John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States, was born on March 29, 1790 in Virginia to John Tyler Sr and Mary Marot (Armistead) Tyler. He had two brothers and five sisters, but his mother died of a stroke in 1797 when John was seven years old. I can’t imagine how hard it was on young John to lose his mother. That wasn’t the only hard part of his youth. John was frail and sickly most his young life. Considering the start he had in life, it would not seem likely that John Tyler’s life would have amounted to much…but those who think that would be wrong.
John Tyler came from a political family, and he was destined for the presidency. Tyler was admitted to the Virginia bar at the age of 19. He was actually too young to be eligible, but the admitting judge neglected to ask his age. By this time, his father was Governor of Virginia (1808–1811), and John Tyler Jr started a legal practice in Richmond, the state capital. In 1811, at just 21 years of age, Tyler was elected to represent Charles City County in the Virginia House of Delegates, an office he held for five successive one-year terms. As a state legislator, Tyler sat on the Courts and Justice Committee. Following the War of 1812, Tyler’s father died in 1813, and Tyler inherited thirteen slaves along with his father’s plantation. In 1816, he resigned his legislative seat to serve on the Governor’s Council of State, a group of eight advisers elected by the General Assembly. He then ran for the US House of Representatives, narrowly winning the election. Later he served in the US Senate, before being elected as Vice-President of the United States under William Henry Harrison. Harrison served from March 4, 1841 to his death on April 4, 1841, after which John Tyler took over serving until March 4, 1845.
You might think that Tyler’s political career was the defining point in his life, but he is actually known for something much more surprising. Tyler fathered more children than any other American president, but it isn’t even that fact that is so surprising. His first wife was Letitia Christian and together they had eight children, Mary (1815–1847), Robert (1816–1877), John (1819–1896), Letitia (1821–1907), Elizabeth (1823–1850), Anne (1825–1825), Alice (1827–1854) and Tazewell (1830–1874).. She died of a stroke while they lived in the White House in September 1842. He married again on June 26, 1844, to Julia Gardiner (July 23, 1820 – July 10, 1889), with whom he had seven children, David (1846–1927), John Alexander (1848–1883), Julia (1849–1871), Lachlan (1851–1902), Lyon (1853–1935), Robert Fitzwalter (1856–1927) and Pearl (1860–1947). Tyler’s son, Lyon was born when Tyler was 63 years, and while he was not his youngest child, it would be Lyon who would bring about the thing that really makes Tyler something special. Lyon would go on to father two sons of his own…one when he was 71 and one when he was 75. One of those sons, Harrison Ruffin Tyler is still alive, meaning that John Tyler, tenth president of the United States, who was born in 1790, has a grandson who is still alive in 2021. His older brother, Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr passed away in September of 2020. The fact that their great grandfather was the tenth president, is unbelievable to the children of Lyon’s sons.
When I married into the Schulenberg family, I had no idea what the future would bring…we really never do. I just knew I was in love with my husband, Bob, and I liked his family very much too. Bob’s dad, Walt Schulenberg was quite a character, with a flair for teasing and joking with those people he liked. I liked him very much. In many ways, he was like my own dad, Al Spencer, and very much like my husband. They all loved to tease the “pretty girls,” as they would say, and it endeared them to every one of those girls too. Early on my father-in-law let me know what life in the Schulenberg family was going to be like. The first time I met him, he started teasing, and I sent much of the time red face, but not upset, because was used to it after all. My father-in-law was a happy man, and he liked to see the positive things in life. He had a great smile, and he wasn’t afraid to use it. Anyone who knew him, would tell you he was truly an amazing man.
My father-in-law, who quickly became Dad, and the second great father figure in my life, was a hard working man…almost a workaholic, except that as important as his family was to him, he made sure to spend good quality time with all of us too. He loved my mother-in-law, Joann with all his heart, and his kids and grandkids a very close second. When his kids were young, he learned the value of spending time with family, when he was working out of town, and his daughter Brenda didn’t know him. That was it. He got a job closer to home. He loved being a grandpa and great grandpa, and I wish he could have been here to be a great great grandpa. He loved to make things for the kids, and they all loved the things he made.
He could make or build just about anything he put his mind to…from wooden toys and spinners, to a garage, and even a house. He was a mechanic by trade (among other things), and he could fix just about anything. It was a trade he would pass to his sons and grandsons, and one that as served them all well. Having a mechanic in the family is always a good thing. I think Dad knew that would be important, and that’s why he taught his boys. There were so many things he taught them and his daughters and granddaughters. We never dreamed that one day he wouldn’t be there to teach us any more, but five years ago today, Dad left us to go to Heaven. We had hoped that day would never come. It was a very sad day for us then, and it still is sad today. I know that one day we will see him again, but it doesn’t make it any easier to face the beginning of another year without him in it. We love and miss you Dad…every day.
For much of my grandsons, Chris and Josh Petersen’s elementary school years at Pineview Elementary School, my daughter, Corrie Petersen was a member of and finally President of the Pineview Order of Parents and Instructors (POPI), which was basically Pineview Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA). It was a big, and often thankless job, and I was always proud of the way she handled it. We have all heard of the PTA, but I never really knew how it got started. It actually has a very interesting history. Of course, when the schools in our country began, there was no real program that connected parents and teachers. I suppose that since many of these schools were small country schools, everyone knew the teachers anyway. As time went on, parents and especially moms, who were mostly stay-at-home moms in those days began to take an interest in what was being taught. The biggest problem they faced was that for many years, women couldn’t vote. Their voices were not heard in these matters.
In the late 1800s women still weren’t allowed to vote in elections, and so it would seem that they wouldn’t be able to wield the political power needed to bring about change in the education system. The conventional wisdom of the time was soon to be challenged, however, by two women who first founded National PTA’s predecessor, the National Congress of Mothers. On February 17, 1897, the two founders, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, looked out at the 2,000 people from across the country who gathered for the Mothers Congress’ first meeting in Washington DC. It was the beginning of the largest…and now oldest volunteer organization that works exclusively on behalf of children and youth. Sadly, this is a group of people who had even fewer rights at the time than women. In 1919, Selena Sloan Butler dedicated her life to forming an organization which would have the same objectives as the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. She formed the Yonge Street Parent-Teacher Association, which was the first unit of the Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (the precursor of the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers). In 1970, when the two groups united to form the National PTA, and the three women were recognized as co-founders.
As the years went by, more women became working moms, and in many ways, the PTA, and the children, have suffered for it. That is why my daughter, who was a working mom too, ended up having to do so much of the work herself. That used to make me angry, but sometimes, you just have to get over things. Corrie’s time in the PTA, like her children’s years in elementary school would come to a close, and someone else would have to step up to the plate, but I know that Corrie will never regret the decision she made to head up the PTA (POPI) at Pineview Elementary School, and I know that I am very proud of her for taking the reigns and getting it done for the kids. Today is the 120th anniversary of this great organization.
This past week, my grandsons, Chris Petersen and Caalab Royce, both made flying trips into Casper. Chris drove from Sheridan to celebrate his birthday, by driving with his mom, my daughter, Corrie Petersen and his brother, Josh to Fort Collins the next morning because his dad, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen had taken his dad there for surgery. Kevin hated missing Chris’ birthday, but there seemed to be no other way…until Chris made that flying trip down from Sheridan. Caalab made his flying trip because of a birthday to…his sister, Shai’s. Caalab couldn’t stand the thought of his sister having her birthday without someone in her immediate family there. I was so proud of both of these boys, because the both have such thoughtful hearts.
If there is one thing I don’t like about having grown children and grandchildren, it is that they get so busy, and sometimes move so far away that they can’t come and visit their mom/grandma quite as often, and those flying trips seem to become the normal course of events. Still, each one has to live their life in the way the choose. I’m learning that more and more, and I know it will become more and more the future, whether my family lives near me or not. For me now, the thing to do is to cherish each and every flying trip as it comes along…especially the surprise ones, like the trip my grandson, Caalab made this time.
In reality, I’m sure there will be a number of flying trips I will take to visit my kids and grandkids too. You can’t go to another state for a week, see all the sights, spend time with your kids and grandkids, and not have it be a flying trip. Those trips are filled with running here and there moments, because you want to do everything you can in the time you have, so you can make memories of the events that will last until you see your loved one again.
My grandson, Chris had to head back to Sheridan on Tuesday, and my grandson Caalab flies back to Bellingham, Washington late today. I’m sad that they were such quick trips, but I am so thankful that I got to see my two precious grandsons, who don’t live in Casper. And every time those who live away, head back home, I find myself feeling thankful for those who still live here. It keeps loneliness at bay.
My Uncle Jim Richards is a family man with deep values and loyalties. He is not one to turn away anyone in need. His home has been a shelter for a number of different people over the years. That said, I can tell you that his home has also been very blessed because of his generosity too. I don’t think that we can be givers in this world without God returning good things to us too. Uncle Jim and his wife, my Aunt Dixie have been blessed with three children, Jeannie Liegman, Jim Richards, and Raylynn Williams, as well as five grandsons and one granddaughter. They are a close family, who gets together every day. I suppose that there are people who think that is odd, but I think it is wonderful. Children and grandchildren are among God’s greatest blessings, and to have them close is priceless…and any grandparent who doesn’t get to watch their grandchildren grow up would tell you the same thing. Those years go by so fast. You have to enjoy while you can.
Uncle Jim is a gentle man with soft spoken way. I’m sure he could get angry if the situation warranted it, but I’ve never seen him angry. That says a lot about his level of patience…to be around all the kids in our whole family, all being rowdy at the same time, and to still have patience with them…amazing. It is especially amazing when the children are not his. That is just the kind of uncle he is though.
Uncle Jim has always been a soft spoken man, with a great smile. His joy in life shows all over his face. Uncle Jim and his family have always lived in the country, raising chickens and such. it seemed a life he was suited to. Over the years, they have taken care of many of the children in the family while their parents worked. I have spoken to several of them, and they all have fond memories of their time at Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s place. Every one of them had a wonderful time out there. That speaks volumes about the loving atmosphere they built into their home. When the children in your care have fond memories of the time they spent there…even when they are adults, you are doing something right. Today is Uncle Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I picked my grandson, Josh up from Kelly Walsh High School the other day, we drove past the area where they are tearing up the old teacher’s parking lot for the school renovation project that is going on in several schools around town. Josh said, “When I look at that, it makes me sad?” He hated seeing the school he had known change. I found that a little surprising, in that this is Josh’s first year at Kelly Walsh, but when I thought about the fact that Josh’s older brother Chris has gone there for 3 years, it made sense that he would think of this school as a place he knew well. We continued down 12th Street, and past the swimming pool and he mentioned the building that was the entrance to the pool, and it really hit me.
Kelly Walsh High School has been a part of my life since I was a kid. It first opened in 1965, when I was just 9 years old. It wasn’t long after that that my sisters and I began going to Kelly Walsh High School to go swimming, almost every weekday in the summer. We walked past Pineview School to 8th Street, turned on Sally Lane, crossed the foot bridge to Forest Drive, went up to 12th Street and up to Kelly Walsh pool. It was so much fun to go swimming there every summer, and now the building is gone and the pool will follow. All those years of that pool being such a huge part of my summer…and now it will be gone.
So many changes are about to occur to the school where I spent my high school years. When the work is done, I don’t know if I will even recognize it. After my graduation, my sisters attended there, and then my older sister’s older children, and then when my girls started high school it was at Kelly Walsh, and once again I spent time there. Now, two of my grandsons are there and I am spending time there again. Kelly Walsh High School will always be a part of my life it seems, but it will not always be the school it was. I know it will be a better school when they are done, and I know it is a necessary change, but it still makes me sad too.
By the time my Aunt Dixie joined the family, there were already seven children in it. That meant lots of help to take care of the new baby. If she was anything like she is today, my guess would be that she laughed easily and often. Aunt Dixie has never been a melancholy person, but rather always seems to look for the positive things in life. That is a trait that few people have these days, and one that will make her life always rich.
Aunt Dixie has a creative side to her too. She has a talent for making things that add a touch of beauty to her life and to those around her. I can remember the many family Christmas parties that Aunt Dixie and her family have put on, and her talent is easy to see. We have all been blessed by the things she and her family have made for those parties. They always bring something new to the feel of them.
Aunt Dixie has always loved living in the country, and has had her little farm for many years now. I remember when she came to the rescue of my sisters and me, when she took the chicken/rooster my mother ended up with after one of the kids brought it home from the fair. It was cute at first, of course, and Mom’s plan was to have eggs. Having chickens in town was against city ordinance, of course, but Mom didn’t think anyone would know, since it was just one chicken. Then it started crowing, much to the embarrassment of all the rest of the family. Finally Mom gave up and admitted that it was indeed a rooster. Then she had to figure out what to do with it. Aunt Dixie saved the day by adopting the rooster. Now, I’m sure he became fried chicken or chicken soup, but there are worse things in life…like having to listen to that rooster crowing every morning.
Aunt Dixie loves kids…especially her grandchildren. She has 5 grandsons, and then…finally, three short years ago, she received the granddaughter she had longed for. Now her life is complete…at least until the great grandbabies start coming, but that’s another story. Today is Aunt Dixie’s birthday!! Happy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Brian, who is the 14 month old son of my cousin, Alicia and her husband, Jordan, is a curious little boy, not unlike most boys his age. I am always amazed at the things that catch the eye of little kids. Things we adults would most likely never notice, seem somehow special and interesting to them. Add to that, the fact that Brian is a boy, and you will find that the things that will interest him will be the bug, worm, or as in Brian’s case…the toad.
While taking in some fresh air and sunshine in their back yard, Brian came upon his first toad. He pointed at it and said, “Mom! This?” Either he was asking her what it was, or wanted her to look at it, and it doesn’t really matter, because it is just the beginning of his boyhood curiosity, and this is a question Alicia will hear over and over again. I told Alicia that her days of finding toads and other such friends in her son’s pants pocket were probably not too far off. It does make me thankful that I had daughters, although my grandsons broke me in on the various items in their pockets and in their hands. Some, I would rather not think about!!!
As I looked at the picture of the toad, my mind went back to when I was a kid. I remember hunting for toads too. And I remember having one that was in a box, but I am quite certain that I would never have picked up that toad, so maybe one of my male cousins put it in the box for me, or maybe my memory is of looking at a toad in a box that belonged to one of my male cousins. Whatever my memory of the toad was, I do remember touching the toad…briefly. Its skin was rough and scratchy. I also remember thinking that it was odd that the toad didn’t try to get away from my touch…almost like they enjoy that touch, like a cat does.
Little Brian is just beginning his years of curiosity about the animal kingdom, and it is my guess that he will have many more memories of that type than I ever did, since I tried very hard to stay as far away from bugs and amphibians as I could. If Brian is the boy I expect that he will be, he will try to be around them much of his young life…until he discovers girls, that is.
Through the years, people have had a special relationship with their puppy friends. Dogs just have a way of being more than just a pet. So many dogs have protected their owners from harm, and when they are with the children of their owners, they become even more protective. They seem to think of the children as their own babies, or maybe their siblings. It is so strange that an animal can have such strong feelings for their owners, but as we all know, dogs can be very smart. My grand niece, Reagan’s dog, Ayva thinks Reagan is her baby. She expects to be involved in every part of Reagan’s life…nap time, play time, and of course, walks.
Dogs have a natural instinct when it comes to the developmentaly disabled. They seem to be more gentle with them, even when they are a little rough. My sister-in-law, Marlyce was developmentally disabled, but her puppy friend didn’t seem to mind anything she did. That dog was her friend for life, and she was his best pal. I think dogs have a sort of motherly or fatherly feel toward the developmentally disabled, because they know that they need a little extra help sometimes, almost like a child, even if the person is not a child.
An older kid with a dog has a playmate that doesn’t get in fights with them. Dogs just want to play and be with you. They don’t care what they get to do, they just want to go along. My grandson, Caalab’s dogs like to go camping, while my grandson, Josh’s dog thinks she should get to go everywhere with Josh, including school, if she could get away with it. The boys and their dogs don’t have to be doing anything special for them to be happy, because doing anything with the boys, makes the dogs and the boys very happy. They just want to be their friend.
Being a girl from a family of all girls, the idea of paintball would never have entered my mind. I’m not saying that my sisters and I were real prissy, but we weren’t into pain and getting totally dirty either. We were typical girls, who liked dolls and other girl things, when we were little, and while we liked to go camping, we still didn’t want any of the wild creatures of the forest in our camp unless it was a deer or a bird. Then, when Bob and I had children, we had 2 girls too, so I really never had to have much dealings with the kind of stuff boys are into, other than Bob’s love of mechanics, which didn’t really affect me much, unless he needed help on something.
Then came the sons-in-law and the 3 grandsons…and oh boy, what a shock to my rather girly system!! All of the dirt, cars, rough housing, and most recently paintball fighting, are things that have taken some getting used to. I simply can’t imaging choosing to get hit with paintballs. I have seen the bruises the guys have after one of their “friendly” fights, and while I’m no wimp, I think I’ll have to pass when it comes to letting someone shoot paintballs at me and leave me full of bruises. I’m quite sure that fact will come as quite a disappointment to the guys, as I’m sure they would love to have a crack at that fight.
My grandsons are getting better at their shooting skills, but it will take some doing to beat their dad and uncle, I think, and Kevin usually gets the upper hand. Caalab doesn’t get to fight as much as Chris and Josh, since their dad is the one into paintball, but he has fun when he gets to go along. I’m sure my daughter, Corrie has all but given up on the idea of keeping their clothes clean and paint free. I don’t know how well this stuff washes out, but my guess is that it comes out pretty well, but if not, you just make sure to wear old clothes, right. Yep, dirt, paintballs, bruises, and fun…that’s paintball!!