When my grandkids were all little, spending the night with their friends didn’t always work well, but they always knew that they could spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa. Being too young happens to a lot of children. My nephew, Ryan Hadlock, saw his sister Jessi Hadlock Sawdon get to go home for a week or so with her grandparents, my parents, Allen and Collene Spencer, and he really wanted to go too. The adults were all worried that he would miss his mommy and daddy and they would have to make a special trip from Wyoming back to Colorado to take him home. But he promised that he would not do that. Finally, it was decided that they would take a chance on him, so to Wyoming he went. My mom tells me that he was such a good boy, and they were so glad they had given him the chance. I’m sure there were other times that Ryan got to spend the night, but since his family moved back to Casper shortly thereafter, it probably wasn’t such a long way to go when it came time to take him home.
A lot of things can precipitate the need for a rather young child to spend the might with their grandparents, and some aren’t so good, like when my youngest grandson was born 5 weeks early, bringing on the need to take him to Denver until his lungs were strong enough to send him home. The time that Josh was in the hospital was 2 weeks, but to 2 1/2 year old Christopher, it seemed a lifetime. While he loved Bob and me, he honestly thought that his parents had gotten a new baby and a new home, and that they didn’t want him anymore. He did very well the first week, but the second week took it’s toll on him, and he would literally cry and the drop of a hat.
Not every slumber party situation is under the best circumstances, or at the best age for a child, but as time goes on, they grow a little, and while they have friends to stay the night with, it doesn’t mean that having a slumber party with Grandma isn’t still a lot of fun. Once, when Bob had to be out of town for a week, I hit upon the idea of having a slumber party with the grandkids. So the came over with their sleeping bags, and on that night my bedroom was wall to wall bedding. My granddaughter, Shai Royce and I slept I the bed, and the rest of the room was taken up by Christopher Petersen, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen. We had a great time. We played, and watched television, and ate junk food…you know all the necessary essentials for a great slumber party.
It’s funny that, while that slumber party was probably ten to twelve years ago, and my grandchildren are getting pretty grown up, with the youngest, Josh at almost 16, they still remember that slumber party. There were a lot of really good memories made that night. Kids need grandparent time as much as they need parent time, and sometimes, even the most loving parets need an evening away from the kids. I can’t think of a better way to get that than having a slumber party with Grandma.
When I think of movie icons, one name stands out above so many others…John Wayne. From the time I was a kid, we watched a lot of John Wayne movies in our house. It was a different time then. Westerns were on the television sets of most homes. And among Westerns, John Wayne was the King of the Cowboys. I have watched every one of his Westerns, and most of his other movies, because I just always liked John Wayne…all of our family did.
We were so excited when John Wayne came to Casper, Wyoming for the filming of “Hellfighters” in 1968. My parents were never star struck type of people, but when it came to John Wayne’s movie being filmed partly in Casper…well, that was something entirely different. They took the family…minus me unfortunately, because I was at a slumber party…to the airport to see him come in. It was a really big deal for our little town, but even more so for my sister, Cheryl. John Wayne has always been a big hero to Cheryl, and at fourteen years of age, she was so excited to finally have the opportunity to meet him. When her chance came, however, she couldn’t seem to speak loudly enough for him to hear her. Finally in a last ditch effort, she pulled on his jacket…because she couldn’t reach his shoulder to tap him on it. She said, “Mr Wayne…Mr Wayne.” When he felt that tug on his jacket, he turned around, and was a little bewildered for a moment, then he looked down at Cheryl and said, “Oh!! There you are!!” She was so short, that he had completely missed her. She got his autograph, and I found myself really wishing I had just skipped that slumber party…ever since that day. My parents also took us out to the highway where you could see the actual filming taking place across the river. It was amazing, but in my mind, nothing like the opportunity my sister got to actually meet this amazing actor.
John Wayne passed away on June 11, 1979, and I can still see that moment quite clearly. I was at my in-laws house, and we were all watching television, when the bulletin flashed across the screen. It felt almost like being kicked in the stomach. I couldn’t believe it was real, because John Wayne had been so much a pert of my life, that he was almost like family, and now there would be no more new movies with John Wayne. A great actor was gone. I know that all of my family felt the same way, as well as a lot of other people. I felt like television had reached a turning point, and it wasn’t a good thing. I think I was right in that too, because most of the shows and movies of today don’t even come close to being the classy kinds of shows of the John Wayne Era. Those days are gone forever, like actors of the class and caliber of John Wayne.