mischief

My uncle, Wayne Byer is the younger of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s two sons, and the younger of the three middle siblings, of which my mom, College Spencer was one. Those three middle kids, Larry Byer, Collene, and Wayne, seemed to always be into some mischief. Mom told me it had to be because she was in the middle of the two boys…but I think she probably instigated as much as they did. She could be mischievous too.

Uncle Wayne has always loved kids, and especially making them laugh. Maybe that was why we all liked to gather around him. We knew he would do something to make us laugh, before long, and we were never disappointed. He had the ability to be a laugh a minute. I’m told that he loved telling jokes all his life, and from the part I saw, he did.

Of course, Uncle Wayne had a serious job too. Being a mechanic at the school bus garage, and later the head of the school bus garage, he was tasked with making sure that every bus was in good repair, so that the busses would all transport the children safely to their destination. My sisters and I didn’t have to ride the bus to school, but since my husband, Bob and I lived in the country when our girls were little, they took the bus to school every day. It was then that I began to really appreciate the work my uncle did, and my girls always liked the fact that their great uncle took care of the school buses they rode. I think they also liked it when they could tell people that it was their great uncle who headed up the garage. They were very proud of what he did, and they wanted other people to know that their great uncle had such an important job. The girls were trying to gain favor by telling people, they were just very proud of him.

We don’t get to see Uncle Wayne a much as we used to, now that he is retired, not that we saw him at work or anything. It just seemed like before he retired, we saw more of him. Nevertheless, Uncle Wayne hasn’t changed a bit. He is still the same funny guy who was always a laugh a minute, and I’m glad. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 82nd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Uncle WayneHave you ever noticed that some children have a look on their face that tells you that they are a comedian at heart. I didn’t know my Uncle Wayne Byer when he was a little boy, but I have no doubt that he was a child comedian, because it was written all over his face. Uncle Wayne as a child always wore a mischievous smile. That smile, and the mischievousness that went with it, have never left him. In fact, I think they are one of the most endearing qualities Uncle Wayne has…to me anyway. When I think of him, I remember all the funny things he has done and how much he made us all laugh. What a great legacy for a person. A legacy of laughter. There are few things that make a person more memorable than the ability to make people laugh. Uncle Wayne has that.
Collene, Larry, and Wayne
My mother, Collene Spencer was the middle child in the family, and the middle child between the only two boys. In my mind, they were like the three musketeers. Where one was found getting into mischief, the other two were not far behind. That’s how it is with siblings sometimes. Different groups of siblings are closer than other groups, even if it is only during their childhood. My mom and her brothers probably drove my grandma crazy with their antics. My mom, aunts, and uncles used to get together once a month to have lunch, visit, and talk about old times. Sometimes, I would like to have been a fly on the wall while they told those stories.

Of course, time changes things, and kids grow up and find different things to spend Uncle Larry, Grandpa Byer and Uncle Wayne go hunting.time doing. My uncles used to go hunting with their dad to help supply food for the family. Slowly, childhood days slipped away, and Uncle Wayne, like all kids became an adult, has a family, and worked a job until it was time for him to retire, but he never lost his sense of humor. I think too, that the antics of the three middle children was a source of much laughter in conversations when the siblings got together is their adult years. Uncle Wayne is the last of the three musketeers left now, and that makes me very sad. I can still hear the laughter when all the siblings got together, and I really hate the fact that four of the nine are gone. I’m glad we still have Uncle Wayne though, and his great sense of humor. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Uncle WayneIt’s hard for me to think of my Uncle Wayne Byer without thinking of my mom, Collene Byer Spencer, and my Uncle Larry Byer, because they were like the three musketeers of that generation. If one was getting in trouble, you could assume that the other two weren’t far behind. It’s not that they were troublemakers, because they weren’t. It was that these were the only boys in the family, and my mom was the one sister who fell between them in the family line. That meant that where the boys went, and what they did, my mom wasn’t far behind. She wanted to be right in the middle of everything they were doing.

Mom always thought the world of all her siblings, but her brothers were a combination of superheroes and partners in crime, though no crimes were ever committed…unless you count the antics that Mom and her brothersgot all three into trouble with their mom. Grandma and Grandpa raise their kids to be responsible adults and good citizens. They taught them well. They all turned out to be amazing people, but no childhood is without mischief, and the Byer kids were no different. Anytime you have nine kids, you have nine imaginations to come up with something new to get into trouble with.

While boys can be mischievous, they can do some of the nicest things too. My mom has told me about several things her brothers did for her. Besides being her best friends, they did nice little things like buying her a set of salt and pepper shakers that she had admired…just because she liked them. That act was more than just doing something nice, it showed that they were listening to her. I think that has always endeared them to my mom. So often in life, we go through situations where we don’t feel like anyone is listening to us at all, but then when someone picks up on something we said and does something so nice with it, your realize that they really were Collene, Larry, and Waynelistening to you, and that they wanted to show you how much they care about you. What better way for brothers to be toward their sister?

Uncle Wayne has always been one to pay attention to those around him. He loves entertaining the children that are around him, and especially loves making them laugh. He has a great laugh, and that makes everyone laugh. His sense of humor and ability to tell jokes is awesome. In all, he is a great guy to have around. I don’t get to see him as much these days, as in the past, but when I do see him, it is always a good time. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 78th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Toothless GirlWhen we knew Audrianna Masterson was due around July 7, 2007, we never expected that she would manage to arrive on that special day of that year. Audrianna is the youngest daughter of my nephew Rob Masterson and his wife, Dustie, and she is my sister, Cheryl’s granddaughter. We were so surprised when little Audrianna…Anna, as she has been nicknamed…arrived on that very special date…07-07-07. Audrianna was a quiet, soft hearted little girl, and has remained so for all of her life…to this point, anyway. She is very soft spoken, especially around those she doesn’t know well. I think that a lot of time, Anna is the type of person who is listening and thinking things through, before she opens up to a certain person or situation. Don’t get the wrong idea about little Anna though, because she has quite the sense of humor, and loves to joke and goof off with her siblings. She has an amazing smile and a great laugh. She brings a sparkle to any The Sister Thingsituation, when she laughs.

Being the youngest of four children in the family, Audrianna has a lot of people to look to for leadership, moral support, and of course, any mischief. She loves spending sister time with her sister, Raelynn, doing all the girly things that sisters do, but she also loves all the rough and tumble play that her brother, Matthew likes to do. I think there is a little bit of girly, and a little bit of tomboy in Miss Anna. That may or may not last, but I can see her as always being the kind of girl who can keep up with the boys, but still clean up into a really pretty girl, who will take their breath away. Audrianna has these soft pretty eyes, that the guys could lose themselves in quite easily, and she has a soft heart to match, but I still think she won’t let herself be pushed around either. These days find Anna looking a little toothless, but it wasn’t due to fights. She lost them the same way most of us do, and then waited for the tooth fairy, of course. I’m sure her real plan in this first picture was to show everyone that they were missing, because that is always a cool thing to do. It makes those kids feel so Jumping Jacksgrown up, because they have watched their siblings lose teeth before them. It makes them feel like they are getting big like their brother or sister…and they are, whether we like it or not.

This particular birthday is a special one for Audrianna, because it is her Golden Birthday. That is when you are the same age as the date you were born on. Since Anna was born on July 7, and is 7 years old this year, she definitely qualifies. For her, I think this one is even more special, because it is exactly 7 years after her 07-07-07 birthday. How cool is that? So, today is Anna’s 7th birthday. Happy Golden Birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageOne year ago today, we received a new little addition to the Schulenberg family. Little miss Reagan could have arrived on her mommy’s birthday, and in fact maybe she tried, but she wasn’t quite fast enough, and so they each have their own birthday…one day apart. I also, have to think that was probably the last time Reagan was too slow about anything. Babies have a way of growing up way, way too fast, and as they grow, they also get their teeth too fast, crawl too fast, and walk too fast. Before you know it, they are in school, driving, dating and married and having kids of their own. Whew!! It’s enough to make you get winded.

Reagan looks so much like her daddy, that it is like they are twins, but she got her silly personality from her daddy and her mommy. Reagan makes the funniest faces, and has from the time she was just teeny, but lately she has been making some new faces. Things like trying to wink, the “who me, I didn’t make this mess” look, and the “here mommy, you eat it, if it’s so good” look, are just a few of the looks I have noticed. I think that as time goes on, we will be treated to many more of the silly looks that our miss Reagan can make.

Reagan, like many other kids, likes to take the things that are stored in a box out of the box, so she can get in the box. She reminds me of my kids and my grandson, Chris. All of them loved playing in boxes…after the contents have been removed…I mean, who needs the toys or books Reagan - 11 months oldimagethat were in the box anyway. Reagan is getting to that age where getting into things is what she is all about. And her funny faces still play a part in all that…like, “I’m sure I don’t know what you are talking about!! I wasn’t getting into anything!!” She has a side to her that is very easy to see. I can tell that this little girl will be just as sweet as she can be…with a big helping of mischief on the side. Today is Reagan’s first birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have  an extra special day!! We love you!!

The moment beforeYou never know what babies have on their minds. They sit and watch as the world goes by around them.  While others get in on all the fun, babies are just stuck, sitting in a high chair, stroller, or in their mommy’s arms. Always held onto, and very seldom free to run with the rest of the crowd.

My grand niece, Aleesia is one of just such a baby. At a little over 1 year in age, she still gets carried much of the time, and she doesn’t find that a bad thing…usually. There are times when she wants to get down and do her own thing, but when she is not at the house, there are fewer opportunities for her to have that freedom she wants. And with 3 brothers and her mom and dad, she gets held a lot even at home…as it should be. Still, her brothers get to go and do so many things that she does not, and that fact does not go un-noticed by our little Aleesia.

Sometimes, when her brothers are goofing off together, she begins to feel left out, and And then...sister mischiefthat…is totally unacceptable. After watching her brothers talking, playing and laughing for a while, Aleesia decides that it is time for them to remember that she is there as well, and they just need to pay attention to her too. In a recent picture shoot, while the family was on an outing, my niece Liz, Aleesia’s aunt, was taking pictures of just Jenny and the kids. They were doing a group pose, and the boys were having a good time joking and laughing amongst themselves, when Aleesia decided that they had ignored her long enough.

Jenny was holding Aleesia in the picture, and Liz…who must have seen what was about to happen…just kept shooting. Aleesia decided that the best way to get her brothers’ attention and get in on the fun, was to reach down and grab Isaac’s hair. I had to wonder how she even managed to get a hold of it at all, because it isn’t very long, but she did. Now, her other brothers thought the whole thing Saving Isaacwas hilarious, and Isaac wasn’t upset by it either, because those boys think their sister is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it was a bit if a shock to Isaac, nevertheless. And, a person can only take so much hair pulling, so Isaac had to defend his hair, and disengage his little sister’s fingers from it, but since Liz was still snapping those pictures, I was able to see the whole thing play out almost like a movie. And since I’m sure Isaac got to keep his hair in the end, I got to see the totally humorous side of the situation, when little sister got into mischief.

Us with the Hushman boysAs we travel to Newport, Washington to attend my Uncle Jim’s funeral, we had the opportunity to get together with my cousins, George and Greg. We all had such a great time. We laughed about old times, especially times with our grandparents. Greg told us about the time he told Grandma that he had outgrown her ability to swat him, Elmer, and Forest with the broom. Of course, Grandma proved just how wrong he was, by promptly chasing him down and swatting him again. Grandma was 5 feet tall…in her tall days…so in all of Greg’s 6 feet plus, I’m sure he was quite shocked at her ability to handle him in his all grown up and tough teen aged years. We all had the opportunity to find out just how feisty our grandmother was, because like any kid, we all got into a certain amount of mischief and back talked with the best of them. I have never forgotten my own run ins with Grandma, and often look back and smile about them. Of course, it’s easy to smile about those days now that I’m not getting that spanking.

George told us about the time that Grandpa took him deer hunting, and his disappointment George Hushman Jrthat it was not the all day trip he had hoped. George was surprised that Grandpa knew exactly where to find the deer, and unfortunately, that place was not in the mountains, which is where George loves to be, and Grandpa simply didn’t. In the end, they went to the plains and had their deer before noon. I’m sure George had pictured an all day adventure, hiking through the trees on a quest for the perfect buck. When it ended up being a simple matter of point and shoot, and the drive took longer than the actual hunting part of the trip, his boyhood dreams of adventure and the thrill of the hunt, were dashed. I could picture this little boy, with a picture in his head of being almost on safari, and then the disappointment of the whole thing being very boring and simple, and I felt sad for that little boy who was now my grown up cousin, because I could tell that the adventure had been very important to him at that time in his life, and Grandpa just didn’t realize it, and for his part, I believe George found himself in awe of the fact that Grandpa Greg Hushmanknew exactly what he was doing…even though in George’s mind, he was old and couldn’t possibly know what was going on in these modern days.

Our visit ended far too soon for all of us and I found myself wishing that we lived closer together so we could re-live those old memories more often. I love my cousins, and I don’t like the way we have all drifted apart. Time changes so many things, and in many ways it makes me sad that so much time has past. Once again, I find myself thankful for Facebook and the ability we now have to stay in touch over the miles. It has brought several branches of my family closer together.

When you are little, your best friends are usually your brothers and sisters. And back when Bob and his sisters were little, there was no such thing as a play date. Kids played with their siblings until they started school, and a lot of times after school, especially when you lived out in the country. A lot of times there were no kids that lived very close, so once again, your siblings were your friends, and that wasn’t always so bad.

There was always some way to get into mischief when there were three of you. There are also lots of ways to have fun. Who needs to have company over when you have siblings. In this case, three’s company, and fun would be had by all. It might be in the form of trying to put 2 kids into a tricycle built for 1 toddler…the type that had almost a baby walker type seat on it. I have to wonder if Debbie had trouble getting out of that tight spot after she got in…or maybe she had help getting in and out. I don’t know for sure. I just know that it was the same tricycle Marlyce had used as a toddler, so it wasn’t built for 2.

Whether it was playing at home or riding horses at Grandma’s house, this little trio lived life with gusto. They got into trouble on occasion, but not all the time. Their imaginations ran wild at times, and when they did…well, the trouble could be bad…for their parents, who had to fix whatever the kids messed up, and from what I’ve been told, this little trio messed things up pretty good a couple of times. Still, when you look at those cute little faces, how could their parents be mad?

My Uncle Elmer died in 1981. Most of his nieces and nephews never got a chance to know him very well. The other day, his son, Elmer was telling me some of the stories of his dad’s childhood, and the mischief he and his 2 brothers got into. This story reminds me a little bit of some of the MASH episodes. Having had no brothers myself, I didn’t really understand the inner workings of the minds of three brothers who were egging each other on. The story Elmer told, goes like this…

One day Uncle Elmer was plowing with an old tractor at his dad’s place. His dad went out to use the outhouse, which is what they used back then. That is when Uncle Elmer and his brother Les got an idea. Uncle Elmer drove the tractor right up by the outhouse. His brother Les hit the outhouse with a 2×4 as Uncle Elmer revved up the engine. Their dad came running out of the outhouse with his pants down around his ankles and the Montgomery Ward’s catalog in hand. Their dad wasn’t very happy with them, but he was relieved that the outhouse made it through whole ordeal in good shape.

Of course, not many of us knew Elmer’s grandfather, but he was quite the man in his own right. He pumped oil out in Midwest early in his adult life, but in the 1940’s he received a piece of property on Poison Spider Road in the Homestead Act. He continued to pump oil in Midwest while he and his wife and sons built the house on Poison Spider Road. The boys lived in an old crude oil tank that had been cut in half, like a Quonset hut. It had a dirt floor and a pot belly stove for heat. In the Fall, the boys learned early on, to throw something on the floor before getting out of bed. Apparently the rattlesnakes liked these cozy surroundings, and as the weather grew cooler. A throw rug thrown on the floor was a good way to alert you that danger was on the floor, and so your feet shouldn’t be.

Yes, what Uncle Elmer didn’t think of, his brother Les did. Their brother Tom was the baby and therefore wasn’t involved as much, but he had a mischievous side too. Elmer figures it is an inherited trait, and one that probably got Tom is as much trouble later on, such as when the boys were racing their Harley’s out by Evansville. I don’t know how many of you know about the Evansville area, but the police out there don’t take much to racing…if you know what I mean. I’m sure Uncle Elmer and his brothers found that out too.

Knowing the kind of man my dad was, makes me wonder about the journey that his life took to reach that place of being the most wonderful dad in the world. He was a man who was respected, and who has been remembered by people I would never have expected to remember him, because the amount of time they knew him was so short, and yet, he made a lasting impression on them. How did he become such a charismatic person. Dad was the kind of man who always treated women like ladies. He was a gentleman to the end.

So often, we look at a child, or a picture of a child, and wonder what they might become. Even their teenaged pictures make us wonder about the adult they will become. It’s normal to wonder about the future, but sometimes, I find myself looking at pictures of my ancestors and, especially my dad, and wondering who they were as children.

I know about some of the antics my dad and his brother pulled, as well as some of the good things they did, especially for their mom. I have a feeling that I would have very much liked the boy that he was. Dad might have been a boy who was full of mischief, but he was also a boy who loved his parents and siblings. He loved the Lord, and lived his life for Him. His letters home from World War II proved that to me. He discussed church services and his own Bible study with his mother. His relationship with God was very apparent. The boy was growing into a man, and I think he would have been very much my friend…if he hadn’t been my dad, but I wouldn’t want to trade the dad he became for anything…not even the friend he might have been.

Because Dad and I thought so much alike, I can imagine that we would have had lots to talk about, but because we both also had a teasing, mischievous side, I can imagine that we would have probably gotten in a little trouble now and then, because…well, teasing and mischief are just naturally followed by the opportunity to sit in a corner, or spend time thinking about it in our room. I know that my dad as an adult loved to tease my sisters and me, so I’m sure his sisters were an easy target…not that I expect they minded much. His teasing was always in good fun.

I very much think I would have liked the child and young man my dad was. He was just
mischievous enough to be funny and enough of a gentleman to treat people right. I suppose that is why so many people remember him 5 years after his passing. Even people who treated him for a short time at the hospital, like the respiratory therapist who asked me if he was my dad. That really shocked me, especially when I asked how she remembered my dad after all these years, and she said, “Some patients are just special.” Of course I cried, but she couldn’t have said anything that would have made my day more than knowing the my dad was not forgotten.

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