Scientists have done much for mankind. They are dedicated to finding a solution, a cure, a way, often sacrificing their own time, family life, and sometimes even their own life, to solve a problem, find a cure, or make things better. It seems a strange thing to give one’s life for an experiment, and yet people have done just that.
Marie Curie conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Unfortunately, she would die of aplastic anemia, a disease of the bone marrow that was very likely caused by the radioactivity she had been exposed for so many years.
Alexander Bogdanov was obsessed with Hematology. Bogdanov did research in blood transfusions in the 1920s. In fact, he gave himself blood transfusions…over and over. He insisted that the transfusions made him feel better. Maybe they did, but they would also be his undoing, when he transfused himself with the blood of a student who had malaria. Bogdanov contracted the disease and died.
Many people have heard of David Johnston who was a volcanologist. He wanted to see Mount Saint Helens for himself. He was the first to report and urge the evacuation, but seeing the show cost him his life too. He was killed by the Pyroclastic Blast.
Probably one of the most awful deaths to me was that of Harold Maxwell-Lefroy. He spent a lot of time studying bugs, or rather how to get rid of them. He knew that something needed to be done to get rid of these pests. He was very good at his work, but unfortunately, the chemicals would kill people too, and he inhaled enough to do so. In his lab, he inhaled a lethal amount of Lewisite.
There are others, maybe more that anyone knows of. If they weren’t famous or successful, their deaths might have looked like accidents, diseases, accidental overdoses, or even suicide, when in fact they were nothing of the kind. They are just some of the great scientific minds who gave their all in the name of science. Sadly, by accident.
My uncle, Bill Spencer has always been a very interesting man, and I mean that in the very best sense of the word. I don’t know what kind of a student Uncle Bill was in school, but he has always loved learning, probably more so on his own than in a classroom. Somehow he doesn’t strike me as a kid who would have loved being in class, but I could be wrong. His passion was, of course, the family history, but Uncle Bill likes history to go along with his family history, and that is where my uncle and I are the most alike. My Uncle Bill worked meticulously and tirelessly on the family history, someday hoping to get it into the hands of the younger generation, which ended up being me and a few others who cared about it the same way he did…and for his hard work, I will be forever grateful.
Much of my uncle’s knowledge about things was self-taught. He learned about antiques, guns, stamps, and coins; and then he incorporated his knowledge into businesses he owned and ran. And he would pass his knowledge along to anyone who wanted to listen. It was Uncle bill who got me interested in stamps and coins, and while I don’t have large collections, I have a few that I like. I think it might have been his love of stamps, coins, and guns that sparked Uncle Bill’s interest in antiques, but I don’t know that for sure. His knowledge of family history and his Dad, Allen Luther Spencer’s ability to make furniture, might have had a part in that too. In addition, the era that my Uncle Bill was born into, did not have the ability to mass produce furniture like we have today, so the beautiful furniture pieces became one-of-a-kind works of art, and not just the useful, but cookie-cutter furniture on our day.
Uncle Bill is getting older now, and some of his recent memory escapes him, but the past remains vivid, at least on his good days. The last time I saw him was a good day, and that made my sister, Cheryl Masterson, my cousin, Pam Wendling, and me very happy. His stories about the old days were vivid and full of knowledge, and any slips in his memory, were humorous and sweet, and still tied to people of the past. His advancing years, make me feel the urgent need to visit as often as I can, and my sisters, Cheryl, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and I hope to make the trip late this upcoming summer for another visit. With each passing year, we just never know if Uncle Bill will still be with us. He isn’t the oldest sibling in his family, but he has lived the longest. Nevertheless, one day, he will no longer be with us. I pray that day is a long way off. Today in Uncle Bill’s 98th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Bill!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!!
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!!
Motivating your child to get good grades is a difficult task sometimes. Let’s face it, a child who struggles in school, doesn’t see getting a dollar for each “A” grade, as being an achievable prize. Of course, the goal has to be something the child can do, or they will give up before they start, so for a child who struggles, the dollar might be for a “C” or something. Maybe the goal needs to be broken down by weeks to help the struggling student, or even by assignment. When you have a student who struggles with school, you will pretty much do anything…including treats to get them to try harder to get good grades, because as we all know, a student who excels in school, can almost write their own ticket in life. College and jobs even come easier for them.
With all that being said, I suppose that I will sound like my parents, who like most parents of people my age, walked ten miles to school, uphill both ways, but when I was in school, we didn’t get rewarded for our grades. Maybe it just wasn’t done then, but for us, that was the way it was. So when I hear of paying a child for grades, I have mixed feelings about it. I’m not exactly opposed to paying for grades, because it is the child’s job, after all, and I expect to be paid for my work. Still, by the same token, I would have to wonder if it shouldn’t also be that a poor grade costs the child then. I mean, if I am a great driver, and I get a speeding ticket, I have to pay the penalty too, even if I haven’t had one in ten years. And shouldn’t a child just naturally want to learn things. No, not really. When I was in grade school, history was the most boring subject in existence, and yet today, I research events in history for my stories. I guess that if it is something you really love, you don’t need any motivation, but if it isn’t something you really love, no matter how big the amount of motivation you are offered, it will not make you love that subject.
Still, some people take things a little be too far, in my opinion. Such was the case in a story I read the other day. It went like this: “My elder brother has a son. He has just started school. My brother buys him toys, different devices, and new clothes to motivate him. When I was in my first year in school, he promised me that if I finished school with excellent grades, I would be able to have a tooth made of gold. I was really enthusiastic for many years.” Now, I don’t know about you, but a gold tooth would not really motivate me to get better grades. Still, to each his own. I suppose that to a young boy, a gold tooth might sound like the coolest thing ever…at least for a time. As you read in the story, even that great motivator didn’t do the trick forever.
Like most things, as kids get older, that dollar isn’t quite the motivator it used to be either. Kids, these days, know how little a dollar can buy, and when you think about it, it’s really hard for a kid to stay motivated for nine weeks…just to make a dollar. I guess that if parents are going to use a reward system motivator, they are going to have to keep up with the times, and upgrade that motivator periodically so it will be the study aid they are hoping for. Or maybe my parents had the right idea after all, which was pretty much, get good grades…or else!! And I think I’ll leave that right there.
My youngest grandchild is turning 15 today. That means that all of my grandchildren will be driving in some capacity. Three have their driver’s license, and now Josh will have his learner’s permit. It’s a very strange feeling when all of your grandchildren are driving. It brings you to a place of wondering where the years have gone, and how they could have gone by so very fast. It seems like only yesterday that my daughters were getting their licenses, and now my last grandchild is taking that step too. Josh has been studying like crazy for his test. Some kids don’t study and some do ok, but Josh doesn’t want to take any chances.
Like his brother, Josh already has a car, or in his case a pickup. He has been making payments to his parents to buy the family’s extra vehicle, and he’s doing a pretty good job making those payments, especially since he doesn’t have a job yet. He has been mowing lawns and other odd jobs to earn money, but now that he is 15, he is hoping to find a real job. I suppose that we will no longer have someone to mow our lawn now…but you never know, perhaps one of our grandsons will take pity on their grandpa and do that job for him.
Josh is a hard working student, and he proudly told me the other day that he has straight A’s. I know it is early in the year, but Josh hates to have grades that are not A’s, so he keep close tabs on his grades. It’s not that school is easy for Josh, because he has to work hard for his grades. He just doesn’t want to find out that he has a lot of catching up to do at the end of the quarter. It is the best way to do things, I’m sure you will agree.
While all of Josh’s accomplishments have made me so very proud of him, the thing about Josh that has most surprised me is the fact that he has grown so tall and slender. Josh was born 5 weeks prematurely, and spent two weeks in Denver in the neo-natal ICU. When he came home, he set himself to the task of catching up. He ate and ate…even getting a little chunky…until he started to walk, that is. That was the last time he was chunky. Now with the added height, he seems even more slender…but it is just normal for him. He towers over me now, and…yes, he loves that too. So much has changed in Josh’s life, it has been like watching a movie in hyper-speed sometimes. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
One of the first things I noticed about my niece, Michelle, as a baby even, was her eyes. They were beautiful, almond shaped, smiling eyes, that brought a sparkle to her entire face. When she smiled, her whole face smiled, and her laugh was and still is contagious. It’s all part of Michelle’s nature. She has a bubbly personality, and that makes her a lot of fun to be around. She never lacks for friends, because she has such a great personality and a love of life. A smile, laugh, personality, and great eyes, are all just part of the outward beauty that is Michelle, but it is her inner beauty that draws most people to her.
Like Michelle’s art work, her beauty comes from deep inside herself. As an art education major in college, and with only one year left before she will be able to teach, it occurs to me that many of our children will learn to express themselves and their own inner beauty from one of the best. Michelle will be a great teacher, as she has already shown in her work as a student teacher. I was never much of an artist, but I can tell great work when I see it, and Michelle’s art is so beautiful. I would love to be able to create the kinds of beautiful pictures and other art work that she creates with ease.
I understand that Michelle will have to go away to college for her fianl year, and that makes me very sad. I will miss seeing her at church on Sundays, or family gatherings, but I know that it will be a growing experience for her too. I only hope that she will be able to come back her to teach, because I think it would be really sad to have her talents go outside of our state. I think the students here would really miss out if she were to get a teaching position somewhere else. And, I’ll admit it…I would miss her very much. Today is Michelle’s birthay. Happy birthday Michelle!! We love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!