As kids, my sisters and I probably took our parents for granted, but when we look at how hard they worked to make life great for us, it almost brings tears to my eyes. My parents, Al and Collene Spencer worked very hard to give us a good life. They made sure that we got to take vacations…always wanting to make sure we saw this great nation we live in. And it wasn’t just the vacations. It was the kind of home they made for us. No matter what, we always knew that we were all equally loved. We knew that love had nothing to do with whether or not we made mistakes, or even if we got into trouble. In those days, children were spanked to teach proper manners. I know that many people these days disagree with that type discipline, but it was the era we lived in. In those days, children knew that if the neighbor told you to quit tearing something up, you had better quit. There was a measure of respect for our elders and those in authority. I miss that in our world today. Although, I live in a neighborhood, where most of the kids are respectful. We are blessed to live where we do.
Mom and Dad met through her sister, Virginia Beadle, and my mom told me that it was love at first sight. She said that she tole herself that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. Mom was still a school girl, but as soon as she could, she and Dad were married. Dad was older than mom by twelve years, a common thing in those days. He had fought in World War II, and was ready to settle down and have a family. They married and moved to Superior, Wisconsin as part of their honeymoon. My older sister, Cheryl Masterson arrived ten months after their marriage, and their family was started. I followed almost two years later, and we moved to Casper, Wyoming a couple of years later. Caryl Reed followed three years after me, Alena Stevens two years after Caryl, and Allyn Hadlock two years after Alena. Our family was complete. Dad was always outnumbered, but his girls were his little princesses. He was always patient, understanding of the needs of girls…understanding girls was a necessity for Dad.
Mom and Dad were together for 54 years of marriage before Dad’s passing on December 12, 2007. Mom followed Dad on February 22, 2015, and now they are together again in Heaven. I’m sure they are enjoying Heaven and being together again. We miss them, but I can’t wish them back here. They would be horrified at what our world has become. Instead, we will go to join them someday, because Heaven is wonderful and we will all be happy together again, when we join them there. Today would have been Mom and Dad’s 67th Wedding Anniversary. Happy anniversary in Heaven, Mom and Dad. We love and miss you very much.
All dads are special in their own ways, whether they are dad to boys, girls, or a mix of both, once they become dads they truly become a totally different person. A man who has never been a dad, can love children or not, but when the children are his own, they are just different…special, and well…perfect. Their own children are always amazing, and its simply because their are their own. It doesn’t really matter if they wanted boys or girls, or some of each, because when that little one arrives, their Daddy’s Heart kicks into high gear and they find themselves thinking that there never was a greater kid than the one they were given. And each new child is viewed the same.
I’ve seen the Daddy’s Heart in so many people, beginning with my own dad, Allen Spencer, then with my husband, Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg. Whatever their kids needed was priority. I don’t mean to say that we were all spoiled rotten, because we had rules and discipline, but when it came to making our lives wonderful, they were right there, making sure that we were so very blessed. It was not about lots of things, but rather the love they showed to us every day. Whenever things were wrong in our lives, there were our dads, with a hug and the words, “It will be alright.” And, of course, they were right. Everything was always alright, because our dads made sure of it, or maybe it was just their wisdom, in that they knew that the tragedies we faced today were most often not as bad as we thought they were, and tomorrow was another day…that would usually be much better, because things usually look very different the next day.
Then, I watched my sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce step into that role with their children, I could see that another generation of children in my family were in the very best of hands. Their dads, just like my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband before them had the Daddy’s Heart. They would do their very best to teach the kids the right way to go, and to fix the boo boos of life as they came along. Kevin and Travis are dads, and like all good dads, their kids are their top priority. And since their kids are pretty much grown now, I know that they will someday be the grandpas of their family. It is a place of honor and wisdom, and a place of being a little bit different kind of dad than they were before, but still a great blessing nevertheless. Happy Father’s Day to the dads in my life, and all dads everywhere. And a special Happy Father’s Day to my dad and my father-in-law in Heaven. We love and miss you very much, every day.
Several of my cousins were talking a couple of days ago on Facebook, about our grandmother, Hattie Byer, and how she kept her numerous grandchildren in line when they were at her house. Now, in reality, I pretty much mean Greg Hushman, Elmer Johnson, and Forest Beadle, because most of the rest of us would never have done anything to provoke the Wrath of Grandma!! It’s funny, but I can almost hear the skepticism from every reader. Ok, I’ll admit that I was no less likely to get into trouble with Grandma than Greg, Elmer or Forest, but I truly don’t recall having her coming after me with the broom, although my cousin Shirley Cameron, who is from the other side of my family remembers it once or twice, when she was over there with us.
One thing I do remember, and that I know every one of Grandma’s grandchildren will agree on, Grandma was the boss when you were at her house. You see, those were the days when it didn’t matter if the adult in the vicinity was your parent, grandparent, or the parent of the friend you were visiting, they all disciplined the kids who got out of line. And if some adult caught you doing something in the public arena that you shouldn’t be, such as graffiti or some other such mischief, they weren’t afraid to tell you to “knock it off” either. That was just the way things were back then. From what I am told of this barely five foot tall, broom wielding grandma of mine, she was able to make that broom go around corners, so if you thought you were going to get away from her, you might just as well think again.
I certainly remember that when you found yourself in trouble with Grandma, you were about to get a very clear understanding of what the word “trouble” meant. Yes, I too, had my share of times in my childhood where I found myself on the wrong side of Grandma Byer. Oh boy, believe me, it was not a place you wanted to be. And don’t think she was going to threaten to tell your mom just how bad you were, and then conveniently forget to do it when the time actually came for your parents to come home. Grandma wasn’t about to be the helpless little babysitter who had to wait for your parents to make you behave…oh no!! Whether she used a broom, her hand, or some other punishment, believe me when I say the punishment was swift, and it fit the crime. You see, Grandma was old school, before there was a new school form of discipline. People weren’t afraid of some well meaning, but not too bright passerby telling them they shouldn’t spank that kid…those people didn’t exist then. People knew that most situations required a little whack on the seat to get through to the brain. For many of us those lessons made it crystal clear, who was in charge, who was acting up, who would refrain from such activities in the future, and who would apologize for their elders for acting such a horrible fashion in the first place.
For most of us, the discipline Grandma dished out, is looked back on with a smile, because we all knew how much she loved us. People who have never had any discipline simply don’t understand that discipline is a form of love. Does it hurt…yes, because it is tough love, but are you better for it…oh yeah, because they love you very much. If your parents or grandparents didn’t care about you, they would have no need to want you to behave. They just wouldn’t care, but since they do, they want you to know how to act in public, because then people are happy to have you around. And for any of you, who have ever been around an out of control kid, can you honestly tell me that you did not wish their parents would just give them a spanking? Of course you did. So to my grandma, to her broom, and to our parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers…I say thank you. Whether we felt the broom on our backside, or some other form of discipline, I can say that we all turned out pretty good. And people don’t seem to mind having us around.
A few days ago, my sister, Cheryl, my cousin, Greg Hushman, and I were having a little discussion on the necessities of discipline. Basically, we were talking about how kids were disciplined, and who benefitted most from receiving it. I said that Greg knew all about being disciplined, but Cheryl said that Greg was a sweetie and probably didn’t need much discipline. Greg settled the matter by saying that it was because of all the discipline that he turned out to be such a great kid and a great man. I tend to think that Greg is the most correct on that. It is my experience that the children who had rules they had to live by and punishments, whether spankings, groundings, or even time out when done right, are the ones who turned into the nicest adults you would ever want to know. They learned how to act around people, and they were very seldom that kid who terrorized every gathering they were ever invited to.
The children of my mother and her siblings, were of a generation of disciplinarians. That was simply how things were done then. If kids got out of line, they got a spanking…some kids more than others, and some just at different times than others. I can’t say that Greg was any brattier than any of the rest of us, but he was a mischievous kid. I suppose that came from being the youngest of five kids, and being a boy. Boys tend to be a little more mischievous a lot of times…at least in my experience, and I think Greg had a knack for being mischievous. I suppose that is why my sisters and I got along so well with him. He was a good boy, with a mischievous side…the perfect sidekick.
Those little boy, mischievous days are long behind Greg now, although I still think he could be mischievous if he wanted to…and if you ask his wife, Dustine, I’m sure you would find that he wants to be mischievous quite a bit. Greg has a great sense of humor, and while we all don’t get to see him very much, we have reconnected on Facebook and we get to talk to him a lot these days. It’s great to be able to reminisce about the old days. There are so many memories of our childhood that we can all share, and re-enjoy. We had a great childhood, and great memories, and I’m glad we get to relive them now. Today is Gregs birthday. Happy birthday Greg!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My cousin Shirley Wolfe Cameron, commented on a story I wrote a couple of days ago, and while this story and that one really have very little to do with each other, her comment sparked a little memory for me. My story was on my great grandmother, Henriette Schumacher’s debilitating arthritis, but it reminded Shirley of our grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer when she was in a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis. Shirley is Grandma’s first granddaughter, and while she is not the oldest grandchild, she was always very close to Grandma. Grandma lived with the Wolfe family for many years, and so the two of them shared many good times, and Shirley has many great memories of those times, and of her grandma. They are memories that most of us younger grandchildren wish we had too. I don’t remember my grandmother at all, because she died when I was just three months old, but in some ways, I really think I must be a bit like her…especially when it comes to my grandchildren.
Shirley told me of the times when she was in trouble with her mother, my aunt, Ruth Spencer Wolfe. She said she would run in to Grandma, yelling, “Grandma, Grandma, Grandma!!” Then she would climb up in Grandma’s lap a wait for her mother to come in after her. Grandma was always a bit of a peacemaker, and like me, she hated to see her grandchildren being disciplined. As grandmothers, we know they have to be disciplined…otherwise, they turn out pretty bratty, but it still breaks our hearts that our precious little babies have to get punished. Unfortunately, their parents don’t always like our soft hearted ways. They think that Grandma is a pushover…and, really we are. So, our pushover Grandma, would lift Shirley up into her lap and make a game of protecting Shirley from her mom’s punishment. Aunt Ruth got frustrated during those little episodes, like most parents would, but most of the time, in the end, she laughed along with her mother and her daughter, because she knew that this battle was lost.
My grandchildren were totally my weakness too. I was a fairly strict disciplinarian with my daughters, Corrie and Amy, but when it came to the grandkids, I was a pushover. Everyone knew it, from the grandkids to their parents, and even my parents and sisters. Even if the kids did something wrong when they stayed with me, their parents never knew it, because I didn’t want them to get into trouble. Thankfully, they are good kids, and they don’t take serious advantage of their grandma…or maybe they do, and I am too much of a pushover to realize it. My status as a pushover became a family joke of sorts too. The kids always knew that if Bob and I went out of town, we were going to bring them something back. They have had a variety of toys, candy, souvenirs, and t-shirts, including one of my favorite t-shirts. It was the one that went something like, “When all else fails…Call 1-800-Grandma.”
We have laughed at and used that saying many times over the years, and while I can’t say for sure that they ever really told on their parents, they did do their best to spend the night often. Maybe their parents were grouchy, and they wanted to go spend time with the pushover, or maybe they just liked to spend the might with their grandma, I can’t say for sure. One thing I can say for sure, however, is that kids have been calling 1-800-Grandma in one way or another, for as long as grandmothers have existed. There is simply no way for a mother who was a good parent to their own kids, not to relax and realize that you don’t always have to take life so seriously with your grandchildren.
My grandma, Harriet “Hattie” Byer was never a very big person in stature, but when it came to being the boss, she was a giant. Grandma was a loving person and very kindhearted. She would never let anyone go hungry, and often had several extra mouths at the supper table. No one could ever figure out just how she managed to always have enough food for all of her family, and yet still have plenty for extras, even when she didn’t know they were coming. Yes, when it came to the kitchen, Grandma was the Queen!!
Grandma was pretty easy going, but when one of her kids crossed the line, they found out exactly who was the boss. Grandma’s short stature in no way diminished her ability to discipline her children or grandchildren if they had dared to cross her much…like the time she was giving my Uncle Larry a spanking, and my mother dared to interfere. There was no doubt in my mother’s mind that her mother seemed giant like…or at the very least, had giant like strength when she grabbed her by the hair, jerking her back to receive her own spanking for sticking her nose in where it did not belong. And then there was the time that an adult Aunt Bonnie, dared to suggest that grandma couldn’t take her down now, because she was too big for her mother to handle. Grandma immediately reached over and grabbed Aunt Bonnie’s feet and pulled them right out from under her, depositing her, with mouth wide open, on the floor. Aunt Bonnie found out what a giant her mom was too.
More than one of the grandchildren have learned the hard way, that Grandma ruled like a giant. I remember getting crossways with her myself, one time when my mom and dad were hunting. Grandma was babysitting my sisters and me. I don’t remember what it was I did now, but I do remember that I knew I was in the wrong, and I remember that when Grandma was done with me, I had no doubt in my mind that she was a giant of a woman. It wasn’t that she beat the daylights out of me, because I don’t recall that she even spanked me. She simply let me know that she was in charge, and I had better not forget it. Grandma stood 5′ in her tall days, and about 4’10’ after she began to shrink, but when it came to being in charge, Grandma was a giant of a woman. Today would have been Grandma’s 105th birthday. Happy birthday Grandma!! We love you!!!
Forms of discipline have changed over the years…from spankings to time out, and we all have our own ideas about what works and what doesn’t. I was looking at some pictures of my father-in-law’s 75th birthday party, when I came across one of his sister and brothers. Esther was the oldest of the three younger children, my father-in-law’s half siblings, and while I’m not sure that she ever felt like she was the boss, she apparently decided that she was going to take her brothers by the ear and straighten them out…probably for picking on her, if I know them.
That picture reminded me of the times, probably more of them than I wanted to think about, whne I was hauled home in such a fashion. During the time that I was growing up, bringing a child home by the ear for the purpose of a spanking, or for washing their mouth out with soap for some serious verbal infraction of the behavioral code we were to live by, was quite common. Of course, the soap was safe to use in the mouth then too. With the chemicals it has now, I wouldn’t chance that today…and I really hated it a lot back then too.
The biggest problem with being dragged home by the ear is the humiliation of it all. First, you are being dragged down the street by your ear. And, if that isn’t bad enough, everyone knows that when you get home, you are going to get a spanking. Talk about humiliating!! You would think a kid would do whatever it took so they would never have to go through that humiliation again. Not necessarily so. We knew better than to cuss as kids…I mean that was like having a death wish, but there were other things, like calling your sister names, and such…not cool and definitely not allowed. That would get you the soap thing!!
I know that everyone feels differently about the forms of discipline that were used in bygone days, but I feel like the way I was disciplined, made me the person I am today. I have no misconceptions about how difficult I was as a child. I was a stubborn child, and it would be my guess that I got more than my fair share of the discipline of the day.
Few things are harder on a mother, than disciplining their child. Especially when their little darling is so heartbroken about it. And then, if he pulls a 1-800-Grandma on them, it can get worse, because for those of you who haven’t guessed, 1-800-Grandma is when a grandchild tells grandma on mommy, and then mommy has to reiterate that the punishment will stand, even in the face of Grandma’s sad and sympathetic look.
Such was the case the other day at a family gathering, when my niece, Chelsea told her son, Ethan, that he couldn’t have a piece of cake, because he had acted up. Of course, Ethan went to sit with his grandma, my sister, Allyn and told her that he couldn’t have any cake. When she asked him why, he said, crying the whole time, “Mommy won’t let me!!” Like me, Allyn has a really soft heart when it comes to those grandbabies, even though we might have done very differently with our own kids. It’s just that…these are our grandbabies, and we can’t stand denying them anything!!
Of course, this new twist to the situation is about to get…ugly for Mommy. Allyn turned to Chelsea and said, “Why can’t he have cake?” That left Chelsea to defend her decision…or Ethan would know that he could get away with it by going to Grandma. So, Chelsea said, “You know you would do the same thing, if you were me!!” Oops!! Allyn, like me, had stepped into the middle of something we really wished we hadn’t. Just why is it that we don’t turn right round and chew out that grandbaby for putting us in the middle? It’s what we would have done if it were our mom, and our children! So what makes this different? Mostly, it’s that we did not dish out the punishment, and after all…its our grandbaby…so how is it that Grandma can’t fix this little heartbreak for him!!! That is a grandma’s job…can’t his mother understand that!!
Nevertheless, Chelsea stood her ground, and Ethan got no cake. He will know the next time, that when his mommy says to do something, she means it. It is a lesson that every good mother has to make sure her child learns. If they don’t, they will always be out of control, and no one will want to be around them. Really, she is doing Ethan and his little sister, Aurora a great service by teaching them the rules when they are little, because if they are little terrors, people don’t want to be around them, and don’t want their kids around them either. Ethan and Aurora are good children, and, as we all know, Grandma’s heart will be ok.
It doesn’t make it any easier to discipline your children, because in reality, it breaks Mommy’s heart too. That is her baby, and even though whatever he did was wrong, not allowing him to have cake is pure torture…for Mommy!!! It is the act of a good mother though, and must be done. Today is Chelsea’s birthday!! She is a good mom. I think Ethan will be a good little boy and will get some cake today. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day, and don’t make Ethan call 1-800-Grandma!! We love you!!
Little boys have always had the same problem…bossy big sisters, aunts, cousins, babysitters…girls. It isn’t that girls like to be bossy so much. It’s that it is part of their nature. Men are programmed to go out and support the family. They don’t get as emotionally involved with the children. I don’t mean to say they don’t love them very much, because they do, but the day to day discipline, training, nurturing…bossing, they have more of a tendency to leave to the women, and that’s ok, because women are geared to that nurturing training, discipline…bossing part of a child’s life. Women have a tendency to be bossy by nature…which for little boys can create a problem.
Little boys expect their mom to tell them what to do, but those pesky sisters are a different story. Who do they think they are anyway? They aren’t the boss, so why is it that they are always making a guy do stuff that he doesn’t want to do? I mean, boys have better things to do than stand still posing for a silly picture. Boys have better things to do than stay clean for school, or some other equally as unimportant event. Boys have things to do, and it just never fails that just when they are all set to go have fun, here comes their older sister again…making them pose for a picture, or sit still when they have things to do. Why can’t they just mind their own business.
In their defense, it isn’t really a girl’s fault either. Their mom and dad always put them in charge. When they go outside to play, they are told, “Keep an eye on your brother.” When the family goes someplace, they are told, “Hold your little brother’s hand.” And then when they are old enough, they become the built-in babysitter. They are always held responsible for what their little brother does…like they can make them mind. Eventually, they learn to do just that. They become the boss that they will eventually need to be for their own children. They become just like their mom.
It’s all part of the growing up process, for both the little boy, and his big sister, cousin, aunt, or babysitter. It doesn’t mean that it’s anything personal. It’s just that if she can make her little brother or charge do what needs to get done, she can go back to doing what she wants to do. Being in charge of her little brother really isn’t all that fun, it’s a job…like any other job. The sooner she can get that job done, the better. So she does what she has to do. She becomes bossy. And after a while, she finds that being the boss isn’t so bad. You can assign tasks for the younger kids, and get out of some of that work. This could work! “Get over here little brother. Now, stand still, and smile…like you mean it!” Yep, being the boss is ok. Maybe it feels natural. Hmmm, maybe she is bossy by nature.
So much has changed since I was a kid, or even a young mother. No, I’m not talking about walking 5 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways…mostly because that was a story that belonged to my dad…who assured us that it was exactly what he did. I’m talking about the way people discipline…or often, don’t discipline their kids. It’s not exactly the fault of the parent that doesn’t discipline either, because these days disciplining your child is a step most young parents take with great apprehension, and who can blame them. Years ago, some idiot who had no kids, decided that it was cruel and unusual punishment to spank your kids…probably because they got spanked and didn’t like it, but since they don’teven have kids, they shouldn’t tell the rest of us how to discipline our kids.
I’m very much against child abuse, or the abuse of anyone for that matter, but a correctly administered spanking is simply not abuse…it is a show of love. A child who is given no boundaries, doesn’t feel loved. Imagine putting your one year old on the roof of a building with nothing to stop them from falling off and walking away. Are you showing love? No, you are showing them that you don’t care about them.
Well, I can tell you that my parents loved me!! And I can tell you that my girls know they are loved too. And we knew the rules, though I can’t say that we always kept them…but after the spanking, we wished we had. I never liked spanking the girls in public, because it wasn’t about embarrassing them, it was about disciplining them, but the public restroom worked very nicely. Everyone might have known what was about to happen, but the girls had time to compose themselves before they had to face the world again.
Still, there was one way to discipline your child in public and only you and your child knew it, which could be very funny. There is a place at that spot where your neck connects to your shoulder, that can be very painful if pinched. No you don’t have to leave a mark, just give that skin a good squeeze. Your child will let out a yelp and may start crying, like my daughter did, right in the middle of a store, but after she dropped to the floor crying, and I walked on down the isle, she looked up and found everyone staring at her wondering if she was crazy, she decided that I had won that battle. Throwing a fit when no one can see what is wrong with you can be very embarrassing, and with my daughter, it only happened once. Yes, they got pinched there again if they needed it, but they took their punishment in silence, and behaved themselves afterward…not to mention going to the store became a much more peaceful time for me.
These days,I suppose many people would frown on my discipline style, which just goes to show how much things have changed, but my girls were well behaved, and I could take them anywhere. And once they know that you have ways to discipline that will fit the situation, they tend to choose not to push your buttons. The result of button pushing can be uncomfortable.