Monday, December 23, 2013

Blue Ridge Parkway

This National Parkway is very near to Johnson City. We had 469 miles of beautiful highway to appreciate every spring and fall. There are plenty of hiking trails along the road - we could take one trail every week for many years without repeating any hikes. We started to take advantage of these when we lived in the area, and began to learn how to gradually increase our knowledge about those gorgeous mountains. The pictures below were taken in the Fall of 1974, when we, as a family in our early days,  started to hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The color change is just as good as anywhere in the USA. My slides are not coming out as I would have liked, as I was learning my photographic techniques at the time too!  blue-ridgeBlue-ridge-1blue-ridge-2blue-ridge-3blue-ridge-4

My Beautiful Wife

In 1974, with two children at home, Janice started to teach again and settled in her position as a teacher in the not-most-ideal situation. She was, however, very comfortable to manage the hectic life. She was still maintaining our social activities, not only in the church, which included the choir, but also in my Chemistry Department, and the newly started Civic Chorale. The following picture was taken during a big dinner she cooked for a large group of guests at our home. My beautiful wife handled everything with ease. When I look at this picture and think about the moments at that time, when she was toasting the whole group at a dinner party, I am feeing how lucky I was with her around! beautiful-wife

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We like Watauga Lake!

As you read this blog, you can see that whenever we had visitors, we took them to Watauga Lake. Whether new or old friends, this lake was our favorite place to take them to visit. It not only has beautiful scenic spots to drive around, it also has trails for walking. Depending on people’s age and stamina, we could walk from fifteen or twenty minutes to a couple of hours. There were also boats for renting and good designated swimming areas. So you could enjoy all kinds of activities there. The following pictures show us as we went there as a family and enjoyed the shore lines.wataugawatauga-2watauga-3watauga-4

Friday, December 13, 2013

Its fun to dress-up

There is no question that Panpan, as a young girl, was always very interested in dressing–up. Her favorite holiday was Halloween, primarily because it gave her a chance to put on a costume. I have collected some pictures of her at a school function, which we believe was the first time for her to dress-up, at least it was the first time I took some pictures. You can easily taste the excitement from her expression.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visitors and Visiting

We definitely were setting down in Johnson City and enjoying the East Tennessee area. We had more and more visitors regularly and were going out visiting nearby friends too. There were also guest speakers whom I invited almost every week to give seminars in the Department on Friday afternoons. I had started the seminar program and was working hard to make it a success. There were several family friends who came to visit quite often, such as the Ludwicks, who were teaching in Alabama,  and the Sanzones, who were at nearby Virginia Tech. Some of their pictures are collected below to give you a glimpse of our lives during that time. The pictures of the Ludwicks were taken on two different occasions in the backyard at our home. The pictures of the Sanzones were taken at their place when we visited them in Blacksburg.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tang Family Visit

Sherman is my long time friend from Taiwan. While we have not lived in the same town, we have kept in touch with each other over the years we have been in the US. We attended each other’s weddings and we visited many times on different occasions. Sherman’s parents came to stay with his family where they helped to raise their two boys in New York. In the Fall of 1974, the whole family came to Johnson City for a visit. It was by far the most extensive visit of our two families. We went to many places in the area, including Watauga Lake, Beach Mountain, Roan Mountain, and, of course, the ETSU campus and nearby Rocky Mount, etc. We have a lot of good pictures to show our activities. Best of all, we have some of the best pictures of Sherman’s parents!tangtang-2tang-3tang-4tang-parentstang-5

Friday, December 6, 2013

Harold Markstrom

Harold had several connections with our lives in 1974. First of all, he was our piano tuner. We bought a used piano and he was a very important person during the years we used it! He was also, at the time, tuning all the pianos in the ETSU Music Department. When I became the Adult Choir director that year for Our Savoir Lutheran Church, he was also the choir accompanist. Ed and Judy got married that summer and Harold played for the wedding. Talking about weddings, Chunk Story helped me to make a big round table, which sits up to sixteen people and which we used for the first time for that wedding dinner. It has been used for many many special dinners ever since. See pictures of the table below along with some dishes Janice cooked and with guests Pastor Mould and Dr.and Mrs. Hsu.  The last picture is of Harold with his wife Lori.tabletable-2markstrom

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Special Birthday Party

We had a special party for Steven’s third birthday celebration. Not only was his buddy David Gazda invited, David’s whole family was there to celebrate. Our two families enjoyed sharing time together. It is unusual to have two families matched so well together. Each family member was matched with someone of the same age and similar interests. Janice enjoyed talking with Jo about their children, and Bill and I had plenty to share about basketball. We both enjoyed playing the game. While David and Steven shared their toys, Panpan and Meg had plenty of things to excite them. Overall we had a great evening together without spending a cent!steven-3 steven-3-a steven-3-b

Friday, November 29, 2013

More about WCA

Talking about WCA, one factor must be stressed. Janice took the job, mainly because the head-master, Garland Thayer, agreed that his wife, Jean, would be part of the deal. Jean would help watch Steven while Janice was in the classroom. The Thayers had a boy who was the same age as Steven. His name was David. David and Steven could play together while Janice was in class. This was really an ideal situation for both families. The Thayers also had twin boys, slightly older than David and Steven, and a girl Panpan’s age whose name was Laura. At that stage, we were happy to have some boys as playmates for Steven. Furthermore, at WCA, there was plenty of space with fields for the boys to play and run around safely. The pictures below can give you some idea of the situation there!
  wc-kids   wc-kids-3wc-kids-2wc-kids-5wc-kids-4

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Graduation at WCA

The first graduation to take place at Washington College Academy after Janice started to teach there in the spring of 1974, was quite an eye-opening for her!  She was the faculty sponsor of the class who were supposed to get the flowers ready for the ceremony. The flowers were wild daisies and they were supposed to be picked from the field. It literally took two days for the whole class to pick enough daisies to make a daisy chain. Yes, I did take a picture. Even though it is not very clear, you can easily see the actual size of the chain, see below:WC-graduation3 
Yes, it took four young people to carry that chain!   The graduation itself was not that unusual (see other pictures below), but we would never forget the daisy chain.WC-graduationWC-graduation2

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Moments

As Steven grew older, he and Panpan started to enjoy each other more and more. It was very nice to see them sharing happy moments together spontaneously. It is generally difficult to catch these moments in your life on a camera. Every parent has had these moments, but it is rare that you can remember them specifically, and even more rare that you can catch them on a camera. I was lucky to get a couple of shots, and I can now show them to you proudly. I was just lucky to have my camera on hand at the right moment!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ACS Student Affiliates

The American Chemical Society has always been very interested in students studying chemistry. Starting in 1974, the East Tennessee State University Chemistry Students officially joined the Student Affiliates group in the ACS. The annual student meeting was held that year at the University of Kentucky, my old stomping ground. We had several students give reports there and, of course, they did not miss a beat to participate in some of the social activities. They surprised us by changing from jeans to dance clothes for the welcoming dinner! Jeff Wardeska joined me as a chaperon.  We all had a great time. From that year on, the ETSU Student Affiliate Group became very active in the annual meetings. They eventually hosted quite a number of these meetings in Johnson City. It all started at this thoroughbred horse country.studentstudent-acs    students-acs-party

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Washington College Academy

Washington College Academy, one of the oldest schools in Tennessee, was established in 1780 by Samuel Doak. By early 1974 it was a prep school with some boarding students. The President was Henry Jablonski, but it was run on a day to day basis by the Head Master, Garland Thayer. Garland called Janice because he had just lost the Math teacher for the school, and had heard that she might be available to finish the year as a teacher. It was about half an drive from our home and Janice was then not as busy as when our children were younger. She was allowed to bring Steven to school with her, so she decided to try the job out, maybe just for a short time. Garland had a son about the same age as Steven, so they could play together while Janice was teaching. The pictures below give a glimpse of the school and Garland.

Washington College-1780    Dorm and dining room
wc  Chapel