The kids, Les and Joan from times long now past…

unsorted764This is a picture of the boys when they wee really small on the couch that was our foldout bed in the living room of our house on Shafer Drive in Cincinnati Ohio. This couldn’t have been more than 2 days after the boys came home. They were seven weeks premature and they stayed in the NICU for nearly two weeks after they were born. Then they came home, and Nick got sick and went right back to the hospital. My mom and dad came the day of the birth and then the first weekend. Les and Joan were in Hot Springs AK and drove all the way to see their grandchildren about a week or so after they got home.

Our tiny house (three bedrooms 1.5 baths) was crowded beyond believe. It was a very tough time overall for all of us. We had to adjust to having many more people in the house for awhile. One of our family members was not interested in the boys at all. That was her majesty Gwen. She ignored them for the lonest time. Until she realized that food would rain from above when the boys ate, then the boys were her best friends.


Here is a picture of the two girls on the couch in the living room. Gwen wasn’t happy to be forced onto someone’s lap but she did stay because right in front of her was food.

Jakki is wearing her I’m a big sister shirt. She would still be wearing that today if she hadn’t outgrown it some 16 years ago.

Gwen passed away in April 2011. She was 14 nearly 15 years old at the time. Her last year was not the best, her eyesight and balance had started to go. It was hard seeing the grouchy old dog suddenly become a needy I need help dog. I will never forget working in the dining room (where my original office was on Shaffer) on my first book “There are days you just want to go home.” Jakki was playing in the backyard on the swing set Sean and I built for her (Sean is her God Father). She came up to me and said “Gwen is herding us.” Gwen loved to herd Jakki and her friends. Jakki of course didn’t like that not one bit. So she complained. I would walk out and Gwen would look at me like I didn’t do it. So I would go back inside only to be interrupted again.


This is the boys on the couch at Grandma Joan’s house. Les and Joan had moved from Hot Springs AK to Tallahassee FL by then. They boys are hamming for the cameras something they often did.

They are holding two stuffed dogs. While they loved stuffed animals as youngsters there were two very special stuffed animals they loved more than anything. Honey Bear was Luke’s best friend. Ma Bear was Nick’s best friend. One time by accident Honey Bear was left in a Chucky Cheese in Northern Indiana. Barb had taken the kids up to the Indiana Dunes state park. The bear was left in a restaurant off the road in Merrillville Indiana. I was working that week in Chicago so the day after the horrifying loss I was able to swing by and pick up Honey Bear. Luke had cried himself to sleep the only night he didn’t have Honey Bear.

Needless to say neither of the boys acknowledge this period in their lives now.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

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