My father, human being, frustrating and my hero…


This image of the creek that runs throughslidetray010 Springmill State Park in Southern Indiana. Springmill was a restored pioneer town and a working well working most of the time water mill. There aren’t many places that make grinding stones so when the grinding stones cracked they didn’t operate the mill until a new one could be made. The goal was to recreate life in Indiana in the 1830’s.

My dad took this picture in the late 1960’s. The funny thing is if you went today it pretty much looks just like this, roughly 40 years later. If you had a time machine and went back to the 1840’s the bridge wouldn’t be there but everything else would be the same.

Dad was always interested in the history of where we were. I remember him coming to a screeching halt by the side of the road to read an historical market. He and my grandfather Andersen took any number of pictures of the various historical markers they encountered. Everywhere we went as a family we always found something of historical or learning interest. I find myself doing the same thing to my family.

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I have talked many times about the wonderful picture dad took. This still of Springmill State Park, we went there a few times over the years. What I haven’t done in the year plus since dad died is talk about the man. Not the father or the person I grew up with but the person that touched other people. The teacher, the professor and the man.

My dad was never a tall person. He stood 5”9” until the day the doctor measured me at 5”9” and I was taller than eh was. Then he moved slowly down to the 5”8” he really was. He told people he was 27 years old. If you walked along the street and he passed you and you stopped him and said how are you? He would always answer I am incredible. If he asked you and you said good, he would say I am incredible.

My dad was very liberal. Not communist died in the wool destroy the country but liberal. He believed in equality for all. Men, woman, race, creed or orientation. He was a staunch defender of the little guy.

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We had a family friend whose husband left her with two kids. Whenever we were together dad acted like dad for them as well. He was just that way. I remember watching sporting events with dad, and if IU wasn’t playing dad would always root for the underdog. Now if IU were playing you darn well better be quiet and listen. Oh yeah and in our house we rooted for IU.

Dad sometimes had to work on Saturday mornings, as did mom. When Lynne and I were old enough to be responsible for lunch we made lunch for dad. No matter what was on the TV when dad got home he would seize control by invoking the educational TV rule. Educational TV included virtually anything dad wanted to watch including wresting.  I would argue (and lose) saying wrestling was not educational TV. One time he wanted to watch Wrestling, I was actually watching a National Geographic special, he said Wrestling was more educational. I lost.

Dad always expected a lot of his children. I guess because he grew up a cobblers son, the whole shoe thing applied. Dad expected us to be in love with the acquisition of knowledge and the act of learning. I can say I still am. I love to learn new things. Because of my father.

In August and September we would wander down to mom and dad’s house for family events. Without fail we would take home the most amazing tomatoes and peppers and other things dad had grown. But he didn’t just give those to family. Everyone he knew or met got tomatoes, peppers and whatever else he was growing. From the time I was 8 years old he played with growing various fruit trees.

As I pour though the thousands of slides and pictures dad took I miss him less now than I did. I can always see his view on the world by looking at the pictures he took. Dad is here in these words. He taught me to sit and write at a typewriter, to be creative. Dad taught me to love books, love reading and most of all love him. Iaf you asked my dad a question you would get one of two answers. He would ask you to think about what you were asking and see if you could figure out the answer or your own, the teacher. Or the smart aleck response. You could never tell what was coming next.

Thanks dad, I probably never told you enough how much you meant to me.

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wandering memory lane

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