More of Dad’s European pictures and thoughts on time, skills and honor…


carousel 090One of the coolest things in Europe is the reality of space. It is the same in Asia. Things exist long before the modern world. Cars come along and you need roads. Shopping centers spring up next to buildings that have there for 300 years. You can’t tear the building down so you build around it. It is the mixing of old and new. Not that we wouldn’t do that in the US, we just don’t always have as much of the old. There are many cities on the east coast that have buildings from the Revolutionary War that are in the middle of a strip mall.

Valley Forge is surrounded by a mall and a commercial office park. So we do it to, there just aren’t as many older buildings so it isn’t as pronounced. It is one of my favorite things about both Asia and Europe. Now in Singapore you have to go off the beaten track to see the old buildings. The few that do remain in the main city are hidden by hills and trees. You wouldn’t know they were there. During a project once I was in an old building. It was beautiful and I was waiting for the rest of the team to come down for lunch. I read in the courtyard that I was in the central police HQ famous as the HQ of the invading forces from Japan. Rumors of ghosts fill that building but I never met any personally.

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Then you wander across something like this. One of the things I have always wanted to do in London is go to Oxford. I want to see where CS Lewis lived but more importantly I want to see the buildings where JRR Tolkien walked around. I want to touch the walls he touched. The last couple of times I had sight seeing time in London I was with someone that hadn’t been before so they wanted to see the traditional sites.

The last time I was in Dublin I was actually alone for a three day weekend. So I did the sight seeing I wanted to. I went to the bar James Joyce used to sit in and write. I wanted to see where the great man created. I did also wander over to the Guinness tour and the Jamison tour but only because I have about a 1/4 Irish in me.

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When I was little I always dreamed about buying my grandfather’s house on the lake in Wisconsin. I know it was probably a dream that would never happen but I used to fantasize about that. Ancestral homes for most of my families past are in Holland (Barb), Denmark and Ireland (me) and a little scotch for both of us.

I realize now, why the people that bought the house on the lake expanded it right away. They had three kids and the house was pretty small. There were really only two full bedrooms in the house along with a living room and family room. But when I was little that house was bigger than all outdoors. There were miles to explore and wonder about. My great grandfather and grandfather built the house so it was a legacy. Dad was good with building things as well. He tried so many times to teach me. My mind works best solving computer problems and wondering about the integration of tiny devices. I don’t do as well with a hammer. Is it in the end evolution to move away from what your family did for many years? My great-grandfather was a finish carpenter for the Pullman Car company of Aurora Illinois. My grandfather Johnston built his house by the lake and the cottages. My grandfather Andersen was as cobbler who made shoes. I wish I had even the smallest amount of their skills with tools.

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Family Historian

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