Here's a picture of my Dad and his half-brother, Arthur. Their father (my grand-father) came over from Sweden and qualified for land under President Benjamin Harrison's Land Grant Act. He was awarded several acres in nowhere-ville, Missouri. This is a shot on their farm. Uncle Arthur served in WWI and fought in the Ardennes offensive.
Just one of many pictures dad took while in the service. After VJ day he was assigned to the Japanese Occupational Force. This picture shows a Japanese man dad met one day who was visibly happy to receive a cigarette. Dad says soon after this picture was taken the man lit up and got horribly sick from the cigarette. I guess he just wanted to be cool like the GI's over there.
Dad while still in the Air Force around 1967. This picture was taken while in Vietnam.
Shots of dad's flight school graduation book. Love the Bugs Bunny logo - want it for a tattoo.
After Vietnam, dad moved through Kansas City and met mom. It wasn't long before he retired and married her and I was born soon after. What a couple, huh?
Mom and dad set up house in Springfield, Missouri. Mom says we had a nice little house in a nice neighborhood there, but dad insisted he wanted to move back to his home town of Hermitage, Missouri. Incidentally, Brad Pitt is from Springfield and roughly the same age as me and my brothers, so imagine if we'd stayed we would have grown up knowing him (maybe).
Okay, here I am in my stylin' red baseball cap and shorts. Sharp!
I have no idea what expression I'm making in this picture. But I sure look happy to be reading that book.
Here's a shot of me on what I guess was my third birthday - wearing the cake! I look like I'm pretending to be Wolverine or something, except Wolverine didn't exist back then. So I guess I'm just being an idiot in that picture while my little brother Ola is getting all the attention.
That's supposedly me and my 'birthday cat'. I don't seem too thrilled with him. What a cry-baby. I'll admit to that - I was such a whiner. I remember refusing to go out and play in the snow one day because my socks were on crooked. Jim and Ola were the smart ones and went on to play, leaving mister pissy-pants inside to cry. Served me right.
Life was good in Springfield. At least it looks that way. Here's me and my brother, Jim. We seem to be really getting along okay. No idea what dog that is or what ever happened to it.
Missouri early 70's. Not the center of the universe, granted. Dad had just retired from the Air Force after 27 years of distinguished service in three wars. He was ready to settle down in his home town of Hermitage Missouri and build a place on the land his father had received from President Benjamin Harrison when he came over from Sweden. Sounded like a good plan. Unfortunately, it seemed more like hillbilly living.
Someone snapped a pic of the big fiber-glass pig I worked in for my first ever job at the PTM theme park. I'm so proud.
Hermitage USA 1986 - me and Jim hanging with David French, fancying ourselves photographers - taken during Christmas when they lit the whole park up
While in Pittsburgh, Mom and Dad helped to found a new church in the area. Dad helped two carpenters in the area, Bob and Leonard, build the church from the ground-up. Because the site was on dad's land and it had two big cedar trees growing on it, he had it named 'Twin Cedars Chapel'.
Mom and dad always watched this religious show on t.v. every morning called PTL. You may remember the fallen pastor, Jim Bakker, from his arrest in 1987. But back in the 70's he was building a broadcasting empire and my folks felt the need to move all the way to the Carolinas and join his ministry. This picture is our first trip to the lovely beaches of South Carolina: Myrtle Beach. Notice the time of year and weather. Mom and dad had a great knack for planning. So the move to the Carolinas must have been equally as well-planned, right? Yikes.
Pinevill, NC 1977. No, this isn't a shot from the Royal Tennenbaums' Ben Stiller family. This is me and Jim and Ola in our fabulous matching track suits. Three words I never wanted associated with my childhood: matching - track - suits. But hey we loved them then. What'd we know? We had a battery-operated AM radio and we were happy. Savages...
As you can tell, I thought Fonzy was the coolest. And I was determined to be just as cool as he was. Man we were white.
Aaaand back to Missouri for a short time. Mom and dad got disillusioned by the PTL thing for a few years and tried to rekindle the magic of nowherevill, Missouri. We ended up in a town named, quite humorously enough, Pleasant Hope! Anything but, let me tell you. Here I am posing in front of my desk where I cranked out any and all science fiction drawings that I could think of. Remember there was no cable, vcr, or re-runs of any of the cool movies back then, so I was going off of memory and whatever crap I could find. Crap in Pleasant Hope. Fun fun. I look so happy. Someone smack that kid.
Trip to Israel
Here I am at the first ever Carolina Panthers game. You heard me right - the FIRST! Hosting the Denver Broncos in a pre-season game on a field at Clemson University in 1994, this was the first time the club took the field. It was a sunny day and they looked awesome. Me and my youngest brother Ola checked it out and never forgot how cool it was.
January 2008 Panthers make the playoffs and we score tickets to the big show in Charlotte!
Time to put on the war paint...