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Showing posts from March, 2021

Tell me a funny story about one of your siblings

My older brother Greg and his friends bought an old school bus and rented a campsite along the Stillwater River at the Triple R Ranch, located a few miles west of Troy, Ohio at the intersection of State Route 55 and Kessler-Frederick Road.  They got to be good friends with the owners of the farm, Bill and Helen, and would frequently help out with farm duties like getting firewood for bonfires and hauling hay for the horses.  When I turned 16 years old, they allowed Greg’s little brother to tag along, and while I didn’t drink beer as they did, I was useful for driving them into town for more, and I made sure to bring along a few bags of snacks to share.  After awhile I was accepted as part of the gang. We went to “The Bus” pretty much every weekend, driving up on Friday night and coming back sometime on Sunday.  In addition to helping on the farm, we played football, fired shotguns, canoed, raised a vegetable garden, went skinny dipping after dark in the summer, and skated when the rive

What was the neighborhood you grew up in like?

 I grew up on Ashwood Avenue in the North Riverdale section of Dayton, Ohio.  In 1955 my parents bought this house, the largest on the block, not that 1,173 square feet is all that big, particularly when it would eventually hold seven people.  My parents were in the process of moving from Vandalia and by the time I arrived on October 8th, they brought me home to the only house I would live in for my first twenty-two years.   North Riverdale was mainly single-family homes with some apartments and mostly populated by empty-nesters.  We had a variety of businesses within a few miles, plenty of parks, schools, cafes, and a library.  There was Shawen Acres, now known as the Montgomery County Children's Home, a scary place to deliver fifteen Sunday newspapers in the dark.  The area had quite a number of alleys, something you don’t see much of today, and many garages were accessed that way, which provided convenient places to mount a basketball hoop, a favorite pastime of mine. Ashwood Av

Tell me about your scariest experience as a child

It didn’t take even a second to pull up my scariest memory, but I took time trying to recall others that might be more intense.  I recalled being about ten years old, in fourth grade, going to the doctor for bad stomach pains, going straight from there to the hospital, and getting an appendectomy.  I laid in a strange hospital for three days, mostly alone, not able to stand up, and being relieved when finally discharged to go home.  I also recalled the few spankings my father administered, all well-deserved of course, but that short time between being told you’re getting one and it being over is well-etched in my memory.  Finally, like the curious little boys and girls that we all are, when I was about four years old, the equally young girl next door and I, well, showed each other what made us male and female.  We were caught in the act, my mother angrier at me than I had ever seen, and I spent the next two hours waiting in my bedroom, scared out of my mind, for my father to get home. 

What fascinated you as a child?

There’s no single answer to this question, but the one that stands out very fondly is my Grandfather Otto’s workshop.  It was located in his garage at his house in Beavercreek, Ohio, and was full of tools, pieces of wood, and dozens of old Dutch Masters cigar boxes filled with nails, screws, nuts and bolts, and things I couldn’t imagine their purpose.  While my father had a few of the common things in his basement workshop to do normal home maintenance chores, Grandpa’s collection was more an invitation to imagine what could be built.  I remember him letting me use a few pieces of wood to make an imitation Mj√∂lnir, the hammer of the Norse God of Thunder, Thor.   That garage was a launching pad to a life of seeing how things worked, taking them apart, rebuilding them, or creating something new.  Another fond memory, and one no young child will likely ever have again, is watching my Dad remove the set of vacuum tubes from our one and only television set, taking them, with me in tow, of c

What is one of your favorite children's stories?

I was an avid reader when I was a child.  I also watched a lot of television, played sports with the neighborhood kids, rode my bicycle everywhere, liked to free-hand draw, learned to bake, and always seemed to be on the go.  We didn’t have computer games or texting to fill out our days, and for that, I’m very grateful.   When I first saw this question I thought of books that my Mom and Dad might have read to me.  While I’m sure they did, I really don’t remember any.  My favorite anything is something I’m active in, not a passive passenger along for the ride.  So I turned my thoughts to the books I read and there’s a lot of memories.  I read the Highlights magazines at the doctor’s and dentist’s offices.  I read the Reader’s Digest after my parents had finished them.  When I was a teen I dove headfirst into Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury.  As an adult, I read just about everything that Raymond Fiest and David Eddings wrote.  But the books I started re

What was your first big trip?

The keyword here is “big” and how to apply it.  As a child, my parents most often rented a house for a week at Indian Lake, an hour north of Dayton, but one year decided to take us to Mackinac Island in Michigan, a seven-hour drive, but that’s a child’s view of “big”.  From a distance perspective of “big”, driving the family to Dallas and Disney World each clock in at about one thousand miles.  But neither definition seems right. I’ve decided that “big” is going to mean the most impactful, the trip that would change the course of my life, my wife’s, my daughter’s, and my wife’s sons.  So my first “big” trip was the first time I went to Europe.  I managed the Mead Corporation’s Network Services team back in the 1990s and had worldwide responsibility for all data and voice communications, and needed to visit a few locations in Europe to begin the process of connecting their networks to the corporate network. My teammate Jeff Boyett and I flew to Paris for the first leg of this trip.  Tha