For thousands of years, people have wanted to feel like they left a mark on this Earth…a way to say, “I was here.” Not everyone could be famous, and in fact most people aren’t famous, nor would they want to be. Still, they want to feel like their life mattered…like someone cared that they had lived. Many of us, in fact most people are not famous. They are just everyday people who go about their daily lives…working, raising families, going to school and church, and spending time with families. Their lives would not be thought of as spectacular. Still for most people, someone…somewhere cares that they existed. Nevertheless, in 100 years it’s quite likely that no one will even remember their name.
These days that may be changing with sites like Ancestry.com, My Heritage, 23 and Me, and probably others, people find it easier to be “known” by the masses. Still, many people don’t even notice if a friend lands in Facebook Jail…until they get out and tell everyone. Really most of us just live our lives…day by day, expecting everything to be normal and no real excitement. With that in mind, some people found a new way to leave a little piece of their lives in a safe place to be found by someone else, years later. In fact, it has become a big deal…called a “Time Capsule” but it isn’t new. There was a time capsule at the high school I graduated from, and its opening years later was documented by my niece, Liz Masterson, who graduated from there too, and now is a teacher there. There was also a time capsule in a local restaurant that was found when they did some remodeling many years later. Some time capsules are even older, such as the one found in 2015 in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. This one was a 121-year-old time capsule, and it was discovered by construction workers on a section of the Ruthven Road bridge.
Time capsules can be any kind of container. They just need to be able to stand up to the environment they are placed in. A wooden box is ok in a place that won’t get wet, and most times people try to place things in such a place. The Cairngorms National Park capsule was a metal box, similar to a safe-deposit box at a bank. The excitement around the time capsule grew, and when it was opened, the items inside that were found included…a bottle of whisky, a newspaper from 1894, a scroll, and some other items. As often happens, the items and the box itself were donated to the nearby Highland Folk Museum to be studied. As to the timeframe, it is believed that the time capsule was placed within the structure of the bridge when it was originally constructed at the end of the 19th century, so the 1894 newspaper wasn’t far off. Of course, unless there were specific names in the box, the people in the particular show of “I was here” will remain a mystery. Still, they will be remembered, even if we don’t know exactly who “they” were.
My husband’s aunt, Esther Hein, as a young girl living in the country near Forsyth, Montana, spent some of her school years living in a “boarding house” of sorts. It wasn’t really, but it may have seemed like it to her, except that the owners of the “boarding house” were her half-brother, Walt Schulenberg and sister-in-law, Joann Schulenberg. The problem Esther’s parents, Vina and Walt Hein, faced was that Esther needed to go to school on a regular basis, and the Montana winters had a way of creating a “snowed in” situation for the people who lived in the country. The people living in town could still get their kids to school, but the long country roads could not always be cleared, and when the snow was deep, they mostly couldn’t. So, they often didn’t try. That meant those kids living in the country didn’t get to school when the snow got deep, and as we all know, missing too much school means that the child isn’t going to pass.
So, in what is really one of the sweetest and funniest stories about Aunt Esther that I know, Esther moved in with her brother and sister-in-law. Things usually went smoothly, but you must understand that Esther was a child, with child-like ways at the time. There were times that she didn’t get along with her brother, sister-in-law, and cousins. It was nothing major, just kid stuff and maybe a little sassiness. My future mother-in-law, and Esther’s sister-in-law, Joann sometimes got tired and annoyed. She might have been able to spank her sister-in-law, but she might not have felt comfortable doing that either. That said, when she was annoyed with Esther, her common comment was “Don’t Esther!!” This might seem like it isn’t very funny, but later in life, my mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s Disease…which isn’t exactly funny either.
Nevertheless, my mother-in-law had her “funny” Alzheimer’s moments, as they all do, if you look beyond the disease. She didn’t always like things like going to bed, taking a walk around the house, or especially telling her to stop scratching her itchy skin. Since I was her caregiver quite often, I was the “bad guy” that made her do these things. Her very itchy skin, and the fact that she scratched too hard, caused injury to her skin, so I had to stop her from scratching. Whenever I try to stop her, she would say, “Don’t Esther!!” The first time she said that I was shocked, but once I heard the “Don’t Esther” story, I finally understood that she was mistaking me for Esther in those moments. For me it was liberating. That meant that sometimes when my mother-in-law was mad at me, I could let Esther take the blame. Sorry Esther, but it worked for me. Today is Esther’s 82nd birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My aunt, Sandy Patton is the youngest of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s children. Life for a youngest child is normally very different than that of the oldest child…especially in a large family. My grandparents had nine children. From almost the time Aunt Sandy was three years old, basically from the time her first memory, there were babies in the household. The older children had similar experiences, but it’s a bit different when the babies are younger siblings…or maybe it isn’t. The nieces and nephews were there a lot, but they did go home too. Nevertheless, as a young girl, she always had playmates…at least when she could play.
Aunt Sandy was a sickly child, and often missed school, so in reality, her best friend was her mom. They spent a lot of time together while her mom care for her ailing daughter. When a child is sick, they need bedrest, but when they aren’t sleeping…that can make for long boring days. So, to ease the boredom, Grandma Byer told her daughter stories of the past…Grandma’s past and Aunt Sandy’s heritage. Some of the stories were about Grandma’s childhood years, and others were about her ancestors. Aunt Sandy learned about the Cowboys and Indians, the lives of farmers and homesteaders, early automobiles, and about Aunt Sandy’s older siblings’ antics. When she wasn’t sick, Aunt Sandy had to take on the job of catching up on her studies. I don’t imagine that was fun, and I would think that there were many times when Aunt Sandy, thought about quitting school, but she didn’t…and maybe Grandma wouldn’t have let her do that. Whether Aunt Sandy liked school or not really made no difference, because if there was one subject she did like history. She loved hearing about the past, probably because her mom made it so real to her…almost like she was right there.
Aunt Sandy still loves hearing about family today, and really enjoys hearing about all the new additions, and the exciting things everyone is doing. She is the keeper of traditions, which stands to reason, since she is the youngest. It seems like tradition always falls to the youngest child eventually…at least until they pass the baton to the next generation. Sometimes it’s hard to pass that baton, because you never know if there will be a child of the next generation who is willing to pick that baton up and run with it. It was the hope of her parents, my grandparents that we always find a way to keep the family as close as possible. Aunt Sandy tried her best, and hopefully now, we will continue to try our best. Today is Aunt Sandy’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It has been a rough couple of years for my nephew, Tucker Schulenberg. On January 19, 2021, he lost his mother, Rachel Schulenberg to a stroke. It was an extremely difficult grieving process for a boy who was barely 13 years old at the time. Suddenly, he felt very alone, even though his dad, my brother-in-law Ron Schulenberg was there. The problem was that they were both grieving, and that makes it doubly hard. Then, when Covid hit, and school wasn’t in session, Tucker really became more of a recluse. It was a tough time.
Things are getting better now, after a long hard road. Tucker is in a new school, with smaller classrooms and it seems to be going a little better at now. This school has shown good success with other students, and now Tuckers grade are better too. I don’t know what Tucker would like to do as an adult, and I’m not sure he does either, but I’m sure that he will find his way. Ultimately, most kids do, and Tucker is a good kid.
Tucker really enjoys the monthly family dinners that our family does. He likes kids and it gives him a chance to play with his cousins, Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. When we go to their house, there is a lot to do. They have lots of farm animals, plenty of dogs, and a trampoline, which is always an attraction. Being around the cousins is a good thing for him. Since he is the only child at home, the only other social time he gets is at school, and as we all know, you shouldn’t really be socializing in class.
Tucker also has a brand-new nephew, which is very cool. Since his brother, Riley Birky and his partner Sierah Martin, live in Powell, Tucker doesn’t get to see a whole lot of them, but I imagine that this summer will give him the opportunity to go for a visit, and since Powell isn’t terribly far away, Tucker gets to visit every once in a while. Tucker is also going to be an uncle again, when his sister, Cassie Franklin and her partner Wesley Burr, have their new baby, coming in January 2023. Tucker is a good uncle, so I’m happy for him. So, for Tucker, there is a lot of new things going on. It is my hope that the new year will bring much healing of Tucker’s broken heart, and much joy as he sees these new babies in his life. Today is Tucker’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Children, especially young children, don’t really understand what their working parents do every day, and sometimes can even feel abandoned when they are especially young. It’s not their fault. They love their parents, and all children experience some separation anxiety at some point. Once they get used to it, they are fine, of course, but those early days can be tough.
I don’t really know the motivation behind the day they call Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day, also called Take Your Child to Work Day. It is a national day that gives children in the United States a brief look at what goes on in the working world…more specifically their parent’s working world. Of course, it’s not always completely authentic, because many of the organizations set up special events for that day. I personally think it would be better to make it as real as possible for the child…if the goal was to show the child what their parent does for a living. The program was developed by the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation, which is a non-profit educational organization. As the name depicts, the day revolves around “parents taking their children to work to expose students to future job possibilities and the value of education.” Originally, it was called Take Our Daughters To Work Day, but was expanded to include boys in 2003. I think that originally, the focus was on office jobs, which were considered more for the women, and the jobs men had might have seemed unsafe for children. I suppose that is still the case, but you can’t really discriminate on those jobs either, even if taking a child on a police ride-along might be dangerous.
Take Your Child To Work Day is celebrated in over 200 countries, but in the United States, it takes place on the fourth Thursday in April every year. The most recent Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day took place on Thursday, April 23, 2020. I suppose that Covid-19 Pandemic stopped them after that and I don’t know if companies are planning them for this year or not. Take Our Daughters to Work Day originated in New York City in the summer of 1992, started by the “Ms. Foundation for Women” and its president, Marie C. Wilson, the Women’s foundation treasurer, Daren Ball, and with support from foundation founder Gloria Steinem. It really began as a part of the Women’s Liberation movement, I suppose, but today it is very different than it was then. I am definitely not a “women’s libber” kind of girl, so that idea does not appeal to me at all. The first celebration took place on April 22, 1993, and has since been celebrated usually on the fourth Thursday of April in order for the 37 million children, parents, schools in over 3.5 million workplaces across the country, in addition to participants in over 200 countries around the world, to plan ahead for the annual event. The day is generally a school day for most children in the United States, so schools are provided with literature and encouraged to promote the program. Schools are provided with materials for incorporating career exploration into classwork on the day before or after the event. In 2007 the “day” became its own separate foundation, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work program was turned over to Carolyn McKecuen, a MacArthur Award recipient, who took effective control as its executive director before relocating to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where it continues to this day. Gloria Steinem continues to maintain a role with the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation as a member of its board of directors.
The idea is that employees across the United States and around the world get to invite their own children or relatives to join them at work, but the program also encourages employees to invite children from residential programs or shelters who may not be exposed to many adults in skilled professions today. I have never worked in a company that specifically participated in Take Your Child To Work Day, but rather where I worked, at The Stengel Agency, we had an informal option to bring a child in randomly. Mydaughter, Amy Royce and granddaughter, Shai Royce both actually worked with me, and my grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen have all spent time with me when they couldn’t go to school for whatever reason, including not feeling well. They have slept under my desk, because they wanted to be by Grandma at that time, and my boss, Jim Stengel, being the wonderful man that he was, made allowances for my needs. My co-worker, Carrie Beauchamp brought her daughter, Amanda Ingram to the office, and now she is also an agent in that office, so while we didn’t have a formal program, our children and grandchildren not only spent time in the office, but actually went to work with us in the office. I hope companies continue this program, because I think it is a great program.
Some people have a way of letting you know what just might be coming, by the look on their face. My uncle, Wayne Byer is that way. Uncle Wayne is a character, and the first sign that something is about to happen is the mischievous grin that appears on his face. As the youngest of, in my mind, the famous “Byer Middles” and the “Mischievous Three,” Uncle Wayne learned his mischievous ways from the very best. Uncle Larry may have been the leader of the pack, and my mom, Collene Spencer was probably guilty by default…at least at first. She could get into trouble with the best of them, because she looked up to her brothers, and always wanted to be right there in the middle of whatever it was that they were planning that day. Being the only girl in the “Mischievous Three” didn’t bother her one bit, in fact I think she rather liked it. The boys did things differently, and for my mom, that was all the more fun.
Uncle Wayne Spent much of his career around kids. He worked in the schools, as a bus driver, then as the supervisor over the bus garage. I think everyone of the kids in the family, whether we rode a bus or not, thought it was great that Uncle Wayne was in charge of the whole operation. Running all those busses for a large school district was no easy job, and Uncle Wayne did a great job of it. Everyone liked Uncle Wayne, and when they knew we were related, we were liked too. It made us very proud of his accomplishments.
Uncle Wayne loved kids, and he lived making the kids laugh. Maybe that was the biggest “take-away” for him being the youngest of the “Mischievous Three” for all those years. Some things you just don’t grow out of, and as many of us know, it’s very hard to take the “little boy” out of the man. Once they are goofy, they always seem to be goofy. They just love to see people smile and laugh, and that is really who Uncle Wayne is. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 84th birthday, although he really doesn’t seem 84. His is still a kid at heart. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s aunt, Esther Hein and I have a birth story in common…well, a little bit. Hers is quite a bit more extreme than my own. We were both breech babies. A breech birth is really hard on both baby and mommy, and quite often these days, a breech birth would mean a Cesarian delivery. When I was born, they had to dislocate my hips to deliver me, but for Esther, it took 4 days for her delivery. That seems very dangerous to me, because it seems like the stress on mom and baby could be too much. I feel sorry for both moms, Esther’s mom, Vina Hein and my mom, Collene Spencer, because they had to do the work for the babies, Esther and me. I would have to say that they were supermoms, because they made it, and Esther and I got to be here because of them.
Esther is the oldest of Grandma Hein’s second family, my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg and his sister, Marion Kanta being in her first family. She has two younger brothers, Eddie Hein and Butch Hein. Esther and Butch are the only ones left here on Earth. When my father-in-law married my mother-in-law, Joann (Knox) Schulenberg, they took Esther in during the winter months, because the Hein family lived outside of Forsyth, Montana on a ranch, and with the winters in Montana being what they often are, getting her to school wasn’t always easy, so living with her brother Walt and his wife Joann was the best solution. Those were special days for Esther, who became very close friends with Walt and Joann, as well as little sister. Esther grew very close to her brother and sister-in-law. She also got close to their first child, Marlyce. Esther was only 10 years old, when Marlyce was born. That said, she had a number of years of school left, meaning that she might have been living with them for as much as 8 more years, during which time they would also have Debbie, and Bob. During her time there, while she might have been a trial at times, I’m quite sure she was also a big help to them as their family grew. I know they were always grateful for the help. Today is Aunt Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My Aunt Sandy Pattan is the family history guru in the Byer family. As a child, she was sickly, and so spent a lot of time in bed. Being home from school, just Aunt Sandy and her mom, my grandma, Hattie Byer, gave them much time to sit and talk. Remember that while television did exist, it was not common in most homes, and I don’t believe that my grandparents had one when the kids were growing up. There were too many other things that the family needed in the home, like food, for example. Video games were not invented yet, so Aunt Sandy was left with books, and Grandma’s stories to entertain her through the hours over recuperating from this cold or that flu, which seemed to attack her often.
My grandmother grew up in the early 1900s, and by the time Aunt Sandy came along in 1945, Grandma and Grandpa had eight other children. Aunt Sandy would be their last child. While Grandma and Grandpa disagreed on her name, Grandpa honored their decision to let the older kids decide between Sonya and Sandra. He was an honorable man. Grandma told her youngest child about a time when the Indians being around, wasn’t all that unusual. Many of her stories might have come from her parents and in-laws tales, but she remembered them all, and passed them on to her daughter, who absorbed them like a sponge. I recall my history classes in school, filled with dry boring date memorization, but when history is told like the story it is, it is amazingly interesting. That’s how Aunt Sandy got to learn history…or shall I say really learn history. When you think about an Indian who spends hours sitting on his horse looking at the wife of a respected friend, because he thought she was beautiful, and still never disrespecting her, because she was the wife of his friend, and you know that the woman was your grandmother, you can begin to relate to history as a story.
Aunt Sandy has never lost her love of history, and especially family history. Her parents came from large families and then went on to have a large family, so there was a lot of interesting activities. From the days of gunslingers to the first planes, cars, television, and so many other inventions, her parents had seen it all…or at least heard all about it. The events of history are so amazing, that the current days seem to pale in comparison. I now that my Aunt Sandy loved hearing all the family stories as they were passed down from mother to daughter, and I’m sure that she thought her family was the most amazing on in history, but the reality is that they were probably just a normal, every day, run of the mill families, living their life in the normal way for the times. It’s just that to the hearer of the story of history, it is so far back in time, and so unusual compared to today’s world, that it seems almost far-fetched, except that it isn’t. It’s the true story of history, and like Aunt Sandy, I will always be grateful to be the one the stories are told to. Today is Aunt Sandy’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I read a story about training an elephant yesterday. It went like this, “As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. ‘Well,’ trainer said, ‘when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.’
The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds, but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.”
The story made me think about the way Hitler was able to train a generation to follow him without question. He took the children away from their parents when they were young, basically telling the parents that the state knew what was best for the children, and the parents didn’t know enough about educating the children to do a good job. He set up the Hitler Youth organization in 1933 for educating and training male youth in principles. Of course, the principles Hitler had in mind were vastly different from any that the parents could imagine. Hitler’s ideas included racism, killing any “undesirables” among the population, and controlling the people with curfews and lockdowns…to name a few. Under the leadership of Baldur Benedikt von Schirach, the head of all German youth programs, the Hitler Youth included by 1935 almost 60 percent of German boys. On July 1, 1936, it became a state agency that all young “Aryan” Germans were expected to join. Upon reaching his 10th birthday, a German boy was registered and investigated especially for “racial purity” and, if qualified, inducted into the “German Young People.” At age 13 the youth became eligible for the Hitler Youth, from which he was graduated at age 18. Throughout these years he lived a life of dedication, fellowship, and Nazi conformity, generally with minimum parental guidance. From age 18 he was a member of and served in the state labor service and the armed forces until at least the age of 21.
Two leagues also existed for girls. The League of German Girls trained girls ages 14 to 18 for comradeship, domestic duties, and motherhood. “Young Girls” was an organization for girls ages 10 to 14. The girls were expected to have babies to build the Reich…provided they qualified as “racially pure,” of course.
In the tumultuous days we currently live in, parents need to be very involved in what our children are being taught. The current racially charged climate in our nation would only be exacerbated by teaching our children things like Critical Race Theory, because it is really the new Ku Klux Klan. Racism, against any nationality is simply wrong…there is no gray area. Our children need to be able to be proud of the race they are and the background they come from. Racism is unacceptable, against any race, and we, as parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents, need to kick the government out of our educational system, and get back to decent moral values. We need to stop the insanity in our schools, and teach our kids the true history of our nation. We must teach good values, and our children need to be taught to accept all races. We need to start with the kids, because they are the future leaders.
My grand-niece, Zoey Iverson is an active six-year-old girl with a vivid imagination. Zoey is into sea animals like octopus, jelly fish, and mermaids. I’m quite sure that her little girl’s mind can imagine herself diving and swimming beneath the ocean…looking for octopuses and jelly fish, but secretly hoping to find a real mermaid. She might even decide to bring home a starfish or two, because lets face it she is swimming far beneath the ocean and this is all make believe anyway, right.
Like most six-year-old girls, Zoey loves Barbie, and that makes Barbie Live TV on YouTube a big deal. When Barbie was invented, somebody knew little girls and had the right idea, because Barbie has the glamor and the accessories to make every little girl’s dreams come true, but it’s not the only thing Zoey likes to do. Zoey is learning to ride her bicycle. She is using training wheels, but we all know that doesn’t last long. Kids figure out their bicycle and the freedom it provides pretty quickly. Zoey also love to swim in the pool in the back yard. With the heat of the summer, the backyard pool is the best place to be, and this summer has been pretty hot.
Zoey is headed for 1st grade next year. She will be the youngest student in her class, but she is excelling very fast, so she will not be the bottom of the class by any stretch of the imagination. Zoey is a very smart girl, and loves to learn. She loves writing, practicing her letters, and…coloring everything…even the walls. Yikes!! Its a good thing most crayons wipe off easily, and there re good cleaners to help. After all, an artist needs her canvas…wherever it may be. Imagination simply cannot be corralled!!
With summer, the family has been camping and enjoying the scenery. With the Big Horn Mountains nearby, and so many other beautiful spots in Wyoming, the are lots of camp grounds to choose from. Zoey loves to catch bugs with her bug catcher, go swimming in the creeks, and spend time helping her older brother, Lucas, who is special needs. Zoey has been instrumental in his development. We are all very proud of her. She loves Lucas so much, and he loves her. That might be the reason she is doing so well in school. Teaching others is a great way to learn. Today is Zoey’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Zoey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!