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Wheelchair Life in Windsor


By Sally Byler

February 24, 2020: Greetings to each of you on a cool, sunny morning … I think this is actually 3 or 4 days in a row that the sun has been shining!! We also had a few mornings with beautiful colors in the sky!! Although I have been too sick to enjoy it as much as I usually would, as I love watching the colors in the sky in the early morning hours. 

One thing I miss since living in Ohio is hearing the train whistle, especially on a cool, clear morning. The old B&O railroad went through downtown Enon Valley (where I grew up). Downtown consisted of Muskguires Feed Mill, Enon Inn, the fire station, the post office, Fry’s Ice Cream, 3 church houses, and the old “corner” grocery store owned by Mildred Patterson. (It had the old wooden door with slanted sides on each side of the doorway and an old wooden floor that squeaked with each step you took. The interior of the store was always kind of darkish. It also still had the old hitching rail right outside the front door.) I remember watching farmers unloading grain at the feed mill. In years past (before my time) the train would stop at the mill to load up grain.

For some reason, when I was preschool, I got the mindset that the town of Enon Valley was called Enon Inn (probably didn’t realize what the Inn was), but I remember one day I was standing in the garden watching mom pull weeds … I had my arm in a cast, the results of climbing on a stack of feed bags … grandpa John (mom’s dad) who lived on the farm across the street, had walked down and was talking to mom when I popped up and said. “When mom’s done pulling weeds, we are going to Enon Inn!!” Mom had plans to go to Enon but NOT Enon Inn!! I remember grandpa laughing, but don’t remember what mom had to say. I also remember one time grandpa was NOT amused with me … but, maybe we’ll save that for next time, so my article does not get too long.

March 20 … first day of spring … racing clouds … whistling winds … coats flapping in the breeze … bright kites circling in the skies … the dance of swaying trees … the cheerful sight of crocuses … the first sweet breath of spring. It all just part of the many moods the month of March can bring.

Thoughts …

. Spring is a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can be.

. Spring usually brings many mud puddles, much to most little boys’ delight.

(I found this little verse and it brought a smile to my face. You know you are getting old when you walk around a puddle instead of through it!)

Just think …

“Man is like a postage stamp … he gets licked, depressed, stuck in a corner, 

sent from pillar to post.But, in the end he gets there if is he sticks to it!”

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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