Since she was a little girl, my niece Lacey Stevens has loved hair and makeup. After high school, Lacey went to Cosmetology School, and then began working in a couple of the salons in Casper, Wyoming. Then she was hired at Alta Beauty. As it turns out, Alta Beauty would place Lacey on the fast track to a huge success. Lacey was liked and respected immediately upon beginning her job there, and before long she was promoted to assistant manager. Lacey made a lot of friends at Alta Beauty, and her co-workers all looked to her for advise and direction. Her expertise was obvious and had great value, and those who work with her are blessed by her.

Then, the manager of Alta Beauty, Lacey’s boss was promoted to District Manager. That left the manager position at Alta Beauty open…but not for long. Beginning February 1, 2019, my niece, Lacey Stevens, who is all of 26 years old, becomes the new manager of Alta Beauty, and her family couldn’t be more proud of her. That is something that doesn’t happen very often. It takes knowledge and leadership abilities to be considered for such a promotion, and Lacey has exhibited all of those qualities that will make her an excellent manager. Her boss recognized these qualities in Lacey, and promoted her accordingly.

Lacey is an artist in every sense of the word. I suppose many people wouldn’t understand that statement, because art and cosmetology don’t exactly seem to go together, but her canvas is the face and hair of her clients. Everything from an everyday new look, to a Halloween look, to the most important day of their lives. There are a number of women who just won’t trust their looks to anyone else. She is an artist in the world of beauty. Lacey was born for this line of work and she is an expert at it. She did her cousin, Siara Olsen’s makeup for her wedding, as she has done for several others. Her work is amazing. And many people have been grateful for her expertise. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey, and congratulations on your promotion!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As a little kid, my grandson, Caalab Royce, like most kids was a typically goofy kid. He always had a great sense of humor, and loved making people laugh. He didn’t even have to try to make jokes, it just came naturally…and it still does. Caalab loved long hair, and even as a little baby, he carefully played with my hair every chance he got. As a little bit bigger boy, he caught the attention of everyone at church when he would climb up on the chair whenever we stood to sing, and started to play with my hair. It really was the cutest thing, and very endearing. Caalab was the kid who always loved to come to his grandparents house to spend the night. He stayed with us longer than any of the other grandchildren. It did make it hard to have him and his sister, Shai move away when their parents, my daughter Amy and her husband Travis moved to Washington.

Now that Caalab is a grown man, turning twenty today, he is proving to be a wonderful man. As his mom said, he is getting really good at adulting. Amy tells me that Caalab has done very well at doing all of the things that adults should do…paying his bills and never borrowing money, going to work on time and doing his job, and being a responsible adult. Caalab and Shai, his sister, got an apartment together about six months ago, and they have been exceptional roommates and friends. I remember how much they fought when they were little kids, and even as teenagers, and I wondered how well they would do as roommates, but I can proudly say they have been stellar roommates. Shai has even told me that Caalab has become a very clean adult. Most kids, and especially boys, are messy, and some never get out of it, but Caalab grew out of it, and Shai is very thankful.

Caalab, Shai, and their parents, Amy and Travis have started bowling on a league together. It is really the first time Caalab has bowled very much, and they had a great time. Caalab ended the year with a 127 average, and that is really good for a new bowler. Bowling is a traditional sport in our family, so it’s fun to watch the next generation coming into their own in the sport I grew up loving. I know that they will have a great time. In everything Caalab has done in his life, I can say that I am extremely pleased with all of his accomplishments. He is a wonderful young man, and I am very proud of him. Today is Caalab’s birthday. Happy 20th birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Esther Hein - 1955When I first met Bob’s Aunt Esther, we had not been married very long, and unfortunately for Bob, he had made the mistake of assuming that I knew how to cut hair. Well, in reality, I did, but there is a vast difference between cutting my sisters’ long, one length hair, and his short and in need of a tapered look hair. Needless to say, I cut his hair at one length most of the way around and a bit shorter above the ears and shorter still on his forehead, but still no tapering. It was kind of a disaster…and it was right before our wedding…Ugh!! Bob was a god sport about it…after the initial shock and argument over what in the world I had been thinking. I told him I didn’t know how, but he thought his mother would cut it too short, so he was left with me. His mistake, not mine…right!!
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That summer, we went up to Forsyth, Montana to visit Bob’s grandparents, Vina and Walt Hein, who are his Aunt Esther’s parents. Bob’s hair, unfortunately for him, is rather slow growing, and the summer still found his hair not looking too great. Since Esther was a cosmetologist, Bob decided to play it safe and have her cut his hair…still rubbing it in a bit that I had butchered it the last time he let me near it. The situation was quickly getting ready to turn into an argument, when Esther offered to teach me how to cut his hair. It was the best thing she could have done, because over the years, it has saved us untold amounts of money on haircuts for Bob…not to mention years of embarrassment about how awful it really looked.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how bad his hair looked after I cut it, but rather it was the fact that there was 73nothing I could do about it, and every time he looked in the mirror to comb his hair, there it was…a constant reminder. It got easier as it got longer, but he wasn’t going to let me touch it. Esther taking the time to not only cut it well, but to show me how to cut it right, was a definite saving grace for me, because now I can cut it and do it right.

Of course, cutting hair isn’t the only thing Esther is talented at. She is a great seamstress, and makes amazing quilts as well. Her paintings have graced several homes that I know of, including mine. Esther is a woman of many talents, and I’m glad she has shared some of them with me. Today is Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Caalab Rolles RoyceLittle CaalabEighteen years…not so many really, but in the life of a child, it’s…well, a lifetime…or at least a childhood. And then, that part of their life is over. They have graduated from high school, and begin their journey into the life of their choosing. That is a big step, and often one that their parents and grandparents aren’t really ready to have them take…but they are ready, and they will take that next step. I think that for this grandma, the hardest part of this particular now eighteen year old, is that my grandson, Caalab Royce has moved the furthest away, with no plans to move back here again. Usually when kids go away to college, they come home a lot during the year, but his parents moved to Washington and his school is there, so he won’t be coming here like his cousin, Chris Petersen does.

Thinking back on the years of Caalab’s life, my mind brings so many different moments to mind. Caalab was always my really huggy child, and anyone who knows him knows of his love of long hair. He couldn’t keep his fingers out of my long hair from the time he was just six months old. While I have had many children pull on or play with my hair, no other child was as gentle with it as Caalab was. Even at six months, he never pulled on it. If his play got to the point where it accidently pulled a little, I just told him to be gentle, and he was.

Caalab spent the night with us more than the other kids too. He just liked spending time with his Gma and Papa. Many kids grow out of that pretty early on, but he never did, and now that he lives so far away, those times that he spent the night become treasured memories for me. It didn’t matter what we did while he was there…even just watching television, because what mattered was that we got to spend together. He just liked being with us. Somehow, that never ceased to amaze me. It was a blessing beyond measure.

Caalab has changed in many ways over the years, and yet really, so very little. He is a loving, caring person with a tender heart. He hates to think that he might have hurt someone’s feelings, and will go out of his way to apologize or make amends if he thinks he might have hurt your feelings. It is a very endearing quality to have. It is also a quality that causes him to be one of the kindest people I have ever met. He is fun to be around, and CaalabCaalab with Grandmaloves people. That makes him a very social person, who can be friends with anyone. Nevertheless, Caalab is a family sort of guy. He loves his parents and grandparents, and his sister, Shai considers him her best friend. And I can totally relate to that. He may be my grandson, but Caalab is my friend too, and since I am a family oriented person too, he is one of my very best friends. Today is Caalab’s 18th birthday, and the first one I really haven’t spent with him, and while that makes me sad, I hope this is the best birthday for him ever. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!

Grandma and Grandpa ByerMy grandfather, George Byer was a very gentle, soft hearted man. He could not bear to hurt anyone, nor could he stand to see anyone go without. Grandpa would give a man the shirt off of his back if they needed it. And while I don’t recall that he ever had to actually give the shirt off his back, he gave many people a good meal at his table. My grandmother, Hattie Byer was a great cook, and she always found a way to stretch the meal a little further, so they could feed the many less fortunate people who found their way to the Byer table from time to time.

Grandpa was such a family man. He could allow his daughters to play beauty shop, Allyn, Grandpa Byer, and unknowncomplete with nail polish on his nails, and yet no man would think him a wimp. They just knew that he loved his family. As to his hair though, I have a feeling that those of us in the family who love having their hair played with or brushed, and you know who you are, probably got that from grandpa, because he could sit there for hours and let the girls brush his hair. I know exactly how he felt, because for me, there is nothing more relaxing…especially after a hard day at work. Funny thing about people who enjoy having their hair brushed…they don’t enjoy brushing someone else’s hair so much. And believe me, if you like having your hair brushed, it’s really hard to find someone to brush it for you, a fact that is really sad.

Grandpa was always such a sweet man, as I said, and for his grandchildren, it was so Grandma and Grandpa Byermuch fun to go over to their house. I don’t remember ever having Grandpa say a harsh word to me. I think he was just too soft hearted. I suppose that is why Grandma always had to do any discipline that was needed concerning the grandchildren. Nevertheless, I don’t think Grandpa could stomach it. I have to wonder if he ever spanked his own kids. I know my grandmother did, and I think that like my husband, Bob, Grandpa just couldn’t bring himself to spank a child much. That is just the way my grandfather was…just like a big teddy bear. Today would have been Grandpa Byer’s 122st birthday. Of course, he has been gone for some time now, but I can still here his voice saying, “Come on in, Kid!” Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love you, and miss you very much.

CaalabMy dear grandson, Caalab, today marks the beginning of a completely new life for you. Your graduation is just the first step into that life. You are no longer a child, but a high school graduate. Your hard work has paid off, and all the requirements for graduation have been met. Your public school career is over now, and your future is up to you. That is hard for me to believe, because to me you will always be that little boy who was so quick to smile, and always had some new joke to tell or a new trick to show me. While the joking and trickery continue to this day, the little boy is gone, and before me now stands a man, strong and tall, with a heart of gold. I love the man you have become. You are so caring. You give thought to those around you, and you always try to please others. You think of others long before you think of yourself…a good trait in many ways. Still, I miss that little boy that you were…the one who always had his hand in my hair. I will always have that picture of you in my memory files…twisting my hair or batting it, but never pulling it, because you were always careful not to hurt me.

It is a long road from pre-school to high school graduation, and that makes it extra special. When you started Caalab playing his guitaryour school career, it seemed like it would be a long time before graduation, but in reality, the time slips by so quickly. Now, all those years are behind you, and you are looking toward a whole new life. Your journey is going to take you far away, and that is really hard for me, but I know that this is your dream career. Music has been your life for as long as I can remember, and yet it was a bit of a surprise to hear that you want to build guitars. It shouldn’t have been I suppose. It really was the next logical step, and I know that you will be great at it. Still, you are leaving and you won’t be able to come home for a weekend here and there. The next time I see you, you will be changed in many ways. You will have spent time in a bigger city, and broadened your horizons. Your life journey will be much different than what I had expected, but that is because your dreams are uniquely yours…and no one else’s. You have to follow your heart and live your dreams…you have to be true to yourself, and be who you were born to be. And I know that you will be very successful at it, because you are an amazing young man.

When it comes to my babies, my heart just can’t seem to understand the whole saying goodbye thing, and that makes this so very hard. Nevertheless, I would ever want to hold you back. You will go forward and you will be Caalab Rolles Roycesuccessful at all you do, wherever life takes you. Still, I want you to always remember where you came from. Remember the good moral values you have been taught, and always keep God first place in your life, because it was God who made you and gave you the skills you have. As you go through life, you will come to realize more and more that every skill you have came from Him to make you into the wonderful man you have become. I know that your new life will be filled with excitement and interesting new things, so all I can ask is that you remember to call your grandparents once in a while, because we will miss you very much, so don’t forget the way home. Words cannot fully express just how proud we are of you. We love you so much. Congratulations on your high school graduation, my dear grandson, Caalab. Way to go!!

My mom - 8 years oldAs my sisters and I were going through our parents things a couple of weeks ago, we came across our mom, Collene Byer Spencer’s diary. It was given to her by her sister Virginia and her husband in 1947, when Mom was just eleven years old. As we drew names for the different items we found, I received the diary. My sister, Allyn Hadlock had read a few passages from it, and thought it felt wrong somehow, but since Mom is no longer with us, I think it’s ok to read it. So tonight, I have been doing just that. The diary is a five year diary, and it was written in sporadically from 1947 to 1951. Funny thing about diaries…your well meaning plan to writing in them faithfully every day, always seems to dwindle into once in a great while pretty quickly. Having had a diary myself…wow, I wonder where that got to, and if we will come across it somewhere in all of Mom’s things. What things did I write in there that might be embarrassing? The rambling of a silly little girl…all but meaningless today. Well, all I can say is that I hope we don’t come across it.

That said, I do remember my own diary, and much like my mother’s it seems that at the age when a diary becomes so interesting, and all the rage, life always seems to take on a bit of the boring. I suppose that is because nobody’s life can be all bells and whistles every day. At some point, you always find yourself with very little to say about the day’s events. Life’s days aren’t often filled with daily exciting things that are worthy of filling the pages of a diary…at least not when you are eleven. I really wish I had maybe been a little more Mom's diarypersistent about writing in my diary or a journal in later years though, because I now see the value of such writings.

I did learn some things about my mother, and even about my dad. Mom met dad when she was just ten years old. She told me that the first time she saw him she thought that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. Dad was twelve years older than Mom, so when she met him, he would have been 22 years old, and at ten, Mom was just about getting to the age where boys were suddenly interesting, and an older man who was as handsome as my Dad was…well, it must have felt like meeting a movie star. Dad liked Mom right away, but probably not is a romantic way. He was a friend of the family, and so came to visit often. During the next few years it appeared to me that Mom had a bit of a crush on Dad, but maybe tried not to let everyone know that, because of the inevitable teasing that would go along with it. By 1949, Dad’s opinion started to mean more to Mom, and when she cut her hair to look more grown up and he didn’t like it…because Dad has always loved long hair, she was upset, and said, “I got my hair cut, and I like it. Al was mad at me, but he doesn’t have a lease on me, so how I wear my hair is none of his biz!” For his part, Dad told her he was going to grow a beard, and he did. She pretended not to notice. In her early years and even while Dad was coming around a lot, Mom was a bit of a boy crazy girl. I always wondered where I got that from, and now I know. I had a boyfriend from the moment I started school, and it appears that Mom did too, quite a lot.

My parents on their wedding dayBy the time Mom was fifteen years old in 1951, Dad was already sure that she was the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Their romance reminded me a little bit of Laura Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie books. Almanzo knew he wanted to marry Laura, and she did too, but her dad said they had to wait to marry until she was eighteen. In Mom’s case, it wasn’t her dad who thought they should wait until she was eighteen, but her. At fifteen years of age, she had to get to know herself first. In the end, they would only wait until she was seventeen, but it did not matter. Theirs was a match made in Heaven, and a love to last a lifetime. And the ramblings of a girl writing in her diary trying to figure out just how life and love worked while written sporadically, were clear to this reader anyway.

Esther Hein - 1946My husband, Bob’s Aunt Esther is the half sister of his dad, Walt Schulenberg. Times were different when Esther was a little girl, and children who lived in the country in northern states often stayed with families that lived in town during the winter because getting to school from the farm wasn’t always easy. Such was the case with Esther, and the family she stayed with was her older brother’s family, my future in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg. Walt and Joann hadn’t been married very long, but they took on the challenge of a school aged child to help out the family.

I’m sure that as with any child, my mother-in-law found the challenge of a school aged sister-in-law a little problematic at times. She once said to me, “Don’t Esther!!”, when she was frustrated that I was making her go to bed, after Alzheimer’s Disease had made it necessary to help her with these daily tasks. She doesn’t very often mistake me for someone else, but I must say that on that occasion, it was pretty funny to be mistaken for Esther, and from way back when she was getting in trouble for horsing around or some other such mischief. I told Esther, that it was nice to have someone else get the blame for once.

Esther told me once that she had always considered my father-in-law, Walt to be a second dad to her. I suppose that would be true considering that she lived with them. Esther looked up to both her brother and her sister-in-law, and often called them to visit or ask for advise. It was quite hard on her when my father-in-law was very ill, and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m sure it felt like she was losing her parents all over again. I can relate to that, since they have been my second parents for the past 39 years. You grow close, and you don’t think that you will ever lose them…until you do. With her older brother gone now, Esther has felt a loneliness that probably will never go away…and I hate that, because she always had such a sweet smile and delightful laugh, and it hurts to know that she is sad.
Esther Hein - 1955
My first encounter with Esther was shortly after Bob and I were married. Bob had asked me to cut his hair, and I had never cut a man’s hair before. Needless to say, it was horrible, and our wedding was just a couple of days away. When I met Esther, the haircut was still fresh on our minds, and after telling the story, she laughed about the whole thing and offered to teach me how to cut it correctly. What a lifesaver that was. I have been cutting Bob’s hair ever since, and every time I do, I think of Esther, and how she taught me to cut it. I think I do a pretty good job these days, and Bob must too, because he continues to let me get near him with the hair trimming scissors. Today is Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

CaalabMy second grandson, Caalab always had a smile that lit up his whole face. He had…and still has…a great sense of humor. Teasing people is definitely his strong suit. His sister, Shai didn’t always like his teasing, but then she didn’t always like him either. These days they are such good friends that it warms my heart. That usually happens as kids grow up, but when he was little, Shai really wanted to send him back…or as her t-shirts said…sell him. I think these days she is glad they kept him. I love watching how they interact now. He will just go buy her a Starbuck’s coffee some mornings, because he knows she likes that and needs to wake up. And she will do the same for him. They are getting so grown up that it brings tears to my eyes.

I still remember Caalab as the little boy who couldn’t keep his hands out of my hair. It all started when he was just 6 months old. I have never seen a 6 month old baby who was so Caalab with Grandmagentle with hair, but Caalab was. He never pulled my hair, just gently ran it through his fingers. His play changed over the years, and some of it was pretty comical. One that everyone remembers is the times he slapped my hair…pulling it gently out until his fingers reached the end, then slapping it out of his hand. Lots of people asked me if that bothered me, but after 16 years of having Caalab’s hands in my hair, it was just normal…and he never hurt me. He was great like that. Now that he is older, and has a job that keeps him really busy, I miss that little boy who always played with my hair. He still does it when he is around, but he is just so busy now.

The next year will prove to be a busy one for Caalab. While he only needs one class to graduate, he plans to take several college classes too, so that when he starts college, he will have a head start. I don’t think he has decided what career he wants to pursue yet, so the college classes he takes as a senior will be basics, but that’s ok too. Get those out of the way Caalab & Shai ain high school, and he can go into more specialized classes in his freshman year.

Today that sweet smiling little boy is about 6 feet tall and all muscle. I can’t believe how tall he has grown. He towers over me now, and bears little resemblance to the little boy he used to be…except on the inside. Caalab has a heart of gold, and while he loves to joke around and tease, he is a kind boy. He is always doing sweet little thinks like bringing me flowers for my birthday. He never ceases to amaze me. I have been so blessed to be his grandma. Today is Caalab’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Virginia ByerMy aunt, Virginia Byer Beadle was always a beautiful girl, with lovely hair…and this was according to anyone who knew her. From the time she was a young girl and on into her golden years, that fact has not changed. It was quite likely the first thing people noticed about her. Her hair, at least until it turned gray, was a jet black color, and always in curls. I don’t know if her curls are natural or not, but I don’t remember ever seeing her without them.

One time, her sister, my Aunt Evelyn, and Aunt Virginia were supposed to clean up the house, but Aunt Evelyn had been babysitting the night before…all night, and the baby was fussy. As is typical with siblings when they are young, Aunt Virginia wanted to know why her sister was sleeping rather than helping. When she was told that Aunt Evelyn had babysat all night, Aunt Virginia said, “So then if I have a job, you are saying that I won’t have to do housework either?” Now I have to assume that it was Grandma that she was talking to, but the answer was, “No, you wouldn’t.” I don’t know what they expected to happen, but needless to say, Aunt Virginia went out and got herself a job, and she had one from that day on.

When the time came for Aunt Virginia to learn to drive…well, the family got a real education on just how you didn’t want to drive. It seems that every time Aunt Virginia backed out of a parking spot, she would neglect to look behind her and in the end hit probably half a dozen Virginia Muriel Byercars. My mom didn’t say how much damage or how the cars got fixed, or even if the police were called, but she did say that every time Aunt Virginia got behind the wheel the rest of the block cringed. Personally, I wouldn’t park behind her, but that’s just me. Eventually she figured it out, and I haven’t heard that she is such a bad driver now.

After Aunt Virginia got married and moved to her apartment, my mom took to going over and spending the night off and on. In fact, she stayed there quite a lot. It would be those nights spent at her sister’s apartment that would precipitate the marriage of my parents, because my dad was a friend of Aunt Virginia and Uncle Jim’s. For her part in our parents meeting, my sisters and I will always be grateful. Today is Aunt Virginia’s 84th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Virginia!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

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