At the end (October in fact) of 1990, I met someone. I had met many people before this person. But for some reason this person was different. In 1991 we were married, and in 1992 we welcomed our daughter into the world. I would say that as a parent I am below average. I have made many mistakes, many bad moves, But none of that is reflected in my children, they overcame the obstacle of me as a parent. As one of the twins likes to say “you are the best dad, I have.” In October 1990 at J Arthurs in Bloomington Indiana, my future wife met for the first time, for the fourth time. We had met before three other times for the first time, but the last first time was the only first time that matters.
Other than, would you walk around in a white rabbit suit and not respond to “do you have the time or are you late?” The first time, by the way, we met, my wife and I, she was wearing the white rabbit suit, I was the one asking the questions. The second time we met, she was working at the Trojan Horse restaurant in Bloomington (which by the way is a restaurant we still go to every time we go to Bloomington!) A friend introduced us again for the first time, but that did not take as well. The third time is out there in the ether I am sure it happened/ Bloomington is a small town when IU is out of session in the summer. We went to the same schools and lived in the to same part of town.
The last time we met was at J Arthur’s. It is a restaurant that is long closed. The location is still a restaurant in a town, Bloomington that is vastly different than the town that we started from. Both of us grew up in Bloomington; my wife was born there. I was moved there, from Chicago. That was a trade off for me. I still love Chicago with all my heart! (Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and of course my Cubs!). The pictures today are of our daughter as a young child. When she was born, we lived in Maineville Ohio (right next to the Kings Island amusement park). We moved to Yesterday Hills a suburb of Cincinnati when she was seven months old. The house had a Paddington Bear bedroom that she loved. The bits and moments we remember to make up our lives.
I’ve shared various pictures of many different trips to Chicago. For three years (starting in 1999 and ending in roughly 2002) I worked with and on some downtown Chicago accounts. So, I was in Chicago starting Monday morning and lasting until roughly Thursday night. We had the four by 10 rule back then for traveling. Although I can honestly say, I probably worked 40 once in a blue moon. For the most part, I was closer to 60 hours per week. I figured I wasn’t home what else was I going to do. I did end up collecting Marriott hotel points (I miss those days), so the family could, and did spend time with me in Chicago (and later in New York) on school vacations.
All of the pictures are actually inside the American Girl Doll store in downtown Chicago Illinois. I was not invited to attend the tea party. I do not properly lift my little finger when sipping tea and speaking in a fake English Accent. I also, do not probably lift the tiny tea sandwiches when participating improperly in high tea.. plus, at that point the twins were mobile, agile and hostile. Putting them at a table with hot tea and cookies (read sugar) was not a good idea. The twins and I stayed in the hotel and enjoyed the pool for the afternoon. The girls all went off to the American Girl Doll store. I cannot tell you how long this event was talked about, planned, and ultimately how completely disinterested I was in the overall event.
Not, mind that I wasn’t happy my daughter, my nieces, etc., all got to enjoy a special event. That was great. The reality of what that event was, was, of course, something I was not interested in. Had there been some fun events planned other than High Tea I would have possibly been more interested. Actually no, there was no way I would be interested. It was simply hiding a fabric store in a fake doll store. I figured it was another plot by my mother to get me into a fabric store. So, in the end, I stayed and played in the pool. I think the twins and I also watched a movie. We also had a short walk on the Miracle Mile (that is what Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago is called).
cruising the miracle mile in old pictures
Hodgepodge pictures of the past today. My then roommate/best friend and I spent a lot of time teaching, but we were always looking for other ways to make money. At times we served as the night janitors for the school. On Holidays that weren’t national or state holidays, we would do daycare in one of our apartments for one day. Mostly the kids whose parents we were close to and understood. We also babysat kids from our classes. One of the nice things about being the teacher was getting to hang out with the kids after school as the babysitter. I babysat for four or five of the kids from my class. I also babysat for a couple of the kids in the other classes as well.
At that time I stayed away from watching babies, I did from time to time but didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t ready for a baby then. Funny babysitter means when the job is done you get to go home. I think I liked that in my 20’s. That changed, I love being a dad. But there was a time when I just wanted to be a pal. The cool older person that came over to the house and hung out. I guess all of us grow up. The pictures of my hair, scare me. Yes, I once had that much hair on my head. Most of that hair has moved to other locations (like Florida, Mississippi and such like that there) no longer wishing to be seen on my head. But then, in my mid-20’s, then I had hair.
I do not remember my mother’s father having hair. He did, I’ve seen pictures of him, but by the time he appears in my memory, there was about the same amount of hair on his head that is on mine. I inherited my father’s early gray hair, and then like my grandfather my hair all left. Now there are only a few bits of hair left sticking around to the bitter end. Lo these many years, I toiled to keep my hair. In vain, or perhaps a measure of vanity.
Not mind you that chasing lost hair matters anymore. What is gone, is gone. Chasing it does me no good. I am proud to be where I am now. I just wish I didn’t have to wear a baseball cap outside when the sun is up.
Hair free since 2010
We had many school events when I was teaching at the Karst Farm Park. It was a wide-open park where the kids could play, run around and be outdoors. Personally one of the things, well one of the two things I think is wrong with schools today is that there isn’t a focus on science as a basis for the education used, and kids are indoors. While I understand teachers not liking being outdoors I will say it publicly now; I believe it is a sexist program that only supports education indoors. The focus on the 3R’s is geared early on to the communication skills. I believe you have to teach the whole child from the very first minute they are in school. It is too easy for the teacher’s comfort (stay inside) becomes the driver. Education is about experiencing the world!
So I took the kids outside, a lot. I started every day with a science lesson. I did fun experiments in the classroom with the kids. (two of them were picked up by Instructor and Learning magazines). One of the experiments we did every year4 was built a Rocket, then go outdoors and launch the Rocket. I had to stop that my last year because of school system rules. But for the first few years, we did the math, launched our rocket and figured out how close we were. We also designed and delivered an acid rain experiment that was one of those things that the kids truly loved. My argument was depending on the wind, the acidity of the rain falling on our school would change.
The kids didn’t initially understand why I felt that so we took a field trip to the IU power plant. IU owned and operated a coal-fired power plant that spewed smoke into the air. We measured the acidity of water right by the plant (no change) and then downwind of the plant. The further downwind the more like the acidity of the water would increase. At the end of the experiment, the kids understood the impact of acid rain and why it mattered where power plants were. The documentation of the impact was published by Learning magazine. I loved being a teacher over the years. There were many things going back I would do differently. I made some really poor personal decisions when I was a teacher (all outside the classroom) that I wish I could undo.
family reminder “er”
Beaver Island Michigan, a place we spent a week with friends for vacation many years ago. First, off you see people in the water and hanging out in my father’s picture the water was cold. The air was around 75-80 degrees by the middle of the afternoon, the warmest the water ever got was 57 while we were there. So, it was really cold water, and we didn’t care. We started and ended every day on the island in the water. In part, however, because other than wandering around there wasn’t anything to do on the Island, it was the time before cell phones. We did a lot of reading and a lot of swimming. Beaver Island is located off the coast of Michigan (both LP and UP).
Beaver Island was once the home of the Mormon Church in Michigan. Famous as that was the first American Civil War beginning in Michigan in 1848, `12 years before the cannon balls flew in South Carolina. The events in Michigan changed some things in the US, Including the migration of the majority of those affiliated with the Mormon Church to Utah. We got to Beaver Island via the ferry, and we were allowed to bring out the car. Well, it wasn’t my car. It was my parent’s car. We drove from Bloomington to Travis City Michigan. That was a long 10-hour drive. I think, but I am not definitely sure that we spent the night in Travis City before jumping on the Ferry in the morning.
The trip out to the island took about an hour. I love boats, so I had a blast. The Great Lakes, in particular, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, are larger than you think they are. Beaver Island had transformed a few years before we vacationed there. I think we were there around 1977. The island had a surveyor lay out roads and lots for future development of the land. That project had finished in roughly 1970 and the development never really took off. But the grids were still there. Dad and I walked several of the laid out future roads that were never built. We also wandered by the lighthouse on the island. Then back to the cottage for lunch. Oh yeah and hope in and go swimming!
When I was a little kid, many years ago, we would wait until the fall and then go to the Orchard and get lots of good apples. My father loved apples. Tart, sweet, crisp whatever kind of apple, as long as it was fresh my dad loved them. When the farm was first envisioned, the Apple Orchard was the first part to be completed, other than Ole’s place (Ole’s place was a tribute to my grandfather Andersen Henry Oliver Andersen). The images today are from a trip to the Apple Orchard when the twins were little. Everyone in the photo is older now; then they were then. But these pictures are of a trip to the Orchard. I love going to the Orchard in the fall.
Apple Butter, apple’s honey, apple cider all of those things mean fall to me. Leaves are changing color and cooler air outside as we walk. All parts of the season we call fall. For me, the wonder and the wander portion is the trip to the Apple Orchard. That for me is the right of passage, the moment that I know fall has arrived. We hop in the car and head off to the Orchard. There are a couple near where we live now. For the past few years, we’ve gone to Butler Orchard. We are going to try a new one this year. Not that Butler Orchard isn’t fantastic it is. But more that we sometimes like to do new things. Plus I’ve been driving by this other orchard on my way to work.
My father loved Apples. He was no Johnny Appleseed, wandering the middle of the US planting apples everywhere he stopped. Which by the way, is kind of goofy, just by eating apples as you go and dropping the cores there is a good chance you just planted an apple tree. My dad, however, had labored to dig holes (readme) and my mother). 100 plus apple, pear, walnut, hazelnut and so on trees. Sadly they are now all gone. Dwarf fruit trees are only living 20 or so years. But the memory of going with my father to Melton Orchard in Monroe County Indiana remains one of my happiest childhood memories. One that my wife and I recreate every fall. Time to go to the Orchard!
One of the things that were important to me as a person that I tried to convey to the kids in my various classes was to not care about the “role rules.” Girls should love to play sports as much as boys should love to do arts and crafts. That is running around on a playground or playing baseball is good for every child. One of the things I did for many years taught kids about the wonder of model rockets. The picture today shows that from now more than 30 years ago. Every child in the pictures is now an adult. But back then we were a rocket building, rocket launching crew. We also decorated the rocket with as many different colors as we could. The kids had a blast both making, decorating and launching the rocket!
I have kept in touch with a few of the kids from that first class of mine over the years. I’ve also kept touch with one of my co-teachers. For the most part, thought that time is now gone. I still talk to and see my best friend who was also a teacher there at the school. But not many other people anymore. Time passes, and we forget the places we were. It is part of the evolution of who we are. I was once a school teacher, wound around the ethics of presenting information. One of the things I loved about my wife from the very beginning was that she never believed in talking down to children. Present information to children and if they don’t understand, help them get there.
As a computer person now I advocate STEM (Steam and CSteam) education. A couple of years ago I did some IoT presentations to various schools in Maryland. Not IoT, connection but IoT possible. It was a blast creating the slides and then, the demonstration of what IoT does. The line of kids after my presentation wanting to ask questions was, well past the bell that ended school that day. I ended up having to come back to each school a second time to talk further and answer more questions. Not that I am the greatest speaker, just that the topic was incredibly interesting to kids. The world and the things we see are shaped by how wide we cast our view!
I do not miss the rules applied to teaching. I do miss the kids.
long time education dreamer