My uncle, Wayne Byer was for many years the head of the bus garage of the Natrona County School District. It was a job he liked, and he was very well known and liked by everyone within the district. We, his nieces and nephews, were also very proud of the fact that our uncle was in charge of the bus garage…whether we rode a bus or not. I think most of us felt like he ran the school, which of course, he didn’t, but we were kids…what did we know?
While he wasn’t in charge of the school, some of us still found that it pays to know people in high places, or not so high places. As long as they were liked, it paid to know them. Knowing Uncle Wayne was not something that I ever recall bringing me any special treatment, but my sisters, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock had a different take on that story. While attending East Junior High School, the subject of Uncle Wayne, and our relationship to him, somehow came up. That was advantageous for my sisters, in that the ladies who worked in the cafeteria, knew and very much liked Uncle Wayne. That said, they also took a liking to my sisters, and therefore, saved them some of the best food…freshest, best cuts, biggest pieces, best desserts, and such, were among the perks. I’m sure that Uncle Wayne never knew this was happening, not that it would have bothered him. I can see him grinning over such an event right now.
Of course, it was a great compliment to Uncle Wayne, and well earned. He was always an easy going, fun loving, slightly mischievous man, and that endeared him to a lot of people. He didn’t have to do much…just smile at them with that infectious smile of his, and people immediately loved him. And anyone who could honestly say they were related to him should have special treatment too. I guess it was just not something I ever thought of telling everyone, although I can see now that I should have. I can totally see how the ladies in the cafeteria could grow to like Uncle Wayne, because he was a very likeable man, and every one of his nieces and nephews would tell you the same. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 81st birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne. Have a great day!! We love you!!
As a kid, I remember the funny things that my Uncle Wayne Byer would do, like pushing his false teeth out of his mouth and making them clack together part way out of his mouth. The kids, who always seemed to gather around him, would laugh with delight, while trying to do that with our own teeth, an endeavor that proved impossible. Uncle Wayne had a great laugh and a bright smile, both of which were kid magnets…probably even his childhood years. I can imagine that any kid who was younger than Uncle Wayne, wanted nothing more than to spend time around him, just to see what mischief he might get into next…at least those who knew him, anyway. And my mother, Collene Spencer, being just 2 years older that he, and his usual partner in crime, can tell you just that, for sure.
When I had children of my own, I found myself feeling proud of the fact that my Uncle Wayne was the head of the Natrona County School District #1 bus garage. It was he who made sure that the bus and the driver of the bus that transported my children to school every day were safe and well trained. For a parent who put their kids on a bus and sent them to school on icy roads, and a rather large hill with steep edges and no guard rail, I wanted to know that the driver of that bus knew what he or she was doing. Those were my precious babies after all. Uncle Wayne had retired by the time my girls finished riding the bus to school, but I always felt blessed to have had him there during those years.
I don’t get to see Uncle Wayne much anymore, because I’m working, and he is busy doing his own things, but I still enjoy watching him connect with the little kids whenever I do see him. And of course, we all enjoy hearing his laughter and seeing his smiling face. His sense of humor will always be something that is near and dear to my heart. Uncle way is getting older, like all of us are, and it occurs to me that we may not have him with us too many more years…except for the fact that he is in good health…something that I am very grateful for. Losing aunts, uncles, and parents is really hard, so for as long as we have him with us, and beyond, I will always first picture him clacking his false teeth, whenever he comes to my mind. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!