Thursday, February 19, 2015

We bought a piece of land

The Mathews put an ad in the Johnson City newspaper, hoping to sell their land in Fall Branch, TN. They were retiring and planned to move to Florida. Janice and I took our kids to see this place in so-called Ugly Hollow, and we found it a beautiful place. There was a house there which had burned down. The trees were everywhere and there was a stream from a spring passing through the land. We loved the place and the owner had a plan by which we could pay them directly with a reasonable interest. It did not take us a long time for us to decide to buy it from the owners. So, later, we signed the contract at their lawyer Jack Hodge’s office and started to buy this land. The pictures below were taken when we went to see it the first time!land-fbland-fb-2

More Play in our Back Yard

It was really fun to have children older than six, as they started to take care of themselves and to learn how they could make use of what they had learned. Both Margaret and Steven were very good and happy kids. They were comfortable with their lives and were certainly able to enjoy themselves. We had a dog named Coco, who loved to play with both of them and Coco was always involved in the action. We just do not have a lot of her pictures. I have only this one picture of her in action. We had a tire swing in the back yard which the children enjoyed playing on. When Jeff was here they really played together well, and the weather was very cooperative. We certainly did not miss any time to take some more pictures.coco-playcoco-play-2coco-play-3

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lindsay’s last visit

Our neighbors in Lexington, Kentucky, Joyce and Lindsay Able, helped us to move to Johnson City in 1971. Later on, in 1977, Lindsay and their son Jeff came to visit us when they came to Bristol to watch the car races. That spring they stayed with us as there were never any hotels available in the area when the races were taking place at the speedway in Bristol. We were very happy to see them. They came at the most beautiful time of the year. Our redbud and dogwood trees in the front yard were blooming to welcome them. Certainly both Margaret and Steven were very happy to see them. We have some great pictures to remember that time. They never came to visit us again - life changes and friends change too!lindsaylindsay-2lindsay-3lindsay-4lindsay-5

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wake up, it’s my Birthday!

On Margaret’s eighth birthday this year, Janice baked a special birthday cake, just as she had always done for every birthday for both of our two children. But, when it came time for the cake, Steven was sound asleep on the sofa, and he had slept for quite a while. “Let’s wake him up.” “Let him sleep a bit more.” We debated for a while, but still we did wake him up and he was not very happy. Margaret did get the book she wanted, after blowing out the candles, and set to reading it right away!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Tenure, Promotion, & Search Committees

The politics in a University are not much different from any other place in the world. They have their own life although their nature might be very different in different places. They develop in their own way and you have to experience them to appreciate it. At a university, the Tenure and Promotion Committees and Search Committees are generally pivotal in determining the lives of so many scholars. Certainly they are very important to the future of any prominent university. In theory, if you are an outstanding teacher and researcher you should have no problem to get tenure and be promoted. The politics come when you have to establish some criterion to decide what is “outstanding”. It is easy to count the number of publications and papers presented and to determine the number of good student ratings. But you know that is never the full story. Regardless of how long a university has been in existence, the committees will change every year, in every college and, sometimes, in every department. I left the University of Kentucky before I experienced these things. At ETSU, I was very fortunate to be liked by the old Chairman of the Department, D.G. Nicholson. At that time, he decided everything. That was the system. In 1976, I was both tenured and promoted to the associate professorship without much fanfare. In 1977, Nicholson was retiring and Dick Kopp was appointed to be the acting chairman. Apparently the system was changing right before our eyes, we just did not realize the tide until much later. Since Nicholson had been interested in appointing another faculty member to be the chair, but the University president had vetoed his choice, we were told to search for someone from outside the university. I was on the search committee. This committee was supposed to find the best person for the department in a six month period, but things changed. I will talk about this change later. Spring at etsu was a beautiful time of the year, in regardless of all the politics behind these red brick buildings.     spring-etsu-5spring-etsuspring-etsu-2image

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ACS meeting in New Orleans

The spring meeting of the 1977 American Chemical Society took place in New Orleans from March 20th - 25th. Both Boris and I attended the meeting. This was an important meeting for me, personally, as I was starting to get involved with ACS politics and starting to give papers and participate in oral research results. New Orleans was a beautiful place in the early spring time and it was my first time in there. The ETSU graduate school in Chemistry had many Tennessee Eastman full-time workers who enrolled in ETSU to advance themselves, both at the undergraduate and the graduate levels. My first graduate student at ETSU was such a student. Her name is Jane Adams. who did the decomposition reaction of Oxalic acid in solutions, which was first presented orally at this meeting and was eventually published in the Journal of Chemical Kinetics two years later. She and I did quite a number of experiments during the evening hours and weekends.acs-noacs-no-1acs-no-0acs-no-2

Monday, February 9, 2015

Good Pictures

Part of your life is always difficult to remember exactly, which gives you a chance to make up some stories. After a while, you are often able to convince yourself that the stories are true memories, especially if you like the story you created. I have some slides taken and developed  in 1977. They are quite good, but I have no memory of where or when exactly they were taken. The picture of Dean and Maria shows them looking young and cheerful. Their children, Deana and Jennifer, were happy and had just gotten up or just gone to bed. And there was Ed with the two girls in their pajamas, taken somewhere both Janice and I cannot recognize. Finally, I have a picture of our kids in the front of our house with our dog, Princess, but I am not at all sure that it is connected with the other pictures. Well, they are all good pictures!spring-2spring-4spring-5spring-3spring

Friday, February 6, 2015

Robin and Robin

Janice was still teaching mathematics at Washington College Academy. When you are a teacher at a small school like WCA, you do everything. She certainly did everything you could imagine, including driving a school bus to and from Johnson City to carry some Johnson City students. Robin and Robin came to our home to practice their singing. These two cheerful students did a great job together. I remember I was impressed and was very happy to take a picture of them for this occasion. It is like everything else in the past - we remember their first names but are unable to recall their last names and what they sang and for what special ceremony. Of course, they are adults now with their own families. It is, however, nice to remember their youthful spirits and our enjoyment.robin&robin

Thursday, February 5, 2015

More Visitors

In the early spring of 1977, Janice’s Aunt Dot and her Uncle Fran (the Marduliers) came to visit us. This was Janice’s only aunt on her mother’s side. Both Dot and Fran used to spend quite a bit time with Janice and her sister and brother when they were young. They were the ones who were responsible for buying the land on Cape Cod and they helped Janice’s parents build their house there, after putting up their own place. Fran was in the Navy during the second world war and later worked for Grace Chemical in the Boston area. Janice was very close to them. They came to visit us in Tennessee only once and we were very happy to welcome them. It was in the early spring, the tulips had just came out in the front and back yards. We took them to visit our favorite place, Watauga Lake, but the visit was just too short!aunt-dotaunt-dot-2aunt-dot-3

Monday, February 2, 2015

Christmas Visitors

Janice’s parents came to visit us right after Christmas. It was very nice for both her parents and our children as they experienced once again the joyfulness of Christmas. Our children opened more gifts, everyone played more games, and Janice got a chance to cook a few more dishes which everyone liked to eat. It was a very nice get-together. The following pictures certainly captured the moments both Janice and I enjoyed during the time. Our Christmas season celebrations then started to get into a pattern which I did not realize at the time.When I was growing up, there were no Christmas celebration at all!visitvisit-1visit-2visit-3