My nephew, Lucas Iverson is growing up so fast. It’s hard for me to believe that he is eleven years old already. Lucas has been through a lot. He was born with Down Syndrome, and that has made his road a bit longer and more difficult, but his mom, Cassie Franklin is such a great mom, and she works tirelessly to get him the best education and the best care possible. Learning difficulties are not the only challenges Lucas has faced. He has had health issues most of his life too. A lot of his problems are in the digestive system, which can be very painful, and while I’m sure there are a plenty of tears and fussing when he doesn’t feel well, Lucas is also a real trooper during these hospital stays. He is a wonderful boy, and very, very brave.
Lucas works very hard in school. He is getting special care and help to communicate, and he is doing so well. His little sister, Zoey has also been very helpful in Lucas’ development. Zoey just naturally understood, from the time she was born, that her brother, while the sweetest brother ever, was not able to do all the things she could do. She took it upon herself to help Lucas to excel. One of the biggest ways Zoey helped him was in learning to walk. She never got upset with him, and never left him behind. She was patient and kind, and Lucas responded so well. They are and always will be best friends.
Recently, Lucas’ mom, Cassie Franklin; her boyfriend, William Burr; and sister, Zoey got to take a trip to Oregon. I don’t know if they knew it was there or not, but they found a whole park that was dedicated to disabled children. This park has Lucas’ communication board there in it, and they were all so excited. The communication board is the same one Lucas uses at school on his tablet. It was an amazing find. Lucas knew immediately what it was and what it was for. It was like finding a place where he could play without having to think about his disability. Everything they played on was for children just like Lucas, and yet it was also geared for Zoey. They could play together, and each could have a fantastic time. I was so excited for Lucas when I saw this, because he could just be a kid, and fit right in at the same time. How very cool is that. Today is Lucas’ 11th birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
So much has changed in the fourteen years since my niece, Chelsea Hadlock joined our family, on April 12, 2008. She was always the perfect girl for my nephew, Ryan Hadlock, and I cannot imagine him with anyone else…nor can he!! In fact, when he met Chelsea, Ryan just knew she was the one for him. He was so taken with her, that I think his whole face lit up!! Sometimes that happens with that perfect soulmate.
When Chelsea and Ryan got married, she really wanted nothing more than to be a mom. That dream came true on Jan 6, 2009, when their son Ethan Christopher was born and again on August 27, 2011, when their daughter Aurora Breann was born. Their family complete, Chelsea set her sights on being the best mom in the world. She has a gentle way of mothering, and her children are very well behaved, as well as very sweet natured, just like their parents. The children are getting so grown up these days, and they are keeping their parents busy at school functions and sports…not to mention award ceremonies…of which there have been many. Chelsea worked with her kids, and they are very good students, who have excelled in both academics, sports, and even art.
Chelsea has had a booth at Comic Con for a number of years now. She makes jewelry and sells it at the Comic Con events. Covid rather got in the way of that, and the Comic Con events were stopped for a couple of years, but finally, things have settled down and the events have started back up, with the first one for her having been this past weekend. I don’t how well she did, but she usually does really well, and since people haven’t been to these in a while, I would imagine everyone was eager to buy new things. Chelsea has a real talent for making quality jewelry, and even has her own shop on Etsy, called The Subtly Nerd Shop. While she makes jewelry for Comic Con, she also makes beautiful jewelry for more formal wear, and I own some of it myself, so I recommend it, highly. Chelsea is a very talented girl, and she has been a great blessing to our family, and of course to her little family. Her husband and children could not possibly be more blessed. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
War is a really horrific thing for soldiers to go through, and closure comes in different forms for different soldiers. Returning to the battlefield is a way to find closure for many veterans. It is also a way for solders to keep the friendships they made at a time when their life depended on their fellow soldiers. Countless numbers of men have returned to places like the beaches of Normandy, France to see that place again, where so many lost their lives. Some soldiers didn’t leave the place they fought in their war. Vietnam was that way to a degree.
The Civil War was unique in that when the veterans decided to have their reunion, they wanted to, of course renew old friendships with those they shared a common bond, but they also wanted to make their reunion a way to bring the north and south back together again. The Gettysburg, Pennsylvania reunion was the largest of these events, and so made headline news around the world. The event took place in 1913 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Civil War was unique in that all participants were citizens of the United States. Brother fought against brother, and family members against family members. The reunion was a chance to repair those horribly broken relationships for all the men who were still alive at the reunion, which was held on the 50th anniversary of the battle. General H.S. Huidekoper, a Gettysburg Veteran of the 150th PA., was the man behind the idea of making it a gathering of both Northern and Southern Veterans on the 50th Anniversary of the battle. With the state of Pennsylvania, acting as host, $400,000 was set aside to finance the event. The Federal Government added $195,000 and the volunteer services of 1,500 officers and enlisted men. The event was five years in the planning, with Veteran groups throughout the nation helping to make it happen.
The Veterans who were still alive were aging, and because of the reunion, they were able not only to renew the friendships they had, but new friendships were born, and old wounds healed as well. The youngest Veteran, Colonel John C. Clem (known as the Shiloh drummer boy), was 62 years old. The oldest Veteran was 112 years of age. A total of 55,000 veterans attended the event, representing the half million living Confederate and Union Veterans. Of the 55,000 men, 22,103 came from Pennsylvania, and of those, 303 were Confederate. The smallest delegation came from New Mexico…one, a Union Veteran.
The event…one I wish I could have seen, saw over 5,000 tents, covering 280 acres in the middle of the battlefield, where so many had lost their lives. It was almost as if they were there too…giving their approval. Distinguished guests had come to give speeches and presentations. General Daniel Sickles, representing the III Corps at Gettysburg where he lost his leg, was the only corps commander present. On behalf of the battle leaders were the daughter of General Meade and the grandchildren of Generals Longstreet, A.P. Hill and Pickett.
The reunion lasted a full week. The men ate well and swapped stories, cried and laughed. In all 688,000 meals were served by two thousand cooks and helpers. Amazingly and considering the age and health of the Veterans, along with the hot, sultry weather, there were only nine Veterans who did not survive the week, a number well below the normal mortality rate for that day. Perhaps it was the exhilaration of the joining of old friends, reliving days of their youth, hearing the infamous Rebel Yell resound across the battlefield, or reenacting Pickett’s charge to have the Stars and Bars meet the trefoil of Hancock’s II Corps once more that had lengthened their lives.
In the most stunning moment of the event…on the fourth of July at high noon, a great silence fell over the battlefield, as the church bells began to toll. Buglers of the blue and gray prepared to play the mournful tune of Taps one last time. The guns of Gettysburg shook the ground, signaling the end of the weeklong event. When I visited Gettysburg many years later, I was surprised by exactly how that place felt. You could feel the atmosphere there all those years later. It is hallowed ground. You feel like you should whisper…or better yet just be silent. I have never felt that way before, or since.
And though many eloquent speeches were given at Gettysburg that week, none expressed what these Veterans took away from this experience better than a scene witnessed at the train station: “Nearly all of the men had said their good-byes and headed for home. On the station platform a former Union soldier from Oregon and a Louisiana Confederate were taking leave of each other. They shook hands and embraced, but neither seemed able to find the words to express his feelings. Then an idea seemed to strike both men at once. In a simple act, which seemed to say everything they felt the pair took off their uniforms and exchanged them. The Yankee went home in Rebel gray, the Confederate in Union blue.” The above quote is an excerpt from “Gettysburg: The 50th Anniversary Encampment,” by Abbott M. Gibney, Civil War Times Illustrated, October 1970.
My daughter, Corrie Petersen is one of the hardest working people I know. Not only does she work full time as a CNA at Wyoming Medical Center, but she is also studying to be a nurse, and still taking care of her husband, Kevin Petersen and spending time with her kids and grandkids. Many people who go through nursing school don’t work, but Corrie has worked throughout her studies. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’m very proud of her stick-to-it-iveness.
Corrie works very hard to be the very best nursing student/CNA she can. Every opportunity that comes her way to learn new skills that will allow her to better assist the nurses she works with; she is onboard to learn. The nurses she works with, knowing that she is a student, allow her the opportunity to observe procedures whenever possible, giving her the opportunity to learn even more. It is a mutually beneficial situation for both sides, and the patients reap the benefit from this great care. Of course, nurses and doctors are very willing to advance their staff, when the staff is willing to learn…and that is exactly what Corrie is. She is in her element when she is working with her patients. Corrie has had a heart for healing since her grandpa, Al Spencer first got sick. She was one of the family team members for both sets of her grandparents, Al and Collene Spencer and Walt and Joann Schulenberg. We couldn’t have done without Corrie and the other team members we had. After that experience, Corrie knew God’s destiny for her…nursing.
As a CNA, Corrie takes care of patients of all kinds. On the surgical floor, she has adult patients of any age from 19 to 100. These patients come to the hospital for many different reasons. Some need surgery and some don’t need it. In the past 2 months Corrie has learned that I can chart more than I ever knew before. Two of the things she can chart are Q2 turns and how much food the patient eats. I had no idea what that even was, but it is the practice of repositioning a patient to relieve pressure, so the patient doesn’t get bed sores. She is also learning to assist the charge nurse with administrative work. In the next few months, she will be certified in removing Foley catheters, taking U/As from a catheter, performing EKGs, removing IVs, and changing ostomy bags. At that point, she will move from being a CNA to being a PCA (Personal Care Assistant). All of her training will make her a better nurse when she graduates…such an exciting future. I am very proud of her for all her hard work. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s grandmother, Nettie Knox was a sweet woman. She really didn’t like drama, but rather preferred that life would flow along like a peaceful river. Grandma had a houseful of plants, including a Christmas Cactus that took up about a fourth of her small living room. I guess it was a good thing that it was just Grandma and Grandpa sitting in there most of the time. They lived on the same country property as Bob’s parents, so most of the visiting took place at the bigger family home of my in-laws. The living situation worked out very well. Grandpa had his tons of books, and he read them all at the same time…oddly enough. Grandma had her plants and her cooking.
Grandma and my oldest daughter, Corrie Petersen share a birthday. I know that there are people who wouldn’t like that, because they want their child to have their own day, but for Grandma and Corrie, it was just the opposite. They loved that they shared a birthday. It was their special bond. Their birthday parties were always together, and they always took together birthday pictures. They were birthday twins, and they loved it. Corrie had her birthday twin with her for the first 15 years of her life, and she considered it to be very sad when that first birthday without her birthday twin came along. It felt a little empty, and definitely sad.
Grandma Knox left us on July 29, 1990, almost 32 years ago now. That is such a strange thought, because it seems like just yesterday that she and “little” Corrie were posing for their special picture. Grandma has lived on for five years after Granda went to Heaven, and while she wanted to stay with us, she also wanted to go home to Heaven. She was tired, and she wanted to be with Grandpa, so on July 29, 1990, she went home. I know she and Grandpa are having a great time celebrating her day today. Grandma, your special little birthday twin still misses you every day. Today, Grandma would be 114 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma Knox. We all love and miss you very much.
Our space program has gone through many changes over the years. There have been accidents, losses, victories, and amazing strides in both exploration and the vehicles we use to take these trips. One of the biggest goals was to have a space station so that men and women could live and work in space indefinitely…or at least for long periods of time. On June 29, 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir. This docking formed the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth…at that time, anyway. We all know that records are meant to be broken.
For a number of years, Russia and the United States had been rivals when it came to the Space Race…as well as many other things, so this joint venture was a really big deal. It was not only about the two rivals working in cooperation together, but it was also the 100th human space mission in American history. It was such a big deal, in fact, that Daniel Goldin, chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), called it the beginning of “a new era of friendship and cooperation” between the United States and Russia. The docking was also a big deal to people everywhere, with millions of viewers watching on television, Atlantis blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida on June 27, 1995.
Just after 6am on June 29, the very excited seven-member crew prepared Atlantis for docking with Mir, as both crafts orbited the Earth some 245 miles above Central Asia, near the Russian-Mongolian border. The moment they spotted the shuttle, the three cosmonauts on Mir began to broadcast Russian folk songs to Atlantis to welcome them. The party was about to begin. Over the next two hours, the shuttle’s commander, Robert “Hoot” Gibson expertly maneuvered his craft towards the space station. This was no easy task. In order to make the docking, Gibson had to steer the 100-ton shuttle to within three inches of Mir at a closing rate of no more than one foot every 10 seconds. Now, I don’t know how fast that would be in miles per hour measurement, but I think these crafts could certainly be damaged by the impact. Precision was key.
Well, the docking went perfectly that day, and by 8am it was completed, and just two seconds off the targeted arrival time, while using 200 pounds less fuel than had been anticipated. Now, that’s what I call success. When docked, Atlantis and the 123-ton Mir formed the largest spacecraft ever in orbit at that time. It was only the second time ships from two countries had linked up in space; the first was in June 1975, when an American Apollo capsule and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft briefly joined in orbit.
Once the docking was completed, Gibson and Mir’s commander, Vladimir Dezhurov, greeted each other by clasping hands in a victorious celebration of the historic moment. A formal exchange of gifts followed, with the Atlantis crew bringing chocolate, fruit, and flowers and the Mir cosmonauts offering traditional Russian welcoming gifts of bread and salt. After the party, Atlantis remained docked with Mir for five days before returning to Earth. They left two fresh Russian cosmonauts behind on the space station and took the three veteran Mir crew members home in the shuttle. The returning crew members included two Russians and Norman Thagard, a US astronaut who rode a Russian rocket to the space station in mid-March 1995 and spent over 100 days in space. This was a United States endurance record…at that time, anyway. This was a great alliance, especially between two former rivals. NASA’s Shuttle-Mir program continued for 11 missions and was a crucial step towards the construction of the International Space Station, which is now in orbit, and is the current largest space craft.
My grandnephew, Topher, who I understand goes by Chris with most of his friends these days, is getting ready to start his senior year in high school this coming year. His first job, at the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum is behind him now, and he recently started working at Ace Hardware, where his mom, my niece, Andrea Beach also works. He really likes his new job. The job he had at the museum was a great first job, but it was time for a change.
Topher is saving money for school and a car. He is thinking of studying Phlebotomy at Casper College. He hasn’t decided if he will go further, or if this will be a stand-alone career. I know that with that type of skill under his belt, he could get hired at any hospital. There is always the need for an IV or bloodwork, so Phlebotomists are always in demand. It looks like Phlebotomy is a one to two semester course, so Topher could be working quickly. While I don’t think this is a job I would enjoy doing, it is one that is in demand, so kudos to Topher for making that move.
Topher and his mom and grandma, my sister Caryl Reed are currently in the Black Hills for their third annual three generation summer trip. They had intended to take their trip to Yellowstone National Park this year, because they have gone to the Black Hills for the past two trips, but as we all know, Yellowstone had major flooding a week ago, and the northern part of the park is closed. That was such a bummer for them, as well as for many people all over the nation, and possibly beyond. They had planned to stay in Cooke City, Montana, and that is right up there in the bad flooding area. For them, there is always next year, but many people who had to travel a long distance, just to be evacuated, this was once in a lifetime, and will be difficult to duplicate. Still, there is no sense in going up there, just to find out that you can’t see most of the park. I’m sorry it worked out that way, but I’m glad they weren’t there when it happened…and I know they will have a great time in the Black Hills. Today is Topher’s birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Butch Hein served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. In all the years I have known him, and like most other veterans, Butch never talked about his time during that war. I don’t know where he spent his service years, but the main thing is that he made it home. Once home, Butch began to live the rest of his life.
He married the love of his life, Bonnie Wertz, and together they began planning their future lives. Bonnie soon became pregnant with their first child, and on November 5, 1969, their son, Scott was born. Life was perfect…for a time, but unfortunately it would not stay that way for long. While pregnant with their daughter, Crista, Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer. Like most mom’s she tried to wait it out, so she could give their daughter life, but in the end, both were lost. Butch’s heart was broken, and while he tried to move on with his life, and succeeded with his son, he really was never happy in a relationship again. Bonnie was his forever love. Nevertheless, Butch is very happy with his son. They are best friends and business partners in the ranching business they own together.
Scott grew up and married Terri Wiederrick. They now have three grown children, Laura, Carson, and Lindsey. Butch’s life has made a wonderful turnaround. Having these three grandchildren has been the highlight of his life. Scott built his house on the same property as his dad, so for much of the kids’ lives, they were right beside their grandpa. It was one of the greatest gifts Scott and Terri could have given his dad. Butch has been able to be a big part of his grandchildren’s lives, and they all love him very much.
Now that they are grown, the grandchildren are moving on with their lives. Laura is a teacher and lives a few hours away, Carson is working on a ranch in the area, and Lindsey is away at college. I think the empty nest syndrome might apply not only to their parents, but to their grandpa as well. That happens when the grandparents are very close. It happened to me when my own grandchildren became adults, and while we are still close, it is more from a distance these days. I have a feeling Butch is finding himself in the same place. Happy, but a little sad too. Today is Butch’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday Butch. Have a great day!! We love you!!
In a city, there are sometimes people who become the influencers of the community. These people are the ones who shape the city into what it is today. These people are considered the “pillars of the community” and are well liked and respected. Many of the city’s most influential people have streets, parks, and even buildings named after them to honor them.
In Casper, Wyoming, where I live, that “pillar of the community” was a man from Iowa named Samuel W Conwell. Conwell was that “man about town” socialite who was well liked and respected. He really cared about his adopted community, and he helped to shape it into the city it is today. The people of Casper totally agreed that Samuel W Conwell was an amazing influencer in Casper, so they named a 19-block street after him. Conwell Street begins at the East 1st Street intersection where Conwell Park is located. Conwell was born on June 26, 1866, in Iowa, the Hawkeye State, but he moved to Casper around 1895 and immediately began to make his mark on our little town. Over the next four decades, he worked at a number of jobs, including as cashier at the Richards and Cunningham Bank and the Casper National Bank, and later he was the Secretary-Treasurer for the Nicolaysen Lumber Company. Samuel Conwell was a man who wore several hats in his life. He was also an early Casper Fireman.
Some of his other notable milestones achieved while living in and influencing the growth and progress of Casper include serving on high school and district school boards for three decades and helping to build the high school (now known as Natrona County High School, as well as shaping Casper’s educational progress during his time on those boards. Conwell was a county commissioner from 1911-1914. In addition to being a fireman Conwell helped organize the Casper Volunteer Fire Department and then served as its Chief, too. He was the past president of the Casper Chamber of Commerce, and also served as chairman of its traffic committee. In 1921, he was appointed by Governor Carey to the State Highway Commission, where he served the rest of his life. His many contributions to our community, definitely earned him the honors he was later given.
After a long illness, Samuel Conwell died at his home on 241 West 9th Street, on January 31, 1933, at the age of 66. Conwell Street and Conwell Park were not names given randomly by the developer who was just trying to come up with the names, but rather they are names given to represent a pillar of the community, and a man whose spirit lives on in the city.
On June 24, 2022, my nephew Garrett Stevens and his wife, Kayla were blessed with their second beautiful daughter, Maya June Stevens. Maya joins big sister, Elliott Stevens, who is so excited about having a little sister…and now they are four…just like that. Maya arrived by Cesarian Section at 8:00am at the Sheridan Community Hospital. She weighs 7 pounds 11 ounces, and she is 20 inches long. While her big sister has blonde hair, like her daddy did; it looks like Maya might have brown hair like her mommy…and it’s a little thicker on top, which is common with darker hair. Elliott’s hair started to show its curls around the time she was 5 or 6 months old, so we will see if Maya gets those same beautiful curls.
While Kayla and Maya needed to stay in the hospital for a day or so, and Garrett stayed with them, Elliott is back at home, for a while anyway, with her grandparents. That means that Garrett and Kayla have some alone time with Maya. I think that might be a good thing, because Elliott is sure that Maya is her baby!! She wants to hold her all the time when she is with her. I think that Garrett and Kayla may have a fight on their hands for a while…not a real fight, of course, but at least until the newness wears off, Elliott may want to hold “her baby” all the time.
Maya is such a sweet little baby. She doesn’t fuss very much, and she is fine with being passed from person to person, including her big sister. She rather enjoys all the attention, which is very nice for all concerned. She loves her big sister, and especially likes it when Elliott sings to her. Elliott has been singing her the ABCs song and Baa Baa Blac Sheep. I know that Elliott is going to be a great “Mommy’s Helper” because she is already so comforting to Maya, and Maya has been born with a best friend right there. These girls are going to be so close, and I can’t wait to watch their friendship grow. Maya will be one very blessed with such a great big sister, as well as her wonderful parents. We are so happy you have arrived sweet Maya June. You are an absolutely beautiful baby girl, and we are all very blessed that you have joined our family. We love you so much already.