Ice Cream bigger than Matt’s head and other interesting moments! (including the magical first Christmas with a child again)!


This picture is from the Pool Area of the French Lick hotel. The West Baden hotel (which back in the day of Al Capone was the fancier of the two hotels was not restored at the time of this photo. It is now, and it is famous for the rotunda.)

The first question other than who is in the picture has to be which is bigger boy or ice cream cone?

The answer is Matthew Misner. He is larger than the ice cream cone of then now, but then wasn’t larger than the ice cream cone he was eating there pool side. We were still living in Cincinnati at the time of this trip. We traversed across Indiana to get to French Lick Indiana.

We were always mom and dad’s far away kids. Every family has them, the kid that moves off far away from everyone else and you only see them on the holidays. Doesn’t change the family feelings, just the time spent sharing them.


Another big family event my little sister (much much younger I’ve been told sister) graduating from college I believe. Dad wearing the full professor regalia so that he could walk with Barb. I never really walked for my graduation instead preferring to slip off into the night. I didn’t really love college in the end. I just wanted to finish my degree and move on to the next adventure. I guess I robbed dad of a chance to walk with me in graduation so that was probably in the end not very nice of me. Ok it was kind of selfish of me.

But to quote a great line from the movie Look Whose talking, “I was going through a selfish phase” I hadn’t raised my children yet and needed some me time. I do however regret not walking now just because of the look on dad’s face in this picture. Sometimes you have to look backward to realize the impact you had. Barbara however did walk and he did get to walk with his youngest.

Funny in the end – but a wonderful picture of the two of them together.


Becca was mom and dad’s first grandchild. Here is a picture of her Christmas morning. Mom and dad welcomed Becca with open arms to the family. For a time (about 8 months) she was the only grandchild. Then Matt came on the scene and 8 months after Matt was Jakki. By Christmas of 1992 there were three grandchildren, Barb and I had moved to Cincinnati and that Christmas at the farm was magical.

There was something unique and special about that first Christmas with Becca though. The first one with a small child at our house in many years. We had all become adults by the time Becca joined our Christmas. It was magical to be able to share the family traditions with her. To laugh and see things again through a child’s eye. She made that first Christmas she was with us in 1991 magical.

Every Christmas with Becca, then Matt and Jakki, then Megan. then Courtney and last Da Boys has been unique and magical as well. It was nice very special that first time a child’s glee returned to our Christmas celebration.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

An image of my grandfather Raymond Johnston

My grandfather Raymond Johnston was a goofball. I mean that in the best possible most loving way. He loved being silly. I remember as a small child visiting Albums736their home (and I did that many times when I was little all the way into my teen years and beyond). Grandpa would do ballet in the living room for us and all of us would laugh and laugh.

Grandpa taught me how to golf and to fish. But most importantly he taught me how to think like a business person. To consider not how much something cost but in the end what was the value of what that thing provided. My grandfather had to drop out of college to help his father take care of his very sick mother. Between trips to the Mayo Clinic and working every day to help pay medical bills college slipped away. He did that so that his brothers could all finish their degrees and launch into the world. For the most part his two older brothers were already gone, but his youngest brother wasn’t. Both his children and all his grand children graduated from college. It was that important to grandpa. You never talked to him about careers without saying the college degree that enabled the career.

I talked to grandpa about the important decisions in my life. He met and loved Barb (Barb also met Grandma). They came to our wedding sitting outside on the hottest day on earth (it felt dressed in a suit and standing in the sun like it was more than 540 degrees outside. We were lucky the paper in the ministers had didn’t spontaneously combust). Grandpa loved Barb. She was optimistic and hopeful for the world. Those were the people that grandpa loved to tease but also protect.

The other thing my grandfather taught me was to think about the impact of problems. My father taught to reason my way through problems. To consider them from both sides and to evaluate the options. My grandfather taught me to apply that and consider the impact of the problem. For most of my childhood if you had asked me did my grandfather and my father get along I would have said no. They were at opposite ends of the political spectrum. My grandfather was a staunch Republican and my father was an extremely liberal Democrat. But they always agree that taking care of the children and encouraging education was critical. Later in life when politics stopped being a barrier they became the best of friends.

My grandfather never got to meet the boys. He did meet Becca and Jakki. He spent a week with us in Cincinnati Ohio the summer before he died. We wandered the city and grandpa told me he had been there before. Many years ago while working for Oscar Meyer (when they were a huge meat packing company) he had gone down to Cincinnati to help them. Chicago was the cow butcher to the world. Cincinnati was the hog butcher of the world. To this day there is Hog emblems all over the city. Grandpa came down from Chicago to help them improve the efficiency of their operation. We drove through the landing where the butcher yards used to be. They were now storehouses for paper products and soap. But once they had been the pens and yards of the largest hog operation in North America. It was fun learning that history from grandpa.

Jakki spent that week as I had done many years before perched on grandpa’s knee. He had huge hands. Like dad grandpa had played line in High School football. Unlike dad who was never a imposing man, grandpa was imposing. You could see him moving the line forward. But those hands were gentle. He worked with them his whole life, but when he touched your knee or shoulder you only felt love.

This picture was taken on the antique trains in French Lick Indiana. I remember the day, stepping onto a Pullman Train car and grandpa wondering if it was one he had ridden on. If it was one where he had seen grandma the first time. Where they, on the way from Aurora to Chicago talked and eventually fell in love. Or was it a car his father, my great-grandfather, had built. Great-Grandfather was a finish carpenter for the Pullman Rail Car Company of Aurora Illinois. It is a day I will never forget.

I would have loved to have written this tribute to Raymond Johnston many years ago. It took me ten years after his death to be able to look at the pictures we had. It has taken me twenty years to sort through all the sadness and realize the gifts my grandfather gave me.

Family comes first grandpa, always.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

On the road, books and quilts


Here is mom and dad’s first camper van. They had a towable camper for awhile and over the years had three different campers they took on trips. This is from their trip out West. They got this right after dad retired from the University. Barb and I borrowed it one time to drive up to Cambridge and to see Grandma A. We visited grandpa and grandma’s graves. That part of the trip was emotional. The rest of the trip we had a blast. We ended up, because we drove mom and dad’s camper taking Gwen with us. Gwen thought she was in charge of the camper. It was in the end pretty funny. We also had room for a large cooler of Wisconsin cheese.

Stopping at a cheese shop as we were leaving Wisconsin became a family tradition for us. We’ve done it every time we’ve left the state over the years. Stop for a bit, find some cheese and summer sausage and then head on back to wherever we were going. The last time on our way back from Wisconsin Dells we ended up spending nearly an hour at the cheese shop. Jakki loves cheese and is very particular about the cheeses we get and have. Barb is also a huge cheese fan but she had to study for finals and didn’t come with us. So Jakki had to pick special cheese for her mom.


Based on pictures scanned it feels like I am picking on Megan. I am not. She just always took wonderful pictures because she is a great expressive person. (with by the way the voice of an angel when she sings). Megan always made the best expressions and smiles so she was often caught by the various photogs at events.

That is Matt sitting in the chair with the Lego something. Matt was a Lego fanatic for many years. I remember him getting a special Lego cake one year for his birthday. I wish they would have told us they were real Legos and not candy Legos My teeth still hurt from trying to eat one.

Behind them the wall of books. Dad as stated before loved books. They had to custom build the wall there to support all of us books. The room was originally the garage of the house. They sealed it, insulated it and added a new garage to the house so dad could keep his books. As long as I love I will treasure the books dad handed to me and said “you need to read this.” You were right dad, I do need to read those and will continue to read them the rest of my life.


Mom and I solved the quilt picture mystery over the Memorial day weekend. I was scanning pictures from their trip to the West and noticed the last three pictures were of quilts in the roll. I checked a couple of other rolls that were still packaged in the original store envelope and sure enough in nearly every roll the last three pictures or so were of mom’s quilts. So while she took around 100 pictures, dad probably took another 400 pictures of quilts using up the last of the film roll to do so.

I guess he loved those quilts more than we knew.

This is actually not a quilt but the border for a quilt (I knew the difference mom!). You then add the rest of the quilt once you have finished the border. My favorite quilt personally is the one mom made for each of the boys when they were born. Those quilts were taken everywhere by the boys and we still have them.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Driveway racing (Kinser Pike) and a warning for Indiana Drivers.

The back deck on Kinser Pike. (my parents house). This is pretty early on because the deck is small, there is no screened eating area and the swing set is still Albums521there. Later the backyard was made into a wild life habitat and was a lot more packed with things growing.

Still a lot of snow there.

I wonder where the dogs went?

Mom hates Jan/Feb weather she say’s that is why her and dad always traveled during those months. As a child mom grew up in Northern Illinois and then Central Wisconsin so her idea of snow is lot of snow. This looks like the snows they used to have in Wisconsin. We would race outside at Grandpa and Grandma’s house and start pelting down the hill towards the lake on sleds. Mom and dad’s house was on a somewhat flat (sloped slightly from back to front) yard so there was no sledding unless you wanted to pelt down the driveway.


Here is Barb and Jakki hanging out on the old swing set in mom and dad’s back yard (Jakki is the one on the slide). Jakki when she was little used to love to play a game called catch me. I would stand at the bottom of the stairs and she would fling herself off the 3rd stair and say catch me.

One time Barb didn’t. It is probably the only memory Jakki has of being little. The failed catch me day. It was her favorite sport and in Barb’s defense she was holding a ton of stuff at the moment the child was launched towards her in the air.

Jakki loved that old play set. She and I used to sit on the swing or she and Barb would sit on that swing and just swing the day away. This is before the boys were born when Jakki was 4 or maybe 5 years old. Barb was still working as a video producer at that point but those days were going to end soon.

The play set seen here was taken down a few years after this picture.


Here are Dad and Lynne helping Megan with her first driving lesson. Check out those eyes. For those of you in Indiana who see those eyes in the rear view mirror it is recommended you get out of Megan’s way!

I don’t really have more for this picture than the PSA (get out of her way!!!!!!!!!!!!). Other than over the years mom and dad lived at Kinser pike they had a couple of interesting riding toys. There was one the flying turtle and all of the kids used to love to tear down the driveway in that. We always had a parent out there watching (in case they tore down the driveway and past the end of the driveway onto Kinser pike). They would all get out of the car and race for the turtle and other riding toys. Just I guess and Lynne and I used to race for the captain’s hat and fishing poles. If you didn’t get the captain’s hat you had to wear the cowboy hat. There really weren’t other hats that were worth wearing. Do you remember those days of September?

The driveway races of Kinser Pike. The kids had a blast!


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

We had a chance to visit mom and dad in Bangkok Thailand…

From the balcony at IPST Bangkok Thailand 2004. We all had a chance to go visit mom and dad at IPST where dad was teaching post retirement. I was sent DSC02152out to get coffee (which was located in the common area. On the way there I ran into dad (also getting coffee for the same reason) and we talked for a moment looking out over this beautiful vista.

Last weekend both mom and I said “I need to get back to Thailand.” Called sometimes Siam and also sometimes called the land of smiles it is a wonderful country. The people, the food and in the end just everything. I remember the fruit that was so fresh and tasty. I have in my entire life never had pineapple as good as that in Thailand. My fondest memories was of the Sunday market and watching the great kite battles.

I have been to Thailand twice since I lived there and both times were as good if no in the end different than than the times in the early 70’s. A great part of the city is more like Tokyo or Kuala Lumpor now. You would be hard pressed to be able to identify them just by this skyline. But the people haven’t changed. They remain friendly and caring. Perhaps it is that they loved my parents so much the rest of us were brought along for the ride.


“Do you want to see Alligators?” Mom asked the boys.

They just smiled, nodded and said yes at exactly the same time.

We visited the crocodile farm and show. Actually the crocodile, alligator farm and show. I can honestly say that while I saw two huge stone alligators, I saw two real alligators that were even bigger. I had seen the show 30 years before and frankly it wasn’t any different. A little in the end disturbing I guess. I could never stick my hand in the alligators or crocodiles mouth.

The boys of course thought it was the greatest show on earth. This was the first day we were in Bangkok. They wanted to go to this show every day we were there. We didn’t in th end, they lost that battle, but this is what they wanted to do more than anything.


The biggest difference between twins and a single child is that twins always have someone to play with. Here they are in the room we were sleeping in at IPST on the second day. Barb and I were dragging (jet lag) but they were going strong powering through any jet lag as if it didn’t exist.

We vacationed like this frequently, all 5 of us in one room. We did one stateroom on both cruises we took, and every vacation we’ve taken since.It’s a little more crowded now as the boys have grown considerably. We actually used their Nintendo portable game systems (DS I believe) as their airplane entertainment. We took games and batteries and the boys made it through all 24 hours in an airplane at age 4 without a single fit.

It was an amazing opportunity for them to see more than simply another US State. It is after all a world that you can easily reach anywhere in less than a day.

You’ve seen the beginning of day one, the end of day one and now the beginning of day two. More to come…


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

The days we remember and the memories we each create…


A blending of new and old memories. Mom spent the Memorial Day weekend with us. We spent Sunday afternoon in Annapolis adding to the family history project. Simply put a fantastic day for everyone! Mom’s biggest complaint was that her grandsons and grand daughter walk to fast.

This is down the main drag of old Annapolis. The Mary Land hotel is there on the right. It kind of reminds me of Cambridge Wisconsin although Cambridge was never as big. It also has the same eerie main drag as Wisconsin Dells did back in the day. We walked down the main drag and found a nice place for lunch. (Mom wanted crab cakes, they weren’t Maryland Crab cakes because Maryland crabs are as our tour guide said “still getting fat in the mud.” They were wonderful however.

Then we wandered back to the visitor center and rode around Annapolis on the trolley. We got to see the old city and the newly created city that make up Annapolis.


This picture is from the hill on the far side of Annapolis. To the left side of the picture on the far shore is the US Naval Academy. The two flags, US and Maryland flying over the memorial. Below us is the WWII memorial created by the State of Maryland. It is modeled after the monument in DC. I won’t “Sheldon Cooper Fun with Flags” you but the Maryland State flag is the only State flag with two coats of arms on it. The two founding families of the original colony have their costs of arms on the flag.

Our new family history project motif, family history isn’t static its always being made. So the first in a series of things we are doing right now. Family trips, holidays and other right now events (a few days after the actual event) presented to you as part of the ongoing Family History Project.

Back to Annapolis. One of the oldest cities in North America and part of one of the original American Colonies there is a wonderful mix of old and new in the city. The trolley ride takes you into the new town next to Annapolis and the historic sections of old Annapolis.


Ending up at the fireperson’s memorial. They add the names of fire professionals that lose their lives in the service of other’s to the memorial. Two more names will be added for Maryland Firefighters that lost their lives in 2014. The one memorial to firefighters that has haunted me and stayed with me more than any other is the one done just after 9-11 on the Garrison Keillor show “A Prairie Home Companion.” The song speaking of Firefighters running up the stairs of the two towers helping other’s get out. Carrying 80 pounds of gear running up the stairs helping 100’s of people get out of the burning inferno. Firefighters that never made it back out. They kept running up until there was no where to go but heaven.

It was wonderful having mom here all weekend. Everyone got to hang out, do fun things and talk. There is something to be said for sitting in your kitchen and talking to people. Expressing the ideas, memories and concepts that in the end bind a family.

So I will end with my mother’s favorite quote “Its your memory.”


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

To those no longer with us, who died protecting our freedoms. Thank you for your service,

On this day we remember…

Just a day ago was the 70th anniversary of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima. As much a symbol of the nearing end of the war as a symbol of greatness it is without a doubt one of those moments that will live forever. Marines raising a flag on the volcanic island high into the hair. But for them to raise that flat many had to die that day. It is a day, a war and a sacrifice that we remember today Memorial Day.

To all those who have given their lives so that the rest of us can walk freely on this earth thank you. Today we remember those who served, but never made it back home. Those heroes whose sacrifice keeps our country free. The number of places and the names of people far too long for my blog. Starting with the Revolutionary war and winding all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan today.

We will never forget. I think on this day as we remember those who fell and we honor those who fell and whose names are forgotten, not their deeds just their names. Honor those without names who died in the end alone. Their sacrifice measured and qualified for greatness but we do not know their names. Not from lack of trying but from misfortune and lost identification. Remember those who died without their names. Remembering those who we lost far to young and those who died to preserve the freedoms of others.

Let us ring the bells of the Carillon towers. Bring forth the bell music and remember our heroes. Those who fell, and in falling could not rise. Those whose sacrifice kept us free. We remember you today and every day we are free.

Taking a day trip yesterday…

We spent the day in Annapolis yesterday. Fantastic weather not to hot, just right for being outside. We rode the trolley around the city and explored a little PIC_0281of the old city. We enjoyed lunch (crab cakes, but not Maryland Crab yet) and stopped by the organic Ice Cream store to enjoy a little ice cream as well.

It always amazes me to see buildings that were built 250 or more years ago that are fine. Standing, still functioning and many of them still actually used for exactly their original purpose. Things once were built to last. Buildings that have names attached to them that represent what was the founding of our country. It seems fitting to have visited Annapolis on the day before memorial day.

Annapolis is also the home of the US Naval Academy. Just a beautiful compound housing the facilities. Annapolis is also the state capital of Maryland and the county seat of Anne Arundel cou8nty. It nestled gently at the point where three rivers converge into the Chesapeake Bay.

Once a thriving sea port, that seaport is now Baltimore a little to the North. it is a town that features old and new brought together. It was simply an amazing day for one and all. My mother was in town for a visit which made the day trip that much more fun for all!