Happy Mother’s day for all the mother’s I know. A special wish for the one’s I grew up with, and the one who helped me finish growing up!


Today is a singular day. One day we call out and say “today we celebrate you, mom.” I know many people that are mother’s. They sacrifice and worry, they share and delight in simplest things. Who else on this planet would clap their hands and tell you good job for putting away toys you got out? The rest of us expect you to clean up yourself. Mom thanks you. Mom hugs you and says good job when you clean up the Chocolate milk you spilled. Because mom is a lifetime job.

P4010070My sisters both have wonderful children, now all adults entering the world of work and school. Becoming adults like the rest of us. Although I suspect asking advice from Uncle Scott is always discouraged. This picture has all the mothers from our little group connected by marriage to my mother and father. Mom of course raised two fantastic daughters. There was another child but we don’t speak of him. Finally the last mother in the picture is the mother of my children, my wife. So we have in the picture my two Brother’s in law, Gary and Dana. My two sisters Lynne and Barb (and their daughters Megan and Courtney), my mother and my wife.

I want to wish all of them happy mother’s day. They have toiled long and hard and have brought wonderful people into this world. I am very proud of my two nieces and nephew. I am extremely proud of my two sisters (who are much younger than I am) and my brother’s in law. All of this made possible by the two people that started it all mom and dad. I am proud of the man my father was. I am proud of the person my mother is. Finally but not least, last only by nature of time, my wife. Barbara you have raised 4 wonderful kids. You, my sisters and my mother deserve much more than one single mother’s day. I hope today is special!

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This one, from 1999 of my wife and my children’s mother Barb. Sitting on the old swing at my parents house. The swing eventually went into disuse but there was a time when the grandkids arrived at Grandpa and Grandma’s and rushed to the swings. They climbed on the slide (never using the ladder by the way) the played on the actual swings and loved it. Like all things the swings eventually stopped being the center of whatever event there was. Grandma and Grandpa’s house was always the center really, the swings became the racing toys on the driveway. Then it became watching movies and now it becomes groups of people having conversations. Talking and discussing the world around us.

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Bubbles were always another activity at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents and parents always having a watchful eye on the little ones. You never knew when the wind might shift and everyone would be sipping soap bubbles in their drink.

Mother’s day should be more than one day. It should be something we remember every month. One day for the mother who brings you into the world. One day for the mother’s you grow up with and finally one day for the mother of your children. Finally bring that all together into one last day a year when we raise our glasses and toast the people that make the world a better place. Moms. Thanks to all of you.

Happy mother’s day!!!

.doc

child, father, brother

The last slides of the Carousel and one is a doozy!


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The old adage, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there does it make a noise? The scientific answer to that is of course, in the process of hitting the ground the tree makes a sound. The answer however from a philosophical perspective is that it would depend. Is it that with no one there the event never happened? Or is it that without recognition it doesn’t matter if the event happened?

Dad would argue the science until the day came home. He got frustrated fast when you moved to the philosophical side of that discussion. Later in life he moved to more of a Buddhist view, so the adage made more sense to him.

Or, and probably more true, I was frustrated him by arguing the philosophical and never arguing the logical. I like both arguments. It is the one thing my grandfather taught me. Mostly a lesson in customer service, but it was also to look at all sides of an issue. He did that mostly I think to counter act mom and dad who were far more liberal than he was.

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Wow.

My little sister with a very young Frosty. This was on the back porch of the house in Sycamore Knolls. We moved to that house after getting back from Bangkok. It is a funny thing that our family does.

We all buy houses and then spend every year changing the house. They start out as the perfect house, the house we wanted all along. Then we make changes to the house and frankly it becomes the house we wanted. We just saw the house we wanted in the nearly finished house we bought.

This picture would have been around 1977. I could be off a year or so in that estimate. I remember dad was on a trip when we got Frosty. She came from a farm in Northern Illinois or Southern Wisconsin. We got her, then headed down to O’Hare airport to get dad. He was coming in on an international flight. Then it was four hours in the car to Bloomington.

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It seems only fitting that the last slide to be shared from this Carousel would be of the river flowing away from us. Letting what was flow away and merge with the memories we have. The moments that were gone now, but remembered.

By the way Ms. Ooley I did notice the pant’s suit. Just wasn’t going to spend a lot of column space talking about it. I figure since at most family gatherings you are the primary cook, and often hold knives it would probably behoove me not to mention the outfit.

Except when have I ever kept my mouth shut?

.doc

Soon to be killed family historian

A city, an Orchard (Grove) and might Water Buffalo!


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A view of Bangkok. Buildings in the tropics are different than what I was used to. We lived in Chicago and then Bloomington Indiana. Houses there are designed to keep the cool  in and the cold out. In the tropics buildings tend to be more open. While it is certainly warmer on most days in Bangkok than it is in Bloomington Indiana. it is also more likely to have a good breeze. When we were there in 1972 and later in 2004 and 2005 for the most part people didn’t run their air conditioners all day, only at night. So the open design of the buildings let the breeze in. Long porches were the norm in Bangkok. It was a big change in building style but I loved the difference!

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The fruit on the tree was called “Rambutan” I suspect that is not the way its spelled. The little cutie in the picture is my little sister. Actually both of my sisters are much younger than I am. But this is mom and dad’s last kid. Based on me I would have thought I would be the last kid, but they kept trying for better kids and got lucky twice! The fruit was in an orchard and we wandered through the orchard picking and eating the fruit fresh. You peel the red covering off and eat the fruit inside. I think we ate quite a  few that day as we wandered through the grove.

This grove or orchard was outside of Bangkok (we took many trips outside the city while we were in Thailand) I just couldn’t tell you where it was.

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In the Teak forests Elephants are used to help move harvested Teak logs to the river to float down to the mills. In the cities Elephants help build buildings and roads. But in the rice paddies Elephants are too big to be of great use. Water Buffalo are the beasts of burden in the rice paddies.

You can see the farmer there off to the right watching the water buffalo carefully. They were valuable for the farmer as they helped with planting, managing and harvesting the rice. Thai rice is so amazing. It is without a doubt the best rice on earth. Like Thai pineapple I miss that taste and have since 1972!

.doc

Family Historian

The most amazing picture of my sister, the woods and a smile that makes me wonder…


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This is one of Dad’s digital pictures. He has about 2500 digital pictures taken between 2005 (when I gave him his first digital camera) and 2014 when he passed away.

Dad didn’t fully grasp the concept of a digital camera. Instead of reusing the memory card over and over he bought new ones. I ended up copying pictures off 40 smaller memory cards. Some of them I don’t think he ever looked at, just took the picture and moved on. The memory cards all went in a drawer in his desk. I guess it was enough for dad to know he took the picture. Sadly I thought that way for a long time. But I have realized though this project that pictures are best share. When you share pictures with other people they become real.

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What a phenomenal picture. First off Barb was rather unique in Bangkok (little blond girl). But also having her sit on the bike taxi for this picture. She was very cute when she was younger. (she is very beautiful now but then she was cute).

None of us were very good at posing for dad’s pictures. I suspect it frustrated him, he didn’t often ask us to pose but when he did we weren’t the easiest subjects. Still this particular picture is amazing. It captured the streets of Bangkok in 1972. They are very different now. You couldn’t even find a bike cab on the street this was on now. It is wall to wall cars now.

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He couldn’t get us to pose but he could virtually everyone else. Here is a smile from more than 40 years ago. I wonder sometimes what happened to the people, the ones I didn’t know at the time. The ones that were anonymous then, what happened to them?

This is an amazing smile and one that deserves a name. It deserves a story (that he grew up happy and became a doctor who saves children or that he invented a new way to storing digital pictures.). He deserves a story. I hope his story was happy.

Carousel 2, also 80 pictures like Carousel 1, so there are a couple more blogs worth of pictures. I am going to mix in some of dad’s digital pictures as well. Its only fitting that we wander the world as my father saw it.

.doc

Family historian (visual)

300 pictures of getting ready to take 300 pictures of kids on a couch…


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Apparently at various times the time out couch had a dress code. In this one Lynne and I must have done something horrible as we were forced to wear dress clothes and then placed on the time-out couch. There were a lot of photos of Lynne and I sitting on this couch. I am actually teasing my mother about it being the Time-Out couch. I suspect this was where they plopped us before we went somewhere and dad snapped pictures of us.

Just like every unfinished roll of film he had for years he took pictures of quilts. People are funny that way, or at least people were funny back in the day. You saved the photos in the roll you were taking until the very end. Then you couldn’t wait to see how the photos you took turned out so you snapped a couple of pictures you never would have taken but. The but in that case being you wanted to finish that roll and see the pictures.

So you snapped kids on a couch. Or you snapped images of quilts. Perhaps now that the digital world has replaced the analog camera world that practice stops. Or because in the end the cost is lower for taking the pictures instead it becomes worse. You take the picture of the couch, and dressing the kids for the couch and placing the kids on the couch. All because in the end you can. You no longer have to wait to see if it was a good picture so perhaps instead of the 1 or 2 images of Lynne and I on the couch there would be 300. Each one just a tad different than the last.

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As a youngster I climbed everything. My poor mother would say “don’t climb that” and then when she wasn’t looking I was climbing it or sitting like that on top the rocks. Dad would laugh, but never where mom could see him which of course encouraged and empowered me.

Everywhere we went I would climb. Everywhere mom would react. I became so used to that. One day when we were in Thailand mom didn’t say don’t climb that. I stopped climbing and asked her “aren’t you going to tell me not to climb this mom? She looked at me and shrugged. “no. Your going to climb anyway.” She never said it again. I didn’t stop climbing stuff but I did kind of miss her saying that.

The Green number 12 Jersey was because I was in my Joe Willy Namath phase. I loved watching pro football and my favorite team was the Bears. My grandfather had told me on Thanksgiving day when I was five years old that I would be a Bears fan the rest of my life. I was then and I am now. But I loved the brash quality that was Joe Namath. He had the talent to back up what he said and he was willing to say it. As a kid watching those early super bowls Joe Willy was the player we all wanted to be. I never had the arm to chuck it as far as Joe Willy could but I practices in the park being accurate with my throws and trying to look like Namath when I threw the ball.

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Another Jet’s jersey picture. And my little sister. This is in the backyard of Sherwood Oaks. We had added the fence around the back yard the summer before. Then dad had to add another fence around his garden patch. Phoebe had no problem going into the garden patch and eating the ripe vegetables that she liked. I suspect she though it was very kind of dad to got ahead and have food available for her snacking whenever the mood hit her.

Phoebe once at two bags of green apples. She ended up with a belly ache. Instead of chiding her Lynne and I sat there rubbing her belly. Dad was mad. He loved apples. He didn’t realize Phoebe loved apples as well. That was the first time the smart dog outsmarted one of the humans and ended up with the food. There were many more times that would happen.

Back to Dunstan Drive, dad was already experimenting with some of the new ideas in gardening. You can see the guides he had built there on the left. He painted them brown (don’t ask me why we later painted the Barn and the Garage Brown at the farm). Without a doubt dad grew amazing tomatoes. Phoebe loved them for sure.

So we had the fence in the fence to protect dad’s veggies.

.doc

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.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Images of the farm and preparing the Horseradish beds for Barbara Andersen’s taste testing delight!


Dad designed the gardens of the farm so that he could easily plant something and then be able to get at it from a variety of locations. These gardens were Albums 1127at the farm and as you can see laid out with gravel.

Dad was always thinking of different ways to grow things that would allow him to reduce the chemicals required to keep the bugs out of the garden. He tried any number of combinations over the years. When we lived in Dunstan drive he planted grapes along the fence. There was a long strip of grapes and blueberries on the farm as well.

Mom and Dad lived on the farm a little over 12 years. During that time there were a number of amazing things done. They started with 5 acres of land. They ended up with 10 acres of pasture and 5 acres of woods. Over 100 fruit and nut tress were planted. The edges of the pond were cleared so you could use it. A horse barn was built. An equipment barn was built and a pig sty was built. I remember painting the garage my parents had built during an IU Football game. Additionally some 200 or so pine tress were planted as well as an entire line of Jerusalem Artichokes. Of all the things dad ever planted the Jerusalem artichokes were by far the worst.

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Ever since I was a little kid we had dogs in the house. When Phoebe got older and we moved from Sherwood Oaks to Sycamore Knolls in Bloomington Frosty came to join us. Phoebe was a Newfoundland, loved to swim and loved people more than anything. Frosty was a Great Pyrenees. She was also extremely people oriented. We got Frosty from a breeder in Illinois on the way to O’Hare to pick up dad. She rode in the back window sill of the car all the way back to Bloomington. Frosty was always just a little bit off. When we moved to the farm she decided that she was no longer going to live inside a fence. No matter what we did to keep her in the fence she threw herself over that fence. So we gave up. Frosty did what Frosty wanted to do.

When we lived in town Frosty got away one time while she was in heat. We stayed up all night with her and her puppy but the puppy didn’t live the night. It was traumatic for everyone. I think most of all for Frosty. She was never quite the same after that.

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There was always something fun to do while living on the farm. Here Barb is digging a hole in the ground. Not just any hole by the way. Certainly not a nice hobbit hole, with a pantry and living room. No this was a trench. A long trench that would be filled with something that would grow.

Perhaps Horseradish? My wife loves Horseradish – actually that isn’t true. She only loves raw horseradish by dollop. Hand her that to start a party and away things go!

Barb was the youngest so lived on the farm the longest. That meant in the end she got to do all these fun jobs! Of course she did get to have a horse (Woodstock). I never knew if the horse was named after the music festival or the bird on Charlie Brown.

Could have been a trench for potatoes as well.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.