stories of the lives of just three generations, the reader will experience
the enormous transformation of life from the mid-1800s to the final
years of the twentieth centuryfrom the candle to the lantern,
to DC current and finally to AC electricity; from the telegraph to
silent movies to satellite TV.
My grandfather traveled on horseback; I roam the world in a jet. My
father and I enjoyed playing games and reading during long winter
family evenings; there are no long winter evenings anymore, no time
for those simple pleasures for my younger son.
This story is not confined to America; the reader will follow me around
the world as a Naval Officer and later as an adventuresome entrepreneur.
It starts with U.S. families in the 1800s who were mostly immigrants
to this countrymany, new settlers in the new frontier, or simply
the West. At the time of my grandfather, Nebraska was
the new frontier. Later, at the time of my father, Oklahoma was the
new frontier having been settled virtually in one day by the great
run of 1889.
I come from a long line of immigrants from not only Holland, Germany
and England, but the majority of my blood line came from Ireland and
my Irish grandmothers story tells a lot about immigration to
Many authors dig into their family history to find themselves.
I, however, commenced my research out of curiosity. This curiosity
led me to an absorbing view of major world events of the last 150
years seen through my familys eyes, and revealing truths not
covered in history books. In delving into the Irish branch of my family,
I unearthed the everyday religious animosities that led to the formation
of the Irish Republican Army. My research cast light on the racial
origins of the U.S. Civil War as well as the political origins of
World Wars I and II. Those wars had profound impacts on my family.
But more even than wars, our lives were affected by the incredible
Technological Revolution of the last 150 years.
This book is written for my family and friends, people interested
in history, and for future generations. The book uses acid-free paper
and good color reproduction to preserve a treasure trove of photos
and memorabilia, which serve to illuminate the story.
This book gives me the personal pleasure of preserving memories of
my father, mother and their families that went before them. Many family
members and friends were helpful in gathering information. I am particularly
indebted to my father and mother and sister Phyllis.
The production of this book was done by Jeanine Ryan. She might not
have tackled the project had she known that the book would grow from
an originally envisioned 60 pages to 216 large-size pages including
220 pictures and illustrations. Fortunately during her three-year
part-time effort the computer art developed to make possible high
quality digitally scanned pictures plus the capability to store them.
All the final text and pictures were contained on three one gigabyte
Jaz disks. Such memory files didnt exist when the biography
project was started.
make my story readable I built it around a series of personal episodes
but you will notice that each episode is rich in historic details.
Navigating this site thus gives a sense of the important history of
the 150 year period covered. There is a full account of the continuous
march of technology, intimate glimpses of the immigration to America,
the inside story about slavery, the resulting Civil War of the 1860s
and its consequences, the frontier life in the West, the
depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the magic of higher education,
personal vignettes of the culture of other countries, China, France,
Mexico, Brazil; even a moral framework for life, an exclusive first
hand treatise on how Silicon Valley works to produce new products
and new millionaires, and finally the secrets of making fine wine
and the joy of making fine music. My frankness about many subjects
and my somewhat off-color treatment of others would not be permissible
in a normal history book. If you take the time to view the entire
site you will get a comprehensive review of the history of our times
that may influence some of your ideas for the good.
All the events told here really happened; there is no exaggerating
or rewriting of history. The personal adventures included are played
against the world history of the time so that is the way you get the
inside history of the last 150 years, a period marked
by unprecedented change.