Cassie & Brandon’s Wedding

cassie-brandon

My wife and I attended my niece Cassie’s wedding yesterday. It was a nice outdoor ceremony held at the Cedar Spring Pavilion in Tipp City, Ohio, n a scenic rural area just north of where I live. Since all my sisters and I were in attendance along with my father and Josh and Danielle, Ruth decided that a family picture would be included in that standard wedding party pictures. It’s not that often we all get together. Bill didn’t make the trip but Josh stood in for him.

The reception was held in the pavilion itself which is open-air but screened. The catered meal was pretty good. It was nice to talk with Josh and Danielle. We always seem to have stimulating conversations about a variety of topics.

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45th High School Reunion

This past Saturday my 45th high school reunion. It was a small, low-key affair held at Joey’s Italian Bistro in Madison. I’d estimate that maybe 40 out of about 325 graduates (yearbook count). We had a larger turnout at the Class 60th birthday party three years ago with about 85 in attendance. We’ve been having annual gatherings since then.

The Class of 1972 Riverside High School Birthday Reunion was held August 15 and 16, 2014. There was a meet and great at the Park Road Bar and Grill in Painesville and then the main event at Duane’s house on the 15th. It was good to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. So many had changed a lot over the years, some not so much. I noted that some had taken career and life paths that I never would have expected.

RHS_1972_2014

The next year we got together at Joey’s and last year at the Metropark in Perry.

Group-1

Until the 60th birthday bash, I hadn’t attended any reunions. I was in Germany when they had the 10th and in Hawaii at the time of the 20th reunion. I tried to make it to the 25th but something came up and I missed it. I’m not sure there were plans for the 30th and 40th reunions.

The truth is, I lost track of my classmates almost immediately after graduation. Other than having gone to school with them for 6 to 12 years, I didn’t feel that I had that much in common with them. After 45 years, that really hasn’t changed much. I’m not particularly nostalgic and I look at the different periods of my life as chapters in my life story and sometimes characters make brief appearances in later chapters.

My life since high school hasn’t been anything I could have imagined while in high school. I can’t imagine how my life would have been if I had not left my hometown. All I can be sure of is that it would have been quite different. I’m grateful for the life I’ve had and the blessings I now enjoy are a result of paths I chose long ago. Would I have done some things differently or made different choices?In hindsight, maybe. But every choice I’ve made, good or bad, has led me to where I am now. Who can say how any deviation from that path might have altered my present? I really don’t see any purpose in pondering that.

I’m not the same person I was 45 years ago. In that time I’ve evolved and grown so the years haven’t been wasted.

Penultimate Day 2016

Today is December 30, 2016, the penultimate day of the year, a day I review and contemplate the events of the year and, hopefully, set goals and intentions for the coming year.

This was the year I went into retirement. Early in the year I got a temporary position through someone I had worked with at AME. He was with a small company in Dayton that was switching over to a new domain and needed to have all of their laptops along with a few PCs reimaged and configured for the new network. I expected it to be about a six-week job but it stretched into about three months. When I finished that project, I still had about a month before my first Social Security check came in so things got a little tight.

Somehow I managed to get by without additional employment although I did resort to pulling money out of my IRA and nearly wiping out the savings account. I will probably have to find some part-time work to supplement my retirement income. Who knows what’s going to happen when the new administration takes over. What will I do? I don’t know. Computer maintenance is what I do but the prospect continuing with that is rather depressing.

Over the spring and summer months, Tina and I began taking walks together. When the weather was nice, we’d walk in one of two city parks. Sometimes, we’d go to the mall and walk a few laps around each level. The exercise was good and it was nice to spend time together.

Tina made a two-month journey to the Philippines in September. She saved money to pay for it although I ended up contributing some from the IRA money I’d pulled for household projects.

Almost none of the money I extracted from my IRA for home improvement was actually used for that purpose. That’s what usually happens. Car repairs, a new roof, a new water heater, and her trip all cut into it.

I started the process of getting the roof replaced in July after neglecting it for nearly a decade. Working with the contractor and the insurance company, I got it replaced with out of pocket costs coming to less than a grand. The work got done at the end of September. It looks good, it doesn’t leak, and it’s properly ventilated. I’d still like to replace the gutters or at least repait them and finish the gutter guards.

While she was gone, my dad and my sister Laura came down to get a battery I’d borrowed and to see the Air Force Museum. On the way down he had a mild stroke though we didn’t see any definite signs until we’d seen most of the museum. We got him to the ER near my house and they rushed him down to Kettering Medical Center.

His stroke was attributed to atrial fibrillation (Afib). Apparently, he has a slightly irregular heartbeat that causes a heart valve to flutter which thickens the blood, causing a clot. He had another stroke just after they started him on Eliquist but before it had a chance to take effect.

After a few days, they moved him down to inpatient rehab where he made fantastic progress. How many 82-year-old men would be doing a polka with their therapist a week after a stroke? Laura and Erin took him home a couple of days later and he’s been doing well since then. Early this month, Joan moved back up from Florida to help take care of him. He probably does need more supervision now.

I have nothing but praise for the doctors, nurses, therapists, and everyone else to played a role while in his care at Kettering.

My major project while she was away was to have the bathroom done before she got back. I did what I could to smooth out and reduce the concrete in that corner. While ceramic or porcelain tile would have been nice, it would have involved a lot more work than I was really willing to put into it. It would have been more expensive and I really didn’t have the funds to pursue it. I installed 12-inch squares of vinyl tile and it looks good. As expected, I had some trouble around the toilet but, although not perfect, it looks good. I put in an exhaust fan, new baseboards, a new toilet, and towel racks and hooks. There are still a few cosmetic things that still need to be done but I have a fully functional bathroom and she’s happy.

During that time, the water heater went out and I spent about $1800 getting that replaced. Of course, there were complications. Nobody makes water heaters the same size as the one that died so I had to get one with a larger diameter which was more difficult to fit in the confined space of my utility closet. I also had to have
the gas line to the heater rerouted. The old gas line had been routed behind the heater and circled around the front. With one of these homes, nothing is ever as simple and straightforward as it should be.

Early in the year we switched from an electric range to a gas range. I was tired of continually replacing burners. Getting the gas line modified with a shut off valve significantly added to the cost but it was the project was worthwhile. She’s been doing a lot of cooking for Filipino friends and cooking with gas has been a lot more efficient and has cut down on my electric bill without a proportional increase in my gas bill though that could change this winter.

I added a second garden box and built one for the kids. Our garden really didn’t produce as much as we’d hoped. In the spring I plan to remove the dirt and move the boxes to an area of the backyard that will get more sunlight. I think we may have tried to grow too much. I’m going to research something called the square-foot method and give that a try. We may even grow some plants in large pots or something.

During the summer Abigail took an interest in a new Filipino dance group, Sayaw FilipinOH. The group split off from the Phil-AM Pamana dancers and in addition to traditional Filipino folk dances, they do some hip-hop dances. She really seems to enjoy it and has made solid friendships with everyone in the group. As a result, Tina and I have also become more involved in the group.

This year was more eventful than I’d anticipated when I began this review. I guess I did manage to be active this year.

Do I have any goals, resolutions, or intentions for the coming year? I have never had much success with setting goals and intentions in the past and I have no reason to believe that will change. Simplify my life and take better care of myself. How’s that? Oh, and post on this blog more often.

Dad’s 80th Birthday Party

This weekend our family gathered together to celebrate Andrew Romig’s 80th birthday. It was attended by all of his children and nearly all of his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. Also representing his generation was his older brother Ray, his younger brother Alan, and his cousin Janet.

Ray, Andy, and Al

Ray, Andy, and Al

Ray, Andy, Janet & Al

Ray, Andy, Janet & Al

Bill, Laura, Nancy, Joan, Andy, Rick, Ruth

Bill, Laura, Nancy, Joan, Andy, Rick, Ruth

Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, & great-great-grandchildren.

Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, & great-great-grandchildren.

Harrison House Museum

Thanks to cousin Eve Sproat-Traill for this link to Harrison House Museum & Barn. It’s always exciting for me to find historical links to the family tree. It helps make history come alive knowing that my ancestors were part of it.

Nathaniel Harrison, who built the house in 1724, was the son of my 9th great-grandparents, Ensign Thomas Harrison and Dorothy Thompson. His elder brother, Lieutenant Thomas Harrison, is my 8th great-grandfather.

Daniel Warren

Daniel Warren Homestead - 1715

The Daniel Warren Homestead, c.1715

I’d like to thank my cousin, Eve Sproat-Traill for posting this link on Facebook. It is always a pleasure to read accounts of my ancestors.

The article prompted me to do some research so I found my information from Henry Bonds’ genealogies and history of Watertown and began putting together the data linking my 5th Great-grandfather, Oliver R. Warren back to John Warren the Emigrant (my 10th Great-grandfather) who arrived in America in 1630. The ancestry goes back to the time of William the Conqueror and I’m hoping to explore that sometime.

Some time ago I’d found some records held by the DAR that linked Oliver with his father, Asa Warren and his second son Daniel, information I’d been seeking for quite a while.

You Really Can’t Go Back

End of Oakwood, looking East

Last week I joined the Township Park group on Facebook and got involved in some of the discussion there. I pulled up the old neighborhood on Google maps and in the satellite view, I recognized almost nothing. I had to enter the address to find the location of the old house. What struck me from the aerial view was the amount of erosion that had taken place. I could see both ends of Lake Road, one at the park and the other at Sunset Point and I could picture where the road had once been, connecting those ends. The Google view of the neighborhood did not prepare me for the view from the ground.

This past weekend I made the trip up to Footville and, on the way, made a detour into Painesville to see the old neighborhood. After I got off the freeway, I went down Lindmar Drive to see my grandparents’ old house. I don’t think it’s there any more. The street looked nothing like it did in my youth. Back then it was more open and spacious. Now it seems overgrown with shade trees and the houses are all packed together. I almost wasn’t sure if I was on the right street but the church at the corner of Lindmar and Chestnut told me I was.

Painesville is like an alien world to me now. So much has changed since my youth there. I’ve noticed many changes over the years as I’ve passed through or visited the library. It is not the same city.

I made my way to the neighborhood where I grew up. I wasn’t ready for what I found. The streets had the same names and were laid out the same but that’s all they had in common with my memories. Oakwood Boulevard seemed much shorter, I was at Shady Lane/Kenilworth before I knew it. I found my old address but the house where I grew up and even the garage were gone, replaced by newer, uglier structures. I felt as if all the love and labor my father had put into them was for naught. It was much the same for the whole neighborhood. All that still existed from my youth there were my memories.

Then I ventured to the park. Of course, it had changed too but in a nicer way, at least above the lake. I found that Lake Metroparks had taken it over and expanded the ball fields and built a community center. I walked down the walkway to “the beach,” or rather where there was once a beach. One of the old stone piers is still there but now there are just large blocks of stone placed along the shore in a attempt to hold back the erosion.

After the park, I traced my way back through the neighborhood,then across to Sunset Point which, like Township Park, was eerily dark and unfamiliar. The only familiar structure I saw was Lester’s gas station, still standing but long abandoned. The new developments along Lake Road and Bacon Road seemed bright and cheery in stark contrast to the old neighborhoods they border.

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