As with my dad, Allen Spencer, the longer my mom, Collene Spencer is in Heaven, the more I miss her. I was actually thinking about her a couple of days ago, not that I don’t think of her every day, but this was on a more specific subject. Mom was such a deeply Christian woman, and she worked very hard to educate herself in God’s ways and in His Word. Now, as I take my own walk in the Lord, I find myself reflecting on all the people my mom influenced to turn their lives over to the Lord. My parents were great spiritual leaders, and while they didn’t travel the world evangelizing, they spoke to those they could, and their good clean lives did the rest. After my mom’s funeral, I was surprised at the people who told me about how my parents’ lives had influenced them. To say the least, I was amazed. My parents, in their own quiet, unassuming way drew many people to the Lord.
While my mom’s Christian walk is so important, it is not the only endearing quality my mom possessed. She loved making her daughters smile and would go to great lengths to accomplish her goals. She woke us up each day with a song…often a silly song. If we didn’t smile, she would sometimes make funny faces or act in a funny way. Mom’s laugh was infectious, and you really couldn’t help but laugh. As I think back of the days of my childhood, I realize more and more, just how blessed I am, and how blessed I was then. Mom taught her daughters the things we would need to be successful in whatever we undertook, but first and foremost, she taught us how to care for a family and a home. We all knew how to cook, and we are all good cooks. Mom came from a long line of really great cooks, and she passed all the knowledge down to us. Like her mom, Hattie Byer, she could make a great meal out of just about anything. Mom was born toward the end of the Great Depression, and the people of that era knew that it was essential to be frugal. She had 8 siblings, and Grandma and Grandpa (George Byer) never turned away a hungry soul. The food just had to stretch, and it did. And it still tasted great, even if there was a little more water, a couple more potatoes, and a little less meat in the stew. Mom learned from the best, and her daughters and our families benefitted.
Mom was such a sweet and loving person, and always tried to do right by all who crossed her path. Mom always tried to walk in love toward her fellow man. She was known to stop and pray for someone who had a need. She was a generous woman who always gave as much as she could. Her giving nature, a reflection on her parents and her loving relationship with our dad, showed in everything she did, and was something she tried to also instill in her daughters. We simply couldn’t have asked for a better mom, or dad. Today would have been Mom’s 88th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much, and we look forward to seeing you again when we all go to Heaven.
Our aunt, Charlys Schulenberg is all about family. She and Uncle Butch have three grown children, Tadd, Andi Kay, and Heath; as well as spouses and seven grandchildren. Their marriage has been very blessed, and Charlys is always happy when she gets to see her kids and grandkids. Unfortunately, their children don’t live in Forsyth, Montana where Aunt Charlys and Uncle Butch live, but thankfully they don’t live too far away…one in Helena, Montana and two in Sheridan, Wyoming. That kind of closeness means that they and easily plan for family gatherings, and I’m sure that makes everyone very happy.
Aunt Charlys is such a sweet person, and a great blessing to be around…if you like being spoiled, and let’s be real, who doesn’t like being spoiled. The times Bob and I went to visit, I found out just what a great cook Aunt Charlys is. She and Uncle Butch have a lovely home in a senior community, that overlooks the Yellowstone River. That view is spectacular, and it inspires lots of pictures of stunning sunsets over the river. Not to mention many evenings sitting in the back yard watching the river go by as the sun sets. There is nothing more peaceful than that. They also have beautiful flower gardens, and a nice lawn that they really don’t have to mow, although I think Butch might mow sometimes. Their place is just such a lovely setting, and they feel so at peace there. Of course, they also have their vegetable garden, and from what I’ve seen, it looks pretty good…at least the past ones did. Each year is new and different, and I pray that they have a great crop this year.
While I have never met Aunt Charlys’ sister, Carol Hansell, who lives in Mississippi, but I love the relationship they have. Charlys, Butch, and Carol are always teasing each other, which reminds me of my own sisters and me. I love when siblings can joke around and make each other laugh, because let’s face it, you can never laugh too much. And siblings…well, they are priceless. It used to be that if you and your siblings were going to be very close, you needed to live near each other, but now with so many options on the internet, like Facebook, you can stay close, even over the miles. It makes me happy for Aunt Charlyn and her sister.
Even though we don’t get to see Aunt Charlys and Uncle Butch as much as we would like to, because we too live a way away from them. I always feel a closeness to them when we are there, or even when we are just having a Facebook conversation. They are both such friendly and welcoming people, and they make everyone feel really happy. Today is Aunt Charlys’ birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Charlys!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
No disease, especially those that are highly contagious, and for which there is no known cure, is easy to find out that one has, and for those who might have been around the victim of said disease, it can be very frightening. Mary Mallon, who was born September 23, 1869, Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, immigrated to the United States in 1883. Possessing minimal skills, she made her living as a domestic servant, most often as a cook. At some point, she became a carrier of the typhoid bacterium (Salmonella typhi), although no one really knows exactly when or how that happened. Nevertheless, between 1900 and 1907, nearly two dozen people fell ill with typhoid fever in households in New York City and Long Island where Mallon worked. That was the first clue that she was a carrier, because the illnesses often occurred shortly after she began working in each household, then by the time the disease was traced to its source in a household where she had recently been employed, Mallon had already moved on, with no forwarding address. The whole dilemma made it very hard to really track down the carrier, and she knew nothing about it, because she wasn’t ill. It is unusual to be asymptomatic, but not impossible, and Typhoid Mary was one of the unusual ones.
Finally, in 1906, after 6 people in a household of 11 where Mallon had worked in Oyster Bay, New York, became sick with typhoid, the home’s owners hired New York City Department of Health sanitary engineer George Soper to investigate the outbreak. Soper’s specialty was studying typhoid fever epidemics, so he was just the man for the job. Of course, Soper was not the only investigator looking for the carrier of the dreaded typhoid disease. Typhoid can usually be cured these days using medications like Ciprofloxacin and Ceftriaxone, but in those days, it meant a death sentence for many people. As the investigation continued, it was concluded that the outbreak had likely been caused by contaminated water. Mallon continued to work as a cook, moving from household to household until 1907. Finally in the right place at the right time, Mallon was located working in a Park Avenue home in Manhattan. The winter of that year, following an outbreak in the Manhattan household that involved a death from the disease, Soper met with Mallon. Following extensive tests, he linked all 22 cases of typhoid fever that had been recorded in New York City and the Long Island area to her. It was this connection that earner her the “unwanted” nickname of Typhoid Mary.
A scared Mallon fled the area, but authorities led by Soper finally overtook her and had her committed to an isolation center on North Brother Island, which is a part of the Bronx, New York. There she stayed, despite an appeal to the US Supreme Court. She was finally released in 1910, when the health department released her on condition that she never again accept employment that involved the handling of food. These days she might have been able to go back to work as a cook, but at that time they couldn’t successfully test for the presence of the bacteria in a person, and with the very real possibility of passing the contagion through food, it was a risk they couldn’t take.
Unfortunately for Mallon, an epidemic four years later, brought her once again into the spotlight. The epidemic was at a sanatorium in Newfoundland, New Jersey, and at Sloane Maternity Hospital in Manhattan. Mallon had worked as a cook at both places. Mallon was at last found in a suburban home in Westchester County, New York, and was returned to North Brother Island, where she remained for the rest of her life. In 1932, she suffered a paralytic stroke that led to her slow death six years later.
Mallon claimed to have been born in the United States, but it was later determined that she was an immigrant. Although she herself was immune to the typhoid bacillus, 51 original cases of typhoid and three deaths were directly attributed to Typhoid Mary. There were also countless more that were indirectly attributed to her as people she infected, passed the illness to people they came in contact with.
My nephew, Steve Spethman is a great husband and dad. Steve joined our family when he married my niece, Jenny Spethman on September 21, 2002. Their marriage has been blessed with five children, Xander, Zack, Isaac, Laila (who lives in Heaven), and Aleesia. They have such a strong bond, and I think much of that is due to the fact that Steve is a romantic and a protector. He loves Jenny so much, and no matter what happens in life, he is there to show her how much he loves her. He recently took Jenny to a 311 concert just so he could listen to one song that he plays to her all the time, called “Love Song.”
Steve loves to cook and many of us in the family have had the wonderful opportunity to eat some of the great dishes he makes. He also has his own forge, and he has made lots of wonderful knives…all of which he has sold for a very nice profit. Steve also does metal art, but he rarely sells any of that, because he pretty much does that for Jenny, as a labor of love. He is such a hard worker. He works all day and the comes home to work in the forge, making knives and such for extra money. Really, it’s because he loves to make things and he’s very good at it.
Steve is an avid gun owner and loves to go out shooting. He has trained all their kids to shoot, and the boys have all passed their hunter safety classes and go hunting with Steve to help provide meat for the family. The children have also been taught the value of life and to respect life. A big part of gun safety is to teach the gun user that to use the gun in deadly force against another human being must be carefully thought out and used only to protect from attack. The children have been taught these important values.
Steve loves to take his family places and show them the many great things this country has to offer. They love to go to Rapid City and the Black Hills area, especially the water parks. They also love the things that the Casper area has to offer, often going to the summer “Rock the Block” programs and other things that are held at David Street Station. But they also love to go to the Alcova Lake and to Casper Mountain, where they enjoy hiking. Steve also loves to take everyone for rides on his motorcycle, but of course, his favorite riding partner is the love of his life, his wife, Jenny. Steve has made the lives of his family so blessed, and they all love him so much. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We all love you!!
My husband’s grandmother, Vina Hein was an amazing cook. The food she made wasn’t fancy, and in fact I suppose it was what would be called “comfort food” these days. Grandma learned to cook as a girl taking care of her dad and brother after her mother left them when she was about ten years old. She loved her dad and brother, and for a while, it was just the three of them. Then her dad remarried, and things changed again. Grandma didn’t talk about that time much, but she endured and grew to be the wonderful woman that we all knew.
There wasn’t much that Grandma couldn’t handle, and when she married Walt Hein, she became a rancher’s wife. They had a big spread out in the country, and she cooked, canned, helped with the animals, gardened, and kept the house. It was work she had trained for since she was a child. She was destined to be the family matriarch, and she was good at her job. Over the years she helped out with grandchildren when their parents worked, and the kids absolutely loved to be at Grandma’s house. Even the grandchildren who lived far away loved to come to visit Grandma and Grandpa.
My husband, Bob Schulenberg went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa just about every year. He helped out around the ranch, and in general, got to have a great time on his “almost like summer camp” visits. And when he was grown, he still liked to go visit his grandparents. When we got married, he wanted to pass that tradition on to his girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, and to me. We loved going for visits, and that is something I miss to this day. Grandma didn’t always like to play cards, like Grandpa did, but she would do it for us. You had to have partners, after all. Grandpa would have played for hours, but Grandma had other things to do, so after a couple of hours, Grandpa would head out to the barn to take a nap, while Grandma and our family did other things around the house. He didn’t want to interfere with the dinner preparations, after all. Grandma always had wonderful things, like real cream, thick and cold, a taste I have never found in a store. Strawberry Rhubarb pie and jelly too. Wonderful home raised beef, and farm fresh eggs. And of course, her canned vegetables and garden-fresh vegetables too. It would have been worth the drive just for Grandma’s good cooking, for sure, and I would sure love to have one of her meals again right now. Today is the 113th anniversary of Grandma Hein’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma. We love and miss you very much. And it looks like Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of Winter, but I guess that no longer matters to you, like it did when you were a kid.
My aunt, Doris Spencer has always been such a sweet person. She goes out of her way to make people feel welcome in her home. I remember so many visits over the years. Aunt Doris was a great cook, and man…could she put on a spread. It didn’t matter what was going on in her life, when you were at her house, you were the top priority. Aunt Doris was only interested in one thing…making sure that her guests had a great visit. While Aunt Doris is very focused when it comes to entertaining, she is far from a serious, stuffy hostess. She can be completely hilarious.
My mom, Collene Spencer, and Aunt Doris were best friends when my family lived in Superior, Wisconsin. The two of them always had a great time together. They were almost like two kids. The things they did, like dieting together, even though neither really needed to lose much weight. Nevertheless, they dieted, and if they got really hungry, Aunt Doris would give each of them one Puffed Rice grain…to hold them over. Hahahahahaha!! I can’t say that ever really worked. In fact, I’m sure it didn’t work, but they gave it the old college try. They also tried ketchup soup…basically ketchup and hot water…making a kind of tomato soup. Oh my!! How dieting has changed over the years.
Aunt Doris was a lot like my mom. They both loved to laugh and were not above silliness to get those around them to smile and laugh. Aunt Doris has a generous heart, and is such a kind loving person. During the years that my parents, my sister, and I lived in Superior, Wisconsin, Aunt Doris was a blessing from Heaven to my mom, who was a young woman, just married, and living in a place where she knew almost no one. Aunt Doris was my mom’s sister-in-law as well. Since our family moved from Superior, Wisconsin to Casper, Wyoming, we haven’t have the opportunities to visit her that we had before, and I am very sorry about that. When we got together more often, we were all a blessing to each other. My sisters and I will be going to Wisconsin for a visit this summer, and we are all excited to be able to see Aunt Doris again. Today is Aunt Doris’ 97th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Doris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Chelsea Hadlock, wife of my nephew, Ryan Hadlock, has spent a number of years being a great stay-at-home mom, raising their kids, Ethan and Aurora. She is a great mom and both of their kids are just as sweet as they can be and very well mannered. Chelsea and Ryan have done a wonderful job with the kids. Chelsea and the kids are hanging out this summer, gardening, going to the summer movies and making a couple of trips to Loveland to see their grandma, Debbie Moss. Chelsea and Ryan get together with the Hadlock family for barbecues and dinners at each other’s houses. It’s a great part of summer. Chelsea makes an excellent potato salad and a super yummy dip which the family always ask her to make. I know from experience Chelsea is an excellent cook, and we have all been treated to her cooking and believe me, it is excellent.
Now, Chelsea has decided to get her real estate license, so she is studying very hard for her test. She will make an excellent realtor. My sister, Allyn Hadlock thinks real estate may just end up being Chelsea’s niche! I can see that. Chelsea is a very social person, and she knows houses and decorating too. Chelsea and Ryan are going to buy my sister and brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock’s house when they move to their new home. Ryan and Chelsea are hoping she will be able to be the realtor when they sell their own house. This is going to be a really good thing for their family. Real estate is a great career move.
Chelsea is such an asset to our family. In the 11 years since Chelsea joined our family, she has shown a willingness to help out wherever she’s needed and she is a much loved member of the family. Chelsea has a beautiful smile, and always makes those around her feel good. She has always want to be a mom, and have a family, and so her own family has been a dream come true. For my sister and brother-in-law, they couldn’t have asked for a better person to be their only daughter-in-law. We all love Chelsea, and we couldn’t be happier to have her in our family. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandfather, George Byer was a man of gentle strength. Many people may not think those to traits go together, but in him they did. He was always a hard-working man, who gave his all to support his family, but maybe the gentleness came partly from the fact that he had 9 children, 7 of whom were girls. That can make a man understand that girls are often the fairer gender, at least in those days. Grandpa Byer lived in a time when the women stayed home and raised the family and the men went out and made the living…even if that meant working long hours or multiple jobs. Grandpa also lived during the great depression, when jobs were scarce, so the women need not have bothered to go look for one very often.
While times were tough sometimes, the family really never wanted for much, and grandma, Hattie Byer could somehow make the meager portions of food go a long way, and still never turn away a stranger in need of a meal, and it seemed there was always a plentiful supply of those strangers and friends who would come for dinner at the Byer house. They were a good team, and truth be told, Grandma Byer was probably just as tough, if not more so than Grandpa Byer, who did have a definite soft spot in his heart for people. Grandpa worked at a number of jobs, but the one I probably heard the most about was the building of Alcova Dam Grandpa had also worked on Kortez Dam and Pathfinder Dam, but my mom, Collene Spencer, who was Grandpa’s middle child, always mentioned to us that her dad had helped build Alcova Dam, every time we drove past it. She was very proud of her dad, and with good reason, because he was very special.
Grandpa served in the Army during World War I as a cook. While he was very brave, and never a man to shirk his duties, I think it would have been hard for this gentle soul to have a military career of killing people. Nevertheless, had the need arisen, he would have done it, because he always knew that he would protect those in his charge. He was a very loyal soldier, and he would never have allowed those he cared about to be killed, if he could stop it. His gentle strength was, for me, his trademark trait. I remember it from my childhood as clearly as if Grandpa Byer were standing right next to me as I write this story. he was the sweetest, kindest, most gentle man anyone could have known. Today would have been my Grandpa Byer’s 126th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love and miss you very much!!
My son-in-law, Travis Royce is a man of many talents, who never brags on himself. He is really a very humble man. He loves do home improvement projects and make things in general. Last year, while his family was visiting us out in Wyoming, Travis was home building a beautiful patio area for Amy at home. Because Travis and Amy like to make wine, Travis wanted to incorporate wine into the design, so he used wine bottles as the spindles on the rail. It is such a cool, and unique idea, a one that is not surprising when Travis makes something. He has really unique ideas, and with his tendency to try to surprise people with his work, Travis is a man with a flair for the unexpected.
According to my granddaughter, Shai Royce, her dad “loves home improvement projects, reading, especially about history, comedy, Kung Foo, football, playing guitar, and the three of us.” The three of them being his family, my daughter, Amy, and their kids, Shai and Caalab. Most of Travis’ likes were things I knew about, but Kung Foo surprised me. Not sure what to make of that, I asked Shai is he was taking classes in Kung Foo, but she said no, almost laughing I’m sure, it’s Kung Foo movies he likes. In fact, he and Shai used to watch Kung Foo movies together when she was a little girl. Travis loves to barbecue and entertain. He is a great cook, often cooking breakfast for his family, but he is really in his element when he is barbecuing. He loves making wine to share with his family and friends, and what better time to share wine than when you have friends over to barbecue. With Travis sense of humor, it’s always great time.
The past couple of years, Travis has stepped out of his element to a degree, when the whole family decided to bowl on a bowling league. It was a lot of fun for all of them this year, and they were more than a little bit surprised to find that they had taken fist place. They have been invited to bowl in a county wide tournament for the county championship in Bellingham this Saturday and they are looking forward to that. Then, they found out that Travis had taken most improved bowler award…improving his average by 13 pins. I’d say that it has been a pretty good year for Travis, and we wish him many more great years in the future. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day! We love you!!
When my grandfather, George Floyd Byer was in the service during World War I, he started out as a cook, and later became the chief cook…or basically the man in charge. He was well respected by all the men under him. In fact, he and his men got along so well that they even liked spending their leave time together. A lot of the time, men on leave hang out with other guys in their unit, but not usually the ones who are above them, nevertheless, Grandpa’s men didn’t seem to mind at all. Or maybe it was just different back then.
Whether a person is excited about being stationed in another country or not, it is a good opportunity to see the world. Even in World War I, when it was not quite as easy to get to so many places, they could still see the towns around them, and like my grandfather, sometimes they get to see a castle in France. This was the case when my grandfather and some of his men went on leave. I don’t know how much of the castle they got to see, but they were able to say that they had been to one, and that is a very cool thing in the World War I days.
My grandfather was always a very respected man, in the service and out of it. Nevertheless, it is hard for me to imagine him in the service. He was such a gentle man…like my dad, and it’s hard for me to imagine my dad in the service too. Neither of them seem like a person who could possibly kill someone. I guess that war is just different. It truly is kill or be killed, and you do what you have to do to stay alive and watch the backs of the men you serve with. I can very much imagine my grandfather and my dad doing that. They were both honorable men, and while killing a human being is something neither would ever do for no good reason, when it comes to protecting their family or their comrades, they did what they had to do.
Knowing how loyal my grandfather was to his men, I can totally see why they respected him so much. He was kind and caring, not just to his family, but to his men, because men who are far away from home during a war, are definitely dealing with a lot of emotions. It helps to have someone in charge who can understand how you feel, and give you advise when it is needed. That’s how my grandfather was. Today would have been Grandpa Byer’s 121st birthday. I wish he could still be with us…I miss him. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandpa. We love you.