Posts Tagged ‘work’
In the months since connecting with so many of my cousins on the Schumacher side of the family, we have found out that one of the original six children of Carl and Albertine Schumacher was not represented among the cousins. I set out with renewed determination to see if I could find out more than the little bit of information we had, which is that Mina Schumacher married John Spare, and they had one daughter, Pauline Jessie Spare. Someone thought that Pauline had two daughters and two sons. That was pretty much the extent of our knowledge of Mina’s family. Then I came across a tree on Ancestry.com that had a little bit more information. I found out at that time, that very sadly, Pauline had passed away in June of 2013. That information left me feeling both sadness, and great loss, because we had been so close to finding her and yet, we were so far. We were too late to have the chance to know Pauline.
I felt like I was stuck. I went back to the family tree that I had found on Pauline, and looked at the name of the owner…Julie Carlberg. We had thought that Pauline’s children were John, Lisa, Kristin, and Timothy, but when I looked at the home person on this tree, it was the daughter of Pauline. I wondered if Lisa, whose middle initial is J might be this Julie. I sent a message through Ancestry to Julie, but then I noticed that she had not been on in a couple of months. Then, I decided to look on Facebook, and I found her there, but she doesn’t get on there much either. Nevertheless, through a combination of these two places and the information I found there, I was able to Google her and found a work email…which is where I hit the jackpot!!!
I sent her an email on Monday night, and could hardly wait until Tuesday to see if she would respond…which she did. I am very excited to say that the cousin search just took a great big upward turn. Not only did I find Pauline, who went by Paula, but I found her four children, Lisa and her children, Jenny and James; John, his wife Diane, and their daughters, Allison and Abigail; Kristen and her sons, Jonathan and Timothy (yes there is a Timothy in the bunch, just not a son, but a grandson); and of course, Julie, her husband Andrew, and their three children Kevin, David, and Kendra. Julie was able to confirm that a picture of a little girl, who after a little thought I had suspected might be Pauline, was indeed Pauline, and that a large copy of this picture had hung in Pauline’s room. I also received a much more updated picture of Pauline, along with Julie and her daughter, Kendra. So now I believe that our family is much closer to coming full circle from complete disconnect to very connected, and I am very excited about getting to know these newly found cousins. This has been such a wonderful journey, and I thank God for each and every one of the precious cousins that He has now connected.
Little boys want so much to be just like their daddy. They want to do whatever their daddy is doing. Most times they aren’t much help until they are older, but if their dads don’t let them help when they are little, they most likely won’t want to when they are older. It is a challenge for those dads to find suitable jobs for those little boys though. Sometimes all they can do is point to a tool so they can get it for them. It would be much easier for that dad to do the job himself, but that would break his little boy’s heart, and he can’t have that. Of course, as those little boys eventually learn the ropes, and they can become pretty good hands, if they still want to help by that time. A kid with a little training, can learn to figure out complex problems, but a kid with no training, will have a much harder time. So, a good dad will let their little boys help out so they can learn, even if it would be easier to do it themselves, and even if their little man gets annoying at times.
Bob’s dad, my father-in-law, had two sons, and while I can’t say how Bob was as a helper when he was as a little guy, I do remember that Ron, while probably the same as Bob, was a bit of a trial. The men needed to get things done, and yet here was Ron…wanting to help. Bob was born 14 years before Ron, so by this time he and his dad worked very well together. Ron just wanted to be like his dad and his big brother. They tried to let him help as much as possible, but some of the work they were doing was too dangerous for Ron, and some of it was too complex. I’m sure it was frustrating for Ron, and the times I witnessed, I think it probably hurt his feelings some too. That made me feel bad, but then his dad would find a job to do that Ron was able to help with, and that made things a whole lot better.
As the years went by, both of the boys became their dad’s right hand man, excelling in different kinds of work at different times in his life. He very seldom had to hire work done, because if he couldn’t do it, his boys probably could. In fact, the three of them, along with grandsons Barry, JD, and Eric were usually more than enough to get any job done. Yes, even if training the littlest helpers can be frustrating at times, it usually ends up being the best move you can make.
No matter how hard a worker someone is, there are simply times when you have to cut loose and horse around a bit. It breaks up the monotony of life. Does it look goofy to have a couple of grown men acting so silly…yes, but that still doesn’t mean that they won’t do it. The old saying, “all work and no play makes John a very dull boy” really does apply. Without a little humor in life, not only would we be dull, but life would be dull and boring. I like to think that most people choose to be happy, and maybe that is why they do goofy things. I know that isn’t the case for everybody, but most people seem to want to be happy and find things to smile about.
The men, from my mom’s side of the family, seemed to have a special knack for doing goofy things, like shaving someone’s face while they are laying on the ground looking like they are injured, or staging a fake robbery for the new camera. I have thought about them often, because they seemed be people with a great sense of humor. When you think about it, that is probably what made them such a great family. It never mattered if they had all kinds of money or things, because they always had love and laughter. Maybe that is what is wrong with so many families these days. They take everything so seriously, that they forget to laugh or play. I’d rather be from a family that teases each other unmercifully, than from one that never teases, but that’s just me.
Horsing around has changed over the years. Very few men would be riding each other like a horse these days, but that doesn’t say that they are above piggy back rides, or even wrestling. Of course, much of the horsing around these days is done on dirt bikes, bicycles, skateboards, motorcycles, or even snowmobiles. A little mud or a little snow, and you’re all set for a great time.
As a young wife, I found myself in the unique position of being the only person in the position to help my father-in-law during the day when he was building their home. We had moved our mobile home onto their land while we were getting our own land ready to live on. At that time, my father-in-law was leveling an area of land so that he could build the home he planned to build on it. His way of leveling the land was to have me drive the tractor…something I had never done before…while pulling a scoop, guided by him behind it. My first worry was that I would go too fast and end up dragging him behind the tractor. He reassured me that it would be ok, and I knew he needed me to be there for him, so with a pain in the pit of my stomach, I set out. There were a few jerky movements, but in no time, I got the hang of it, and found that we worked well together. It was an experience that I will never forget…for a city girl, who had never driven a tractor, it was…well, amazing!
As I was scanning pictures from my Uncle Bill’s lifelong accounting of our family history, I came across something that made my experience look like learning to ride a bicycle. My Great Aunt Bertha, my Grandpa Spencer’s sister, was raised by a family named Hoover. I don’t know all the reasons behind that situation, but Uncle Bill simply states that she and her mother could not get along. The Hoover family used a steam tractor, and Great Aunt Bertha learned to operate them very well. Today, that might not seem like something so awfully special, but that was back in about 1910, and the girls didn’t do that kind of work much. Nevertheless, there were then, as there are now, people go beyond the normal expectations to do the extraordinary. Great Aunt Bertha was one of those people. She was well known for her ability to operate the steam tractor…so well known, in fact that in 1956, while attending an antique tractor and thresher show, one of the old timers, who knew Great Aunt Bertha, offered to let her take the steam tractor for one last spin.
He didn’t have to offer twice. Great Aunt Bertha jumped at the chance to drive that incredible machine one more time. She got on and drove it like she had never been away from the farm. I suppose that it is like a bicycle in that way. Once you have learned to operate it, you never really forget. So here was Great Aunt Bertha driving around on that old steam tractor again in the year 1956, at the age of 61 years. I would have loved to be there to see that. There were likely men there who would not have been able to run that machine, and here was this little old girl, driving it like she was born there. Amazing!!
In years gone by, most farmer’s children worked on the farms of their parents. Many still do, but the way they worked has change quite a bit. Back in the old west and beyond, the fields were plowed on foot using team of horses or oxen to assist in pulling the plow through the hard ground. It has hard work, and usually resulted in the blistering of hands that were not used to it. In those days, the women didn’t usually work the farms, unless there simply was no other choice, and women with calloused hands were looked down upon and thought to be…well, not really a true lady…at least, not by Eastern standards. They just didn’t understand what it took to build the West. Many times, people moved out West with the promise of a homestead, and 5 years to prove the land. Money was scarce, and you did what you had to do…including setting your children to the task of helping out on the farm.
It is my opinion that the way things were done in the old West better trained the children for adulthood. I have watched so many kids go through life without having to shoulder any responsibility, and then continue on in life in the same way. Some becoming “professional students” so that they won’t have to get a job, while their parents pay their way. It’s a sad, sad situation, and one the parents find themselves having trouble getting out of.
The kids in the old West understood that their help was needed or the family was not going to make it. School became a luxury and one that often ended after the eighth grade, if not before. Their time was needed elsewhere. Things have changed dramatically since then. Farm equipment has made the work on the farm much easier, and the children aren’t needed to the degree that they used to be. That is a good thing in that more kids finish school.They also have time to just be kids these days. I’m still not sure which is better…or maybe there is no better…just different.
Times have changed as far as what is considered the normal family dinner, but whatever your family does, this is a daily trsdition. Some families opt for the sit down family style dinner, where everyone is at the table, and you eat together. As a kid and still sometimes, such as lunch at my mom’s house, this was how we ate. The meal was prepared and when it was ready, we all came to the table, prayed over our food, and ate together. We always had good conversation, and an ocassional debate between my dad and me, and when everyone was finished eating, we gave thanks for the meal, and left the table to begin the clean up. It was a dinner tradition that has largely become a thing of the past for most families, including my own for the most part. It is mostly because people don’t have time enough to sit for an hour or more to eat and talk about their day…a sad fact that has come about because of our hectic lifestyles.
As families grow, sometimes they simply outgrow the table, or at least they do if friends and family come over for holiday dinners and such. At this time you have to be a little bit innovative in order to make things go smoothly at dinnertime. It was at this point that many families adopted the idea of the kid’s table. The kid’s table is just what it sounds like. It is usually a coffee table or other small, and usually too low for the adults to possibly be comfortable, table that the kids can adapt to easily. The cool thing is that, for a little while anyway…until the kids decide that they don’t really want to be considered the kids anymore, and they want to be at the adults table, this set up allows the adults to talk easily, and without all the noise that always resides at the kid’s table. It can, however, be a big problem, when the kids want to move up, because they can’t really add to the conversation in exactly the way they thought, so it just creates problems. Sometimes…if you ask me, the kids don’t know how cool it is to be at the kid’s table. Some even opt to go back there…shock!!
Of course, as many of us know, sometimes it is almost impossible to have any kind of a sit down dinner at all. The kids are rushing out to work and dates, and there is always some game or show on television. For many people, they have to get to the gym, or in our case, our on the trail for a walk…after visiting my mother-in-law at the nursing home, of course. There is just so much to do and so little time. For Bob and me, that often means eating separately, and on the run. Since he gets off earlier than I do, he has already eaten, so we can rush to the nursing home and back in time to walk. I might have a sandwich in the car on the way to the nursing home, I know it’s odd, but it works for us these days. And on the opposite side of that coin, is the kid who gets off work after dinner is already over. There is just no choice but to check out the table to see what might be left over, in the hope that they don’t have to make something for themselves. The traditional family dinner is probably a thing of the past for most of us, and has been replaced by a new tradition…whatever works for your family.
My grandmother, my dad’s mom, passed away when I was just two and a half months old, so I never got to know her. I have been told many things about her, and I’ve come to the conclusion that she was an amazing woman. She worked as hard as any man, and raised her four children to be good and responsible people. She ran a farm, and expected her children to help out around the place. She could be fun loving and was a happy person, but when it was time to work, she expected the kids to do so without goofing off. She worked hard and she expected nothing less of them. And for the most part, they didn’t let her down, but kids will be kids, so there were a few situations that made Grandma…less than happy.
Unfortunately, kids and their parents often have different ideas, and it doesn’t even have to be just the little kids. Taking a moment or two to have her picture taken with her dog was my Aunt Ruth’s way of goofing off, and when you look closely at this picture, you can see that Grandma was…not very happy with the situation, and then, there is the person behind the camera…who I assume to be my dad or my Uncle Bill. They just weren’t cooperating with her plan for the day. The dog seems to be the only one who knows that Grandma is not someone to mess with, but Aunt Ruth was never one to be scared of people, and like her niece…me, she was not afraid of a…difference of opinion.
I don’t know if Aunt Ruth was as much of a challenge to her parents as I was to mine, but I think it is entirely possible. Aunt Ruth and I were so much alike, and I know that I was a definitely a challenge to my parents. Still, Aunt Ruth was a hard working woman too…although, I’m not sure Grandma would have thought so at that moment. Kids might steal a moment or two to play when they should be working, but most kids grow up to be much like the parents who raised them, which would be a tribute to Grandma’s good upbringing, because all of her kids grew up to be workers.
I don’t know if Aunt Ruth got in trouble for goofing off that day or not, but I do know that Grandma was getting to the point of losing her temper. It happens and kids are usually used to it, so they tend to push things as far as the dare, and no further, because one thing you had better know is that, Mom was not someone to mess with when she was angry!!
Ranger, Texas had been an agricultural center, becoming a wheat producing center for the north, until a drought in 1917 hit the town crops very hard. That was when a few residents encouraged William Knox Gordon (who could be relation to Bob’s family, but I have not confirmed it) who was vice president of the Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company, to test for oil in the area. He found oil, but the first well drilled, the Nannie Walker No. 1, was somewhat of a disappointment, as it first produced gas and only later blew in oil. Then, in October 1917 the McClesky No. 1 came in, reached a daily production of 1,700 barrels, and began a mammoth oil boom that drastically changed Ranger and Eastland County.
In the summer of 1918, my grandparents sold their homestead in Minnesota and headed south, finally settling in the town of Ranger, Texas. Like so many people, the oil boom in Ranger had drawn them in search of better times, and oil meant better times. There were many oil wells near and even in the town of Ranger during those years, and that meant that the residents could never escape the smell of oil. That is something we here in Wyoming can understand…or at least any of us who have been through the town of Midwest. You know you are getting close to Midwest, because your proximity is announced by the pungent smell of oil. I suppose if you are an oil tycoon, that might just smell like money, but to me…it smells awful.
During those years, there was a danger that the people of Ranger lived with every day. With so much drilling going on, so close and within the town and with the drought continuing, the possibility of out of control fires when an oil well came in and caught fire was a daily concern. There were several such fires, including the one on April 6, 1919, which took out 2 city blocks in the town. It is hard for me to think about how my grandmother must have felt with those fires being a daily possibility…especially after the one that happened on April 6th. My Aunt Laura was just a little girl of 6 years when the April 6th fire hit the town. The worry of trying to get your little girl out of harms way, must have weighed heavy on my grandparents’ minds. She could be outside playing with friends, or sleeping, or any number of other reasons that could make a quick escape difficult. Nevertheless, the little family survived that constant threat of fires and after getting their fill of the Texas oil fields, returned to Wisconsin, at some point before my Uncle Bill was born in 1922, where they would remain for the rest of their lives.
Boys and machines, the two seem to just naturally go together. When their dads or grandpas use those machines, little boys become very intrigued, and since their dad or grandpa is the coolest guy they know, they want to be just like him. As soon as they can talk them into allowing it, those little boys are helping their dad or grandpa to do that all important work. Obviously, there are times when those little boys are less help than hindrance, but sometimes, as is the case with the Hydraulic Wood Splitter, those little boys can be very helpful.
When my nephew, Barry was a little boy, his grandpa, my father-in-law, had a very large woodpile. Much of the heat in the family home came from the wood burning stove. Splitting wood was a continuous project. Barry always looked up to his grandpa, and he wanted nothing more than to imitate his grandpa in every way. Barry willing worked side by side with his grandpa to supply the split wood needed for the wood stove. There was no place he would rather be. It was that way with most of the things Barry’s grandpa did. In the eyes of that little boy, his grandpa could do no wrong; and as far as he was concerned, there was nothing his grandpa couldn’t do, and really, isn’t that the way it should be.
Barry is grown now and, while he still splits wood with his uncles, Bob and Ron. They all run the splitter, if necessary, but whenever he is available, they have a new main operator. Tucker, Ron’s step-son, has taken a great interest in the wood splitter. Tucker likes helping his dad do just about anything he is doing, but running the wood splitter is by far his favorite work. Like most little boys, if it involves machinery, he’s there. And, like Barry, this next generation wood splitter will most likely continue to enjoy splitting wood for years to come.