Hradok, Trencin, Slovakia. ,
Hrad, Trencin, Slovakia
For 30 very pleasant years, we lived in Oxford, Ohio. „The Plan“ was always that when our daughter was married and established in her career, we would move to her and help to raise her future children. She and her husband made their move in 2020, the week our governor shut down the state for the pandemic. We followed a year later.
We were rewarded the following year when our first grandchild was born. Rather than enroll her in a day-care setting, we watch her 40-45 hours/week. It is extremely tiring but VERY worthwhile, especially for me as I worked every day when our daughter was this age.
I grew up in Swanton, a small farming village (2000 inhabitants) 20 miles west of Toledo, Ohio. I attended the University of Toledo. My goal from the beginning was to teach history at the college level. The third quarter of my Freshman year, I decided to specialize in medieval English history. Using the flexibility of the UT Honors Program, I enrolled in advanced German and Latin course every term while engaging in guided individual study with Professor Roger Ray, a Bede scholar. My time with Dr. Ray was a veritable Oxbridge tutorial, where I read and wrote essays on an enormous list of primary and secondary works.
While completing my M.A. in Medieval English history at Duke, I became intrigued with economic history. It was all Professor Ronald Witt's fault. I found his seminar on medieval economic history of incredibly difficult. Then, and this was a career changing moment, he told me how he had gone to Harvard to study early modern French political history, which he said came very easy to him, but he fell in love with Renaissance intellectual history because it was so difficult for him and he had to really think. With that in mind, I decided to transfer to the University of Michigan to work with Sylvia Thrusk and Marvin Becker/
Well, Sylvia had retired and Marvin was no longer interested in working outside Italy, BUT, Michigan had just hired the hottest young Turk, Geoff Eley, to supplement their existing team of Michael Geyer and James Vann. It was fate; I could do the sort of history that I wanted to do but in a modern context. I spent the next 11 years earning my Ph.D. in modern German history at the University of Michigan. These were good years. I was able to spend a lot of time in Germany, living in a culture and doing research that I loved. While still in graduate school, I dropped by UT to chat with Roger Ray. It turned out that the history department needed someone to teach Western Civ on an adjunct basis. Hey, I fit the bill! This was a great experience learning how to teach, with students who were unvaryingly kind to a Toledo homeboy. When Ohio State advertised for Western Civ instructors in 1990, I had the credentials they wanted. OSU treated me like a king - good colleagues, plenty of time to travel to conferences, the opportunity to refine my teaching.
When my daughter was born in 1992 at OSU hospital, my Yooper wife got a special single room reserved for faculty and my daughter got a T-shirt reading "I'm a little Buckeye". It was an omen. After graduating from Talawanda, the daughter chose to go to OSU, where she earned her BS and MS in soil science in the School of Environmental and Natural Resources. She met and married a fellow Buckeye and works for AEP. From working class to lower upper class in three generations; the fulfillment of the American Dream.