Wander project back in the day…

Albums 5The first time I ever flew on an airplane was on an old prop plane in the late 1960’s. We flew to Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee Wisconsin. It was my sister Lynne, myself and my mother going up to visit my grandparents in Wisconsin from Indiana. I think we flew out of Indianapolis Indiana, but I am not completely sure about that fact.

Albums 014My next big travel moment (that I remember) was taking the train up to Wisconsin. Again leaving Bloomington on the mighty Monon Railway. I do not recall the exact date, but the Mighty Monon discontinued service (passenger) to Bloomington a couple of years after our trip. The railway just stopped carrying passengers and began only carrying coal from the fields in Southern Indiana to Indianapolis to generate power for Indiana’s big city.

Albums 019We drove that route as well many times. I spent a month or more most summers in Cambridge Wisconsin. When I was young, I remember driving up for Thanksgiving. I got sick the day we drove up and was running a fever by the time we arrived, so we turned around and headed home. We had turkey TV dinners at home in Indiana. As a child, I was sick often and mom, as a nurse was always worried it would develop into pneumonia.

Those are my happy memories of travel in days past.


Family Historian


The end of Carousel 5, goodbye Australia…

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On this the last day of Carousel 5 we prepare to bid goodbye to Australia. The good news is after nearly 45 years of not being able to spell the country name, I have now memorized it. I am a horrible speller so that for me is a huge deal.

It was wonderful to realize that 20 years apart dad and I had gone to many of the same places in and around Sydney. I suspect in part that is because I saw dad’s slides once or twice and in the back of my head I set that as my intended destinations. But still cool to think we and saw many of the same things many years apart. People ask me all the time do you miss traveling all over the world? I don’t. I also don’t miss the stress of getting off an airplane alone. I much prefer getting off a plane with my family there.

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Southeast Asia is easier to travel to, in the time of cellular phones because I t is between 11 and 13 hours time difference. That means you can call as you get up in the morning, which is dinner time back in the states, and then for your dinner time you can call as people are just getting up for the day. I wonder how dad did it, only being able to write letters. He couldn’t even send email reliably, no one in the house other than him at the University had email. My first account was 1985 and an AOL account. But it wasn’t widespread to give people your email for communication yet. That happened about 5 years after that as email exploded and made communication easier.


We end with a boat (a boat picture taken from a boat of a boat!) because I love boats. I spent many summers of my childhood at my grandparents house on Lake Ripley. I think mom and dad were happy to get a break from me.

I ended up in the two times I was in Australia seeing Canberra (the capital city) Melbourne (I was there the day of the Melbourne Cup) and Sydney. Sydney was the only one I visited twice. It is the most amazing country. The people are friendly. They will stop and help a struggling tourist find where they are. There are few countries where a commuter will stop and help a struggling traveler. So far I haven’t really found one in the US, but have a couple in Europe and quite a few in Asia. Perhaps I look more helpless overseas than I do in the US.


Family Historian…

It begins and ends with water. In between we are traveling to water.

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There are many places that have just amazing harbors. Amsterdam is a city with just the most wonderful harbor. London has a harbor but it isn’t as nice (and a little tucked away). Sydney has a beautiful harbor. I spent a lot of time there and I guess so did dad.

This image appears to be from further around the bend on one of the beaches from Sydney. As you wander away from the Harbor itself (there are two harbors really the giant shipping harbor with the huge container ships and the passenger harbor where the Ferry’s dock., as you head away from those (they are located near the deep water entrance to the Harbor) you start to see more things like this.

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What can you see? The far shore is a collection of homes. The near shore looks to be a fishing or boating/marina building. But the buoy is there clearly. Marking the safe passage point for boats. I learned about those when I was 3 years old at Lake Ripley Wisconsin. Grandpa Ray taught me to pay attention to the location of the shallow water buoys. They were there to let you know it was safe.

The Ocean variety of these tend to be bigger and not moored to the ground. They float with flashing lights and a tower so you can see them even in heavy seas. The buoy tells you to beware it isn’t as safe to pass as you think. Or they tell you no wake zone. Or they tell you mud or sand flats. Each one has a symbol on it that denotes what you are supposed to understand from seeing it.


Like Father, Like son, I also don’t take as many pictures with human beings as I probably should. I make a point of taking pictures around the holidays that focus on people. Or at special family gatherings I try to take as many pictures of people as I can. But I like, because I learned photography from my father, to take pictures of landscapes.

I take pictures of things I find interesting. Again, it is what I learned as a child when I started taking pictures. Take what interests you, take what you want to remember.

In this case I forgot what I wanted to remember with this picture but it is a nice bridge. I was probably dreaming about the boats more than anything!


Family Historian

20 years apart images of Sydney Australia continue. Family history blog series!

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One night when I was in Sydney we spent time in one of the taller buildings near the Harbor having a few drinks and watching the container ships pull into the harbor. It was a blast and very relaxing. There is nothing like scotch and a cigar to enjoy your evening.

This was from the University looking down on the edge of the city. A great view and a really nice picture. I remember dad talking about Australia and how much he enjoyed spending time there. For a bit after returning he drank Fosters as well. But that soon passed!

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Dad passed his approach to traveling to new places along to the rest of us (well Mom may have contributed as well). He would look for the influence of where people were from in where they are. In this case you can see a traditional Dutch Windmill in the historical farm setting. Somewhere near Sydney Australia. It is fun to see what cultural influences of home people bring with them as they move to a new world. If you think about it for a moment, the world wasn’t flat then either. They couldn’t pick up the cell phone and call home. They were 1000’s of miles away with little to no chance of ever returning. Returning meant failure. So they set out on a new life away from everything they knew and brought the little pieces of home with them.

IMGA0466This last image of a street show that was going on while we were in Sydney. An amazing display and really a lot of fun to watch. I think we spent a good 20 minutes standing there watching this young man ride his bike and preform tricks.

Sometimes you watch someone do something and for a second you think I wish I could do that. I can honestly say, I did not think that for a second of what this young man was doing. In fact I remember cringing in fear with a couple of the stunts. He had amazing control and it was tremendous. This display was right as the X Games were becoming popular (2004) and it was amazing. I would never do this, even when I was young and could bounce rather than break like I would now.


Family Historian

Wandering Sydney Australia and funny signs along the way…

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A Pub, dad loved them. I think his love of Pubs started on our trip to Ireland (John Kennedy was Grand Man). They are wonderful places to visit.

This one from Australia. Most likely near the University.

I love the awning. It reminds me of Cambridge Wisconsin. Another place where Bars are a big deal (my grandfather used to joke that there was a Bar at every turn of country roads in Wisconsin. There wasn’t  but it sure it feel like as we were driving along). Cambridge, the last time I went in 2006 was not the town I remembered.

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One of the most amazing parts of a trip to Australia is the scenery. It is simply a beautiful place. So many wonderful places to see. It isn’t Indiana or Kansas. Of course, if it is your first trip to Kansas or to Indiana the same is true there are so many wonderful places to see. If you look, no matter where you are there is something that can be seen.

I find myself this holiday season missing dad. Its wonderful thinking about how the things he did for me as I grew up. But a part of me still wants to hear him call me “Tiger” one more time. He hadn’t called me that for more than 40 years but for some unknown reason I want to hear that one more time. I don’t even know if there is a recording of him calling me that Nickname.


Walking around Sydney I found this sign. Yes I have a strange sense of humor. I suspect I was thinking of using this in a presentation at one point or another. I used to do a series of pictures showing how people interact with the world around them. Keeping left is a good thing to do when walking on the left side of the road. If you are on the right side of the road it is best to keep right. The sign presentation was talking about context and attention.

My friend and I walked everywhere in Sydney. Literally. On the first day (Saturday) that were both in town we walked about 5 miles. On the second day we wanted to get some trinkets for various people so we walked to the market, then decided to wander back to where the Opera house sits. It ended up being about a 12 mile walk – great times!


Family Historian

Australia, and memories of dad traveling…

carousel 060When dad traveled back in the day he would be gone for 4 or more weeks at a time. In places that sounded fun but you never knew. He would write us letters and I can say I missed him. I find I miss him now as well. But now its more hearing his voice or one of his smart aleck comments that I miss the most. I miss the sound of “Joe’s Bar and Grill” when he would answer the phone. I do that now, when Barb calls home and I know it is her I will answer the phone with some strange greeting like “International Festival of the Arts have you given?” Looking inward and being honest with myself I suspect I was a tough kid for my dad to understand sometimes. I know that because I find the same thing is true with my own children. I love them more than anything on earth. They are the greatest addition to my life without doubt. But sometimes I don’t understand them.

I think that is the hardest job a parent has. When the time comes to let go of your babies and let them be adults. Let them make mistakes, ones that you can see coming from 100 miles away. This isn’t going to work. You know it isn’t going to work but you have to let them stumble and fall. They are a part of you and some part of you that will carry on long after you are gone. But they are also independent humans that have to make decisions and fall down. The one time I fell so hard that well there are many who rightfully never get up when they fall that hard, dad was there (and so was mom). They helped me pick up the pieces and pull myself together. I could have gone to a very dark place, feeling sorry for myself and walling off the world. But mom and dad kept me out in the open and I will never forget that.  They helped me past myself.

carousel 065That is in the end what parents do. We keep the fires lit. We are there when our children fall. But most importantly sometimes we have to watch even knowing they will fall. But you have to let other humans fall sometimes. The ultimate trust is not always saving the day. The ultimate trust sometimes is letting the other person fail, even if it hurts a little.

Back to Australia a few more times. One of the fun things about dad traveling was he always came home with recipe ideas. New foods to try to make at home. He introduced us to foods from around the world (and around the US). From Buffalo Wings to a Rueben dad was always finding new foods that were both fun and tasty. His descriptions of the food he tried were always fun. It made the transition to Thailand easier. Knowing dad would try all the food I was always game. A few times I ended up with something that was too spicy, but I struggled through. By the end the first month it wasn’t too spicy anymore!

IMGA0730We end with an image taken from the Sydney Harbor on the tour. I was using the video camera to take video and stills. I actually ran out of battery before the 2 hour tour was done. It was an amazing mix of history and tour.

I love Australia.

It is a place I have on my bucket list to visit again. That and seeing the recreation of the Shire built in New Zealand. That is another place I really want to see. The rest of my bucket list I’ve actually had an opportunity to see. So that is it! One trip to New Zealand with a stop in Australia. I would like to spend more time around and in the Great Barrier Reef and of course as I said in New Zealand visit the Shire used for the movies. As a LOTR’s fan boy I feel like I have to do that before I die. Its one of those complete life fantasies things.


Family Historian…

More of Australia–two of dad’s one of mine!

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It is a wonderful country. One of the fun things about Australia is that while it has wonderful buildings that are about as old as the ones in the US, the people are amazing.

Without a doubt the time I’ve spent there is filled with happy memories. A mix of Asian Culture and European Culture that creates and offers a unique take on both.

The best lamb I’ve ever eaten in my life. Plus that beautiful opera house in the harbor. Again, one of the prettiest and friendliest countries I’ve ever been to, up there with Holland!

carousel 055Dad was teaching at Macquarie University nestled neatly in the hills above the Sydney Harbor. I took a ferry around the harbor and made a couple of recommended stops at various places. Bondi Beach was very racy and I was greatly embarrassed leaving that one very quickly.

I went to Sydney twice and I never actually went to the campus of the University. I was kind of busy the first time although we did have a weekend and a holiday to hang out (although we ended up having a class on the holiday).

Not sure what type of tree this is but it is pretty cool.

Dad took a number of pictures of plants, trees and flowers. Many more of those than he ever took of people. I think people are much harder to take pictures of because they often don’t respond the same way each time. Where a tree always responds the same way every time you approach it. If a tree moves as you come near it is probably Maxwell Smart, and not really a tree.


This is the passenger Quay that is just down from the Opera house. I really enjoyed hopping on a Ferry and wandering around the harbor. The ferry left from this Quay.

I have some really crappy video of the harbor (I was holding the camera and the boat was rocking so the video makes me sea sick every time I view it).

I didn’t at the time think about trodding the same places my father had. I wish now that I had. Walking in his footsteps would have been a cool story to share here.

Next time I go somewhere dad loved, I am walking his footsteps!


Family Historian

On traveling (and loneliness) and of course images of an Opera House. Taken in the 1980’s and 2005.

I understand this picture. It is of a place 30 years ago and 12,000 miles from where I was then, and now. But Icarousel 020

understand the reason for the picture. There is a loneliness when you are part of a family but are traveling for work. It isn’t a loneliness that is unbearable. It is more a melancholy feeling that something is missing. That you can take 100 or 1000 pictures but until you can share them with the people you live with the places aren’t real. I know that feeling and I have this picture here in many iterations. Traveling is never what it is cut out to be. When you leave home for work you leave more behind that you can possibly pack in your carry on. Trust me, I tried. At one point my suitcase was crammed with items I took with me that made me feel like I was closer to home when I was away. I still took these pictures.

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This is an amazing picture. Dad had an eye for these images and if you think about it he was really good. He took maybe 120 pictures in ‘Oz. I took more than 300 and frankly he has more good pictures (50 or so) and more amazing pictures (10 or so) than I have by a factor of three or four.

It is the eye of the artist. Dad worked very hard at being a photographer. It was important to him. He even, as a professor at IU took an undergraduate photography class just to improve his skills. I find myself taking classes still trying to learn something new.


I will end with an image I took. Same subject but not from the hills. This was taken from just past the Quay of the Opera house. It was an awful day, raining and overcast but I was in ‘Oz. I had to take this picture for my dad. I did actually show it to him, continuing the teasing that was started when he got back many years before.

We picked on him a lot about the number of pictures he took of the Opera house. Mom loves Opera, and dad honored that by taking pictures of the House. So we (Lynne, Barb and I) picked on him whenever he would show his pictures of Australia.

In the end I took pictures from a different angle of the same building, half to tease dad but half to honor what he had started 20 years before me. The family tradition of honoring the Opera house.


Family History project lead…

You have to be the beholder to see beauty…

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No family history project is complete without a creek, trees and a stone fence. When I was little I loved seeing the stone farmers fence made from field stone, carefully put together by the farmer and his family to protect the farm. Or more like to keep the animals in the farm. Some of them were engineering marvels, had been standing since the 1830s with no filler material, just carefully stacked stones.

It always amazed me that people were that creative. Use what is around you to make what you are doing a little easier. Just something that I found amazing as a kid. To then have a chance as a kid to go to Ireland and see those same fences but now 400 years old, was even cooler.

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How dad and I are similar. We have taken this picture. How dad and I are different. He has taken this picture maybe 10 times and each of them is fantastic. I’ve taken this picture 500 times and I have maybe 2 ever that are good.

Dad had a better eye than I did. I know its genetic because my daughter can take the same picture as my dad without even trying. I have to take 100 around it to get the good picture. I guess I should take a photography class and better understand the device I am using as a mass instrument. It is a fine surgical instrument in the right hands. In my hands it is an instrument of mass memory consumption!

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This is not the last slide of Carousel 5, that honor goes to the first picture shared today, but this is the last shared picture of the Carousel. A picture of a Khlong in Bangkok. I won’t do the Venice is the Bangkok of the western world argument again (ok I will do that again). Khlongs were amazing. They crises cross Bangkok and provide in many cases the fastest way to get from point to point.

They also smelled.

Bangkok was such an experience it still shapes me. I travelled internationally for 10 years. I can honestly say I never feared landing someplace I had never been before because of Bangkok. I learned that there are good and bad people no matter where you are or where you go. It is simply a function of finding the good ones and avoiding the bad ones!


Family Historian…

Carousel 5 transitions from Thailand to Indiana…

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It is universal. Diving into the pile of leaves collected. Regardless of season and of who collected the leaves. It is about jumping in and playing.

You could see these kids anywhere in the world. Europe, Asia, Pacifica, Africa or America just a head peaking above the leaves and a smile. Its about the innocence that is childhood. The ready to greet the world with a smile attitude.

Raking leaves and lawn mowing were never high on my list. Its why I would rather take 10 minutes and mow the leaves up rather than two hours raking them!

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Mom and Lynne walking. I suspect this is post Bangkok (Lynne is getting tall!). My gut says this is either near lake Superior or this is the Indiana Dunes State Park. Honestly it looks more like the Indiana Dunes to me but I could just possibly be wrong.

Mom was always there for us. You could talk to mom about anything. She would always listen and give good advice. So did dad, but it took me a few years to realize that. Mom was the one you could approach when we were young. You could start the conversation with her and finish it with both of them if you needed more input. It was a wonderful love story the two of them to grow up with.

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There was a time in the 1920’s and before when Indiana Limestone was the preferred building material. The Empire State building was built with Indiana Limestone. But the industry died in the 1930’s. It caused wide spread unemployment in Southern Indiana and started the Indiana brain drain (which is sadly still happening). Dad loved going to and around the quarries. There were many. Some by the time I was little were just holes in the ground. They still pulled Indiana Limestone from the ground. But not by the processes they used in the 20’s and 30’s of the last century. It was a tough industry then. A lot of people died to get one piece of stone out of the ground and prepared for shipping. 15-20 workers died every year in the heyday of Indiana Limestone.

I have a lot of quarry stories but since my mother reads this, and doesn’t know a lot of the quarry stories I will keep that to myself for now.


Family Historian