wander project memories of in-laws

The reality of aging parents is a reversal. You, as the child, now worry about your parents. I find myself not worried about my mother because she is someone that has no issue asking for help. My mother-in-law and father-in-law also had no issue asking for help. When they were over 18 months, both diagnosed with the horrible disease called Alzheimer’s, they reached out for help. Originally they were in a facility in Tallahassee, Florida. But as a family (my wife and her brother), they decided it would be better for the two of them to move to Indiana. My father-in-law was born in Indiana. He and my mother-in-law lived in Indiana for more than 50 years.


So they moved back to a wonderful facility in Franklyn, Indiana. The disease progresses differently for each person. I remember, over the years, many conversations with my mother-in-law. She shared the same educational background that I had. Although she was focused on teaching pre-school, and I was focused on Elementary Education. She later took over as the manager for the Bloomington Hospital Switchboard. She ran the switchboard at a time when it was a physical switchboard. Where the operator had to move the physical switch from one position to the destination, she was beloved at the Hospital, and her retirement was met with great sadness.

My father-in-law served in the Navy. He was a signalman on an LST (landing craft) during World War II. He jumped when he heard loud noises at the end of his life. He was a facility assigner for the phone company. The two met while they both worked at the phone company in Bloomington, Indiana after the war. I have so many memories of playing golf with my father-in-law. He was a five handicap until his shoulder surgery. At one point in the 1970s, he was a scratch golfer (that means if par is 71 on the course, you will score a 71 or lower). The reality of the disease robbed us of the chances of playing golf. We have so many pictures of both of them to share, but the last couple of years were hard.


Wander project Wisconsin River

My Grandfather, like many, joined the military in the US, in preparation for World War 1. He didn’t turn 18 years old (the required age to serve in the US) until 1918. He trained as part of the 101st Cavalry, but never deployed to the trenches of Europe. He, my grandfather, then returned to Wisconsin Dells and opened a shoe repair store. His wife, my grandmother, was much younger than my grandfather. They moved into an apartment above the shoe store and started their family. My father had three sisters: two older and one younger. My father’s oldest sister was the first of the family to go off to college. While at college, she learned about photography and won some awards.


She, my father’s oldest sister, taught my father and my grandfather how to take pictures. That is why I suspect, now, that many of my grandfather’s earliest pictures were of the Wisconsin River. Photography is an art. Taking what is seen by the photographer and sharing it. The last two pictures today are of the river, circa 1962 or 1963. The river was changed in the 1960s. Previous to that change, it flooded a lot. Dams were added to two of the main tributaries of the Wisconsin River. That reduces the amount of water in the spring; It creased a couple of large water reserves, including one in the Center of the State of Wisconsin called the Turtle Flambeau flowage.

The picture of my grandfather in a Mason uniform is the only one of those I have. There are many pictures of my grandfather, but few of him as a person outside of our family. The first picture is of my aunt and my cousin from the same period. The picture was damaged because of time. I will someday fix some of these, but for now, I cannot edit these pictures. They are what they are. I have come through the family history project to trace my love of water. It goes through my mother, who spent her childhood on a lake in Wisconsin. It comes from my father, who was the captain of a tour boat on the Wisconsin River. But it also comes from my grandparents on both sides, who loved the wonder of water.


Wander project the why of family history

During two years, we scanned a lot of slides and pictures. The sad reality is that pictures, slides, and film decay over time. There are metals and chemicals in the film that don’t last forever. The average life of well-stored Slides is between 30 and 50 years. The average life of a picture before fading is around 20 years. The film used and remaining as negatives last around as long as slides. Film from a video camera lasts roughly as long as well. Now the sad reality of this is, not all film is of the same quality. If the film were cheap in the first place, it would not last as long. If the pictures are stored in hot, humid storage, they will decay faster. IF they are stored in direct sunlight, they will also fade.


One o the pictures today I shared specifically so we could talk a little about the death of film and slides. We started our Family History project in around 2014 mid-to-late summer.  The reason was that my father left me my grandfather’s slides, and additionally, all of his slides. I knew there were a lot of them, but I found there were more than 30,000 and somewhere in tough shape, roughly 1 out of every 100 was partially lost — 300 or so slides for the entire project. The conversion to digital is critical. It was the project for the summer and fall. At the end of summer, the twins entered their last year of high school. My mother came to visit us with two additional suitcases full of printed pictures.

Another 40,000 pictures to be scanned. In the same period, I reached out to Legacy Box and converted my other Grandfathers videos to digital. People often ask me why we did that. We did that for the legacy. The stories share in the family history project, and the pictures are a legacy my father and both my grandfathers were passionate about. Digitizing those and passing them sideways (to my sisters) as well as having them for all the members of the family is a gift my father and grandfathers would have loved! Adding to that, the ramblings that I share with the pictures that are captured and stored as PDF files, and we have a mix of three generations of memories. That is why we do a family history project.


wander project Virginia

One of the first day trips we took in the DC area after moving was the wander to the Mall of America. Along the mall of America, which stretches between several important Washington DC buildings, sits a number of the Smithsonian museums. We wandered me all-time favorite several times, the Air and Space Museum. The times are not big fans of seeing dead animals, so we didn’t go to the natural history museum. We also did not go to either the American American museum (it wasn’t yet open), and we did not go to the Holocaust Museum. That last one causes me to cry every time I go. The second big day trip that we took was on a day when I wasn’t working, and my poor wife had to work.


We went to George Washington’s’ beloved Mt. Vernon. George Washington was the first American president. He was perhaps not as well known. But in the end, just as successful and innovative as a farmer. So we went and wandered the gardens and the home. The kids had a blast on our first long day trip (Mt. Vernon is about an hour from our house with no traffic; in the morning of a holiday, it was about 80 minutes). All of this are leading to why the pictures and the story that comes into being today. In 1976 my father was going to the NSTA convention in Philadelphia, PA. My parents always loved taking historical side trips when we went on vacation. This trip was no different.

The pictures are ones my dad took in the Colonial Williamsburg recreated colonial-era town. Williamsburg was once a very important city in Virginia; the English Governor had a home in Williamsburg. We wandered there in 2013 as well, staying in Virginia Beach. The funny thing about that vacation was wandering Colonial Williamsburg and seeing all the wonderful sights. Just like we had when I was much younger, chasing my dad. So the pictures today from 1976 of a place we have gone to again later on. Virginia Beach has also been a place we’ve gone to a couple of times. They have a beachfront hotel that we love to say in. There is something about sleeping with the sound of the ocean around you!


wander project random pictures

Mostly for my entertainment, I picked completely random numbers today. The numbers are the listed number of pictures in the folder. I picked the numbers first and then added the pictures to the post. One of the pictures is of one of the Grand dogs, Tamsyn. My wife doesn’t like the name the dogs call her “Granny gran gran” since they call me Beloved Grandfather. Not sure how it happened, well actually I am. My wife protests the naming system every day. The reason is quite simple; grandfather is the biggest dog soft touch in the house. I get the honorific because I am a soft touch.  The other pictures were pictured as I said at random, but the last two go together!


The concept of weather is something that connects me with my dad. My dad taught me about the weather, and had a weather station in his office as long as I can remember. The weather was always a safe conversation for dad and I. Not the weather conversation most people have (Nice weather we have Bob, why yes it is Stan.) Rather he and I talked about the amount of rain that fell and the difference between the temps he got and I got. For a long time, we lived in Cincinnati. My first personal weather station sat in our apartment just outside the Kings Island Amusement park in Maineville, Ohio. I would normally be 2 to 3 degrees warmer than what dad’s station got.

So I have a lot of weather devices. I want and need to know the weather.  The 2nd picture, but the last covered in my random picture days recap, is of my wife’s shoes on the back deck of our house. I want to note that she picked the deck color and the shoe color. My wife loves bright colors in all things, and it is something we tease her about. She has a pair of shoes that when she goes on the walk with us, we tell her NASA is calling, they can track her shoes from space! I have to say I like the fact that my wife chooses color! I tend towards white, blue, and simple colors. In part, because I can’t match colors well and in part because that is the way I’ve dressed since I left college. Color can be a nice change of pace!


wander project dogs in bows

Many years ago, when we lived in Indiana, the kids were young, and Francine lived with us. Francine was the first Labrador that came to live with our family. She joined our family in the summer of 2001. By the time the holiday season rolled around, Fran had established herself as a family member. She, on her first Christmas, sat on the couch next to her girl. She inspected every single package the girl got, making sure there wasn’t an attempt to smuggle food past the Lab food warning system. At some point during that first Christmas, my daughter put a bow on Fran’s head. You would think the dog would have shaken the bow off, but she didn’t.


Well, she didn’t right away. She did later. It started a Christmas day tradition of putting bows on dogs. Dylan shakes him off in seconds. Raven, on the other hand, as seen in the picture, loves having a bow. She wears it for as long as possible. When it falls off, she stands and waits for a human to put the bow back on her head. Dogs are funny as to what makes them part of the pack. Gwen, our Shepard, hated having her color taken off. She would panic when her collar was off. Fran, just assumed she was part of the pack and was probably meant to be in charge of the pack if not, at least in the management end of the pack. Her primary focus to keep the girl in line.

Dylan has no desire to be in charge. He is a mellow dude that likes to be with people. The reality of the two now is funny. Raven needs attention. She loves to be pet. Dylan wants to be a pet when he wants to be a pet. The rest of the time, he just well stands there as you pet him and looks uncomfortable. Dogs have personalities, and they share them in many different ways. Tamsyn interacts with humans differently than Raven. But Tamsyn is also a talker. Like Gwen, our Shepard all those years ago, Tamsyn talks about what we are doing wrong. Which, if you were to ask the dogs of our house, are a lot of things overall. I will end with the last picture, Dylan, on the table at my mom’s house. His right ear flipped. We’ve called him flippy because he has done that ear flip for years!


wander project eclectic pictures

Today three different pictures. The first one is the last picture in the grouping. Inspired by the cold, the picture is of a flower! Flowers help us deal with the cold. I spend a lot of time taking pictures of flowers I don’t spend time growing flowers, as I tend more towards helping them to extinction than staying alive. But I do love taking and sharing pictures of the great gardening work of others. I am inspired to take pictures of flowers. In the winter, I am inspired to share pictures of warm sunsets and beautiful flowers. It helps me a little bit to stay warm. I don’t know why it has been that way since I started doing my blogs now 15 years ago. I like pictures of flowers.


The first pictures are the second picture I will discuss today. They say a picture replaces a thousand words. I suspect I have less than 1000 words to share about this picture. It is simply a picture of our living room. I am taken from the hallway by my wife’s home office. The picture is pointing towards the windows that line the far wall of the open living room. We have lived in three houses in the past 15 years, and all three had high ceilings in the living room area. I don’t know why we are attracted to high ceilings in the living room. I suspect the next house we get will be one level, to reduce the wear and tear of going up and downstairs. So it probably won’t have a high ceiling in the living room!

The last picture, which is the second picture shared, is of the back wall of my office in particular of three things. The first is my favorite former IU and former Indiana State Basketball player Larry Bird. He came to IU and was recruited by Coach Knight, but he never played a game for IU. The other is a wall sticker of a minor. I don’t know why I love those characters so much! The last thing is my bulletin board. I keep personal notes and letter son the back bulletin board. When someone takes the time to write me a note thanking me for something, I keep the note. It is just something I have done for many years. I do store the notes in a file cabinet over time. The ones on the wall are the current ones!