aviation special ops. I did a little research on what Special Operations does exactly, and this is the summary I came up with, “Conduct global special operations missions ranging from precision application of firepower to infiltration, aviation foreign internal defense, exfiltration, resupply and refueling of SOF operational elements.” If you’re like me, that doesn’t clarify much. Upon further research, I found that much of what Special Operations did in Vietnam was to train groups of the Vietnamese Army so they can train the remaining army members. Of course, I am probably generalizing Special Operations to a large degree, and I will have to ask Paul to tell me more about it as soon as I have a chance.

After he was wounded, Paul’s entire career changed when he was selected to become an Army Aviator. Having worked with a pilot for over 18 years now, I have had the opportunity to fly…and I use the term loosely…a small 4 seater plane. Basically what I really did was steer it, and I didn’t do that so well, because it kept climbing, and had to be brought back to level. It was an opportunity given to me with no preparation, and I really enjoyed it. I think to a degree, that is what happened with Paul too. After being wounded, he was given an opportunity to switch gears and do something he never expected to do, and he excelled at it. That is an Elizabeth Noyesawesome career change, and one I look forward to hearing more about.

Of course, in a 22 year career, Paul was also building a family. He was married to his lovely wife, Elizabeth, who is an author, and after collaborating with 11 other authors on a book called “A Dozen Apologies”, she released her first book this past August, called “Imperfect Wings”. I look forward to reading both. Paul and Elizabeth have two children, daughter Shari and husband Jimmy Nardello, and their children Cameryn and Reid; and son Chris who is married to Dr Christina Noyes, and they have a son named Owen. I am really looking forward to getting to know these wonderful, new to me cousins as time goes on.

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