S: One Man's Journey By Eric Hanson
FC: One Man's Journey By Eric Hanson
1: I dedicate this book to my family. Having a strong and loving family was one of my greatest joys and sources of pride. In particular, I dedicate this book to Anya. I hope that through these stories she might know me.
2: I am so grateful to my Aunt and Uncle for opening up their family and home to me every summer. Those lazy, sunny days are what stick in my memory as the happiest times of my youth. When asked about my childhood, my memories are always full of the family farm in Wisconsin. This is the farm where my dad grew up. My Godparents, Uncle Duke and Aunt Donna, still work that farm. Each summer, for years in my youth, I would spend six weeks living, playing, and helping out. | While there, I felt that I belonged; that I was part of the family. My cousins are like brothers to me. I usually helped with the feeding of the animals. Although I helped where I could, I was not as nice to the animals as I could have been. The cows were easy to scare and I used to like to startle them. We were lucky that none of them got hurt trying to run away. That would have been bad, really bad. Another time, I was really interested in the old gas pump they have at the farm. Sometimes they had to fill it up before church. One time I asked Aunt Donna if I could fill it and I didn’t do it very well. It splashed onto her fancy blue blouse. I don’t remember if she had to change, but I felt terrible. I may have made some mischief, but I also helped out. Even with all the help I tried to offer, I still spent the bulk of my time eating popsicles in the den! | The Wisconsin Farm
3: I have fond memories of the dogs on the farm, but I could never figure out which dog was which. I would hang out on the broad lawn petting a furry face in front of the red barn tucked behind the white garage. Back then, in 1978 I was a tow-headed freckle face, playing around in my torn green jersey. I loved that jersey. It was a working farm, not a ranch. Through the years, my aunt and uncle grew soybeans, corn, oats, milked the cows for dairy, and raised fine swine. After some years, milk prices dropped and it no longer made sense for them to keep the dairy farm. Eventually, they got rid of the dairy and stayed with beef and swine and the crops. This was a tough time for the farm. I | don’t think they ever said they were ready to throw in the towel, but I am thankful that they kept it. When my dad was living there, they also had chickens. Really, there were two farms. One farm was the homestead. My cousin Jim ran the other farm. That‘s were they raised the pigs, because they were too stinky to keep near the homestead. Around mid-summer, the corn came into season. Everyone who knows me knows the amount of corn I can consume. We would pick the corn, cross the street, shuck the corn and cook it. Fifteen minutes after we picked it, we would be enjoying it. My cousins would put corn out in front of the house. People would put money in a can and take the corn. Also, my Uncle Duke would go and sell corn. He did it to raise money and to | talk with people. He always liked to talk with people.
4: Every summer, I was there from mid-July through August. The fair was always during this time. My favorite memories are when my cousins were showing animals at the fair. For starters, there were big perks for this. People who were showing animals got arm bands so they could go in and out of the fair whenever they wanted. My cousins would spend the whole day there. I would try to stay as long as possible. The smells and tastes of the sweet cream puffs, the hot buttered corn, and the good fresh lemonade were highlights on a hot day at the fair. The animals and my cousin usually did well. My cousin would go whole hog to make sure his pigs and steer showed well and all of his hard work and preparation paid off. Many of his animals won honors as Grand Champions. It was always exciting for me when they announced the winners. I was so proud of my cousin. | A photo with Big Red
5: One summer day, I helped my cousin prepare for the big fair. We were showing the beef and the pigs. He was scheduled to show both at the same time, so I offered to be in charge of the Pig Showmanship. My cousin was an expert with their prize steer, Big Red. But as for me, I did a horrible job. I was probably the first one out of the ring! My cousin would put in a lot of work to buff the cows. He would comb their fur against the grain to make it look thicker and then he would spray it with hair spray! One year my cousin did what was called a “Picket Fence”. He unraveled a bunch of twine and tied it to the base of the tail, so that the tail would appear thicker. Then, he would use shoe polish to shine up the hooves. It was always fun to watch people go through the barn and eavesdrop on other people’s conversations as they looked over our pigs and cows. Often they would pretend to know about the animals. But I had the inside scoop and I knew they were all talk. | First in the ring, first out. | Inspecting the "Picket Fence" | It takes a 'committee' to get anything done.
6: When I was at an age where I could really do some work and not just play all summer. It was the pig farm where they needed the most help. It wasn’t the most enjoyable job, but it needed to get done. So I forced myself to get up and go. I did some good work for them. It was my way of reimbursing them for all the popsicles I ate. | One year my cousin Dave was on a tug of war team. Their team was good enough to defeat one of the national teams. Because they were locally famous for Tug of War, they had a Tug of War competition at the Racine Co. Fair. Most of the people on this team are Wisconsin Hansons. Dave is in the yellow shirt, Jim is 3rd from the end, and I’m the Blond. | At the 1985 Wisconsin State Fair, the Hansons were recognized for owning the farm for 100 years. I was thrilled and honored to be part of the celebration.
7: Uncle Duke, Jim and Dave
8: One of my great joys was taking Anya back to Wisconsin to see the farm and all that it means to me.
10: These photos were taken in 1958 of my mom and dad. This was the year they were married.
11: Dec. 1965 - Barbara, Please don't hold onto my fingers. | My Childhood
12: My most common pose.
13: My favorite shirt? A jersey. | I wore them until they were way past their prime.
14: Huns was my first dog, whom I adored. I was probably in Kindergarten when I got Huns He is also in a photo on the previous page, helping us wrap presents. When I was in second grade, I left a message on a scrap of paper next to Huns' food dish "I thed Huns!" | This is a photo of my sisters and me with our cousin Laurie, who is curled up. I'm holding a ball that is captivating both Twinkie, Laurie's dog and Huns. Huns used to play fetch for hours. The dog never tired of playing fetch.
15: As you can tell from everyone squinting, it was always very bright in front of the house. Grandpa came to visit. This was not common. My dad always wanted my grandfather to come and watch me play sports, but grandpa did not. It never bothered me, but I think it really frustrated my dad. | I made this cake in a cooking class at school. I was in the 7th grade. My favorite type of cake is a decorated cake. I never really saw the reason to make a cake if you don’t make it look nice. | I did Indian Guides, like Anya is doing Camp Fire. I picked the name 'Golden Eagle' for myself. Our tribe name was Cheyenne.
16: “The Hippie Wagon” That is what we called it. We went to from California to Wisconsin on a biannual trip. We would take a different route each year. On our trips we saw the Grand Canyon, Colorado, Canada, etc. | 1978 - I've had very few professional haircuts in my life. Growing up, my mom cut my hair. After I met Beth, she cut my hair. There is one professional haircut that is engraved in my mind. My father wasn’t watching the barber and he gave me a very short hair cut. When my dad looked up, he saw that I was crying, because of all the hair around me. My friends would make jokes about my hair. So I wore hats when ever I could. I couldn’t wear them in class, but I’d wear them everywhere else. For the next 2 years I let my hair grow. I didn’t get another hair cut until high school | Family Portrait with Spook.
17: My Home | "Love ever gives. Forgives outlives. And ever stands with open hands. And while it lives, it gives. For this is love's prerogatives -- to give, and give, and give." -John Oxenham | This quote was placed in our kitchenette to help me memorize it. It worked! My favorite part of the house was the back yard and being able to jump the fence into the High School. We called it the big yard and the small yard. Sometimes we would swim in the pool at the high school. There was a high dive. I loved to jump off the high dive. Man would it hurt if you hit the water wrong. | This was my room. When my sisters went to college, I took the biggest room. Some of the things in the room were left over from my sisters, like the lamp. I always told people I wanted a Lamborghini. One time mom said, “I got you a Lamborghini.” Hmm. Not exactaly what I had in mind, but it was still cool.
18: My mom, Barbara, me, Corrine, and Dad are in the back row. Seated are My Grandfather and Grandma Hellekson, Aunt Joanne, Uncle Jack and Lori kneeling. | At this point I am just about the same height as my sisters. So I would put my heels on the fireplace hearth to give me the extra inch I needed. | My Confirmation
19: I simply adorded the dogs in my life. Anya, I hope that Bommer brings you as much joy as Huns, Spook and Bandit brought to my life. | My third dog, Bandit. | My hair is getting so long that my grandfather would joke that I needed a collar
20: The best and worst parts of my high school years revolved around sports. I think there is an urban myth that high school is all wonderful and fun. For me that wasn’t true. When it was time to graduate from Monta Vista High School, I was ready to go. Sports were my life, my senior year was my last season of basket ball. I made the Varsity team as a junior and played most of the games my junior year. I played for the 1st half of the season for my senior year. For the second half, I rode the bench. There was a new coach. He started a different type of defense. He decided to play the juniors instead. I think he was planning for the next season and was giving them experience. There were two seniors on the starting team. The rest of the seniors were on the bench, and that hurt. I was never a bench warmer before this. This was a big disappointment, particularly for senior year. To add insult to injury, the guys on the team no longer hung out with me because I was no longer a starter. Even a guy I was confirmed with stopped being a friend when I was no longer in the starting line. I never had to deal with this before. I’ve never seen a separation between the starters and the non-starters. The 2nd string does all the same work as the other guys, but they might never play. I have so much more respect for these guys. I hope that when I was a starter I didn’t come across like this. This was a very humbling experience. | To add to my difficulty with friends, my non-basketball friends, starting doing drugs and sex. I knew that was a dead end road that I did not want to go down. I was not truly a jock and I was not truly a brain so I did not feel like I fit in. Anya, find good friends. If there are times that you feel all alone, know that Jesus is with you. Sometimes it is hard to feel His presence, but He is there. Believe me, He is there. Needless to say, I was really ready to leave high school. I am so grateful that when I moved on to college I found true friends. Although my senior year was a though year, I have no regrets. I wish I had some girl friends, that would have helped. But I was too shy. I don’t regret the decisions I made. As I look back now, I see that it did not matter what my friends thought of my decisions, it matters what I think of my decisions. That is what is really important. | High School
21: High School graduation with Ragnar Austefjord | How was I so lucky to have two girls wanting to kiss me? | I had hoped for a Mustang Fastback, but was glad to have a set of wheels. I later sold the car so that I could go to China
22: Christmas Eve On Christmas Eve we would open our presents. On Christmas Day we would look in our stockings. Santa usually brought batteries.
23: Cousin Karen's graduation from the seminary. In the back is Dave, Barbara, Corrine. Cousin Karen and I are in the front. | Corrine's Wedding - It was so wonderful to see my sisters happy together. The wedding was so special.
24: 1987 - Welcome Baby Erin I was so proud to become an uncle.
25: Cousin Dave's wedding. I was a groomsmen. I am as close to my aunt, uncle and cousins as I am to my parents and sisters. I have done things with them I haven't done with the other cousins. I've always had a special connections with them. They are my godparents. I am so thankful for them. | Corrine, Erin, Mom, Barbara, and Beth are in the back row. Megan and Reggie are in the middle. Dave, Dad, Manny, Anya and I are seated. | Dave, Dad, Myself are in the back row. Corrine, Grandma Hellekson, Erin, Mom and Barbara are on the couch.
26: Reggie and I at Legoland. As you probably know, I'm a lego guy. This was the first time I had been to the California Legoland. Anya was just a little baby. We were worried that Anya was getting too much sun. So she stayed in the shade with Beth, while Regina and I had some fun. When I was growing up I never had Legos. Mom said, “If Eric never has Legos and he goes over to someone’s house who has Legos, I don’t have to worry about them watching Eric. He will just build with Legos. The first present that Beth gave me was Legos. The first present I gave Beth was a sword. I'll let her tell you that story.
27: Team Spirit | My first memory of sports or playing organized games is playing Shadow Tag with my sister. We would play in the evening, around 5 or 6pm, when the sun was starting to set and shadows were getting long. The shadow of the house was base. I would try to see how far I could get from the base without getting tagged. I was probably 3 or 4 years old at the time. That’s probably my first fond memory of sports; a love of mine throughout my life. I love all sports. Well, with the exception of volleyball. I never cared very much for volleyball. When I was younger I didn’t even know what volleyball was called. My dad wanted me to sign up for soccer, but I said, “I don’t like it.” I thought he was talking about volleyball and I begged him to not make me play. I think my dad knew that I did like soccer, but he realized that I was thinking of something else. So, he pointed out a soccer game and said, “You don’t want to play that?!” “Oh, that! I love that. I want to play that.” Soccer was the first team sport that I played. The first thing I notice about this photo is my hair. It hung low over my forehead and tumbled into my eyes. One time I showed up for a soccer game without my bandana to hold back my hair. I couldn’t really see, because of all that hair hanging down. My coach told me to march straight home to get a bandana to pull my hair back | My grandfather used to tease me and say that I needed a dog collar. I’ve found that it is much better to rebel with hair than tattoos. You can always change your mind later!
28: This is my championship team in 1975. I am front and center holding the sign. Two of the guys on this team were my best friends. We always played together. One of them was the coach’s son, Rory. We went to several regional championships. We were a strong team, and we made use of everybody’s special talents. The boy with the glasses had some disabilities, but man could he kick the ball. Whenever the ball got to him, he would kick it; and it was a good, solid kick. The same spirit went for the rest of us, as well. I think what made us so successful was not that we were all great players; we each had our challenges. But the coach was good at putting us where we could excel. This was the best soccer team that I was ever on.
29: Baseball was another love of mine. I still have my Little League cap. This wasn’t a memento that my parents saved. It was a memento that I wanted to save. It meant so much to me. Little League was important because I was good at it. I received lots of positive feedback. One game I was on second base when the ball was hit to my field. One of the parents shouted to me, “Get to second base! Get to second base!” But I knew better. I said, “No that’s Mino’s job. I have to go over there.” I knew where I had to be, and fortunately, I stuck with my instincts. When I was playing on the Matadors, there was only one other team that had more wins than we did; The Fernandos. The Fernandos were hard to beat because they had an excellent pitcher. Every batter was scared of him. I was the first on my team to hit one of his fast-flying balls. That pitcher was really surprised that anyone was able to hit a ball that he threw. And after I got that hit, most of the kids on my team were confident and encouraged enough to be able to score as well. For our last game, we finally beat them. One of my good friends who played for the Fernandos peed his pants when we won! | I played first base, pitching and third base. Our coach was also our sponsor and a teacher at the High School. The High School’s teams were also the Matadors. So I was able to play as a Matador long before I was old enough to go to high school. In this photo I’m pitching. It was rare that I was pitching. Usually I played second or third base. My Dad helped coach my baseball team. He was the assistant coach. He always practiced with me after school. Just like my father coached me, I wanted to continue that legacy and coach Anya’s team. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to coach Anya’s t-ball team.
30: I played baseball in Jr. High. I tried wrestling and football in Jr. High School. The coach and other players wanted me to continue, but I didn't like getting hit by people! In High School I only played basketball. | I was known for my defense. I'm number 21.
31: Jim “Catfish” Hunter was my all-time favorite baseball player. The owners gave him the nickname Catfish to make him seem homier. Like me, he also grew up a farm boy. He was a “go to” kind of guy. When ever the team was down, the coach would put him in as the pitcher. They would use him when they had to get a win. Another player I admired was Reggie Jackson, who was a strong batter, and an outstanding right fielder. The Oakland A’s were a great team for about three or four years when I was in elementary school. And I can’t leave out the Milwaukee Brewers. They were a favorite team of mine, too. I have fond memories of playing ping pong in the garage with my dad. When I was ten or eleven, we played and played all summer. Years later, I travelled to Europe with my paddle. After all that practice, I was a match for the Turks. Because I played soccer, ping pong, baseball and basketball, I was able to play with many people in different countries. Later, when I went to China, I put my ping pong skills to the test and I was able to be truly competitive. Ping pong is huge in China. By then, I had learned enough to put the English on it!
32: While I was in China, I lifted weights with two guys. If I hadn’t been fit as a child, I would not have been able to work out with these guys, and I would not have had the opportunity to get to know them. To some extent, it was because I became acquainted with these young men that I was able to be an Evangelist. The things you do and the people you meet in your life can be a positive influence, and can benefit you later in life by bringing you closer to God. These top two photos were taken in Beijing. (1990) The man in the red shorts is Gow You Gong. He is a professor and bravely participated at the Tiananmen Square riots. In 1989, many Chinese citizens were outspoken and fought against the authority of the strict government. Since he was a professor, it was very dangerous for him to be involved in the protest. On the campus, free speech was allowed, but not off the campus. But back to sports! In school, I really wanted to earn the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, but I struggled with the pull-ups. Fortunately, I found a simple solution. We had a bar in the living room doorway for hanging laundry. When there was no laundry hanging on the bar, I would use it to practice my pull-ups. All of that extra work on the chin up bar paid off, and I did finally receive that Presidential Physical Fitness Award! After that I was always very fit
33: Sports are so important. As you get better at a sport, it opens up opportunities. What I did in my youth benefited me in ways I never would have predicted. When I think about Anya, I think about how the experiences she has now will shape her life as an adult. For instance, Anya, you have a wonderful talent with music. I wonder where your piano playing will take you? My sister played the violin accompanied by the dog - Howl, Howl, Howl! Maintaining my personal level of physical fitness helped me with sports all through my life. But in addition to keeping myself in good shape, I found it’s important to be a team player. I’ve always enjoyed working in a team - the team mentality. You can play off of each other’s strengths. Each person needs to do his part. I do as well as I can, and working together, our teams have had success.
34: College Chico State | At college I met one of my best friends, Stewart. This is a photo of Stewart and Nancy, my girlfriend. I met Stewart playing ping pong. We both read Mega Trends over the summer. We spent hours talking about the book. We were best friends until he got a girlfriend. | Every year my parents made cioppino. One of my friends was an exchange student from Germany. I brought him to my parents house for the weekend to enjoy some cioppino. | Todd Sherwood was an exchange student from New York, which in many ways is a foreign country. Todd was good friends with Stewart. Todd wanted to experience California, so it was fun to go and do things with him. This photo was taken in the Redwoods. He later adopted two Russian orphans.
35: This is my dorm photo. I'm in the top row with a tie on my head. Todd has shaving cream on his face. Stewart is in the top row with something blue on his forehead. | A group of us from the dorm went camping at Lassen Park. This was the first time I camped without my folks. It was getting late and we were hungry. We were trying to get the fire going, but it wasn’t lighting. We put kerosene to help get the wood started, but the kerosene did not burn off and our food tasted like kerosene. The Asian man escaped from Vietnam. All evening he told us amazing stories of Vietnam. | I am glad I kept in touch with many of the people who lived on my floor of the dorm.
36: It was my 1st year of college, close to my birthday. I had already made friends. We had just returned from our camping trip and were heading back to our rooms from the cafeteria. To get to our rooms from the cafeteria we had to cross Chico Creek. A bunch of the guys grabbed me and tried to through me into the creek. They said that they were about to give up when finally I couldn’t fight anymore and in I went. They said they were about to through in the towel and not me. My years at Chico were some of the best in my life. Anya, I hope that you find a college town that you can call home for four years. A place where you can explore education, your faith and relationships.
37: Snow Day! Everybody loves a snow day. On one snow day, we had Kevin's Subaru pull two of us on inner tubes. When I went to high school, I stopped being with my friends because they were getting into drugs and sex. I wasn't going to get involved in those things. What I loved about this outing, was that is was fun and it didn't require any liquor or drugs, just good friends. I thank God for my college friends. | In college I was an introvert, it wasn't until I was in China that I became an extrovert. Some how I was convinced to dress up as Roger Doltry and lip synch to "My Generation" by the Who. | Paul, Todd, myself, Stewart and Bandit in our Sunday best and ready for church. Paul is really nervous because he is not a Christian. I think he was worried about communion. Out of all of my friends, Paul was the most atheist. Right now he is exploring his faith. He told me, not too long ago, “You won’t believe this, but I asked my friends to pray for my wife.” Up until girls got in the picture. We were the best buddies. Stewart now lives in the Sacramento area. He married his college sweetheart, Debbie, and has two kids.
38: Let's See the World | I love to travel, to see and experience the world. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I had to see this world and many of it’s intriguing cultures. When I traveled, it was always important to me to not only see the land, but to experience the culture. I don’t believe most tourists truly experience the culture. Tourists tend to get fish bowl culture. To understand a culture, you must live with the people and that takes time. I’m glad I took the time. My Vundarlust was cultivated at a young age. When I was a kid, we went to Germany, Norway, Netherlands. My father bought a VW van and for two months we toured around Europe. We camped all around Norway, Denmark, Germany. We had camped in the US with our VW van so traveling Europe in a VW van was very familiar. I returned to Europe as a college student. I did a half semester abroad in Europe with the goal of learning German. In the school that I studied, I was the only native English speaker in my class. People were from Hong Kong, Europe, Japan, and Thailand. It was awesome. The only problem was that all the students were not native speakers, so I didn’t get lots of opportunities to practice with native speakers. The class was 2 months long and began at the beginning of February. | Before the class I was going to travel with my sister, Corrine, but she had to change her plans, so I went to London by myself. While in London, I toured the British Museum to see all the loot the British had collected over the years. I could have stayed in this museum for several days. I went to a portrait gallery and fell in love with a still life painting. I went to Oxford. I did not enjoy Oxford. They showed me the different colleges. But to me is seemed snooty. The History of Oxford was very important to the British. Next I went to Bath on a tour bus. The tour guide on the bus walked up the aisle repeating this rhyme:
39: “Hark Hark, The dogs do bark. The beggars are coming to town. Some in rags, some in jags And one in a velvet gown. Just hearing the rhyme gave me goose bumps. When I was little, my dad used to scare me saying this rhyme. I really enjoyed Bath. It was Roman and old. I stayed in Bath for awhile When it was time to move on, I went to Eastbourne, a small town on the coast. I met an Australian girl that was working at a boarding school. The school allowed me to stay for two nights. The town had a castle. I wasn’t able to go in the castle, but I was able to walk around it. It was fascinating. It was so rainy and down trodden. This is where I got my horrible habit of drinking tea. The English have tea all the time. Every time was tea time. They had great tea and they know how to do tea right. Before this trip I didn’t drink coffee or tea. In Germany they usually drink tea with lemon. The English drink tea with milk. | Above is a photo of the White Cliffs of Dover. They were an important landmark for the pilots during World War II. I did not stay in Dover. Beefeaters (gin) if you look at the Gin label it is a Beefeater. A Beefeater is one of the guards of the Tower of London. They were treated very well by the royalty. There were very few people who could afford to eat meat. The guards of the Tower were among these privileged few, hence the name. When the soldiers are standing at attention, they are allowed to stomp one foot to get the blood flowing again.
40: From England I went to Germany for my German class. These are photos of some of my classmates. The guy with the pipe is Mustafa, from Turkey. The guy standing in the back was from Palestine. He started dating one of the girls in the class and he would beat her. I was amazed how much abuse a woman would take. Finally, she realized that she was valuable and she deserved respect. I was so proud of her when she gathered up her courage and left him. After my class in Germany I traveled to different parts of Germany. I stayed with relatives of a family in our church. I stayed with them for 2 nights in Bremen (where the donkey, dog and chicken scared the thieves) There was a fish market there. They sold lots of really big fish. I don’t know my fish, but I’m guessing there was mostly cod. In Mainz, there is a book kept in a huge vault. It was one of Gutenberg’s Bibles. This is the first book printed with moveable type printing press which started the age of the book. This was one of the first printed words in Europe.
41: From Mainz I went to Italy. What was amazing was that time was so different in Germany than Italy. The Germans were very efficient, the Italians were not. I spent some time In Italy, then I came back to Germany. I was told to take a train at a certain time. Trains in Italy would be hours late. In Germany, I watched a Prussian German yelling “Wir sind zwei minuten spate!” Which meant, “WE are 2 minutes late!” He was furious. I just thought, “You have got to be kidding.” I travelled to Italy with a classmate from my German class, Rosanna. Rosanna didn’t speak English. I didn’t speak Italian. So we spoke to each other in German. We went to Pisa to visit her sister. I lived in Pisa for about 2 weeks. In Pisa there are 3 or 4 buildings that are clean. The rest is very grimy, as if people never cleaned. Rosanna was able to take us to places that were cleaner and nicer. Rosanna’s sister had a boyfriend that worked for the American Air Force. He took me around one day. It was really cool. When I was ready to leave Pisa, Rosanna made me a lunch for my journey. I set the bag down to buy my ticket and turned around and the bag was gone. I was so frustrated. I was really looking forward to that lunch. I loved all the food of Italy. They have warm milk on their Corn Flakes. It was very good. We have foccacia bread here. They had something similar there, but they had lots of salt on top of it. They also had | stale bread with marinated tomato slices. It was so good. From there I went to Florence. I moved quickly through Venice. I found out later that the Venetians had taken artifacts from Constantinople. One of the things was a statue of a Viking. The Venetians had vandalized this statue. If I had known, I would have searched all of Venice for this statue. From there I went to Yugoslavia. In Dubrovnik, the whole town is made out of marble. I believe this town was built for Caesar. Fortunately I was with someone that had a good homing device. Finding your way was very difficult with all the marble buildings.
42: Next was Corinth, Greece. It is on the boarder of Yugoslavia. They believe this is where the Macedonians came from. The Macedonians torched Troy. In Corinth there were lots of sweet wine and temptations. It was a good thing that I was a Christian, because I needed God’s strength to stay on the right path. It was amazing the see all the history of Athens. For me, what was so gratifying was meeting families and I stayed with people. In Germany I stayed with people I know. I stayed with 6 different families on my trip of Europe. I was a little scared going to Italy because I heard some bad stories. Staying with families made me feel more secure. In Delphi, Greece, there was a humongous statue of Mercury, the messenger god. The people of Greece were nice and very loud. “It is apparent to me that society and culture are not what a person is. There is much more to them.” From a postcard I wrote in Greece. I traveled everywhere in Europe on a Eurrail pass. I went down the Rhine River. I stayed in a hotel/hostel that was in the Castle Bacha.
43: When I was a kid, there was a touring show about Alexander the Great. Ever since then, I have been fascinated by Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great and his father, Phillip, had a hard relationship. Phillip had several wives. Because Alexander was not full Macedonian and part of another tribe, he was a 2nd rate child. When Alexander was 13 he became an adventurer. Another son was supposed to take over Phillip’s role. There is a lot of speculation that Alexander had his father assassinated so that the other son would not take over. Because Alexander traveled so far and conquered so much land, in some places he was considered a demi-god. Although Alexander conquered so much territory, historians believe that the only thing that belonged to Alexander was a carved ivory bed post. In Greece I really wanted to see a place called Vergina. This is where Alexander the Great’s Father was entombed. They had the sarcophagi. In this tomb they found an ivory bed post. Pompeii is an amazing place to tour. It was buried very suddenly by a volcano and was well preserved. Even the colors that the walls were painted were preserved. This mosaic floor was in Pompeii. It is of Alexander the Great at the Battle of the Isso (330BC). This was a turning point in the war. This is when the Greeks realized that Alexander would take over Greece. | Phillip's Sarcophagi | Phillip's Coin
44: In a museum in Naples, I saw this statue. I liked the statue because of the colors. I like this style of art, the combination of stones. | The museum was closing and people were leaving. I was in this place all by myself. It was spooky. Some of the statues are all white, including the eyes. But on this statue, they eyes were black. It was starting to get dark. I really felt like the statue was looking at me. | This is one of the Roman arches in Rome. When you win a battle, the emperor would build one of these arches. This arch depicts Israel. Israel was subjugated. Jerusalem had been sacked and they are taking the spoils to Rome. | This is Rome, the Coliseum. You can see the dungeons. They could flood the bottom and have sea battles
45: In college, to fulfill my art requirement, I took a history of art class. I turned this photo in for one of the assignments. I got a really great grade on the project. Because I was in Greece and I was talking about this battle place and the blood from the battle. | While in Europe, I went to Norway. Just outside of Oslow a very wide ship has been preserved. It was the ship that took the Norwegians to Nova Scotia. | In Norway, they keep their lights on all the time. They say it’s because they have so much electricity they don’t worry about it. It probably has something to do with the fact that it is dark for much of the year. While I was in Norway, I went to the Arctic Circle. I was disappointed not to be able to see the Northern Lights, but I bought radiated reindeer. | I am proud of my Norwegian heritage, but I’m sorry that my fore fathers did so many awful things to women. Women should always be treated with respect. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Europe. I felt that I was doing fun things and educational things. I felt I was opening doors. I always loved history and meeting people. It was a wonderful experience.
46: My next big international adventure was China. Two things inspired me to go to China. There was a girl in our church that was a missionary in Papa New Guinea. I was inspired by the work that she was doing. I researched going to Papa New Guinea to teach the missionary kids. I found out that it was expensive to work at a missionary school. I would have to raise the money and convince people to support me. All you needed to teach in China was a college degree and be a native English speaker. So I decided to go to China. My second inspiration was that I had a wanderlust. I wanted to see the world and this was a good way to do that. June, after college graduation, I went to training in Los Angeles. We left in July to China. It was very quick and easy way to become a teacher, but we didn’t get the support of other missionary programs. In China, the government knew that we were Christian. We could talk about Easter to teach them about the American culture. The government would allow some religious education, but you could not proselytize. When I lived in China I lived in an apartment. The apartments were very cold. I had a bathroom with a shower. The shower had a keepi warmi. (A way to heat the water.) We joked that the building was Soviet Gothic architecture. I had my own room. One of the teachers had an open room where we could gather. | At the school there was heat, when the power was on. There were frequent power outages. On the other side of the street, there was a school were many of the military’s children went. If we had been on that side of the street we would have had no problem with power, water and heat. We were on the wrong side of the road. The dorm was between my apartment and the school. So I got to know my students very well and I was able to play ping pong with them. Ping Pong is very popular in China. Everyone plays. Young kids, old men. They would use a table that was made for ping pong. Then they would use a row a bricks for the net. My first year in China, we had to look nice. I had to wear a tie everyday. After teaching we could wear casual clothes. Men could not wear open toed shoes. The women could. It would get pretty hot, but that was very important to the Chinese.
47: The Chinese students loved Halloween, so we would celebrate Halloween twice. We would have a costume party with the 1st semester students and with the 2nd semester students. I am in the big hat, I am Frito Bandito. In the picture is also Ann Bode and Andrew Meuler. They were my co-teachers and were very important in my faith development. | Doing a Christmas play in China. This was our chance to talk about God and Christianity. It was important that we did as much as we could during these days to keep the bible alive. I was a shepherd in the play. | The Students loved to get their picture taken with us. They wanted their teachers and classmates to know that they had American English teachers. Not just learning Chinglish. Ann is in the blue coat. | Top student, she ended up working at the linear particle accelerator in Lucerne, Switzerland. Students tended to be graduate students and professors. In Bejing it was all professors. In China they were hungry for western teachers. It is such a contrast to Tanzania. Ann Bode, from Liberty University, and Andrew Meuler were engaged in 6 months. They really challenged me in my beliefs. They are very special to me
48: In Changchun, where I started teaching, they had an ice festival each year. It is dangerous, but they would put rides in the ice sculptures. Each year the sculptures were better. I went to the festival with Ann and Andy.
49: In Changchun, the amenities were very poor. It was difficult to find good food. The food at the school was not good. One of the gals made a mint cake. We found out later that she made it with toothpaste. This is where I learned to eat Kim chi. The people in the north will say that the Cantonesse will eat anything that moves. This is a wrapper of a can of dog food. This is for humans to eat. The dog is in the can. I tried dog, it is very stringy. I tried it because I wanted to partake in the culture. I saw a picture of beetles with a spoon in it. I don’t know if they were pulling my leg or if someone would really eat it. There was a dish called Tiger and Dragon. It was made of cat and snake. The way they would get the snake was gruesome. They would remove one of the organs of the snake and leave the snake to die. For them, animals are to eat, not to have as pets. This has changed over the years. Now people are starting to have discretionary income, so they are starting to have pets. At first we were not allowed to go to the country side. Later we could go if we wanted to, but it was very difficult. They would call something a very small town and it was humongous. | I learned to ice skate in China. I even learned to skate backwards and play ice hockey. At the end of October, the Chineese celebrated the Moon festival and the students would give us Moon Cakes. We would get tons of Moon Cakes. Andy had a whole bunch in his room. He loved hockey. He helped me get skates and a stick, but we couldn’t find a hockey puck. In the whole town there was not a single puck for sale. But the Moon Cakes were about the right size. So we improvised. When the Chinese saw what we were playing hockey with they laughed and laughed. Moon Cakes in China are the equivalent of fruit cakes in America.
50: I was lucky to be in China during a very important time in their history when the university students started staging pro-democracy protests. Hu Yaobang was a well known reformer. After his death, people were mourning him and coming to honor him. The students used this emotion as a way to continue the pro-democracy protests. If he had not died, they would not have had that momentum. They would go to the city center for a few hours. First it was the students protesting, for maybe 3 hours, then they would go back to their classes or homes. This went on for a couple of days. | Then the university professors joined. They would go to the city center for a few hours, then return. The professors are the ones with bicycles. Then the workers joined. The workers started showing up in trucks. When it got to the point that the workers started to make waves, that is when the government stepped in to stop the protests. It was okay for the students to protest, but not the workers. These photos were taken in northern China, Changchun. These took place at the same time as Tiananmen Square. There were protests all over the country. | China was going to host a large international sporting event. They wanted everything to go smoothly. It was almost a coming of age party for China. They were very worried about the international view of China. They wanted everything to be peaceful, so they could be the host for the Olympics later. They tried to keep the protests quiet. But the protests snowballed. The universities throughout China were starting to come to Beijing. It was very organized, which the government did not want.
51: I’ve heard that Universities in Beijing tried to talk to the government leaders and slow things down. But with the students coming from all over China, the local universities lost control and the hard liners in the government decided enough was enough. Goddess of Democracy was a statue that was built by the students for the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. The students felt that the demonstrators were losing enthusiasm and they wanted a symbol to rally the people. There are many people in China who do not want democracy. Democracy and freedom bring good things and bad things. After teaching in Changchun, I moved to Beijing and taught at the Peking University. In Beijing, I taught university professors. I had students who were at Tiananmen Square. They did not like to talk about the events. In China on the campus, we could have protests and there were walls that you could post your opinions, but once you left the university you had to be very careful. At any educational institution there has to be a freedom of ideas. China had to lift their thumb a little at the university. The street in front of the Forbidden City is called the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Much of the shooting during Tiananmen Square happened on this street. | Photo of my team mates at Peking University. The sign means “The Top University in China”. | The Hidden Garden | The Forbidden City
52: These are photos from my travels around China. The boy on the left is wearing a green Mao suit. The blue windbreaker was becoming all the rage. | Below is a photo of me on the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Soldiers, the meat market and a vendor. You can find CocaCola everywhere. More people know the logo for Coke than for Christianity.
53: These photos are from Kashgar, in the western part of China. Many of the people are of Turkish decent. In the photo below there is a mosque in the background. The area is very dry and desolate.
54: When I finished in Beijing, I went to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong everything is very open. I was in one of the malls. I realized that these people don’t have democracy. People have died for democracy and here I am not making the effort to vote in our election. We take our democracy for granted. I felt very guilty for awhile. I spent a year and a half in Hong Kong working for a computer market research company. They started to have me do things that I thought were unethical and I said, “No, I’m not going to do it.” I quit my job. I ended up in Macau at a deaf school. The school went from 3rd grade to high school. I taught math, which was easy because they had books that I could use. I also taught them English, which was really tough. The curriculum in the school system dictated that every student learn English. You did what you could. If you couldn’t do it, it couldn’t be done. It was freeing in some sense. I grieved that some of the kids would not make it through the program. One project that I did with the students was to build bridges with toothpicks and glue. Then we put books on them to see how much they could hold. In Macau, the tongs or gangs wanted deaf people to be part of their gang. Because they couldn’t hear what people were saying, they would use them as couriers. One of my jobs was to make things interesting and to play with them. Like a youth director. So that they would not be enticed to join a gang. | Celebrating Christmas in Macau | Celebrating my birthday in Macau | My Teacher ID
55: In Macau, they had city basketball leagues. My team was sponsored by a restaurant. They bought us the whole uniform including shoes. One week, we played a police team. They played really dirty. They would trip and blind side you. I was glad that I had to learn to play basketball as a kid. I would have missed an amazing cultural experience if I could not play basketball. To get home from Hong Kong, I became a courier. They pay you to go to Korea, then Japan, then to Seattle. That is were I had to go through a strip search. They thought I was a courier for drugs. I was looking pretty scruffy. The port of entry was Seattle. Then I made it home to California. | While in China, I spotted this article in the paper. In China I was surrounded by students talking about democracy and protesting and then in Chico they are protesting that they are closing the bars. American college students don’t understand what freedom is. They are lacking perspective. | The book of Mao. Everyone had a Mao book. People would chant passages from the book. It became almost a religion.
56: In January or February of 2000, Beth and I went to Tanzania to see if this was the place for us to be missionaries. While on this visit, we met Jean and Marv. “Eric was always there to fix things without supervision. When Eric came as a guest, he would just borrow a few tools and go fix things.” --Jean “The first time Beth and Eric came to Tanzania, Beth was 7 months pregnant with Anya. We were walking her to the campsite. At the campsite, there is a 500 liter tank that is starting to rust through. There is Eric, standing inside the tank, scrubbing the inside of the tank with a broom. The tank is so bad that he scrubbed right through the side of the tank. He was wearing only shorts, so it looked like he was stark naked. “ -- Marv What inspired me to go to Tanzania? Beth and my ‘vunderlust’. I wanted to go see a culture that was so different from our own. I didn’t want to be a tourist. A tourist seems like a zoo mentality and only getting the candy coating. “Speaking of candy, the worst thing you did, was when you left, you left a little can of jelly bellies. We kept that can. We still have it.” --Marv After we decided to return to Tanzania as missionaries, we had to wait forever to get a work permit. We waited in the United States. Once the work permit came through, we were off to Tanzania. | We lived two houses down from Jean and Marv. The 1st thing I did was teach English. For one semester, they had native English speakers for every class. I worked in China for 2+ years and taught in Macau. After a semester in Africa, the school decided that Marv and I could no longer teach because we didn’t have a license. In China they will take anyone who is college educated and a native speaker. In Africa, that license was more important than experience or skill. They had no one to replace us. Marv even had a master’s degree. They wanted to follow their rules and regulations. I burned a bridge with Mrs. Laiser. She later asked me to teach a class and I simply told her, “When you let the big dog off the chain, he’s not coming back.” Marv and I were the carnivores. We went with a group to a BBQ at Snake Park, which is an overlander posting. The menu was set and all the food was served family style. The menu was a pork chop, boar war (pork and beef), and a piece of chicken plus other condiments. We made out like bandits. Half of the group was vegetarian. Marv was embarrassed with how much we ate, I was not. “Beth and Eric could cook, so they would cook and Marv and I would eat. Beth would make cinnamon rolls and potato bread. The only thing Marv and I can make are reservations. Eric could really make a wonderful spicy chicken curry soup. He would make two pots of it. He would make one pot for Anya, Beth and I. The other pot was for Marv and Eric.
57: The dish he made for Marv and Eric, man it was hot and man was it good. Marv and Eric were doing the dishes after dinner. Marv turned to Eric and said, “Eric, there are not many men that can make my lips tingle.” Marv couldn’t taste or feel anything for a week. He was sweating. I knew it was a good curry when the sweat would run down the back of Marv and soak his collar. “ –Jean “Eric can eat hotter/spicier food than Marv. There was a restaurant called, Everest to China where Eric would get Ma spice. The owner would see Eric coming and would say, “Ma” and Eric would say “Ma”. He would serve a dish to Eric that was too hot for Marv to eat.” -- Jean You have two types of spice in Chinese food. La, which is like pepper. Ma is different; it doesn’t hurt as much. The cook wouldn’t serve this spice to most of his customers, because they would not know it’s value. Once he realized that I lived in China, he knew that I would appreciate the spice. He would prepare a dish called Monduli Mapa Dofu. My hope for being in Tanzania was to do economic development. So when I was given the “opportunity” (of being fired) I jumped at it. I was able to work with Heifer Project. I had a lot of joy and fun. I worked with another missionary. I was able to visit places that few people have ever seen. I was able to see the difference that Heifer Project makes. They were helping fish farmers. | One of the challenges is that the people have been taught to raise the animals properly and given the tools to do the job. But would they take what they have been given and improve it or are they going to go back to what they were doing earlier. I would just tear my hair out in frustrations, because you know that these people could improve their lot in life, they could get milk, they could get all these important things if they would just work at it. Some do and they do great. Others, they let it all go to waste. I worked in capacity building. I didn’t get to work with the farmers, because my Swahili was not at a high enough level. I worked with the teachers, teaching them computer skills, Excell, Acess.
58: Later, I worked for Techno Serve. My job was to go to the different farmers. I did six sites. The teachers have a hard time with the big picture. They were better with dealing with the farmer. They could get the data of how much milk a cow was producing, but they did not know what to do with the data. I entered it into a spreadsheet program so that we could do comparisons. We were able to see which projects were working well and which ones were struggling. One of the challenges both in China and Tanzania, is that I was hired to be an English teacher and people wanted to practice their English with me. I wasn’t there to learn Chinese or Swahili. I probably used this as a crutch. I could have done so much language. I’m ashamed that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. Beth learned more Swahili. I think it helped that she was teaching computers. It forced her to speak in Swahili. If I had been teaching math, I would have learned the Swahili for the math terms. Tanzania is a third person country. For example, Jane started a school. Sethi was trying to get Jane stuff and I didn’t want to appear to be a sugar daddy. So if Sethi were to ask me for something, I would say no. So he would ask Jean to ask me. They want as many different layers of removal from the request. They don’t want to deal with conflict. So when Eric said “No” to going back to teach, it was really a big shake up. | People would bad mouth me for taking care of Anya. This was very hurtful, because Anya is my everything. In the culture at the time, men did not care for their children. That is starting to change. Many more fathers are now carrying their children, perhaps it was my influence. When driving, everyone watches. You want every eye on the road. Anya was about 2 years old. She was in a car seat, so she sat up higher than anyone else. From our house to the city, there were 37 speed bumps. Some would be very big, some would be smaller, like a rumble strip. So Anya would say “rumble strip” every time they came to one and “speed bump”. “I booked Eric to do morning devotions. There was one that will never be forgotten by anyone. They have a product in Africa called KOOM. It is similar to Raid, but it would never pass the EPA regulations to be sold in the USA.
59: You could spray a cockroach on the floor; it would take 5 steps and keel over. So Eric is talking about a passage of scripture that talks about the fiery angles and dealing with judgment. The students were wondering what fiery was. So Eric takes a can of DOOM, and in front of the chapel, he lights it. He sprayed it up in the air, it was a huge flame thrower. Of course all the girls screamed and never forgot that. As a leader, when ever I ran across the word fiery I would say “Remember BabaAnya” and the class would say “Oh Yeah!” That was impressive.” – Jean I enjoyed the morning devotions the most at the girl’s school. I knew I was making a difference. Jean kept scheduling me for the devotions, because they always got the point. I remember when I first met Sarah Wallace. She was an Australian in Monduli. ‘Don’t pick up anybody you don’t know,’ was a constant rule. There was a hospital just outside of town. I had to go through the town, past this hospital. I didn’t know the people, so I am not supposed to pick anyone up. There is this gal, who is a white woman, as I pass I am looking in the mirror and she is making an exasperated expression that said, “Why didn’t you stop? How can you drive right by?” So I stopped. She comes up the car. The 1st thing I said was, “Hi, my name is Eric Hanson, what is your name?” | “Sarah” “Okay, I know you now, hop in.” I brought her to our house. Sarah said “I made Eric’s day, because he was able to bring someone into our group.” Sarah has become a very good friend. There would be other Americans in town, but they were Peace Corp, not Christian, and they would keep to themselves. David Fleeger. He just loved Anya and was so good to her. David fell in love with a Tanzanian. We were his surrogate family. Only his mother came for the wedding. We were there also. We never could have had the experience of being part of a Tanzanian wedding on a tour. In Tanzania, they don’t have wedding cakes. Instead they have a Cakei Cakei, a goat roasted over an open fire. They put ???? on the horns and grass in the mouth so that it looks like it is vomiting. They slice off a piece and the bride has to feed the groom and then the in-laws. David had to do the same. Flora only had to feed one in-law, because only his mother came. She was looking to see if she was supposed to feed us. I just told her, no need. The Tanzanians had dresses made with big puffy sleeves for a wedding. His mom, Mrs. Fleeger, would not wear the dress, she absolutely refused. Nobody in there right mind would wear the dress. We wore the blue outfits. Beth and I were borrowing Marv’s car. Coming back from Arusha, I got hit by a UN car. There are two lanes and then you have a lane for the UN. They basically do what ever they wanted. They have the money and
60: the political friends. So if anything happened to them, it was no big deal. I was driving home. The UN car was right behind me. I pulled into the center lane with my signal on to turn into a petrol station. The driver of the UN car went whipping around. They hit the bumper and make a J hook out of a straight bumper. There were many witnesses who said it was the UN drivers fault. It was the UN driver’s 2nd accident of the day. The UN automatically blamed me. It took so long to get the UN to finally pay for it. Jean and Marv didn’t mind, they got a nice new bumper. In Africa, if you were pulled over for speeding, you could either get a ticket or pay the officer a bribe for the amount of the ticket. This really irritated me. Sometimes it is so easy to be negative. Joys of being in Africa? Besides the food? Since I’ve come back, it has been a very difficult time. There were good things, but I can honestly say that if I had the opportunity again....... I lost a couple of children there; I lost my drive to make a difference. The girls have the opportunity to do a really good job. They have no idea how blessed they are. I was frustrated with the nepotism. It was just rampant. When I was at the Danish language school, there was a guy from Monduli. He hadn’t done anything with development. There were so many women who would have been perfect for the job, but this guy got the job because his aunt was involved. Bishop of the Lutheran Church is totally corrupt. The church! I found people | that were doing good work, but this was the hardest thing for me. I went with high hopes of helping these people. I wanted to do micro enterprise. That was my motivation. I had been thinking of this since China. Then I was in Africa, serving the people and doing good work for them. But the reality demoralized me. I expected problems with the government, but the churches were corrupt. I came to help this diocese. But the bosses are corrupt. My experience might have been different if the church was not corrupt. Now, I’m jaded. I like to see things as black and white. In Africa it is all shades of gray. People develop a love hate relationship with Tanzania. The corruption and the not being wanted. We often got the feeling they wanted us to go home. The Tanzanians were baffled by our ability to care.
62: It was good to be at LBI with Beth and the community. At Chico, I knew people, but at LBI, I really got to know people. We had more heart to heart talks. I’ve probably had one heart to heart talk with Stewart, but I probably had 10 people at LBI that I would have heart to heart talks with. As part of the Life Group, we would design an emblem for ourselves. There were 4 things that you could put on your emblem. I put a snail, because it was getting to a point that the Life Group was opening me up. I was coming out of my shell. That was true of my spiritual awakening as well. I think this was healthy for me. The first time I met Beth, there was a group of students. Beth was the group leader. The life group coordinator set us up. This whole group would go to the Center House and dance. I think Beth liked that I would dance. I gave her some Lindt candy. I believe she still has a piece of it left. There were lots of women who were interested in me, but I was oblivious. I came to the school to study. I liked Beth because she was straight forward. She told me straight out, “I’m interested in you.” I look back and I know that I picked the right woman for me. I got the right women for me. Now did she pick the right person for her? I don’t know about that. | Beth worked in communications, so she had to dress up. Her grandmother handed down a whole bunch of clothes, top of the line. I was courting her and Beth’s office was out of the way. She always knew that I wasn’t ‘just going by’ when I stopped by to visit. She still dresses up very nicely. She had a good place where her office was. She had her own garden. She kept things very orderly. She parked her truck in front of her office. One day, I had a job of cutting off the spent roses in a large garden. So I saved all the petals and sprinkled them all over her car. There was this guy that liked Beth, but she wasn’t interested in him. He always wore cowboy boots, so she knew when he was coming to visit her in her office. I wonder what would have happened if I wore boots. Before Beth and I were married. We went on a road trip. We went on Hwy 2 all the way to my Uncle’s place in Wisconsin. We went from Seattle all the way to Williston, North Dakota. We did this in one shot, so her mother would know that we didn’t spend the night together. When we got there, her mother said, “Oh, that would not have been a problem.” It was very important to both of us that everyone knew things were on the up and up. | My Family (Well, what would be my family)
63: Our Wedding – I don’t know how to explain it. It was surreal. This is a big event, but I’m eating food which is an everyday event. I can still remember going down the aisle with Beth. I felt like a deer in the headlights. There was an anxiousness. I was scared about what it would mean to live with someone. I liked that and I wanted that, but it was a big responsibility. Before we processed, Beth was mentioning that she was cold. She had a low back dress on. I put my hand on her back to warm her. It was nice. Beth’s maid of honor made sure that my best man (my cousin Jim) didn’t put tape on my shoes. Jim is a spiritual rock for me. At the reception we had Norwegian dancing. It was something I had never done before. So I was getting married and doing this dance, all of which was new. I was having overload. I don’t see how Beth was able to focus. I don’t think I focused much at all. Three of Beth’s friends did a song, “Mr. Sandman bring me a dream.” They changed it to “Mr. Hanson bring me a dream. “ For me, my wedding, I felt I was on a roller coaster going where it was going. After the wedding we lived in a our Honeymoon Cottage. It was a small house, like a cabin. We used a wood stove to try to keep warm. We also had electric heat. I was working construction, so I could get lots of wood. So we would have lots of wood fires. That was nice. One time I forgot to open the door to the bedroom. So the back room was really cold. Beth was not happy. She likes to be warm. | We had a huge plum tree. We never canned the plums, but we gave tons away. We were only there for 6 months. Then we were able to stay at a Retired Air Force pilot’s house. We lived there for several years for free. He was the reason we were able to buy a home. Part of me thinks we should have stayed here and saved more money so that we could have a rental house, but we choose to move when Beth was pregnant. Beth is a natural beauty. I remember at the wedding her nephew was there. Beth was going down the aisle. He saw Beth and his jaw dropped. She was amazingly beautiful. With a little mascara, she is amazing.
64: Everybody knows that I don’t like blood and medical stuff. I don’t do the medical stuff at all. So the way Beth told me she was pregnant, she put a bicycle helmet and a pregnancy tester on the table. I would have liked to have been the 1st to see Anya, but it wasn’t meant to be. Beth’s water had broken. She tends to be in control and here is something she can’t control. It was nice to have Beth’s sister with us for the delivery. She’s a doctor. Her sister knew all the terminology. I was the 3rd person to see Anya, because they whisked me out of the delivery room. I was starting to turn white. Fortunately, Beth’s sister was there. What is it like becoming a Dad? For me, I could not focus really well, I was speechless. I put an eye bolt in the beam of the house so that I could attach Anya’s Johnny Jumper. Anya was getting bigger and started to try to run and grab something when the spring would pull her back and see would keep trying. Anya has always liked to do circus acts on my belly. I loved that time with her. I have been so blessed with the amount of time I’ve been able to spend with Anya. I enjoyed every minute of her childhood. I pray she continues to become a wise and godly woman. (Hopefully Boomer will grow to be a wise dog, but some how I don't think it will happen.)
66: "Beth and Anya, I want you guys to know that I love you so much. It is difficult to say all that I am feeling. I want you to know that God is here. Sometimes he might seem far away, but he isn’t."
67: My Favorite Foods Cream Puffs and Corn from Wisconsin. Ribs, Crab Feeds, Almond Joy and Jolly Ranchers. I like Almond Joy because it's a favorite of Anya also. I like anything sour, like lemon drops. I love a very hot curry, spicy tofu. My mom's beef stroganoff is the best comfort food. When I was about 10, we would get KFC on Sundays. I loved the chicken, the potato salad and Fresca.
69: Home Sweet Homes
70: I never learned to play a musical instrument, but I could play the radio. These are my all time favorite songs. Roger Daltry, My Generation Roger Daltry - “World Over” Queen – You are my Best Friend – Queen on Fire The Drifters - Up on the Roof – Under the Boardwalk Marcus Aurelius Prudentius – Of the Father’s Love Begotten James Taylor – Every Day John Michael Talbot – Come to the Quiet Pretenders – Day after Day Sade – Your Love is King Dobbie Bros - Depending on You Dobbie Bros - Minute by Minute Michael Card – Arise my Love Fleetwood Mac – Gypsy England Dan and John Ford Coley – Love is the Answer Don Juan de Marco – Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman (This song reminds me of a beautiful woman, Beth) Michael Kelly Blanchard - Thanks Be to God - Mercy in the Maze Michael Kelly Blanchard - The Bonnie Breathe of God – Mercy in the Maze Edgar Cruz – Classical Demands Bohemian Rhapsody Elton John – Philadelphia Freedom James Taylor - You’ve Gotta a Friend Aaron Neville – Everybody Plays the Fool Michael Card – Sleep Sound in Jesus – Sleep Sounds in Jesus Smokey Robinson – Just to See Her Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog – This is one of the 1st songs I can remember Keith Green – Easter song Windham Hill Artist – A Winter Solstice – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
71: My favorite work of art. | "Paint your own canvas of life.."
73: "I am amazed at the family that God has given to me. We are blessed always by those who love us."
75: We have the promise of life eternal, a paradise in the sky, A place of refuge in God's presence, we will not sorrow, pain, or cry... Behold the glory of the heavens; see the splendor of the sun, Our heart's desire to see the Father, behold his face when our race is won. --Roy Gardner