My niece, Jessi (Hadlock) Sawdon grew up in a household of much laughter and joking, as well as many “nicknames.” She and her three siblings, Ryan, Lindsay, and Kellie love to come up with new nicknames, and they are all very inventive. Jessi has had names like Jeffica, Jeffica Hadddlo, Jeff, Jessicar, Aunt Jessi, Aunt Jessica, mom, wife, and sister. Of course, “Jeffica” has had a part in passing the nicknames to her other siblings too. It’s quite a tradition.

Much has changed for Jessi in recent months. Her sister, Lindsay Moore tells me that Jessi is blooming where planted, meaning that Jessi really likes living in Cheyenne, where she and her husband, Jason Sawdon moved a while back so he could take a wonderful promotion with the Wyoming Highway Patrol. They have found a great church and have made really great connections there. Of course, Jessi immediately got involved in church things! That doesn’t surprise me at all. Jessi loves the Lord, and she is a very social person, so making friends comes easy to her. They found a great home, and they have been settling in and doing some updating as they go…putting their own personal touches on it.

She still runs on “Jessi Time,” which for those who don’t know, is always a little late. In our family, there are a number of people who run on their own time, and so if you really need them to be somewhere on-time, you should probably tell them that things start half an hour early. It’s been a running joke in our family, particularly my mom’s family (Byer Time) and Jessi’s mom Allyn Hadlock, who operates on Hadlock Time. The Hadlock family has also found out that Jessi isn’t the only offending party in her own little family, because Jason may actually be less punctual than Jessi. Strangely, their daughter Addie may be the only one in the house keeping them on time. A fact that I find very funny. The child keeping the parents in line!! Hahaha!!!

For Lindsay, who lives in Laramie, and so is now only about an hour away from her sister, having Jessi in Cheyenne has proven to be a great blessing. Lindsay tells me that Jessi is an excellent sister and she been blessed to be able to see more of her. The girls get together often since they live closer now. It’s so easy to pop over for the day or go stay overnight. Plus, the nearness allows them to participate in more of each other’s celebrations, but the real joy is that they get to see their girls, Addi and Lindsay’s daughter, Mackenzie be close and play together! That is something Lindsay hasn’t had before, because Laramie is the closest she has lived to her family since her college days. I’m really happy for both families that they have this new-found closeness. It has been wonderful for all of them. Today is Jessi’s birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When the United States entered World War I, they sent men into France to join Allied forces there. Their arrival was a great relief to the exhausted Allied soldiers. Before long the American soldiers in France became known as Doughboys. This was not an unknown term, since it had been used For centuries to describe such soldiers as Horatio Nelson’s sailors and Wellington’s soldiers in Spain, for instance. Both of these groups were familiar with fried flour dumplings called doughboys, the predecessor of the modern doughnut that both we and the Doughboys of World War I came to love. The American Doughboys were the men America sent to France in the Great War, who beat Kaiser Bill and fought to make the world safe for Democracy.

It is thought, however, that the Doughboys of World War I might have acquired the name in a slightly different way. In fact, there are a variety of theories about the origins of the nickname. One explanation is that the term dates back to the Mexican War of 1846 to 1848, when American infantrymen made long treks over dusty terrain, giving them the appearance of being covered in flour, or dough. As a variation of this account goes, the men were coated in the dust of adobe soil and as a result were called “adobes,” which morphed into “dobies” and, eventually into “doughboys.” Among other theories, according to “War Slang” by Paul Dickson, American journalist and lexicographer H.L. Mencken claimed the nickname could be traced to Continental Army soldiers who kept the piping on their uniforms white through the application of clay. When the troops got rained on the clay on their uniforms turned into “doughy blobs,” supposedly leading to the doughboy moniker.

Whatever the case may be, doughboy was just one of the nicknames given to those who fought in the Great War. For example, “poilu” meaning “hairy one” was a term for a French soldier, as a number of them had beards or mustaches, while a popular slang term for a British soldier was “Tommy,” an abbreviation of Tommy Atkins, a generic name similar to John Doe used in the Unites States on government forms. America’s last World War I doughboy, Frank Buckles, died in 2011 in West Virginia at age 110. Buckles enlisted in the Army at age 16 in August 1917, four months after the United States entered the conflict, and drove military vehicles in France. One of 4.7 million Americans who served in the war, Buckles was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. It’s strange to think that my grandfather, George Byer was one of the men called doughboys, but then he was stationed in France at that time in history, so I guess that Grandpa was a doughboy.

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock has always been the sweetest one of us all, and I don’t say that to sound like the rest of us are horrible hags, because that isn’t the case at all. It’s just that if you ask any one of my other three sisters or me, what one thing we all agreed on concerning Allyn, it was that “Allyn was always good.” As a little girl, our mom couldn’t spank or even yell at Allyn, because she would become so broken hearted…when Mom simply told her no-no. Allyn just has a very tender heart, to this day. Being tender hearted can have it’s really good side too. Allyn has a kind way about her, and it is not something that goes unnoticed in any setting. Everyone notices her kindness and sweet ways.

Over the years, Allyn has done her very best to always make those around her feel loved and blessed. She had special nicknames for her kids, and songs using their name that she either made up or replaced a name in a song with theirs. One thing her kids could always count on is that their mom was going to put a smile on their face every day. We all felt that way, so I know what I am talking about.

Other than being married to her husband, Chris Hadlock and having her children, Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock, I think that the greatest blessings in recent years have come in the form of her children’s spouses, Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore, and now the beautiful little grandbabies she has, Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, and Adelaide Sawdon. These days the little name songs have the names of those precious babies in them, and Allyn makes sure that each of those babies knows that they are just the sweetest one, and while it might seem odd that each one could be the sweetest one, in the world of a grandma, that is totally possible. Grandmas love each baby the most, no matter how many there are. That’s because we love each one the same…100%. Allyn is as blessed as a woman can be, and she is still thought of as the sweetest one. In fact, that very thing came up last night when I was at our sister Cheryl’s house and we were talking. We all agreed that Allyn was always good. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Mom & Dad Schulenberg_editedDad SchulenbergMy father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was such a sweet man. The first time I met him, I immediately felt comfortable…even with his good natured teasing. Over the years of my marriage to Bob, my father-in-law was a second dad to me. Not everyone can say that they truly love their in-laws, but I was just that blessed. It was never a relationship of tolerance, but rather always a relationship of love and a deep sense of family. My father-in-law always had that deep sense of family, and it was something he passed down to his children. As far as he was concerned, family came first…no ifs, and, or buts. When family needed help with something, he was there to help. And every one of his children are the same way. It is a great heritage to pass on to your kids.

Of course, it wasn’t all work and no play with him. He loved to go visit his mother and step-father, Vina and Walt Hein, half brother, Butch Hein and family, and half brother Eddie Hein, his wife Pearl and family, sister, Marion Kanta, husband John and family, and half sister Esther Hein and her family, and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Linda and Bobby Cole. Family was important, and that meant that you went to see them from time to time, because staying close was always my father-in-law’s top priority. I think it was this deep sense of family that made him so special to his entire family.scan0005

In his later years, he and my mother-in-law, Joann Knox Schulenberg traveled south to Yuma, Arizona for the winter. We missed them a lot during those years. After a few years of that, their health didn’t allow them to take those winter trips anymore, and Dad settled in to take care of Mom, who by this time had developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Their lives would never be the same after that. Their health deteriorated, until that sad, sad day, May 5, 2013, when Dad left us to go home to Heaven. He had lived an amazing life, traveled, raised six children, made countless friends, and worked at many different occupations and hobbies. He had lived a full life, and he was tired. I will never forget the night before he passed. I was visiting him with my grandson, Caalab Royce at the nursing home, where he had decided to go, so he could share a room with Mom again, because she needed a level of care that we could no longer provide at home. He looked so tired and weak that night, that I really didn’t want to leave him. He had always been such a fighter, and now it seemed that the fight was gone. I asked him if he was quitting on me, because it was the first time in the years I had been his caregiver that it seemed that his journey was coming to a close. He told me, “I don’t know.” But, I knew. He was quitting me.

The next morning I received the call, that he had passed away…exactly as he had always said he wanted to Walt & Vina Hein and familyDad and mego…in his sleep. It was a call, I dreaded, but it was not unexpected. My sweet father-in-law was gone, and the family would never be the same again. Two years and three months have flown by since that day, but I can still hear him. He loved nicknames for the kids, like Sport for my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, Old Timer for my nephew Barry Schulenberg, or for my girls, Corrie Lou and Amy Lou…which he made seem like a song of sorts. Today would have been Dad’s 86th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much.

New Cut, So CuteThere are people out there, who are just always happy. My niece Kellie is like that. Things just don’t get under her skin, like they do for most of us. I guess there just isn’t room for bothersome things with Kellie, because silliness and giggles live there. Don’t get me wrong, Kellie is a hard worker, and she can be serious if the situation warrants it, but she much prefers to be funny. She loves to make people laugh, and what better trait to have than that. Of course, Kellie comes by it honestly. Her whole family is like that. The girls have nicknames for each other, like Jeff for Jessi, and Lance for Lindsay. And their mom, my sister has nicknames for the kids too, like Baby Jessi (which she still is called today) Squirrel (which Lindsay is also still called), the boy (for Ryan, of course), and Pretty, Teeny, Sweet, and Little (which definitely doesn’t fit Kellie now, as the tallest girl). And Kellie also has a nickname from her sister-in-law, Chelsea…Keeker, which I think is quite cute too. And Kellie makes sure she gets in on the nicknames too, because since Captainette Americaseveral of us are on the short side, and she is tall, we have been dubbed the wee ones.

As I have said, Kellie is tall. She is actually 5’11” tall. When she was in high school, and playing basketball, her coach used to say that she was 6 feet tall, as a way of intimidation for the other team. Well, as I said, Kellie likes to laugh, and that always struck her as very funny, so she would be out on the court, playing, and she couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, the coach had a different plan in mind for Kellie. When he said that she was 6 feet tall, he was envisioning a mean looking player that would scare the socks off the other team. Kellie was a good player, but she didn’t have a mean or intimidating bone in her body, so he tried to help make that happen…by yelling out to her, “Kellie! Stop smiling!” Now telling Kellie to stop laughing or smiling, is like telling her to stop breathing. It just wasn’t going to happen.

And Kellie had the same problems in her gym class. She just can’t stop laughing. Kellie & EthanOne time in gym class, the teacher heard the normal bout of laughter, and of course, knew exactly who was doing the laughing. The teacher yelled out, “Kellie! Shut up!” Suddenly, there was silence in the room…pretty unexpected I’m sure. Then, out of the silence, someone said, “Kellie isn’t here today.” Now I don’t know about you, but I would have totally lost it right about then…as I’m quite sure the rest of the class did. I would have loved to see the teacher’s face right then too. Hahahahahaha!! Classic!!! Today is Kellie’s birthday!! And just as soon as I stop laughing, I’m going to tell her happy birthday. Love you Kellie!! Happy birthday, and have a great day!! And…don’t be so serious…smile sometimes!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

When my girls were 4 years old and 3 years old, we were living on my in-law’s land, while we got our land ready to move onto. During that time, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my brother-in-law, Ron were in elementary school and often needed help with their homework. I enjoyed helping them out, so they usually came to me for that help. So, many nights we had a tutoring session at my house. It’s pretty hard to run a tutoring session with small children around, who want to play.

I needed to come up with a way to help my sister and brother-in-law, and occupy my young daughters. Like most kids, the girls just wanted to do the same things the big kids were doing. The problem was that they were too young and would need more help than I could give them right then.

So, after giving it a little thought, I got each of my daughters a piece of paper and a pencil and told them to do their homework too. I was amazed at the way they did their homework. The girls didn’t scribble or draw pictures, but rather they made small careful circles. They were making their letters. As a mother, I was impressed and pleased at their very good attempt to mimic their aunt and uncle’s homework. They even stayed on the lines fairly well.

Things went on that way for a short time, and then Brenda and Ron started needing help with spelling. That…was the beginning of the problem. Before I knew it, Corrie and Amy wanted to learn to spell too. It all seemed innocent and, well even cool, but having them ask how to spell every word they could think of did get old after a while.

On day they started asking me how to spell the names of all their aunts and uncles. I was busy with other things, and really didn’t have time to go through every family member’s name. By the time we got to my sister-in-law, I had had just about enough of spelling. So, when they asked me how to spell Brenda, I very quickly blurted out B-r-e-n-d-a. Well, the girls caught BR, and that is the name that stuck.

At first, Brenda didn’t know if she liked the new nickname or not. When she was little, Jennifer had called her Bea, and she thought it would work into Aunt Bea. She never expected to be BR or Aunt BR. Still, it was a name that grew on her, and the kids really liked it. Before long, everyone was calling her BR. She has it on her license plate, and people have bought her blocks and plaques that say BR. It is her own nickname, unique and original…even if it was an accidental nickname.

Many people name their children a longer name, planning to shorten it to a nickname. Names like Christopher and Joshua are shortened to Chris and Josh. Some times, names are changed to initials. Names like Joel David, Machelle, or Brenda are changed to JD, MAC, or BR. Names even had things added to them, like Susan becoming Susie Q, or Shai Renee becoming Shai Reenie the Pooh. And sometimes directions came into play when Weston and Easton became West and East. And some names didn’t need to be changed, just used in their entirety to be a nickname of sorts, like Caalab Rolles Royce. Such is the case in our family, but I guess I had to be different. I never intended to use nicknames for my girls, Corrie and Amy, and for the most part didn’t, but the nicknames they did get, didn’t shorten their names…rather, they lengthened them. Odd…I know, but that is what happened.

Corrie became Cornelia…after my grandfather according to my mom. Amy became Amelia, mostly I think to match Corrie’s nickname, but it was all so perfect. Their names were similar and fit perfectly to lengthen their names from the original to the new nickname. We had a lot of fun with those new longer nicknames, but it never escaped my notice that they were of an unusual type.

Everyone had their little additions. Some added middle names so Cornelia became Cornelia Sue. Other made rhymes, so Amelia became Amelia Bedelia. The play on words was fun and interesting. We even had a few little songs that incorporated their nicknames. Just another way of adding to the fun of it. And through the years, more and more nick names have been added…some short and some long. Corrie has been Cor, CorSue, Corrie Lou, and even Apple Core, and Amy has been Ames, Amos, Amy Lou and Strawberry Shortcake, because she was so little. The names changed through the years, but never really went away.

The other night at bowling, Amy came up to me and said that Pete, another bowler, had called her Amelia, and was surprised when she turned around and responded to the use of the nickname. He said, “I didn’t figure you would answer to that name.” She said, “It has been my nickname all my life.” So I guess nicknames, don’t always mean a shortening of the name, and it isn’t so uncommon for nicknames to be a lengthening of the name. But, what is really funny to me is that when we picked names for the girls, I said I didn’t want names that would be shortened…and well, I guess I got my wish…at least part of the time.

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