Wander project what dad saw…


The folder on the hard drive is called “unknown,” but the majority of the pictures are of our house in Sherwood Oaks. In particular, the majority of the pictures were taken by either my grandfather or my mother. My gut is they were taken by my grandfather. Yesterday I talked about the line that MacGregor used to run on in the backyard and then later the fence we added around the backyard. In one corner of the backyard was dad’s garden. The Garden was small at first but later grew to be the entire corner of the yard. The other pending doom that was coming, beyond weeding in the garden. Soon I found out I would be mowing the front lawn of the house. When we moved to Sherwood Oaks, I was presented with a snow shovel.

“Your job is to clear the driveway” Sadly I was not given the opportunity to come up with creative ways to clear the driveway. I was to use the implement of destruction called a snow shovel. Our first winter in the new house was my chance to go from loving snow to hating snow. Then in that late spring suddenly I was responsible for mowing the front yard.  I hate lawn mowing, but at age 10 I began mowing the front yard. Later (the next year in fact) I mowed the whole lawn. But for now, in the spring with a baseball bat and a ball, life was good. I still if anyone is interested, hate mowing the lawn. We had a push mower at first, not something that was fun to push, however.

It was that first summer in Sherwood Oaks that I met a lot of the neighborhood kids. We used to play in the neighborhood park. There were tennis courts and a basketball goal. There was a massive field that we played baseball and football in. Plus there was a creek. I was and am fascinated by water to this day in fact. We would play all sorts of games around that creek. We found small fish, leeches and once, on a walk down the length of the creek, dad and I found a huge Alligator Snapping turtle. The same kind of snapping turtle that was in the pond behind our house in Greenwood. I remember dad teaching me why you didn’t get close to big turtles like that. He stuck a long stick towards the turtle. The turtle snapped, and so did the stick!

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Wander project Oak Island North Carolina, and the reality of rose colored pictures…


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Wave jumping, Oak Island North Carolina. There is something about the ocean, maybe it is the salt water. Maybe it is the sheer size of the ocean. Maybe it is the waves. I am sure there are a thousand reasons why the beach is amazing. Even on an overcast day in August 2014. A lot happened that year, the worst year I have experienced as a person. In rapid order three events happened that changed not only how I faced each day, but what I did every day. How that day started, how things were done all changed in the span of March to June 2014. We needed this vacation. To get away from the reality of where we were. We returned to the beaches of North Carolina. To relax on the beach for a week and collect a measure of control again. We found out that our water dog, that had joined us just two months before, Raven (formerly known as Raleigh) didn’t like water. We had, over the course of the 4 months she had been with us become aware of a dislike of running water, it applied we found to the Ocean as well.

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She did eventually by the middle of the week warm up to the Ocean. But at first she wasn’t going to go into that water! I had gotten a new digital camera and I am sharing the pinkish hue I created pictures with before I realized my error. No, I do not view the world through rose colored glasses, although based on the pictures taken and shared today that is a fair assessment of my current state. There are a number of pictures of the kids cajoling Raven to try the water. Dylan walked right in, didn’t both him at all. It did bother him later when mom made me stand outside our rented apartment and get his feet sprayed off. Then he didn’t like water.

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The good news is these images can be fixed. My ego not so much. I knew better than not checking the pictures but I didn’t check anyway. I realized when we got home and I dumped the pictures over to a computer that they were all infected with Pink hue! Rose Colored Oak Island North Carolina. Now, all said and done, based on the rules of the family history project set arbitrarily by me, I had to share them. There are so many pictures that live in the world unseen. At least some of them have to be ok!

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Family historian…

Wander project Oak Island North Carolina 2013


clip_image002clip_image004In June 2013 my mom and dad rented a cabin on Oak Island in North Carolina. At the time the entire family stayed together. We didn’t know then, traveling all the way to North Carolina (which was less for us than the folks living in Indiana) that this was the last vacation the entire family would take. It was one year later that my father would pass away. This blog, three years later now, looking back to a different time and a different world now than was there, then. I wouldn’t trade the minutes we spent there for anything. They are precious memories that remind me oft of what was. When I look into the quiet moments that are those memories it makes me smile now.

clip_image006clip_image008clip_image010First off, we’ve been to Oak Island since. In fact the very next year we trekked back to Oak Island and stayed a little North of the house we stayed for the first time. It is one of those places you go to, and you remember. The funny thing is, it is also the name of the island in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Nova Scotia, where there has been pirate treasure buried, or so the legend goes. I love the show “the Curse of Oak Island.” A television show about two brothers sharing their search for that treasure! I have a really dear friend that loves the TV show as well. When we were working for the same company we used to not be able to talk about the show. He watched it live as it first came on, I watched it later via DVR. But we both loved the show. Different Oak Island all though, the same part of the world.

clip_image012clip_image014clip_image016The passage of time dulls the pain of loss. But it doesn’t take away the memories. I am who I am because of the man my father was. I am the man I am because of who my mother was. I stand on their shoulders and move in a new direction. That is the ultimate power a parent can give a child. Not the clarity to understand what they want to do for the rest of their life. No, the, to use my grandfather’s favorite word, gumption, to just get it. To hunker down and get it done. I got that from my parents! Oak Island is a moment in our family history, one that we visited twice. The first time would be different I am sure if we knew then what we know now.

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Family Historian

Wander project Europe and Bangkok…


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I am going to go back into the actual family history pictures. There are more than 54000 scanned images of which I have shared less than a 3,000. So for the next few days I am going back into the past. The first images are of a couple of things. My parents always had students and prospective students come to their house for meals. We did that when I was a young man, we did that when we were in Thailand and when we came back we were a part of Thailand going forward. There are so many people I remember, care for and still communicate with from the land of smiles. But gathered around Teh dinner, lunch or breakfast table at my parents house was always the best. Adjan, is a Thai honorific, it means honored professor, or honored teacher. My father was called that when we were in Thailand and the tradition continued for every Thai student that came to our house, his office or touched us in any way. Adjan Hans was something that made my dad very happy.

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My parents loved to travel. Dad and I both over the years traveled for work. His work was for universities and for UNESCO, normally lasting a month or two at a time. Mine was normally two weeks, three weeks at the most over the course of a month. But travel we did. Dad went to countries that wanted to build and improve their educational systems. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea and of course several trips to Thailand. I tended to travel to traditional established companies, what I had developed was a process to help large companies move their assets to a new mode. Not that it was a competition. But that we both traveled. Dad had so many pictures that he never shared, he never felt they were good never good enough to show other people.

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Mom and dad spent a lot of time in Europe and in Asia over the years. It is funny over the years how seldom our travels criss crossed. They did cross one year (2005) mom and dad were in Thailand (Bangkok) and I was in Malaysia. It just happened that the cheapest flight I could get stopped in Thailand and a three day layover cost the same as a 3 hour layover. So the three day option was the one I used. Mom actually picked me up at the airport and we got to hangout in Bangkok for a long weekend. It was an amazing weekend I have to say. We went to dinner, enjoyed hanging out!

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Family Historian

Wander project docking in Hawaii…


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I think my favorite day we spent in Hawaii was towards the end of the cruise. This was early on (first port). There is something to be said for bringing or being on a boat as it comes into port. There is a quiet majesty as that happens. The bigger the boat the louder the quiet majesty is. We had day trips planned every time we came into port (except for one day that was later in the cruise). Chances to go out and see other parts of the island we were docked on. The cruise has one sea day but for the most part you cruise at night and dock during the daylight hours. Due to the hurricanes approaching the big island (and ultimately missing the big island) in August 2015 they reversed the direction of our cruise (going to the islands in the opposite order of normal). I wouldn’t know the difference never having been on that cruise before. Guillermo, the hurricane was a topic of conversation but only impacted us on the very last day with slightly choppy water.

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I love sitting on the upper deck and watching the ship come in. I enjoy doing the same thing with my boat, but it is really fun when a professional does it. I have plus or minus 10 feet of play. The cruise ship has plus or minus 1000 feet of play but it is also 400 feet of beam so it is really percentage wise a lot less play than I have. Plus the impact of a cruise ship would be a lot more. So it is a delicate maneuver. The tug boats are there as security blankets. It is amazing to me how easily the captain of the ship can maneuver into very small and what seems to be tight spaces with what is a very large ship. The other thing about the cruise ship and docking is it is less impacted by wind than my boat is, but it is also coming into port with a lot more momentum. Truly cruise ship captains are amazing! The first day of the cruise was the only day I hate Barb’s breakfast invention. Many years ago at a Residence Inn in Naperville Illinois Barb invented the following breakfast. Biscuits with scrambled eggs on them, covered in sausage gravy. While I had by the time she showed me that creation been over 500 nights at Marriott hotels I had never made that connection. On the cruise they had all the components, adding a local flavor of scrambled eggs with spam in them. Plus I like to add whatever hot sauce is available. Tabasco preferred but any hot sauce will do.

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Some of my earliest memories of water are watching the sun set with my grandfather on Lake Ripley. 20 years after he passed away I still find myself missing him. Less now than in the beginning but I miss him. I watch the video we took of him telling stories in 1996 just a few months before he died from time to time. I still cry. This trip to Hawaii was to celebrate the other person I miss a lot. We took this trip a little over a year after dad passed away. He didn’t want a memorial, just wanted all of us together for a meal to remember him. Hans Andersen was a grand man. I miss him. As the fall comes and the leaves begin to change I miss dad. We (he and I) loved to listen to IU Football. We loved to watch IU Basketball together, or separately and then talk the game afterwards. It was something we shared. I have so many friends now, but few I can talk IU Basketball with. In part because that was something I did with dad. But sunsets on water remind me of Grandpa Ray. 2016 has been a not great year. There are so many bad things happening. I am glad there are the happy memories of our summer vacation in 2015 wandering Hawaii!

I will strive for the rest of my life to live up to the ideals of my Grandfather and my father. They were both grand men I hope someday to make their level!

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Family Historian

Wander Project–wandering the past of Bloomington Indiana


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Part of the family history project is the memories that are gathered, and then often sadly gather dust never shared. This image of my dad, and two of his grand children Megan and Matt (they are Gary and Lynne’s children). This image taken in front of my parents old house on Kinser Pike in Bloomington Indiana. A history of the places we lived in Bloomington Indiana: Hoosier Courts (old WWII Army Barracks converted into graduate student housing.). Tulip Tree, a nearly new huge high rise apartment building that was at that time married students and married students with children. We then moved to Sherwood Oaks, a growing community on the South side of Bloomington. From there we moved to Sycamore Knolls. The next move was my last living at my parents house, moving out to the Farm in Kirksville. Lynne, Barb and I all moved out while mom and dad lived at the farm. They then moved to the house on Kinser Pike and were there for 20 years. Mom has since moved one more time.

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The apple trees at the farm, Kirksville Indiana. The dwarf apple trees planted now more than 30 years ago. They, the trees are all gone now. Dwarf trees live 20-25 years on average. Someone got some really good Apples, Pears, Walnuts and great fire wood for quite a few years.Mom and dad sold the farm a little after Jakki was born. She had her first Christmas at Farm, all other’s were at Kinser pike for her and the boys. Southern Indiana is an interesting place to visit. It is a land of many faces. We, growing up in Bloomington, were exposed to many things. The long cutter vs townie vs gownie debate had long since passed. But there were distinct things that the groups still did. If you watch the movie Breaking Away you will see parts of Bloomington, the biggest I have from that movie is the Memorial Union on the campus of IU. As an undergrad I spent many hours in that building. It has restaurants, a blowing alley, a hotel and conference rooms. Later, as a professional working with Indiana University as part of a larger team we had several meetings in the conference rooms of the memorial Union.

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Here is my dad with Matthew. Matt, to borrow from Cat Stevens, arrived in the usual way. Becca was already on the scene, then came Matt, Jakki, Megan, Courtney and finally Nick and Luke. Each of them is a unique and special person. That makes Christmas crowded but who could ask for anything else? The noise alone would drive you nuts. But the silence is much worse. So revel in the noise created. It is actually quieter now that all the grandkids are adults. We can be in a much smaller space now. Time passes, and time changes everything. There are many more places to go in Bloomington Indiana that have not yet been shared. There was time when the original KFC franchise owner, the Boxman’s lost their KFC franchise or just gave it up who knows. BOxman’s Fried Chicken was the stop for many early biking dates that Barb and I took. Long bike rides into the sunset each of us with a box of delicious chicken. I haven’t checked the last few times I was in Bloomington. The Boxman’s Chicken location isn’t really near anywhere we go anymore. It was once, a hotspot for us. But now not really near anywhere we go. I’ll have to check and see if it is still there when we go, back to the past again, on a trip to Bloomington!

Wander Indiana, near the center of the State, the Indianapolis Zoo!


album003The Indianapolis Zoo is a great place to visit in the Capital of Indiana. Located on the South side of the city and snuggled up against the White River that runs along the South side of Indianapolis. The zoo and Arboretum are in the same area. Every year the Arboretum has a delightful butterfly display in their main area. I love going to see all the different kinds of Butterflies. As a former teacher we went to the Zoo every year. It is a good zoo for wandering and see animals in as close to a natural setting as possible. Having been now, to Zoo’s all over the world it isn’t a drop everything must go see zoo, but if you are in Indianapolis, it is a great way to spend a day. The joy for me is getting to share some of my father’s pictures. All the images that are shared with Today’s blog were taken by my father. They are actually from the old zoo of Indianapolis, that later moved to its new location. I remember visiting the old zoo in the early 1970 or possible mid-1969 time frame. We had moved down to Bloomington Indiana in the mid-1960 time frame and wandered around the state seeing many of the state parks. The Indianapolis Zoo was one of our family stops then.

My dad did a bunch of things with the education group at the zoo over the years. So many of his pictures were taken of animals in their habitats. We weren’t often with him as he was working with the Zoo. I did drop him off one time, while I was doing something one evening in Indianapolis and then picked him up later to head back to Bloomington.

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Zoo’s are funny when they move to a new location. What do you do with a Zoo when it closes? Frankly the only thing to do is tear the buildings down and start over. Or let the zoo become overrun with wildlife as a refuge in the city. My favorite part of the old zoo (and they still have one in the new zoo) was the train that went around the entire zoo. It wasn’t a real train, but I loved riding on it.  As a young child my favorite animals were the lions and tigers. I used to love to watch them walk around their cages and look menacing. Now I worry that they are pacing and not happy, which they aren’t but that is maturity speaking. At the time it was amazing for me to see them. I do not have a great desire to see one in the wild. I’ve seen a bear in the wild and that is enough large predator that could easily shred me, in person for me. All images by my father were taken with a Pentax SLR. No D, as this was long before digital cameras. I remember dad having his camera on everywhere we went. The first time we went to the Indianapolis Zoo as kids was in the summer. We had a picnic outdoors. For some reason I remember that was the first time I drank Mountain Doo. Who knows with memories.

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At the bottom of the picture you can see the head of the polar bear in the water. It is funny to me, looking at the zoo in Indianapolis, just North of one of the largest deposits of limestone in the world, that they created all the rock features in the zoo. I understand that the reason you create them is that you can create areas where zookeepers can safely work preparing for feeding and other moments of animal care. But now, looking back at the zoo then, it makes me smile. You have virtually free rock just 50 miles away. And instead you make rock. Anyway, the bears were always a stop when visiting the zoo. The new zoo is really easy to spend the day walking around. It doesn’t have the hills of the Cincinnati Zoo. It is not free (like the national Zoo in Washington DC) but the price is not too high. They have a dolphin pavilion and aquatic area as well. As much as possible the natural environment of the animals is replicated with humans kept in more traditional pathways. It is a good zoo and thanks dad for the wonderful pictures of the old zoo!

(why a family history project? I had promised my father when he was alive that I would scan all his slides and turn them digital. Over the course of the five years that followed that promised I had scanned about 300 of his slides. I figured I had made a dent. When he passed away part of his legacy for me was the rest of his slides and pictures. Over the course of his 79 years my father had taken more than 30,000 slides and pictures. Not including the 3000 digital images he had on thumb drives and S.D. cards, Of all those images maybe 1/5 had been seen by other people. Scan, share (everyone in the family now has all my dad’s pictures digitally) and add to my blog)!

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Family Historian