My cousin, Delwin Johnson was always a quiet man…at least he was every time I was around him. Nevertheless, he was a sweet man, and it makes me sad that he has left us. I’m sure that he wasn’t quite so quiet around his family. In fact, he loved teasing his nephew, Ethan Stanko when he kept asking his mom, JeanAnn Stanko to explain the game of football to him on Thanksgiving, but then Ethan was just too busy to listen to his mom teach him about the game. It’s a typical kid thing, but funny, nevertheless. As for Del’s brother, Elmer…well, they were very close, and there will always be a hole in Elmer’s life where his little brother once was. That makes me so sad, because I know Elmer missed Del so much.
Delwin, wasn’t a clumsy sort, but he did have a “little mishap” one time while he was out hunting with his sister, Darla Stanko. His niece, JeanAnn Stanko tells me, “He was with mom (his sister, Darla Stanko). They stopped because they saw a deer and he accidentally shot through the floorboards, hitting the transmission cooling lines. As you know transmission fluid is red, so it looked like the car was bleeding.” I can see the shock on their faces now, and then, I can almost hear Delwin saying, “Oops, I shot the car!!” Then, the shock would most likely turn to hysterical laughter…until it came time to figure out how to get home…and how to get the car fixed.
Ashley McCollum calls Delwin, Uncle Del, not because he is her biological uncle, but because her dad and Del were friends before Ashley was born. Ashley grew up around Del, and she said that Del had a profound impact on her life. When Ashley was in 7th grade, she was living with Del in a little house on Durbin Street in Casper, and their favorite thing to do was to take turns playing Zelda on Del’s Super Nintendo. They loved to take their fishing trips. He also helped Ashley and her dad when they needed a new roof on their house. And there was the time Del fed Angel (who I assume was a dog) the last of his pizza. Ashley says you would just have to be to understand, and that she will forever miss her Uncle Del.
Rachel Johnson, Del’s daughter-in-law recalls the trips she and his son, Jason took to see Del, over the 4th of July. Del’s grandson, JJ had such a wonderful time. He and Grandpa Delwin loved playing with the Nerf guns. Every time JJ managed to hit Del in the chest, Del acted the part of a man who had been shot. JJ loved it!! He laughed and laughed. JJ loved his grandpa so much, and after they had visited, he asked to go see Grandpa Delwin for weeks and weeks. Del loved being a grandpa, and the grandkids and step grandkids were his pride and joy. They are the blessing you get from being a parent. Delwin passed away in exactly the way he wanted to…peacefully in his sleep. We will all miss him very much. Rest in peace Del…until we all meet again.
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Bernard Eugene “Butch” Hein was a well-known rancher is Forsyth, Montana. He was born June 28, 1945, in Miles City, Montana, to Walt and Vina Hein of Forsyth, Montana. Butch was the youngest of his mother’s five children (two of them, Marion and Walt Schulenberg) from a previous marriage. He also had a sister, Esther Hein and a brother, Eddie Hein. The family lived on a ranch outside of Forsyth. It was there that Butch first learned about ranching and knew that this would be his life’s work. While Butch would spend his childhood years helping on the ranch, there would be other life events that would have to take place before he finally settled into ranching. Butch graduated from Forsyth high school in 1964. The Vietnam war was in full swing, and Butch was drafted to the Navy in 1966. In all the years I have known Butch, he, like most other veterans never talked about his time during that war. I don’t know where he spent his service years, but I know that he was one of the men blessed to have made it home.
After returning home for his time in the service, Butch married Bonnie Wertz on April 13, 1968. Bonnie was the love of his life, and they began to build a life together. Their son, Scott Michael was born on November 5, 1969, and they were happy with their little family. Unfortunately, while they were preparing to expand their family, Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer. She delayed treatment in order to give their daughter a chance at life. Crista Dawn was born on October 26, 1973, but passed away on November 2, 1973. Bonnie continued to weaken and passed away on April 27, 1974. Butch was devastated. He felt like his life was over, but he had a son who needed him, so Butch pulled himself together, and raised his son as a single dad. Scott was his greatest achievement, and they were not only father and son, but later business partners and best friends. That friendship continued right up to Butch’s passing.
On October 13, 2023, a 78-year-old Butch, who was still very vibrant and full of life, got in his car and entered the interstate at his life-long hometown, Forsyth, Montana. Much of the rest is unknown at this time, but in the end, Butch was hit broadside by a semi-truck, and killed instantly. For his family, and all who knew him, this was a devastating loss. Butch was a friend to many, and certainly most of the town of Forsyth. He was also Grandpa to Scott’s three children with his wife Terri (née Wiederrick) Hein…Laura (Sean) Dailey, Carson Hein, and Lindsey Hein. Butch was so proud of his family, and one of the recent highlights of his life was being able to attend his granddaughter, Laura’s wedding on September 30, 2023. His grandchildren were his pride and joy. Laura is a junior high school teacher in Chester, Montana; Carson works at the ranch with his dad and grandpa; and Lindsey is in college at Montana State University, having received a basketball scholarship. Butch was an amazing dad to Scott, and a blessing to Terri and the kids as well. His life’s work might have been ranching, but his family was his legacy. He will be forever loved and missed very much.
My niece, Kaytlyn Griffith is in middle school now and she has done an amazing job with her grades. Her mom, Susan Griffith tells me that her grades are definitely better than Susan and Kaytlyn’s dad, Josh Griffith ever did. When the honor roll was released the last time a couple months ago Kaytlyn was on it with a 4.0 grade point average. Per parents were so proud, and she truly is an inspiration to them.
Because they live in the country, and her parents work, Kaytlyn qualifies for a restricted driver’s license. Kaytlyn is so mature and smart, that even though she barely studied for the written test, she got a 100% on it!! She is very smart. Once a driver passes the written test, they have 30 days to take the driving test. Unfortunately, when Josh went to take Kaytlyn for the driving test, they were told that she had to have an appointment, which we didn’t know before, because it never was that way in years gone by. Anyway, they had to reschedule the test. They couldn’t get an appointment until the 30 day…talk about cutting it close. They were all quite stressed. If she didn’t pass, she wouldn’t be able to try again another year.
Then, they found out that the test in was in Cody, rather than Lovell because that was the only option. Well, that added another stress factor because the traffic in Cody is very different than the traffic in Lovell. So, they spent the Thanksgiving holiday break making trips to Cody, so she could practice there for 2 to 3 hours a day.
To make matters worse, it snowed quite a lot on the day of the test. Nevertheless, they had to go or Kaytlyn would have to wait for another year. Then, the lady asked if she wanted to reschedule, to which Kaytlyn answered, “Absolutely not!!” Kaytlyn took the test driving her mom’s Tahoe which had 4-wheel drive, thankfully with an inch of snow on the ground. Kaytlyn did amazing. She didn’t slide at all in the intersections…pretty good for a 14-year-old girl!! It helped that she got to drive slower because of the snow. In the end, the snow, which they thought was a negative factor, ended up helping her a lot. Kaytlyn passed!! Her parents were quote proud and relieved. She only did one thing wrong during the test. Not bad for a young, first-time driver.
Her parents were so proud of her, and her dad fixed up a little car for her. The front end had been wrecked, but Josh had some new parts for it. Because it was two different colors, Josh, who is pretty innovative, made the color change a little more interesting by putting flames between the colors. It fits perfectly with Kaytlyn’s sense of humor.
Kaytlyn has grown up so fast. As her mom was looking through pictures from the past couple years, she was shocked at how much she had blossomed into a beautiful young lady. With her grades and everything else in her life, Kaytlyn has a bright future ahead of her. With her grades and everything else, her parents are beyond proud of her. They love her so much that words don’t cany begin to explain it. And we are all very proud of her too. Today is Kaytlyn’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandniece, Anna, is Anna no more. Anna, whose full name is Audrianna Taylor Masterson, as decided she wants to change things up a bit. So, now Anna is Taylor, and while I love the name Taylor, I have a feeling the transition for her family will not be easy. She has never really been Audrianna to me, but she was always Anna. I’ll have to work hard to use Taylor as her proper name now. So, what better time for me to get started!!
Taylor is starting high school next year and will be attending Kelly Walsh High School. Like most kids going from middle school to high school, Taylor finds this to be a very exciting time. It is a sign of so many things…becoming more grown up, planning for more freedom, and more great activities. One of her first priorities is to get a job, because she wants to get a car right away. Even though she can only get a permit right now, she wants to learn in her own car, and when she turns 16 next year, she will already have her wheels. I don’t blame her. Learning to drive in the same car you will drive later, will make that all important driving test that much easier. So far, Taylor has put in an application at Dairy Queen, and I really hope she gets that job. I know several kids who worked at Dairy Queen for their first job, and they all said that it was the best first job ever. I think is because it’s a happy place.
For Taylor, this next year is filled with so many changes…so many big things are coming her way. Taylor has really come out of her shell in the past year. Where there used to be shy girl, a bit of a social butterfly is emerging. She has her best friend group which consists of Christian and Eden, and they are pretty much inseparable. The Masterson house often sees these girls hanging out laughing and just having a great time off and on throughout the week, and probably even more now that summer has arrived. Taylor used to be nervous talking to people, but now she regularly invites her friends over for sleepovers, and she enjoys going places with her mom and sister, Raelynn, as well as her friends. She has also started going getting out on her own and with friends, working out and taking walks. Taylor has always been rather shy, so for her, learning to branch out and join in on fun things, is an amazing feat, and her family is so proud of her.
Taylor also rescued a cat recently. She found him under the family car up near the axel, so she named him, Axel Rob. He got his name because of his rescue, but he picked Taylor to be his human. The cat is super relaxed, much like Taylor, and he didn’t even need to be declawed. I’m not sure who adopted who, and in fact, maybe it is that Axel Rob and Taylor adopted each other. Whatever the case may be, it is a mutually beneficial adoption. Today is Taylor’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Taylor!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The Olympics…the dream of every serious athlete. While most of us will never get there, but many of us love to watch the best of the best athletes vie for the world title of Olympic Gold. These athletes would do just about anything to win. The men’s marathon in the 1904 Olympic Games was no exception.
This race might have been the strangest race in history…going forward or backward. Only a few of the runners had any experience in running a race…much less a marathon, and the others were…well, “oddities” to say the least. That marathon was more of a comedy show than a serious race. The runners consisted of ten Greeks who had never run a marathon. Two of these belonged to the Tsuana tribe of South Africa and arrived barefoot to the race, and one competitor was a Cuban mailman who wore street clothing to the race. These days, they would almost be laughed off the track. I can just hear the shocked voices throughout the crowd at that race.
If you thought the apparel was odd…well hold on to your horses, because the “level of strange” is just getting started. The first to complete the race was American runner named Fred Lorz. Apparently, Lorz had dropped out of the race after nine miles and then hitch-hiked in a car. When the car broke down at the 19th mile, he jogged to the finish line. He was disqualified and banned from the competition for life. Sounds fair to me. The second to arrive, and the champion with Lorz disqualification, was Thomas Hicks. Ten miles from the finish line, he had almost given up, but his trainers urged him to continue. Still, it was an enormous struggle. He was given several doses of strychnine, a common rat poison, to help get him to the end of the race…WHAT!! When he reached the stadium, his trainers and supporters carried him to the finish line! It’s a wonder their “energy boost” didn’t kill him!! Even though he got the gold medal that time, he never ran professionally again. A Cuban postman named Andarín Carvajal, ran the race in street clothes. To top it off, he had not eaten in 40 hours. Before a race!! Are you kidding me!! He got hungry and took a detour into an apple orchard during the race. He ate some rotten apples that gave him stomach cramps. Despite falling ill, he managed to finish in the fourth place!! Where were all the other racers, while he was taking his dinner break? If you ask me, this had to be the strangest marathon ever. It was almost like they were making it up as they went along.
The day after the debut of the Barbi doll on March 9, 1959, at the American Toy Fair in New York City, the doll had become an instant sensation. Basically, her debut makes Barbie 63 years old. The old girl has aged very well. In fact, she hasn’t aged a bit, although she can’t say she hasn’t had any work done. The reality is that Barbie has been redesigned at least every year. Of course, that isn’t saying she has had plastic surgery…or is it? She is, after all, made of plastic.
Barbie stands eleven inches tall, and at first anyway, had long blond hair. These days, of course as hairstyles have changed and it was decided that not all girls are blonds, her hair color and style have changed with the times. She has been given lots of cool clothes, shoes, a house, car, RV, and boat…and probably many other things. Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. I suppose that she caused quite a stir with many parents, but for girls everywhere, she was the princess they were going to be when they grew up. I know I couldn’t wait to get one.
The woman behind Barbie was Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc with her husband in 1945. Handler witnessed her young daughter ignore her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women, at which point she realized there was an important niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future. Barbie’s appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character. Lilli was originally marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops, but she later became extremely popular with children. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made its own version, which Handler named after her daughter, Barbara.
In 1955, Mattel became a sponsor of the “Mickey Mouse Club” TV program. With that, Mattel became one of the first toy companies to broadcast commercials aimed specifically at children. They used their commercials to promote their new toy, and by 1961, the enormous consumer demand for the doll led Mattel to release a boyfriend for Barbie. Handler named him Ken, after her son. Then, Barbie’s best friend, Midge, came out in 1963; her little sister, Skipper, debuted in 1964.
Of course, the Barbie doll was not without controversy. On a positive note, many women saw Barbie as providing an alternative to traditional 1950s gender roles. Her many careers, like airline stewardess, doctor, pilot, astronaut, Olympic athlete, and even US presidential candidate made some women see a possible future that was different than was common in the 1950s. Others thought Barbie’s never-ending supply of designer outfits, cars, and “Dream Houses” encouraged kids to be materialistic. However, the biggest controversy was over Barbie’s appearance. Her figure was unrealistic for a real woman. It was estimated that if she were a real woman, her measurements would be 36-18-38–led many to claim that Barbie provided little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example and fostered negative body image. Nevertheless, even with the criticism, Barbie never lost her appeal, and in fact she is as popular today as she ever was. I was just 3 years old when Barbie came out, and today, my great granddaughter, Cambree Petersen loves her Barbie dolls as much as I did, even if Barbie is…old!!!
My nephew, Weston Moore decided last year, after his high school graduation, to take some time off before going to college. He wanted to work, save up some money, and buy a different car. He also planned to save up some money for when he goes back to school. At this point, he is getting close to having enough money for the car, but as we all know, things have changed today’s world. with the Coronavirus Pandemic, people are being told to stay at home, businesses are closing down, only essential workers are allowed to go to work…all in an effort to stop the spread of this virus. That said, Weston still has a job, but not many hours.
In this time, Weston and his family are thankful that he was not away at college, especially since the colleges are mostly closed. Weston is still living at home and his family are all thankful to be together in this difficult time. Thinking back on his graduation, he and his family are glad he graduated last year, because with the pandemic, no school is assured of the ability to hold their graduation ceremonies or parties.
Many things are different now, and it is quite likely that there will be no big gathering for Weston’s birthday. Instead it will be just him, his brother, Easton; and their parents, Machelle and Steve. His mom decides to get a cake last week so she would have one, in case she couldn’t get out as the day drew closer. At this point, they have been hunkering down at the house, leaving only when necessary, and concentrating on staying well. Things are always subject to change…instantly in times of a great pandemic, like we are in the midst of, but Weston always has a great attitude, and that can make his one person who will lift every one else’s spirits. That kind of person is exactly what we need in trying time, and I’m glad that the Moore family has just such a person. These are strange times. Today is Weston’s 20th birthday. Where have the years gone. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg has been my brother-in-law for so long that he is really more my brother that brother-in-law. Ron was just 6 years old when Bob and I started dating. We used to take him places with us when most people he knew made him feel like he was in the way. He was too little to do much in the way of chores, and he couldn’t really help his dad work on a car. Everybody just kept telling him to, “Go play.” That is a big bummer for a little guy who just wants to be a part of what he sees as “the fun.”
While Ron gets to “play” with the big kids these days, his idea of “fun” hasn’t changed one bit. He still wants to play with the big toys. These days, as a mechanic, Ron can work on anything from a car to heavy equipment. He probably knows more about the equipment he works on that his dad ever did. His dad was an excellent mechanic too, but so much has changed over the years, and mechanics is no different. Computers have changed everything about how we work on things, In fact, some things won’t even tell us what is wrong without a computer. As these technological changes come into play, mechanics have to change with them. The problem for the older mechanics is that they are used to the old ways, or they have retired, and don’t have access to new technology. Then their own car needs work, and the don’t have the technology. Enter the younger guys.
Suddenly, it’s Ron who knows how to work on the new stuff. I suppose he could have told his dad and big brother to “go play,” but that wouldn’t be his style. Maybe because he knew how it felt, or more likely because he understands that there is a time to play with the big boys, and a time to wait your turn. For Ron I’m sure he knew that the time would come when he would be the one with the much needed knowledge. The other men would need to come to him for help. Yes, he could rub it in, but he didn’t. He is the go-to guy, and he is ready to help when he is asked. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Santa Barbara, California is a picturesque area with mountains to the east, ocean to the west, and palm trees everywhere. It seems like a perfect kind of paradise, and most of the time it probably is, but on June 29, 1925, many things changed. That morning, a magnitude between 6.5 and 6.8 earthquake hit the area of Santa Barbara. Although no foreshocks were reportedly felt before the mainshock, a pressure gauge recording card at the local waterworks showed disturbances beginning at 3:27am, which were likely caused by minor foreshocks. Then, at 6:44am the mainshock occurred, lasting 19 seconds. The earthquake’s epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara, in the Santa Barbara Channel. It is thought that the fault on which it occurred is an extension of the Mesa fault or the Santa Ynez system. The earthquake was felt from Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County to the north to Santa Ana in Orange County to the south and to Mojave in Kern County to the east. Major damage occurred in the city of Santa Barbara and along the coast, as well as north of Santa Ynez Mountains, including Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valleys.
Those were 19 seconds that started a disaster of epic proportions. The earthquake was immediately complicated when the dam broke and water mains burst. The earthen Sheffield Dam had been built near the city in 1917. It was 720 feet long and 25 feet high and held 30 million gallons of water. The soil under the dam liquefied during the earthquake and the dam collapsed. This was the only dam to fail during an earthquake in the United States until the Lower San Fernando Dam failed in 1971. When it burst, a wall of water swept between Voluntario and Alisos Streets destroying trees, cars, three houses and flooding the lower part of town to a depth of 2 feet. The rushing water caused some areas of the city to be flattened. People as far away as San Francisco and Los Angeles felt the earthquake, reporting millions of dollars worth of damage across California. The earthquake was even felt in other states as far away as Montana, who reported more damage. The earthquake destroyed the historic center of the city, with damage estimated at $8 million in 1925, or about $117 million today.
Thirteen people lost their lives that day, but it may have been far worse without the actions of three heroes. Those heroes shut off the town gas and electricity preventing a catastrophic fire. Most homes survived the earthquake in relatively good condition, with the exception of the fact that every chimney in the city crumbled. The downtown area of Santa Barbara was in complete ruins. On State Street, the main commercial street, only a few buildings remained standing after the earthquake. The City Cab building, The Californian, and Arlington garages…all large and fully occupied parking structures…collapsed. They were full of cars. Many other vehicles were crushed in the downtown area too. At least one death was the result of the San Marcos building crushing a car, as walls of buildings fell onto cars parked there. In the 36 block business district, only a few structures were not substantially damaged. Many had to be completely demolished and rebuilt. The façade of the church of the Mission Santa Barbara was severely damaged and lost its statues. Many important buildings, including hotels, offices, and the Potter Theater, were lost. The courthouse, jail, library, schools, and churches were among the buildings sustaining serious damage. Concrete curbs buckled in almost every block in Santa Barbara. Pavement on the boulevard along the beach was displaced by about a foot to a foot and a half, but oddly, the pavement in the downtown area was virtually not damaged.
Railroad tracks were damaged in several places between Ventura and Gaviota. In particular, a portion between Naples and Santa Barbara was badly damaged. Seaside bluffs fell into the ocean, and a slight tsunami was felt by offshore ships. The town was completely cut off from telephone and telegraph, and the only source of news was from shortwave radios. Because the gas was shut off, there was an absence of post-earthquake fires. This allowed scientists to study earthquake damage to various types of construction. That was a rare things for the scientists. The American Legion and the Naval Reserves from the Naval Reserve Center Santa Barbara patrolled the streets looking to inhibit looters of the damaged businesses and homes. Additional fire and police personnel arrived from as far as Los Angeles to assist the sailors and soldiers in maintaining order. Three strong aftershocks occurred at 8:00am, 10:45am, and 10:57am, but without further damage. There were many smaller shocks that continued throughout the day. An aftershock on July 3 caused additional cracked walls and damaged chimneys. Since downtown Santa Barbara suffered so much damage, there was a large-scale construction effort in 1925 and 1926 aimed at removing or repairing damaged structures and constructing new buildings. This new construction completely altered the character of the city center. Before the earthquake, a considerable part of the center was built in the Moorish Revival style. After the earthquake, the decision was made to rebuild it in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. This effort was undertaken by the Santa Barbara Community Arts Association, which was founded in the beginning of the 1920s and viewed the earthquake as the opportunity to rebuild the city center in the unified architectural style. As a result, many buildings later listed on National Register of Historic Places were designed in the late 1920s, among them the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and the front of the Andalucia Building. Building codes in Santa Barbara were also made more stringent after the earthquake demonstrated that traditional construction techniques of unreinforced concrete, brick, and masonry were unsafe and unlikely to survive strong quakes.
The current generation of kids probably have no idea what a phone booth is, besides maybe a place for Superman to change into his costume. From the time phones first became something that was provided to the public for a fee, phone booths became a common sight on city streets. Then in the 1950s, a new fad began. Much like the fad of stuffing as many people as possible into a car, people decided to stuff as many people as possible into a phone booth. My guess is that like most of these strange fads, this one too, was practiced mostly by young people.
Phone booth stuffing first gained popularity outside the United States, but once it arrived stateside, in spring 1959, kids couldn’t help but join in. Basically, people would cram their bodies into the narrow spaces like sardines in a can. Some adopted other methods, such as stacking themselves horizontally. Just imagine being the guy on the bottom of the stack. All I can say is, “Hurry up, because I can’t breathe!!”
As with so many other crazy fad, phone booth stuffing became something to set a world record for. People began trying to outdo the prior record. The word record for phone-booth stuffing came in March 1959, when 25 people in South Africa piled into a booth. I can’t imagine how they could possibly fit 25 people in a phone booth, but while they were all in there, the phone rang. Of course, nobody answered the phone, because nobody could move enough to reach it. Sadly, the trend died by the end of 1959. Of course, that doesn’t mean that some of the other stuffing trends didn’t continue. I think people are still stuffing as many people as they can into a car. I just hope they don’t try to drive that way.