As nations grow in size, population, or power, many no longer want to be under the rule of another nation, even one that helped get them to where they are, and even one that has owned their land for years. It is something we, as Americans can’t really fathom, considering that we fought the Revolutionary War to leave British rule.
The decision was very different for Australia on November 6, 1999. Treasurer Wayne Swan and senior opposition figure Malcolm Turnbull, who once was Australia’s Republican Movement president, came together in the capital Canberra on the prior Monday to launch a book of essays called ‘Project Republic: Plans and Arguments for a New Australia’. Mr Turnbull, who sits on the front bench for the conservative opposition, described this latest push as “simply, purely patriotic” and called for an ‘interactive plebiscite’ to use cyberspace to better inform Australians of the issues surrounding constitutional change.
As it was, many feared the change, and the work and uncertainty that could accompany it. Still others, like being a part of the monarchy. “Many argue that the sexy celebrity status of William and Kate will sweep all before it and their star quality will revive the monarchy in Australia. I don’t think so,” Turnbull writes. “They will certainly be far more interesting and telegenic than Charles and Camilla – but I am not convinced that will translate into enhanced support for William (or indeed Charles) remaining our head of state.” His opinions aside, the people of Australia voted and decided that they just weren’t ready, and quite possibly they never would be ready to walk away from the British Monarchy. That actually happened in America too, because while the overwhelming number of citizens wanted to go for independence, there were those who did not.
In Australia, it didn’t appear that the situation would have come to war, as it had in America, but one never really knows what can trigger a war of this type. I guess that in the case of Australia, if they are tired of the Queens rule, they have chosen to wait and see what the future ruling parties might bring. If they don’t like the outcome, they could always choose to break away at a later date.
There are some traditions or practices that, upon further consideration, are not necessarily good traditions or practices. Between 1850 and as recently as 1970, sailors on Royal Navy Ships were given a daily rum ration, which was also called a tot, at midday every day. The amount of alcohol it contained was about 1/8 of a pint of rum at 95.5 proof. The practice was discontinued in 1970 because it was thought that regular intakes of alcohol would lead to unsteady hands when working machinery. Senior ratings of petty officer and above received their rum neat, while it was diluted with two parts of water, known a grog, to make 3/8 of an imperial pint for junior ranks. The rum ration was served from one particular barrel, which was ornately decorated and was made of oak and reinforced with brass bands with brass letters saying “The Queen, God Bless Her.” It was known as the “Rum Tub.”
As is normal, there were some sailors who did not drink. So the question became, how would they be compensated. It was decided that these sailors would have a mark by their name of “T” for the Temperance movement. Sailors who opted to be “T” were given three pence, or about $1.00 a day instead of the rum ration. It is said that most of the men preferred the rum. The time when the rum ration was distributed was called “Up Spirits,” which was between 11 am and 12 noon. A common cry from the sailors was “Stand fast the Holy Ghost.” This was in response to the bosun’s call “Up Spirits.” Each mess had a “Rum Bosun” who would collect the rum from the officer responsible for measuring the right number of tots for each mess. The officers did not get a rum ration. Another strange tradition associated with rum rations is that the Tot glasses were kept separate from any other glasses. This was because they were washed on the outside, but never inside, in the belief that residue of past tots would stick to the side of the glass and make the tot even stronger. I would consider that to be really gross, but I’m not a sailor. Sailors under 20 were not permitted a rum ration, and were marked on the ship’s books as “UA” (Under Age).
A sailor’s ration of alcohol was originally beer. At that time, a daily ration of one gallon was given. This official allowance continued until after the Napoleonic Wars. When beer was not available, as often happened due to spoilage, it could be substituted by a pint of wine or half a pint of spirits depending on what was locally available. Later, the political influence of the West Indian planters led to rum being given the preference other spirits. The half pint of spirits was originally issued neat, or without water. It is said that sailors would “prove” its strength by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn (thus verifying that rum was at least 57% ABV). I guess they didn’t trust the bar tender. “The practice of compulsorily diluting rum in the proportion of half a pint to one quart of water (1:4) was first introduced in the 1740s by Admiral Edward Vernon (known as Old Grog, because of his habitual grogram cloak). The ration was also split into two servings, one between 10 am and noon and the other between 4 and 6 pm. In 1756 Navy regulations required adding small quantities of lemon or lime juice to the ration, to prevent scurvy. The rum itself was often procured from distillers in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the British Virgin Islands. Rations were cut in half in 1823 and again in half, to the traditional amount, in 1850.”
In 1850, Parliament discussed the abolition of the rum ration, then again in 1881, but nothing came of it. In 1970, Admiral Peter Hill-Norton abolished the rum ration as he felt it could have led to sailors failing a breathalyzer test and being less capable to manage complex machinery. This decision to end the rum ration was taken after the Secretary of State for Defense had taken opinions from several ranks of the Navy. Ratings were instead allowed to purchase beer, and the amount allowed was determined, according to the MP David Owen, by the amount of space available for stowing the extra beer in ships. The last rum ration was on July 31, 1970 and became known as Black Tot Day, because sailors were unhappy about the loss of the rum ration. There were reports that sailors threw tots into the sea and the staging of a mock funeral in a training camp. In place of the rum ration, sailors were allowed to buy three one-half imperial pint cans of beer a day and improved recreational facilities. While the rum ration was abolished, the order to “splice the mainbrace,” or awarding sailors an extra tot of rum for good service, remained as a command which could only be given by the Monarch and is still used to recognize good service. Rum rations are also given on special occasions. Examples include the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Royal Navy in 2010 and after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
Today, we honor the man who was our dad, Allen Spencer. If a daughter is always a Daddy’s girl, then my dad was very blessed to say that he had five Daddy’s girls. I’m sure that five daughters didn’t seem so much like a big blessing while waiting to get into the bathroom to shave in the morning, but Dad never let that bother him. While he truly was more of a night person, he faithfully dragged himself out of bed early every morning so he could get ready for work, before his five daughters descended upon the single bathroom in our home. I truly think that, for our dad, it never mattered that he had just daughters. He loved all his girls, including Mom, Collene Spencer, of course, more than anything in the world. We were all the princesses of his castle and Mom was the queen. Of course, we thought Dad was the greatest too, so it made for a very happy castle. It as home and it was the happiest home in the world, because we had the best parents.
Dad was always able to see the solution to a problem, rather that getting caught up in the problem itself. I remember countless times, in my school days, before things somehow clicked in my brain, when I was struggling, and Mom would get very upset about it. She wanted us to do good in school, and to her it seemed that we weren’t trying. Her threat was always, “Wait until your dad gets home!!” Now, that was the one thing that would put fear in us. Not that my mom couldn’t spank, but it always seemed worse when it was Dad…or maybe it was the fear of the unknown…wondering if I had crossed a line that would be my doom!! Then, when Dad got home, he was told about the grade we had or the class we weren’t doing well in, and invariably, he would say, “Well, I guess we are going to have to work on this.” What?? That was it?? Yes, that was it, and I would live to mess up another day. We never failed a class. Dad could always somehow make us understand the subject that was giving us the problem, and we would at least get a C in the class. I wonder where I would have been in school, had it not been for him. Suddenly in 9th grade, it all clicked in my brain, and my Dad got a break from the struggle, unless my younger sisters had the same issues I did. As I said, Dad was a problem solver, and I’m pretty sure that my mom greatly depended on him to solve any of the problems they had in life. He handled every problem with great ease, and that is why they were such a good team. Mom focused more on the little things, and Dad saw the big picture.
There have been so many times in the years since his passing that I have wished that I could go to him for advise. He would have always known just what to do, and it saddens me to know that I can’t go to him, as I know that it does my sisters. Dad always knew how to put the humor back in a situation, and bring the sunshine to a cloudy day. I know that he and Mom, and the other family members are having a great celebration today for his birthday, but then again, there is always a celebration going on in Heaven, so maybe it is just another day. Nevertheless, for us, Daddy’s Girls, today is a very special day…our dad’s 94th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Daddy. We love and miss you very much.
Some people seem to have an exceptional mind. They might be a genius, or they might just be very good at one thing or a few things. Whatever the case may be, they are virtually impossible to beat at that one thing. The game of chess is one that many people don’t understand how to play. I played it many years ago, but I can’t say that I was ever very good at. I could play, and I could beat some players, provided they were not better than novice level. But, there are chess players who could only be classified as genius when it comes to the game of chess.
Two such players were 26 year old Donald Byrne, who on October 17, 1956, took part in what was destined to be called The Game of the Century. In the end Byrne would lose the game to 13 year old Bobby Fischer, in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City. The competition took place at the Marshall Chess Club. It was nicknamed “The Game of the Century” by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review. Kmoch wrote, “The following game, a stunning masterpiece of combination play performed by a boy of 13 against a formidable opponent, matches the finest on record in the history of chess prodigies.”
I don’t suppose Mr Byrne expected to be bested by a 13 year old boy, nor did he likely appreciate all the publicity that came of his unfortunate loss. Donald Byrne was one of the leading American chess masters at the time of this game. He won the 1953 U.S. Open Championship, and later represented the United States in the 1962, 1964, and 1968 Chess Olympiads. He became an International Master in 1962, and probably would have risen further if not for ill health. Robert “Bobby” Fischer (1943–2008) was at this time a promising young master. Following this game, he had a meteoric rise, winning the 1957 U.S. Open on tiebreaks, winning the 1957–58 U.S. (Closed) Championship, and all seven later championships in which he played, qualifying for the Candidates Tournament and becoming in 1958 the world’s youngest grandmaster at the age of 15. He won the world championship in 1972, and is considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.
According to Kmoch’s recap of the game, Fischer, who was playing Black, demonstrated noteworthy innovation and improvisation. Byrne, who was playing White, after a standard opening, makes a seemingly minor mistake on move 11, losing a tempo by moving the same piece twice. Fischer pounces with brilliant sacrificial play, culminating in a queen sacrifice on move 17. Byrne captures the queen, but Fischer gets far too much material for it…a rook, two bishops, and a pawn. At the end, Fischer’s pieces coordinate to force checkmate, while Byrne’s queen sits, useless, on the other side of the board. Responding to an interviewer’s question about how he was able to bring off such a brilliant win, Fischer said, “I just made the moves I thought were best. I was just lucky.” Looking at his lifelong record, I doubt that anyone would agree with that statement. Fischer’s wins were anything but luck. They were rather a matter of skill, focus, and a strategic mind.
Everyone’s home life growing up is different. Some homes are very reserved, some are chaotic, and others, like mine are simply wonderful. We always knew that our parents loved us and that they loved each other too. In our house, there were kisses and hugs all around, but we got the biggest kick out of our parents kissing. Dad would come home from work, and give Mom a big kiss, and my sisters and I started singing a song we made up…”Mommy and Daddy are kissing!!” The more we sang the song, the more they continued to kiss. We loved teasing them about kissing, and they love having us tease them. Of course, there was no embarrassment on either side, because we loved that our parents demonstrated their love for each other. What makes a kid feel more secure in the stability of their parents marriage, than a daily show of love.
Of course, kissing wasn’t the only way my parents showed their love for each other. My dad was always the gentleman. He was very protective of my mom. He treated her like a queen, and made sure that we respected her too. He was a hard working man, and we never wanted for anything that we needed. Nevertheless, it was never the things that made us rich. It was the love of our parents that made us rich. There is nothing more comforting than to know that your parents will be there with you and for you. And mom, for her part, always made our home welcoming and inviting, not to mention teaching us to keep house and to cook. One of my favorite memories of my childhood was coming home for lunch on a school day, to find chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. That was my very favorite lunch, and it was great to come home to Mom’s cooking.
I’s like to say that there was never any drama in our house, but my parents had five daughters, and…well, drama is just a part of the deal. You get five girls to the age of their teens or close to it, with one phone, and everyone wanting to have their turn, and you have drama…not to mention the fights over the bathroom with all of us trying to get ready for school or a date. I suppose mom understood, but dad had to be a saint, and that’s all there is to it. With one bathroom, a wife, and five daughters, dad just had to wait…forever!!
Nevertheless, while there may have been a little bit of drama, our home was a house filled with love, laughter, singing, and yes with mommy and daddy kissing. Today would have been my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary. They will be spending it together in Heaven. I’m sure it will be a beautiful day, and I wish we could spend it with them, but for now, that is not to be. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad. We love and miss you very much.
Wars always bring changes…especially in how nations feel about other nations. Sometimes, the whole world seems to be against one nation that has proven itself to be particularly evil. Germany was one of those nations that the entire world was against during World War I, as well as during World War II. It was during World War I that Britain’s King George V was quite concerned about the anti-German sentiment that existed in the world and in Britain. His family was of German descent, and the family name was very much a German name…Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to be exact.
George was born on June 3, 1865, the second son of Prince Edward of Wales, who later became King Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark, and the grandson of Queen Victoria. He embarked on a naval career before becoming heir to the throne in 1892 when his older brother, Edward, died of pneumonia. The following year, George married the German princess Mary of Teck, who was his cousin, a granddaughter of King George III, and who had previously been intended for Edward. The couple had six children, including the future Edward VIII and George VI, who took the throne in 1936 after his brother abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. As the new Duke of York, George had to abandon his career in the navy. He became a member of the House of Lords and received a political education. When his father died in 1910, George ascended to the British throne as King George V.
With the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 1914, strong anti-German feeling within Britain caused sensitivity among the royal family about its German roots. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, also a grandson of Queen Victoria, was the king’s cousin; the queen herself was German. Public respect for the king increased during World War One, when he made many visits to the front line, hospitals, factories and dockyards. Still, because of anti-German feeling George V felt led to adopt the family name of Windsor, so on June 19, 1917, the king decreed that the royal surname was thereby changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, which it has remain since that day.
After the World War II, the current Prince Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry the future Queen Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement, Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalized British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. After an engagement of five months, he married Elizabeth on November 20, 1947. Just before the wedding, Philip was made the Duke of Edinburgh. He left active military service when Elizabeth became monarch in 1952, having reached the rank of commander. He was formally made a British prince in 1957. Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal surname used by the male-line descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Under a declaration made in Privy Council in 1960, the name Mountbatten-Windsor applies to male-line descendants of the Queen without royal styles and titles. Individuals with royal styles do not usually use a surname, but some descendants of the Queen with royal styles have used Mountbatten-Windsor when a surname was required.
With our mom, Collene Byer Spencer spending her birthday in Heaven this year, my sisters, our families, and I have had much time to reflect on the years of our lives, our loving parents, and sadly the loss of our parents. These past nine years have held more twinges of sadness and loss that we ever expected or wanted to feel. We know where our parents are, of course, and that makes the pain of their loss easier to bear, but there is still an emptiness that fills our hearts and lives, because they are not with us here on Earth anymore. Last night’s New Years Eve party went pretty much as we expected it to go. We were able to push back our feelings pretty well, until midnight, when our traditional Happy New Year hugs took place, and our Happy Birthday Mom song didn’t, because it couldn’t. We could barely talk with the lump in our throats, much less sing Happy Birthday, when she wasn’t there. Nevertheless, she was in our hearts and our thoughts, as was our dad, Allen Spencer. They will live there always, until we see them again.
Since Mom’s passing, we have been going through their things, and especially pictures. We have been overjoyed by some of the old pictures that had never been developed. I especially found the ones of Mom’s birthday in 1964, when our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock was almost one year old, to be an amazing find. There we were, all Mom’s daughters, gathered around her, as she held her birthday cake. Dad always treated her like a queen, and us as his little princesses. For Mom, that meant things like a two day party for her birthday, simply because it fell on New Years Day. At our house, New Years Day was as big a celebration as New Years Eve was…because Dad’s queen was born that day, and it was just icing on the cake that it was also a national holiday.
Those birthdays, when we were children, were most likely the most precious ones for our parents, because we didn’t work yet, had no boyfriends, and no place else we had to be. They were family days, to be cherished and remembered always. Now that they both live in Heaven, those cherished pictures, and the memories they provide, are even more precious than they were when we were little. It’s a funny thing, time. What you took for granted as children, now stands out as some of the best days of your life. I know that for my sisters and me, nothing could have been sweeter than just one more New Years Eve party with our parents, and of course, that statement would continue to dominate our thoughts for the rest of our lives, because we would love to have just one more moment with our parents, and one more, and one more. It is never enough, nor could it ever be. That is what makes us so thankful for the eternity to come, when we will all be together again, forever and ever, in Heaven, where sadness does not exist and every face wears a smile.
The echoes of New Years Eve parties past, birthday parties past, and…just lives now past, will always linger in our thoughts and hearts. We can’t go back to those times, except in our own memory files, and I suppose that is what makes all these pictures so precious. They are the memories of the wonderful life our parents gave us, and of the things we are grateful for as this new year, the first with no parents on Earth begins. The legacy of all they gave us will always be with us, as will their memories. Today would have been Mom’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Mom!! I know this day, like all others in Heaven will be filled with wonder, joy, and love beyond our wildest imaginations. We love and miss you very much!!
My grand niece, Aleesia Spethman is a child who can steal your heart. She has a smile that can light up your whole day. Aleesia has spent a lot of her life posing for pictures for her parents, so now, when someone pulls out a camera, she automatically goes into pose mode. Aleesia is such a girlie girl, and when I think of her, the word princess comes to mind. She loves to dance around the room. She loves all things bling…from nail polish to back packs that light up. She likes things that catch the eye. At three years of age, she already knows so much about who she is and who she wants to be. No, I’m not saying that she already knows what career she will choose, but she knows what kind of girl she is, and that it’s ok to blend girly with tomboy.
Now, just because Aleesia is a girly girl, does not mean that she can’t keep up with the boys. You can’t be born the baby girl in a family with three boys, and not figure out how to handle yourself around those boys. Aleesia can easily rough house with her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac at one moment, and then totally turn around and run things like a queen. Even though her brothers are older than her, Aleesia is definitely the boss when it comes right down to it. Quite possibly that is because Xander, Zack, and Isaac love their sister so much, and they are so protective of her. I suppose that they let her run the show to some degree, but it’s only because they love her so much.
If there is an area where Aleesia is just like any other three year old child, it is in the area of her cartoon choices. Aleesia loves Despicable Me. Minions are her favorite people. I had never really had a chance to watch Despicable Me, until Aleesia started spending Thursday evenings at my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s house. Cheryl is Aleesia’s grandma, so it stands to reason that she would be there at times. The rest of her family goes to an event in downtown Casper on Thursday nights, and it’s a lot of walking, which is not so easy for Aleesia, so she spends the evening with my sister and me, and sometimes, Cheryl’s daughters, Chantel Balcerzak and Liz Masterson, and granddaughter, Siara Harman. We have a really great girls night. We watch movies, and we have been scanning pictures…as well as just enjoying each others company. If Aleesia had her way, we would watch Despicable Me every night, and for the whole evening, but she is good about letting us have a say in the movie we watch, as long as Despicable Me is on sometimes. She just can’t get enough of that show.
Aleesia is the kind of girl who draws you into her world. She giggles, smiles, and laughs her way into your heart. She likes to pose, because she knows how cute she is…and yet she isn’t prissy. She is almost an actress, because she really knows how to play a part, and she knows how to capture an audience. She’s cute, and she knows it. Today is Aleesia’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As I was looking through my Uncle Bill Spencer’s family history account, I can across a Princess named, Joan of Acre. I wondered if this was a mistake on my uncle’s part or within some of the research that was out there, I wondered if they had indeed meant Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc, however, was a completely different person. The name was close enough that I thought maybe it was an error, but it wasn’t. Joan of Arc was born in 1412, and died on May 30, 1431, while Joan of Acre was born on April 1272 and died on April 23, 1307. Joan of Acre was an English princess, a daughter of King Edward I of England and Queen Eleanor of Castile. The name “Acre” comes from her birthplace in the Holy Land while her parents were on a crusade. Joan had sixteen full siblings, only five of which survived to adulthood, and at least three half siblings.
The Princess was married twice. Her first husband was Gilbert de Clare who was the 7th Earl of Gloucester, was one of the most powerful nobles in her father’s kingdom. They married on April 30, 1290, and their short marriage produced four children…Gilbert de Clare, Eleanor de Clare, Margaret de Clare, Elizabeth de Clare. He passed away just about five years after their marriage, leaving her to raise the young children…a totally different thing than these days, given her stature and all the help she would have had. Her second husband was Sir Ralph de Monthermer who a squire in her household. She married him in secret in 1297, probably due to the fact that he would not have been a suitable match in those days…sad to think about really. I never could understand the whole purpose behind stature or other arranged marriages, but times were different, and I can’t say that our current divorce rate speaks well for making our own choices either. The marriage didn’t remain a secret for long however, because they had four children as well…Mary de Monthermer, Joan de Monthermer, Thomas de Monthermer, Edward de Monthermer. After the marriage, her father, who was not happy about the marriage, nevertheless, gave in and her husband was given the same titles that her first husband had held.
History does not record the cause of Joan’s death on April 23, 1307, but many suspect that it was in childbirth. She was best known for her rebellious second marriage, as it was pretty much an unheard of event at that time. Joan’s father died just four months after she did, Joan’s widower, Ralph de Monthermer, lost the title of Earl of Gloucester soon after the deaths of his wife and father-in-law. The earldom of Gloucester was given to Joan’s son from her first marriage, Gilbert, who was its rightful holder. Monthermer continued to hold a nominal earldom in Scotland, which had been conferred on him by Edward I, until his death. While that may have stung a little, I have to think that her second husband loved her more than the titles.
Something very new has happened to the royal family of England. As you all know by now, Prince William and his wife Catherine “Kate” now have a second baby…a girl named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. In times prior, this child would have been passed over for succession to the throne, but this is a new time, and she is currently fourth in line to the throne. It used to be that if William and Kate were to have a third child, and it was a boy, he would pass up his sister in the line to the throne. That kind of left the girls as a showpiece really, so I think it is a great move to abolish that old tradition. And when we look at the years that Queen Elizabeth has ruled in the United Kingdom, I would have to say that she has done a pretty good job.
I am so excited that William and Kate had a baby girl this time, because they have been able to add a tribute to William’s mother, my 18th cousin, Princess Diana. I wish they had named this baby Diana for her first name, but I can certainly understand the reasons not to. As one person commented, this baby should have her own identity. Nevertheless, I think it is important that she have a tie to the grandmother she will never get to know…at least not in this life. I also think it would be wonderful if this baby bore a slight resemblance to Diana, who was quite beautiful.
Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Windsor was born on May 2, 2015 at 8:34am, weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces, which was just 3 ounces less than her brother, Prince George when he arrived on July 22, 2013. Her name has several possibilities as to where it came from. Of course, the previous Princess Charlotte of Wales, was beloved by the people, but she died in childbirth in 1817 at the age of 21. Charlotte is the feminine form of Charles, and I suppose she could be named after Prince Charles. The name means petite. Charlotte is also Kate’s sister, Pippa’s middle name, so it is quite possible the name came from there, as the girls are very close. Of course, I’m sure that Elizabeth is after both Queen Elizabeth, and Kate herself, as her name is Catherine Elizabeth, and as we all know, Diana is after her grandmother, Princess Diana.
I’m sure this baby will feel a responsibility to be as loving as her grandmother was, and I think that is a good thing. Diana was the “People’s Princess” and I’m sure her granddaughter will be just as beloved as Diana was. While it will be a while before we see many more pictures, I look forward to watching this, my 18th cousin twice removed, grow into the beautiful princess that I’m sure she will become. Her parents have done a wonderful job raising her brother, Prince George, and I know they will do the same with her. I look forward to having the princess dazzle us in the very near future. Congratulations Will and Kate on your beautiful baby girl!!