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Wheelchair Life in Windsor

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By Sally Byler

Jan. 21, 2020: Hello everyone! What a beautiful winter day we are having! Snow is just slowly and lazily drifting down and we also had some sunshine this forenoon.

Well, I got a call from Kathryn Detweiler asking of I’d be interested in doing a monthly article for this paper. So, since I enjoy writing, or rather typing, can do lots of it, and since that’s one thing I can still do, I agreed to give it a try. I hope I won’t bore y’all to tears! I also had the privilege of talking with Jacquie on the phone. She sounds like a very friendly people person!

Well, maybe I should start off with introducing me and mine. As you can see at the top of this article, my name is Sally. I guess you could call me a “transplant” as I did not grow up in Ohio but in Pennsylvania in a little town called EnonValley (which is Indian for “Valley of Many Waters”). My parents, Eli and Katie Byler, were dairy farmers. Then, when I was 8 or 9 years old, we sold the cows and started a bakery. So, my one and only sister and I grew up in a bakery … cookies were the main thing we made and, to this day, I’m not overly fond of cookies (unlike most people).

I was 15 when my parents moved out here to Geauga County. We lived in a shop house at Junior and Clara Shetlers on Girdle Road that first summer, and then bought the octagon house on 534 in Windsor. And so, that’s how I met my husband, Allen A. Byler Jr., son of Allen and Mart Byler who lived about 1 1/2 miles up the road from the octagon house, in the house we now live in. This is a century home that will be 200 years old in 2 more years! Imagine the stories these walls could tell!

Allen (or “Al”, as most of us call him) and I married in 1995. We have eight children: Allen Eli (24) married to Maurine Miller, they have two boys, Liam Seth (5) and Elijah James (14 months); Katie (23) married to Lester Byer, they have Jesse Ray who turned 1 on Dec. 24; Willie, almost 21; Lucas Andrew (19); Sara Jane (17); Mark (15); Leah (14) and our little “surprise tagalong” Robbie, who will be 6 in March.

The reason I chose “Wheelchair Life in Windsor” as my heading is because there are four of us Windsor residents within about a 1 1/2-mile radius who are in wheelchairs.

Our neighbor across the street, Noah Smucker Jr., known to everyone as “Chunie” is in a wheelchair with M.S. Mrs. Sara Miller (Mel) has rheumatoid arthritis and also recently had a foot and part of a leg amputated and is waiting on her prosthesis with hopes of being able to walk some again. Al’s Aunt, Mrs. Fannie Miller (Ervin), lives on Chubb Road and had polio as a child. She used crutches for many years, but now, she relies mostly on a wheelchair. As for me, I also use a battery powered wheelchair, the results of a genetic disease, C.M.T. which stands for Charcot Marie Tooth disease. Those words came from the three physicians who identified it in 1886 … Jean Martin Charcot and Pierre Marie in Paris, France, and Howard Henry Tooth in Cambridge, England. This is in the same disease family as M.D. and M. S. Maybe, in a future issue, I’ll write more about C.M.T.  M. S., Polio and Rheumatoid arthritis.

This past week, I have felt undeservingly spoiled. Last Friday, (Jan. 17) was birthday number 43 for me, and on Tuesday, Laura Slabauch (Ray) dropped off a gift bag with dress material, a book, candy, etc. Thursday eve, my family, along with our son, Allen, Maurine and boys, my sister Susan, Andy Hostetler and children were here with mom’s pepperoni rolls, cake, ice cream, and Maurine’s blueberry cobbler! Friday morning, Mrs. Marie Detweiler (Chris) dropped off flowers and ice cream cake. Then “Chunie” brought a bouquet of flowers and later on, Orwell Flower Shop delivered a bouquet from friends in southern Ohio. A gift bag with a candle, candy, a grapevine plaque, etc. came from Liz Miller (Marty). Plus, there were lots of letters and cards in the mail. Thanks, everyone!

Yesterday morning, Al’s mom and step-dad Marty and Mary Miller, left for the sunny southern regions of Florida. Think they were ready to get out of the cold Northeast? Niece Miriam Hostetler is leaving this week for Colorado. I think their plans are to be gone most of the year. She has a job waiting out there working in a bakery.

February is the start of maple syrup season. Was going to put a maple syrup recipe in here, but don’t have very many, and it’s time to get this in the mail.

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