One more day left of Carousel 3 and Thank you to everyone that ever served. Your gift is remembered today.


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In 1972 Thailand was vastly different than it is now. Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city now, beautiful but less a mix of old and new. Certainly there are many places where the old still exists but not as much now as then. In 1972 the country was growing rapidly. It is a nation that produces much more food than it consumes. It is also the land of smiles. The people didn’t change in the 32 years between visits the city did.

It’s a new landscape now. Beautiful buildings, new airport and less people carrying food through the streets. The Klongs (canals) are lowly disappearing. The river remains the center of the city but it is a different place now.  All of us shared Bangkok with our families, we spent a week with mom and dad there each group. Seeing the Bangkok that was now. I got to go back another time a couple of years later and visit mom, dad and Miss Hart on the way back from Malaysia. I managed to pull a grandpa Ray on Mom and Miss Hart and paid for lunch. That was a lot of fun!

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Couple of authors notes here: First off the slides are in the order scanned for carousel 3, so there may have been some modification of the actual order. But the physical slides (125) all came from the same Carousel.

Another view of the Sunday market. Boy did we love going there. Before we left for Thailand our big Sunday event was wandering over to Baskin Robbins and having Ice Cream. I always wanted to get the same flavor as dad. He always picked the best flavor. As I got older I found myself picking the same flavor over and over, but hewn I was little I wanted the same as dad.

Ah the magic of that Sunday market. I will remember the sounds and smells the rest of my life.

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It was a magical place. The stalls filled with fruits and vegetables, meat things I had never seen before. Or had seen but only in a Jock Cousteau special, there on the television. Now, ready to be eaten there in front of me. At the time I was terrified of anything new food wise. I would try things, but the range wasn’t as great then as it is now.

Dad was a veteran. He served during the Korean Conflict although he never left Kansas. Grandpa Ole was a veteran during WWI. Les Ralstin (my father in law) served during WWII in the Pacific. Those who serve, who risk everything so that rest of us can be free deserve this day. It is a day when you should walk up to anyone that ever served and say “Thank you for your service.” Give money today to the wounded warriors project. Remember those who paid with their lives so that we can be free.

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Cherishing those who served.

Sometimes the past lifts us up and reminds us of how things once were….


DSCN0070Luke coming out the end of the slide that used to be at our house in Eagle Trace. We put the swing set in the first spring we owned the house along with the pool. Later on we added a trampoline. I don’t miss the days when the boys were younger. They were sick a lot of the time (twins sometimes are) and pass colds back and forth until it would get me. I was also traveling a lot then. I would be gone for a week at a time. I had a cellular phone so I could call home and talk to each of them frequently. So I didn’t miss out on the connection pieces, just on the being there piece.

They were simpler days but I like where the kids are now. I love having discussions with them about the world and the impact of things around us.

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This picture has two pieces of significance. The first is that it is of Joan Ralston. Joan was my mother-in-law and an amazing person. She was a really good photographer. She was also a great sounding board for how to manage people. She managed the communications system of Bloomington Hospital for many years.

This was taken in the kitchen eating area in Eagle Trace. The other significance of this picture is the timing. This picture was taken in September 2000. A year later the world changed forever. Selfishly it made a lot harder than it used to be. What once took an hour now takes two or more. The world isn’t as innocent. Where once the airlines watched for the one in a million DB Coopers, now everyone can be DB Cooper. Joan left us in 2005. I miss her a lot. I would love to hear her thoughts on the current presidential race.

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On the left is Joan again and on the right is Les Ralstin. He was a veteran of WWII. He served as a communications officer on an Landing Craft. Loud noises would startle him, memories of jump or die from when he was in the Navy.

Les was a phenomenal person. Quiet and reflective, he would often make quiet scarcastic comments while other people were talking. I got him in trouble once becusae I heard them and I laughed. It really hadn’t been noticed before (that he was making the comments) so Joan was a little more careful after that when talking. Just in case Les was going to make a quiet comment.

Les left us after Joan and I miss him as well. You couldn’t ask for better in laws than the two of them. They were caring, giving and wonderful people.

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remembering

Family history project Phase II is now done–we are resting before we attack our last mountain (phase III really old Andersen family pictures).


Phase II of the family history project is now complete. We scanned 38 albums, 200 sheets of pictures in Album pages (loose) and roughly 8000 loose pictures that have been in a tub that we have dutifully moved from Western Hills Cincinnati to Mount Airy Cincinnati. Then we moved it again from Mont Airy to Indianapolis (Greenwood.) Then Greenwood to Gaithersburg. Finally we moved it to Germantown from Gaithersburg. We made a decision in Greenwood that we would never live in a city that didn’t start with a G again (joke by the way).

The combined Barb and Scott Andersen and Ralstin Family pictures 11,919 pictures scanned taking up just around 36 gigabytes of disk space. That is the entirety of phase II of the project.

The combined Hans O Andersen and Henry O Andersen Slide collection totals 14,032 and 83 gigabytes of disk space. That is the entirety of phase I of the project.

25951 overall pictures, slides and digital images copied, scanned and moved into a set of folders. Counting the five copies I have locally currently plus the 3 copies given to my mother and sisters it is 952 gigabytes of disk space. That by the way in the days of Bernoulli drives would have cost me well past 1000 dollars just for the storage.

We are starting Phase III next week. Phase III has the pictures taken by my parents from when I was  really little kid. I suspect it is probably somewhere around 10,000 pictures all told.  I am making disks for Becca and for my brother-in-law Jay Ralstin as well.

This project was originally my father’s idea. He gave me Grandpa Henry’s slides about 5 years ago. I puttered around with them over the time period and managed to get about 100 scanned on my own. The real work was done by Barb and my kids. Jakki organized the slides and pictures. The boys did the bulk of the scanning over the course of the last 8 months.

We started full bore scanning the end of August 2014. My father passed away in June and we went to get all the boxes and boxes of slides in July 2014. We then setup a scanner for slides originally. That wasn’t the optimal product and in the end didn’t do a good job. II t broke so we returned it to the vendor and got the Epson scanner. From there we have just been scanning away. A huge thank you, we couldn’t have gotten to Phase III without the best scanning crew on earth. Da bean and da boys!

Or as Barb used to call art projects she did with the boys “Double Trouble productions.” The bean was always easier to excite about art projects.

History on the screen in front of you. Creating a digital version of the past. Many of the later images in Phase II were of people and events I didn’t know. They came from the Ralstin family picture collection. Many of the slides my father took over the years I have never seen. Some of them I don’t think anyone other than my father ever saw. He would dutifully create carousel’s of slides to share with us. We didn’t get to see the ones that were not picked.

We start phase III next week.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Remembering Les and Joan Ralstin…


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Leslie Otto Ralstin US Navy World War II

My grandfather Henry Andersen was in the cavalry in WWI. My father-in-law Les Ralstin was in the Navy during WWII. He served as a communications officer on a landing craft. He served the last two years of the war in the Pacific theater.

He never talked much about being in the Navy. Barb always told the story of him jumping when he heard loud noises. She and her brother would make them just to see their father jump. Like I said he didn’t talk about it much. Occasionally when playing golf a story would come up but not very often.

All of us face times in our lives when life and death are there in the room with us. Hero’s are the ones who rush towards something knowing that death isn’t in the room but sitting right next to them. If you told Les Ralstin he was a hero he would have smiled at you, shook his head and quietly walked away. To him he was doing what he had to do.

He was a grand man. Full of mirth and wonder. The only sad story I have about Les Ralstin is that when he moved to Hot Springs Arkansas he became an Arkansas Razorback fan. Other than that he was a great human being. We played golf many times when we would visit them there in Hot Springs.

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Joan Ralstin loved photography. At every family event she was the one with the camera taking pictures of all of us. At Barb and my wedding she was taking family photos. Every time we came to Hot Sprigs we took a family photo. She really had an amazing eye.

This image is now 25 years old and is of a Goldfinch. Captured with patience and waiting. Joan has quite a few pictures like this.

Joan Ralstin ne Johnson was born a twin. The fun riddle I have always told people is. Barb and I have twins. Barb’s mom was a twin. But twin’s don’t run in Barb’s family.

She was also an ardent collector of pictures past and present. We now have a collection of Andersen family images that we are working on from the 1950’s to modern day and Ralstin images from the 1940’s to modern day. A digital legacy for our children to cherish the outcome of the family history project.

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When Les and Joan moved to Hot Springs Arkansas and the Hot Springs Village they quickly found that the many retirees that were living there had a lot of varying medical needs. Joan quickly got involved with the Desoto Nursing association. That is here the far person sitting on the left side at a DNA board meeting.

The first time we went to visit them in December 1990 they actually weren’t home. Barb was upset her mom was never late or not where she was supposed to be. Joan and Les were off installing a Lifeline system for a person that was living alone. Lifeline was a great way to make sure that if you fell alone, you didn’t end up stuck there forever. That was the first time I met Les and Joan.

Barb and I had been dating for less than 2 full months at that point. We had gotten engaged about 15 days after we met. I think that made both sets of parents nervous in the end. I can honestly say I was never nervous

about meeting Les and Joan. Even though we were 600 miles away from Bloomington Indiana.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The family history project, to remember forward…


I got a great question from a long time reader. It had two parts and with that person’s permission I am going to share the two questions without her name but just the two questions.

First question: Do you have pictures of anyone famous you’ve uncovered in your family history project.

The answer to that question is yes. I have discovered pictures of great parents, grandparents and images from the past that while remembered weren’t currently directly linked. I come from an exceptional family just like many other people do. A family that lives, loves and fights. There were many days in my past that I am sure my parents wanted to send me off into space. Famous in the Hollywood, paparazzi following them around no. But there are people all around the world that my father touched and I’ve heard from so many of them since his passing. We are famous within our family. We may not be famous outside our family as much but we are inside our family.

The family history project isn’t about fame and fortune. It is in the end about stringing together the collected memories of the past, of putting words to paper and finding a way to link that to the images that were once a moment in time. I believe there is fame in those moments. They were important important enough to be captured once, they are important enough to be famous now.

In the end to answer the question – no photo bombs of John Kennedy or Bill Clinton peeking out behind my father as he lectured. No appearances of Barney in one of the boys photos. No George Carlin or Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor peeking out behind my daughter as she smiles. Famous people in my heart forever though that much I can say.

Second question: What caused you and why did you start the family history project?

My father had given me my grandfather’s slides some 4 or so years ago. I had scanned a few of them (maybe 100) in that 5 year period. In June 2014 my dad passed away. I can’t say how much that has changed the world around me. First off and probably the biggest driver for me is there are no more new memories of my father. I have to reach back to the slides and pictures he took over the years to find the tender moments and remember him. I also want to link it forward. So that someday when my children have children and they are heading into the twilight years of their lives they can pass on the 100,000 plus images (perhaps closer to a 500,000 images by then) to their children. A legacy that each of them will be able to share with their children.

So the why is to remember forward. To not just remember back to the days of my father’s jokes and his many sayings. To remember Ned Criddle and the one image I have of him. Ned my friend in Cincinnati Ohio that passed away many years ago. Gone from this earth but never gone from our hearts (or my friend Andrew Ehrensen also gone from this earth). For Les and Joan Ralstin who touched my life in so many ways and Joan an avid photographer like my father was left us 1000’s of pictures. To share moments that were captured and take them forward into the world.

That in the end is the family history project. It is easy? No. We began the project in July 2014. Now in March 2015 we have scanned more than 17,000 images and we have many more to go. I have now in that nearly 8 months I have also posted more than 200 picture blogs of places I’ve been, images left behind by Hans O Andersen and Joan Ralstin and pictures taken of the people around me.

It was started to remember forward.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Family history project Gem’s and fun pictures…


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Pardon the dust we are finding pictures from the past.

What a great picture this one is (Joan Ralstin Studios for the credit). On the far right is Barb’s Aunt Maxine. Next to Maxine is Barb’s cousin Diane and then Barb and Da Boys.

I didn’t realize Joan had taken this picture – that makes it a family history project find. I have to say in the past 7 months of this project canning more than 12000 images that honestly I probably haven’t seen 11000 of the pictures. That is a problem that many families probably have. Point, shoot, and then put the picture in a box or the digital image on a hard drive. Then never take it out again.

There are so many gems in the boxes of pictures and slides that I can’t share all of them. But I will share as many as I can.

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Another Joan Ralstin original. This was taken from their back deck in Hot Springs Arkansas. This image probably from around 1994 or so.

Light dusting of snow which was beautiful. Interesting framing choice but you never know in the end what the artist saw. Knowing Joan I would guess she was taking a picture of the bird feeder. They had bird feeders all over the back yard at the house. I used to love to watch the variety of birds that came to visit their feeders.

Les used to always complain about the squirrels getting into the feeders and the other critters that wandered into their back yard. Nothing dangerous, usually it was armadillos and deer.

Their house was up in the Ozark Mountains in a community. Really a wonderful place to go and visit. They had just about any activity you could ever want. When you got bored you could roll into Hot Springs and have a mineral bath.

I first visited that house in December to Jan 1990 to 1991.

unsorted621The last time Barb went to the house in Hot Springs I was unable to go as I had no vacation time left. So Barb took the boys and Jakki by herself.

Lugging everything twins need to function was a whole lot of stuff.

Today we will end our film review session with the photographer and her husband.

Before there were selphies we took pictures by placing the camera on a tripod and using the timer function. Of course now you can buy a Bluetooth trigger for your camera and use that – less hassle than a timer. Timers now are more often used to capture time lapse photos.

The smiles of course you can’t time.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Photography is about capturing moments both of emotion and time…


unsorted332I believe this is Jay’s dog Zoe. What a great picture though, Joan caught the moment of flight that every dog jumping off a pier loves. Well framed and exceptionally cool. I wish I had a few like this.

The thing about a photograph is that forever the dog is there, hanging just above the water. As though floating and not connected either to the water below, the air above or the world we are in.

Physics tells us that at some point the dog landed in the water. But art let’s us see the dog forever suspended in the eye of the photographer.

Really quite a wonderful picture.

This is our house on Willowcove in Cincinnati Ohio. We choose the lot and built this house to our specifications. It was the first, last and only time we have unsorted323actually built the house we live in. The funny thing is we only lived in this house for a year. But for a year this was the house we had. We finally in this house had enough bathrooms, bedrooms and space.

We were in the Cincinnati township of Mount Airy. Just at the very edge of Colerain township. We loved this house. For me working with MSFT it was a straight shot across the cross county highway.

As you move about the country you remember places with fond attachment. I remember this house with many warm and happy memories. Looking back this was a beginning and an end. Somewhere between 8 and 9 months after this picture was taken we were moving to Greenwood Indiana. That of course opened a whole new chapter in our lives.

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Growing up in Indiana Basketball is King. Joan wrote on the bottom of the picture the names of the people playing and an arrow there pointing at the basket.

The things about this red barn is interesting. Joan gave us several framed pictures and a hand painted picture of a red barn. I never thought much of that other than possibly it was an obsession. In reality this is the red barn (not the one she took pictures of or someone in the family painted). Joan was trying to recapture these moments. This one from July 4th, 1974.

So much like the suspended moment of the dog in the air, and the idyllic moment of a house nestled in the snow she spent many years photographing red barns trying to recapture this moment,

I think in the end all of us try to recapture moments from the past. These moments were captured forever.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.