Images of Buddha and a visit from mom!!!!!!!!!!!

We had the pleasure of mom visiting us from Indiana this past weekend. That is always a fun time and of course it was this time as well. We went to see the movie “Love the Coopers” on Sunday. It is a very funny movie combining all the elements I really like in that type of movie. Good story, a little sadness, and some goofball moments. It is good to see John Goodman back out and acting again.

So a huge thank you to mom for traveling 1/2 way across the country on an Eastward bound journey.

Now back to the fruits of the family history project. Today only two slides still working on Carousel 1, with is 125 slides.

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Dad loved taking pictures of Buddhist Wat’s and other places of celebration. He was fascinated by the culture and the religion. Spirit houses and everything entranced him. We have many pictures to prove the point.

For me, at the time, 1972 it opened my eyes to a different world. I saw places where people had gone for thousands of years to share and commune. There was a peaceful quiet there.

When we lived in Thailand we heard the Geckos. There is a legend that if you hear the Gecko sound their voice 7 times you will be blessed. I never heard one go for more than three so I guess I am not as blessed as I could have been.

There are many memories these pictures drag up. Of learning to be different at time in my life when I was already beginning to feel different from my parents. Like all pre-teens I had begun to become an individual. Add to that now I wasn’t in the majority, everywhere I went I was actually in the minority.

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The serene beautify of the mix is amazing. Buddha reflecting on the world around him and the commerce of the small harbor as people scurried about for their day.

I find peace in this image.

I wonder if that is why dad took it. That he found peace here. I know he was a different person in Thailand.The Adjan was always smiling and always moving about. I wonder if he found peace in the spirit that Buddha represents. It is a great picture showing a moment in time of what Bangkok was.


Family Historian

Carousel 1, more amazing pictures of Thailand 1972

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Dad took some amazing pictures. This one is stunning. The only problem I have with this picture is I have no clue where it is from. What a glorious setting and place but the memory attached to the image went with the photographer.

Its my every once in awhile plea for the Family History project. Do the combined project. Scan the pictures and then share the pictures so that everyone can see them, comment and create the more permanent memory of what the picture is. So take the time, write down the memory and share it with your family. They will comment, add thoughts and get the memory polished into a beautiful gem. It is a wonderful project!

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This I recognize, not the where but the what. A water taxi stop along a river. Could be anywhere in Thailand but I do recognize the what of the building. In 1972 (not as much now) the Kalongs were the primary streets of the city. To get anywhere you were best on a Kong rather than a road. The roads were congested with cars and crazy taxi drivers. The Kalongs were fast and connected the entire city. The original city of water (much older than Venice) Bangkok’s water taxis were amazing. The water taxi drivers were less crazy than the regular taxi drivers. They could take 8-10 people per run so they didn’t have to quickly finish any one ride to get their next fare. The one thing I do remember about the Kalongs was, they smelled. The water was less active/more stagnant so it didn’t always have the most pleasant of odors.

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For thousands of years of human history the river was the highway, the bath tub and the center of life. People clustered near the river because there was an abundance of food. When the river flooded it would leave behind rich silt that grew improved crops.

As the great cities burst onto the scene the river and its water became less vital. But it remained in 1972 a part of many Thai’s lives. Less so now with the much more modern Thailand. But then it was still central for many people.

Bangkok has moved away from the Kalongs. It has expanded out now, well beyond the river. But there are many that still vie life along the river. That are still bound to the world of that water.


Family Historian

“I was worried about the Crocodiles in the River…”

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Back to the Sunday market. It was such an eye opening experience coming from the land of Grocery stores and department stores to the world of the Sunday market. First off I love grocery stores. My grandfather when I was little owned a grocery store in Cambridge Wisconsin. I used to love following Grandpa around his store as he would close up or open up for business. He hurt his knee in the late 1960’s and had sold the store. But I have many fond memories of grocery stores. This however was a startling change. The Sunday market was a cacophony not only of sound but smells and sights. (I guess that wouldn’t be a pure Cacophony but still) I loved going to the Sunday Market, or the night market or for that matter the floating market. They were all different. They were all amazing.

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“Do you want to take the big boat or the canoe?” “I’ll take the canoe,” said the soon to be wet kid. Yes that is me at the front of the boat ahead. Yes the boat is in the process of sinking. Yes we did end up in the river. Several times in fact that day. It was on a trip to Chang Mai in Northern Thailand. The Canoe was a traditional Thai craft and really quite fun to be in. But if you got above a certain speed, water lapped into the boat and it sank.

At the end of this journey we got out of the smaller boat, my family (Mom, Dad, Barb and Lynne) were riding in the boat that the picture of me was taken from. Safe in a stable larger boat. Dad, smiling as we were out of the river looked at me and said “I’m glad your safe. I was worried about the crocodiles in the river.” Yes that was his sense of humor. Yes I did recoil in horror when he said that and of course he laughed. I hated it when he got me like that.

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Over time human beings have designed a number of ways to move things from one place to another. The piece of Teak wood used by this person allows the filling to the two baskets, sometimes as much as 50 pounds in each basket and move that material from one place to another quickly. Used in farms, construction and just about anything else dad was fascinated by this. He bought one for mom, but she never carried baskets with it. We just had it as a display item for many years. Different world, different time and a chance to learn. Every culture has something unique about them that makes them special. Sometimes its just locating crocodiles. Sometimes it moving things from one place to another. Or setting up a shop on a Sunday to sell goods.


Remembering Thailand

Wandering Bangkok and then a side trip to music I love!

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I think my happiest memory of Thailand is of running around the old town park/museum. Or possibly coming home from school hot and exhausted and mom saying – go ahead jump in the pool. She would have Barb and Lynne there in the pool already and I would walk into the pool on occasion in my school uniform.

School uniform for the Bangkok Patana School (BPS) was never something I really enjoyed. I know uniforms are supposed to make everyone the same. But I always felt odd in a uniform in school. I wasn’t the same as most of the other kids. They grew up in the quieter British school system. I was taught to ask questions and to find answers. So on occasion I may have talked in class.

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This looks like the IPST building from a distance. That was where dad worked while we were there.  I remember vesting data at his office a couple of times but not as often as we did back in Bloomington. Years later we would stay there when we went to visit mom and dad in Thailand.

Back when Barb was old enough to be left in with Lynne and I both mom and dad would end up working on Saturdays. Dad would usually work until noon. He would have either Lynne or I make lunch (often Mac’n’cheese and burgers) and then dad would appear right about the time professional wrestling was on.

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There is a magic in the music of Southeast Asia. I still listen to it 40 years later. Its different kinds of instruments than European music but frankly I love both. My favorite music remains classic rock, in particular the music of the Legend, Neil Young. I own every album he ever released. Mostly because of one album he produced. His epic 1972 album Harvest. Two songs of which were played contently on Armed Forced Radio (Heart of Gold and Old Man). But there are so many other great songs on that album. A man needs a maid is a haunting song about the difference between men and women. Heart of Gold however remains my all time favorite song. When it comes on the radio I will sing it will Neil. It is after a fine line. All of us search for that one heart that beats true.


Family Historian wandering a little far afield today…

Carousel #1, Thailand, students, Elephants and MONKEYS!!!!!

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By a twist of fate (and a single space) this is actually the first picture of the first Carousel. There was a space between Carousel # 3 that makes it number one in the list. Such a majestic creature the elephant and a huge part of Thai culture. They still assist with the Teak wood harvesting throughout Thailand. Intelligent creatures and amazing to see up close. What a wonderful picture of the sky and the elephant.

At the time I was there I loved these pictures. Now with Elephants disappearing at a rapid rate I worry. I worry about a lot of creatures but Elephants are amazing and I hope more is done to preserve the ones that are left.

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Monkeys play a pivotal role in Thailand. There are religious places that are devoted to Monkeys. They are also like Elephants amazing creatures.

Zoos and animal parks in Thailand in 1972 weren’t the walled enclosures of American Zoos of that time. You could walk up and directly interact with the animals (its why mom never took us to the snake exposition. She hates snakes and they actually take them out and have you hold them. Our neighbors took Lynne and I. Mom wouldn’t let Barb go with us). But Monkeys also exist in the wild that at that time was a lot closer to the city than it is now.

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I feel like I know the people in this picture. Their faces are familiar but names are lost for me now. I suspect these were dad’s students. Dad had a lot students over the years. They all loved him. They would come back to him for advice and guidance years later. When I was in college the first couple of years I was outside the school of education. When I decided to become a teacher, dad said “eat lunch in my office.” So I did eat lunch with dad almost every day for a year. As a senior dad invited me and a number of my friends as well. We ended up having a lunch crew in his office. I don’t think dad intended for that to happen, but I know he loved it. People loved hanging out with dad. He was almost as funny as I am! The more I think about it years later I suspect in fact dad did want that lunch crew to happen. He was all about students and helping others achieve their goals.


Family Historian

The last day of Carousel number 3. 125 slides and so many more stories.

This is the last day of pictures from Carousel three. I haven’t shared all 125 but did more of a random sampling. Interesting note – the first slide shared from this Carousel was 125. The last slide shared on this blog (boys playing soccer) is slide 1.

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Lucas wisely pointed out yesterday (during the whole LA UFO Scare on the national news) that anything flying overhead that you can’t identity is by definition a UFO. It does not mean it is of alien nature. Just that it is unidentified.

In this case we have an unidentified moment. It is from Carousel 3, but I have no idea what is this is. It is a well framed picture but what it represents I do not know. The disadvantage of starting the family history project after the original photographer is gone. Its in the Thai, family slide tray so who knows.

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There is a dignity in this picture you can feel. On the right it looks to be the back of a tuck-tuck (3 wheeled taxi). The young man appears to be talking to the driver but he could just be walking past the taxi (tuck-tucks were the best taxis ever, unless the driver was crazy then you spent the entire ride hanging on and praying it didn’t tip more than 45 degrees).

Like the last picture I have no recollection of what and where this image is from. Just something dad saw. As I have said the man had an amazing eye. He could see things where the rest of us just saw trees.

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My gut is this is young men playing soccer at the field that was just behind IPST. I learned to enjoy watching soccer while we lived in Thailand. It is such a beautiful sport. In fact my favorite national team plays the sport so beautifully. I love watching the US Women’s World Cup team. They are just an amazing team. They have an ability to attack and to defend.

In this case though, they were simply playing for fun. Simply out in a field running around and kicking a ball. Like the way we used to play football and basketball growing up. Well I used to. When I was 14 I blocked dad’s shot in basketball in our last one on one game. He never played me after that. We did throw the baseball and football in the backyard for many years though.


family historian…

One more day left of Carousel 3 and Thank you to everyone that ever served. Your gift is remembered today.

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In 1972 Thailand was vastly different than it is now. Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city now, beautiful but less a mix of old and new. Certainly there are many places where the old still exists but not as much now as then. In 1972 the country was growing rapidly. It is a nation that produces much more food than it consumes. It is also the land of smiles. The people didn’t change in the 32 years between visits the city did.

It’s a new landscape now. Beautiful buildings, new airport and less people carrying food through the streets. The Klongs (canals) are lowly disappearing. The river remains the center of the city but it is a different place now.  All of us shared Bangkok with our families, we spent a week with mom and dad there each group. Seeing the Bangkok that was now. I got to go back another time a couple of years later and visit mom, dad and Miss Hart on the way back from Malaysia. I managed to pull a grandpa Ray on Mom and Miss Hart and paid for lunch. That was a lot of fun!

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Couple of authors notes here: First off the slides are in the order scanned for carousel 3, so there may have been some modification of the actual order. But the physical slides (125) all came from the same Carousel.

Another view of the Sunday market. Boy did we love going there. Before we left for Thailand our big Sunday event was wandering over to Baskin Robbins and having Ice Cream. I always wanted to get the same flavor as dad. He always picked the best flavor. As I got older I found myself picking the same flavor over and over, but hewn I was little I wanted the same as dad.

Ah the magic of that Sunday market. I will remember the sounds and smells the rest of my life.

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It was a magical place. The stalls filled with fruits and vegetables, meat things I had never seen before. Or had seen but only in a Jock Cousteau special, there on the television. Now, ready to be eaten there in front of me. At the time I was terrified of anything new food wise. I would try things, but the range wasn’t as great then as it is now.

Dad was a veteran. He served during the Korean Conflict although he never left Kansas. Grandpa Ole was a veteran during WWI. Les Ralstin (my father in law) served during WWII in the Pacific. Those who serve, who risk everything so that rest of us can be free deserve this day. It is a day when you should walk up to anyone that ever served and say “Thank you for your service.” Give money today to the wounded warriors project. Remember those who paid with their lives so that we can be free.


Cherishing those who served.