I have a large and active family. I have always believed in family, even though I have been divorced twice. We all do things together. As the children have married, and some have become parents themselves, this must change but we try to get together as frequently as possible.
This was August 2006 and the members shown are, from left to right, my daughter Claire, Kendall, my grand daughter, daughter Annie, Joe, my son, his wife Shelley, William, my grand son, me, my daughter Kate, and my oldest son Mike Jr. Claire spent a year living in Spain with her fiance and is now back working at the Huntington Library while attending the UCLA Library Science program. She speaks four languages and wants to have a career in research libraries, possibly in Spain. Annie is a sophomore in college. She did not like the University of Arizona and returned home. She is now living in San Diego and plans to attend SDSU. Joe is a fireman with the California Department of Forestry and Shelley runs a marketing business from home. Kate is a lawyer in Los Angeles and Mike is a lawyer in the Bay Area. Joe’s family is now one larger with Mary Grace.
Here is the whole family at Mike’s wedding last September.
Another member of our family is Winston, the bassett hound. Here he is when he was small. Bassetts, although short legged, are big dogs and he is much larger now. The other night he took a hamburger patty right off the kitchen counter top.
Here he is in all his glory. Bassett hounds often sleep on their backs and he is spoiled beyond all correction. He allows us, in his generosity, to share his bed. His weaknesses include a fear of riding in the car. That is unique in my life with dogs but this, because he stays home, results in his ownership of our backyard and he rules supreme there every day. Annie thinks he has “emotional issues” as he will sometimes growl while he is being petted and hates to be disturbed at night while he is sleeping on our bed.
Since I sold the house and moved to the mountains, the past year has seen quite a change in Winston. He seems happier and no longer growls and even rides in the truck with me. I fixed up a “car seat” for him with pillows and he seems to want to go when I leave in the truck. I take him sometimes but, in summer, cannot take him if he has to stay in the truck. The new house has a large yard which is completely fenced.
We traveled to Ephesus in 2004 and Annie got a chance to ride a camel. We also saw the medical school there but that was less photogenic. I have always believed that travel matures children and teaches them about the world, something the schools do a poor job with. As a result, all of my children have traveled with me or with school groups.
Here is my middle daughter, Claire, with the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. You can read about it but standing next to it gives a sense of reality that nothing else can provide.
Here, for example, is Annie standing next to the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens in 2004. In her senior year of high school, she took an AP Art History class in school and kept commenting on the number of subjects they studied that she had already seen in person. She celebrated her 14th birthday about a week after the Acropolis photo was taken. Her birthday party was in Venice. Most of these trips have a medical history purpose. Even the Acropolis has a temple of Asclepius, the god of healing.
Here is Vesalius’ dissecting table from his anatomy studio in Padua. The people in the photo are friends from the Royal Society of Medicine which sponsored this trip in 2003. Claire accompanied me this time. The wooden gallery, which was once filled with students watching Vesalius’ dissections, is in the next room but is 500 years old and too delicate to stand in. It can be seen from below where the dissection table once stood. This is the center from which modern anatomy came. I was able to stand in the center where the dissecting table once stood and look up at the gallery.
Here is a model of the gallery where the students stood to watch dissections. It is 500 years old so no one is allowed to stand in the structure but I was able to stand in the lozenge shaped opening at the bottom where the dissection table was placed. This photo is of the model that stands under glass nearby.
Not all trips are concerned with medical subjects. Here are Cindy and Annie with two nieces who spent two weeks with us in France in the summer of 2006. Here they stand in front of the home of Claude Monet. His famous water lily garden is nearby, completely restored to its condition when he lived in this house from 1883 until his death in 1926. His son lived on in the home but allowed the gardens to deteriorate for financial reasons. After his death, the house and grounds were acquired and restored. Giverny is now an artist colony with the Monet home and gardens the crowning jewel. All the original furniture remains in the home.
Here, the Japanese bridge over the lily pond, used in many of his paintings and now rebuilt, stands with Cindy, Emily and Annie looking out over the water lily pond.
However, some of the trip events are positively frivolous, such as this gondola ride for Annie and Emily. They did get to see Marco Polo’s house so some history was included. This was in June of 2007.
Another visit devoted to pleasure and not medical history is seen here. Mont San Michel, in its glory. As we drove up to the causeway from the Brittainy countryside, it seemed to appear floating in the air. By making reservations well in advance, we were able to spend the night in one of the tiny hotels on the island. Le Mere Poulard is the most famous and has an excellent restaurant. The great benefit of staying over night on the island is the freedom from swarms of tourists who are there all day. At night, you have the island almost to yourself. However, it is necessary to make sure your car is parked above the tide line or it will be washed away in the night. We remembered to move it and Cindy is standing where we parked once the crowds had left. Only employees and hotel guests can park in that lot.
Here is the famous restaurant and hotel. It is almost certainly the restaurant described in Helen MacInnes’ novel “Assignment in Brittany”. She is one of my favorite fiction writers and her novels are all travelogues. In the breakfast room (I was the only one up early enough) are photos of previous guests including Rita Hayworth and Aly Khan who stayed there for their honeymoon. We took pictures of the restaurant but Cindy left her camera on the top of the car and we drove away. The girls did get a bit of history at Normandy and I insisted they walk around the sites of D-Day.
Here they pose with a German gun half buried on Utah Beach. Many of the pillboxes and other fortifications are still there. A patient of mine was in Le Clerc’s Free French 2nd Armored Division on D Day. As I recall, they landed on D+2. Anyway, he ended up living in Orange County and, about 30 years ago, took his American wife and daughter to France to see Normandy. They retraced his steps from the beach to a point where he had attacked and killed a German tank with a bazooka. He was pointing out to his wife where the tank had been when suddenly he looked closer. The tank he had killed was still there in the hedge row! The practical farmer had simply dragged it into the hedge and out of the field.
They spent a couple of hours in the US military cemetery. That is a very moving place and I hope they apprecated it. It is right above Omaha Beach which is a big French summer resort. We spent several days just visiting Normandy. One of the best places for history is San Mere Eglise, where the airborne troops landed on D Day. There is a very nice museum there and, as they die off now, the paratroopers have been leaving their memorabilia to the museum. I have quite a few photos of it.
Once we got to Paris, they learned to use the Metro although one day I got annoyed
and left them to their own devices with the Metro. No problem; they simply walked back to the street and took a taxi.
We spent a day in the Louvre, which is never enough, but I have a theory that it is better with repeated small visits. The first time I visited the Louvre, the IM Pei building had not been built and we simply walked in a side door.
The girls were late sleepers but they did make it for a couple of visits. Our hotel was across the street so they had little excuse.
They did become fully acclimatized during the stay and Annie still gets e-mails from some of the boys she met.
We did visit Monaco in 2007 on another trip and the girls posed on the wall of the palace with a view of the harbor.
We had a wedding in July. Here are the bride and groom, Claire and Derek.
We all had a lovely time at the wedding and the dinner after. Derek is a very nice young man who spent a year in Spain with Claire studying. He graduated from UCI and they are both graduated from UCLA with Master’s degrees in Library Science, now mostly an information technology field. Claire begins a PhD program at USC in August 2011.
Here they are in Spain with Mike and his now wife Kate visiting them.
That was obviously a bull fighting theme in the bar but I’ll have to ask for the whole story.
My son, Joe and his wife Shelley were at both weddings, of course. This is Mike’s.
One tradition of the wedding dinner is cutting the wedding cake.
We followed tradition and everyone had a lovely time. The dinner was at a very nice restaurant in San Clemente called Vine. I highly recommend it.
We had another wedding in September 2009.
Mike and Kate are now a couple and had a lovely wedding in The Bay Area.
The wedding was at a small Catholic Church in Point Richmond and the reception was at the Berkeley City Club. Yes, they allowed me to attend. We did have one small encounter with the Berkeley world. A friend of Mike’s and I were standing outside the club smoking cigars. A Cal game had just ended and we were talking to some of the kids going home from the stadium, which is right up the street from the club. A rather stern looking woman with very short (crew cut) gray hair came out of the club and told us there was no smoking within 25 feet of the entrance. I asked her if she had a tape measure and she left in a huff.
The tone of the event may be surmised from this group photo of the bride and her bride’s maids.
In April of this year, Mike’s family was enlarged by one with the arrival of Madeline Ruth.
She arrived a bit early but is doing fine.
A few years later, she is more than fine.
We now have a new member named Edith, after her great grandmother.