It seems impossible that eight years could have passed since my dad left us for Heaven, but that is exactly what today brings to my memory. I can still vividly picture my dad in every area of their home. I can hear his voice…his sense of humor…his teasing….and his words of wisdom over the years of my life. Dad was always the head of our family, and his girls looked to him in so many situations. Dad was very outnumbered, since our family consisted of Dad, Mom, and five daughters, but while he may have had to wait for us to get ready to go somewhere, or to get into the bathroom, or live with our drama, and have to be the rescuer from the millers and other bugs, dad took it all in stride. Looking back now, I realize what a saint my dad was. He took everything in stride, and we always felt like Daddy’s little princesses. He always made his girls feel so special.
In reality, my dad was one of the most patient men I have ever known. When Mom would get frustrated with our bickering, a bad progress report, or some other offence her daughters had managed to frustrate her with, she would finally tell us to “Wait until your dad gets home!!” The funny thing about that threat is that in all the years of my life, I can only recall a few spankings from my dad…in fact I can probably count them on one hand. Dad usually chose to discuss the matter with us and explain the reasons why we did not want to do that again. The spanking was a last resort, and one we didn’t want to repeat. Nevertheless, in frustration, the threat of the “wrath of Dad” was the threat of choice for Mom…and we were always very wary of it too. You didn’t know if this particular infraction of the rules might be the one that got you that spanking, or if you would be met with Dad’s infinite mercy…you alwys prayed for that mercy.
Looking back now, I think what a blessing it would be today to hear those words from Mom…”Wait until your dad gets home!!” I would even be ok with the fact that Mom was furious, and with the possibility of that dreaded spanking from dad…if only I could hear those words and know that Dad would be home that evening. Of course, I would be too old to spank these days…not that he couldn’t do it if necessary, but I might even be so inclined to irritate my mom, if I could hear her voice again, and if it would bring Dad home again, but that is not to be. They are both in Heaven now, without the naughty things their daughters did as children. Nevertheless, I have to wonder if every once in a while, their memory files bring some of those crazy moments of life that having five daughters brought. I wish they were both here now, but I am thankful to know where they are, and that I will see them again. I suppose now that they say, “Wait until our girls come home!!” And we are waiting too. I love and miss you both, Mom and Dad!!
My little sister, Allyn Hadlock was the baby of the family, and as such, she didn’t get many opportunities to be the leader…or instigator…in the things we did as kids. Now, I suppose that being the youngest can have its upside and its downside. The upside is that you are usually left out of the punishment when it comes to the things your older siblings decided to do, which you were not involved in planning, and simply went along with because your older siblings either made you, by threatening you with your life, or basically played on your gullible side and told you that it was ok. In Allyn’s case I’m sure she also got into less trouble because all one had to do to Allyn was look at her sternly and tell her that was a bad thing to do, and she broke down and cried like you had just beaten her with a club. Mom usually didn’t have the heart to spank her after that. Hmm…maybe she was the smart one after all. My sisters and I always said that Allyn was just always good, and I’m pretty sure she was, because she really hated being spoken to in such a stern way…which I would have to say was barely stern at all, but was rather her interpretation of stern.
Of course, being the youngest has its downside too, in that you never get to play the cool parts in whatever game we were playing. After all, the youngest child can’t really be the mom, the teacher, or the team captain, when there are older kids involved. That is simply unacceptable. My sisters and I loved to play Club House, and we had to have a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. With five of us, and the jobs being assigned by age, Allyn got to be the club member, and that was pretty much it. As I recall, that left her as the delegated gofer. It worked out pretty well, since we figured that if we wanted snacks or something like that, it was best to send the baby of the bunch to ask for it. I don’t recall if she had any better luck at securing the snacks for the club…especially if it was close to dinnertime, but it seemed like the best plan nevertheless.
Those days are long gone now, but I do have to say that I think Allyn still relates quite well to the baby side of life. I’m not saying that she acts like a baby, but she does come up with some of the cutest nicknames for her kids and grandkids, and still gets down on their level to play their kinds of games…a very important part of being the grandma. Of course, I think I did pretty good with my grandkids as well, but since they are virtually grown up now, I’ll have to wait for the next generation to play the goofy games again…or borrow someone else’s little ones to play those games with. I have to wonder though if being the baby of the family gives you a very different aspect on life, however, because it seems to have done that with my sister, Allyn. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Several of my cousins were talking a couple of days ago on Facebook, about our grandmother, Hattie Byer, and how she kept her numerous grandchildren in line when they were at her house. Now, in reality, I pretty much mean Greg Hushman, Elmer Johnson, and Forest Beadle, because most of the rest of us would never have done anything to provoke the Wrath of Grandma!! It’s funny, but I can almost hear the skepticism from every reader. Ok, I’ll admit that I was no less likely to get into trouble with Grandma than Greg, Elmer or Forest, but I truly don’t recall having her coming after me with the broom, although my cousin Shirley Cameron, who is from the other side of my family remembers it once or twice, when she was over there with us.
One thing I do remember, and that I know every one of Grandma’s grandchildren will agree on, Grandma was the boss when you were at her house. You see, those were the days when it didn’t matter if the adult in the vicinity was your parent, grandparent, or the parent of the friend you were visiting, they all disciplined the kids who got out of line. And if some adult caught you doing something in the public arena that you shouldn’t be, such as graffiti or some other such mischief, they weren’t afraid to tell you to “knock it off” either. That was just the way things were back then. From what I am told of this barely five foot tall, broom wielding grandma of mine, she was able to make that broom go around corners, so if you thought you were going to get away from her, you might just as well think again.
I certainly remember that when you found yourself in trouble with Grandma, you were about to get a very clear understanding of what the word “trouble” meant. Yes, I too, had my share of times in my childhood where I found myself on the wrong side of Grandma Byer. Oh boy, believe me, it was not a place you wanted to be. And don’t think she was going to threaten to tell your mom just how bad you were, and then conveniently forget to do it when the time actually came for your parents to come home. Grandma wasn’t about to be the helpless little babysitter who had to wait for your parents to make you behave…oh no!! Whether she used a broom, her hand, or some other punishment, believe me when I say the punishment was swift, and it fit the crime. You see, Grandma was old school, before there was a new school form of discipline. People weren’t afraid of some well meaning, but not too bright passerby telling them they shouldn’t spank that kid…those people didn’t exist then. People knew that most situations required a little whack on the seat to get through to the brain. For many of us those lessons made it crystal clear, who was in charge, who was acting up, who would refrain from such activities in the future, and who would apologize for their elders for acting such a horrible fashion in the first place.
For most of us, the discipline Grandma dished out, is looked back on with a smile, because we all knew how much she loved us. People who have never had any discipline simply don’t understand that discipline is a form of love. Does it hurt…yes, because it is tough love, but are you better for it…oh yeah, because they love you very much. If your parents or grandparents didn’t care about you, they would have no need to want you to behave. They just wouldn’t care, but since they do, they want you to know how to act in public, because then people are happy to have you around. And for any of you, who have ever been around an out of control kid, can you honestly tell me that you did not wish their parents would just give them a spanking? Of course you did. So to my grandma, to her broom, and to our parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers…I say thank you. Whether we felt the broom on our backside, or some other form of discipline, I can say that we all turned out pretty good. And people don’t seem to mind having us around.
A few days ago, my sister, Cheryl, my cousin, Greg Hushman, and I were having a little discussion on the necessities of discipline. Basically, we were talking about how kids were disciplined, and who benefitted most from receiving it. I said that Greg knew all about being disciplined, but Cheryl said that Greg was a sweetie and probably didn’t need much discipline. Greg settled the matter by saying that it was because of all the discipline that he turned out to be such a great kid and a great man. I tend to think that Greg is the most correct on that. It is my experience that the children who had rules they had to live by and punishments, whether spankings, groundings, or even time out when done right, are the ones who turned into the nicest adults you would ever want to know. They learned how to act around people, and they were very seldom that kid who terrorized every gathering they were ever invited to.
The children of my mother and her siblings, were of a generation of disciplinarians. That was simply how things were done then. If kids got out of line, they got a spanking…some kids more than others, and some just at different times than others. I can’t say that Greg was any brattier than any of the rest of us, but he was a mischievous kid. I suppose that came from being the youngest of five kids, and being a boy. Boys tend to be a little more mischievous a lot of times…at least in my experience, and I think Greg had a knack for being mischievous. I suppose that is why my sisters and I got along so well with him. He was a good boy, with a mischievous side…the perfect sidekick.
Those little boy, mischievous days are long behind Greg now, although I still think he could be mischievous if he wanted to…and if you ask his wife, Dustine, I’m sure you would find that he wants to be mischievous quite a bit. Greg has a great sense of humor, and while we all don’t get to see him very much, we have reconnected on Facebook and we get to talk to him a lot these days. It’s great to be able to reminisce about the old days. There are so many memories of our childhood that we can all share, and re-enjoy. We had a great childhood, and great memories, and I’m glad we get to relive them now. Today is Gregs birthday. Happy birthday Greg!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandma, Harriet “Hattie” Byer was never a very big person in stature, but when it came to being the boss, she was a giant. Grandma was a loving person and very kindhearted. She would never let anyone go hungry, and often had several extra mouths at the supper table. No one could ever figure out just how she managed to always have enough food for all of her family, and yet still have plenty for extras, even when she didn’t know they were coming. Yes, when it came to the kitchen, Grandma was the Queen!!
Grandma was pretty easy going, but when one of her kids crossed the line, they found out exactly who was the boss. Grandma’s short stature in no way diminished her ability to discipline her children or grandchildren if they had dared to cross her much…like the time she was giving my Uncle Larry a spanking, and my mother dared to interfere. There was no doubt in my mother’s mind that her mother seemed giant like…or at the very least, had giant like strength when she grabbed her by the hair, jerking her back to receive her own spanking for sticking her nose in where it did not belong. And then there was the time that an adult Aunt Bonnie, dared to suggest that grandma couldn’t take her down now, because she was too big for her mother to handle. Grandma immediately reached over and grabbed Aunt Bonnie’s feet and pulled them right out from under her, depositing her, with mouth wide open, on the floor. Aunt Bonnie found out what a giant her mom was too.
More than one of the grandchildren have learned the hard way, that Grandma ruled like a giant. I remember getting crossways with her myself, one time when my mom and dad were hunting. Grandma was babysitting my sisters and me. I don’t remember what it was I did now, but I do remember that I knew I was in the wrong, and I remember that when Grandma was done with me, I had no doubt in my mind that she was a giant of a woman. It wasn’t that she beat the daylights out of me, because I don’t recall that she even spanked me. She simply let me know that she was in charge, and I had better not forget it. Grandma stood 5′ in her tall days, and about 4’10’ after she began to shrink, but when it came to being in charge, Grandma was a giant of a woman. Today would have been Grandma’s 105th birthday. Happy birthday Grandma!! We love you!!!
Before my Grandpa Spencer passed away from cancer, on October 19, 1951, his life had held some difficult, sad, and lonely moments. My Uncle Bill writes that his suffering, from the pain that comes with cancer, “increased steadily for the last year and a half…then it was over”, and no matter what mistakes he had made in his life, all that was left was sadness that it was over…longing for a few more days to settle matters…to find peace with what was coming. My Uncle Bill took care of him in those last years, and while there were some hard feelings between them in earlier years, in the end, Uncle Bill was very sorry that he was gone…I know that by the way he talked about his dad and his death. Grandpa wasn’t always the easiest person to be around, but in the later years, he and Uncle Bill had made a way…a careful relationship, I suppose, but it was a relationship at least, and for some years, there wasn’t even that.
Don’t get me wrong, Uncle Bill loved his dad, but he didn’t always agree with everything his dad said or did…but then, what kid does. Grandpa was a man of the times. In those days you didn’t think twice about giving your kid a good spanking if they needed it, and in fact, you didn’t have an issue with taking someone else’s child to task if they got out of line. That said, you also didn’t pick on someone else’s kid either. One time Uncle Bill had been sent to town to get some money from his dad who worked on the railroad and lived in town during the week. Grandpa decided to buy him a sarsaparilla in the bar…which was ok at that time…and while there, another man began picking on my Uncle Bill. Well, his dad, my grandpa, told the man to leave his son alone, and when he would not, a fight ensued, and grandpa beat him up. Uncle Bill always felt like that was a very special event in his life. He was pleased that his dad had stood up for him in that way. Nevertheless, a few years later, there was some discord between the two men. Theirs was a guarded relationship for a long time, but in the end, they had started to work out their differences, and then time ran out.
Sometimes, when you read through the journals of another person, or in this case, the family history written by a man who dedicated his life to telling the family story as clearly as he understood it, you find yourself taking a look deep into the reality of human relationships. No matter how annoyed we can be at someone, we can also love them very much. And when it comes to the point of their passing, those difficult relationships can leave a very different kind of hole in our lives…one filled with “what if’s” and “if only’s”, and once that person is gone, no way to change the relationship for the better or at least, forgive that past. Those who are left behind, must deal with their own feelings within themselves, because there is really no one there to talk to about it all. Nevertheless, I believe that Grandpa knew that his son loved him and I believe he loved Uncle Bill and his other children very much, too.
Bob and I went out to see his mom at the nursing home tonight. We had been out of town for the long weekend, and so had not seen her in several days. It is my usual practice to ask her if she knows who we are, and if she does, I know it’s a pretty good day. Then we can keep the conversation a little lighter. Tonight I told her that Bob and I had gone to Denver for the weekend, and that he picked on my all weekend. As usual for he, she gave him a “you’re a bad boy” look. I told her that I brought him out to see her so she could straighten him out for me. She wasn’t sure how I expected her to do that until I reminded her of something she used to say quite a bit, and not so many years ago.
She would say it whenever Bob was being particularly “bratty” or picking on someone such as his wife, who we all know would never be picking on him, because I’m just not that kind of person. Oh ok…so maybe I am, but we all know that when it comes to a choice between a poor little picked on girl and a big strong bratty guy, the girl will win every time. That was kind of the world Bob grew up in, and it isn’t likely to change now.
Whenever Bob was teasing me, she would tell me that she “should have given him a few more spankings” and then maybe he would behave better. It was a standing joke between us, because we both knew that Bob was a good man, and his teasing was all in fun, and something he and I both did. In fact, I was teasing him when I asked her to make him behave. The one thing that comment always did was to put a smile on everyone’s face. In my mind I could picture young Bob teasing one of his sisters…usually Jennifer, and my mother-in-law pretty much at her wits end, and Bob getting that one spanking that might have made the difference between the teasing, funny guy I know and love, and a more serious version that I know would never be a better version. I guess that when it comes down to it, I’m glad she didn’t spank him a few more times.
It’s funny sometimes how a child can take on the personality of their aunt, or even great aunt. Such is the case with my grand niece, Raelynn, who is so like my sister, Allyn in that both of them figured out a way to avoid most spankings…without even trying!! When my niece, Dustie told me that a stern look can make Raelynn cry, I thought back to when Allyn was a little girl. When I asked why Allyn hardly ever got spankings, Mom said that it was because just a stern look made her cry. I guess Allyn and Raelynn have both decided to do their best to be good so no one looks at the in a stern way. Hmmm, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a bad idea…wish I had thought of that. One thing, Raelynn…I don’t think you will be able to avoid today’s spankings, because as we all know, birthday spankings are sort of a tradition. Sorry about that…Not!!
Raelynn takes after her cousin, Michelle too, in that she loves art. There are a few artists in our family…I am not one of them, unless you call photography art. I am getting pretty good at that…since the camera does all the work. An artist, however…a true artist, I’m not. We will see where things go for Raelynn. She has been encouraged to explore her artistic side and even has an art desk to produce her art on, and true to form for artists, can often be found sitting at her art desk, humming a tune with paint on her face.
Raelynn is also very much a girly girl, and loves to dress up. I so seldom see her in anything but a dress, that it occurs to me that I don’t even remember the last time. That characteristic, she just might get from me. I love dresses, and almost always wear them to work and church, but Raelynn wears them all the time. I guess she is quite a bit more girly girl than I am. Even when she is wearing pants, most often in the winter, she manages to have the look of a girly girl…even when her brother and sisters are goofing off…Raelynn manages to look all girl and no goof.
Some of Raelynn’s favorite people are her uncles. They and her cousin’s husbands are the people she likes to go and dance with or just sit and talk to. She is very social and likes to butterfly around to everyone to talk and socialize, and of course, dancing is a big part of that. At her cousin’s wedding, Raelynn grabbed her Uncle Dave several times and they twirled around the dance floor. Of course, her all time favorite dance was the one her daddy, my nephew Rob took her to earlier this year. There is just nothing more special to a girly girl that a father/daughter dance. In reality, many of Raelynn’s characteristics come from a lot of us. I guess she is just one of the family. Today is Raelynn’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! We love you!! Have a great day!!
Forms of discipline have changed over the years…from spankings to time out, and we all have our own ideas about what works and what doesn’t. I was looking at some pictures of my father-in-law’s 75th birthday party, when I came across one of his sister and brothers. Esther was the oldest of the three younger children, my father-in-law’s half siblings, and while I’m not sure that she ever felt like she was the boss, she apparently decided that she was going to take her brothers by the ear and straighten them out…probably for picking on her, if I know them.
That picture reminded me of the times, probably more of them than I wanted to think about, whne I was hauled home in such a fashion. During the time that I was growing up, bringing a child home by the ear for the purpose of a spanking, or for washing their mouth out with soap for some serious verbal infraction of the behavioral code we were to live by, was quite common. Of course, the soap was safe to use in the mouth then too. With the chemicals it has now, I wouldn’t chance that today…and I really hated it a lot back then too.
The biggest problem with being dragged home by the ear is the humiliation of it all. First, you are being dragged down the street by your ear. And, if that isn’t bad enough, everyone knows that when you get home, you are going to get a spanking. Talk about humiliating!! You would think a kid would do whatever it took so they would never have to go through that humiliation again. Not necessarily so. We knew better than to cuss as kids…I mean that was like having a death wish, but there were other things, like calling your sister names, and such…not cool and definitely not allowed. That would get you the soap thing!!
I know that everyone feels differently about the forms of discipline that were used in bygone days, but I feel like the way I was disciplined, made me the person I am today. I have no misconceptions about how difficult I was as a child. I was a stubborn child, and it would be my guess that I got more than my fair share of the discipline of the day.
Bob and I were having dinner at Shifters, the drive in fast food restaurant, where you might remember that the A & W Drive-In used to be, here in Casper. Shifters is decorated in a nostalgic gas station motif, and part of the decor was a display of old toy cars. It reminded me of my first car…or rather, the car I had to share with my sisters. There is just something wrong with having to share your car with your sisters. Nevertheless, that was the way it was, and since none of us had a driver’s license, we didn’t have much chance of getting our own car in the near future.
Lots of kids have cars these days that are battery operate, and require only the ability to steer to make the whole thing work, but our car was different than that. I suppose it was like a cross between a car and a bicycle, except that the pedals were fairly level to each other, for obvious reasons. Even with the pedals set so you could operate the car, you had to be careful, or you might whack your knees on the underside of the hood. I guess that is one of the hazards of being the engine. The car was just barely more modern than the one Fred Flintstone drove, and then only is it’s weight and the more modern use of the legs. I guess I should be thankful for that part, because that whole running down the road with no shoes on…not, exactly my cup of tea. My feet are too tender.
You wouldn’t have found one of us driving our car down the highway, like you have seen of the battery operated models of today, because that was just too far away for a little kid to peddle, but it could take an ambitious kid down the street to the corner, and then back…mostly because we knew that if we went further, we would face the wrath of Mom, and you simply didn’t want to go there, because if Mom’s spankings didn’t do the trick, Dad would fix your wagon when he got home. Needless to say, we didn’t stray outside our limits. And since we didn’t stray too far, we were allowed to have a really good time with our little car.
After looking at the cars mounted on the wall at Shifters, I felt maybe just a little twinge of jealousy. Our car was a dull gold color…very plain, and these had obviously received a little bit fancier paint job, and they were built for one…a little bit sportier. While, our car was a two seater, and you would be taking your sister along…if you knew what was good for you. I might have chosen the Barbie Doll type car, had it been available, but then, what good was going for a drive, if you had no one to talk to. No…I guess my first car was just what I would have chosen…looking back now, anyway.