My wife pulled together some of her favorite pictures in her family history project. Well, she started to do that and then stopped. There was a time when she was going to have me print all the pictures she put in her family history project but then decided that seeing them online and wandering them digitally would be better. Better for the trees at the very least. But there is still a folder with pictures from her childhood, and pictures from her children’s childhood as well. Funny how the evolution from child to adult to parent catches you sometimes. It isn’t that we grow wiser with each passing day. Rather with luck, we learn some of the things not to do as we get older.
If I may for a moment since I have your attention wax nostalgic, there have been moments captured by the pictures I share that are treasures for me. I should find value in every picture, and I try. But some pictures now only cause pain. I realized today I don’t share the pictures that cause me pain anymore. It hasn’t been a willful or intentional not sharing. Simply, I don’t want to deal with the pain-sharing those images causes right now. I may never share some of those images. I wonder as he is the gneiss of the family history project if my father felt that way about some of the images. I suspect, knowing my father the non-sharing was more his desire only to share perfect pictures.
How we deal with painful memories is an interesting problem. Sometimes we have to share that there is a pain. Sometimes sharing causes the pain. I am not avoiding the first; I am avoiding the second. I am perfectly willing to accept any pain I cause. I am responsible for the pain I cause myself and others. I am not, however willing to accept pain from others any longer. I do not close the door; I leave the screen door shut. I don’t want to let insects in, just a gentle reminder that the screen is shut. I wish I had a better metaphor, but I don’t. Except to say I don’t believe in closing doors. A closed door, as I’ve said before may never again open. You never know what you are losing every minute the door is closed.
The images that make my wife happy, from her past, our past and of course all part of the family history project.
There was a recent movie, A Dog’s Life, that I didn’t go see in the theaters. Not that I didn’t want to see the movie, but just watching the commercials made me cry and I couldn’t go to a theater and cry for two hours. Those are the movies I need to watch at home so I can watch or read something really funny right after finishing the movie. I learned that after reading the book “Marley and me” while traveling. Also, with the journey’s we’ve taken as a family with the dogs around us. I remember every single dog I have ever been around. From Mac the collie, Anna Banana the Dachshund to Frosty and Duo the Great Pyrenees or Phoebe the Newfoundland. Every dog that lived with us changed the course of our journey. Phoebe was a second mother, always watching us and waiting to be with the family. MacGregor was a beautiful collie. He loved us but he was dad’s dog. He lived literally to see and be around dad.
The journey we take and the ones that dogs take with us really is pretty incredible. First of all, there are those who love more than anything to hang out with cats as well. They see cats the same way that I see dogs. Which is wonderful. They are companions on the road of life! Anyway today’s journey is about the changes dogs make to your family. They, the dogs, have changed as have cats. From their natural and traditional habitats and lifestyle to living with humans. They are the prowlers at night that wander your house and make sure everything is safe. You don’t often hear about guard cats, but guard dogs are not mythical. They are real additions to your home or business. Wandering around at night making sure that everything is where it is and that is where it should be. Sometimes the best part of having a dog or cat living with you, is the greeting when you get home!
Now, when they get to come with us, in their eyes, that is much better. You see then they can make sure we don’t get into trouble or cause mischief. Raven is always nervous when her boys are out and she isn’t supervising them. Much as Fran used to want to be supervising Jakki, all the time. Dylan has given up trying to train me, other than making sure I don’t yell at the TV while watching sports. Then he nips my feet to remind me to be quiet. We have had dogs living with us now in every house we have ever had. Duo lived with us in our rental house in Bloomington before we moved to Cincinnati. Blackie joined us in Fairfield Ohio and lived with us until we moved to Western Hills. Gwen joined us in Western Hills, Mt. Airy and Greenwood. Fran lived with us in Greenwood and Maryland. Dylan joined us while in Maryland living in Gaithersburg and moved with us to Germantown. Raven joined us in Germantown, three years ago now. Dogs are wonderful additions to our life!.
(This picture is actually from Greenwood Indiana not Cincinnati the memories are from Ohio, the picture from Indiana) Beyond King’s Island there are a number of other reasons to visit Cincinnati Ohio. One of them is a converted Warehouse by the Ohio River that is now a Children’s museum. Like play areas we seldom passed a Children’s museum. There were many years when we spent more time visiting children’s museums than art or other museums. Here the crew is getting ready to go into the museum. The boys were at the true Toddler stage of life. They toddled everywhere rather than walking. Until they saw something they really wanted then they ran. Downtown Cincinnati Ohio is nestled against the Ohio River. Jakki’s favorite park as a small child was the river park. At one end the park has a pole showing the height of flood waters at various times in history (the top of the pole has the 1930’s marker, a scary flood.) The park has serpentine wall that wanders along the Ohio and has a quay in the middle of it. The old restored riverboats docked there. During our time in Cincinnati we lived on the North side (Fairfield) then on the East side (Maineville) and then our last two stops were on the West side (Western Hills and Mt. Airy).
Inside the Children’s museum. Becca (barb’s oldest) attended the Cincinnati School for Creative and Preforming arts. That school was located in an area of Cincinnati known as Over the Rhine. Primarily because at the time it was settled the primary residents of that part of the city were of German descent, and missed the Rhine River. There, somewhere in the Over the Rhine district of Cincinnati is the never finished subway. There is also an abandoned trolley car system that connected two of the seven hills of Cincinnati Ohio. The city is surrounded by Seven Hills and all slope down to the Ohio River. Nestled near the river, but on the other side of the city from the Children’s museum is Jakki’s favorite restaurant. It wouldn’t be her favorite now but it was then. We would go to the Montgomery Inn Boathouse for dinner on occasion. The Montgomery Inn which started in a location in Montgomery one of the cities on the East side of Cincinnati, was the best rib joint in the city! Also famous for their cobbler. One night we were at the boathouse actually sitting on the river side at a table and Barb asked Jakki (pointing out at the river) what is that?
Jakki said “bath” although, if you do ever visit Cincinnati, I would not advise bathing in the Ohio. Across the river from downtown Cincinnati was actually one of our favorite locations later on in our living there. They built an amazing aquarium in Northern Kentucky. It was one of the coolest (not as nice as the Shedd aquarium, but nice) it was in Norwood Kentucky. We would often zip down and spend the afternoon enjoying the fish experience. We kept our first boat on the Eastern side of the Cincinnati River front. I won’t say where, because frankly the place was a dive but we enjoyed taking the boat out on the Ohio river and cruising. There are many things to do, and many things to remember about Cincinnati Ohio. We spent 9 years in the city. Our second longest tenure in a city. Our longest tenure so far is Greenwood, and Bloomington. I have 19 consecutive years in Bloomington and Barb has 19 consecutive years in Bloomington. (Barb moved to Arizona when she was 19 years old breaking her first streak. I moved to Cincinnati Ohio breaking my post Bangkok longest streak in Bloomington). Anyway, the children’s museum is a nice Cincinnati stop. The first and last picture are on the way in, and the way home. The middle picture is of the sand tables. We spent a lot of time at sand tables.
This crew loves amusement parks. I have to be honest when I was thinner I loved them, when I was heavier not as much. So this summer we will have to see which camp I end up in. The roller coasters kill my back so I think my favorite ride now is the park bench in front waiting for the rest of the crew. This from outside King’s Island in 2009. We went back 10 years after leaving Cincinnati for a family outing. We used to go to King’s Island 4 or 5 times a year when we live in Cincinnati. Barb is a roller coaster addict. I think she has ridden about every major roller coaster in the Midwest. This spring is a number of anniversaries that are coming (a couple have already passed). The first is the anniversary of Fran’s passing (our Lab) The three big ones coming up are June 1, the day 25 years ago that Barb and I moved away from our Childhood’s and haven’t looked back as we moved to Cincinnati Ohio. The next one is a lot harder and is the passing of my father in early June. Finally June 15 is the anniversary of 25 years of marriage.
I don’t mean to sound wistful and sad. Its just that over time you collect a number of good and bad memories about time periods. Memories that stay with you until you wrap them up and make them part of who you are. You can’t move past anger without accepting that no matter how angry you are about something it wasn’t the other person’s fault. You are partially responsible and need to be accountable. The same is true for the sad memories that float around you. You have to own them. To stop on the anniversary of the sad memory and recall happy things about that event or person. My father taught me how to read. My dad taught me how to throw a baseball. My grandfather taught me about boats and how to golf. Fran was there protecting her girl when I couldn’t be there. She protected the whole family when I couldn’t be there.
Nick and I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Island an.took pictures from up on top.
We lived off in that not to far distance at our last apartment in Cincinnati Ohio. We (Barb and I) started out with Becca in a Townhouse in Fairfield. When Jakki was on the way we moved to a two bedroom apartment in Maineville Ohio (just South of King’s Island) and then after Jakki arrived, Becca, Jakki, Barb and I moved to our hosue on Shafer Avenue. in Western Hills. My grandfather came and spent a week with us at that house. Our last house in Cincinnati Ohio was WillowCove, which was in Mt. Airy. The last move in Cincinnati was the first entire family move with Barb, Becca, Jakki, Nick, Luke and Gwen all moving at once. Seems like only yesterday that all of us were together.
Family holidays are always fun. July 4th was always a big one when the kids were little. We for many years would sit on the porch of the place where my sister worked (actually on the sidewalk in front of the building) and watch the parade go by. Here we have the girls relaxing and waiting for the festival to start. It was an expedition for us when we lived in Cincinnati, and we have only been back one year around July 4th since moving to Maryland. We didn’t go tot he parade in 2014 when we came back. But those years are stored in our digital picture archive. It is fun to watch the kids when they were that little. They aren’t that little anymore. But they were that little once. It brings back nice memories of them.
Beanie, braces and bunnies. The three B’s of Easter. This taken at our house in Indiana (Greenwood). In the kitchen looking out over the back deck. This picture from 10 years ago. Jakki (Beanie) was 13 at the time of the picture. She still has that beautiful smile. Jakki loved stuffed animals for many years, so I got her a lot of them. Barb got her a lot of them. Luckily as she got older she got easier to buy presents for. She is really good about saying this is what I want. It is fun as kids get older and are able to share and guide you. You don’t have to worry if they will like the present. When kids are young you know what they want. Sure every commercial on TV is something they react to, but the things that mean the most to them are the ones they come alive for. They see them in the store and make a bee line directly to them. That’s what you watch for when they are little. As they get older it gets harder to remain connected to what they love. So when they stop and tell you, its easier!
I’ve shared this picture before but I love it so much. This is Halloween 1998. The boys are seven months old. Jakki is dressed as Blue of Blue’s Clue’s. Even as a small child she loved dogs. Now she is a professional dog walker and is extremely exceptional at her job. The boys are dressed as thing 1 and thing 2. Barb is dressed as the cat in the hat. Barb was a theater person growing up and love dressing up at Halloween. Me not so much. I like going as a software architect to most Halloween parties. I used to love dressing up for Halloween but like many things over the years grew out of it. The last time I dressed up in earnest was while working in a pre-school many years ago. My best friend Sean dressed up as Day Care Man and I dressed up as his loyal assistant Diaper Boy.
Not a Halloween Fan boy
Mom and Matt on the back porch of our house in Cincinnati Ohio. This house (2894 Shaffer) was the first house we bought in Cincinnati Ohio. It was in the Western Hills section of the city. There was no garage for the house so we parked on the street. During the five years we lived there the following happened:
- We had to break up a fight on our neighbors front lawn (it was not our neighbor involved in the fight)
- Our car was hit three times while parked in front of our house. The last time the person didn’t even leave their insurance just a huge dent in the side of our car.
- Becca got into the school for creative and preforming arts in Cincinnati.
- The boys were born.
- Jakki started an all-day Kindergarten program while we were in this house.
When Jakki was little she and I were often stuck together. Barb was working at Optimum group (sometimes as many as 100 hours in a single week) Becca would spend every other weekend with Pete so Jakki and I would be the only people home. She would come with me to work when I had to clean up servers or change things around at work. She never complained. She was a mellow kid.
Over the course of her early years in life I subjected her to the kind of music I like (70’s and 80’s rock). I can’t imagine how my world is changed just because of that smile. She is truly an amazing kid (and adult). Every day she would head off to day care without a care in the world. I would pick her up and many times we would then drive all the way across Cincinnati Ohio to pick up Becca at play practice. Becca didn’t like it when we interrupted play practice so Jakki and I would sit in the car playing games and talking, even as a two year old she had interesting ideas about the way the world worked. What a great kid.
So we end with a late throw back Thursday (or an early throw back Friday). Seated on the couch were my father’s parents Ester and Henry Andersen. My grandparents. Seated on their laps were myself on the left and my sister Lynne on the right.
I know we were sitting on a couch because it wasn’t my Grandma Johnston’s house. At Grandma J’s house we always sat on the Davenport not the couch. They looked very similar but in fairness I never did see grandma’s davenport next to or side by side with our couch.
Based on age (1964) Lynne is around or just about to turn 2 years old. I am nearly 4 years old. The picture was probably taken at the Dells but I don’t recall the walls or the couch so I can’t be sure. In fact it could have been taken at our house in Vernon Hills as well. In wandering through the picture project I have to say it makes me sad a little. I always held the impression that I saw my Grandparents (dad’s parents) infrequently. In the end they were around a lot when I was little. Until we moved to Indiana in fact. I guess that goes to show that memories are a trick thing at best. I got to know my grandmoter more later, after we returned from Bangkok. But I wish I had known my grandfather more.