My aunt, Evelyn Hushman was the eldest of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s nine children. Big families have a different dynamic than small families. My own daughter, Corrie Petersen was too close in age to her younger sister, Amy Royce to be of help in raising her sister. That was just not how our family worked, but my grandparents’ family, and even my own parents’ family, were big enough for the children to have a hand in raising the younger children. Some people consider that a privilege, and others consider it a burden. There is no right or wrong way to feel about it. It just is the way it is. I don’t know how any of my siblings felt about things or even how my aunts and uncles felt about it, but I think that my parents and grandparents always felt thankful for the help the older children gave, because families of any size can be exhausting.
For many years, my Aunt Evelyn, her husband, my Uncle George Hushman, and my parents, Al and Collene Spencer, bowled on a bowling league. Then as their children grew up, we all bowled too. That is a legacy we likely owe to our parents. I’m not sure any of the others still bowl today, but I do, as does my husband, Bob Schulenberg. We have bowled now for 44 years. When I think about that, it is a legacy. I’m not a professional bowler or anything…far from it, but I can hold my own on among the amateurs, and for me, that all went back to the league my parents and Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George bowled on.
In reality, my parents and my aunt and uncle did many things together. They were really best friends. They double dated many times, including the date that almost cost them their lives. They were coming home from a date and my dad was driving. They were taking Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George home, when they were struck by a train. They would have all died at the unlit, uncontrolled, crossing being hit by a train with no lights on, if my Uncle George hadn’t caught sight of a reflection, and yelled to my dad, “Train!!” Dad reacted by turning with the train, thereby saving the lives of all four of them. They weren’t even injured. So, I guess we their children, owe our lives to them, in more ways than one. Today would have been Aunt Evelyn’s 94th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Evelyn. We love and miss you very much.