Who we become is shaped by those who guided us when we were young. Thank you.

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There is nothing else to be said but thanks dad.







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I love music. I learned to play guitar, piano and trumpet as I was growing up. I sang in choirs. I can’t say my voice is anywhere as good as either my daughters or my niece Megan but its ok. I loved that guitar though. Christmas day most like 1970ish. I still own a guitar today, and while I don’t play anywhere near as well as I would like I do try to improve. I love music because I grew up in a house where music was played. There were only 5 channels of TV when I was little and for the most part you could only watch 4. Later on we got cable and added WGN but when we were really little there were only two stations. I got my own radio when I was 8 years old. I loved that radio (it was my link to Armed Forces radio out of Vietnam while we lived in Thailand.

Mom tells me I am my own person and my love of water comes from being me. I will postulate instead that my love of water comes from the people I grew up with who loved water and music. I love both for many different reasons. I love boats and boating because of my grandfather Johnston and my father. Dad loved canoes (I have two) and Grandpa loved power boats (I had one for many years). Mom loves the beach. She would take us to the beach in Indiana all the time (Fairfax on Lake Monroe). It was the highlight of the summer, mom piling all of us into the old Mercury station wagon. When mom drove we used the air conditioning. When dad drove we enjoyed conditioned air (what happens when air goes through the open window of a car). Mom took us to that beach at Lake Monroe a number of times every summer. It was a thousand times the size of the beach Grandpa built at Lake Albums 693Ripley but it was never as good as Lake Ripley. I learned to swim there at Fairfax beach.  So in the end my love of water comes from the people I grew up with. My love of music though, that comes from my mom and dad. Dad used to sing in the car as he was driving (one song, over and over for 100’s of miles). Mom used to listen to Peter, Paul and Mary and other music of the 1960’s. We used to sing songs in the car all the time. Well mom, Lynne, Barb and I would sing songs. Dad would sing as well. “Detour there’s a muddy road ahead. Detour.” Over and over again. All it took to get that song out of his head was a detour sign. He did also sing songs he learned from his father at times. Mostly songs about world war I. “Oh we won’t come back till its over over there. Over there. Over there. The Yanks are coming. The Yanks are coming. And we won’t be back till its over over there.” Over and over and over. The two songs. I can honestly still hear them in my head. Every single car trip of more than 30 minutes had those two songs sung by dad.

Let’s end with when you live in the land of quilts you make do.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

My sister Lynne –

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Here is Lynne playing with MacGregor. Mac was our Collie. We got him shortly after moving to Sherwood Oaks which was a couple of years after we moved to Bloomington. I think it bothered mom that I was afraid of dogs by the time we moved to Sherwood Oaks. Not terrified run away crying just uncomfortable. Both mom and dad adored dogs and so McGregor joined our family. The name was picked in the car either on the way to get Mac or some other trip. I was reading a book about Scotland and was hooked on MacGregor as a name.

Lynne was always a dog person. Dogs love her. MacGregor was dad’s dog though. He loved dad more than anything. He certainly loved all of us but dad was the one person he did everything for. Lynne and I once attacked dad with snowballs and MacGregor joined in, attacking dad with us. His eyes lit up when dad was home.

Sadly he was with us for a very short time, just over two years.

I cried the day he died. I have cried every time I’ve lost a dog. Phoebe, Frosty, Duo, Gwen, Fran although I didn’t cry when we lost Blackie but he actually went to live with another family. Blackie and Gwen were the only two dogs we had that I didn’t actually have a lot of involvement in the picking process. The thing about dogs is that they are family members. As family members you have to accommodate them to a degree, they have to accommodate the family as well. So you must choose wisely.

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That’s Lynne again on the left. That is me in my infamous sailor suit. I would wear that every day and sleep in it if mom had let me. Normally it was off for sleeping so it could be quickly washed. But this new thing mom and dad brought home was amazing. This is one where she was just about a month old. I apparently was reading to her. Not that at two years old I could read but the concept of entertaining someone with a book was already ingrained in me.

Lynne is just less than two years younger than me (2 months less). She arrived in the world (in the usual way, my apologies to Harry Chapin I couldn’t resist) in October. I don’t recall much of that particular part of my life beyond the shards of memoires I’ve shared already. I do remember my sister though, just not until I was a little older than I am in this picture.

I remember once her and I decided that if you sniffed the back of a dogs neck you would be able to tell if the dog was purebred. We used to sniff Phoebe’s neck and announce “purebred.” I suspect Phoebe was the only dog on earth that would have let us do that. And we did it quite a few times because I remember us doing it. Lynne is a great sister, as you can see from this picture she was important to me from a very early age.

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I will end today with one last picture of my little sister (oh I am supposed to say MUCH YOUNGER SISTER) Lynne. Here she is by a lake. It isn’t Lake Ripley (because Lake Ripley’s shore line is filled with houses and cottages).

Your parents give you life, direction and love. Your sibling’s help you shape who you are. They are the first people on earth other than you parents who are there and care for you, not because you are a poet or a miracle worker but because you are.

I got lucky, twice!


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

For the love of water and a fun birthday event!

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Black and white photo taken of the Wisconsin River in the early 1950’s. Most likely near the Dells. Dad loved to take pictures of landscapes with snow. Snow never bothered him, but growing up in the middle of the land of snow would do that to a person.

Me I hate snow on the driveway. The dogs love snow on the walk however so I am willing to concede that there is a gentle beauty of the snow on the ground. Just not on my freaking driveway. Perhaps I should get a heated driveway that automatically melts the snow on the driveway?

There are a lot of pictures mom and dad saved of before they were mom and dad and a lot of those pictures are of snow. I guess when you live in the land of cheese and snow you love cheese and you love snow. So you take a lot of pictures of snow. What I wonder is where are the pictures of cheese?

One thing I have always known is that I love water. I always have. I love boats. I used to think it was because my grandfather had a boat and I was always in it. But I wonder now. Both my parents have 100’s of pictures of being in or near water. I was always around water as a child beyond simply Lake Ripley. I wonder now if the love of water is genetic. Passed from your parents to you.

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I don’t recognize the person in the picture but I do recognize the location of the picture. One of my grandfather Andersen’s favorite picture locations. He (grandpa Andersen) took pictures of all his kids and in-laws near this bend in the Wisconsin river near the Dells.

I suspect we should have gone there when we went to the Dells in 2010. It would have been fitting to take a picture of all of us there, many years later. But most likely the river has eroded this bit of shore by now. Still it is a great idea that I am having 5 years too late.

The part of Wisconsin mom grew up in was a tourist area. People from Chicago would flee North tot eh lakes of Wisconsin to escape the city. Grandpa and Grandma ran a mini-resort for many years. There were a lot of cabins around Lake Ripley. It is interesting because both of them moved away from the resort world. They went a different direction which I find interesting.

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There is a phenomena in our family. All the male grandchildren were born in March. So when we celebrated March birthday’s we celebrated dad’s on March 30th. Matt’s on March 17th and the boys on March 30th. This particular birthday was mathematically interesting. Combine dad’s birthday numbers with the boys and you have the 3 9’s birthday.

March 30 was hard this year,

3-3-9-66 was an amazing year.

Dad was always giving Barb books on twins. Raising twins was a topic he became greatly interested in. When we were agonizing over do we separate them for kindergarten or keep them together mom and dad were the voices that ended up making it an easier decision. So we separated them and it has been a good experience for both.

We are winding down the family history project. We may have as little as four weeks of scanning left. We hit and passed 30,000 scans two weeks ago and because of summer vacation time are scanning 150 +/- pictures a day. The scanning crew is ready to be done at this point.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Three distinct moments from the past…

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When I was little mom had a black box that had pictures in it. Lynne and I used to go through that box all the time, enjoying the pictures. I haven’t seen that box in more than 35 years. But when we opened the last box of pictures (that’s right the last box of pictures in the Family History project) that box was on top.

This picture leaped out of the box and onto my bog. Mom is smiling so this is probably pre-my birth. I caused my mother a lot of stress as a youngster. I may have been a handful although I doubt it in the end. My grandmother did say I was angelic. You only worried about what mom was thinking when she wasn’t smiling. If she wasn’t smiling one of two things were going to happen. The first is she was mad and you were going to hear about it. The second was she had a zinger and was about to loose it. Most people who knew mom would never know she had a wild sense of humor. There was a time when Pink Panther movies were coming out every other year or so that Dad said he would not go to “those movies” with mom and I. We laughed far too loudly according to dad and eventually the theater was going to “ask the two laughing people” to leave. They never did ask us to leave and we never missed a single Pink Panther movie. It is one of my favorite childhood memories. For years you could get mom and I to break into gales of laughter by simply asking us a question. “Does your dog bite?’’”

Anyway the black box is underway – there are some great old photos in it.

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Taken from the shore nearest the house on the farm. the pond. You can see the bench over on the bank next to what would become the horse barn. That whole cove/inlet/stream area used to have a submerged pier. Literally the pier was under water. Barb (my little sister) and I spent a day dragging all that wood out of the pond. Don’t ask me why we undertook such a dirty project but we did. It made it easier to pull the canoe into the far part of the pond without all the waterlogged wood impeding progress. Below this lake is the second sink hole. We first heard the name Kirksville (the town nearest the farm in Indiana) Lake. We thought at first that this idyllic pond was in fact Kirksville Lake. We were later told by a life long resident that the lower pond that no longer held water was in fact Kirksville Lake. Both pond and former lake were in fact Kharst Topography, or more simply a collapsed cave roof. There was actually a third sink hole in a straight line from the first two about a 1/4 mile into the woods beyond the old Kirksville Lake. It was much smaller and actually had the cave opening at the bottom although it was far to small an opening for us to do much more than poke flashlights in and see the cave for about 3 feet.

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On the far left of this photo is Dad. Then my Uncle Keith, then grandma Johnston and grandpa Johnston. They were standing in front of the side door of the house that faced the road. The front door of the house was the door that faced the side yard, this back door was actually used as the front door. But Grandpa never called it the front door because they and a formal front door on the side of the house. I suspect this is from the day of Mom and Dad’s wedding but I couldn’t be sure. Mom and dad were married in a church in Cambridge Wisconsin. It is a weird church in that it actually spans two counties in Wisconsin Dane and Jefferson Counties. Mom recently found out after many years that the county she thought she was married in was actually not the county she was married in because of the way they were standing in the church. It would be funny if it wasn’t crazy.

I spent many summers in this house. It was and remains a happy place in my memories. A place that we spent a long time getting to (7-8 hours in the car) but were always greeted warmly with love when we arrived.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

The last day at Pataya and the last day in Thailand.

The valiant warriors fell upon the couch their day done. In exhaustion too tired to pick up their swords and resume the fight. After hours of swimming in the DSC02666pool they could no longer rise above the level of couch.

Thus begins day 8 of our tale. Exhausted and forced to have fun at the Ocean in Thailand our valiant warriors needed rest.

In the hotel room. The boys were fried early afternoon. We spent the day in the Ocean and we spent the day in the pool. By mid-day they were gone. We drove back to Bangkok that afternoon.

I think the pool at the hotel was their favorite part of the whole trip. They enjoyed the food but n the end the pool won out. By the 8th day they were actually trying Thai food. Well Jakki wasn’t but the boys were starting to. The jet lag for the adults was over for the trip there. We would get hit again on the trip back. The kids didn’t really suffer, but it is so much harder to tell with the boys. They run until they drop most of the time at least at that age.




The first two images of the boys in the pool. They loved that bridge over the swimming area and jumped off that over and over. As seen from the top photo they played themselves into a stupor. That happened often when they were that age. They went until they could went no more. The last photo was taken by me walking out onto the beach at low tide. I remember low tide from when I was a kid there. We used to stay just South of where we were for these pictures. There was a sand bar that appeared just offshore every day. We would run out to that sand bar and play cricket, baseball and anything else we wanted it the sand bar was huge.


There is something about being by, in or near the ocean. First off I love to take pictures of the ocean. I got that from my father. But lastly there is a majesty in the creatures and people that ply the oceans. To the left what is left of a crab in full fighting position but sadly not going to fight anymore.

The boys remember little of that trip, isolated moments of long ago. As I have no memories of some of the pictures we are scanning from my childhood. Images that are clearly them but they can’t place the moment, place as it were the place they were in.

Perhaps someday when I am gone they will read these words to their grandchildren. Here is what the world was like back when cars didn’t fly and people traveled on airplanes. Back when the air was actually polluted and the climate was changing around us. Before we solved all of that. At least I hope they will be able to read these words to future generations and remember their dad, and the time they were in Thailand.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Dolls taking over the world. Dogs taking over the kitchen and a cat that hated everyone Iexcept Barb).

I mentioned before that mother used to make dolls. They were called Dolls by Marisa. Each was unique. The dresses, faces and bodies put together by mom Albums 035and her friend Mrs. Culver.

Both mom and dad were (are) extremely creative people. Dad’s great gift was taking a space and turning it into a garden. Mom’s greatest gift came with a sewing machine and time. Quilts, dolls nod all manner of clothing including Halloween costumes were created. All the grandchildren have pictures and favorite quilts, favorite costumes and the girls all used to have a doll by Marisa to boot!

I do have to say it is a little unnerving seeing the dolls lined up like this. It looks like the beginning of a horror movie with the dollars marching into the room to take over. The blank stares make it seen a little more scary. The one in the front left of the picture appears to be stepping forward. As I said the picture a little scary but you get that sometimes right? Its normal to be scared of dolls right? Why do I feel like I am talking to myself?

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A picture of Duo in the kitchen. Duo was my dog. Everyone used to make fun of Duo for not being smart. He was sweet and people mistook that for not smart. He was as I said just a really sweet dog. Dogs give you what are missing sometimes in your personality. At the time Duo joined my life sweet wasn’t really me. He was and it helped me a lot as I kind of added sweet to the repertoire.

At his prime Duo weighed 120 pounds. He was much smaller than his father (140) but all muscle.

I miss him.

Actually I miss him, Frosty, Phoebe, Macgregor, Gwen and Fran. Sometimes I think about them and the gifts they shared with me. I would say that I have been blessed knowing great dogs, but in the end I’ve found dogs are great period you just have to notice.

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Of all the pictures dad took of my little sister Barbara this one is the most iconic. Mao, the cat in the picture really didn’t like anyone but Barb. She used to sit at the top of the stairs and swat at people as they came into her house. I told the story already of moving out of Sycamore Knolls (after she was declawed but still an occasional outside cat) and finding 40 or more dead birds behind the bushes.

But anyway this picture of Barb is my favorite. She is looking not at the camera but at something beyond the camera. Mao actually looks happy not angry. I have loved this photo for years. IT used to hang on the wall at Kinser Pike. Dad took a photography class at Indiana University when we were young. Part of that class was taking portraits and for a few years after that class dad would take and continued to take some amazing portraits. Most of them are 8” by 10” so the size of the image is too large to include here on my blog but they were his best photos.

He had many portraits of Barb, both grandfathers, mom, me and Lynne. All of them are amazing and captured the person at different times of their lives.

This one though is the best one of Barb.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

A moment. A memory. Family history project….

My mother’s mother, my grandmother Monie Johnston holding Matt at their house in Cambridge Wisconsin. I recognize the chair and position of that chair in Albums 895relation to the window at the back of the house. Her first great grandchild. Grandma was a great cook and a really smart business person. She ran the books for her and Grandpa’s cottage business. I remember one time we were sitting in the living room and guests came for the first cabin. It was probably Juneish and the weather was perfect lake weather.

Grandma brought out this huge ledger book she kept in her room. She wrote the amount of the deposit and the amount that would be due at the end of the week and then gave the family the key. It was my second introduction to the world of business (I went to the store a few times with Grandpa as well) and I was hooked. But here she is great-grandma. I think that was the happiest she would be that year getting to be a great grandmother. Sadly she would pass away later that year. She did get to make it to Lynne’s Wedding, and both my weddings. We had to have a tent out in the yard for our wedding it was so hot we thought everyone would melt.

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Not sure what this motely crew was up to. From the looks on the faces I would have to project no good out of this. They couldn’t be the new Bonny and Clyde as there were two of them and four here. From the far left you have my sister Barb. Then you have mom’s dear friend Barb Sturbaum. Odd one one in this crew is my sister Lynne who wasn’t allowed to be called Barb and at the end my wife Barb.

I keep thinking of that second city song, these are the Dave’s I know I know. These are the Dave’s I know. Except replacing Dave with Barb. The picture was taken in the driveway at Kinser pike looking out over the cornfields. I suspect this was possibly the annual holiday shopping trip. Or as the males in the family called it “The boondoggle,” The girls went off shopping for a weekend and the guys got the kids. Although Jakki, the boys and I used to have a blast on those weekends. We would head to Bob Evans for breakfast and watch fun movies all day long. but still the boondoggle phrase came up more than once. In fact it came up several times. But the trip happened every year. They would rush off to shop in whatever Albums 583location they had picked usually as far away from their husbands and children’s as possible in an 8 hour car ride.

Mom and dad pre-me so from the 1950’s. Dad had that crew cut for many years. It faded slowly towards the 1990’s into a short haircut but was a Buzz cut for many years. My haircut during the period before my mother said I could grow it out was a Buzz cut. Then it was long and the man in Colorado asked if all of dad’s daughters wanted to ride horses. Not that it is wrong to be a girl nor is there anything wrong with girls. Just that I wasn’t a girl and didn’t intend to be a girl and identified my gender at that time as male. I do not think there is anything wrong with feeling like your gender is your gender. Even if you are a man trapped in a woman’s body or a woman trapped in a man’s body. It is in the end the labeling thing that hurt me. So after that my hair was and remains short to this day.

I suspect one of my grandfathers took this picture. I can’t tell by the handwriting for sure but it looks like my grandfather Andersen’s handwriting. I am basing that on the fact that it looks like my father’s handwriting. Dad always mixed cursive with block lettering and switched between them at times in the same word.

These are the memories of our family. The moments from which laughter grew. Small vignettes of our lives patched together with text and spewed onto the Internet. Quiet moments, loud moments and seconds that captured are forever and yet lost.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow