When I asked my niece, Andrea Beach about her thoughts on her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed, her first words were…”She is my hero!” During her children’s childhood, Caryl spent a lot of time as a single mom, while her ex-husband was in the Navy and often away on cruises for as much as a year at a time. Sometimes they were able to come home and spend that year here in Casper, but as the kids got older, moving from school to school wasn’t always easy, so she stayed in Oak Harbor, Washington, and later, Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was a big job, but one she did well, according to Andrea. Having one parent deployed is a tough situation to deal with for a kid, but it is one that was made less difficult for Andrea by her hero…her mom.
Andrea says that she is so impressed with her mother’s faith and her walk with God. She is Andrea’s inspiration and role model. Caryl has, as have we all, been raised in the church, and our walk with the Lord is the guiding light of our lives. We would not want to walk this Earth without God in our lives, because to walk without God is to truly walk alone.
Andrea told about the kind of role model her mother was. To Andrea, Caryl seemed a lot like Mary Poppins, because she was so sweet and pure. She always found a respectable way to handle situations, refusing to resort to things like cussing. Once when Andrea was being picked on, Caryl told her to tell those people to “keep their minds out of the gutter”, to which Andrea said, “That’s just what I told them.” Apparently, Caryl had mentioned that people should keep their minds out of the gutter before. That was part of the upbringing my sisters and I received from our parents. Cussing was not allowed in our home, and isn’t a part of our lives now either. Like our parents, we all feel like there are ways of expressing ourselves without resorting to cussing…and they were right. I still don’t think cussing is a necessary part of communication.
Caryl is blessed to be married to her best friend and the love of her life, Mike Reed. Andrea says, “They are madly in love and they are a perfect fit.” I think that is such a true statement. In her tribute, Andrea also correctly stated that Caryl “would do anything for her family and those she loves.” And that is a true statement too. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my mom, Collene Byer Spencer was married and moved to Superior, Wisconsin to live, she was a young woman, who for the first time in her life lived far away from her large family. I think that must have been so hard for her. She was used to living in a house with her parents, sisters, and brothers, and now it was just her and my dad, Allen Spencer. Of course, that was all she needed in most ways, but a girl needs friends too. For Mom, finding Aunt Doris Spencer there, meant a friendship, as well as a sister-in-law. The two liked each other immediately, and became instant friends. They did everything they could together.
While both of them were slender women, they always felt the need to diet. If they gained a pound, it was a big problem…I guess some things never change. Like all dieters, hunger pangs are always the worst part of dieting, so to aid in the dieting, Aunt Doris decided that each of them could have a single Puffed Wheat cereal piece to hold them over on one occasion. I’m sure this sounds crazy, but it does fit into the mentality of a dieter…and all of you who have ever dieted would be dishonest if you didn’t agree. When we look at things now, we know that like all dieters, this idea would pass as an impossible way to diet, but they tried it anyway. Whenever I hear the story of their diet antics, I have to giggle, because I can picture either one of them doing the funny things they did. They almost seemed like girlhood friends from junior high school, except they didn’t know each other then. They were just a lot alike.
They shared so much in those years, motherhood, sisterhood, and friendship. For my mom, it was like going to a scary new place and finding a bit of sunshine in the middle of the clouds of loneliness. It wasn’t like Mom was drowning in loneliness, but she really needed someone to share all of her girl talk with…someone to spend some of her spare time with, and since they lived just across the backyard fence from each other, someone to talk to while the children played or napped. Aunt Doris was a friend sent by God to help my mom through the transition, and to be there for her through the years.
After we moved to Casper, Wyoming, the two kept in touch. Even after Aunt Doris, and her husband, my Uncle Bill divorced, Mom and Aunt Doris remained friends. They wrote letters and called each other sometimes, but didn’t get to see each other for years. Then last year, my sister, Cheryl and I took Mom for a visit. It was a wonderful reunion for both of them, and we were so glad we took Mom, since it was the last time before she passed. She got to see her forever friend one more time. Today is Aunt Doris’ 91st birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Doris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sometimes, espcially when a couple has been together for a long time, it gets to a place where you can just see the love in their eyes…not to mention, the sheer joy of spending time wth the love of your life. That was how it was with my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer. Everytime he looked at her, you could see the love in his eyes. Grandpa only had eyes for Grandma. Everything she did was a delight to him. If she decided to get a little goofy and dance around the living room, Grandpa thought is was the coolest thing she had ever done…but then, he felt that way about everything she did. That is the I only have eyes for you kind of love.
Through the years, we saw that loving look on Grandpa’s face. Grandpa was sixteen years older than Grandma, not an uncommon thing for the times, and I think he was so amazed that he had found such a beautiful girl, and that she wanted to marry him. I think he just couldn’t believe how blessed he was. Of course, Grandma was pretty smitten with him too. Grandma was a short girl…standing five feet tall…in her tall years, and Grandpa stood over six feet. He was her tall, dark and handsome man, and she was very proud of him. You see, she only had eyes for Grandpa too. Most of the time, that is the way it goes. The feelings are usually mutual.
Grandpa was the bread winner of the family, and Grandma was the keeper of the home and the children. Grandma never learned how to drive. She just didn’t see the need for it, and I suppose Grandpa thought that was ok, but I’ll bet that if she had wanted to learn to drive, he would have taught her how. I think she always felt like she had all she needed right there at home, and anywhere she needed to go, he could take her. She would have had to pack up all the kids to go anywhere anyway, so maybe it was just easier to stay at the house.
Whatever the reason, my grandmother, who was happy as a clam, had to display that happiness sometimes, and when the urge to kick up her heels struck her, she didn’t hold back. To Grandpa’s delight, she would do something outrageous like strike a favorite pose or dance a jig. Then Grandpa, who was always mesmerized with his beautiful bride, would grin from ear to ear. It didn’t matter what Grandma was doing, because no matter what it was, he would always only have eyes for grandma.
When my nephew, Eric Parmely was born, my daughter, Amy Royce was babysitting for his mom, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely. It was not uncommon for Eric to go to church with us on Sunday mornings. Once there, in true baby fashion, he would snuggle up in my arms and go right to sleep. It was such a sweet time. It had been a while since I had a baby, and the hour or so that I held Eric while Amy took care of his older brother, JD was very special to me, as I know it was to Amy. There is nothing quite like holding a sleeping baby.
Babies grow up so fast, and before you know it these babies have babies of their own. Eric is no different. Over the past few years, he has married his beautiful wife, Ashley, and the have welcomed two little daughters…Reagan Kaylynn in 2012 and Hattie Joy in 2014. Eric’s family is truly his life. He is a very dedicated husband and father, who works hard and then comes home to spend time with his girls. Eric always wanted daughters, so he is really on cloud nine.
When he isn’t spending time with them, he is spending it working on remodeling their home. Anyone who has ever done that before, knows he has a big job to finish. The home was purchased as a fixer-upper, and since the purchase, they have been working with her dad to make some major changes in the house. It is growing more and more beautiful every day. I had never been in it until this past summer when they held a baby shower in anticipation of Hattie Joy’s arrival, but I had seen pictures before the changes, and I was impressed. They also showed pictures during the renovations, and the transformation was stunning. This will truly be a home they can live in for the rest of their lives, and it’s next door to her parents and their horses, which they love.
When you think of your kids, grandkids, and even nieces and nephews, growing up and becoming responsible adults, it is really hard to picture. So often, it seems impossible to think that they would be capable of doing all the normal adult responsible things that they are suddenly doing, like raising a family, and remodeling a house. They will always seem like little kids in your mind, which usually refuses to allow the thought of moving from that little baby that you remember to the man you see before now. Nevertheless, my nephew, Eric Parmely is no longer a baby or even a little boy, but rather a man with two babies of his own. Time waits for no man, and if you blink, much will change…as if you have suddenly gone through a time portal. I guess that is just how it goes when you are looking at the changes from a boy to a man. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I never had a little brother…or any brother for that matter, until I married Bob. I had a brother-in-law then, but no brothers. If I could have picked a little brother, I think he would have been just like Bob’s brother, Ron Schulenberg, so I guess it’s perfect that he was the one I got. Yes, he was my brother-in-law too, but he was so young when I married Bob, just six years old, so he just didn’t seem like a brother-in-law to me. I remember taking him with us on dates sometimes. He got to go to Dairy Queen more than any six year old there ever was, I’m sure, because how many little kids got to go on dates with their older brother. Most older brothers didn’t want their kid brother hanging around them at all, much less on dates, but Bob and Ron always got along well. They still do to this day too. Whenever one of them has a project going, and they need help, they know that they only have to call, and the other one will be there to assist. It is a blessed kind of relationship that the two of them have always had. Oh there were the ups and downs too, I’m sure, but the bad times never lasted very long.
Ron was an uncle pretty early on too, since my daughter, Corrie Petersen was born when he was just seven years old. Growing up, my girls must have almost felt like he was their older brother too, because they saw a lot of him. I don’t recall them ever fighting too much like siblings do, so I guess he took his uncle duties very seriously, and acted very mature. Of course, by the time my girls were old enough to fight with him, he was closer to being a teenager, so maybe he didn’t feel the need to fight with them. I remember one time when we were out cutting down trees for firewood, Ron found a deformed tree, and since the girls had come along that time, he took them out to that tree, and set them up in it. It looked like a chair. They thought it was the coolest thing, so we got a picture of them in that tree, and their Uncle Ron standing proudly beside them.
Ron is grown and married now. His wife, Rachel had a daughter, Cassie, who is married, and two little boys, Riley and Tucker, so he gets to spend lots of time with little kids again. I think he is so good with little kids, because he has had so much practice…practically all his life. He went from being a good uncle to being a good dad. Nevertheless, while he is over six feet tall now, he will always be my little brother, so he might as well get used to that. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I’m sure that most of you have heard that funny song by Ray Stevens called, “I’m My Own Grandpa”, and while I’m not going to tell you that I’m my own grandma, I will tell you that my husband’s Grandma Hein is my 12th cousin twice removed. We always enjoyed both of his grandmothers, but we got to see so much less of Grandma Hein, that it was very special when we got to go see her. I only knew one of my grandmothers, and my she passed away when Bob and I had only been married eleven years. His Casper grandparents died in the 80’s too, as did his Grandpa Schulenberg in Montana. So, much of my adult life was spent having only Bob’s Montana grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Hein, in my life. I loved spending time with them, and we made annual trips up to visit them. We wanted our girls to know them too, so the trips were a special family time for all of us.
After so many years of knowing them, Grandma and Grandpa Hein became my own grandparents. Little did I know then, or at any time during her lifetime, that Grandma Hein was actually my 12th cousin twice removed. When I made that connection a short time ago, I was so surprised. I’ve known for some time now that Bob and I are cousins to varying degrees, but somehow, in my mind, that didn’t officially connect to the prior ancestors. I mean, I knew it, but they didn’t feel like cousins, for some reason. Then I started thinking about that with respect to Grandma Hein when I came across a relationship between her dad’s family and my dad’s family. Somehow, it was at this point that my mind completed wrapping itself around the idea that I was related to Grandma’s family, and it hit me that my grandma was my cousin.
I’m sure that should have hit me before too, but somehow, she was Bob’s grandma, and therefore, mine by marriage, which she technically still is, in addition to our cousinship. I really wish I had know that she was my cousin too, because I think we would have liked that relationship too. I’m sure we would have both been surprised, and we probably would have had a good laugh too. Nevertheless, I think that we both would have liked that fact as well. We were always good friends, so being cousins too, would have been fun.
The cousinship occurred before either of us were ever born, of course. Our common ancestor is John Collamore who is my 11 great grandfather, and Grandma’s 13th great grandfather, was born in 1500 in England. The fact that we were cousins could not have been easily known at the time of my marriage to Bob. The internet didn’t exist then, and so people had to go to these places to study their lineage. Too much time and too great a cost usually stopped that unless you were very determined. Nevertheless, whether we knew it or not, we are cousins, and I’m sure we will enjoy that conversation when we see each other again in Heaven. Today would have been Grandma Hein’s 106th birthday…and, Groundhog Day, a fact that she liked. Happy birthday Cousin Grandma Hein!! And happy Groundhog Day too…not that it matters in Heaven!! We love and miss you very much!!
My nephew, Allen Beach just returned from spending his last two years of service in the Navy in Japan. It was there that he met and got engaged to his future wife, Gabriella. While she finishes up her time in the Navy, they will be living in Washington DC, which is an area they both like. Washington DC is an amazing place, but I think it would be a little too busy for my taste. It takes a specific type of person to chose to live there, and I know that Allen and Gabby like the busy lifestyle DC provides, so they will fit in there quite well. Of course, Allen isn’t new to the Washington DC area, because as a Naval Medic, he was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital before he went to Japan.
When Allen first joined the Navy, his dream was to be a naval aviator and I think he would have been a really good one, but an injury sidelined that dream. After that he became a medic, and I think that is probably his true calling. It takes a special person to work in the medical field…in any capacity. Having been a caregiver, myself I know that there are a lot of aspects of the medical field that can be quite difficult to deal with. There is blood, infection, smells of all sorts, and that is just to name a few. You have to care about people enough to put their needs ahead of your own. Of course, I’m sure Allen’s work is much different that what I did. I was more like a CNA (certified nurses assistant) and he was more like a PA (physician’s assistant). Nevertheless, you have to see a lot of horrible things.
Now that Allen is out of the Navy and they are back home, I don’t know what his future plans are. He can use the GI Bill to go to school to do whatever he wants to do. I don’t know if he plans to stay in the medical field or not, but I think he would do well in any area of medicine. Only time will tell what his future will bring, but I do know that Gabriella is in his future. They make a very cute couple, and now that Allen is out of the service, I’m sure the wedding plans are in full swing. My guess is that the wedding will be held in Washington DC or in Oregon, where her family is from, but again time will tell on that one. Allen and Gabby have a bright future ahead of them, and I pray God’s greatest blessings for them all their future plans. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Machelle Moore has been married to her husband, Steve for fifteen years now, but when she first met him, the one odd thing she noticed was that just abut everything he had was labeled SRM. I’m not sure if Machelle knew why everything had SRM on it, but when her sister, Susan came to his place, she immediately asked what that was. He said that it was his initials,. The girls thought that was funny, so to this day, they call him SRM. When he was born, his family called him the 10 Guy, because he was born on 10/10, and weighed 10 pounds. No wonder he’s so tall now.
Steve is very into guns, and his dream is to have a gun building business someday. He and my Uncle Bill would have gotten along great, as they are both gun nuts. Steve doesn’t hunt, even thought he likes guns and the mountains, but I can relate to that. I would much rather hunt wildlife with a camera than a gun. I am not against hunting, but I just don’t think I could do it myself.
Steve loves the mountains. He is very much a homebody, and doesn’t like traveling very much, but for the mountains, he will make an exception. In fact, for the mountains, he will almost be the first one out the gate. When Machelle’s parents were getting a new trailer, Machelle wanted to buy their old one. Steve didn’t think he wanted to do that, but she insisted. Once they had it, and they could go camping in the mountains, Steve was sold on it. I suppose he thought she was going to want to travel all over the country, but when he found out that she wanted to go camping in the mountains, he was totally on board. He likes to leave it up in the mountains all summer, and then go up every chance they get. For someone who didn’t really want a trailer, he has sure changed his view. Steve did make and exception this year, when he and Machelle did travel to Yellowstone Park this summer, and all I can say is, “Steve, what happened? She got you out of town!! Are you going to be ok, after such an awful experience?” Ok, just kidding. I know you all had a great time. You aren’t a total hermit, just a mountain man, and Yellowstone Park is in the mountains.
When I first met Steve, he was a clean shaven young man, but these days…like most mountain men, he likes to sport a beard. That and the love of the mountains really does make him a mountain man in my book. I honestly think he could be one of those mountain men who move out to the wilderness, and come to town once a year. That isn’t to say that Steve is anti-social, but he really doesn’t like to travel, and if Machelle was ok with it, I think he would be one of these people who cold like that lifestyle. I can relate to that sometimes. Bob and I love to hike in the mountains, and when you are out there, you are very free from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Sometimes that might feel really nice, but I don’t suppose I would like it on a daily basis. Steve, on the other hand, just might. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! I’m glad you are a good sport. Have a great day!! We love you!!
Because he passed away in 1953 at the young age of just 43 years. I never had the opportunity to know my Great Uncle Cliff. My mom tells me that he was well liked. She said he liked to make people laugh, and always had a good joke to tell. That made him someone people liked to be around. He loved stopping by his brother’s house after work. He would leave a few snacks in his lunch pail for all the little kids to raid. Of course, that made him a big hit with my mom and her siblings.
Uncle Cliff was quite a character. He loved to pick on his mom some. When he was younger, and still living at home. He had a job, and his job required that he work a half day on Saturday. Sometimes he would not come right home after work, because he knew his mother would think he was out drinking. Grandma was mad, and indeed thought he was drinking. She decided to write a big “D” on calendar…for drunk. I guess she was hoping to shame him into not doing such things. He did it to tease her, because he wasn’t drinking at all, and the big “D” on the calendar only served as a source of humor for him.
Uncle Cliff married Marie Settell on July 28, 1940, and on their wedding night, the family gave them a real Shivaree. Now for those of you who don’t know, a Shivaree is a mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple. As sometimes happens in these event, things can get out of hand, resulting in the bride being stolen from the groom for a time, and Uncle Cliff was very worried that they would steal his bride. I suppose that once he realized they weren’t going to do that, he might have thought it was a sweet thing to do, but by that time the Shivaree was over, so he couldn’t relax and enjoy it.
When the United States joined World War II, Uncle Cliff was drafted into the Navy on August 18, 1945, at the age of 36 years. He had only been married five years at that time, and they had already had some sadness in the loss of their first child, Clifford Jr in 1941. I can only imagine how hard it would be to send your husband into war, when you had only been married for five years. But then, many woman have had to do this over the years. They and their marriage would survive the war, and they would have three surviving children, Joy, Gordon, and Judy and a number of grandchildren, but unfortunately, Uncle Cliff would never get to meet them.
Coming home from the war would not bring the best of news. I’m not sure just how long after coming home, but Uncle Cliff had some health issues, and he unfortunately put off taking care of them, In the end, it would be cancer that would take his life at the far too young age of 43. Uncle Cliff has always seemed to be a bit of a mystery to me…like an great uncle who I knew should have known, but somehow didn’t. He was a missing part of the family. He was my Grandpa Byer’s youngest sibling, and since I knew my grandpa, who was the third from the oldest of the nine children, why wouldn’t I know his youngest brother. Oh, I know that isn’t such an oddity, because a lot of people die at a young age, but it seemed strange to me at the time.
Five years after Uncle Cliff’s passing, Marie would again find love, even though I’m sure she thought it would never happen. She married Walter Oddsey (Johnny) Skaggs. Marie and Johnny were both well liked by the Byer family, and while they moved to California, they kept in touch with them through the years.
When I think about how long my son-in-law, Travis Royce has been married to my daughter, Amy…I have to say it is hard to believe. Not that they have stayed together, but rather that it has been that long already. It seems like just yesterday that we were planning their wedding, and now their kids are grown, or close, since Shai graduated this past year, and Caalab graduates this spring. Where have all the years gone? So many things have changed for Amy and Travis. Their children are almost grown, and they are probably looking at being empty nesters before long.
After all these years, I can honesty say that Travis has made Amy’s life interesting…and fun. He is so quick witted that you never know what he might say. That doesn’t seem to matter to Amy though. She takes all his jokes in stride, and laughs right along with him. To hear Travis talk, Amy is an ultra-abuser…of course, the truth is that Amy is a peacemaker, and wouldn’t hurt a fly. But then, what spouse hasn’t joked that his wife will beat him if he doesn’t get home on time. As long as it’s all in fun…no harm, no foul. As I said, you never know what jokes might come out of Travis’ mouth, but then Amy can go back and forth with the best of then too, so she just shoots it right back at him.
A house filled with laughter is a great place to be, and I have no doubt that the laughter is a large part of what keeps them together. Laughter can be like glue. Of course, you also need love, and love is alive and well in their house too. Amy and Travis complete each other. I can’t imagine one without the other anymore. After a while, some people just seem to have been made for each other, and of course, that is exactly what I believe to be the case. I believe that the Lord made them to be each other’s soul mate and other half. There is so much love between them, and it is so obvious that it is there. It shows up in the little things they do for each other, and just the quite touch in passing, but there is also the very demonstrative way that they have with each other. Travis might spontaneously kiss Amy on the cheek or just put his arm around her, simple because she is beside him, and Amy is the same way with him. It is a show of the never ending love they have for each other. Happy anniversary Amy and Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you both!!