Showing posts from December, 2021

What is one of your favorite holiday memories?

That would be opening Christmas presents when I was a child.  We grew up in a small house in the North Riverdale neighborhood in Dayton and the living room must have been all of maybe eight feet wide by twelve feet deep.  That tiny room was packed with couches, chairs, a TV, a stereo, a Christmas tree loaded with boxes, five kids, and two parents.  Somehow it worked.   At first, we opened presents on Christmas morning, maybe got to play with them for what seemed all of ten or fifteen minutes, and then had to get dressed, go to Our Lady of Mercy for Christmas Mass, and then downtown for brunch.  We were going half crazy by the time we returned home and had time to play with our presents, but even that was short-lived as we packed back in the station wagon for our trip to Grandpa Otto’s house in Beavercreek for continued festivities. It took a few years, but our parents finally realized they were packing too much into one day and decided to let us open our presents on Christmas Eve.  We

What are you most thankful for?

 I believe people want the best for their children from the time they say “I just want them to be healthy” and count their fingers and toes immediately after they were born.  It takes time to move on to more important matters and the thousands and thousands of decisions, big and small, that are made as the most precious part of your life grows up.  I believe most parents knock themselves, too harshly at times, for making wrong decisions, missing some event, not saving enough, etc., believing if they were perfect that their children would be too.  I’m not perfect, my parents weren’t, you’re not and my children won’t be either. That’s the reality of life.  Stop worrying about just the here and now and make the best decisions you can to help guide your children to adulthood.  Parenting is a long-term effort and worth everything you put into it. My children took very different paths as they entered adulthood.  My son entered the work world, has started a few businesses, worked two jobs at

What's a gift you always wished someone would give you?

Anything that they think I’ll like. Ever since I was a kid I loved buying gifts that I thought a sibling, parent, child, or relative would really like.  I shied away from asking for a list of things they wanted, preferring to think about the person, what they like to do and what type of gift might be something that they would appreciate and perhaps never think of themselves.  My sister said when we were younger that I always bought the most thoughtful gifts.  That’s exactly what I was going for.  I love to see the surprise in their eyes. To this day I collect ideas all year long for the next birthday or Christmas.  It might be an off-hand comment about something someone had seen or something I notice while browsing in a store.  I try to take notice of the activities they do and look for potential ideas.  I keep a list and add to it as soon as things pop up.  Waiting for last-minute inspiration is not my thing.  Too stressful. I have a little list of ideas in case people ask.  But at th

What were your friends like in college?

To say I was a serious student might be a bit of an understatement.  From 1974 to 1977, my days were filled with school, a part-time job (and once two jobs), and a girlfriend, leaving no time to hang out and sometimes nowhere near enough time for a good sleep.  When my girlfriend and I broke up around the same time I started working full-time at Wright State, during what would become a 3-year-long final year, my social group expanded a little bit.  I moved into a two-bedroom townhouse apartment in Kettering with John Sloan, finally leaving the only home I knew on Ashwood Avenue in Dayton.  John and I met at Wright State in his office after my assembler program crashed the university’s mainframe computer.  My previous assembler programs used an interpreter called ASSIST (Assembler System for Student Instruction and Systems Teaching) which shielded the system from a variety of errors like mine, but for this project, I was using the real IBM assembler and had failed to save and restore th

How is life different today compared to when you were a child?

It might take a book to describe all the things that are different now than fifty or more years ago.  The ones listed here are just those that jumped from my head first.  Almost everything today is better now, but I’ll start with the one that I am grateful to call my childhood. My world was one of the stay-at-home moms, Dad home from work promptly at 5:30 pm, a small house for seven people, and what seemed to be a large backyard, at least big enough to play whiffle ball and climb its two trees.  Although not ours, most streets in the neighborhood had alleys to access garages, mount basketball hoops, and throw footballs and baseballs without the dangers of the open street.  That was particularly true on Ashwood Avenue in North Dayton, as our street was one of the few nearby that provided a cut-through alternative to the heavily traveled Siebenthaler Avenue from both Main Street and Riverside Drive.  It was not unusual to wander the neighborhood on bikes looking for adventure or make the