Construction began on the White House on October 13, 1792, and was finally finished on November 1, 1800. Construction was slower in those days, because they didn’t have the equipment we have today. The current White House has 132 rooms. The original White House had 100 rooms. The White House has 54,900 square feet. The White House sits on 18 acres of land. It all it is an impressive building, but there is more to it than just that.
There have been a number of rooms that began as one thing, only to become something else later on. One of the rooms that has had a couple of identities is the Press Briefing Room. These days it is the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. It was so named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was shot and permanently disabled during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. That room, located in the West Wing of the White House was not always such a necessary room, mostly because press briefings are really more of a modern-day thing. The room has always existed, however. In 1909, it was the White House laundry, and during President Truman’s time in office (April 12, 1945 – January 20,1953) it was the White House pool.
By 1950, the White House was 150 years old and in a serious state of disrepair. In order to make is inhabitable again, the entire building was gutted and rebuilt to make it more stable. It also seemed like a good time to improve on its design, so some improvements and additions were made. White House architect Lorenzo Simmons Winslow designed and built an air raid shelter under the East Terrace on the orders of naval aide Rear Admiral Robert Dennison. There had been a bomb shelter before, but it was built in 1942 and with the invention of the atomic bomb, the old shelter was not strong enough to withstand such an assault. Because little research had been conducted into how to withstand such an assault, construction of the shelter took more than two years and required the removal of the East Terrace entirely. Unfortunately, the 1952 shelter was rendered obsolete when the first test produced a force of 10.4 million tons. This shelter was designed to withstand a force of only 30,000 tons, so this would never work.
In addition to the new nuclear shelter, a tunnel was added. These days those tunnels are big in the news, but back then, they were probably a little-known addition. This reinforced concrete channel ran from the West Wing to the East Wing. Though not enough to stop a nuclear incident itself, the tunnel allowed quick passage from one end of the White House to the other, as well as access to the new air raid shelter. The presence of the tunnel demonstrates just how concerned the Truman White House was about securing itself against air assaults at that volatile time in history. That first tunnel inside the White House isn’t the only underground feature. In 1987, a second tunnel was built under the name Project ZP. That tunnel, accessible from a secret passage within the Oval Office, leads to the basement of the East Wing and on to the Treasury Building. Its construction, which was largely secret, created a large sinkhole in the White House rose garden. The tunnel was reportedly built to quickly get the president out of the office during an incursion, but it was also used at least once to sneak former president Richard Nixon into a foreign policy meeting. I’m sure there are other changes to the White House, that we are not privy to, and may never know, because there are always secrets in this kind of building.
My niece, Lindsay Moore can’t say enough nice things about her husband, Shannon Moore. Shannon is a Girl Dad, and best friend to his little daughter, Mackenzie. Shannon is very much a hands-on dad. He doesn’t come home from work and plop down in front of the television set, while telling Mackenzie to go play. Shannon loves to play with Mackenzie. They are two peas in a pod. He takes her to the park, pool, everywhere! In fact, they have been to the pool about a dozen times in the past few weeks. Shannon is a coach, the assistant coach for the Wyoming Cowboys football team. He is also their tight ends coach and helps with special teams too, and Mackenzie reaps the benefit of that. Shannon loves to teach her new things…in true coaching style…swimming, throwing, swinging, climbing…all the things! Mackenzie also gets to go with Daddy to work sometimes, where she is the “darling” of the football team. It pays to be the coach’s daughter. Shannon has been busy being girl dad of the year.
Shannon and his girls, Lindsay and Mackenzie, just got back from a trip to Florida with Lindsay’s whole family, to celebrate her parents 40th wedding anniversary. That trip gave Shannon another opportunity to teach Mackenzie about new things, like the beach and the ocean. Of course, while the adults got to get in the water deeper than the kids, it was still fun for all. Lindsay tells me that “Shannon just shines as a dad, and that he’s always been a wonderful husband and dad but truly, he gets better every day! He has such a genuinely good heart, a kind disposition, and a loving spirit. Praise the Lord for putting us together…because I hit the jackpot!” That’s quite a tribute from a loving wife.
In addition to being a great Girl Dad, Shannon is a wonderful Doggy Dad. He is very devoted and makes sure that their puppy, Brinkley gets lots of attention. Puppies need someone to play with them and get then some much needed exercise, and Shannon is often outside playing with Brinkley. Shannon and Lindsay work very well together, and they share the “duties” of family life together. For them, the “duties” hardly seem like duties at all, because they make things so much fun. Even Brinkley feels the fun vibes in their house. I guess that’s what being a good Doggy Dad is all about. Pets need as much love as any other family member, and just as much training too. Shannon is such a great coach, so Brinkley will learn lots of new things too. Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock has been a part of our family for just over 40 years now, since he married my sister, Allyn Hadlock on June 12, 1982, but he was really part of the family for a little longer than that…since they started dating. It’s hard to remember a time when he wasn’t part of the family. They were just kids when they married, Chris was 21 and Allyn was 19, so basically babies…and yet, here they are, all these years later.
For Chris and Allyn, family is really what it’s all about. This year, Chris and Allyn got to have a really special family vacation to celebrate their 40th anniversary and Chris’ 62nd birthday. They rented a really nice house in Florida, with 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, so that the whole family could stay together, relax, and play. They were all able make the trip, except their daughter, Kellie’s boyfriend, Tim Thompson and his daughter Jolene, and they were very much missed on the trip. They had hoped everyone would be able to come, but Tim couldn’t get the time off, because someone else had already requested it. Their four children, Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock, as well as their spouses, Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore and the grandchildren, Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore were all there. A fabulous time was had by all. They swam in the pool, played on the beach, swam in the ocean, and of course, ate the amazing food from the area restaurants. It was the trip of a lifetime for them, and I’m so happy they got to take it. Trips like these don’t always work out, so you have to jump on it when you get the chance.
Chris and Allyn have been working very hard over the past few years. They have had their dream home, right on the river built, and they love hosting parties, and gathering together with their family year-round. The yard has river access, so they can go rafting right from their back yard, and it has a great hill for sledding in the wintertime. Barbecues and picnics are so nice in the cool back yard too. Seriously, life is good, and they are just loving it. Chris couldn’t be happier with the life they have built together. Chris retired from the Casper Police Department a few years ago, and now he is working in a much less stressful job, selling police communication systems, which keeps him in the know about the police departments, without having to deal with the day-to-day stress of policing in a time when law enforcement isn’t such an easy career to be in. We are all really happy to have him out of that line of work, because of all the upheaval therein these days. It’s just so much more relaxing for him and he is very happy with his new career. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, James Renville, started “the last year of the first quarter of his life” (according to his mom, Toni Chase, who is feeling a little nostalgic these days) by marrying his perfect match, Manuela Ortiz. They really are polar opposites when it comes to their personalities, and that has been just perfect. James was always a quiet man, and Manuela is very outgoing. That’s just what James needed. These days, he is becoming more outgoing, and has even taken up some acting!! Manuela does some videos on Tik Tok, and James has been participating in those. It’s very interesting, and his transformation has been amazing. I think deep down, James has always had a little showmanship in him. He just needed a little help to draw “that guy” out. James loves inline skating and playing pool with his dad, Jim. It is just a couple of ways he unwinds. He is really good on the inland skates and can do some of the tricks some of the professional skaters do. I think that filming those tricks is another way he has been drawn out a little.
Following their wedding, the kids took a short honeymoon trip to Yellowstone National Park. They had a great time. James has always loved to travel, and so they also took several road trips over the last year to other parks in Wyoming and Colorado. They have just been enjoying their new life together. Now they are getting ready to move to a new place, and they are very excited about that. James is always up for a trip…be it for hiking or just sightseeing. James and Manuela are always game to see new places and do new things.
James also started a new job in the world of Public Relations, and he loves it. It plays into his love of travel too, because his job requires that he travel quite a bit. His job takes him all around the Rocky Mountain region, specifically any states that border Wyoming, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t go further. He is headed to Portland, Or3gon in a couple of weeks, and might be slated to go to Houston, Texas next week as well. With James’ love of travel, these trips are awesome indeed, with the only drawback being that Manuela can’t go with him. Still, that makes the reunions that much sweeter for these young newlyweds…even if the time apart is less than ideal. Today is James’ 25th birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Garrett’s life over the past few years has become more wonderful than he could ever have imagined. In 2016, he married the love of his life, Kayla and they were blessed with a beautiful little daughter named Elliott in 2018. Garrett has always loved children, and now with one of his own, he is so happy. Garrett and Elliott love to do things together, like mowing the lawn, hanging out by the pool, and going down the slide in the bouncy castle pool they rented for her birthday party.
This year, the most exciting thing that happened is that Garrett and Kayla took a trip to Cancun, Mexico to celebrate their birthdays, both of which are in June. They had a wonderful trip. They went golfing and rented a speed boat which Garrett thought was the greatest thing!! They relaxed and enjoyed the sun and the warm waters of the Caribbean, and the many activities at the resort. One of the coolest things was when they found an elk picture at the resort. I don’t know of any elk in Mexico, but I suppose I could be wrong. As a hunter, Garrett found the elk picture a very cool thing. On this trip, they left Elliott first with her grandma, Alena Stevens and then the second half of the trip, her grandma Lynette Smiley took over. Elliott had a wonderful time too. Grandma time is always fun for kids…and it was a great way for Garrett and Kayla to celebrate their birthdays too.
Garrett usually has weekends off, unless they are really busy at EMIT Technologies, where he has worked since shortly after moving to Sheridan. He wants to play lots of golf and do lots of camping this summer. Garrett loves fishing too, so I’m sure some of their camping will be near rivers or lakes so fishing can be part of the fun. I’m quite sure that before Elliott will become a great fisherwoman…following in her daddy’s footsteps. Elliott likes doing most things in her daddy’s footsteps, even though she is no tomboy. She is a princess, but her daddy’s stuff tops all duties of a princess.
Yes, Garrett’s life took a dramatically wonderful turn back in 2016, because when he married Kayla, his future began. A future that has continued get brighter and brighter. I know that because their love for one another is very strong, they will continue to have wonderful things happen to them, and their life will become more and more wonderful every day. Today is Garrett’s birthday. Happy birthday Garrett!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My little grand-niece, Mackenzie Moore is a loyal football fan…of her daddy’s teams. It doesn’t matter what team it is, as long as her daddy, Shannon Moore is one of the coaches. Currently, Mackenzie is a huge fan of the Wyoming Cowboys. As her daddy says, she loves the Pokes. Mackenzie always has her game face on at the games, and she cheers on her daddy’s team faithfully. In fact, at two years old, Mackenzie is quite likely the littlest Pokes fan. This little girl is such a loyal fan that she even makes sure she is bringing her baby up to be a fan. I guess she is getting set for the next generation of fans.
Mackenzie has an amazing personality. She always keeps her parents, Lindsay and Shannon, laughing and quite entertained. Nobody ever has to tell this little girl to smile, because its just a part of her nature. Mackenzie loves people and loves making them smile, and it comes so naturally to her. She makes the greatest faces ever. One look and you can’t help but love this little girl…or laugh along with this little cutie. She love playing with her cousins the most, and considers “cousin-time” to be the very best time of all…well, except for mommy and daddy time.
The summer was a great one for Mackenzie, who got to travel some, spend time with her grandparents, and of course hang out with her mommy by the pool. Mackenzie loves her time as a lady of leisure too. That’s a good thing, because before we know it, she will be going to school. Time goes so fast. I really can’t believe that Mackenzie is two years old already. It seems like it was just yesterday that she was born. With all the wonderful life moments this little girl packs into every day, I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring. Of course, I wish that we, the rest of her family, got to see her a little more, but now that her family lives in Wyoming again, we get to see her more than we did before, when they lived back east. That makes us happy. We are all happy about the move back to Wyoming. Today is Mackenzie’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband’s aunt, Esther Hein lives in Oregon, and it’s not always easy for her to get back home to Forsyth, Montana to visit her brothers, Eddie and Butch Hein, who live there with their families. Last January she made the trip, and once she was there, she might have found herself wondering if January was the best time to have done that. Montana gets quite a bit of snow, and last January was no exception. They got a large amount of snow, and Esther found herself shoveling the sidewalks and not really getting anywhere with removing all the snow. In the end, they spent a lot of time indoors, but it was a very nice visit anyway.
Things got a little tough for Esther this past fall, when he got Shingles. If you have never dealt with Shingles, or had them yourself, you have no idea how bad they really are. my husband had them in February of 2013, and they were awful.They itch and burn at the same time. They leave scars that never seem to completely go away. Some people get physically ill, and unfortunately, Esther was one of those. She was really sick for a while, and that can take a long time to come back from. I’m sure she was weak for a while.
As winter approached, Esther began to feel better, and was able to go on the family’s annual trip to the Diamond Lake Resort to go snow shoeing. I’m sure that with how she had been feeling, she wasn’t sure she would feel up to going this year, but I’m glad she did. Esther likes to stay in good shape. It is important for all of us. She has taken up water exercise. There is an aquatic open pool near her home and she has been going there three times a week to do open end exercises. Esther loves going, and says that she feels so much better these days.
Esther has long been a crafty person, and she has plans to make some quilts this next year. When you don’t feel well, you can’t do justice to your hobbies. Esther is an artist,and in the past has don’t quite a bit of painting. I’m just thankful that her hobbies have not had to be laid aside. Today is Esther’s 78th birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Zack Spethman is a great kid, but he is quickly growing up and is hardly a kid anymore. Today he became a teenager, and is just about to finish his first year of middle school. That put him back at the same school and his brother and good friend, Xander. The share many activities, likes and dislikes, and their similar personalities. Football is the sport above all sports for them. They love to watch and play. It is a family tradition. The three Spethman brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac rising up through the ranks of school football. It keeps their parents busy with all the games.
Of course, football isn’t everything in their lives. Zack loves to climb mountains, play pool, and shoot guns…everything from air guns, to paintball guns, to real guns. He is a good shot and goes to practice with his family often, but he also knows about gun safety, and has passed the hunter safety course, so he can go hunting. Still, while hunting is a great adventure, the boys love combat competitions. They love to strategize the ways to dominate and “take out” the other team. Zack and Xander tend to pool their strategic resources to obtain the victory.
Zack’s dad, Steve Spethman decided to remodel the family kitchen earlier this year, and the boys got to learn about construction by helping their dad do the work. They were very attentive and meticulous about the work, and they learned a lot about the construction business. Their dad is a great carpenter, and a great teacher, so they learned from the best. They often work with their dad, and he is teaching them the value of hard work. Their parents have also taught the kids to be responsible for each other and for their little sister, and this is a job Zack takes seriously. He can often be seen encouraging his siblings and assisting his little sister, Aleesia. They are all very close.
Zack is such a sweet, kind young man, and we are all proud of him. He is loyal and loving to his family, and helpful to all in need. He is always there to give a hug or a word of encouragement. He is a good student, and is responsible. When he says he will be somewhere, he is. That was never more clear that when he was given an award for the best attendance in football last year. With his winning attitude and awesome personality, I know Zach will go far. He is a blessing to those who know him. Today is Zack’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I picked my grandson, Josh up from Kelly Walsh High School the other day, we drove past the area where they are tearing up the old teacher’s parking lot for the school renovation project that is going on in several schools around town. Josh said, “When I look at that, it makes me sad?” He hated seeing the school he had known change. I found that a little surprising, in that this is Josh’s first year at Kelly Walsh, but when I thought about the fact that Josh’s older brother Chris has gone there for 3 years, it made sense that he would think of this school as a place he knew well. We continued down 12th Street, and past the swimming pool and he mentioned the building that was the entrance to the pool, and it really hit me.
Kelly Walsh High School has been a part of my life since I was a kid. It first opened in 1965, when I was just 9 years old. It wasn’t long after that that my sisters and I began going to Kelly Walsh High School to go swimming, almost every weekday in the summer. We walked past Pineview School to 8th Street, turned on Sally Lane, crossed the foot bridge to Forest Drive, went up to 12th Street and up to Kelly Walsh pool. It was so much fun to go swimming there every summer, and now the building is gone and the pool will follow. All those years of that pool being such a huge part of my summer…and now it will be gone.
So many changes are about to occur to the school where I spent my high school years. When the work is done, I don’t know if I will even recognize it. After my graduation, my sisters attended there, and then my older sister’s older children, and then when my girls started high school it was at Kelly Walsh, and once again I spent time there. Now, two of my grandsons are there and I am spending time there again. Kelly Walsh High School will always be a part of my life it seems, but it will not always be the school it was. I know it will be a better school when they are done, and I know it is a necessary change, but it still makes me sad too.
There are few things that spell summer better for little kids than water…whether it is a wading pool, the local swimming pool, the lake, water pistols, or running through the sprinkler. Kids just love the hot days, so they can get wet to cool off. Lots of adults feel the same way too, as a matter of fact. It’s just what summer is all about.
While watching some old home movies the other night, I saw Bob and his sisters Debbie, and Jennifer running through the sprinkler. Jennifer was just a little girl of about 3 years, and I’m pretty sure it was her first experience at running through the sprinkler. She was obviously enjoying herself, but that doesn’t mean the water felt like what she expected either. As she started into the water, she skirted the edges of it at first, almost as if trying not to get wet. I know that feeling. It happens when you get caught in a rain shower. Even though it is hot outside, and the rain has a cooling effect, it still has the ability to almost feel like needles hitting your skin…ok, dull needles that don’t hurt, but still each one creates a little shock. That is how Jennifer seemed to be feeling.
That first time feeling of running through the sprinkler is a one time event. Once you know what to expect, you never get to feel that way again. That doesn’t make running through the sprinkler any less fun, just not so surprisingly shocking ever again. Knowledge comes with experience, and once we know something, we know it forever. There is no way to go back to that innocense and be surprised by it again. I’m sure that the next time the kids ran through the sprinkler, Jennifer didn’t skirt the edge like she did before.
I am reminded of a picture I have of my oldest grandson running through the sprinkler, and I’m thinking how cute he looked. Christopher was clearly ducking his head to the side to avoid the water that was hitting him…and yet he liked the whole feeling, of coolness on a hot day. Even with the wading pool and other backyard pools that are available, kids have loved to run throught the sprinkler since they were invented. And, I can relate to that. Once you have tried it, you will like it. Even as an adult, it isn’t the end of the world to have to run through the sprinkler to get into the house. I mean, after all, clothes dry, but the fun of running through the sprinkler will stick with you for a long time.