Normally, in a monarchy, the successor is determined by bloodline. In a Republic, the successor is determined by an election. There are a number of people who seriously dislike monarchies, and then there are those who prefer it…they think it gives their nation stability and continuity. Be that as it may, when enough people decide to end a monarchy, they can get the job done. Such was the case in Revolutionary France, when the Legislative Assembly voted to abolish the monarchy and establish the First Republic.
Things had been going downhill for King Louis XVI and a year before the Legislative Assembly voted, he has no other choice but to approve a new constitution that stripped him of much of his power. This was the beginning of the end for King Louis XVI. Louis ascended to the French throne in 1774 as all monarchs do, by inheritance. From the start, he was unsuited to deal with the severe financial problems that he inherited from his predecessors, along with the throne. Unfortunately, not all those who would inherit the throne of a nation are suited for that leadership.
The situation continued to escalate, and in 1789, food shortages and economic crises led to the outbreak of the French Revolution. By August of 1792, things escalated to a boil. At that point, King Louis and his queen, Mary-Antoinette, were imprisoned and in September the monarchy was abolished. Soon after their imprisonment, evidence of Louis’ counterrevolutionary activity with foreign nations was discovered. He was put on trial for treason. I don’t know the details of the case for treason, but of course, he could not have been put on trial before the changes that were forced upon him in the changing of the constitution. It is also possible that there were no legitimate charges to used, until they forced the changing of the constitution. I’m sure there are opinions on both sides of the issue.
Louis was convicted and condemned to death by a narrow majority in January of 1793, and on January 21, 1793, he walked steadfastly to the guillotine and was executed. His head was held high, and he proclaimed his innocence to the very end. Nine months later, his queen, Marie-Antoinette followed him to the guillotine. Neither of them ever confessed to the crimes for which they were committed, and I don’t suppose we will ever know the truth about the matter.
When we think of a president of the United States, we think of one each term. In reality, on inauguration years, there are actually two…the outgoing president, and the incoming president. Of course, if the president has won a second term, there would actually be only one in that inauguration cycle. That is the common fact of presidential inaugurations, but could there be three? The answer is actually, yes. There have been two times in history when there were three presidents in one year. I suppose that potentially there could be more than this, but the reasons would almost be too awful to contemplate.
On September 20, 1881, Chester Arthur became one of those two “third” presidents, when he was inaugurated that day, becoming the third person to serve as president in that year. The year 1881 began with Republican Rutherford B Hayes in office. Hayes had just completed his first and only term as president, and with the inauguration of James A Garfield, Hayes had officially turned over the reins of government to the new president, who happened to be a close friend of his, in March 1881. Then, the unthinkable happened, when just four months into his term, on July 2, Garfield was shot by an assassin named Charles Guiteau. Guiteau said that he killed Garfield because he refused to grant Guiteau a political appointment. The attack left Garfield with wounds to his back and abdomen. He struggled to recover throughout the summer. Though it appeared he would pull through in early September, Garfield deteriorated by mid-September and finally died on September 19th. An autopsy report revealed that the internal bullet wound contributed to an aneurism that ultimately killed Garfield.
On September 20, 1881…the next day, Vice President Chester Arthur was sworn in as president, making him the third man to be sworn in as president in 1881. Garfield’s assassin then actually had the nerve to write to the new president from jail, and actually taking credit for vaulting Arthur into the White House. While President Arthur was president, not everyone felt like he was a good president. Former President Hayes, said of the Arthur administration, that it was best known for “liquor, snobbery and worse.” Of course, Hayes could have been angry about not being elected to a second term, or he could have been making an honest evaluation. that may be a good subject for a future story. Either way, Chester Arthur served only one term from 1881 to 1885.
While this was a very unusual year, it was not the first time this had happened. It was actually the second time in American history that three men served as president in one year. A similar situation occurred in 1841, when Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, and John Tyler all held the office, but that is a different story for another day.
Yesterday, my newest little great grandson, Axel Ray Petersen was born. He is a sweet little boy who looks like his daddy, I’m told. I haven’t met him yet, and I can’t wait until I do. Axel was born at 12:02pm on September 18, 2023…exactly 9 days after his dad, Josh Petersen’s birthday; and exactly 9 days before his mom, Athena Petersen’s birthday. He weighs 8 pounds 1 ounce, and he is 19¾ inches long. He has dark hair and more of it than many babies. Axel comes into the world, the second child of his parents, Athena and Josh Petersen. He has a big brother, Justin Petersen, who doesn’t like it much when his brother cries. In fact, it breaks Justin’s heart to hear his precious brother cry, and so he cries too. Justin is not quite a year old yet, so he just doesn’t understand why his brother is sad.
Axel is a sweet baby boy who doesn’t cry much, and he is such a sweet blessing to his family. I can’t believe he is here already. It seems like just yesterday that we found out that Axel was coming, and now suddenly he is here. Nine months goes by so fast. Before we know it, we will be celebrating his first birthday and beyond. Time goes by so fast, and kids grow up so quickly. I am excited to find out who Axel will become as he grows, and excited to see the relationship he will have with his brother and any possible future siblings. Justin is a happy boy, and I’m sure that happiness will spread to his younger brother. There is no way to know the interests these brothers will have, but I know that they will have a wonderful life, and they will be best friends forever.
For little Axel, life is just beginning. The journey ahead has yet to be determined. The same applies to his “Irish Twin” brother, Justin. Irish Twins are siblings who were born less than a year apart. Axel and Justin’s grandmother, Corrie Petersen is also an Irish Twin. It’s a really cool thing to be. The older one doesn’t remember life without the younger one, and the younger one never lived life without the older one. Either way, they feel like they have always had each other, and they pretty much have. It is my hope that Justin and Axel will embrace that part of themselves and make it a special part of their lives. Happy day of your birth Axel Ray Petersen, and welcome to the world and our family. We love you so much already.
Many people have had to switch from their dominant hand due to an accident, stroke, or amputation, but we rarely think of a president find himself in that position. Nevertheless, Thomas Jefferson had to do just that. It can happen to anyone really, but like many a young man, Thomas Jefferson was out to impress a girl. The strange part was that when it happened, Thomas wasn’t a young man. He was, nevertheless, trying to impress a girl. Thomas was 42 years old. He wasn’t the president of the United States yet, but he had been married. He married Martha Wayles in 1772, but she passed away in 1782, so he was alone. He and Martha had six children. Of the six children born to Thomas and Martha, only two survived to adulthood, Martha and Mary. His wife, Martha died four months after the birth of her last child. He had been happy, but his marriage was short. Thomas Jefferson was not perfect, and in fact he made lots of mistakes, and even had children with his slave, but he was a good president…and which of us is perfect, after all.
In 1785, Thomas was in Paris, and he met a woman named Maria Cosway, who was a married woman. Thomas Jefferson took a liking to her, and he was trying to impress her. Well, he shouldn’t have been doing what he did. He knew it, and we know it to this day, but he did try to impress her, by trying to jump over a fence. In the ensuing accident, whereby he fell, Thomas Jefferson broke his right wrist. The surgeon set his wrist, but he didn’t really do a good job of it. After they set his wrist bones, he suffered chronic pain in his left hand for the rest of his life. He was really unable to use his left hand much at all after that.
The accident forced Thomas Jefferson to stay in his house for a month, during which time, his secretary, William Short, had to write his letters for him. For a few months, he used his left hand to write letters including the famous “Head and Heart” letter on October 12 to Maria Cosway. The broken wrist caused him to have to cut short the planned sightseeing trip with Maria Cosway, and it also cause him to have to postpone his journey to the south of France. In the end, his wrist finally healed, but it was never to the point that he could use it as his dominant hand, so he had to switch out his dominant hand and live the rest of his life as a lefty. I suppose some might have said that his infatuation with Maria Cosway cost him the use of his hand, in a sort of “repercussion for bad behavior” scenario, but I don’t believe in the “God will hit you with a lightning bolt” kind of punishment. I know that it likely wouldn’t have happened if he had left Maria Cosway alone, but I just think God tries for grace first.
Recently, I took a trip to Ferndale, Washington to visit my daughter, Amy Royce, her husband, Travis, and kids Shai and Caalab. While I was there, Amy, Shai, and I took a side trip to Lopez Island. Amy had been looking for things to do while I was there, when she came across Spencer Spit. A spit is a narrow coastal land formation that is tied to the coast at one end. Spits frequently form where the coast abruptly changes direction and often occur across the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream.
Spencer Spit was of particular interest to me, because it was owned by a Spencer family, up until 1967 anyway. It was then that Raymond Spencer who decided to sell the land to the state of Washington to be a park. The area had been owned off and on by the Troxell and Spencer families since the 1880s, but the details are a bit sketchy. The two families apparently traded the land back an forth for a while. In 1886, the Spencer family took possession of the land, and it was there that their son Raymond was born a year later. In 1888, Franklin Troxell came to the land and received a land grant under the Homestead Act. He built the house that stood until 1979. He also built a stone and timber shed in the early 1950s. Those structures still stand today. There was also a guest house built out on the spit where friends and family stayed. It was later torn down. A picnic shelter stands in its place now.
From 1918 to about 1922, Ramond Spencer captained a kelp harvester ship in the waters around Lopez Island, called Harvester King. They harvested kelp for the Kelp Plant. Then in 1922, the ship was reconfigured to ferry cars. It was the first ferry to serve the San Juan Islands, but after one season, it was decided that the ship was not really suited to the job of ferry boat. The ride was just too rough, so it was beached in Olympia until she was ultimately scrapped. Apparently while kelp is used to make fertilizer today, it was not as successful back then. I guess that Harvester King was simply ahead of her time. Maybe if she had been built a few decades later, she would still be operating today.
While their 25th anniversary was three years ago, my daughter, Amy Royce and her husband Travis Royce are heading out today on their 28th anniversary to celebrate their 25th anniversary, which just so happened to land in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. They had wanted to take a cruise to Alaska for their 25th anniversary, but the cruise ships weren’t sailing then. Now they are, and the ridiculous restrictions are gone, so off they go to have the trip of a lifetime, and I am so excited for them. Since Amy’s dad and I took an Alaskan cruise and absolutely loved every minute of it, I can’t wait for them to experience the same amazing trip we did.
Amy and Travis are so perfect for each other. They are both funny and they like many of the same things. They don’t get stressed or bent out of shape about things, but rather they pretty much go with the flow of life. I think that’s a big part of why their marriage works so well. In a number of ways, they remind me of how my parents and grandparents were with each other. From pet names to the way they think, they just fit in with that same easy compatibility that my parents and grandparents had. It’s funny how some couples can immediately seem like they have been married for decades, and it just gets better and better as the years go by. Amy and Travis are like that. I love the pet names especially, although I won’t tell them here, because that is their names for each other, and not for anyone else to use.
Amy and Travis lived in Wyoming while they raised their children, but then moved to Washington state in 2004. They do love it there, and it is beautiful. Of course, we miss them, because we don’t get to see them very much, but going for visits is always a great treat. They have a beautiful place up in the Ferndale area and they love fixing up the yard with flowers and turning it into an oasis. They are so happy with their home, and they love to entertain family and friends there. They have a garage/recreation room that has been turned into the T&Avern, which is their own private club. They have a pool table in there and you might even get to listen to Tavis and Caalab play guitars, while Shai sings. Caalab and Shai are their two grown kids. For Amy and Travis, it’s an ideal life. Today is their 28th Anniversary. Happy anniversary on the Royal Princess!! Have a wonderful time!! We love you!!
There are certain situations when I think citizenship is a must have element, and some that I think “natural-born” citizenship is absolutely essential. On September 15, 1935, German Jews were stripped of their citizenship, reducing them to mere “subjects” of the state. This heinous crime was carried out by the “president and chancellor of Germany,” Adolf Hitler. I use the quotation marks, because Hitler should never have been allowed to be in that office. Adolf Hitler became a citizen of Germany on February 25, 1932. Hitler, who was born in Austria, had immigrated to Germany in 1913, and renounced his Austrian citizenship in 1925. Hitler was a stateless nomad from 1925 to 1931, when he decided on the political ambition of becoming president and chancellor. That was when he decided to become a citizen, in fact that was the only reason he became a citizen. Hitler had a plan to take over and completely transform Germany, and his “transformation” was to be the worst thing for Germany. I think that is why a president needs to be a “natural-born” citizen. A president needs to have a connection to his country…a connection he is born into. Then and only then does he have the ability to care about the country…not that all presidents do, but they have that ability, because they belong. I’m sure some would disagree with me, but it will not change my mind.
His citizenship actually came about when a fellow member of the Nazi Party appointed Hitler to a low-level government job that came with automatic citizenship. Once he was a citizen, Hitler’s new status allowed him to achieve his political goals. As a citizen, he could run for office. Hitler made sure that he was well liked, and by the middle of 1934, he was in complete control of Germany as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor). He didn’t wait long to begin, and soon redefined citizenship to serve his beliefs. He was a hate-filled man, and he used race and pan-German heritage to give citizenship to, and take it from, large groups of people. Citizenship now depended on how Hitler felt about the people. Many would say that he was a white supremacist, but the reality was that there were many races of people he didn’t like, and many of them were white, so it wasn’t about color. As World War II began, Hitler’s views on German supremacy were fueling a military campaign that destroyed borders and entire populations all across Europe. People who were born in Germany and had been citizens all their lives were being systematically stripped of their citizenship, their rights, and their lives, just because they were Jews, blacks, gypsies, and some other races. Hitler’s goal was to rid the world of anyone who was not “pure-blooded” German stock. Never mind the fact that he was not!!
Practically from the minute he took office, Hitler began issuing what we would call “Executive Orders” that barely disrupted the lives of those “pure-blooded” German stock, other than to basically elevate them to the level of “masters” over anyone who did not qualify as “pure-blooded” German stock. His dream of a “pure-blooded” society soon became a nightmare for many. Many of the German “pure-blooded” German citizen didn’t agree with what he was doing, and some didn’t really understand what he was doing, exactly, but some of them saw it as an opportunity to take from the “unqualified” citizens, anything they wanted. They became brutal in their treatment of the “unqualified” citizens, especially the Jews.
Hitler began his persecution of the Jews within the first year of office. German Jews were excluded from many high-profile vocations, such as public office, journalism, radio, theater, film, and teaching, and even farming. The professions of law and medicine were also withdrawn slowly as opportunities. “Jews Not Welcome” signs were posted on shop and hotel windows, beer gardens, and other public areas. Known as the Nuremberg Laws, these discriminatory acts became a deep-seated part of the German culture, which in turn, making them even more far-reaching. Jews were forbidden to marry “Aryans” or engage in extramarital relations with them. Jews could not employ female Aryan servants if they were less than 35 years of age. Hunger soon became a part of Jewish life, because it became difficult even to buy food, as groceries, bakeries, and dairies would not admit Jewish customers. Even pharmacies refused to sell them medicines or drugs. Their lives soon began to simply spiral towards despair and eventual death.
At first, the outside world didn’t understand what they were seeing. Unemployment had dropped exponentially under Hitler’s early commandeering of the economy. Things actually looked better to the world. A very few, some foreign visitors, even some political opponents within Germany itself, saw these racist laws and practices for what they were, but most were beguiled into thinking it was merely a phase. They assumed that the “birth pains” of Hitler’s developing plans would eventually smooth out and the bad parts would fade away, as he began to focus more on the economy and less on race, but they were wrong, because Hitler was a very determined, and very focused dictator…and he was insane, as the world and the German people would soon find out. It is my opinion that even a seemingly good citizen, who is not “natural-born” is not a good candidate for president, because their ideas and plans for a nation they have no real stake in, will be very unlikely to produce good for the nation in the end.
My grandniece, Alli Simpson, who isn’t my official grandniece yet, but I expect that she will be one day soon, is my grandnephew, Xander Spethman’s girlfriend. They have been together for almost three years now, and are so perfectly suited for each other, that it is hard to believe that they aren’t married yet. Some couples are that way. Their relationship makes them seem married even though they aren’t yet. Alli also fits into the Spethman family like she is already a daughter-in-law, and they love her very much. Alli and Xander might have moved to their own place now, but they are still very close to the Spethman family, and many nights find them at the Spethman house enjoying time with his siblings and parents.
This past year has been a busy one for Alli an Xander. They moved into their own place, and she started a candle making business called The Funky Candle Company, and in August, she announced that her candles could be purchased at the Copper Leaf in Glenrock, Wyoming, as well as online at her website (coming soon), and at her Facebook page The Funky Candle Co. I am so happy for her and her business. She had wanted to be a nurse, but with Covid-19 and the vaccinations, she decided against that career. This new venture has been very fruitful and gratifying for her.
Alli and Xander love pets, and they have three. They rescued two dogs, Rocky and Thor, and they have two cats too, Jasper and Salem. Jasper loves Allie so much, as do the “boys” Rocky and Thor, as well as Salem. Alli has a heart of gold, and when it comes to animals, she is a total softie. Animals can tell when someone is an animal lover, and they can tell when someone isn’t, and they will stay away. Animals are drawn to Alli and Xander, because they love pets so much. With their four pets, their little family is complete…for now anyway.
Alli also loves plants, and she can grow anything. She reminds me of my daughter, Amy Royce in that way. With those two, is best to either keep them out of a plant nursery or get out of their way when they walk in the door, because they can get pretty excited. Being a green thumb is an amazing skill, and one I wish I had, but alas, I do not. That said, I am in awe of those who are green thumbs, like Alli. Today is Alli’s 19th birthday. Happy birthday Alli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My little grandniece, Mackenzie Moore is growing up so fast that I can’t believe it. This year she has started Kindergarten, and she is having such a great time. Mackenzie loves learning, and she loves being around other kids. Like her mom, Lindsay Moore, Mackenzie is a very social girl. She makes friends easily, and with her smiling face, she is always well liked. Mackenzie has decided that she enjoys all the “specials” like art, PE, music, and library. Over the summer, she and her mom and dad, Shannon Moore, did a lot of bicycling, and Mackenzie learned to ride without her training wheels. That was an important skill, because now she and her mom ride their bicycles to take her to school every morning. It is such a special time for both of them.
Mackenzie’s sparkly personality and style make her a friend to many people. Mackenzie has made friends with all the neighbors, and she goes to visit them regularly. They love her so much and look forward to her visits. I remember her mom doing the same sort of thing at church, basically floating around the room to greet everyone. She didn’t do it like most of us do…the old “Hello” and move on. No, she actually talked to them and they to her. That is the kind of “visits” Mackenzie does too. That’s why all the neighbors love her. She truly cares about her neighbors. Their ages don’t matter to her, because she only sees the people, and Mackenzie likes people. And because she is so sweet, they enjoy having her come over too.
Mackenzie’s 5th year was a fun one, and quite busy. She and her parents did quite a bit of traveling. They went to Texas for the Wyoming Bowl Game. Her daddy is one of the coaches, so Mackenzie goes to lots of games, and she understands football more than most girls her age. They will be headed back to Texas for another game this weekend. They also went to California and visited Disneyland and did lots of camping over the summer. Then, Mackenzie and her cousins, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock, and Adelaide Sawdon all went to Vacation Bible School at her church. During that week, Mackenzie received Jesus as her savior! It was the greatest moment of the whole summer!! Mackenzie loves her cousins so much. She also has a cousin named Khloe on the Moore side of her family, and those two girls love to spend time together.
Now, Mackenzie is ready to begin her 6th year. It is a blank slate, where she will be free to create all the beautiful things her heart desires. Mackenzie has many talents, and whether she chooses ballet or sports, I know she will always do whatever she does, with the biggest smile on her face. It’s all part of her sparkly personality. Today is Mackenzie’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!