Monthly Archives: October 2016
Halloween started out as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve. Originally, it was to be a time dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed. These days, very few churches still practice it in that way, if at all. Yet, many of the Celtic traditions from Ireland that were there before Christianity came to the area, are still observed. Activities include trick-or-treating, attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. Since I’m totally not a fan of horror movies, and thankfully, my husband, Bob agrees with me on that, we avoid the horror movies at all costs, and are pretty happy when Halloween is over, because then there aren’t so many horror movies on television.
Over the years, the costumes worn by kids and adults alike have changed. Very few people want the traditional costumes anymore. Now it’s things like superheroes, cartoon characters, firefighters, or even period costumes, like Vikings or pirates. These days, anything goes. If it interests you, you can make it a costume. I’ve even seen people dress their little ones up as a Lego block, or a car, complete with the body of the car attached to the child’s waist. The creativity is amazing, and I wish I had thought of some of those things when my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce were little, because it would have been so cute. I wasn’t very inventive, so the girls were kind of the normal things, but my girls got more creative than I did with their kids…or maybe the costumes just got better.
With the adults getting in on the action, you will see more parties and even people dressing up at work. Some offices even have contests to see who has the best costume. It’s all in the fun of the day, and lots of people spend quite a bit of time getting ready for the activities. My niece, Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve always have a party. It is something our whole family looks forward to. Unfortunately, this year, Bob and I will have to miss out on the fun, because we have to bowl. We are disappointed, of course, but there is always next year. Happy Halloween everyone!!
At a time when television was in the very early stages of its existence, and not really available to the public, people got their entertainment from the radio. People listened to everything from news, to music, to fictional shows, which were of course, acted out only by the actors verbalizing the parts. Most of the shows were a normal story line, probably often Westerns, and so the people were able to distinguish the fiction from the news. On this day, October 30, 1938, all that changed, when the Mercury Theater company decided to put Orson Welles on the radio in the H.G. Wells novel, War Of The Worlds. Welles had previously been the voice of The Shadow, which apparently was not a show that the people took seriously, even though it was scary. The same would not be true with War Of The Worlds, which was a dramatization of a Martian invasion of Earth. I find it odd that people would believe either show, but that is beside the point.
Orson Welles was just 23 years old when War Of The Worlds was first broadcast on air, but he had been in radio for several years. The War Of The Worlds show was not planned to be a radio hoax, and Welles had no idea of the havoc the show would cause. The show began on Sunday, October 30, at 8 pm. A voice announced: “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells.” Sunday evening was considered prime time in the world of 1938 radio. Apparently, the show prior to this one wasn’t very good, and so many people tuned in too late to hear the announcement that the War Of The Worlds was a science fiction story, and the story was already underway. Welles introduced his radio play with a spoken introduction, followed by an announcer reading a weather report. Then, the announcer seemingly abandoned the storyline, and took listeners to “the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York, where you will be entertained by the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.” Dance music played for a while, and then the scare began. An announcer broke in to report that “Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory” had detected explosions on the planet Mars. Then the dance music came back on, followed by another interruption in which listeners were informed that a large meteor had crashed into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. At this point, those who tuned in late, were wondering what was going on, and maybe the ones who tuned in on time were wondering too.
Soon, an announcer was at the crash site describing a Martian emerging from a large metallic cylinder. “Good heavens,” he declared, “something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me…I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… it…ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.” The story continued when the announcer said, “The Martians mounted walking war machines and fired ‘heat-ray’ weapons at the puny humans gathered around the crash site. They annihilated a force of 7,000 National Guardsman, and after being attacked by artillery and bombers the Martians released a poisonous gas into the air.” Then they declared that “Martian cylinders” had landed in Chicago and St. Louis. The radio play was extremely realistic. Welles even used sophisticated sound effects and his talented actors did an excellent job portraying terrified announcers and other characters. An announcer reported that “widespread panic had broken out in the vicinity of the landing sites, with thousands desperately trying to flee.”
In fact, that was not far from the truth, because as many as a million radio listeners believed the invasion was real. Panic broke out across the country. In this day and age, this all seems crazy, because we have seen every possible invasion story imaginable, but back then, not so much. In New Jersey, terrified people reportedly hit the highways seeking a way of escape from the alien invasion. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”
When the studio heard of the panic, Orson Welles went on the air as himself to remind listeners that it was just fiction. It was reported that the show caused suicides, but that was never confirmed. The Federal Communications Commission investigated the program, but found no law was broken. Networks did agree to be more cautious in their programming in the future. Orson Welles worried that the controversy would ruin his career, but the opposite was true. The publicity helped him to land a contract with a Hollywood studio, and in 1941 he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Citizen Kane…a movie that many have called the greatest American film ever made. Of course, there are those who said that the whole thing was a hoax, but I guess we will never know for sure.
My husband, Bob and I love to go to Denver, Colorado periodically. We usually try to go to a Rockies game, shop some, and walk a lot. I think that most people who live in Wyoming, and elsewhere across the nation, have made the trip to Denver periodically. It is a shopping hub for this area, and on top of that, it is a huge cultural hub too. Denver is not a city I would want to live in, because I really don’t care to live in such a big city, but I do enjoy going there occasionally.
I do wonder how I would have felt about Denver in it’s early days. Back in 1858, Denver was just a small frontier town in the Colorado Territory. In those days, the town was not called Denver, in fact, I don’t know if it even had an official name. In a city where shopping brings in a huge amount of revenue, Denver, on this day October 29, 1858, saw its first store open. One month later, the town would take on the name Denver in a ploy to gain favor from Kansas Territorial Governor James W Denver. The town was promoted by a real estate salesman from Kansas named William H Larimer Jr. The store was created to serve miners, who were working the placer gold deposits that had been discovered a year before at the confluence of Cheery Creek and the South Platte River. By 1859, tens of thousands of gold seekers had flooded into the area, but by then the placer deposits were already playing out and most miners quickly departed for home or headed west into the mountains in search of richer deposits.
The area where the gold had been found is called Confluence Park, and it is one of our favorite places in Denver, because of the beautiful trail that leads to it. Strangely, in all the years that Bob and I have been going to Denver, and all the years that we have been walking that trail, and enjoying that park, we never knew of the history that happened there. I suppose we might have if we lived in Denver, or even in Colorado, but since we don’t, it was simply a nice walking trail with a nice park, in a city we enjoy going for a visit, and it always will be that, but it is also a piece of history, and now I know that.
In 1860, the frontier town of Denver almost failed before it got started, because even though it was centrally located for servicing the mining camps, it didn’t have rail or water transportation to make bringing in the needed goods to the store easier, or even feasible. Even when the transcontinental Union Pacific Railroad was built, it didn’t initially stop at Denver, so the little town struggled, but by 1870, Denver finally began to overcome it’s geographical isolation, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad arrived from the east, and the 105 mile Denver Pacific Railway that joined Denver to the Union Pacific line at Cheyenne. More connections would come later on, making Denver the city it is today.
My niece, Susan Griffith is a sweet, kind of quiet girl, who loves living in the country and being outdoors. She loves doing all the homemaker things, like baking cakes, and this time of year, baking pumpkin seeds, which her whole family absolutely loves. Susan and her husband, Josh live out in the country, near his parents, who have horses. That gives their girls, Jala and Kaytlyn, and them the chance to ride horses sometimes, which is very cool. This summer, Susan was able to work from home, so her girls actually got to sleep in and had more time to enjoy their summer. I think it was really nice for Susan too, because she got to really spend some quality time with her girls. Most of us work, and so having a whole summer with the kids is a real gift.
Susan and her family love to go camping, and in the past, that meant sleeping in a tent, but no more. This year they bought a trailer, and camping took on a whole new meaning. If you have ever slept in a tent, you know what I mean. The ground is hard, even if you do have an air mattress. The nighttime coolness doesn’t stay outside of the tent…it’s right in there with you. And if it rains…well, it’s in there too, or at least that’s how it was with any tent I ever slept in. A camper is so much more comfortable…and, cooking is easier too. Susan and her family love camping, and all that goes with it, so hiking, fishing, and kicking back around the campfire are things they love to do. I can relate to that, especially the smell of coffee heating over a campfire. It doesn’t get better than that. Susan and her family often go camping with her sister, Machelle Moore, her family, and their parents, Debbie and Lynn Cook. It’s a huge procession to their favorite camping destination, the Big Horn Mountains, where they all have a really great time every time they go.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Susan, or the rest of the kids in the family, are grown up already. I remember them as little kids, giggling, running all over the house, and fighting as much as they played, but now, they have all grown into wonderful adults, who are still friends…and funny thing, they don’t fight anymore. The years just go by too fast. Before long it will be those same kids who are looking back on how quickly the years went by with their own kids. That’s why we all have to treasure the time we’ve been given, and I think Susan definitely does. Today is Susan’s birthday. Happy birthday Susan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Because I go to my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s house to have dinner with her and her family on Thursday nights, my relationship with all of her family has become closer. Her daughter-in-law, Dustie Masterson always helps with the meal, because she loves to cook, and she is a very good cook too. Dustie works at Albertson’s in the Fresh Cut Produce Department. That gives her the job of making the salads, and things like salsa and guacamole, and believe me, what she makes is the best. One of her specialties is the Seven Layer Salad, which is a family favorite, and was recently used as part of the food for the rehearsal dinner of her niece, Katy Collett and her new husband, Jake.
Dustie would really have to love cooking, to do it all day and work, and then come home and cook some more. Most people don’t feel like cooking after work anyway, but with her job, that would really be a lot. Dustie has been at Albertson’s for a while now, and has worked her way up to supervisor…an accomplishment she is proud to have achieved, and we are proud of her. Dustie is a very happy person, and is almost always smiling. That makes her a favorite among her co-workers, as well as with the rest of us. I love her sense of humor, and her teasing, joking ways.
Dustie is mom to Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna, and wife to my nephew, Rob Masterson. She has been a part of our family now for almost 14 years, and she has been a wonderful addition to the family. She is my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s only daughter-in-law, and she has been such a blessing to Cheryl, our parents, and me over the years, especially during the time when we were so busy taking care of our parents, and Dustie ran a countless number of errands for us. I’m sure Cheryl has told her how much that meant to us, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. We really appreciate all you did to help us during those years, Dustie. Your kind heart and loving ways have blessed us more than you could ever know, and we are so glad that you are a part of our family. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In recent years I have grown closer to my Aunt Sandy Pattan than I was in prior years. There was no particular reason we weren’t as close before, except that we were both busy. It is a poor excuse for not keeping in better contact with your aunt, and one that I’m glad has changed. It’s not that we necessarily get to see each other a whole lot more, but rather the quality of the conversations, and the visits have become much more precious to us. We have discovered a common interest in the family history, and a growing desire to get it documented for future generations, and that has solidified our…friendship really, because it is more than the typical aunt-niece relationship. When we talk, we share new discoveries that we have made, as well as the old ones, that we never seem to grow tired of hearing. We reminisce about the loved ones who have passed away, and shed some tears too, because we miss them so much, but talking about them, and even shedding the tears is what keeps their memories fresh in our hearts and minds.
Aunt Sandy, being the youngest of nine children, had almost double the older siblings in some ways, because there were brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who were a part of the family before she was a teenager, and some by the time she was two. As she said to me, “Those brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law were like my brothers and sisters, because they had been a part of the family for much of my memory.” That also gave her a unique perspective of the in-laws, because she got to see their playful side…the way they would be with her as a child. Of course, my uncles were playful with the nieces and nephews too, but it was different with her, because she was like their little sister. Those were some great times for young Aunt Sandy.
I was watching some of my parents’ old home movies last night, and there was Aunt Sandy a little girl of about 10 years. We were at a family picnic, because my parents and sister Cheryl were in Casper for a visit. They lived in Superior, Wisconsin then, and Cheryl was the only child they had then. The day was perfect, and everyone was having a great time. My parents, Allen and Collene Spencer had purchased a movie camera, and everyone was trying to decide if they wanted to be filmed or not. Most of the adults didn’t think they wanted to, but the kids were a little more open to the idea. I noticed that Aunt Sandy was having such a great time. There were more children to play with than usual for her, and everyone was having so much fun. She was literally jumping up and down with excitement. It was an awesome day for her. Today is Aunt Sandy’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Tucker Birky loves school, and learning in general. He is in advanced classes and doing very well. He is bringing home advance homework, and is a year ahead in Math, and two years ahead in Reading. I’ve always said that a child who can read well, can pretty much write their own ticket in this world. Tucker also plays the piano, which is a skill I would love to have, but I would have to cut my fingernails, and that’s not happening. Tucker doesn’t have that problem, so he’s in good shape. Tucker also has a desire to go into politics. He wants to be president of his student council. That is a great aspiration. He is kind and helpful, and that has made him popular at school too, so it’s quite likely that he could be elected the Student Council President. All I can say is, “Tucker, if you run for President of the United States someday, please be a Conservative. We need more Conservatives.”
Like a lot of boys, Tucker loves to ride his 85 Dirt bike. And he loves to shoot. For his birthday this year, he got an air gun, and his face literally lit up. Tucker loves the outdoors and camping, and all that goes with it. Which brings me to his step-dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, who is his dad, as far as Tucker is concerned. Ron is his very favorite person, and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg tells me that if Ron is around, she has to fight for Tucker’s attention. They might be out in the garage working on something, or outside riding, or just hanging out, but when Ron is there, Tucker wants to be with him. And then there’s the cat, Jack Jack…yes, that’s two Jacks, and Tucker dearly loves Jack Jack. So, if Ron isn’t home, I guess Rachel has to compete with Jack Jack. That doesn’t sound like a win/win situation at all, but it seems to be the way with kids. When you get them grown up to some size, they suddenly have too many other things to do to spend much time with you. It is the way it is, but the parents don’t like it.
Tucker has set some future goals for himself too, which is somewhat unusual for a boy of just nine years. Tucker has decided that he wants to join the armed forces, and serve his country. In this day and age, when many people have lost their patriotism, it’s heartwarming to see that Tucker has not, and that he will someday be in a position to make a difference in this world. I don’t think he has decided what branch of the service appeals to him, but there is time for that. His step-dad was in the Army, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Tucker follow in his footsteps. For now, he is enjoying life and his favorite things. Today is Tucker’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand niece, Reagan Parmely is a busy little girl. I think that her most important job, at least in her opinion, is being the big sister. Reagan takes it upon herself to help her little sister, Hattie to do things like climbing the hay bales. She also takes her for walks in the mud, and for rides in her truck…yes, Reagan has a truck…that runs. Together, they help around the farm, taking care of the animals, and cuddling the babies. As sisters go, Reagan and Hattie are best friends. Reagan teaches Hattie things…like pushing her big sister on the tricycle, and how the tell the difference between weeds and flowers. They have great times together.
Reagan is a helper. She loves the farm animals, and is a great help when it comes to their care. The size of these animals doesn’t bother her one bit. Most kids would be at least a little apprehensive around a cow or horse that is more that twice their size, but not Reagan, or her sister, Hattie. They know how to act around the animals, and the animals are very gentle with them. Reagan likes to make sure that all the farm animals are where they are supposed to be, In fact, all animals have a proper place, and they should stay there. In Casper, where we live, there are two statues of horses eating the grass at the Quality Inn, and every time Reagan’s family drives by there, Reagan proceeds to tell those horses that they need to get back home to their corral. Now, don’t misunderstand me, she knows they are statues. She just likes saying that to be funny, and we all think it’s funny too.
Reagan likes mobility…of any kind. She rides horse, motorcycles, her truck, bicycle, and of course, the standard walking and running. And she’s pretty good at all of them. I think she was born riding something…or shortly thereafter. She takes everyone in her truck, or at least the ones that fit. I’m not totally sure how the dogs feel about it, but they ride along, so I guess she must be a pretty good driver. Reagan has grown up around a dad that loves motorcycles, a mom who loves horses, and an uncle who loves trucks, so none of this is particularly surprising to me. She has already had her first motorcycle accident, and while she had a shiner, she is a tough girl, who doesn’t give up. She gets right back on and goes again. She loves hiking with her Oma, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, and riding her bicycle with her Aunt Brenda Schulenberg, who goes by BR. Together they all work on staying healthy and active. Reagan also loves to work with her grandparents, Albert and Kari Eighmy. They have safe tools for her to use, and she helps them build things around their farm. She loves having all of these people who let her help with things, because she likes to be busy. Today is Reagan’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Ashley Parmely, who married my nephew, Eric five years ago, was raised largely in the country. She loved horses, dogs, and cats, which I knew, but what I didn’t know was that she really loves all animals. Since she and Eric bought a house next door to her parents, initially to be near her beloved horses, I have found out that her love of animals knows no bounds. She probably could have been a veterinarian. Ashley and Eric, now have goats, chickens, cows, and even little piggies. Some of these may belong to Ashley’s parents, but that makes no difference. Eric, Ashley, and their girls, Reagan and Hattie take care of the animals as much as anyone does. They just love being around the animals. Ashley is teaching her girls to take care of, and be gentle with the animals, and in turn the animals love the girls. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and Ashley treats us to lots of pictures of the her family with the different animals.
Lately, Ashley has been working to get her goats milk tested, because apparently if you are going to sell the milk, it has to pass a certain number of tests to show it is of good quality. I never knew that before, but I guess if you are around farm animals, and plan to make some money off of them, you have to find out all the quality control details first. Growing up with a farming background, Ashley knew that, and of course, her parents also did, so they could show her the ropes. Ashley and her little family are all working together to make their little farm a great success.
Of course, farming isn’t the only thing Ashley is about. She loves being a wife and mother, and her family’s happiness if her first priority. She is such a good mother…playing with the girls, and teaching them new things. The girls like to go on walks and hikes with their parents, and Reagan, being in preschool, is learning new things including Spanish…but I’m getting ahead of myself, because that is tomorrow’s story. You see, four years ago, Ashley was given a wonderful, but one day late, birthday gift, when little Reagan arrived. Now her life is very busy with two very active little girls, and a farm full of animals. It’s a far cry from the single life she had before she and Eric were married, and one that makes her very happy. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It’s amazing to me that one act of hate can bring so many people to war, but that was what happened with World War I. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip was an ethnic Serb and Yugoslav nationalist from the group Young Bosnia, which was supported by the Black Hand, a nationalist organization in Serbia. The outraged Austrian people and its government threatened mobilization of troops to seek vengeance for their beloved leader and his family.
The crisis escalated as the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia came to involve Russia, Germany, France, and ultimately Belgium and Great Britain. By mid-August of 1914, the crisis had become a full blown war, with Germany, Austria Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, known as the Central Powers, against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan, the Allied Powers. The United States would also enter the war as a part of the Allied Powers in 1917. Other factors came into play during the diplomatic crisis that preceded the war, such as misperceptions of intent in that Germany believed that Britain would remain neutral, the belief that war was inevitable, and the speed of the crisis, which was exacerbated by delays and misunderstandings in diplomatic communications. The four years of the Great War…as it was dubbed…saw unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction, thanks to grueling trench warfare and the introduction of modern weaponry such as machine guns, tanks and chemical weapons. By the time World War I ended in the defeat of the Central Powers in November 1918, more than 9 million soldiers had been killed and 21 million more wounded.
Evil exists in this world, and it gets worse every day, and assassinations are not new. Chanakya, 350–283 BC, an Indian teacher, philosopher and royal advisor, wrote about assassinations in detail in his political treatise Arthashastra. Later, his student Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Empire of India, made use of assassinations against some of his enemies, including two of Alexander’s generals Nicanor and Philip. I suppose it should not be a surprise, yet every assassination brings with it shock, fear, and rage. Countless wars have been fought over one nation’s ruler being killed by someone from another nation. War will be a part of our world until the end of time, but that in no way lessens the worry, fear, and sadness that war always brings. Still, like the Allies of World War I, we cannot let one group or nation hold power over another group or nation…which also explains the need to destroy ISIS.