Pictures of the past, sometimes there aren’t any stories :-)

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Picture of all of us (except dad he took the picture) somewhere in Thailand. Lynne is in front. Mom is hidden by Barb who is in her arms and I am on the bench looking down at something below.

Since none of my friends were there it was probably on a family outing somewhere near Bangkok. The where escapes me. I jumped up and looked in a lot of places while in Thailand.

Happy times make good memories. I remember this moment, but most likely because I have seen it since leaving Bangkok. Dad used to have slide shows from time to time showing off the many pictures he had put in the Carousels.

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Every culture in the world has a way homes are aligned, schools are nestled into places and what people want to see. I know over the years as I have seen 100’s of homes that some things people have in their homes are things I wish I had. When I was younger I met someone in Seattle that had the best home theater I had ever seen. While I don’t want the huge speakers he had adorning his walls (I prefer the smaller electronic speakers) I did want a home theater. One that you could relax in and enjoy watching movies or sporting events.

There are other things over the years I’ve enjoyed in homes. My one thing from Thailand is a house on stilts. I love going to the beach and being in arouse on Stilts. I don’t know why that particular thing stuck with me but it did.

carousel 078These are the last pictures of Carousel 2, which is the 3rd Carousel I’ve shared. Tomorrow we move on to Carousel 3, full of who knows what. There are a few Carousels that have names (Thailand 1, Thailand 2) and for the most part the slides will be from the period 1970 to about 1990. I am not sure dad ever made a Carousel of pictures taken after 1990. There are a couple of vacations that I am I hoping to find some slides of as we wander through the 70’s. I would love to see pictures of Estes Park Colorado and pictures of Beaver Island Michigan.

This last slide of Carousel 2, shows a typical Thai River house of the 1970’s era. They are now long gone, houses like this. Mostly because the next flood that happened pushed them down river.


Family Historian

There are 10 faces of people you will never remember…

carousel 060Steep roofs let the rain wash away from the house. Stilts keep the river below you, not around you. Teak lasts forever. A beautiful Thai house. Traditional in construction. A family lived here. Of course that family is not the same now as it was at the time of the epicure.

By family in the case of this home, it would be different than we often have in the US. Where a family in the US may have two, three or more homes here the family had one home. They would live under the same roof. They took care of their parents and grandparents all living together and taking care of each other. It is a more communal view of what family is than what we have in the US today.

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Another picture, like the house above that has no story. There is no name for this person. There is no history of the last 40 years for this person. What she dreamed of being, what she wanted to be. What she became. I am a doctor. I am a teacher. I changed the world. I was an astronaut and looked upon the great blackness of space and found peace within myself. I became a great leader. I became a mother. No story other than what I could imagine. A wonderful picture of a person in a moment of time. Lost forever now in the history of what once was. A moment captured that has no connection to now, only to then. I wonder who she is.

There a few photos like this. But they have to be shared.

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A school with children in Uniforms. This isn’t Bangkok Patana school (BPS) our uniforms were green squares and far more hideous. But you get the concept. Every child the same. No rodomont to make them unique. We were members of the school.

I learned about Rugby (I loved it) at BPS. I learned how bad I was at Soccer compared to people that had played it their whole lives. I  played Ping Pong and made it to the second round of the school tournament before I was annihilated by a student two years younger than me. I got a participation plague for finishing 3rd in the Butterfly at the school swim meet. I was introduced to the Lord of The Rings.


Remembering Bangkok

One missing smile, memories of the past and a missing plant.

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Dad loved taking pictures of children and normally they would smile and laugh. Dad could be quite funny. For some reason this young girl wasn’t impressed by dad’s comedy.

It is a wonderful picture though. It is one of the many he took that as I find them I wonder about the person all the years later. What is this young lady doing? Is she a doctor? A lawyer? Leader of the regional government? A picture now more than 40 years old filled with potential and possible. As I look at these I am amazed by how good a photographer dad was. I am also struck with wondering, what became of the young girl in the picture?

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The river gives and takes. For thousands of years people lived along the river. Over time the houses evolved. You can see it in the background on stilts. That way your stuff wasn’t washed away when the river decided to exceed its limits.

In 1972 when you got out of Bangkok this was the traditional homes you would see. That is different now, Thailand has a vibrant and growing economy and actually exports food to the rest of Southeast Asia. When I went back in 2004 I half expected to see this world still there, but it is not as wide spread now as it was then. I suppose if you get well away from Bangkok there are still people living as they have for the past 500 years. But near Bangkok now is modern.

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My father by love was a biologist. He knew the Latin names of all the plants, and used to torture us by reciting Latin names as we hiked (at his request) into the wilderness. This image however is interesting. First I have no freaking clue what this image is. I don’t know if it is up-side-down or down-side-up. I don’t even know if it is supposed to be on its side or perhaps inverse.

It is of a plant. Dad loved to take pictures of plants. It is an interesting plant but I have no idea what it is.

I am sure there was a story that went with this. But the story is lost to me now. I looked at this picture in all four rotations and if I wasn’t following a set of rules I wouldn’t have posted this one. (every fifth picture of the Carousel). So here it is. Anyone know what this is? I am hoping it is not pictures of Opium pods or something that I shouldn’t have posted (like a human consuming Venus flytrap). So if you know comment or send me an email!


plant historian

A city, an Orchard (Grove) and might Water Buffalo!

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A view of Bangkok. Buildings in the tropics are different than what I was used to. We lived in Chicago and then Bloomington Indiana. Houses there are designed to keep the cool  in and the cold out. In the tropics buildings tend to be more open. While it is certainly warmer on most days in Bangkok than it is in Bloomington Indiana. it is also more likely to have a good breeze. When we were there in 1972 and later in 2004 and 2005 for the most part people didn’t run their air conditioners all day, only at night. So the open design of the buildings let the breeze in. Long porches were the norm in Bangkok. It was a big change in building style but I loved the difference!

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The fruit on the tree was called “Rambutan” I suspect that is not the way its spelled. The little cutie in the picture is my little sister. Actually both of my sisters are much younger than I am. But this is mom and dad’s last kid. Based on me I would have thought I would be the last kid, but they kept trying for better kids and got lucky twice! The fruit was in an orchard and we wandered through the orchard picking and eating the fruit fresh. You peel the red covering off and eat the fruit inside. I think we ate quite a  few that day as we wandered through the grove.

This grove or orchard was outside of Bangkok (we took many trips outside the city while we were in Thailand) I just couldn’t tell you where it was.

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In the Teak forests Elephants are used to help move harvested Teak logs to the river to float down to the mills. In the cities Elephants help build buildings and roads. But in the rice paddies Elephants are too big to be of great use. Water Buffalo are the beasts of burden in the rice paddies.

You can see the farmer there off to the right watching the water buffalo carefully. They were valuable for the farmer as they helped with planting, managing and harvesting the rice. Thai rice is so amazing. It is without a doubt the best rice on earth. Like Thai pineapple I miss that taste and have since 1972!


Family Historian

The most amazing picture of my sister, the woods and a smile that makes me wonder…


This is one of Dad’s digital pictures. He has about 2500 digital pictures taken between 2005 (when I gave him his first digital camera) and 2014 when he passed away.

Dad didn’t fully grasp the concept of a digital camera. Instead of reusing the memory card over and over he bought new ones. I ended up copying pictures off 40 smaller memory cards. Some of them I don’t think he ever looked at, just took the picture and moved on. The memory cards all went in a drawer in his desk. I guess it was enough for dad to know he took the picture. Sadly I thought that way for a long time. But I have realized though this project that pictures are best share. When you share pictures with other people they become real.

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What a phenomenal picture. First off Barb was rather unique in Bangkok (little blond girl). But also having her sit on the bike taxi for this picture. She was very cute when she was younger. (she is very beautiful now but then she was cute).

None of us were very good at posing for dad’s pictures. I suspect it frustrated him, he didn’t often ask us to pose but when he did we weren’t the easiest subjects. Still this particular picture is amazing. It captured the streets of Bangkok in 1972. They are very different now. You couldn’t even find a bike cab on the street this was on now. It is wall to wall cars now.

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He couldn’t get us to pose but he could virtually everyone else. Here is a smile from more than 40 years ago. I wonder sometimes what happened to the people, the ones I didn’t know at the time. The ones that were anonymous then, what happened to them?

This is an amazing smile and one that deserves a name. It deserves a story (that he grew up happy and became a doctor who saves children or that he invented a new way to storing digital pictures.). He deserves a story. I hope his story was happy.

Carousel 2, also 80 pictures like Carousel 1, so there are a couple more blogs worth of pictures. I am going to mix in some of dad’s digital pictures as well. Its only fitting that we wander the world as my father saw it.


Family historian (visual)

My father, educator. His model and his classroom…

Carousel 1 only had 80 slides so now we are on to Carousel 2, but our third overall.

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Dad was a teacher at heart, by choice and by profession. He loved being in front of students. It was his passion. You could see it in his eyes and hear the change in his voice. His energy rose as he stood in front of students and like a great magician did a slow reveal – the universe shown.

Over the years at Indiana University dad had several offices. The first office I remember was right in the main area of Science Education, the lab area that was connected to the greenhouse. I remember because they had a refrigerator in the office. Dad would buy us a coke when we were there, and he collected the bottle caps for us (5 got you into the movie theater for a 1.25 on a sturdy afternoon for a Disney movie!).

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As was his tradition lots of pictures of plants and trees. Dad loved trees and seasons. Apple trees by fair were his personal favorite. But fruit and nut trees always made him smile.

We planted once, more than 130 fruit and nut trees on the farm. It was a long three fall weekends of digging holes and making sure the trees got a solid start. We love 9 trees of all of the ones we planted that first year. I think dad cried with each lost tree. We lost many more than that over the course of the time the trees matured but initially we only lost 9. I remember because I had to dig them back up and replant new trees and by the time I got to 140 holes I was tired of digging!

carousel 015I am  a huge fan of the work of John Boyd and in particular the process he labeled OODA. The next slide is one my father created back in the 1970’s and is a science education and scientific model he called the inquiry method. Dad’s model was Observe, Explanation, Prediction and finally Confirmation. This fits nicely with the Observe, Orient, Decide and Act of John Boyd’s model. In both cases the model expects that the observer can be modified so that the end result can be also modified. It is interesting to me in that I grew up with Dad’s model and moved to Boyd’s model as a base late in my career.  The act of observation is critical both in the Inquiry model and the OODA Loop Model. It is after all about getting to the right answer. In the case of OODA loops it is about getting to decisions quickly. Inquiry is built to help make scientific observations in a structured and consistent manner. The two fit nicely together!


OODA and Inquiry Fan!

The river (again) and memories of Temples and peace…Tree. Apple. Ocean.

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Another view of the ill fated canoe journey. Yes the canoe sank below river level when we got going fast. Yes as evidenced by the number of pictures my father thought it was hilarious.

Mom and I disagree about the where of the event. We don’t disagree about the after, dad and the crocodile comments. It was a blast. The rest of the family was sitting in a more stable boat. I guess they lacked a sense of adventure. Although I don’t think Barb at age 2/3 would have been given the option of being in the smaller boat. It was a fun trip down the river. Just glad we didn’t have to paddle upstream.

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I was always impressed by the willingness of Monks to be out and in the streets helping and being part of the city. The bright orange robes are visible everywhere.

It is a different perspective to take a year and learn the inner workings of a religion. I was always jealous of the understanding you would gain from that.

There is a majesty and a peace in going to the temples. So spending a lot of time there would be magical. I always felt at peace when I would visit one of the temples.

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No matter where you go in the world the religion of that area is important. Both that you should acknowledge the religion but also that it is something of value to people. As I said I found peace walking among the many Buddhist templates we visited. I know dad did as well, he actually told me that when I visited mom and dad on my way home from Malaysia. Dad wasn’t often at peace other than when he and mom were watching a movie. Certainly he wasn’t at peace watching IU Basketball games. Sometimes, when he was working in the yard you would see a face of relaxed. Or sometimes when he was teaching you see that relaxed face. Not that dad was tense or nervous just that he was always thinking. I spent a long time separating from my father. Being my own person. Going my own way. In the end he and I were more similar than I was able to admit then. But I am proud to admit now. To combine two things, a saying from my sons and an old adage. Tree, Apple, Ocean.

The thing I learned from my father that impacts me every day. Do what you love. If you are happy doing what you love to do, then the rest doesn’t feel so bad.


Family Historian