So much has changed in the fourteen years since my niece, Chelsea Hadlock joined our family, on April 12, 2008. She was always the perfect girl for my nephew, Ryan Hadlock, and I cannot imagine him with anyone else…nor can he!! In fact, when he met Chelsea, Ryan just knew she was the one for him. He was so taken with her, that I think his whole face lit up!! Sometimes that happens with that perfect soulmate.
When Chelsea and Ryan got married, she really wanted nothing more than to be a mom. That dream came true on Jan 6, 2009, when their son Ethan Christopher was born and again on August 27, 2011, when their daughter Aurora Breann was born. Their family complete, Chelsea set her sights on being the best mom in the world. She has a gentle way of mothering, and her children are very well behaved, as well as very sweet natured, just like their parents. The children are getting so grown up these days, and they are keeping their parents busy at school functions and sports…not to mention award ceremonies…of which there have been many. Chelsea worked with her kids, and they are very good students, who have excelled in both academics, sports, and even art.
Chelsea has had a booth at Comic Con for a number of years now. She makes jewelry and sells it at the Comic Con events. Covid rather got in the way of that, and the Comic Con events were stopped for a couple of years, but finally, things have settled down and the events have started back up, with the first one for her having been this past weekend. I don’t how well she did, but she usually does really well, and since people haven’t been to these in a while, I would imagine everyone was eager to buy new things. Chelsea has a real talent for making quality jewelry, and even has her own shop on Etsy, called The Subtly Nerd Shop. While she makes jewelry for Comic Con, she also makes beautiful jewelry for more formal wear, and I own some of it myself, so I recommend it, highly. Chelsea is a very talented girl, and she has been a great blessing to our family, and of course to her little family. Her husband and children could not possibly be more blessed. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
By guest writer, my niece, Toni Chase, because I couldn’t have said it as perfectly as she did.
When you first meet a Happiness Bringer, you might wonder, how did this person come to be such a joy to be around? For my (Toni’s) husband, Dave Chase, I think it started manifesting the day his parents arrived in his world. His mother Nancy Chase, who did a spectacular job of journaling the lives of her children wrote, “David loved affection and attention and we (Nancy and Jim Chase) loved showering him with it.” She described his arrival and their time together as “domestic bliss.” Dave was pure happiness for his parents. Dave was followed by his little brother, Dan, who was followed by his little sister, Jane.
Dave was a doting brother and from the time his little brother, Dan learned to crawl he became part of “Team Fun” (Dave’s team). They spent hours upon hours having fun with their dad, Jim as children…continuing throughout their adulthood. Dave played whatever sport was in season sometimes on a different team than his two besties, but at home, it was always the three of them having fun. They played basketball together, golfed together, played softball together, fished together, and played cribbage together. For “Team Fun” there was always something to do…and that made everybody happy. On a sidenote, I just thought about…Dave’s brother Dan told me once, “I had the best time growing up!! Dave always made me do everything with him!!” (It makes me teary eyed)
As sports enthusiasts the three of them Dad, Dave, and Dan played on many of the same basketball and softball teams, and as Mother Nancy stated they all played cribbage together! “All Chases play cribbage.” Including baby Jane who wasn’t a baby anymore. Thank God that Nancy was so attentive in her journaling. Dave’s happy welcoming nature has continued from the day he was introduced to love, happiness, and fun. His beautiful nature began with two loving parents, with so much love in their hearts, that it poured all over and throughout Dave and made him the blessing that he is today.
Dave always keeps himself busy doing fun things. He still plays basketball, softball, cribbage, fishing, and going to as many Wyoming Cowboys football and basketball games as he can…and 2021 was no exception! He spent it doing any of these when he could break away from me. We went to Florida in May and had a nice relaxing time together before we came back to start a new chapter in our lives as our son, James got married.
Dave refused to meddle in the planning of James and Manuela’s wedding. I didn’t feel the need to stay out, and happily assisted with anything they wished for. Dave has always been an exceptional stepdad to James. He loves him and now Dave received the blessing of a daughter, Manuela…who he adores. She is so much like him. I see his loving nature now pouring over on to James and Manuela. The loving nature that he learned and lived thanks to Jim and Nancy Chase.
On October 20, 2021, Dave’s dad, Jim left this world. Dave has missed playing cribbage with him the last several times he’s gone home. He is filling in the time he used to spend having fun with his dad going to games cand hanging out with his mom. He takes her out with the guys and just carries on…because, he knows they can’t play cribbage this season. There’s always next season for that. This is a new season and must be journeyed through. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Just imagine living in a place where owning or even borrowing a book could get you, and anyone who gave you a book, killed. During the Holocaust, the Jews and other nationalities and religious groups who didn’t fit in with the Aryan race, were considered non-people, and therefore expendable. They were not allowed to live like normal people. They were considered “expendable.” Their lives were not worth the trouble it took to care for them, even their fiends and neighbors were expected to turn them over to be deported to the ghettos and even killed. They were often powerless to help themselves. Still, most of them never lost hope. When the Nazis began to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1939, the persecution of the Jews began almost immediately. Things were hard for everyone, but the children were often in more peril than anyone else. Many were to young to work and that made them even less “important” to the Nazis. To make matters worse, they were often separated from their parents…everything they knew was stripped from them.
In 1942, when a girl named Dita Polachova was 13 years old, she and her parents were deported to Ghetto Theresienstadt life got even worse than it was before. Later they were sent to Auschwitz, where Dita’s father died. She and her mother were sent to forced labor in Germany and finally to a concentration camp called Bergen-Belsen. Dita’s mother died at Bergen-Belsen. Even in the face of so much sadness in her life, Dita never gave up. She risked her own life to protect a selection of eight books smuggled in by prisoners of Auschwitz. She stored the books in hidden pockets in her smock, and circulated them to the hundreds of children imprisoned in Block 31. Books were forbidden for the prisoners in the camps. The Nazis didn’t want them to have any knowledge of the outside world, or access to any kind of education materials or any books. The Nazis believed that none of these people were going to survive their stay in the camps anyway, so they didn’t need to do anything but work and die.
The prisoners had different ideas. Within the walls, there was a family camp known as BIIb. It was a place where the children could play and sing, but school was prohibited. Nevertheless, the Nazis were not able to enforce their will on the people. In spite of the orders of the Nazis, Fredy Hirsch established a small, yet influential school to house the children while their parents slaved in the camp. The materials were the biggest problem. The books, had to be hidden from the Nazi guards at all costs. Hirsch selected Dita, a brave and independent young woman from Prague to take over as the new Librarian of Auschwitz in January of 1944. Dita was a brave girl, who took her responsibility seriously.
While her parents are trying to stay alive in Auschwitz, Dita was fighting her own battle to preserve the books that bring joy to the children in the camp. The books are one of the few things that allow the children to escape from the walls in which they are surrounded, even if just for a moment. As the war progresses, Dita continues to diligently serve the teachers and children of Block 31. Then, Dita’s situation grew much worse. Her father passed away in the camp due to pneumonia. Dita and her mother are left alone to fight the battle on their own. Dita’s mother is grew weaker with age, and Dita knew she had to assume more responsibility. Dita is aware of the fact that the camp is simply a front to produce Nazi propaganda. She began to fight despair, as she struggles to feel the value in her life. By March 1944, the feeling of hopelessness grows. The Nazis announce that the inmates who arrived in September will be transferred to another division, which is really code for murder. The BIIb continued until they heard that the Nazis are going to liquidate the family camp and separate the fit to work from the rest. Dita’s mother Liesl, was grown old and very weak by now. She was able to sneak into the group that is fit to work along with her daughter, narrowly. They were sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Just when Dita gets to the point where she feels this might be the end, the Allied forces liberate the camp, but it is too late for Dita’s mother, who died just after the English arrived. Dita is now free, but it has been at great cost…the kind most of us cannot begin to comprehend. Dita later met and married Otto Kraus, an author, and they settled in Israel where they were both teachers.
I was talking with my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg yesterday, and she mentioned that our niece, Machelle Moore had only had 6 times in her life that Thanksgiving had fallen on her birthday. Having a late November birthday, one might expect to have a Thanksgiving birthday more often, but because her birthday was very late in the month, that is just not the case.
Thinking back on Machelle’s life, I recall that she was born three days after Thanksgiving in 1976. Bob and I had taken our girls to visit his aunt and uncle in Kennebec, South Dakota, and the weather had turned bad. I don’t recall if we had to spend an extra day or not, but I do remember that Machelle’s mom, Debbie Cook went into labor and after about 36 hours of labor, had to have a Caesarean Section for Machelle to be delivered. It was a bit scary, but in the end, we went home to meet our new little niece. She was born 6 months after my Amy and 18 months after my Corrie, so the girls were always good friends.
Machelle has changed so much over the years. Not only has she grown tall like her dad, LJ Cook, but she has grown sweeter every year. Machelle has a kind heart. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love her very much. She is a wife to her best friend, Steve Moore. They love each other so much, and are very well suited to each other. They both love to go rock hunting, and often come back with great pieces of obsidian that Steve turns into Native American tools that are beautiful…and the real shock is that Steve isn’t Native American. It’s a cool passion that Machelle and her husband share.
Machelle is also mom to two boys, Weston and Easton, who are almost grown men now. Weston has graduated from high school, and Easton is in high school. As the boys have grown, Machelle feels a little bit sad, because she knows that soon they will be out on their own and she will be an empty nester, like so many others who have gone before her into that new identity. For some it is difficult and for others it is easy…or at least not as hard as for others. I think Machelle will do fine, because she has a wonderful marriage. She and Steve share so many interests, including camping, rock hunting, and the company of good friends and family. Yes, I know that Machelle and Steve will have a long wonderful life together, and before she knows it, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. I’m sure she is not in a huge hurry to get there, but it is a nice dream of the future. Today is Machelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Until recently, it had never occurred to me just how much my grand-niece, Jala Satterwhite is like her great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg. She doesn’t really resemble her, since Jala takes more after her mother, Susan Griffith, but there is a notable similarity nevertheless. Jala loves horses, and in many ways, would live on a horse if she could. That thought brought me back to a time when my mother-in-law’s own mother, Nettie Knox made that very statement about her own daughter, Joann. Whether we realize it or not, our parents really do know us well.
Jala didn’t have much opportunity to ride horses until her mom married her step-dad, Josh Griffith, whose family had horses. Jala was introduced to the horses, and her love of horses was sealed. Later, her parents moved out into the country, and got horses of their own, giving Jala the ability to ride much more. Because her mom had never really been around horses, and only learned to ride with a great degree of apprehension, this natural riding ability that her daughter had, left Susan somewhat in awe, but also very proud. Of course, Susan’s own abilities have greatly improved, but that does not change how she feels about her older daughter’s riding prowess. Still, I don’t think Susan realized just how much Jala was like her great grandmother. I don’t think any of us did, really. I just looked at a picture of Jala on a horse yesterday, and it was like looking at my mother-in-law on her own horse. It was crystal clear to me then.
I think that for young horse-lovers, the horse provides them with an ability to go and do things without asking a parent to take them…at least within certain limits. When my mother-in-law was a kid, they could ride to school, as well as to other towns and ranches of friends nearby, those aren’t really options for Jala, except for nearby ranches. Still, there are lots of trails available these day, and Jala loves riding on them. I’m sure her great grandmother would love them too, and maybe she is there, watching proudly as her great granddaughter, Jala continues the great tradition of horseback riding just for the love of horses. Today is Jala’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Katie Balcerzak became my grand-niece, when she married my grand-nephew, Keifer Balcerzak. Katie might say of herself that she is a tom-boy type, but I think there is a girlie side to her too…especially since she and Keifer added little Reece, affectionally known as Reece’s Pieces, to their family, on December 14, 2017. Katie loves to dress their daughter in frilly little outfits, which compliment her bubbly personality and delightful smile just perfectly. Katie and Reece have so much fun hanging out together. Katie is always teaching Reece new skills, and loves sharing the great laughs that come with baby antics and learning stumbles.
While Katie might not be a total girlie girl type, there are things whereby she definitely is. Things like having her nails done is a cool way to show off her feminine side, is one that I can relate to, since I love nail polish and nail art very much myself. I’m sure that eventually Reece will want her nails done too, because, well…like mother, like daughter, right!! I think that Reece and her mom are a lot alike. That’s why they have so much fun together. Of course, it would be hard not to smile when Reece smiles, because she is a happy baby who smiled with her whole face.
Katie loves being a mom, and has dreamed of nothing else for years. She is a good mom, who takes good care of her daughter and she’s a good wife to Keifer. They are very happy together, and they work very well together to reach their common goals. For Katie and Keifer, their family is everything. They work hard to give their family a strong bond with each other. Katie love being a mom more that any other job she has ever had, and definitely the most fulfilling career she could ever have. Raising a little life, molding it into a wonderful little person, and watching the smiles and the look of love their daughter wears on her face. Today is Katie’s birthday. Happy birthday Katie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Most plane crashes are caused by pilot error or mechanical failure, but sometimes, someone commits an act of terrorism, or as in the case of United Airlines Flight 629 someone commits an act of hatred aimed at one person. These acts are never rational, and this one certainly wasn’t, because Jack Gilbert Graham was not a rational man. I think many, if not most of us have thought at one point or another that our parents were somehow meaner to us than any other parent in the universe, but Jack Graham took that obsession to the next level. He decided that his mother was responsible for giving him a horrible childhood, and so he decided to take his revenge on her by placing a bomb in the luggage she was checking.
His mother, Daisie Eldora King, who was a 53 year old Denver businesswoman was en route to Alaska to visit her daughter. Her flight United Airlines Flight 629, registration N37559, was a Douglas DC-6B aircraft also known as “Mainliner Denver.” The flight had originated at New York City’s La Guardia Airport and made a scheduled stop in Chicago before continuing to Denver’s Stapleton Airfield and landed at 6:11pm, 11 minutes late. At Denver the aircraft was refueled with 3,400 US gallons of fuel, and had a crew replacement. Captain Lee Hall, who was a World War II veteran, assumed command of the flight for the segments to Portland and Seattle. The flight took off at 6:52pm and at 6:56pm made its last transmission stating it was passing the Denver omni. Seven minutes later, the Stapleton air traffic controllers saw two bright lights suddenly appear in the sky north-northwest of the airport. Both lights were observed for 30 to 45 seconds, and both fell to the ground at roughly the same speed. The controllers then saw a very bright flash originating at or near the ground, intense enough to illuminate the base of the clouds 10,000 feet above the source of the flash. Upon observing the mysterious lights, the controllers quickly determined there were no aircraft in distress and contacted all aircraft flying in the area; all flights were quickly accounted for except for United Flight 629. The date was November 1, 1955.
The plane was blown up over Longmont, Colorado at about 7:03pm local time, while en route from Denver, Colorado, to Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. All 39 passengers and five crew members on board were killed in the explosion and crash. There was early speculation that something other than a mechanical problem or pilot error was responsible, given the magnitude of the in-air explosion. Investigators determined that Jack Gilbert Graham was responsible for bombing the airplane to kill his mother as revenge for his childhood and to obtain a large life insurance payout. Within 15 months of the explosion, Graham, who already had an extensive criminal record, was tried, convicted, and executed for the crime.
It was a horrible thing. One sick man committed murder in the skies, by killing his mother with a bomb, and in the process killed 41 other people too. I don’t know if he though the could really get away with it, but investigations are pretty sophisticated…even back then. It amazes me that they can take all those plane parts and examine them…somehow finding the source of the explosion, and tracing it back to the source. Then, by finding out who the luggage belonged to, they figured the whole thing out. Criminals really aren’t so smart, even though they think they have it all figured out. It is just sad that 42 people lost their lives, because some spoiled brat of a child thought his mom was too harsh when he was a kid…with no evidence to prove his point at all.
When a kid is fresh out of high school or just starting college, you really don’t know what kind of an adult they are going to be…much less what kind of parent. That all comes later, when you start to see how their kids turn out. My niece, Chelsea Hadlock is no different, but she has certainly proven to all who know her, just where her priorities lie. She is a great wife to my nephew, Ryan, and a wonderful mom to their kids, Ethan and Aurora, both of whom are sweet kids, and both of whom are well behaved and smart.
My sister, Allyn Hadlock tells me that Chelsea is their favorite daughter-in-law. Now while Chelsea is their only daughter-in-law, and technically they are joking about it, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the truth. Allyn says that when they say that, they really mean it, because she is a perfect fit for their family, and her love for her husband, Ryan, endears her to the whole family. In reality, she is more like a daughter to them, than a daughter-in-law.
Chelsea is quite talented. She is a great baker, and has sold her baked goods. Since I’ve had her baked goods, I can attest to that. Chelsea started making jewelry a few years ago, and her work is beautiful. For a while she sold her jewelry online, but lately she has been taking it to Comic-Con to sell it. She will be attending Comic-Con in Denver, Colorado this weekend. She has also attended in Cheyenne Wyoming and Portland, Oregon, where she also sold her jewelry. She has been quite successful, and in reality, her jewelry sells itself.
At church, Chelsea sings as a backup singer, and teaches her children to love the Lord, as she does. She is nurturing their relationship with God, and has made all of us so proud of her love of God. She also has a great sense of humor, and loves to tease her family. She is also a good sport when being teased. She and Ryan have been best friends since the day they met, and were instantly inseparable. I think it was love at first sight…or, more likely a match made in Heaven. Ryan has never been more happy than all the years he and Chelsea have been together. She is just a loving girl, and she makes Ryan and all those who know her very happy. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Topher Spicer is a sweet boy, who is a great surrogate big brother to his mother, Andrea Beach’s friend, Nikki Vigil’s son, Marcus. They are both an only child, so their friendship is very important to them. He also has some best friends, Elias and Ethan, that he really enjoys hanging out with. His mom has taught him to play Uno, and of course he plays video games. Summertime is a great time to go swimming, and Topher goes just about every day.
Since Topher’s uncle, Allen Beach was stationed in Japan for part of his time as a corpsman in the Navy, Topher has become interested in Japanese culture. I don’t know if Topher is considering joining the Navy, or not, but if he did, he would follow in a line of Navy men in his family. Whether or not he is in the navy, Topher like some of the culture, and most likely the buildings and such.
Topher loves animals, and I’m sure that he hopes to have a pet some day. When he was visiting his great grandma, my mom, Collene Spencer, her cat was totally taken with him. That was an amazing thing, because Lewie, the cat, doesn’t like to be around most kids, but was totally content to sit beside Topher, and watch what he was doing…no matter what it was. I can understand that, because Topher is a child who is not overly rambunctious. He is content to sit and play a video game, and Lewie felt comfortable with him.
This past week, while my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, and I were on a trip to Washington, Topher spent quite a bit of time with his grandpa, Mike Reed, while his mom had to work. They were just two men, batching it together, and supposedly waiting for Caryl to get back home again. I’m sure they missed her, but guy time is fun for them too. Sometimes having a guys week can really be a lot of fun, so I know that they had a great time. Whenever two guys get together and do all the things that only guys would appreciate, it’s a good time. I suppose you would have to be a guy to understand the guy things. Today is Topher’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As the second anniversary of my mom’s passing drew near, my family and I have been talking more and more about the woman who was our mother. Mom was many things, as most mothers are, but one of the parts of my mom that never ceased to amaze me, was her ability to maintain a certain level of innocence, or at least what we thought was innocence. As I look back now, she was a wise woman, who managed to keep her world…quite pure and innocent. I’m not talking about her personal life, but rather our family life. There were certain lines we all knew not to cross. My sisters and I would never have cussed in front of our parents…if we wanted to live, that is, but somehow we knew that our boyfriends and husbands would be required to live up to that standard too…and they did. It was out of respect for her, my dad, and their home. That was something I always though amazing. I don’t think I even remember having to tell a boyfriend twice, not even the ones who weren’t the keeper I ended up with. It was as if they thought mom might pass out if they were to talk in an inappropriate manner. I don’t know…maybe she would have. I never dared to find out, and I’m not sorry that Mom was that way, because my sisters and I were raised to speak decently, and we have never regretted that.
Another way that my mom always seemed so innocent was in her sense of humor. Mom never cared if she looked silly, if it could make her arguing children laugh. When you have five daughters, complete with all the drama that can be associated with it, you either get silly, or you go crazy. Well, mom was an expert at making her girls either straighten up, or laugh, usually in a very unique way. I remember Mom clearing the living room floor so that two of us could “fight it out” and once we had a good hold of each other’s hair, and were both basically pinned to the floor, the room broke out in laughter, because lets face it, it was pretty hilarious. I remember Mom making some crazy faces that we couldn’t help but laugh at, and even if we knew that Mom was mad, it was sometimes hard not to laugh about her face, but we knew that it was in our best interest not to.
Life with our mom was never dull, but then again, Mom would probably tell you the same thing about life with her girls. If there was some crazy antic that we could come up with…we did. I remember ruining my brand new penny loafers because I felt the need to go trudging through the mud and the construction site at the new Kmart building. The shoes cleaned up ok, but they were now of a size to fit my younger sister, Caryl. My sister, Alena was a whiz at concocting formulas. Of course, using the “shampoo” she created was out of the question, because it would probably burn your hair off. As far as terrorizing my sisters…that would have to be, yours truly. I was born with strong fingernails…well daggers actually, and I did not hesitate to use them. Sometimes I wonder how I survived childhood, because if anyone drove our mom crazy, it was me. I’m sure that my wedding day was cause for celebration on many levels. Just thinking about what I put my mom through…well, I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. I think that is how Mom had to have felt. It really was get silly, or go crazy in our house.