Monthly Archives: October 2023

During World War II, the Third Reich run by Adolf Hitler was at war with the world, but at that point, mostly with the British, and especially the British Royal Family. There were a number of bombing campaigns that devastated London, but it was the attack of September 13, 1940, that managed to hit the mark that Hitler would consider, the jackpot. That bombing managed to hit Buckingham Palace. upon hearing that, I wondered, “Where was the family?” Many people tried to leave London, if they had the means. Many of the children were hidden on the country. The rest of the people hid wherever they could…in places like subway tunnels and such. Pretty much everyone had their windows blacked out at night, so that unless there was a moon, homes were well hidden. That summer the German army ramped up their attacks on Britain. London was the prime target of the pounding by the Luftwaffe. Called “The Blitz” attacks, the bombings were very damaging…destroying much of London’s infrastructure.

Well, the Royal Family certainly had the means to get out, so I assumed that they were in Scottland or somewhere when all this took place. As the leaders of the country, it would certainly make sense to get them to safety. Nevertheless, when Buckingham Palace was bombed on September 13, 1940, Queen Elizabeth and King George VI were there. On that morning they were relaxing with a cup of tea, when they heard the ‘unmistakable whirr-whirr of a German plane’ and the ‘scream of a bomb’ that was followed by a rumble and a crash. A German raider had dropped five high explosive bombs on the Palace. The areas hit were the Royal chapel, inner quadrangle, Palace gates, and the Victoria memorial. Four members of the Palace staff were injured, one of whom died. Thankfully, the King and Queen went unharmed in the incident. Queen Elizabeth said in a poignant statement, ‘I am glad we have been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East-End in the face.’ I’m sure he was just trying to be brave, because they were obviously quite shaken up. Her stance strengthened the reputation of the Royal Family in the eyes of the British public.

This wasn’t the first attempt to take out the palace. Days earlier, on September 8th, a 50-kilogram bomb fell on the grounds of the Palace. That one malfunctioned, and didn’t explode, so it was later destroyed in a controlled explosion. Of course, the British Foreign Office immediately recommended that the family should leave the country for a time after the second bomb did so much damage, they refused, and it was viewed as a deep “courage and a commitment to the United Kingdom” that the public appreciated. The Queen went on to say that “The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the King will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever. So, it was settled. This act of defiance in the face of the German Blitz gave the country a much-needed boost in their war efforts. The people felt like they were not alone, and they gained a sense of unity throughout the United Kingdom. All of this happened during the Battle of Britain, which began on July 10, 1940. I would say that the efforts were greatly increased, because it ended on October 31, 1940, with a British victory.

My nephew, Matt Miller joined our family when he married my niece, Michelle (Stevens) Miller on August 14, 2021. They had been best friends since junior high, and later they knew that theirs was far more than a friendship…it was forever. Since their marriage, they have had many amazing times, and things just keep getting better. This year, Matt was promoted to shovel operator at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine where he works. He has really been enjoying that.

Matt’s brother, Mikey lives in Soldotna, Alaska, and the Miller family decided to make a trip to visit. The whole family went, and they all had a great time. Mikey has a sailboat, and with Alaskan fishing what it is, well you know they had to go fishing. Just going to Alaska is an amazing trip, as anyone who has been there can tell you. Now I don’t know if I would be one to live there year-round, but I would like to see both extremes…the sun that never sets, and the sun that never rises. With family living up there, Matt and Michelle might have that opportunity, which I think is very cool. While they were in Alaska, that sailboat called their name on a regular basis. For Michelle, going out on the sailboat was incredible. The views were amazing, and she could just relax and enjoy, and the boys did LOTS of fishing. Matt caught a huge ling cod! He and Michelle came home with a bunch of salmon too. Of course, they didn’t spend all their time fishing, or at least I hope they didn’t, because Alaska has lots of stunning views, and since it was July, they had plenty of daylight hours to explore, and even into the nighttime, when the sun barely sets. That is really very cool!!

Matt went elk hunting on the opening day of archery hunting the year. He got a really nice elk, on that first day. That isn’t something that always happen, and Matt was very excited about that. Matt loves hunting, fishing, and any other form of outdoor sports. He also loves to watch sports, and this year has been a banner year…except for the Broncos. Matt is a Broncos fan, and he as it has been for all of the Broncos fans (I’m one), their losing streak has been extremely disappointing. The good news is that things appear to be looking up. I guess we will see how the rest of the season goes. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Yesterday, in front of family and friends, my niece, Lacey Stevens married the love of her life, Chris Killinger. The ceremony was beautiful, personalized, and sweetly relaxed. Her brother, Garrett Stevens had become ordained to marry, and he performed the ceremony. In many ways, that made the ceremony as sweet as it was. It wasn’t stiff, but was rather comfortable, and even included a little giggling, as a little humor graced the day. It was a beautiful blend of happiness, ceremony, and relaxed humor. As for Lacey’s new husband, well…Chris was so emotional at seeing his bride, that he cried. Some people might think that odd, but it was…perfect. I loved the idea of seeing our new nephew so taken with the woman he had chosen, that he couldn’t stop the tears. I know Lacey and her family would agree with me when I say that it was a beautiful moment.

When Lacey met Chris, as with any new relationship, she didn’t know where this would lead. Nevertheless, she knew that she was taken with the nice man, who treated her with love and respect immediately. They are so perfect for each other. They like the same things, and they are heading in the same direction. The great news is that they now have a wonderful companion with whom to share the road of life. Chris brought some things to the marriage that were unexpected, but things Lacey needed. Lacey wanted to start her own salon (Lacey is a Cosmetologist and now the owner of LuxLou Beauty) and Chris encouraged her to do so. He even helped advertise for her. Chris has a very different career than Lacey (office and purchasing manager for Atlas Aero Service at Natrona County International Airport). Many guys would think that pushing a beauty salon would be…not in their wheelhouse, but Chris is so proud of Lacey’s accomplishments. Lacey brought some things too, especially in light of Chris’ two children, Brooke and Jaxon. Lacey brought a heart big enough to embrace her bonus children. It has been a wonderful thing for everyone. The kids love Lacey very much, and the cousins, Elliott and Maya Stevens, they gained from the relationship. Of course, that wasn’t all either one of them brought to the marriage. One of the greatest things they brought to the marriage is their friendship with each other. They are so kind and loving to each other, and they have the same ideas in mind for the future.

Their wedding was the culmination of the love that has grown between these two wonderful people, and we are so happy for them both. I’m excited to see where life takes them as they begin this wonderful journey together. I know that they will always be happy, because they are perfect for each other. Congratulations of your marriage Lacey and Chris. We wish you the very best life has to offer and claim God’s greatest blessing for you all. Introducing Mr and Mrs Killinger!! We love you!!

My nephew, Chris Kirk joined our family when he married my niece, Siara Harman on July 23, 2022. Recently, Chris and Siara bought a house, and they have been spending time fixing it up to be the way they want it to be. Owning a home has long been a dream for Chris. He likes working on things, and you just can’t in an apartment. So, he has really enjoyed working on things, and basically doing all the “handy man stuff” that he couldn’t before. So far, he has painted the house with Siara’s mom and dad, Chantel and Dave Balcerzak. They have also sanded floors, fixed toilets, put blinds up, and added transitions. Siara tells me that “He will be doing a lot more, but he is doing great and being so patient with it all!!” Much of these things were things that Siara couldn’t really help with, because they are expecting their first child together.

Adding to their family is a big step, and Chris wants to be ready in every way. He has been taking on a lot of extra shifts at work to keep us on top and set for their sweet baby. That is huge, because he wants to be able to relax, knowing that he had made everything ready for him and Siara, since she will have some time off work after the baby arrives. Siara tells me that Chris is the hardest worker she knows. Chris is really enjoying all the “baby changes” in Siara. Feeling the baby kicking is one of his favorite things to do. Siara feels so comfortable that Chris is going to be a great dad and provider for their little family, now and on into the future, as they add to their family later on.

Chris is so good to his in-laws too. He enjoys doing thing for them, and with them. They all get along so well. Chris is a friendly sort of guy and wants to fit in well with the family he married into. He and Siara’s brother, Jake Harman and his family get along great too. Siara and Jake are close, so knowing that her husband and brother are friends is comforting too. They all went hiking a number of times over the summer and had a great time. I think Chris is one of those people who gets along well with everyone…someone who never met a stranger, and someone that people want to be around. At least, that is what I get from anyone who knows him. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Susan Griffith is a multi-faceted woman. First and foremost, she is a wife and mother. That is and has been her life since her oldest daughter, Jala Satterwhite was born in 2002. Susan was a single mom until she met and married Josh Griffith. They were married on June 6, 2006, and Josh became Susan’s biggest fan. They also became the parents of a daughter named Kaylyn Griffith. He was always encouraging her to excel. One of the first ways was when they decided to get into horses. Josh had been around them for a long time, maybe his whole life, but Susan was a little intimidated by them. Josh was patient with her and worked with her, and before long, she was much more comfortable with them. Recently, Josh had the idea to take Susan on their first “pack” trip. A “pack” trip is when the horses pack your gear into the camp site. The trip was just an overnight trip in the Beartooth Mountains, but it was just the two of them, so it was very romantic. The girls, Jala and Kaytlyn didn’t go with them, although both girls are very proficient with the horses. Susan said, “It was just him and me, so it kind of felt like it was a date.” It was for Josh’s birthday, but then who needs an excuse for a date night.

Josh also encourages Susan when it comes to her career. Recently, Susan made a bold step with Josh’s help. She decided to open her own business. It was an idea that Susan had in mind for a long time, but together, they made it a reality, and it is called The Way West Enterprises, LLC. and it’s going very well. Susan is ready to take on new clients, and she is very excited about the future, both for herself and her company. Susan has even become a mentor for her daughter, Jala, who started her own business too…called SafeHaven Home and Pet Care.

Susan and Josh have a beautiful place outside of Powell, that is their retreat. It is the place where they feel most complete. I never thought of Susan as a country girl, but I think she is flourishing in all of her roles in life. Susan is a capable woman, and when she sets her mind to something, she is an amazing success. Today is Susan’s birthday. Happy birthday Susan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Dustie Masterson, joined our family a little over twenty years ago, when she married my nephew, Rob Masterson. They were perfect for each other from the very start, and they have built a wonderful life together. In addition to Rob’s daughter Christina Masterson, they added Raelynn, Matt, and Taylor to their family. Rob’s thought on his sweet wife, “She’s a looker!!” That says it all doesn’t it. Rob is so in love with his bride, and as it goes with long term marriages, the love grows stronger and sweeter every day.

A few years back, Dustie switched jobs, going from Sam’s Club to Walgreen’s. Now she is assistant manager at Walgreen’s. Part of becoming the assistant manager or manager (down the road) is that she must study and obtain her pharmacy assistant license. For many people, that could be a daunting task. Dustie passed the test on her first try, something she and everyone else, is quite proud of. Dustie absolutely loves her job, and she is so good at it. Dustie is one of those bosses who has the ability to make people want to do well. They want to make her proud of them. They work hard to please her. That’s loyalty.

While Dustie loves her job, her real world is her family. They are her reason for living. She is so proud of each of them. She encourages them to do well and supports them no matter what. Dustie is such a positive influence on her whole family. Recently, Rob had to have a procedure done on his knee. It’s basically burning the nerves to reduce pain. Radiofrequency Ablation (its scientific name) sounds awful, but patients can return to normal activity sooner than other procedures. Still, Rob was down for a time. Dustie and the kids took care of him while he recuperated. It’s all just part of what she does. Dustie has also been known to help my sister, her mother-in-law, Cheryl Masterson whenever she is able. She has a very kind and giving heart, but Dustie also has a great sense of humor. She loves joking around with her family and friends, and in general just being silly. I think Dustie takes the view that if you can’t laugh and smile, then you need to take on a new outlook…one that includes God. I think she is right. Truly, Dustie has been a friend to all of our family from the moment we first met her. Her sweet personality, and willingness to join our family as not just an in-law, but as one of us, makes her fit right in. I can’t imagine our lives without Dustie in them. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My aunt, Sandy Pattan is the youngest of my mom, Collene Spencer’s siblings. By the time Aunt Sandy came along, some of her older siblings were already dating. and when she was just two years old, her sister Evelyn got married. By the time Aunt Sandy was three years old, she was an aunt. That is very young, but then some kids are born aunts and uncles. They actually have nieces and nephews who are older than they are. That idea is really something to wrap your head around, but then again, for those born into it, being an aunt or uncle at birth is just normal. For Aunt Sandy, being an aunt is all she remembers.

Aunt Sandy has long been the keeper of the family traditions. She made the arrangements for the annual Christmas party and the summer picnic. She worked so hard to keep the family together and to fulfill the wishes of her parents, Grandma (Hattie) and Grandpa (George) Byer, who asked that the family not drift apart, but continue in the traditions they had started. Aunt Sandy embraced that dream of a close family, and for many years, she worked very hard to carry out and establish their wishes. And she did it well. In the earlier years after Grandma and Grandpa went home to Heaven, Aunt Sandy had lots of help, because everyone got involved, but as the years went by and some of her siblings went to Heaven too, the help became less and less. Still, she persevered. These days the next generation has stepped up and let Aunt Sandy “retire” from the family get-togethers chair. Sadly, the participators have dwindled, and we just hope to have enough people to continue. That is up to the family, I guess.

Aunt Sandy has always lived in her own place. She tells me that she has never lived in an apartment, but that is about to change too, as she makes plans to move into an apartment in Casper. It is not an assisted living…she doesn’t need that, and she is not sure apartment living will suit her. Time will tell. If not, she can always buy another place, if she chooses. Still, I think she might like it, because the yard and building maintenance will no longer be her responsibility, and the grounds are nice, so she can get out and enjoy them…in the warm months anyway. And best of all, she won’t have to water the lawn or shovel the walks. I am excited for this new chapter in her life, even if she is apprehensive. I pray it will be such a great blessing for her, that she chooses to stay, relax, and enjoy it. I think it will be a wonderful new start. Today in Aunt Sandy’s 78th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! We love you!!

My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg is a younger uncle, and while many people might think that would seem weird, Tucker loves every minute of it. He has been an uncle for much of his life, really, because his big sister, Cassie Franklin has three kids, Lucas, Zoey, and Alicen. Tucker is also uncle to his brother, Riley Birky’s two boys, Jace (Riley’s bonus son) and Ryder. Tucker loves kids and is a great source of entertainment for them. He is a teenager, but he is and probably always will be a kid at heart. Tucker is a source of help to his brother, Riley and his fiancée, Sierah Martin. He helps out with watching their boys and keeping them happy and out of trouble. The little boys look up to him and like most little kids, want to be just like their uncle.

Tucker, went through some tough times after his mom, Rachel Schulenberg passed away. Rachel was such a great mom, and these days, Tucker and his siblings just try to live in a way that would make her proud of them. It’s hard to believe that Rachel has been gone now for going on 3 years. Tucker has grown up so much in those years, and I know his mom would be amazed at the young man he has become. He has gone from being an early teenager, to a young man who will soon have his driver’s license and be able to help out running errands, and possible even have a job.

Tucker isn’t really a fan of traditional school, but it is my hope that he will at least continue his schooling online. I know that school is hard, but it is a necessary part of growing up, and I know his mom would want him to have the best education he can get. I think Tucker probably has a mechanical mind like his dad, Ron Schulenberg, uncles and cousins. It tends to run in the family, and his brother likes to tinker as well. Whatever Tucker decides to do with his life, I know he will be successful and will make his mom proud. She loved her children so much, and always wanted the best for them. Tucker is a sweet young man, and I know he will become a great adult too. Today is Tucker’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

People have always been risk takers…always looking for that next thrill. Many people think that the biggest risk takers are the guys, but that is not always the case. On October 24, 1901, as a birthday gift to herself on her 63rd birthday, Anna “Annie” Edson Taylor, who was an American schoolteacher, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Annie wasn’t just out to make a name for herself, but rather her motives were purely financial. Somehow, she thought this “claim to fame” would make her rich, but she never made much money from her adventure.

Annie was born on October 24, 1838, in Auburn, New York. She was one of eight children born to Merrick Edson and Lucretia Waring. Her father owned a flour mill and died when she was 12 years old, leaving enough money to provide a comfortable living for the family. Annie took a four-year training course, graduating with honors, and became a schoolteacher. While at college, she met David Taylor. They were married and had a son who died in infancy. Sadly, her husband died soon after. During her working years, the widowed Taylor, was often between jobs and locales.

Eventually, she moved to Bay City, Michigan, planning to become a dance instructor, except that there were no dance schools in Bay City at that time. No problem…Taylor opened her own. She moved to Sault Saint Marie in 1900 to teach music. From there, she traveled to San Antonio, Texas. Then she and a friend went to Mexico City to find work, but that venture completely failed, so she returned to Bay City. All of her moving and a number of other bad choices caused Taylor to find herself in hard times, Then, her house burned down, as well as a poor investment with a clergyman left her pretty broke. She claimed to be only 42 years old at the time and said that she could make money more easily if she were younger. Because she had always associated money and class with success, Taylor believed that she needed money to hold her place in the world. So, in the 1900 Federal Census, she declared her year of birth as 1860. She thought that if she was thought to be younger, she could make money easier.

Then, in what was most likely her craziest scheme ever, and hoping to secure her later years financially, Taylor decided she would be the first person to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. It seems that her money-making schemes were in endless supply. Taylor used a custom-made barrel constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress to make for her crazy trip. The barrel launch was delayed several times, mainly because no one wanted to be part of potential suicide. Finally, she decided she would have to do this on her own. First, two days before her own attempt, Taylor sent a domestic cat over the Horseshoe Falls in her barrel to test its strength to see if the barrel would break or not. Contrary to rumors at the time, the cat survived the plunge and seventeen minutes later, after she was found with a bleeding head, posed with Taylor in photographs. Then, on her 63rd birthday, the barrel was put over the side of a rowboat, and Taylor climbed in, carrying with her, her lucky heart-shaped pillow. The lid was screwed down, and friends used a bicycle tire pump to compress the air in the barrel. They plugged the hole used for the air with a cork, and Taylor was set adrift near the American shore, south of Goat Island.

The barrel was carried by river currents over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which has since been the site for all successful daredevil stunting at Niagara Falls. Shortly after her plunge, rescuers reached her barrel. Taylor was discovered to be alive and relatively uninjured, having received just a small gash on her head. The daring trip took less than twenty minutes, but it was some time before the barrel was actually opened. Taylor was helped out of the barrel by Carlisle Graham, her friend and the first man to run the rapids on a raft. After the journey, Taylor told the press, “If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat … I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.” Finally, she spoke some sense!!

On February 23, 1921, Taylor was taken to the Niagara County Infirmary in Lockport, New York. Still lying about her age, she claimed to be 57. She died on April 29, 1921, aged 82 and was interred next to her friend and fellow daredevil Carlisle Graham, in the “Stunter’s Rest” section of Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, New York. Since she died penniless, public donations were collected to pay the costs of her funeral, which was held on May 5, 1921. She blamed her bad health and near blindness to her trip over the falls, twenty years earlier.

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