My aunt, Virginia Beadle spent time out in nature with her family as a child when her dad, my grandpa, George Byer took the family out rock hunting, so she knew about snakes. In the years before her passing on November 29, 2019, at 89 years of age, Aunt Virginia lived with her son Steve Beadle and his wife, Wanda, and later with her son Bill Beadle and his wife, Janie. While she was living with Wanda and Steve, Aunt Virginia stepped out the front door of the house, and immediately back in. She told the boys that there was a rattle snake by the front door, and she said it was huge!! The boys thought she was a typical girl, afraid of any old snake. They said it was probably a garter snake. Well, it wasn’t a garter snake, and Aunt Virginia wasn’t a typical girl who was afraid of a snake. After Steve had killed the rattle snake and cut off his head and rattle, he measured the snake. Steve is 5’8″, and just holding the snake up, it hit the ground when Steve held it just under his chin. That is a big snake. I’m sure the boys believed that she knew a rattle snake when she saw one after that.
Steve was reminded of a story his mom (my Aunt Virginia) told him. She was about 4 or 5 years old, and the family was living in a sod house. Aunt Virginia was outside playing and she saw a string of beads on the ground. She picked them up and went inside to has her dad, my grandpa, George Byer, if she could keep the beads. Her dad was shaving, and when asked, he told her yes, then thought maybe he should see what she was wanting to keep. When he looked down, he saw that she was holding a blue racer snake by the tail…and it was trying to bite her. He quickly grabbed it and stomped on its head. Aunt Virginia is pretty sure that is where her fear of snakes came from. Steve also said, “If Mom says it’s a big dang snake, it’s a BIG dang snake!!”
A few years ago, Wanda and Steve decided to lift Aunt Virginia’s spirits following her husband, my Uncle Bill’s passing. Aunt Virginia had told Wanda, during one of their many conversations, that she had always dreamed of a bedroom that was red and gray. She had wanted that bedroom all of her adult life. Without telling Aunt Virginia what they were doing, Wanda and Steve gave Aunt Virginia that bedroom that she had always dreamed of. She told them it was “too beautiful to sleep in” when she saw it. She never thought her dream would come true, but that day, with tears of joy streaming down her cheeks, Aunt Virginia saw the beautiful bedroom her kids had given her. That bedroom was their gift to her, but it was more than that…it was their love for her, and she knew that. She knew they loved her before that, of course, but to take a lifelong dream and make it a reality…well, she felt like a princess. And then there were the PJs. Aunt Virginia and Wanda loved their PJs, and I think that’s very cool.
Aunt Virginia had three little fur babies that she loved very much. Her idea of a wonderful way to spend time was to sit out on the deck, that had been beautifully furnished with new deck chairs with lots of padding and ottomans, as a gift for her birthday one year. Aunt Virginia loved sitting on the deck with the puppies, Molly, Whiskey, and Rosie…babies that she claimed for her very own. She sat on “her” deck with “her” puppies every chance she got. She would also sit under the covered pergola and do her puzzles. Wanda swore me to secrecy here, so don’t tell, but she did more sleeping than puzzling. Aunt Virginia went to heaven on November 29, 2019, and this past April, her little puppy, Rosie went to join her there. Rosie was the puppy that always greeted Aunt Virginia in the hallway, every morning when she got up, and now Aunt Virginia got to greet Rosie when she went home too. Rosie was the one that greeted her in the hallway every single day when she got up. Rosie adored Aunt Virginia, and now they are together forever, and since Rosie’s birthday was yesterday and Aunt Virginia’s 91st birthday is today, they can celebrate together in beautiful Heaven style. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Virginia. We love and miss you very much.
A while back, I wrote a story about a house in Massachusetts that was built by our ancestor, James Noyes, who is my husband, Bob’s 7th great grandfather. Almost immediately, a cousin of ours, Paul Noyes told me that he had been there many times, and yet another cousin, David Noyes had been invited inside and had pictures. Of course, this was exactly what I was hoping for, because I wanted to talk about the interior of the home, but could not find any pictures online. So, I want to thank David for these beautiful pictures, and Paul for forwarding them to me, so that I can tell a little about the inside of this grand old house. My husband, Bob was sure that the interior had probably been renovated several times since the 1646 date that the house was built, but other than what has been documented, there is no indication of a massive remodel.
James Noyes, moved to and was co-founder of Newberry, Massachusetts in 1635, bringing with him, his wife Sarah Brown Noyes. Little was documented about where in Newbury they lived before the Noyes home was built in 1646, but the family grew by five children…Joseph, James, Sarah (who died at an unknown young age), Moses, and John. I would assume that their growing family was the reason for the large home to be built. Even with that, the home was not what we would consider large these days. The current home has five bedrooms, but it is my guess that the original probably had only three, a master bedroom for the parents, a bedroom for the boys, and a bedroom for the girls. The house was only one room deep in those years, and while it might have been somewhat small, I can only imagine what stories those walls would tell, if they could talk. My guess is that there would be stories of laughter, sadness, and crying as new babies joined the family. The family grew, with the additions of Thomas, Rebecca, William, and a second daughter named Sarah, after her mother and the first Sarah, who had passed away.
James and Sarah lived in the house for the remainder of their days, during which time the house saw children come into the family, and children marry and move away, returning now and again to share their children with their parents. Then on October 22, 1656, just seven months after his second daughter named Sarah, was born, James passed away. The house saw the sadness of a family in mourning for its patriarch. Sarah became the head of the family then, and so it remained until her passing on September 13, 1691. James and Sarah were blessed with at least 47 grandchildren…not all of whom lived very long unfortunately. Not much is said about what the children did with the home after their mother’s passing, but while it has been home to a number of families over the many years since it was built, it remains an important historical home and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. There were some changes, which added size to the home making it a five bedroom home at this present time. The last time the home was sold was in 2010, and it is my assumption that it was the current owners who allowed our cousin David Noyes to have a tour and take the pictures I now have of this beautiful home.
Lately, I have been watching the remodeling shows on television, such as Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, and Property Brothers. I find it very interesting that they can take a house that starts out looking so awful, and turn it into something quite beautiful. The reasons people remodel a home are as varied as the people themselves. By watching the shows, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to plan and execute a remodel of your own house. I can’t say, of course, that I am ready to tackle such a thing, but maybe someday I could be, if I watch those shows for a while.
I grew up in a little house, not far from where I live today. Back then, things were tight. Nevertheless, like most families who live in little houses, we were a very close family. Our parents, Allen and Collene Spencer, and their family of five daughters lived in a two bedroom house for much of my young life. Then, in the early 1970’s, my sister, Cheryl got married. Her husband was going to be going into the Air Force, and so they were living with us for a time. Our family was growing in another way too, because Cheryl was going to have her first child…her daughter and my niece, Chantel Masterson Balcerzak.
It was decided that the garage, which pretty much never held a car, but was rather a storage unit, should become a third bedroom and a utility room. Our house was about to undergo a renovation, and we would be the contractors. It was an exciting time. So much was changing in our family. My younger sisters and I were about to become aunts. Of course, the exciting part of the time would be short lived, because after my sister’s husband was done with basic training, they would be stationed in Plattsburgh, New York, and that would be one of the loneliest times we would face. But, that time was a little way off yet, and remodeling the house was exciting.
At first the work was done in the garage, while it still resembled the garage to a large degree. Cement was poured and we all put our hand prints in it before it dried…along with our names. It became a permanent part of the structure, and one I had forgotten about until I saw the picture that was taken of them. Before long, the garage had a floor that was the same level as the floor in the house, and doors were put in for the utility room and the bedroom that would become our parents room. The sleeping arrangements were a little unorthodox during this time, and my younger sisters and I found ourselves sleeping in the attic of the garage…at place that had been our clubhouse years earlier. It was almost like camping. The room that had been ours was now occupied by Cheryl and her husband.
Before very long, the renovations were complete, and we were back to sleeping in the bedroom again, except with only four of us now. Just as quickly, it seemed anyway, Cheryl and her husband were living in New York, and there were two sisters to each room. The renovations continued to make our lives more spacious, even if the house now had a bit of an empty feel. Having part of the family living so far away never got easier for any of us…until the time that they moved back to Casper for good. That was a great day. Still, by then, I was married and had a daughter of my own. Our family never lived together in that house again. Like that house, life had changed forever.
When most people think of the barracks, they think of a military facility, but not so my mother’s family. For all of their childhood, the barracks meant the bedroom. No, it isn’t because that is what they called the bedroom, because, they didn’t call the bedroom that. While visiting with my aunts, Sandy Pattan and Bonnie McDaniels, and cousins Susie Young, Shannon Limmer, and Jamie Patsie, after my mother passed away a week ago, we got on the subject of precious memories…which naturally took us to my grandpa and grandma, George and Hattie Byer’s house in North Casper, where they lived for many years right next door to his mother, my great grandma, Edna Byer. The two houses were very similar, but my grandparents house had an extra, very long bedroom attached to the back of the house. Grandma and Grandpa’s room was in from of that back bedroom, and there was another room where the two boys slept, but the girls all shared that huge back bedroom.
We always loved to go play back there, because it was a long room with lots of beds, and it just seemed very interesting to all the grandkids. I suppose that to the aunts and uncles, it was just normal, be we had really never seen anything like it. We began to talk about what spending the night in that back bedroom was like. There was no heat in that back room, so at night grandpa would heat rocks in the cook stove, and wrap them in a towel. Once the girls were tucked into bed, under a mountain of blankets, grandpa would come in and stick those towel wrapped rocks under the blankets at their feet. What a wonderful thing those rocks were. Aunt Bonnie tells me that they would immediately put their feet on those rocks, and before long, they would be all warm and cozy for the night. In the absence of heat, the blankets and the rocks did the job of keeping them warm quite well.
For us grandkids, the best way to play in that room in the winter cold, was to keep moving. I don’t think my aunts spent much time in there other than sleeping, because it was just too cold in winter. The main living room and kitchen were heated by the cook stove, and I’m here to tell you that those rooms were very warm…a fact that was just fine with me, since I have a tendency to get cold. Nevertheless, after some time in the main part of the house, the cooler bedroom could come as a nice change, until you got cold, then you went back out to the main rooms to warm up.
I had always wondered about the house with the long bedroom, and how it came to be…but no longer. As we were talking about those old days, my Aunt Sandy cleared that question right up. It turns out that both houses, Great Grandma’s and my grandparents, were originally old barracks from the air force base that used to be located in Casper. I don’t know for sure when they became the two houses, but that is what happened. My grandparents’ house had the added barracks to it, making up the big back bedroom where so many childhood memories for my mom, aunts, uncles, and many of the grandchildren, were built. In those days, times were tough, and people had to make do with what they had. In my opinion, the barracks and the houses attached to them, were more than just a way to make do. They are the houses I remember fondly from my own childhood years. We used to love going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. The house was always cozy, and my grandparents always pleased to see us. I get a warm cozy feeling just thinking about those visits.
As kids, most of us have varying degrees of difficulty keeping track of our toys, mittens, coats, shoes, homework, and other such vital items, and when it comes to actually looking for those lost items, we somehow seem to be less than adept. How can so many things simply disappear in our rooms? I used to think that my daughter, Amy had a black hole in her room, because some of that missing stuff was never heard from again…even when we moved!! Nevertheless, Amy was not alone in her mysterious disappearances. It seems to be a common problem among children…and some adults are no better at keeping track of their things…losing cell phones, keys, paperwork, remote controls, and any other item that they were going to put in a safe place, so it would not get lost.
I remember so many times as a kid, when I couldn’t find something, and my mom would tell me to go look for it, because she didn’t have time to hunt for it when we were fully capable. That did not inspire us to go and search our rooms in depth until the much needed item was found, but rather caused us to wander aimlessly around our room…playing with other things that came into our line of sight, because those things seemed much more important than looking for a lost shoe on a school day. Then after playing for a little while, we would wander out to the front room again, whining to Mom that we just couldn’t find it. It was our hope that Mom would finally take pity on us and come to help us hunt for that missing item. Most of the time we were sadly disappointed…except for the possibility of the missing shoe on a school day, which usually found us wearing some other pair of shoes, that probably didn’t really go with the outfit we had on, but would have to do, because like it or not, we were going to school. Mom wasn’t about to let something as minor as wearing a dress with tennis shoes, keep us home on a school day.
So, we usually found ourselves back in the bedroom, hunting for that missing item again, and wishing Mom would just come and find it, because she was so much better at looking for things than we were. I suppose that she was right in making us do things for ourselves. I think I do better than the average person at keeping track of my things these days, because of Mom’s teachings. Although I must admit that I still lose things sometimes too. Mom taught us to put things away, although we don’t always do so…even today. But the thing I remember the most about those times when I was in my room hunting for a lost item, and unable to find it, was my mom saying, “You’ll never find it if you keep looking for it on the ceiling”, which meant quit walking around the room hoping it will jump out at you, and start looking under the bed, in the drawers, or in the closet, so you will find it already.