grandparents

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Life is changing drastically for my grandniece, Jolene Thompson. Recently, her family moved from Riverton, Wyoming to Shoshoni, Wyoming, and they now live on a farm. Jolene, who is very much an outdoor girl now gets to take care of animals, and that suits her just fine. With the move came a new school, and Jolene is really thriving there. Living in Shoshoni also puts her in the same town as her grandparents, and that closeness is going to be awesome. Jolene is such a social girl, so she has already made lots of friends already. Not everyone can just pick up and start over in a whole new place and immediately have a ton of friends, but Jolene can. Jolene has an amazing smile, and it draws people to her. She is truly a friend magnet. Not only does Jolene have lots of friends, but she is such a leader. When she makes friends, she is the leader of the pack too. She isn’t a girl who gets into trouble, so having her be the leader of the pack is definitely a great thing, and her friends’ parents love it.

Jolene, who goes by Jo as much or more than Jolene, loves to fish. Her dad, Tim Thompson also loves to fish, hunt, go camping, and every other kind of outdoor activity, so it stands to reason that his daughter would also love these things. The family threw a great big birthday bash for Jo, and of course, the theme of the party was…you guessed it, fishing. Jo is her daddy’s mini-me, and if her daddy likes something, so does she. And to top it off, she is very good at all the outdoor sport things her daddy likes. She loves to catch bugs, hunt, fish, and really any of the outdoor things. And of course, Jo can totally keep up with all the boys, but don’t let that fool you, because she is very much a girly girl…just not a wimpy girl. In fact, don’t call her a fisherman, because she is a fisher…GIRL!!

While Jo can and does “keep up with” the boys, she wants to dress and look like a girl! In fact, my niece, Kellie Hadlock (who is Tim’s girlfriend) says, “I dare you to try putting her in some Carhart overalls for fishing, lol!!” Outside of all that she is the toughest, sweetest, funniest, and smartest little girl!! Tim and Kellie are so incredibly proud of her!! Jo is very down to earth, but also very bubbly and fun, and our whole family feels blessed to know her. Today is Jo’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Jo!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I often wonder, when thinking about couples and how they met, what might have happened if their families hadn’t moved to the state where they eventually met their spouse. Would they somehow have met in another way, like college, mutual acquaintances, or a random trip to the same city. It’s hard to say, I suppose, and the reality is that they may never have met at all. Thankfully, for my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s grandparents (and for me), his grandparents did end up in the same small town, and they did meet and married, producing Bob’s mom, Joann (Knox) Schulenberg, who gave birth to my husband. I say thankfully, of course, because if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be married to my wonderful husband all these years.

Grandpa, Robert Knox was born in Prosser, Washington, where his two brothers, Melburn Coe Knox and Joy Allen Knox, but on February 4, 1917, Joy Allen died 13 days after he was born on Jan 22, 1917, and by the time their next son, Richard Franklin “Frank” came along on February 4, 1920, the family was living in Rosebud, Montana. The birth of their Rainbow Baby, ironically on the same day as the death of their older son, must have been a little bit bittersweet. It seems like if the move was to get away from the memory of their loss, it actually ended up following them to the new place. All that aside, the family eventually moved to Rosebud, Montana.

Meanwhile, Grandma, Nettie (Noyes) Knox was born in Clyde Park, Montana, which was three hours and fifteen minutes from Rosebud, but the family would eventually move to Rosebud, Montana, which is, of course, where she met her future husband, Robert “Bob” Knox. They were married on June 14, 1928, in Miles City, Montana, and as they say, the rest is history. While they lost their first child, a son named William Edgar Knox, at birth, they went on to have three daughters, Joann Schulenberg, Linda Cole, and Margee Kountz. They were married 57 years, until Grandpa went to heaven on December 17, 1985. Grandma lived until July 29, 1990, and then she joined him in Heaven. Today would have been their 95th anniversary. While there are no marriages in Heaven, I know Grandma and Grandpa are enjoying themselves as friends very much. Have a happy day, Grandma and Grandpa. We love and miss you very much.

My uncle, Larry Byer, out of all the nine children of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, most resembled my mom, Collene Spencer. In fact, as children, they looked so much alike that some people actually thought they were twins. When my grandmother took my Uncle Larry, who was just 20 months older than my mom, to register for Kindergarten, they asked her if she was planning to register his twin sister too. Grandma was rather surprised and told them that he didn’t have a twin. She really hadn’t thought about the fact that they had similar features, such as the same color and texture of hair, and similar facial features, with the exception of the normal differences between boys and girls. No, they didn’t look alike then or later in adulthood, but the similarities were enough to know for sure that they were siblings, and I guess that for the person registering Uncle Larry, that was enough to think they were twins.

Uncle Larry and my mom, as well as they younger brother, Wayne, who by the way, looked quite different than his older siblings, were always very close. Uncle Wayne had dark hair and Uncle Larry and my mom were blondes; and their facial features were different too. Nevertheless, they were all best friends. I suppose that age had a lot to do with it. The older siblings didn’t really want to hang out with the little siblings so much. It’s a common problem in families. So for my mom, that meant that her sisters, both older and younger, didn’t so much hang out with her when she was a child. So, she hung out with her brothers. Time changes things though, and as she got older, she hung out a lot with her older sisters. Nevertheless, she was always close with her brothers growing up.

Of course, it helped that Uncle Larry, and Uncle Wayne too, had a great sense of humor. They always kept my mom laughing and that made hanging out with her brothers, more a choice rather than a necessity. They were good to her too. The Byer brothers were kind, gentle souls, much like their dad. Mom always felt privileged to be allowed to hang out with them, and she would defend them to the end…even if it meant telling off her mom…a thing she only did once, however. It happened when Grandma was giving Uncle Larry a spanking for something he did, and my mom thought that her mom was being too harsh. So, she told her so. Grandma continued spanking Uncle Larry and ignoring my mom, but when she was done with Uncle Larry, and both kids started for the door, Grandma grabbed my mom, and gave Mom her share of the spanking…something she wouldn’t have received if she hadn’t stuck her nose in where it didn’t belong. I have often wondered if Mom regretted sticking up for Uncle Larry, or if she always felt justified. I think Uncle Larry might have appreciated the intent, even if it wasn’t a very smart idea. Today would have been Uncle Larry’s 99th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. We love and miss you very much.

Christmas Eve…the half day beginning of the Christmas holiday. I say, half day, because many businesses are open half of the day, letting their employees off early to spend time with their families. For some families the opening of gifts is even done on Christmas Eve, while others are preparing for the festivities that will be taking place the next day. For my grandparents, as well as many other people across the world and even in my own family, Christmas Eve seems like the perfect day to be married. In my grandparents’ day, that was often how it happened, because family was gathered and gathering wasn’t always easy, so I suppose it was like “killing two birds, with one stone” for lack of a better analogy.

For my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, it made the season that much more special. We all knew when they got married. From their kids on down to the great great grandkids, we knew, because it was a story that was passed down to every generation and an event that was celebrated every Christmas eve. It was something that made Christmas extra special. Just knowing that the whole family got started on Christmas eve was so very cool, and I think that for many years, we thought we were the only family to have such a special Christmas eve. We weren’t, of course, and in fact, every year other people get married on Christmas eve. Many people think it’s a great day for a wedding, and for those forgetful husbands, a difficult date to forget.

For the rest of the world, Christmas eve is a day to prepare for the morning, attend Christmas eve services, and set out the cookies and milk. Then it’s a matter of trying to get the excited children to go to bed, because they will want to be up by 6:00am…if not earlier!! Before we know it, Christmas will be over, except for the opportunity to reflect on the real reason for the season…our Lord and Savior…Jesus Christ!! Merry Christmas Eve, and happy anniversary in Heaven to my grandparents. Have a wonderful day all!!

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.

Growing up, I had only one set of grandparents. My dad’s parents were both in Heaven by the time I was six months old, so my grandparents were George and Harriet (Hattie) Byer. My grandpa was a tall man, but he was very slim. Still, I always thought of him as a big man…with big hands. I’m sure his slimness was due to several factors. In those days, everyone had large families, and my grandparents, with nine children, were no exception. That many kids during the Depression Years meant that food was a bit scarce, and my grandparents never turned away a hungry neighbor or any other hungry person, for that matter. My aunts and uncles can remember having strangers at the dinner table many times. Grandma would simply add a little more water to the soup to make things go a little further.

Grandpa Byer worked hard his whole life. He helped build Alcova Dam in Alcova, Wyoming. He was always considered a good worker and was always loyal and followed orders to the letter. Grandpa was always considered a dedicated employee. Grandpa was known to follow orders to the letter, and it actually saved his life one time while digging a ditch. When his boss walked by and saw the beginning of a cave in, he yelled, “Jump George!!” Grandpa immediately did as he was told, and his upper body was above ground after the cave in. Many people, these days, would have found themselves in a lot of trouble…even the ones who jokingly say they would ask, “How high.” There was no time to ask anything. Grandpa’s life depended on his immediate action…and I’m happy he followed those orders.

Grandpa was loved by all who knew him, and while his was a strong man, he was soft-spoken, and often quiet… something that might also have come from the fact that he had a big family. It’s not easy to get a word in when you have that many people all wanting to talk at the same time. Nevertheless, if Grandpa needed to make his voice heard, I’m sure he could. He was a man who commanded respect…not because people feared him, but because they loved him. Today is the 129th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love and miss you very much.

There are among us sometimes, people who are naturally humble. These aren’t beaten down people of no real worth, but rather people of great worth to those around them, but who somehow do their “good deeds” under the radar, and thereby go almost unnoticed. My Uncle Jim Richards is one of those people. His life in service to those around him really began at the very young age of just eight years. At that time, less than a year after losing his older brother Daile during the D-Day attack at Normandy, France, and with 12 remaining siblings, 4 of whom were younger than he was, Uncle Jim realized that his mother was going to need the help of her children to get through all this. Not many 8 year old boys would be able to grasp all that, but Uncle Jim wasn’t a typical 8 year old boy. He was the kind of boy, who saw a need, and went out of his way to meet that need. I suppose there might have been 8 year old boys who would want everyone to know what they had done for their family, but Uncle Jim wasn’t one of those 8 year old boys. He simply saw a need, and went forward to meet the need. That was his nature.

Uncle Jim was a hard worker, who was good at his job, but his first loyalty was always to his family. From boyhood, when he did what things he could to help the family financially, to the later years when a number of his siblings as well as him mom lived with him and his family when they needed to. He also helped out with my grandparents, who were his wife, my Aunt Dixie’s parents, as they got older and needed assistance. And then he became the chauffer for his grandchildren when his kids had worked and their kids needed a babysitter and a ride home from school. Of course, he couldn’t always do that, but when he retired, he took great pleasure in the time he spent being the “bus driver” for his grandchildren.

Uncle Jim has always had a quiet demeanor. He isn’t a really chatty person, but when he says something, it is always full of love and kindness. People think of him as a teddy bear type, because of his personality. I have to agree with them, because that is always the way I thought of him…not the teddy bear part, exactly, but when I heard that, I had to agree. Today is Uncle Jim’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Every kid, at some time in their childhood has dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. For many it has to do with what their mom or dad does for a living…at least at first. Later, it might be their grandparents, a television personality, a favorite teacher, or a hero in town. They may not have any idea of what the job they think they want might entail, but because someone they admire does that job, it must be the best job in the world. As adults, we would probably groan at the idea of the job those little ones look upon as fabulous, but to them it is the greatest thing ever.

I remember my niece, Lindsay Moore, who wanted to be a firefighter, as did my grandson, Josh Petersen (who is still interested in firefighting), The funny thing about Lindsay was that her dad, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock was a cop at the time. It’s funny, because Lindsay’s niece, Aurora Hadlock wants to be a police officer. It’s still in the family, she just chose the occupations of her grandpa, and uncle Jason Sawdon. Time will tell if Aurora fulfills her dream. After all, she is only 9 years old.

What’s is really interesting is when a child has such high hopes that the idea is way above their heads. Nevertheless, they keep their head up, looking at their goal…keeping it always before their eyes, until one day, they find themselves living that dream. Others never do follow the dream of their childhood, mostly because a new dream comes along that makes the old dream seem dull and boring. Sometimes it is from a life experience, such as my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, who became a Labor and Delivery Nurse, after her first son was born. Or Lindsay, who tried firefighting, and decided that she wanted to go into Kinesiology, which is the study of the mechanics of body movements.

Some kids, like my husband Bob Schulenberg, his brother, Ron Schulenberg, nephews Barry Schulenberg, JD Parmely, and Eric Parmely, all went on to be mechanics like their dad and grandpa, Walt Schulenberg. Some futures, such as those of these men, seem to be in the blood, and that is ok too.

My aunt, Dixie Richards is the middle sister of the younger three sisters of my mom, Collene Spencer. My grandparents, George and Hattie Byer had nine children. The first three were girls, the second three were two boys with my mom in the middle, and the youngest three were girls. It would have been almost like having three families, except that there wasn’t any significant distance between the sets of three. Even without big distances between the sets of three, there was a number of years between the oldest and the youngest of the kids. That could have made a sibling distance too.

I’m sure that with any big family, the older children are often married before the younger ones are born or at least before they are very old. That can make the memories seem a little distant for the younger children. Fortunately for my mom’s family, they were pretty close, so the sisters and brothers stayed close too. That gave all the cousins the opportunity to be close too. I know of cousins that barely know each other, but my cousins are close. We may not see each other every day or week, but we are all friends. We care about each other. That’s what families should be, I think.

That sort of closeness is how Aunt Dixie’s family is too. They spend lots of time together. When Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim had some health issues, the kids rallied around them to take care of them. When their girls, Jeannie Liegman and Raylynn Williams needed babysitters, Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim watched the grandchildren. Their son Jim lives with them, which makes them feel good and safe. As people get older, it’s nice to have your kids near you, and it’s even nicer to have them want to help you. Of course, Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim are there for their kids too, no matter what the need…physical or emotional. That is what family is all about, and Aunt Dixie has created a close family. Today is Aunt Dixie’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, JD Parmely is a hard working man, who lives a quiet life in the house he purchased from his grandmother, Joann Schulenberg after his grandfather, Walt Schulenberg passed away. She was living in a nursing home by then, and the purchase allowed her to life out her days in peaceful happiness. I can’t imagine a better person to live in the house where we had all spent so many happy times. I think it felt like coming home for JD, because he had never known a time when his grandparents didn’t live there.

Those were happy days for little JD…for the most part. JD really didn’t life food when he was little. I remember that he made a face at almost everything. A pickier eater, there never was. I remember times when his mother, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely resorted to M and Ms to get some calories into him. Thankfully, those days faded into the days when JD had a hollow leg, and needed a heavy duty platter of food to fill him up…after having seconds, of course.

I remember JD playing “horsey” on his grandpa leg, and loving every minute of it. He also loved being with his grandma, and being rocked to sleep on her lap. The good times JD had at the house that is now his home will always live in his memory. He helped his grandpa with his projects, and his uncles and his grandpa with work they were doing on cars. It was in this garage that JD learned the ropes on mechanics, as well as from his own dad, Keith Parmely in their garage at home. With all these mechanics in his background, I think it was pretty much a given that JD would grow up to become a mechanic, even going to college for mechanics in Arizona, before coming back home, where it wasn’t for “blazing hot.” JD loves his cars, and has about twelve of them at any given time, so having a double garage on his house makes it even more perfect for him. A double garage and the memories from his childhood…it doesn’t get better than that. Today is JD’s birthday. Happy birthday JD!! have a great day!! We love you!!

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