Of family gatherings, old wagons and people that don’t smile.. (sometimes).


For mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary we spent a weekend at Spring Mill state park and had a professional photographer. album003Here is a picture of the two of them relaxed. We had a few traumatic events that weekend with one of my sons not wishing to be photographed. But all in all we had a good time.

We got amazing pictures.

Sometimes with photographs you have such a strong desire to center everything. This one presents very well with just the slightest bit of off center.

They both look cool in their sunglasses.

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This one is just the Grandsons. Matt in the center and the two boys on the sides flanking him. Matt is a great young man. Without a doubt one of the nicest people you could ever care to meet.

You will notice with Matt there Nick was smiling. Not sure why everyone was posing in front of the antique wagon. For these three I suspect a game controller or computer would have in the end been a more normal pose.

It was a great weekend. Family meals, All of us together. The outdoors and celebrating 50 years of marriage. Seems amazing when you think about it. Mom and dad were married in 1956. (these images from 2006). I came along in 1960. Lynne and Barb came along much later than that (they are far younger than I am).

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I will end with the whole clan. There were two whole clan pictures. This one that was taken indoors and another that hasn’t made it into the scanning system that was taken outdoors. You can see Nick isn’t smiling. Oh well.

I won’t name everyone it will be easier to point out that due to college Becca was not able to join us for the weekend (she was in Chicago at the time) and isn’t in the whole clan picture. So I guess it is the almost nearly whole clan picture.

Seems strange that this picture is 9 years old now. Seems like it was just yesterday, but that was many states ago and many years in the past. Everyone in this picture has changed a little. The boys are nearly the same height as I am now. Luke may even now be taller than me although that will never be admitted publically.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Memories of the farm and a treasure found in the album we are scanning…


The farm. Or Andersen Acres. Dad put AA above the garage doors of the farm. We tried to get to him take them down for years.album162 Sometimes when dad decided tried was all you did if you disagreed.

This is from just past the driveway towards the house. To the right of where this image was taken was the pond/lake. It was called Kirksville lake by some locals. It actually had some fairly good fish in it. Also large Alligator snapping turtles and a load of Common American Water snakes.

The wooden walkway was used as the processional for Barb and my wedding. To the right is the large sloped field where we had the reception. To the left is the apple/pear/nut orchard.  Mom and dad built this house exactly the way they wanted it and then spent the next 20 years changing it. Buying the perfect house and then changing it over time is an Andersen tradition.

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This is the back of the house. So off nearly straight and a little to the right was the garage (with AA on it until they sold the house) to your immediate right is the apple orchard. Dad’s Greenhouse to the right of the picture attached to the house and a surprise for me today. I didn’t remember mom and dad adding a deck off the main level in the back of the house.

By the time this picture was taken Mom and dad were probably close to selling the house. Barb and I were in Cincinnati. Lynne and Gary were in Greenwood IN and Barb and Dana had just gotten married. Jakki would have been about a year old (Matt about a year and Megan on the way). Courtney and the Boys weren’t born yet and Becca would have been around 10 or 11 years old. The image is probably from 1992. The last Christmas we spent in this house as a family was December 1991. Jakki was a little over a month old and slept through the last Christmas at the farm. At some point within a year or so of this picture mom and dad sold the farm and moved to Kinser Pike. They were on Kinser Pike when we moved to Greenwood. album129That was in October 1999. They had been on Kinser for at least five years by the time we moved. I remember because Barb and Jakki had the flu when we visited in 1997 for Christmas. Barb was on bed rest because of the pregnancy and both she and Jakki were in the living room on Kinser Pike throwing up. I didn’t get sick until we actually started driving home on the day after Christmas (back to Cincinnati at that time).

The last image isn’t of the farm. Mom and her friend Maria Cluver started a business at one point. They called it Dolls by Marisa. I know the dolls were popular because both girls (Becca and Jakki) loved them. They were unique with gowns and hand sewn faces. This is actually one of the advertisements they made many years ago. The first time this has been on the Internet. The address and phone number are no longer valid. I suspect neither Mrs. Cluver or mom have any interest in reviving the business. It was just something incredibly creative mom did. Dad loved being outdoors working in his gardens. At one point he had 15 acres of gardens to play in.

I still think all these years later that the dolls were amazing. I wish I had that level of artistic ability. I do not sadly. My art works come out looking like stick figures drawn by a very sloppy four year old. I guess in the end I am the families Salieri. Cursed to see beauty but to never create the beauty I see.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow)

My dad outdoors where he loved to be…


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Dad and Fred pre-deck expansion. The deck of the house on Kinser Pike was changed three times at least as far as I remember. I suspect there were more changes.

There was many a fine argument on that deck. Many a fine conversation as well but the arguments were the most fun. Discussing and breaking down the universe into smaller pieces. I spent most of my teenage years arguing with dad. I suspect if I had it all to do over again I would argue again.  As a young adult you have to separate from your parents. As a parent you want nothing other than to go back to the time when your parents were in charge and you didn’t have to worry about anything. Well except the rules and things your parents said that had to be argued with.

Dad and Fred were tight. Dad loved dogs. MacGregor our Collie was clearly dad’s dog. He loved dad more than anything on earth.

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Dad’s idea of a great vacation was being outdoors. Which by the way was also his definition of a good Saturday, a good Sunday or any other day of the week. Dad grew up outdoors in the Dells. This is him with their camper and the Westies Fred and Jessie.

Fred and Jessie’s idea of roughing it involved food and air conditioning. I am just saying.

The knees and beat up legs are genetic. There were times when we had three generation of spindly legs in the same room. Dad, me and the boys with the same knees and beat up legs.

Being outdoors made him happy. We didn’t get central air for our house until the allergist told dad and mom that Lynne needed central air to help her allergies. Even then he turned it on at 80. That was some relief in the summer in Indiana but we were outside most days then anyway.

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From one of their trips, poised by either the great lakes (Paradise Michigan) or one of the two oceans. My guess would be this is Paradise Michigan. The sand is awfully white for the Atlantic and I don’t recognize the beach area for it to be Pacific. We got a pop up camper and took it to Paradise Michigan. It truly is a beautiful place. I don’t remember much beyond one isolated memory of playing on the beach (the water was very cold) and the pop-up camper. I suspect we had activities and things we did I just remember them.

The name I remember. Paradise.

Mom and dad lived in Michigan for a couple of years. Dad got his Masters Degree from the University of Michigan and he did field world for that thesis somewhere in Michigan. But that was before I was born.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Carillion Tower of Indiana University…


Slightly crooked. Black and white image. Taken by my father of the Carillion Tower or Bell Tower on the campus of Indiana University. This was where I was album001taking Barb the night I planned to propose to her.

It was in the car on College Avenue on the way to the tower that Barb proposed to me. I never got to say my proposal that I had spent hours writing. I did give it to her on our 15th anniversary. But at the time I never proposed. We talked that night after she proposed about the dreams we had. Barb wanted to live in a nice house. She wanted to go to Europe and see the history for herself. She wanted to have kids.

It was a magical night at the Carillion tower.

I still love the tower. When you go at night it is lit by lights that bathe the surface gently. Indiana limestone resonates so well with the bells when they play. The tower is both a work of art to see and to hear.

It actually sits on the top of a small hill near the part of Indiana University’s campus that is called Frat Row. I don’t actually remember when it was built. I suspect it was built-in the 1960’s. My first memory of it was upon returning from Bangkok but that was mostly because most of my early Bloomington memories were of IU Basketball and Football. Art didn’t interest me as much until later in my school years.

The current package of pictures we are scanning are all portraits. 8 1/2 by 11 and most of them are too big for the blogging tool I am using right now. The Carolyn tower comes through. I will get more of the family portraits up as we make them smaller.

We actually live near a church bell tower in Maryland. It doesn’t however ring a church bell. It is a Carolyn tower. It plays entire melodies with the bells switching to Amazing Grace on occasion. A Carillion is supposed to play more than one bell or two bells. Many places have a single bell they ring (such as the Liberty Bell). A Carillion tower plays a tune or many tunes.

It took until past our tenth anniversary to get Barb all the things she wanted that night at the Carillion  tower Smile.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Images from Thailand 2004


There are two things you could always say about my pops (seen here sharing lunch with a group of Thai Science Teachers.). Actually now that I think about it album639there are three things you could always say about my father.

  1. The first was my father strove to be a life long learner. He was always trying to figure out how things worked. When it came to gardening and many other things he often did have a better way to do things.
  2. Dad was a teacher at heart. Get 20 people around him and the teaching would begin. I think of all the things he taught me over the years and I miss that.
  3. Oh yeah and the few times I called my dad pops didn’t go over well. That was not his style. Dad was dad from the get go and pops was not one of the names we called him (twice).

He so loved Thailand. I think the time we spent in 1971 and 1972 changed dad. He loved the culture, the people and in the end the opportunity to be a part album627of the change in that great country. Thailand is a place you may not be current in, but it is a place that never leaves your heart.

Thailand is a land of time as well. It was strange coming from the US where the oldest buildings in the town I grew up were barely 100 years old. Most of the old buildings were 50, 60 years old. To a land that didn’t consider a building old until it had been around for 500 years.

I learned so much that year in Thailand. I learned first off what it meant to be a minority (one of few) versus being part of the majority. I also learned that when the majority welcomes the minority the world is a better place. I never felt out of place or unwelcome when I was in Thailand. Truly in the end my sisters and I were different than many of the children we were around. In the land of album625smiles everyone was accepted.

Here a power lunch. The person in the center of the picture was Kathleen Hart. She introduced me to Clotted Cream (or what we call Whipped Cream in the States). Miss Hart was one of the smartest people I have ever met. She didn’t do well with children but that was because she wasn’t often around them. She was my mother’s dearest friend for more than 40 years. They met in Thailand Miss Hart from England and mom from the States and became fast friends. Miss Hart passed away about two years before dad did. The world lost a great mind when she passed.

Like I said my time in Thailand opened my mind to differences. I can honestly say I only worry about the ksi8lls of the person in front of me. I don’t worry about anything else. Thailand opened that acceptance door for me and I am forever in its debt.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

My Kickstarter and Indiegogo project review blog…


Back to a Kickstarter and Indiegogo blog.

First off this time are a couple of really interesting Kickstarter projects.

Cordless 3d print finishing tool:

If you are doing freehand or printer based 3d printing there are bits left over. This tool is designed to help you finish your creation and remove the extra plastic quickly and effectively. Actually a very cool idea and concept. I really like the way they designed the tool and considered the fact that you need multiple scoops to pull the plastic out of various printed items. Very cool tool. A link to their campaign is here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/249225636/cordless-3d-print-finishing-tool.

Jamstik

A portable guitar for learning and playing. I have been using their excellent software to learn to play guitar. I was a backer of their first project. Overall the device is well made. The wi-fi connection allows you to create a portable guitar experience. Portable – easy to connect and frankly the software is simply amazing. All of that was Jamstik 1, This campaign is for their new and improved Jamstik 2. I can’t wait to see the additional improvements they will have made!!!! Great group, great campaign. Link is here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/80789521/jamstik-the-smartguitar.

ODIN: Mouse

I have now backed two project named for the Norse God. One was a projector that also created a touch surface for any device. This one is for the projector mouse. Overall this is one of the neatest tech projects I’ve seen in a while. More for the wow factor than anything. Laser projected keyboards have been around for awhile. They are interesting conversation pieces and reasonable keyboards. If you learned touch typing 38 years ago the laser keyboards aren’t as effective. But they are cool. This project. First they have taken mouse ascetics to a new level. I love the way it looks and the goals are solid. This is an amazing project. Link is here…https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/639589487/odin-worlds-first-projection-mouse

Indiegogo projects

Air Mentor:

A six in one air meter. A great tool for figuring out what is in the air around you. This goes beyond simply knowing the CO and CO2 levels in the air to being considering what else is in the air around you. I am all for the move towards more and more sensors in the home. The more you can measure the better you will be. A link to the project is here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/air-mentor-a-6-in-1-indoor-air-quality-monitor/x/3230074.

Rocketbook:

Ok this one intrigued me just from the description. A microwavable cloud connected notebook. I mean who can resist that? Well for sure I couldn’t. It seems like an interesting idea. I am a huge fan of connected notebooks. I still love the feel of paper as I take notes. Warm paper just sounds like the perfect sit outside in the winter notepad for writing Robert Frost tribute poems. Or essays about the impact of snow on the blandness of grass. A link to the campaig is here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rocketbook-cloud-integrated-microwavable-notebook/x/3230074.

My rules are simple for this column. First it appears in both my blogs from time to time. I try to do it roughly once a month. If I think the project is worthy of being backed I back it and if I think it is amazing I add it to my blog and further promote it.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Fruit trees, Thai beaches and change…


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If there was a fruit tree within 100 miles of where we were dad would find it. Then he would start asking questions determining if he could plant one and grow them. Over the years dad planted apples, walnuts, pears and many other fruit and nut trees. One spring day dad and I wandered out to the property he had just bought out in the hills. He said he had a fun activity for us to do. We ended up digging 100 holes and planting 100 apple, pear and nut trees. I never really did understand my dad’s idea of fun.

It really wasn’t that fun to plant all those trees that day.

He also planned asparagus and grew the best tomatoes ever. His concept as a scientist was to create sustainable places where humans and other creatures could exist, eat and survive. The great solar movement in Germany and slowly here in the US was something I am sure he had his eye on.

album482I suspect based on the tree and the fruit that this picture came from a visit to Thailand. It is connected to a number of other pictures of Thailand.

A beach somewhere in Thailand. I am not sure this is Thailand but the Beach looks a lot like the ones I grew up with so I am guessing Thailand. Again there were a number of slides and pictures of Thailand from the same time period this picture was taken.

We used to spent weekends often when we lived in Thailand at Pataya. Playing cricket on a sand bar and having crab fresh from the ocean. We explored the beaches and the area around the cottages we stayed at. It kind of reminded me of the cottages my grandparents had at Lake Ripley. They were much larger than the cottages at Ripley but it was the same concept.

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When we lived in Thailand it was much older. The buildings were often very old. Now it is a mix of old and new. But it is well mixed rather than simply thrown together.

Not sure where this is in Thailand but it fits with the timeline of mom and dad being there.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

A view of goof balls. A view of nature. A view of books.


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Not taken by a professional photographer. Part of the Spring Mill trip we took in honor of mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. Since dad had once been Smokey the Bear this felt like the right picture to take with the goof balls. The picture represents all the grandchildren minus 1 from Mom and Dad’s small family. Becca, the missing grandchild was off at school (college) at that point.

57 years is a long time to be married. It speaks volumes about the people in the marriage and their willingness to work towards common goals.

Anyway this is probably the only picture taken that weekend that Nick wasn’t frowning. He went through a phase for awhile where he didn’t like to have his picture taken in groups. So often back in the day he would be frowning in family photos. But not this one.

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This beautiful setting is on the campus of Indiana University. It was built to replace the old 10th street stadium. The 10th street stadium was torn down a few years after the filming of the movie Breaking Away. The Little 500 was in the old stadium for many years until that building was torn down.

They replaced the building with a beautiful arboretum. In the far background is the limestone edifice that is the library of Indiana University. I loved going into the library and reading. They had the most magnificent collection of books known to man. Well at least know to humankind and in that case the humankind was me. I have since had the pleasure of visiting the library of congress and realize now that IU’s library was grand but not well that grand.

During my creative writing phase of college we used to go out and sit on the old football field of the 10th street stadium. Just sit on the 50 yard line and imagine the great games that were played there. In 1945 Indiana had it’s only undefeated football team. We as a university were never much of a football school. Soccer – we were the bomb! Basketball we remain the class of the Big Ten. IU was once the destination for swimmers. But football has escaped IU all these years.

Perhaps someday our team will rise and we will be able to cheer. Rather than watching IU get beat 48-0. It would really be nice to at least go to a couple of more bowl games before I can’t watch anymore.

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The house my parents built out on the land they owned on Harmony Road wasn’t that big of a house. This was 1/2 the living room that was my dad’s original home office. He also had a greenhouse attached originally to the master bedroom.

But this is a view of his office. Dad loved books. His favorite thing to do was to find some interesting or unique view of something and then have me read it. I can’t tell you how many books he gave me over the year that were impactful and changed my thinking.

When he retired and moved home from his University office he had so many books they had to build a room on the house to house the books. He loved his books.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Of quilts, quilt rules and crashing realizations…


Quilt making is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Often provided by mothers or grandmothers as part of a daughters hope chest. I was never a album359huge fan of the hope chest concept. Daughters should be planning to be able to take care of themselves and their family if they choose just like sons.

But the concept of activities grandparents can do with grandchildren I have to say that this one remains a favorite. My mother as I have said before loves to sew and make quilts. This one in the picture is one that Jakki is holding up. The grandchildren including the boys all participated in selecting squares and making quilts. The quilting bee moved forward to a new generation.

I don’t remember the last time we had a blanket on our bed that wasn’t a hand made quilt. It honestly has been years. Mom has made as she said to me the other day “more than 100 quilts,” Actually in fairness what she said was that she had stopped taking pictures of the album349quilts she made after she reached 100 photos. I’ve scanned all 100 in the past two days.

There is Jessie sleeping on a quilt.

The following activities are banned from including mother’s quilts. Some I learned by asking some I learned by experimenting and finding out after the fact from the quilt maker.

  • Covering the garage floor while changing the oil.
  • As a rag to wipe off muddy dogs
  • As a cover for your back deck.
  • album316As a cover for your outside grill.
  • As a floor mat for your car.
  • as a liner for underneath a tent

PS none of these rules were supplied prior to getting the quilts so I plead not knowing for the ones I broke.

The one thing that dad really wanted to do and mom really wanted to do when they retired was to travel together. They loved to travel together. This is from one of their westward ho journey/s. Dad was an amazing photographer. This image is stunning. 

Phase III continues.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Phase III of the FHP is a treasure trove of images of yesterday and memories that flow like a river.


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Mom say’s this picture like the other on the couch was taken in Vernon Hills Illinoins. That is my sister Lynne (who is much younger than I am) and me on the couch. Yesterday it was the picture with my dad. This is just the two of us sitting together.

Mom used to use pictures like this when Lynne and I were older and arguing. “But you used to get along.” She would say. I’ve used the same static on my children and frankly it just doesn’t work.

I have so very few memories of Vernon Hills. Mostly the memories are constructs from stories I’ve been told. My grandfather Andersen watching me while my parents were out. Me picking all the tomatoes (green and ripe) and throwing them away. My grandfather Andersen didn’t like Tomatoes so he didn’t care about that. Dad told me that his father used to say “pigs won’t eat them, they aren’t food.” I to this day don’t quite get that. Pigs are not known as the gourmand’s of the animal world. I also wrote my tricycle through the back porch door. I don’t’ really remember any of those events but they have been shared with me over the years. Now they are shared with you as well.

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Obvisouly mom and dad in the photo with their believed dogs Fred and Jessie. I suspect if you had asked while the two were alive (Fred and Jessie) the answer to the question would have been yes. The question would have been are these the children you wish you had the first time Winking smile (just kidding mom).

Jessie lived past 17 years. She was a very sweet girl that would oft come for pets. Fred was a bombastic boy that ruled the house. Without a doubt the names Fred and Jessie were the most normal names my parents ever had for a dog. In fact they are the only dogs until recently that even had normal names.

There was a time when I was 7 or 8 years old that I was scared of dogs for a time. I know that upset both my parents and they worked very hard to help me get over that feat. We ended up getting MacGregor. MacGregor was a collie. I will never as long as I live forget him. He only lived three years. But he has impacted my life in many ways. The first is that I have only been bitten by a non-playing dog once in my life. There are so many more ways.

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Finally today ending with the dog that changed everything. Aunt Phoebe Kuma Andersen. Our Newfoundland. Her heart was as big as the world could take. The first year she was with us she sat with Lynne and I sorting our Halloween candy. She demanded a percentage a “protection fee.”

We went once to Milton’s Orchard outside of Bloomington and brought home bags of apples. My father loved apples. For some reason we brought them home and left them on the dining room table and went outside as a family to do something. When we got back inside Phoebe was lying on the ground in obvious pain and 1/2 the apples were gone.

There were so many stories of the “black bear” (Kuma is Japanese for Black Bear – or at least that is what we thought when we named her Kuma). She protected my little sister from everything. She also wouldn’t let Barb do half the things she wanted to do. She and mom had a running battle over food. From the carrot cake story I’ve shared before to climbing on the kitchen table and eating an entire bowl of salut Neua (Thai Spicy Beef Salad).

Her passing hurt all of us. She was the center of our family for many years. She never would have been there as the center if not for MacGregor. Like MacGregor her star burned far to bright. Phoebe left us when she was only 7 years old. That is a hole in my heart that has never been filled.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.