wander project what my father saw…

I am continuing through my father’s eyes series for a while. In this case, Christmas in the Wisconsin Dells. My older cousins (Peter and my other cousin) were the oldest kids in our side of the clan. Peter was a tragic story that I won’t spend a lot of time on. Suffice it to say that he, Peter was lost at an early age. I would love to say that at the end of the story there was a realization, but that was not to be. Peter, his father, and his mother all ended up being tragic stories. My aunt died of cancer when I was very little (1966 or so). I remember going to the Dells. To my Grandparents old house on the outskirts of what was then a very small Wisconsin resort town. More famous perhaps then, for the amazing sights along the Wisconsin River.

I do remember both my grandmother’s Christmas trees. It was I suspect in the 1960’s a measure of you as a female parent how you decorated your tree. Both my grandmothers always had perfect trees. My father’s mother is the tree in the pictures today. One is catywhompus, sorry about that but the rules of the family history project are to share the pictures as is. Not to fix them, we could certainly remove the blemishes from the pictures. But then they wouldn’t represent the moment captured, rather the edited moment of later. Editing the pictures in the end removing a piece of what was captured then, and replacing it with the correctness of now.


There are no outside pictures to guarantee that this was in the Dells by the by. These pictures may have been in Racine. My grandparents moved from Wisconsin Dells to Racine when I was very young. Lot’s of pictures of my father’s sisters. My aunts, all of whom I remember. There look to be pictures of all my cousins as well. The two younger were my cousins Ricky and his sister. Ricky, like Peter, passing tragically far too early. Although Ricky drowned at an early age doing what he loved to do. Peter was lost, Ricky wasn’t lost but he far too early. I won’t mention the names of my other cousins as that becomes too much personal information to be shared in the modern world of cyber risk.

So many faces in these pictures are gone now.


remembering my father’s pictures

Wander project through my father’s eyes…

I have been publishing the Wander project for about four years now. It started when I realized I was doing the same thing my children had done in 5th grade. The wander Indiana project was a requirement for all 5th graders in Indiana. I am adding to that with a through my father’s eyes pictures. My dad loved taking pictures; he took a lot of them. 40,000 + pictures taken throughout the 60 years he took pictures. I am starting in around 1958 with stills and slides and moving to Digital pictures starting around 2005. Dad took around two pictures a day for that period. Every day, nearly two pictures. If digital cameras had been invented back in the 1960s when dad was at his most prolific I suspect there would have been ten times as many pictures overall.

There are several pictures in this collection that dad labeled “family” that I love. One is of me outside of Hoosier Courts Nursery School in Bloomington IN. My sister and I both went to Hoosier Country. There is another picture of my Uncle Fred Grilling that I love. My Uncle Fred and my Uncle Keith are the two Uncles I have the most memories of. My Uncle Jim was someone I saw a few times, but my only memories of him are faded.  There is also a great picture of my sister and me, doing something I am sure we shouldn’t have been doing. The angle of the picture and the looks on our faces suggest that we were up to something and got caught by either my mother or father via the camera!

Through my father’s eyes, sadly I don’t always have the thoughts that went into the picture. That is the one thing that is now lost forever. In fairness though, looking over the pictures I take, the moments I capture, I see the influence of my father’s pictures. I see why I take the pictures I take. It is the gentle guiding hand of demonstration. The positive reinforcement of realizing I did pay attention. I did see, all those years of slides and taking something away from that experience. It changed how I take pictures. Like my father, I take more pictures of the scenes around me, than the people. I suspect the rationale is that as my father before me; I knew the people near me, I didn’t know the scene so to remember the people we captured the scenes.

Through my father’s eyes, today mostly people!


through my father’s eyes

Wander project images from my father’s eye…

I am back to share some of my father’s old slides. These are from our first years in Indiana. Based on the cars you can quickly tell this is mid-1960’s. My father received a grant from the national science foundation in around 1965 (plus or minus). He left Niles West High School in Chicago Illinois (he was a biology teacher there) to pursue his Doctorate at Indiana University in Science Education. We arrived in Bloomington from Chicago, and frankly, it was a culture shock at first for me. I was used to going to the museums in Chicago. The Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of National History and my personal favorite to this day the Museum of Science and Industry. I love going to the museums in Chicago as a little kid. I also remember going to the Marshall Fields store in downtown Chicago with my mother.

Blooming didn’t have any of those, in fact growing up in southern Indiana was different. First, because as you can see from the pictures, there were lots of places that remained open. Bloomington is such a big little city now. When we moved to Bloomington there were between 34,000 and 35000 people in the city. According to the estimated 2016 population, the town has more than 85000 people now. We lived in a small university town, that became a big little city. Big, in the sense that it is one of the largest cities in Southern Indiana until you get to the Ohio River. Then there are cities such as Evansville that are bigger than Bloomington. Corydon on the Ohio River was the first capital of Indiana. Evansville is the 3rd, or possibly the 2nd largest city in the state. Fort Wayne is the other in that initial list.

I love looking at the old cars.  We had an old sedan that didn’t have heat in the back seat. We didn’t have tablets. When my parents bought the new station wagon in 1969, my dad insisted on seat belts even in the third-row seat. That was a car that had two sets of front facing seats, and pop up way back seat that faced backward. My earliest memory of Bloomington Indiana is the Hoosier Courts nursery. I remember being in a room there and looking out over what was Hoosier Courts. I also have a memory of a birthday cake inside of our Apartment at Hoosier Courts. I remember stairs, and candles but not much more. We moved from the old US Army buildings (Hoosier courts) to the shiny new Apartments known as Tulip Trace a year or so after being in Bloomington. I do remember more of Tulip trace and our apartment there. But that is for another time!



Wander project the Great Falls of Virginia!

One of the historical things around the DC is the amazing C&O canal that runs alongside the Potomac River. I have posted many times about the restored Lock Houses and the amazing C&O canal restoration. The pictures shared today are from the Virginia State Park called Great Falls State Park. It is, as you can see, the reason why the C&O canal was built in the first place. The canyon is steep, and the rate of descent creates rapids. Great for people that want to get exercise Kayaking (lots of people do). But not good for moving freight and cargo. So they went around the steep declines in the river by staying on the high ground. If you were able to turn the pictures shared today into 360-degree photos you would be able to see the canal.

Sadly these pictures were taken a couple of years before the first 360 degree cameras hit the market. If you look from the overpass where we’re down, you see the rapids. Can you image 200 years ago, your job was to get corn down the Potomac River? You would have to navigate that set of rapids. The river, starting just north of the Great Falls parks (there is an almost identical park on the Maryland side) and ending just a little south of the parks, the river plunges almost 30 feet. Now 30 doesn’t seem like much, but it is a for a river. We are not talking about the Snake or Colorado Rivers, where that would be considered well a day in the life. Those two riv3ers change altitude for a long time. But they weren’t the main highway into the Nations Capital.

Something had to be done. About the rapids! So the C&O canal was started. Dug, often by hand. It was the first superhighway in America. We didn’t take Dylan (we weren’t sure about the overall number of dogs etc at the park. We also didn’t know if dogs were allowed, they were). This is the only section of the C&O canal I’ve been on without Dylan. I am sure he is still mad about that! Anyway the Virginia Great Falls Park, and the Maryland Great Falls parks are open through the government shutdown. State and local parks remain open they get US Federal Grant money, but that is allocated on October 1, and already consumed by this time of year. The shutdown as of today, continues.


walking outdoors is my passion

wander project Dylan’s walks…

The many state parks around the DC area are open. We have many state and local parks. The Seneca Lake Park, where the pictures were taken, is a favorite excursion for Dylan and Raven. They love to walk the trail around the lake. Mostly for Dylan because on the far side, that is a more undeveloped portion of the park there are many deer. Dylan fancies himself a great deer hunter. I showed him the movie, The Deer Hunter, but he persists in wishing to catch a deer of his own. We walk outdoors every day, but sometimes we wander to one of the many local parks. I’ve shared many different state parks (many of the national parks around the area are now closed because of the shutdown).

That got me thinking of Dylan and Raven’s four favorite walks.

  1. Today’s walk
  2. Any walk where you get in the car first and after the walk
  3. Any walk that also has a car ride, and wanders by the box that talks
  4. Any walk

The Box that talks were a Fran thing first. The first time we went to a drive up a restaurant, Fran got upset and barked. Then she got food, from the window that was on the other side of the Box that talked. She quickly realized, as did Dylan and Raven that if you go the box that talks to you without a person when you get to the person on the other side they give you food. Fran’s favorite was a Jr Cheeseburger (just the burger and the cheese) at Wendy’s. Dylan prefers the Jr. Bacon Cheese Burger, but he is addicted to bacon for someone reason. The first time we ordered dinner in on a Friday night after Dylan joined our family I ordered extra Bacon, Dylan was in heaven!

Raven on the other hand just likes food. It is funny; she struggled when she first joined our family. Dylan had been an active dog his whole life. But Raven I suspect had been somewhat sedentary before she was abandoned. Once she started walking, she realized she loved walking! I suspect if they were able to speak, they would change the order. Number 3 would be the daily walk and would number 1. Number two would be the second option every day. Every walks are critical but mandatory so they would add, walks in places they haven’t been before. Their order slightly more focused on their goals!


official human of “Dylan’s Walk”

Wander project the national mall…

More images of the US National Mall today these from outside. It makes me feel bad for people that don’t live in the DC area. If you live where we do in Maryland, going to the museums is a Metro ride. We can decide to go at 8 in the morning on a Saturday, and we are there. But if you live in Atlanta, you end taking vacation days. You bring your kids to see the treasures of our nation. But, right now, you would sadly be locked out of many of them. Yes, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Tidal Pond, the reflecting pool those are open. You can wander close (as in the pictures shared today) to the Washington Monument. You can’t go to the monument, that is closed.

It is not fair to hold the treasures of a nation hostage. That would be like France closing the Arc de Triumph or the Eiffel Tower. London Bridge not opening (well the original is now on Lake Havasu in Arizona US). I wonder how many vacations have been ruined. While you can reschedule, the prices change. What is reasonable in DC in January, is horrifying expensive in the summer. Spring break is probably a 20% cost increase as well. It is really sad in the end when you think about it. The impact of the impasse over the partial shutdown of the government isn’t either side of this argument. It is the 800,000 federal employees now on furlough. It is the 1.2 million contractors that cannot work.

Oh yeah and the families, US and sadly and probably even worse those coming from Overseas. Imagine a dream vacation (although if you are looking for US dream vacations, I would say Maine or Colorado personally) of coming to Washington DC from London, Paris or perhaps Sydney Australia. Trips that have to be cancelled because the things to see are limited now. What a sad image this must send to the world. Two sides locked in a battle that has no winners. But, if you look lots and lots of losers. It is a sad time for the world anyway. Why should we dig in and make it worse. Anyway today’s pictures outdoors at the national mall and pictures of the Washington Monument. Near the base of the Washington Monument is the WWII monument, The Vietnam Memorial and many other beautiful places to see!



wander project Air and Space museum…

First off, Rex Trulove covered this exceptionally well in his post on the shutdown. I am not going to spend a significant amount of column space to the ego-driven shutdown. I will say two things, the picture today is ones you can’t take today, and there are 800,000 human beings that are directly impacted by the shutdown. There are another 1.2 million contractors that are also impacted by the shutdown, directly. 2 million people is a small percentage of the overall population of the US. But add to that the impact on Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland Bars, and Restaurants near federal facilities.  The DC area is not the only area where furloughed federal employees live and work, but it is easy to show the economic impact of this shutdown.

The Air and Space Museum closed on Monday 12/31. The Smithsonian museums of which the fabulous Air and Space \museum is one had to because of funding be closed.

There are two Air and Space museums in DC. The first is the one in the pictures I am sharing and is located in the Museum Quadrangle, just off the National Mall. The ”front yard” of America as people often call it. If you have not had a chance to visit the National Mall, it is worth a trip to Washington DC by itself. Without question, it is similar to the famous Parisian area around the Eiffel Tower, or the area around the British Art Museum in London. A great place to see and be seen!

Today sadly the National Mall is a little trash limited. As in there is no trash pickup, other than by the city of Washington DC. Oh and some currently furloughed US Federal workers that are spending their furloughs cleaning up the front yard of America.

So for today, and probably through Monday, the museums that share the past of America are closed today. It doesn’t mean that our history has stopped. It means that our recollection of that history can’t be in person. Please enjoy my sharing of these pictures today of the US Air and Space Museum. This is of the national mall version; the other is much larger and out by Dulles Airport. It has many larger airplanes that you can see in person when it reopens!


Family memory stick