Whether you prefer tall people or short people, you can’t help but be interested in the very tall or the very short. When I think of tall, I think of over 6’5”, but some people think of someone over 7’ tall. I suppose many people think that’s not so tall, but when you’re 5’2” tall, 6’5” seems very tall, and 7’ is a giant. The tallest person in recorded history was Robert Pershing Wadlow, also known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois. He was an American man who was irrefutably the tallest person in recorded history, and of that there is irrefutable evidence. He was born and raised in Alton, Illinois, a small city near Saint Louis, Missouri. Nevertheless, he did not marry the tallest woman. The tallest married couple ever recorded was Anna Haining Swan, who was 7’11” tall and Martin Van Buren Bates, who was 7’9” tall. The pictures of their wedding show people attending the wedding, who were probably quite tall, but they looked very short next to the Bates couple.
It is believed that Anna Swan was born at Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia. At birth she weighed 16 pounds, which is a large baby. She was the third of 13 children, but all of the others were average height. Anna grew quite quickly, reaching 4’6″ by her fourth birthday. On her 6th birthday Anna was measured again. She stood 5′ 2″ tall, just an inch or two shorter than her mother. She stood 6′ 2″ tall and weighed 203 pounds on her 11th birthday. By her 15th birthday Bates was 7′ tall. She reached her full height of 7’11” three years later. Her feet measured 14.2 inches long.
Martin Van Buren Bates was born on November 9, 1837, and was known as the “Kentucky Giant.” By the time he as full grown, he was 7’9″ and weighing 380 pounds. Bates’ growth rate didn’t jump until the age of six or seven, but he was over 6′ tall and weighed over 200 pounds by the time he was twelve years old. He served in the Civil War, and returned to Kentucky after the war. Before the war, his first occupation was as a schoolteacher, but upon his return, he began travelling with a circus. When the circus was in Halifax Martin Van Buren Bates met another enormously tall person…Anna Swan. She was attending the circus, and was spotted by the management and hired on the spot. The giant couple became a touring sensation and eventually fell in love. They married on June 17, 1871, in Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in London, in a highly publicized wedding. The ceremony drew thousands of people, due to both the uncommonness of the spectacle and the good nature of the pair. Queen Victoria gave them two extra-large diamond-studded gold watches as wedding presents.
Martin and Anna moved to Ohio in 1872, settling in Seville. On May 19, 1872, Anna gave birth to a daughter, who weighed 18 pounds. She died at birth. The couple built a large house to accommodate themselves comfortably. Martin wanted to be a farmer. The family did well, but not in the area of children. A baby boy was born on January 15, 1879. He weighed 23 pounds 9 ounces, and was 28′ long. He was posthumously awarded the world record according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Their son only lived 11 hours. Anna Bates died on August 5, 1888. Martin ordered a statue of her from Europe for her grave, sold the oversized house, and moved into the town. In 1889 he remarried, this time to a woman of normal stature, Annette LaVonne Weatherby and lived a mostly peaceful life until his death in 1919 of nephritis. He was buried beside his first wife and their son in Seville.
My great grand niece, Reece Balcerzak made her debut into the world on December 14, 2017, about 10 weeks early. She was a tiny little girl of just 3 pounds 11 ounces, and 17¾ inches long. Since that time, Reece has been a whirlwind of activity, smiles, and most of all a zest for life. She is a little bit sassy and a little bit sweet…the perfect combination. Her moods show up all over her face, and you can tell what she is thinking by the looks she gives you. I suppose that is true for most of us, but Reece has such an expressive face, that her moods are plainly seen.
At this point, Reece is her parents’ only child, but she did get a new cousin this year. Little Max Herr came to visit her earlier and their meeting was just precious. Reece was totally taken by her little cousin, and enjoyed holding him and giving him kisses. I’m sure that when they are older, they will have a great time playing together. Cousins really are your first friends, and often, some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Plus, who can resist holding a little baby. It doesn’t mater how young you are or how old you are…babies are meant to be cuddled. It’s impossible to resist hugging those precious babies.
Reece is ever changing, and before we know it, she will be heading off to school, graduation, marriage, and babies of her own. Ok, I know that is down the road a ways, but time flies by so quickly that it will seem like it is tomorrow. Reece is so curious. Her mommy says that she can “do more during one unsupervised minute, than most adults do all day.” Hahahaha!! That is a dangerous situation for the mommy. It’s not necessarily that it’s dangerous for Reece, just that most parents have no idea how a child can get into so many things so quickly. Still, even when you find that they have made yet another mess in the two minutes when your back was turned, you know you’ve been had by that sweet little child of yours, and that adorable, smiling face. And the thing is…they know it too. They know that all they have to do is smile sweetly, and their parents will cave…at least when they are little. I have a feeling that Reece’s parents Keifer and Katie Balcerzak, have a lot of trouble being upset with her. All she has to do is smile, and look at them with those expressive eyes, and they simply melt. It is the greatest talent Reece has…to change people’s mood with her own. Today is Reece’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Reece!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My great grand-niece, Laila Spethman was a sweet little girl, who was a light in her parents’ lives. She was loved by her whole family. Her time on Earth was short…very short…just 18 days, but her impact on all those who loved her will continue. We all look forward to the day when we will see her again, along with all our other loved ones who have gone before us. In many way, we can rejoice for Laila, because she has been someplace and seen things that we cannot, Heaven and most importantly, God. How amazing for Laila, to know the Father and the Saviour. It is a time in our lives that we all look forward to. The time when we are truly home.
Still, for Laila, we feel sadness too. Not for her really, but for us. I wonder who she would have been had she stayed here. Would she have been bubbly and ever-changing, like her little sister, Aleesia, who has progressed from being a girly girl, to sometimes wanting to be a bit of a tomboy. I’m sure that has come from having three older brothers, and like all younger children, wanting to be just like the older siblings. I’m sure that Laila would have felt the same way about her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac. For little girls, especially, their older brothers are their role models. Girls often base many of their ideas on what men should be like on their dads and brothers, and Laila would have had some great role models to base her ideas on, because she was loved.
We were all hoping Laila would get to come home with her parents, but that was not to be. Nevertheless, her memory will always be with us. Her sweet little face, so dainty and beautiful. Her beautiful eyes, looking at her family with love. She was so cuddly and loved being held by her family. Of course, there were a number of us who didn’t get to see her in this life, but we will always know her when we meet her again in Heaven. And then, we will get to know who she was and is. This life is so short, and while it seems like a long time, it is only a drop in the bucket of time, and then we will get to know Miss Laila Elizabeth Spethman. Happy birthday in Heaven Laila. We already love you even though we don’t know you well…yet.
My grand-niece, Adelaide Sawdon is a cute little three year old girl who is…sassy!! I don’t mean to say that she is obnoxious, because that would be totally wrong. She just has a sassy personality. She is confident in her self, and in her place in her family. Maybe she is a little overconfident in her place in the family. You see, Adelaide thinks she is the boss of her family. She gets that attitude from her mom, Jessi Sawdon, who was sassy in her own right as a little girl. Jessi was the oldest child, and like her daughter, Adelaide, she was sure that she was not only the boss, but the mom!! She knew that she was the boss of her mom, even when she got in trouble for it. Adelaide is her mom’s mini-me on that. That’s our Addie!!
Adelaide is a very smart little girl. She knows her numbers, and she knows how many three is. She also knows that she was two until today, and that while she may have been one…once, one has nothing to do with her age now, not even in counting up to three. One is over, so figure it out!! Adelaide said that she wants to be five, so she can go to school, but I think her parents, Jessi and her husband, Jason, would rather wait just a little bit before she heads to school. For now, they want her to stay their baby girl for just a while longer.
Adelaide is very excited for her birthday party today, because her parents are taking her to the Planetarium. She is learning all about that word, and what it means. She knows that she is going to see the planets at the “Pantarium.” Listening to the cute little ways she says words is so fun. Her Aunt Kellie, whom Adelaide called “Kayee” for the longest time has been one of the ones whose name came out funny, but now, Adelaide has learned to say Kellie. Her aunt was so excited, and so she clapped her hands and cheered. Addie liked that, so now she says Kellie a lot, followed by the face of anticipation…waiting for the cheers and clapping. Awww, the joys of life as a three year old. Today is Adelaide’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Imagine thinking that things that have no substance, actually do have substance. I know that sounds odd, but consider our shadow. It is caused by our body coming between the sun and the ground. We have all seen them, and most of us give them no thought at all. Now consider a two year old girl, who notices her shadow for the first time. Suddenly, something strange is following her and she cannot get away from it. Many of this little ones actually become quite upset, and telling them it is ok, or it is only their shadow doesn’t help at all. Explaining what creates a shadow to a two year old doesn’t help either, because they are too young to figure out what you are saying. To them, the shadow is a thing of substance…a stranger, and the child does not like it. While a little child being afraid of their shadow is pretty normal, what of other things that have no substance being mistaken for things of substance.
In reality, it is probably just people being able to use their imagination, like the little girl who was the subject of a photograph taken by Adam Diston in 1886. Little is known about the photographer himself, but his imagination and creative thought are fascinating to me. I did find out he was born 1827 in Edinburgh and spent the greater majority of his life as a photographer. I don’t know if the little girl thought you could cut a sunbeam or not, but maybe…just for a moment it seemed possible that something without substance, could have substance. Diston brought that out in her, and in his picture, made it almost believable. I think he might have been a truly great photographer.
And what of the wind? Wind can blow all around you and still you stand in the same place, and yet, if you raise your jacket over your head, it can fill the fabric and take you for a little ride. We can’t go far on just jacket power, but put that same wind in a sail, connected to a boat and you can travel the world. And yet, a breeze goes by almost unnoticed…because it has no real substance…at least not until we harness it. Or in the case of a sunbeam, we imagine it’s substance. And in the case of the shadow, we envision it as a person…a stranger. It’s all in how we see things.
Years ago, my mom, Collene Spencer told me about witnessing a plane crash as a little girl. I wish I had thought to get more information from her then, but at the time, all I could think of was the vision of the crash she told me about, and specifically the airplane in a corkscrew nosedive toward the ground. She said she didn’t hear any engine sounds, and she thought the plane was a piece of paper at first, but then she realized that it was a plane. I didn’t think to ask where she was at the time…whether she was at home or if the family was rock hunting or something. I wish I had asked more questions, back when I had the chance to do so.
Rather than asking questions, I began to try to research plane crashes in the area over the years of my mom’s childhood. I had expected it to be an easy search, given all the information on crashes that is out there these days. I was wrong, and by the time I decided that I needed more information from my mom, she was gone. I tried asking my aunts about the crash, but they did not remember it. It’s possible that they didn’t see it, and so they were unable to help me with it.
After much research, I have found possibly the only plane crash my mother could have seen at the age she would have had to be…provided she was close to her childhood home when she witnessed the crash. The crash would have been a B-17 bomber on a training maneuver 25 miles north of Casper, Wyoming. The biggest problem with this crash is the 25 mile distance from Casper, but looking north from Casper, you can see a very long way, provided you are near the events center, which could have been a possibility back then. The distance could also explain the lack of engine noise, if the engines were still working as the plane was going down, which is unlikely.
The plane, which crashed on March 3, 1944 was carrying three officers and five enlisted men. There were no survivors in the crash, which is in line with what my mother told me about the crash. The bomber was on a combat training flight, according to Lieutenant Colonel Marcus A. Mullen, station commandant, who said that the cause of the crash was not yet determined but that a board of officers had been named to investigate. The dead were later identified as Captain Charles W. Bley of Berkeley, California, Second Lieutenant Eugene E. Ravera of Newton, New Jersey, Second Lieutenant John A. Williams of Morristown, Tennessee, Staff Sergeant Carl E. Cleveland of Sunbury, Ohio, Sergeant George P. Peterson of Perry, Ohio, Sergeant Vernon E. Arne, Stewart, Illinois, Sergeant Duane T. Zefah of Cushing, Minnesota, and Corporal Elmer L. Walters of Pawpaw, Illinois. I can’t say, for sure, that this was the plane crash my mom saw when she was a little girl, but it is noteworthy, and so worth telling about. I know that the crash was something that my mom never forgot, even though she would have only been eight years old at the time.
I am of the opinion that every birthday for every person should be special. For most of us, that is easy to do, but for the person, like my granddaughter, Shai Royce, who was a Leap Day baby, three out of four birthdays are virtually missing. Oh, they do exist…sort of, but they pass so quickly that unless you are up at the precise moment, or in reality, nono-second between 11:59pm and 12:00am, you missed it. I have been up at that time, and somehow, that nano-second slipped by without my actual notice of it, so I know that it is easy for Shai’s birthday to pass by without any real, concrete knowledge of it’s passing. So I call those three years where February 29th doesn’t happen…Nano-Birthdays. If all you look at is the year Shai was born, you will know that she is 23 years old this year, but she has only had 5 actual birthdays, and since she will have her 6th actual birthday next year, she is officially 5¾ years old and will turn 6 next year. During these past 23 years, Shai has celebrated her birthdays, however, because she has now had 18 Nano-Birthdays. It’s quite confusing when you have to do the math to figure out you granddaughter’s real age.
Shai is a sweet, loving girl, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t like it when someone she loves is treated unfairly, she will defend them if necessary. Her family is of paramount importance to her, and when they are healthy and happy, so is she. Shai is a hard worker, and holds down two jobs. She works for Mako Reels, making…you guessed it, fishing reels. This has probably been the biggest shock to her grandma, because I would never have guessed that my granddaughter might make fishing reels for a living. She also works for Red Robin, for extra money. Shai is a very social person, so she is a true asset to Red Robin. Shai is one of the most loving people I know, and she is always doing nice things for people. She is very real about her feelings. When she likes someone, she lets them know it, and she likes most people, provided that they are good, honest, and kind people too. I think that makes her an asset to anyone who knows her.
Recently, Shai and her family took up bowling, and they are having a great time as a team. Last year they took first in the county where they live. That’s quite an honor, considering that Shai and her brother, Caalab hadn’t been bowling that long. They had a great time, and since they like spending time together as a family, it was the perfect team. And speaking of time together as a family, this year for her birthday, the whole family flew to Vegas for Shai’s birthday, and because Shai gave the trip to her family as a Christmas gift. She wanted a wonderful little vacation with her family on her birthday…and they had a great time, even going zip lining for thrills. Sounds like a great trip. Today is Shai’s 5¾, 18th, 23 birthday of some type. Happy 18th Nano-Birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Few things change a man as much as becoming a daddy. Yes, becoming a fiancé and husband are life changing events too, but when your beloved presents you with your first child…well you never forget how amazing that feels. For my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen, this past year was that year…the most important year in his life. Chris went from being a a young man to being someone’s daddy, and it doesn’t get better than that amazing day, when that precious little girl finally arrived.
Chris and his fiancée are doing everything they know to do to protect and nurture their little girl. One of those decisions was to protect her from over exposure to the internet, and so my readers will have to use their imaginations concerning my little great granddaughter. I can say that she and her mommy have enriched Chris’ life beyond anything he could have imagined, and I can see the love he has for them in his eyes every time he looks at them. For his parents, and his grandparents, it is such a beautiful change to see. Chris has grown so much. The “wild child” of his youth is long gone, and he is a settled family man, who wants nothing more than to go home after work to be with his girls. They are his life and his joy. He loves them more that he does himself, and he feels so blessed that they are in his life, and every parent can fully understand that. There is nothing like being a parent. It’s a feeling that has no equal.
When a child is little, you simply do not know what they will become, but it is a good bet that at some point, most will become parents. Chris has reached that place, and these days the greatest part of his life is his fiancée, his baby girl, and the simple word…Dada!! Who could have thought that such a simple little word could create such joy in a person. Of course, every parent knows the joy of your baby’s first words, usually mama and dada. They are forever precious. Today is Chris’ 23rd birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day with your girls!! We love you!!
My great grand niece, Izabella Siara Harman is quite a girl. She is the middle of her parents, Jake and Melanie Harman’s children, and quite the feisty one. Her grandmother, my niece, Chantel Balcerzak says she got her sassy attitude from her. Maybe that’s so, but Belle, as she is often called wears her sassiness well, and I think she is a total sweetie. If it’s possible, she wears her sassiness well.
Being just three years old, Belle is very curious about many things. She is still discovering the world around her, but she is beginning to be very aware of the things she likes and the things she doesn’t. She is developing her own personal style, and this girl is a girly girl. One of the things little Belle absolutely loves is lip balm…any version…tinted or just chapstick. I can’t blame her. I like the feel of lip balm too,so I can see why she would. Plus, I’m sure it makes her feel pretty.
Another thing that Belle has discovered and really has become pretty obsessed with is pockets. She wants pockets on her clothes, and she likes them on other people’s clothes. It could be because she knows that there are often cool things in those pockets, especially lip balm, or she likes being able to keep her own treasures in her pockets. Its funny what things kids decide that they really like. Well, this Belle’s things are lip balm and pockets.
The other day, Belle wanted her dad’s chap stick, so he took it out of his pocket and gave it to her. Belle put some chap stick on, and after putting the lid back on, Belle promptly tucked it into the only pocket she had…or thought she had…her pull-up. She used it just like it was a pocket. After the moment of shock, her dad laughed and said, “Well that’s one chap stick I won’t be using again!!” Hahahahaha!! I don’t suppose he would either. What a goofy girl she is. I guess in the future, her parents are going to have to make sure that every outfit has a pocket, just in case she borrows a chap stick again.
Well, little Belle will probably get over the lip balm and pocket stage at some point, but I seriously doubt if she will ever get over being the little cutie she is, because that is totally impossible. I love the excitement she shows every time I see her and her siblings. She always makes me smile. Today is Belle’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Belle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My great grand niece, Reece Victoria Renae Balcerzak is a little girl who has coma a long way is just one year. Looking back on her first year of life can take her family from the deepest fear of loss to the greatest thrill of victory. Reece was originally due February 17, 2018, but on December 1, 2017, things went wrong in a scary way. While Reece’s parents, Katie and Keifer, were sitting on the couch talking about the future and the precious little life Katie was carrying, her water broke. They rushed to the hospital, where the staff prepared them for a ride in an ambulance to the airport, and a trip on Life Flight to Denver where they were taken to Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital. They had such different plans for this time in their lives.
On October 5, 2017, Katie and Keifer found out that their bundle of joy was going to be a girl. They couldn’t have been more excited, and now on December 1, 2017, they couldn’t have been more scared. After all, Katie was just 28 weeks pregnant. Birth now was just too soon. Keifer later wrote, “Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital has been an amazing place. The Doctors and Nurses are top notch and treat us like normal human beings. We have been told that they hope to keep Katie pregnant for another 5 weeks before she will be induced. However, it’s very scary because with her water being broken we all know she could begin labor at any given time. After Katie gives birth our baby girl will be here until her original birth day of February 17, 2018.” The goal of five more weeks was not to be, and on December 14, 2018, Reece made her entrance into the world. She was born at 2:23pm, weighing just 3 pounds 11 ounces. She was just 17¾ inches long.
That unplanned arrival marked the traumatic start to little Reece’s life, but her story did not end there. Reece received amazing care at Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital. The are like God’s miracle working network for babies, preemie or just sick. A very long 60 days later, Katie and Keifer left Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital, with very mixed emotions. They wanted to go home, but as any parent of a preemie will tell you, that carries with it the worry over your child. Nevertheless, before long, Reece’s sweet smiles and her darling personality soothed their worried minds, because it was obvious that their little girl was going to be just fine at home too. Reece has made amazing progress, and while she may still be a bit smaller than average, she is a happy, healthy one year old. Today is Reece’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Reece!! Have a great day sweet girl!! We love you!!