The featured photo is soon after Jerry was born in 1943 with me being held by Dad. But the photo that is my favorite image of our family is on the El Dorado Page, and is where I have more “family-of-origin” memories than maybe any other location. It was there I grew up as a child in Yocum Elementary School and then became a young teenager in El Dorado Junior High School, having a first date, experiencing life adventures of all kinds, and maybe becoming the person I am today.
After that, Tulsa Will Rogers High School became my “coming of age” 3 years, developing independence, and planning my future adult life, which of course continues in college. But my real “growing up” as a child was in El Dorado and that old house.
This Family Through My Eyes
On these pages I’m trying to tell the story of my family of origin as I personally remember it (as an old man in my 80’s now), which will not be how any of the other 5 members of this family would have remembered or told it, nor is it guaranteed absolutely accurate! 🙂 And with only Bonnie still being alive to tell it differently now, you will just have to go to her! 🙂
Being 12 years apart in age, I think Bonnie would agree that we almost grew up in different families – as well as in different towns, different times or eras of the American culture, and certainly different periods of Mom & Dad’s marriage and relationships, causing all three of us kids to see our parents from different perspectives over the years. I was maybe the luckiest one to have our parents when they were younger, though also when poorer and in a time of war. All is relative! 🙂
The following “menu” items are each a separate page of what I remember about my family of birth in that particular time/place and sometimes how I think it affected me or influenced my future and that of my brother and sister and how all of our relationships seem to have gotten more complicated over the years, while simultaneously each of us was changing into different people and continued changing as long as we lived. I will include a few photos for illustration, with more photos, scrapbook pages and Mom’s Mail found in linked galleries for family members or others wanting more details of that era.
Family of Origin MENU
- 1938-39, Mom & Dad Courtship-Marriage (how this family began)
- 1940-41, First Year of Their Marriage & My Birth
- 1942-43, Birth of Jerry, Warren to Camden
- 1944-46, Surviving World War II as Family
- 1946-47, Marianna & Pine Bluff Post War
- 1947-55, El Dorado & Bonnie Born 1952
- Extended Family or Relatives
- My Life Formed in Small Towns
- The Adventure of Tulsa, 1955-58
- Separating from Family in Universities-Seminary 58-65
- Family of Origin is Always With You
- Mom’s Page (with links to all the letters she saved)
- Dad’s Page
- Jerry’s Page
- Bonnie’s Page
The Volume 1 of my Biography/Scrapbook series of photo books has been the best overall look at my family of origin and what happened in my childhood and young adult years up to age 30. I literally converted many years of personal scrapbooks into one printed book, adding some information or stories and it is these additions and stories that I hope to expand on here as these pages of my website.
For now you can review the book electronically online, every page, free, by clicking cover above or title here:
First 30-Years Scrapbook, My Photo Biography Volume 1: Birth to Age 30. It is in my bookstore and available for sale as well as free review. The other volumes of my biography are listed on the Biographies Page.
MISC. PHOTOS & STORIES of Family of Origin
2013-October 15-18 – Bonnie & Tom Nashville Visit & Tours, Photo Gallery
See my sister Bonnie’s Quilt Gallery, with photos of many of the quilts she has made including that brown & gold one for me! 🙂 It’s her web gallery. Then when she began retirement she also began a great online blog titled: It seems Like Only Yesterday.
2007-2008 – Rochester, MN with Jerry, Photo Gallery
2003 with Jerry, Bonnie and I together for Jerry’s Stem Cell Transplant to fight cancer on this Scrapbook Page. It is the only photo I know of with the 3 of us together as adults. We did not make a group photo when we were together for Mom’s funeral.
Photos & Scrapbooks Throughout My Life
- 1940-1948, Arkansas (several places + Dad in War)
- 1948-1955, El Dorado, Arkansas
- 1955-1958, Tulsa, Oklahoma (they there a little longer)
- 1958-1959 – I’m a student at University of Oklahoma
- 1960-1962 – I’m a student at Ouachita College, AR
- 1962-1965 – I’m a student a SWBTS in Fort Worth, TX
- 1965-1967 – I’m in Miami, FL with less about family of origin
- 1967-1969 – I’m in Dallas, TX with less about family of origin
- 1970, My Wedding Photos include Mom, Dad & Bonnie
- 1969-1975 – I’m in Memphis with less about family of origin
- 1975-1977 – I’m in Dallas again with less about family of origin
- 1977-2014 – I’m in Nashville with family or origin coming in and out of my life including the death of both parents and my brother Jerry on top of my divorce and job loss.
- 2015 Forward – I am retired in Costa Rica and this website and blog tell it all!
LIFE STORIES from Family-of-Origin Days
I’ve tried to incorporate these in the above sections as a part of the story of our family. They are located under another webpage titled Life Stories which goes way beyond my family of origin days.
1947-1952 – Visits to Grandma & Grandpa’s farm
1953-1955 – Jr. High Marching Band
See all of my “Life Stories” on another page.
Writing most of this while in my 80’s may give a different perspective than I would had a various younger ages. I think that I was pretty typical of youth in 1958 when I was glad to leave home for the university and looking forward to a future that included many of my youthful dreams. Yet everything I was or did had much of it’s foundation on my childhood. Like so many arrogant teens I knew I could do better with life, my work, a marriage and a family than my parents had done! Of course I was wrong, not knowing until much later how difficult it is to live a “perfect life.” But I guess idealism and dreams gets youth started in life, even if not realistic. And sure enough both my marriage and my family was so much worse than what I was critical of in my parents.
Possibly my letters to Mom during college days and early single life reveal my ties to her and thus to my childhood. Many of those letters are linked here under the various time period sections of this family history, colleges, first jobs, etc. and on “Mom’s Page.”
“Let the children free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning.”~Dr Maria Montessori
And I think that it was in my childhood that I developed my sense of adventure in life that still permeates much of what I do today as an 80-something year old in Costa Rica! I’m still a child discovering the world and finding adventure in everything! 🙂
“The family is the first essential cell of human society.”
–Pope John XXIII