Monthly Archives: August 2015
When a young woman gets married, she expects to live happily ever after. Unfortunately, for my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s second great grandmother, Mary LuLu Taylor, that was not to be. Mary, who went by LuLu, married Bob’s second great grandfather, James Leary on September 30, 1880 in Shelby, Missouri. They were very much in love. The young couple would move to Forsyth, Montana and on January 4, 1886, she gave birth to Bob’s great grandfather, Marion Chester Leary, who went by Chester for most of his life. Now their family had entered the next phase. They were no longer a couple, but rather, a family…at least for a while. The couple would move again, this time to St Louis, Missouri. March 26, 1888 would find LuLu a widow, with a two year old son to raise…alone.
For a young mother in the 1880s, being a widow didn’t leave her with a lot of options. LuLu moved back to Shelby, where she met her second husband, James Begier. They were married on March 18, 1890. LuLu thought her life had turned around, and in many ways, she was right. LuLu and James Begier went on to have Minnie in 1893, John in 1896, and Mable in 1902. I’m sure that by 1902, LuLu felt like her life was finally perfect. She had her husband and her children. Nevertheless, life would not reamin so perfect forever. This marriage would not be a happily ever after marriage either, because while James Begier’s death date is not known at this time, the last known census showing James Begier was in 1910.
LuLu would remarry again on February 19, 1919 in Rosebud, Montana to Milo Warren. She had moved back to Forsyth because her eldest son, Chester Leary, was living there, with his family. When a woman is widowed, it is often the best option to move to where family lives…especially in those days. As with LuLu’s previous husbands, Milo would predecease her on August 21, 1928. Once again, LuLu moved. This time to be near her youngest daughter, Mabel Begier Brown. I don’t really know if Mabel was sick during this time or not, but LuLu passed away on April 26, 1929 in Fletcher, Oklahoma, and her daughter, Mabel Begier Brown passed away on April 2, 1931 in Elgin, Oklahoma, and the young age of only 28 years.
While, LuLu’s life was filled with times of sadness, she did nevertheless, live a full life. She had the opportunity to live in several places, and she was blessed with four children, and many grandchildren and multiple levels of great grandchildren, including my husband and his siblings, by daughters and their cousins, and my grandchildren and their cousins. While I never had the opportunity to meet LuLu in person, I have long beed intrigued by her life. My only regret is that I don’t have pictures of all her husbands…just James Begier, nor of her children…just Chester Leary. Nevertheless, I feel blessed to have those few. LuLu was born on August 31, 1861, and today is the 154th anniversary of her birth. Happy birthday in Heaven Mary LuLu Taylor Leary Begier Warren. I look forward to meeting you someday.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina came screaming into southeast Louisiana. It quickly set its sights on a large lake that many people in the rest of the United States probably didn’t even know existed, and those who did know, gave little thought to it. Nevertheless, Lake Pontchartrain was about to make national headlines, where it would remain for months to come. Hurricane Katrina and Lake Pontchartrain were about to make history. Together they were set to cause the music in the party town of New Orleans to stop. And it would be a long time before the people of New Orleans would feel much like singing. Nevertheless, the city of New Orleans would return to its former self again.
Bob and I were among those people who had really never heard of Lake Pontchartrain, and like us, if you didn’t know much about Lake Pontchartrain, you didn’t really understand the magnitude of the weakened levees. Hurricane Katrina brought heavy rain to Louisiana. Eight to ten inches fell on the eastern part of the state. In the area around Slidell even more rain fell. The highest rainfall recorded in the state was 15 inches. As a result of the rainfall and storm surge the level of Lake Pontchartrain rose and caused significant flooding along its northeastern shore, affecting communities from Slidell to Mandeville. Several bridges were damaged or destroyed, including the I-10 Twin Span Bridge connecting Slidell to New Orleans. Almost 900,000 people in Louisiana lost power as a result of Hurricane Katrina. In the end, at least 1,245 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it the deadliest United States hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane.
Bob and I traveled to New Orleans in April of 2012. So many changes took place between August of 2005 and April of 2012. Nevertheless, I wasn’t sure how I felt about driving across that causeway that spanned Lake Pontchartrain. Yes, it had escaped damage in Hurricane Katrina, but it still crossed the widest part of a very large lake, and since I knew that the lake’s surges had the ability to severely damage it and the surrounding area…well, I just didn’t know how I would feel about the 23.83 mile drive across…not until we started across the bridge that is. It was an amazing bridge, and an amazing ride across it. The lake was serene, and I found myself hard pressed to picture the lake surging in the fury of a hurricane. I found it hard to picture the water so wild that it could damage a bridge, but it had happened…not to this bridge, but to others. The causeway bridge had been in use from it’s opening on August 30, 1956. At the time we were there, I had no idea of the length of the history of the Causeway. The idea of a bridge spanning Lake Pontchartrain dates back to the early 19th century and Bernard de Marigny, the founder of Mandeville. He started a ferry service that continued to operate into the mid-1930s.
After the 30s, and prior to the Causeway being built, people who lived in Covington and worked in New Orleans, had a very long commute to work. The bridge, while still 23.83 miles across the lake, took a large portion of that commute away. It was truly a great asset to the cities on both sides of the lake. Since 1969, the Causeway was listed by Guinness World Records as the longest bridge over water in the world. In 2011, when the allegedly longer Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in China was built, Guinness created two categories for bridges over water…continuous and aggregate lengths over water. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway became the longest bridge over water (continuous), while Jiaozhou Bay Bridge the longest bridge over water (aggregate)…because of its sections that are over land. Even if the bridge does get replaced as the longest bridge, it will nevertheless, remain a very long bridge. And the drive over the bridge was as awe inspiring as it could be.
My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was such a sweet man. The first time I met him, I immediately felt comfortable…even with his good natured teasing. Over the years of my marriage to Bob, my father-in-law was a second dad to me. Not everyone can say that they truly love their in-laws, but I was just that blessed. It was never a relationship of tolerance, but rather always a relationship of love and a deep sense of family. My father-in-law always had that deep sense of family, and it was something he passed down to his children. As far as he was concerned, family came first…no ifs, and, or buts. When family needed help with something, he was there to help. And every one of his children are the same way. It is a great heritage to pass on to your kids.
Of course, it wasn’t all work and no play with him. He loved to go visit his mother and step-father, Vina and Walt Hein, half brother, Butch Hein and family, and half brother Eddie Hein, his wife Pearl and family, sister, Marion Kanta, husband John and family, and half sister Esther Hein and her family, and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Linda and Bobby Cole. Family was important, and that meant that you went to see them from time to time, because staying close was always my father-in-law’s top priority. I think it was this deep sense of family that made him so special to his entire family.
In his later years, he and my mother-in-law, Joann Knox Schulenberg traveled south to Yuma, Arizona for the winter. We missed them a lot during those years. After a few years of that, their health didn’t allow them to take those winter trips anymore, and Dad settled in to take care of Mom, who by this time had developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Their lives would never be the same after that. Their health deteriorated, until that sad, sad day, May 5, 2013, when Dad left us to go home to Heaven. He had lived an amazing life, traveled, raised six children, made countless friends, and worked at many different occupations and hobbies. He had lived a full life, and he was tired. I will never forget the night before he passed. I was visiting him with my grandson, Caalab Royce at the nursing home, where he had decided to go, so he could share a room with Mom again, because she needed a level of care that we could no longer provide at home. He looked so tired and weak that night, that I really didn’t want to leave him. He had always been such a fighter, and now it seemed that the fight was gone. I asked him if he was quitting on me, because it was the first time in the years I had been his caregiver that it seemed that his journey was coming to a close. He told me, “I don’t know.” But, I knew. He was quitting me.
The next morning I received the call, that he had passed away…exactly as he had always said he wanted to go…in his sleep. It was a call, I dreaded, but it was not unexpected. My sweet father-in-law was gone, and the family would never be the same again. Two years and three months have flown by since that day, but I can still hear him. He loved nicknames for the kids, like Sport for my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, Old Timer for my nephew Barry Schulenberg, or for my girls, Corrie Lou and Amy Lou…which he made seem like a song of sorts. Today would have been Dad’s 86th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much.
Since her marriage on February 14, 2014, my niece Lindsay Moore has been a business entrepreneur at Moore Healthy Living LLC, which is her own business. She is also a part of the South Dakota State University Extension program, where she is a Grants Consultant. All this allows Lindsay to work from home and who wouldn’t want that if they could. Lindsay’s husband, Shannon Moore is the Special Teams Football Coach at Miami International University, and a part of his job includes a lot of travel. The could be hard if it weren’t for the fact that Lindsay works from home. A laptop can travel, and it is all she needs to do her work. That allows Lindsay to travel with Shannon wherever he goes. I think that is important in any marriage, but especially in a young marriage. Of course, since Lindsay and Shannon live in Miami, Florida, their lifestyle of much travel also allows them to come home to Wyoming and South Dakota periodically to see family, and I know that means a lot to their parents.
The nice thing about being free to travel, and having the ability to do so, is that you tend to be gone for extended periods of time…at least in the off season for football. This year’s summer tour included a trip to South Dakota to visit Shannon’s parents, then the whole crew continued their visit with a trip to the Black Hills, where they connected with Lindsay’s parents over the Independence Day holiday. Then, Shannon’s parents headed home, and Lindsay, Shannon and her family headed to Cooke City, Montana and other areas of the state for a week. After that, Lindsay and Shannon headed to Las Vegas for the wedding of friends, before finally heading back home by way of Arizona. In all it was quite a trip. I’m sure they were happy to be home in the end, but the trip was nice too.
Lindsay and Shannon are so perfect together. They both have such great personalities, and such outgoing spirits. They have had the opportunity to live in a variety of places, and while Lindsay credits Shannon for making it easy to make their moves and settle in, I know that because Lindsay never met someone she didn’t like, making new friends wherever she goes is a breeze for her. They both love camping, which is perfect for spending time with Lindsay’s parents, and probably Shannon’s too. Lindsay loves almost any form of exercise, being an exercise science major in college, so hiking or jogging on the many trails that crisscross our country is something that I’m sure will be on the agenda for many trips they will take.
While it would be nice to have them live closer to home, I’m sure that is not to be…at least not anytime soon. So, if we can’t have them closer to home, it is really nice that they do get lots of travel time so we get to see them, because as Lindsay always says, “I miss your face!” Yes, Lindsay and Shannon, we miss your faces too. We are thankful for Facebook so we can see your faces there from time to time. And as always, we can’t wait to see you the next time you come home. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
This year has been unique in a horrible sort of way. We are used to California having fires every year when the Santa Ana Winds kick in, bringing scorching heat that dries out the vegetation, making it vulnerable to the smallest spark. Once the fire starts, they are difficult to contain because of the same winds that started the problem in the first place. We hear of these fires every year…sadly it can seem almost routine…even though it shouldn’t. This year is different, however. This year the whole western coast seems to be on fire. The Redwoods are in danger. Washington, Idaho, and Oregon are also going up in smoke.
The Pacific Northwest has always been the rainforest of the United States, receiving rain approximately 155 days a year. Since Wyoming gets snow much more often than rain, and in recent years, we haven’t received as much of that as we used to, suffice it to say that we don’t even come close to the amount of rain the Pacific Northwest normally gets. This year however, has found the Pacific Northwest oddly void of rainfall. Wyoming, by a stark contrast, has had a very rainy summer. As someone who doesn’t like days and days of dreary rainfall, that has been a little much for me, but then when I look at the west with its fires, and the rest of the United States largely void of fires, I have to be thankful for the rain. It seems that the only place that is getting very little rain is the west coast.
I have looked at fire maps many times over the years, but I don’t ever recall the maps having such a lopsided look to them. Nevertheless, that is the look of the current fire map. There is only one significant fire that is not in the west. Our skies are filled with smoke that has rolled in from the west. The mountain is pale behind a curtain of smoky haze, and everything smells burnt…and I’m not even near a fire. I cannot begin to imagine how bad the smoke and the smells are in the thick of the fires. Town after town is being evacuated. Homes, hopes, and dreams are being lost…not to mention lives. It just tears at my heart to think of the devastation to some of the most beautiful rainforest areas of our nation. Places like the Redwoods really could be gone forever, and I can’t begin to imagine how long it will take to bring back the beautiful, moss and fern filled areas of the rainforest.
With family and friends all along the west coast, I have been in constant prayer for protection for them, and especially for rain with no lightning. There are some years when fires are so bad, that people can’t wait for summer to end, hoping that the cooler weather will slow down the devastation. I have a feeling that the only thing that will do that will be winter snow or rain, so for their sake, I will agree with their prayers. We have had bad fire years here too, but it never seemed to get quite as bad as it has on the west coast this year. Fires anywhere are awful, but when they are in an area known for it rain, it is simply shocking.
When my niece, Susan Cook Griffith met her husband Josh Griffith, she knew he was special. Susan was a single mom to her daughter, Jala and the two of them were living in a little two bedroom house. After dating a while Susan knew Josh was the one. It was February 13th, and Susan was ready to take their relationship to the next level. Josh was over at her house, and her parents dropped by with a card and a box of chocolates for them. She had just put her daughter, Jala to bed. Susan had made up her mind that if Josh didn’t propose on Valentine’s Day she was going to. I’m not sure how she felt about popping the question, but sometimes a girl just has to take matters into her own hands.
Back then, camera phones were a new thing, and Josh had one, so Susan was always asking him to let her look at his pictures. She didn’t even have a digital camera yet, so looking at pictures taken only moments before was a real novelty. Josh teasingly told her that if she got him a chocolate, she could look at the phone, but she said that if he showed her the phone, she would get him a chocolate. Susan won out. I think he planned it that way, or at least planned for the possibility. He handed her the phone. The first picture Susan saw was an open box of chocolates, but the box of chocolates held a secret. One chocolate was missing, and in it’s place, was a ring. Susan jumped up and ran to the kitchen where the box of chocolates was and opened it up. She stared at the ring, then turned around to find Josh right behind her on one knee. He asked her to marry him and, of course, she said yes. It was such a simple way to propose, but it was as romantic as it could possibly be. Susan knew that she was getting quite a romantic man to be her husband, and that life was going to be beautiful. Later, she found out that Josh had gone to her parents house and asked her dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage. It was there that the plan was devised…the chocolates, the ring, the picture, and the plan. He had thought about having her daughter, Jala bring her the ring, but then, he decided against that. While that way would have been very sweet…I think his way was more romantic.
They knew they would need a bigger house, so they bought one in October of that year, and were married in June. Josh wanted to make sure that Jala knew that he wasn’t just marrying her mom, but that he was choosing her to be his daughter too. They had a special part of the wedding ceremony for 3 year old Jala so that it showed everyone of his intentions toward both his new wife and his new daughter. Josh makes sure that they include Jala in everything, and in 2008, Josh and Susan gave, then 6 year Jala, a little sister named Kaytlyn. For Josh, both are his daughters. It’s just the way he is. Josh is a hard working man, usually working from 6am to 11pm, but usually making it in for dinner every night. When he worked on the oil rigs, the men called him Superman, and his crews broke many records during the time he worked there. For his family though, he brings on the hilarious. He chooses to make them laugh every day, and to keep life in their home happy, so he is always right there with a crazy comeback…and life is filled with laughter. Susan tells me that she could go on for hours about her wonderful man…do you think she likes him a little bit? I do. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you too!!
My grand niece, Aurora Hadlock is quite a girl. At four years old, she has different moods. Sometimes, she is shy, and clings to her parents a bit, It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like her family, but more likely that she is a little bit tired, and maybe in need of a nap. I know this, because Aurora is a little girl who loves to tease and make people laugh. She tries hard to find ways to tease those around her. Aurora comes by her teasing ways naturally, because her dad, my nephew, Ryan Hadlock is the biggest teaser I know. Aurora, however, has taken a bit of a page out of my grandson, Caalab Royce’s book, in that she likes to play with hair, and sometimes…very careful not to hurt, she pulls it, just to see if I am paying attention. When I look back at her, she gets the biggest grin on her face, because she knows that she got my attention, and pulled on over on me.
Since May, my niece, Chelsea Hadlock, who is Aurora’s mom has been one of the backup singers at church, along with my niece Kellie Hadlock, who is Aurora’s aunt, and me. I think Aurora, or Rory as she was nicknamed, likes the fact that her mom sings on the stage, because she has always liked music, and now I think she is practicing for the day when she might be able to sing on the stage, just like her mommy. I love that she loves music, and it is so sweet that she wants to be just like her mom. I don’t know if she will sing on stage, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she did some day. When it comes to singing, Rory has no timidity. She just doesn’t care who might hear her. She is simply focused on her song and her singing. Rory also loves to dance, and so music is the perfect invitation to start dancing…unless she is singing in the car, of course. It’s hard to dance when you are strapped into a car seat. All you can do is keep the beat with you head or your shoulders.
It’s amazing to see the changes in Rory as she grows each year. Her personality is so bubbly and fun. She is quick to laugh, and when she does, her eyes just twinkle. She loves playing with her aunts, Jessi, Lindsay, and Kellie, and her uncles, Jason and Shannon. Making faces and taking selfies is big in their play. Then she gets to look at the goofy pictures they have taken. That, of course, brings about more goofiness for both Rory and her aunts or uncles. And, lest we forget, just know that Rory is a girly girl, and getting her bling on is of the utmost importance. After all, Rory is a princess. I think Rory is going to be a really happy, fun filled girl all her life, because she has such a wonderful outlook on life, and a bubbly, happy personality. She is a real cutie, but this girl has more going for her than just looks. She is an amazing girl. Today is Rory’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Rory!! Have a great day Sweetie!! We love you!!
Lots of people have been to a professional baseball games these days, but in years gone by, if you didn’t live in a city that had a professional baseball team, you just didn’t have much opportunity to attend a professional baseball game. I’m sure that attendance was never stellar, and maybe that was the reason for broadcasting the games originally by radio, and later by television, and then finally on our computers and phones. Lots of people can’t get to the games, and even if they can sometimes, it isn’t often. Since most of us have watched the games on television, we can attest to the importance, to an avid fan, of having a television broadcast.
Up until August 26, 1939, the radio or physical attendance was all we had. All that changed on this day in 1939, when the first televised Major League Baseball game, which was a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and The Brooklyn Dodgers was covered on television from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. What an exciting day that was!! People everywhere, who were previously unable to watch a professional base ball game, got to see it on television. I think this had an explosive affect on the fan base for professional sports. People could finally pick a favorite team and actually see them play sometimes, because let’s face it, not all of us live in a town that hosts a professional team in any sport. And yes there are a lot of fans that love sports of any kind, but can’t get to a game.
Of course, as anyone who has ever attended a game in person will tell you, the televised version of the game leaves a lot out of the actual view of the game. They do the best they can, and they do a very good job, but being able to see the instant replay helps clarify the actions of the game immensely too. And when you think about it, half the fun of being there is ball game food. That adds to the whole experience, and while you may be able to make ballpark franks at home, they just don’t taste quite the same as they do when you are at the game. Maybe it’s about all the food smells in general. So while televised games have definitely not taken away from the number of people in attendance at the games, it has expanded the fan base to include those who can’t be at the game in person. August 26, 1939 was a big day in Major League Baseball. It meant much more than just being able to see the game on television…it brought baseball into our homes in a very real way, and that was amazing.
Over the years, my Aunt Dixie Richards has taken care of her grandchildren while her daughters and their husbands worked. Having done some babysitting for my kids, before and sometimes after school, I can attest to just how rewarding it is to play such an integral part in the upbringing of your grandchildren. It may not be that you are their disciplinarian or anything, but more than likely, their spoiler. Nevertheless, they will always know just how very much you love them. The relationship that develops from that time, that is so fleeting, will last a lifetime. I can’t think of another more amazing thing to do, aside maybe from raising your own children.
Aunt Dixie has the kind of heart that is perfect for caring for children. She has a gentle, loving spirit, and nurturing ways. It is easy to see that her grandchildren love her and their grandpa, my Uncle Jim dearly. They are very close to them, because they have spent time with them. That is a gift that not all grandchildren get to receive, and I find it very sad when they don’t, as do I’m sure, their grandparents, because grandparents know the value of being close to their grandchildren. Aunt Dixie has grandsons named Jacob Liegman, Gabe Williams, Gideon Williams, Noah Williams, and Jonah Williams (who lives in Heaven), but finally she was blessed with a granddaughter named Mayme Williams. Nevertheless, she loves each and every one of them.
Aunt Dixie was the eighth in a family in nine children, and because of the age difference between Aunt Dixie being born in 1943 and my Aunt Evelyn being born in 1928, the younger children were almost like a separate family. Add to that, the fact that the family had three daughters, a son, a daughter, a son, and three daughters, Aunt Dixie got to almost experience the middle child syndrome. I don’t think it was a negative thing back then, however. She was the middle of the younger three daughters. My mom, Collene Spencer was actually the middle child, being that girl between the two boys, but Aunt Dixie got to experience it a little bit too, as did Aunt Virginia, who was the middle of the older three daughters. It is an interesting position to be in, but not as interesting as being a grandmother, I’m sure. Today is Aunt Dixie’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Steve Spethman, who married my niece, Jenny Masterson Spethman, is probably one of the most helpful people I know. In the almost thirteen years they have been married, Steve has proven himself to be not only a great husband and father, but such a help to our entire family. He is not afraid of hard work or heavy lifting, and we have counted on him many times in those years. Steve’s strength has been there for us from helping with my mom, Collene Spencer, to building decks and such, to simply reaching that thing we needed that was out of our reach. Steve could always be counted on. He never acted like it was a bother or a burden to help out either. He simply stepped in where needed, and that made all the difference. My mom said more than once just how safe she felt when Steve was helping her, and that is saying something, because when you don’t feel safe to stand or walk, it is very important to have someone there who is able to help.
Steve’s military service was in the Marines, and that left him with a great interest in the different wars. I think his favorite one might be the same as mine…World War II. He loves all things military, from planes to medals, but World War II is of particular interest. As my sisters and I have been going through our parents’ things, we found the military uniforms dad had and the medals he earned. Finding them and knowing what they were for are two different things, however. Steve researched what they were for. That gave us a whole new insight into all that our dad did in the war. Just looking at medals, or even looking at the discharge papers, doesn’t really tell you what really took place with each one. Of course, to really understand, we will each have to research the events of that war in which our dad took part, but Steve has given us a place to begin. I love talking with Steve about military things, because he has a unique perspective on it all. Having never been in the service, I would really have no idea about it all, other than the research I have done and the conversations I have been fortunate enough to have with military personnel or retired military personnel over the years.
Of course, Steve’s top priority is his family. His wife, Jenny, who is my niece is the love of his life. He has five wonderful children, Xander, Zachary, Isaac, Laila (who lives in Heaven), and Aleesia. Steve loves his wife and kids more than life itself. Steve is a great dad. He loves doing things with his kids. He has taught his boys to shoot, and to be safe with a gun, and plans to go hunting with eldest son, Xander this year. It will be a great adventure for them. It is always a wonderful thing when you see someone who is willing to give their all for someone else. With so many people these days in selfish mode, it is almost unusual to see someone in selfless mode. Our world has become one of “what can you do for me” people. Steve is not like that. He is a “what can I do for you person” and he always has been. How very refreshing that is. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!