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Lizzie Borden was a unique character for her era, in that the thing that most people remember about her was her arrest and trial for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in 1892. While many people believe she was guilty of the murders, she was actually acquitted in 1893. For whatever reason, the case against her was such that it could not be proven “without a shadow of a doubt,” which is the requirement for a conviction.

Lizzie Borden was born on July 19, 1860, in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden and her sister, Emma, were born to Andrew and Sarah Borden. Sarah Borden died a short time after Lizzie’s birth. The girls lived with their father, Andrew Borden who married a woman named Abby Durfee Gray, three years after Sarah’s passing. The relationship between the girls and their stepmother was not a close one, in fact, they greeted her as “Mrs. Borden” and worried that Abby Borden’s family sought to gain access to their father’s money. Emma was protective of her younger sister and, together, the two sisters helped to manage the rental properties owned by Andrew Borden. The family attended the Congregationalist Church, an institution in which Lizzie was particularly involved. The family lived well. Andrew Borden was successful enough in the fields of manufacturing and real estate development to support his wife and two daughters, Emma and Lizzie quite comfortably. He also employed servants to keep their home in order. Both Emma and Lizzie lived with their father and stepmother into adulthood.

On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home. Of course, as is common, the family is questioned in these cases, and in the end, Lizzie was arrested and tried for the axe murders. It seems strange to me that after living with the couple for almost thirty years, Lizzie would suddenly decide that she didn’t need them anymore…especially since her dad was so financially successful, and his death could bring an end to that financial security. Nevertheless, it’s hard to say what can push someone over the edge. I guess the jury must have agreed with my own train of thought because Lizzie was found not guilty. Even with the trial and the trauma of all that happened, Lizzie continued to live in Fall River until her death, on June 1, 1927. The murders of her father and stepmother were never solved.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered and mutilated in their Fall River home. It was Lizzie Borden who alerted the maid, Bridget, to her father’s dead body. He had been attacked and killed while sleeping on the sofa. A search of the home led to the discovery of the body of Abby Borden in an upstairs bedroom. Like her husband, Abby Borden was the victim of a brutal hatchet attack. The police were called to the scene of the murders, and they suspected Lizzie immediately. Nevertheless, she was not taken into custody at that time. Her sister, Emma, was out of town at the time and was never a suspect. Apparently, Lizzie burned a dress during the week between the murders and her arrest. She said the dress was stained with paint, so it needed to be burned. The prosecutors believed that the dress was stained with blood, and that Lizzie had burned it to cover up her crime, which is why she was indicted on December 2, 1892. Her widely publicized trial began the following June in New Bedford. Borden did not take the stand in her own defense and her inquest testimony was not admitted into evidence. The testimony provided by others proved inconclusive. On June 20, 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murders, and no one else was ever charged with the crimes.

Following the deaths of their dad and stepmom, Lizzie and Emma Borden inherited a significant portion of their father’s estate. They purchased a new home together and lived together for the following decade. Although she was acquitted, Lizzie was considered guilty by many of her neighbors and her reputation was further tarnished when she was accused of shoplifting in 1897. Then in 1905, Emma Borden abruptly moved out of the house that she shared with her sister. While no one ever knew what happened between the sisters, they never spoke again. Speculation was that Emma may have been uncomfortable with Lizzie’s close friendship with another woman, Nance O’Neil, but she never really said that was the case. Emma’s silence on the matter fueled speculation that she learned new details about the murders of her father and stepmother. The household staff were tight-lipped on the matter and didn’t even offer additional information on the rift following Lizzie’s death. Lizzie Borden died of pneumonia in Fall River, Massachusetts, on June 1, 1927. Strangely, the day Lizzie died, Emma had an accident and broke her hip. She died due to chronic nephritis, 9 days later, on June 10, 1927. The Borden sisters, along with the rest of the family, are buried side by side at the family plot in Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River.

My great grand-niece, Alice Green is such a sweet girl. I love her personality, because she is so loving and caring. For the early part of her life, Alice was an only child. Then her mom, Melanie Harman met her step-dad, Jake Harman and her life changed forever. Before long Alice had a little sister named Izabella, and soon after, a little brother named Jaxx. Siblings was one thing Alice had wanted for a long time. The good news was she only had to wait until she was a little past three to get her first sibling. The lonely days without a sibling were almost over. As soon as Belle could play, Alice was set. She is such a fun-loving girl, and the giggling in the Harman household runs wild…especially with the added kid stuff from Jake, who is a kid at heart.

These days, Alice is growing up quite quickly. At nine years old, Alice is already acting like a teenager. Some kids mature quickly in that way. She is definitely growing up! Alice has her own views and opinions about things these days. In the past, she cared more about her toys and getting dirty as much as she possibly could. Maybe a little bit of a tomboy in her there. These days, her sister and brother are very much her top priority. She loves them very much and enjoys being with them and entertaining them. I suppose there could come a day when Alice will wish her siblings would leave her alone, but that is pretty normal. I think that as the years go by these three will grow closer and closer. They fight, even now, but that is totally common among siblings too. Nevertheless, Alice feels totally blessed to have her sister and brother in her life.

Alice and her step-dad, Jake also have a special relationship. Jake was never one to exclude Alice in any way. When he married Melanie, he accepted Alice as his own daughter. They love to tease each other, and as is common in the Harman household, “random rudeness” is just part of the daily activities. Alice has embraced “random rudeness” and can dish it out as effectively as the next guy. She also loves to just randomly tackle Jake and this give him hugs. He has proven to be a real dad to her, and she loves him very much, and he considers Alice his own child. You don’t have to be related by blood, to be related by love. Today is Alice’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock has always been a woman with a sweet, loving spirit. Many times, the youngest child is the most spoiled, but while Allyn received the least amount of discipline, it was not because she was spoiled. Our mom, Collene Spencer told us once that the reason Allyn got less spankings was because her spirit was just so grieved by a simple tongue lashing, even a couple of disciplinary words…that mom didn’t have the heart to spank her much. If Mom told her something as simple as “that was naughty,” Allyn was heartbroken. She felt so awful…about so small a transgression. Oh, to have that kind of a gentle spirit…that kind of a heart for God and doing what is right.

That spirit has never left Allyn. She is such a giver. She wants to do anything she can to help the people around her…whether she knows them, whether they are family, or not. She gives of her time, as well as her abilities. There is a softness in Allyn’s spirit that I just love. That little girl, who had such a soft heart, who always wanted to do what was right, the one that my sisters and I always said was always good, hasn’t changed one bit. She still does whatever she can to make life easier for those around her. She is a helper, as I’m sure those she works with will attest. She doesn’t quit until the job is done. Allyn has worked in medical administration for years now, and while her company name has changed, she has been at the same place for a long time. Today, she works for Wyoming Medical Center. She is well liked there, and well respected by her co-workers and subordinates alike. Her position is in supervision in the billing department, and she enjoys it very much. She likes the people she works with, and they all work well together.

As much as Allyn loves her job, her first love, after God that is, will always be her family. She is wife to Chris, mom to Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock. She is a beloved mother-in-law to Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore. She is also grandma to Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore, as well as Jonathan Sawdon and Hallie Moore who both live in Heaven. Allyn’s family is the most important thing on this earth to her. She loves each and every one with all her heart…and they love her. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Today, my little grand niece, Laila Spethman would have turned ten years old…she still has, but all of her birthdays have been sent in Heaven. We only got to have her here for 18 days. While her time here was short, her impact on the lives of her family was huge. Laila was the waited-for girl, in a family with three boys, Xander, Zack, and Isaac. She was also to be the big sister to her parents, Jenny and Steve’s second daughter and rainbow baby, Aleesia. Laila’s homegoing was a sad day for all of us, but we have continued on in the knowledge that Laila is living in Heaven, getting to know her great grandparents, who have gone to Heaven too. She lives on with Jesus in the most beautiful place ever…Heaven.

Of course, the arms of her parents and siblings, as well as other family members, ache to hold Laila, and those empty arms will continue to ache until we get to see her again in Heaven. Laila was and is a beautiful little girl, with a wonderful smile and a kind heart. I know that because she has grown up in Heaven, that she is filled with God’s love and grace, and she gets to spend time in the presence of God. Heaven is never the sad choice, but it is hard on loved ones, because we miss them so much. And in the case of a baby, we wonder each birthday, who they would have been.

That is the case with Laila. We wonder who she would have been at 10 years old. Would she have been like her mom…very stylish and sweet? Would she be like her little sister…a girly girl, mixed with a little bit tomboy…the result of having three older brothers? She may have become a little bit of both. No matter who she would have become, we would have loved to watch her grow up, and we would have loved her very much. We will miss her until the day we see her again in Heaven. Laila left us for Heaven on November 22, 2010, and we were all very sad, but she is very happy in her Heavenly home. Today would have been Laila’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Laila. We love and miss you very much.

My great grand-niece, Laila Spethman was a sweet little girl, who was a light in her parents’ lives. She was loved by her whole family. Her time on Earth was short…very short…just 18 days, but her impact on all those who loved her will continue. We all look forward to the day when we will see her again, along with all our other loved ones who have gone before us. In many way, we can rejoice for Laila, because she has been someplace and seen things that we cannot, Heaven and most importantly, God. How amazing for Laila, to know the Father and the Saviour. It is a time in our lives that we all look forward to. The time when we are truly home.

Still, for Laila, we feel sadness too. Not for her really, but for us. I wonder who she would have been had she stayed here. Would she have been bubbly and ever-changing, like her little sister, Aleesia, who has progressed from being a girly girl, to sometimes wanting to be a bit of a tomboy. I’m sure that has come from having three older brothers, and like all younger children, wanting to be just like the older siblings. I’m sure that Laila would have felt the same way about her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac. For little girls, especially, their older brothers are their role models. Girls often base many of their ideas on what men should be like on their dads and brothers, and Laila would have had some great role models to base her ideas on, because she was loved.

We were all hoping Laila would get to come home with her parents, but that was not to be. Nevertheless, her memory will always be with us. Her sweet little face, so dainty and beautiful. Her beautiful eyes, looking at her family with love. She was so cuddly and loved being held by her family. Of course, there were a number of us who didn’t get to see her in this life, but we will always know her when we meet her again in Heaven. And then, we will get to know who she was and is. This life is so short, and while it seems like a long time, it is only a drop in the bucket of time, and then we will get to know Miss Laila Elizabeth Spethman. Happy birthday in Heaven Laila. We already love you even though we don’t know you well…yet.

My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is becoming quite the rancher. A few years back, Mike and my sister, Caryl bought a ranch west of Casper, and started fixing it up. It was…a process, to say the least. The ranch had been a sheep ranch, and had a huge complex that was used for birthing lambs. Since Mike and Caryl were not going to raise sheep, and because of the disrepair of the complex, they had to be demolished and removed. Since that difficult job, Mike and Caryl have been working very hard to get their ranch ready for their future retirement plans. They are boarding horses, and they have a ranch hand who lives on the ranch and takes care of things, since they are currently still living in Rawlins, and coming to Casper for the weekends. The have been building a house and a barn, and this weekend, they are putting together side roll wheels for irrigation, as they continue to get ready for the hay field they are planning to plant. They are becoming real ranchers, in every way. It is one among several of the new chapters in their lives.

Recently, they decided to buy a Trike, and they have found that they really enjoy their outings. They joined with some friends, including Mike’s brother, Shawn and his wife Tia for a 300 mile poker run from Saratoga, Wyoming through the Snowy Mountains, into Laramie, Wyoming, then back to Saratoga via Walden, Colorado and Riverside, Wyoming. They had a really great time. In fact they had so much fun that they have made plans over Labor Day to take a trip up to Red Lodge, Montana.

Mike is a avid hunter, and he has made several trips to hunt, including Canada, Alaska, and Africa. Mike is getting ready to take another hunting trip to Alaska in September with his good friend, Scott Penman, to hunt Alaskan Moose. This trip will be what is called a drop hunt, which means that the plane lets them off at a camp spot and then leaves them there on their own. Then it comes back for them later. Mike is pretty excited about this hunt, and according to my sister, he’s been gathering everything together for months!! I don’t know, maybe he’s a little excited!! I’m sure the guys will have a great time, and I hope their hunt is successful. These kinds of trips really get Mike’s adrenalin going. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, Lucas Iverson is a sweet boy who is eager to learn new things. Lucas has Down Syndrome, but that has not slowed him down. Lucas is attending summer school, which will help his to stay on track with his studies. He is going to be in second grade next year and is doing very well in school. Because of Lucas learning disabilities, the school is working with innovative new ways of teaching him, and he is doing very well. They are using a picture communication book to teach him. Lucas uses Velcro stickers to ask for what he wants or to answer questions. The idea is that if Lucas needs to go to the restroom, there is a picture of a toilet. If he is thirsty, there is a picture of a glass of water. There are pictures of food, a bed, a car, a park…you get the picture. The best part is that it’s working for Lucas, and he is excelling at it.

One of the things that is helpful to Lucas is to have a schedule that is followed religiously. Everyday schedule changes are difficult for him to deal with, so keeping him on a strict schedule helps him to stay on task. His learning works best in an environment of stability and organization, and since he is doing so well in school, his parents, Cassie and Chris Iverson don’t want anything to get in the way of that. Lucas has been an inspiration to them…and to many of the rest of us in the family too.

Of course, no kid wants to do nothing but study all summer, and Lucas is no exception. So, the family has been doing lots of fishing this summer. And they are planning to go to the fair to celebrate Lucas’ birthday. They have been doing lots of gardening too, and Lucas loves to play outside in his new backyard with his little sister, Zoey, and helping his mom with new photography ideas, like the lens ball. But one of the biggest things that is going on with Lucas is that he is growing like a weed. He weighs 40 pounds and he is 40 inches tall. While that isn’t average for an 8 year old boy, it is pretty good for Lucas, who has struggled with his digestive system, and has been through multiple surgeries. Lucas is a strong, brave boy, who pushes through every time, and always with a smile on his face. The very best news is that he is doing so well in his health right now, that he doesn’t have to go back to the doctors for 6 months. Now that is something to celebrate. Today is Lucas 8th birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As a little boy, my grandson, Caalab Royce was always smiling, laughing, telling jokes, and of course, teasing his sister, Shai Royce, who didn’t always appreciate her younger brother’s sense of humor. In fact, there was a time when she was very willing to sell him at auction!! Shai was sure that she would never get along with her brother, and she would always want to send him back, sell him, or ship him off somewhere. The teasing never has stopped, but Shai’s dislike of her brother certainly has. These days she thinks of him as her best friend, and she knows that his teasing is just who he is and that he will always love his sister.

Caalab has a smile that lights up his whole face. And whenever I saw it, my heart would just melt. He was one boy who grabbed a hold of your heart and hung on tight. It was hard to be angry at his antics, when he flashed that smile. I think that might have been what Shai finally saw in her brother too, once she got beyond the “annoyance years.” That time came when they were teenagers. I remember stopping by their house one day, and there they were, sitting on the steps, actually talking…not fighting. It was a shocking moment, but also a wonderful moment. It was a moment I knew would come at some point, nevertheless, it was still unexpected.

These days, Caalab is all grown up. He and his sister are still best friends, but much has changed in life again. Caalab, who works full time at Red Robin in Bellingham, Washington is a responsible man who can always be counted on at work and with people. That part really hasn’t changed much, because Caalab could always be counted on. Now what has changed is that he is so busy and lives so far away, that I don’t get to see him nearly as much as when he was a kid. I miss that very much, and sometimes I still tear up over that…but, I get to see him very soon, so that makes me very happy.

Caalab’s family all tell me the same thing about what’s going on in his life. They say, “He works a lot.” I told them that “all work and no play, makes Caalab a dull boy,” but I think there must be more than that. I think it might have something to do with a certain girl named Chloe Foster. Caalab and Chloe have been dating for a while now, and I have a feeling that all of that “lost” free time is being spent with Chloe. I can’t say that I blame him though, because I have heard nothing but good things about Chloe, and I can’t wait to meet her when we visit them. Recently Caalab took a little bit of time off from his busy schedule and dating life to stand as best man for his buddy’s wedding, and he sure looked very handsome. Today is Caalab’s birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day, and we will see you soon!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook, has become a quilting fanatic. I’ve never made a quilt myself, but I guess it is really quite addictive. Like her daughter, Susan Griffith, I can’t understand the draw, because sewing is simply not my thing, and Susan says she can’t even sew a straight line., so we are on the same page there. Debbie has always been crafty though. She makes dish clothes and cross stitch items to sell at the craft fair that most towns hold, especially around Christmastime. She loves going to craft fairs, looking forward to it all year, which she comes by naturally, given the fact that her mom, Joann Schulenberg and her sister, Brenda Schulenberg had booths at the craft fairs for years. Even her dad, Walt Schulenberg got involved after he retired.

Debbie is grandma to four grandchildren, Weston Moore, Jala Satterwhite, Easton Moore, and Kaytlyn Griffith. Over the years, she has picked all of them up after school, but these days it just her and Kaytlyn once a week. It nice for both of them, because it gives them a chance to hang out. They like to play board games. I don’t know who wins the most, but I expect that it gets competitive, because Kaytlyn is getting to that age, where she knows how all this works.

Debbie’s daughter, Machelle Moore told me of the time that her mom got her out of quite a jam. Machelle’s son, Easton had a hat, and he cut a hole in the middle of the front, so he could pull it over his face. Easton didn’t know the hat was made by Machelle’s mother-in-law, Easton’s other grandma, and they were quite upset that he had “ruined” the hat his grandma had so lovingly made. Debbie came to the rescue. She fixed it and that was quite the job!! Repair work is often much harder than making the original item. She did great though!!

Machelle got a new dishwasher about a year ago and wanted to make a sign to put on the front of it to tell if the dishes were clean or dirty. Easton figured out that the front of it was magnetic. On the next family camping trip, Machelle told her mom that she needed a magnet cross-stitched sign that says clean on top, and when flipped, it says dirty. It sure comes in handy!! Both of the girls feel very blessed to have their mom so close by. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

One of the funniest parts of a movie or television program is the bloopers…the many takes that were completely blown. We have all laughed at the hilarity of it all. Well, in my years of writing, I can tell you that movies and television programs aren’t the only places that one finds bloopers. Normally, I proofread my stories before I post them, and I usually catch most errors. Nevertheless, like most editors, it pays to have a backup plan. For me, that backup plan is some of my readers. My sister, Cheryl Masterson is my main backup proofreader, and she has picked up some doozies!!

From botched math, resulting in the wrong age being listed for one of the subjects, such as saying that my Uncle George was 94, when in reality he was 92, to botched spellcheck resulting in a totally wrong word in a sentence making it say something completely wrong and usually goofy, Cheryl has seen it all. She caught one the other day, where I called my Aunt Evelyn…Aunt Evenly. Invariably, I will get a text telling me that I have a blooper in my story. I am grateful that Cheryl usually reads my story pretty quickly after I post it, meaning that a minimal number of people have seen that embarrassing blooper. Nevertheless, some have seen it and I’m sure they laughed about some of them. Sometimes it isn’t really a blooper, but rather calling something a name that could embarrass the subject. Such was the case with a story about my great grand niece who loves lip balm. It was ok to call it lip balm, until I said it belonged to her daddy. After that I was informed that it was chap stick, because men would never use lip balm. Hahahahaha!! Needless to say, my sister missed that one, but her daughter Chantel Balcerzak and grandson, Jake Harman certainly didn’t.

Every year I have bloopers in my stories. It is inevitable, l suppose. Then, a few days ago Cheryl suggested that I should write a story about the bloopers. I must say that I was intrigued with the idea. Of course, if I am to continue a yearly blooper story, I will have to keep better track of the many bloopers for the year. Whether I am able to relay them all to my readers or not, I know that for those who catch them, and for me, the bloopers do add a little laughter to my blogs and my days.

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