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I love these photos of the Wright family taken in June 1909 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds during the Dayton Celebration. Behind the delegation’s grandstand are bleachers holding several thousand school children forming a “singing American flag.”

Below…Bishop Wright is delivering the invocation.

Behind him are: Governor James Cox; Leontine (niece of Wright Brothers; wearing white dress); Wilbur; Orville; Netta Wright, sister-in-law (dressed in white); Lorin Wright, older brother of Wrights.  


 Photo below…

(Front Row) Wilbur; Orville; Bishop Milton Wright (father of Wrights); Milton Wright – nephew of Wright Brothers.
(Back Row) Leontine (niece); Ivonette (niece); Katharine (turned around); Netta, sister-in-law






This is, perhaps, my favorite photo… Katharine is being social, and chatty. But what I love most is Bishop Wright chatting with his eldest grandson, Milton – his namesake. Grandfather and grandson obviously have a great rapport, engaged in conversation. I love the way Bishop Wright is turned in his seat, devoting his attention to younger Milton.











Orville, Katharine & Wilbur Wright. 1909

It was August 1999 that I was on the tale-end of a three week vacation when I ended up on the Outer Banks.  The previous weeks I had been to:

  • Niagara Falls
  • through the Adirondacks
  • Stowe, Vermont to visit with the surviving von Trapp children
  • down through Manchester, Vermont to visit Robert Todd Lincoln’s beautiful estate, Hildene
  • Hyde Park to visit FDR’s home
  • Manhattan to visit friends and race taxi cab drivers (um… no joke)
  • Long Island to visit Teddy Roosevelt’s home and Montauk Lighthouse (I also sat and chatted with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and her daughter, Tatiana
  • Assateague Island – because in 4th grade Mrs. Lane had read us The Mystery of Assateague Island
  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel
  • Jolliffe Road & Methodist Church
  • and down to the Outer Banks – one of my sanctuaries
    • Currituck Lighthouse
    • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
    • Ocracoke Island

I drove by Wright Memorial, but gave it little thought. Big deal. When Mother and Dad came to Dayton, we went to the Air Force Museum. Dad loved it. I was bored.

As I drove past the huge pylon on top of the hill from which they flew, I glanced, but continued on. As I passed it again, I decided to at least get closer – after all, I was now a Daytonian. What would others think of me if they discovered I had not paid homage to the Miami Valley’s most popular brothers?

That following September, I was roller blading through Centerville’s Stubbs Park. As I sat on a rock resting, I watched a little sparrow flitting about the parking lot, nibbling at food dropped from some event.

“How did that little fellow get his body up into the air, and maneuver to another location?”

I had never really considered this… well, I had never really cared.

I looked up to see a huge plane jetting across the horizon, heading for Dayton International Airport.

“How does that big thing get into the air?”

My eyes went back and forth between the sparrow and the plane… and then… from somewhere came the voices of two young boys. I looked around.

I was alone… or was I?

Again, the voices began – and after a few minutes it was clear I was listening to a conversation between Wilbur and Orville Wright.

But why? And furthermore, why me?

And then it was clear: a musical!

The following day I was in the book store of the Air Force Museum, purchasing books on the Wright Brothers. When I research projects, I always buy books as I like to make notes and have them at my disposal 24/7.

Wilbur Wright

It has been almost nine years since I began researching the Wright Brothers, and their remarkable sister, Katharine. In January 2000, I set down in my own handwriting the first few scenes. Within a year, I had the book completed. The Wrights had become an obsession, and I scoured Dayton for every piece of information.

One day I tripped into The Kettering-Moraine Museum, and was met by the director, Melba Hunt. A fascinating, somewhat eccentric lady that knew her Wright history. In the museum, I was introduced to many relics belonging to the Wright family. A year later, after a friendship had developed, I was invited behind the velvet ropes…

  • I touched the quilt made by Susan Wright, the mother
  • I held Bishop Milton Wright’s spectacles
  • I glanced through the family Bible with all the notes pertaining to births, marriages and deaths
  • I held several of Bishop’s canes
  • I touched Orville’s bed
  • I sat at Katharine’s desk
  • Melba handed me a jacket to hold while digging through a closet; the white dinner jacket, covered in a clear plastic cleaning bag had a note: “Orville Wright wore this jacket to a dinner at the White House with Franklin Roosevelt, 1942.” I reached up under the plastic and held the jacket’s sleeve
  • and then, Melba handed me a little box which I opened… I pulled out two relics – a sliver of wood and a swatch of material from the very first Wright flying machine that flew at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. The one that hangs in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum has been completely restored, and most of the wing covering is now at the Dayton Air Force Museum.

What a great day!

In 2003, two wonderful ladies joined me as my co-writers: Gail Whipple, my lyricist, and Leslie Merry, my composer. These two have been the most marvelous colaborators, and I cannot say enough for what they’ve brought to this project.

Orville Wright

So, here we are in June 2008. It has been a long haul. In the mean time I have continued to teach, raised two sons, shared my home with five foster sons, endured countless trials with all these boys, performed in several shows and major concerts, directed ten shows, worked with show choirs, traveled, buried two grandparents, welcomed two new nephews, and countless other moments in life – joyful and trying.

The past three weeks, my youngest son has been with my brother and his family in Indiana, and I have tackled one of the most amazing experiences withthis project. I completely isolated myself, with the exception of two ball games for the Lockhartfamily, and a movie night with Sophie Lockhart. I would teach all day, Mondays through Wednesdays, and then work until 2:00am. Thursdays through Sundays were spent working in the yard, spring cleaning, and writing. No matter what errand was at hand, the Wright project consumed me as I battled so many moments where I just could not budge anything.

Katharine Wright

Finally, something clicked earlier this week, and everything began falling into place. The past few days have been intense, exhilarating and fulfilling. I completely rearranged the outline, deleted a few characters (gulp), cut one of my favorite scenes, and strenghtened the musical for what may be the final rewrite.

Over the past nine years, I have become so fond of Wilbur and Orville Wright, and their sister, Katharine. What an interesting family, an inspiring family. One of my favorite places to visit is Woodland Cemetery and the Wright Family plot containing the remains of Bishop and Susan Wright, Wilbur, Katharine and Orville, and the remains of twins born between Wilbur and Orville, Ida and Otis (they died shortly after birth). There were two other brothers, Reuchlin and Lorin, both older than Wilbur.

Katharine entertaining crowned heads of Europe, 1909.

Katharine is the most fascinating. She graduated from Oberlin College in Northern Ohio, and taught Latin and Greek at Steele High School in Dayton. Katharine was the only Wright child to graduate from high school. In fact, neither Wilbur or Orville graduated from high school.

 In September 1908 (nearly one hundred years ago), Orville was injured in a crash while demonstrating a flyer for the United States Army. Katharine left her teaching position to nurse him, never returning to her career. Instead, she served as her brothers’ social secretary, and accompanied them throughout Europe, charming kings, queens, princes and other notable figures. Spains’ King Alphonso said she was the “ideal American woman.”

Katharine & Wilbur – Katharine’s first flight – note the modesty cord on her skirt.

One day, Wilbur took Katharine on her first flight. Her voluminous skirts were tied with a “modesty cord.” With the flight completed, she scooted away from the plane, the modesty cord still in place. Katharine’s playful moment had surpassed her charm and wit. A fashion designer from Paris’ House of Paquin captured the moment – thus was born, the Hobble Skirt!

Wilbur died in 1912, and Orville was devastated. He did not possess Wilbur’s understanding with business, and especially, the ability to tackle the endless court battles protecting their patent. Katharine was at his side. They retired to a beautiful home, Hawthorn Hill, in Oakwood (less than a mile from where I live).

Katharine Wright Haskell

In 1925, Katharine fell in love with Harry Haskell, a fellow graduate of Oberlin. Harry and his wife, Isabelle, were both great friends of Katharine, and had Harry asked her, Katharine would have married him. In 1923, Isabelle died from cancer. Katharine, always the true friend, sent endless letters and gifts to Harry, now the editor for The Kansas City Star. Within a few years, they had fallen in love.

However, Katharine was terrified to tell Orville of her engagement. Orville imagined this unspoken, unwritten pact that they would always remain together. Finally, Katharine and Harry told Orville, and he exploded, refusing to speak to Katharine. 

On Nov. 20, 1926, Katharine, 52, and Harry, 54, were married in the Oberlin home of friends. Katharine moved with Harry to his home in Kansas City. She told friends that her new life as a wife was a fairy tale come true.

The Wright sister would never see her brother again – until he came to her bedside the day before she died.

Orville Wright lived until 1948, but Katharine and Harry Haskell had just two years and three months together. Despite a bad cold, Katharine was planning a trip abroad with Harry in the winter of 1929. It had been 20 years since Katharine’s first trip to Europe, when she had flown in her brothers’ magical flying machine and met King Edward VII of England, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and King Alfonso XIII of Spain.

A couple of weeks before Katharine and Harry were to board a ship for their trip abroad, her cold turned into pneumonia. The death watch began. Harry asked his wife if she wanted to see Orville.


Orville arrived on a Saturday. Harry asked Katharine if she recognized her brother.

“Yes, of course,” she whispered. She died on Sunday, March 3, 1929. She was 54.

Katharine Wright had been revered by kings and presidents. She had been to the White House – walked right up to Presidents William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge, and shook their hands boldly. Like the royals in France, the presidents were charmed.

Katharine Wright might be just a footnote to history, but author Richard Maurer said she was far more than a footnote to the lives and achievements of her brothers.

“You can take the airplane out of the lives of the Wright brothers, and they would have been pretty insignificant and uninteresting people,” Maurer said. “That’s not true of Katharine. She did not let the airplane define her.”

If the life of the Wrights were a movie, Maurer said, the sister would be the star:

“Katharine has a bit part, but she’s the character you remember. In the story of the Wrights, she gets the Academy Award for the best supporting actress. Katharine Wright steals the show.”


In March 1929, Orville received word that Katharine was dying from pneumonia. He was finally convinced to visit her, arriving the day before she died. Katharine was 53. Orville requested her body be returned to Dayton where she now rests between Wilbur and Orville – a fitting place for the sister who gave so much of her self to the brothers who taught the world how to fly.

Orville Wright. 1945

In 1948, Orville suffered a heart attack and died. That following December, the original Kitty Hawk Flyer was installed in the Smithsonian following a thirty-three year battle which finally resulted with the institution’s recognition that the Wrights were indeed, the first to fly.

So, my journey with the Wright family is nearing an end. There will be additional re-writes, eventual rehearsals and performances, but my intimate work with the Wrights will be over. Once a director steps in, it is much like sending your child off to school for the first time… the acorn can not be closed once the oak begins to grow.

I have several projects on deck, crying to be written:

  • The Mink Story
  • finishing Love Is Eternal: Mary Todd & Abraham Lincoln
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • King Edwards VIII & Wallace Simpson
  • a musical on the ghosts of five first ladies, The Sorority
  • and so many more…

But in the meantime, I am enjoying this time with the Wrights… they have been wonderful companions these past nine years.


Footnote: Katharine’s husband, Henry “Harry” Haskell, went on to marry a third time, outliving his third wife. Harry received three Pulitzer Prizes for his editorials – one of which warned the world about the new German chancellor, Adolph Hitler.

As I work on the Wright Brothers’ musical, I have a DVD running, FDR: A Presidency Revealed. Super documentary with tons of personalities sharing Roosevelt history.

Of particular interest to me are two of Franklin & Eleanor’s grandchildren.

Curtis Roosevelt, born 1930, was the son of Anna Roosevelt, daughter of Franklin and Eleanor. Curtis, known as “Buzzie,” and his sister, Eleanor “Sitsie” were practically raised in the White House.

Curts Roosevelt, center.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, born 1948, is the daughter of James Roosevelt, second child and eldest son of Franklin and Eleanor.


These two grandchildren are tremendous historians on their grandparents, and bare a stricking resemblance to Franklin and Eleanor. Curtiss looks identical to his grandfather, and Anna looks identical to her grandmother for whom she was named (Eleanor’s first name was Anna, named for her mother, Anna Hall Roosevelt). Eleanor’s uncle was President Theodore Roosevelt.



Getting ready to shower and head to training for the update of my adoption license.
I finally hit a point last night where I could just write no more on the Wright Brother musical.  Normally I can go strong until 1:00-2:00am. But my brain just gave out. I had completely changed the entire format, and spent all of Thursday and Friday ripping it apart and putting it all back together. I eliminated one character and had to go through the entire script deleting his name, and reassigning his lines that were important to the story. So, around 9:00pm I brought my laptop and everything inside, and came to the bedroom with a DVD on Ronald Reagan – the PBS series. Great movie.
I woke at 7:00am, but have had trouble stirring… dark and gray outside, but the sun is struggling to peak through.
Logan, my cat of 14 years, seems to be slowing down in so many ways. Getting up onto things seems to be tougher for her. In the morning, each pet gets a little dish of moist food, and I set Logan’s up on the kitchen table because Flyer always goes after it. Normally Logan would hop right up, but now I lift her to the table. I’ve noticed, for some time, how she calculates getting up to tables, rail on deck, etc. She has even been forgoing  napping or sleeping on my bed, and remaining on the floor. When my alarm goes off each morning she is always up in my face meowing and bugging me to get my butt into the kitchen for her moist food. This morning, I had to call her into the kitchen. She came running and yapping, but she is definitely slowing down. Amazing how youthful and sprite she appears when there is a baby bunny to chase and kill.
Tons of stuff in the news: 
  • Obama & Clinton now a team on the trail
  • Nelson Mandela celebrates his 90th birthday
  • and Wal-Mart will now be spelled Walmart and have a burnt orange background.
Time to shower and head to training…. ugh. Not one of my favorite things. Material is stuff I have been teaching the past five years.

The hands of the clock are once again moving…


Red River Valley
arranged and adapted by Arlo Guthrie

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathways awhile

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

I’ve been thinking a long time, my darling
Of the sweet words you never would say
Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish
For they say you are gong away

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

Do you think of the valley you’re leaving
O how lonely and how dreary it will be
And do you think of the kind hearts you’re breaking
And the pain you are causing to me

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

They will bury me where you have wandered
Near the hills where the daffodils grow
When you’re gone from the Red River Valley
For I can’t live without you I know

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true


 A snowball at the top of a mountain has the potential to become huge, just by rolling down the mountain and gathering more snow. In a short time, this tiny snowball can become a force to be reckoned with. We humans are like this when it comes to exchanging energy and vision, and no matter how few people are involved at the beginning, there is the potential for massive change. As consciousness seekers, we are in the midst of this process, and it is amazing to see people we thought might never come around, waking up to their truth. Each time we see this, we can count ourselves blessed to be living at a time when the awareness of humanity seems to be at a tipping point, as more and more individuals open their minds and change their ways.

For some people, this revolves around an awareness of the environment, for others it is a spiritual awakening, and for many it is both. A great change in consciousness is sweeping through us all, as we recognize that things are not what they have seemed to be, that there is more to our lives than meets the eye. Many of us have the awareness and the energy at this time to break through old, outmoded ways of seeing things and to move into a new way of being in the world, and it is essential that we do so. The beauty of living at this time is that even small actions have a powerful ripple effect, and the reverberations of what we do have the power to reach and open many minds.

It is as if a scale is about to tip in favor of higher consciousness, and each one of us has the power to bring humanity closer to that point with the smallest of actions. Each time we move in the direction of our dreams and visions, we can visualize another small pebble dropping into the pond, or another gold weight on the scale, rippling and tipping our way to universal awakening.


Here are several of my favorite videos from some musicals…

Josh Groban singing “Anthem” from CHESS (rehearsal)

Julia Murney and Sutton Foster singing “I Know Him So Well” from CHESS (rehearsal)

Sutton Foster singing “Someone Else’s Story” from CHESS (rehearsal)

And my absolute favorite…

Lea Salonga singing a tune written for MISS SAIGON, but with different words – “Too Much for One Heart” but known as the duet “Please”. “Too Much For One Heart” was originally in the show, but was cut…

Donna Mae Clary-Barmes  (May 8, 1924 – June 27, 1992)

Donna Mae Clary. 1940

Today marks the anniversary of the passing of my maternal grandmother. One of the dearest, wittiest and most remarkable souls I have ever known.

Grandma Donna was the second child of John William Garrett Clary and Mary Belle Jones – Clary, both of Madison County, Indiana. Grandma Donna grew up in Boone Township, Madison County, Indiana near Summitville from where she graduated in 1940. She had an older brother, Ronald Monroe, who was killed from a fall from a horse at age 15 in 1936, and a younger sister, Joyce Ann Clary – Riser. Joyce currently lives in Alexandria, Indiana. My grandparents resided in Elwood, Indiana until 1973 when they took up residence near Lapel, Indiana in the home built by my great-grandfather (Virgil Barmes), grandfather, and great-uncle (Danny Joe Barmes).

In 1943, Donna married Leroy Barmes (1921-2004), and together they raised three children: Diana (1945), Ronald Dean (1952-1987), and Tommy Kent (1954). They were members of the Trinity Evangelical United Brethren Church of Elwood, Indiana and later Ford Street United Methodist church.

FOUR GENERATIONS: Mary Belle Clary, Darin, Diana, Donna. 1964

My grandmother was terribly witty, and loved a practical joke. Her smile and laughter were infectious, and her tenderness and understanding deep. As a small child, I was so fortunate to spend each day with her. Only 40 years old when I was born, she was still raising two sons at home who were 12 and 10. So, in many ways, she seemed like a second mother, and my uncles were more like older brothers. It was a unique situation in which to grow up, and one I shall always treasure. Not many grandchildren remember their grandparents’ 50th birthdays!

In 1978, Grandma was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia. The doctor said she would die withthe disease, not from it. The remaining years were filled with many family events that she never missed. Grandma and Grandpa were at every one of my band contests, and at least 90% of my college events. When I was doing the role of Joseph in JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, Grandma loved my long hair and curls, and would often sit in church withher hand on the back of the pew so she could play withmy curls. Following one of the performances as Joseph later on, she and I posed for a photograph with me wearing my technicolor dreamcoat- what is not seen in the photo is her hand around my back playing with the curls.

June 12th, 1992, I received an urgent telephone call from Dad telling me Grandma had collapsed at the dinner table the night before. She was rushed to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis where she was placed on life support. After exploratory surgery it was discovered she had colon cancer and there was no hope. Finally, the evening of June 26th, Mother made the painful decision to have the life support removed the following morning.

At 9:00am the following morning, the family gathered around Grandma’s bed. Once the life support was disconnected, we joined hands and recited the Lord’s Prayer. The attending nurse cautioned us that it could drag on for an hour or so. By 1:00pm, her heart was still beating strong. The family had a consultation with the doctor, and we agreed that he would increase her morphine drip, and remove her from the ventilator.

At 2:00pm, we gathered around her bed, the blood pressure began a sad, consistent decrease. At 2:15pm, I leaned over to say, “I love you. I’ll see you later… and remember, my first Tony Award is for you.” I then heard my cousin, Debbie, say, “She’s gone.”

Thus ended the life of one of the most beautiful people I have known in this life.

When I returned to Dayton that night, I went to my room and for some reason my eyes went to a table that contained several nick-knacks. On this table was an emerald frame and clock, gifts from my grandmother. The clock’s hands were stopped at 2:15. I had only replaced the battery the week before. The same battery remains in the clock, and the hands have not been changed in sixteen years.

However, today at 2:15pm, when I sit at the piano as I do each year to play Grandma’s favorite song, “Red River Valley,” I am going to replace the battery and set the clock moving again. I did this recently with a gold pocket watch given me by my Uncle Ron. When Uncle Ron was killed in June 1987, I never rewound the watch again. However, June 8th, 2008, I passed this watch on to my newest nephew and godson, Frederick Lee Haas, and before placing it in the bag, I rewound it. The watch was ticking away when I received it from my uncle, and it just seemed appropriate that it should be running when it was passed on to my own nephew.

I will always miss her, especially during those treasured family moments which she would have loved. But as I grow older, I realize, more and more, that so much of my grandmother (as well as my grandfather, and other beloved family and friends) is still with me. Now, it is up to me to carry on the torch, to strengthen the foundation, and to create even more wonderful memories for my son, my nephews and all those from this younger generation.

In some way, resetting the clock is a sense of moving on… but not forgetting.


Here is one of my favorite show choir numbers – a Gregorian chant followed by Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” Northwestern High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, always has a delightful show, and this 2006 competition show was highly creative and entertaining.

This version is the full picture of the performance:

This version is from the stage where you can see more details:

In my research on the Wright Brothers, I have often come across references to Darius Green and his Flying Machine (1868), and finally took the time to read this delightful tale.

The chief rival of the Wrights, Glenn Curtiss, considered the father of naval aviation, grew up in Hammondsport, New York on the banks of Lake Keuka. Glenn’s grandmother was a good friend of John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916), the author of Darius Green and his Flying Machine. I am currently pulling in some references for the musical to be sung by the character of Glenn Curtiss.

Darius Green and his Flying Machine

If ever there lived a Yankee lad,
Wise or otherwise, good or bad,
Who, seeing the birds fly, didn’t jump
With flapping arms from stake or stump,
Or, spreading the tail
Of his coat for a sail,
Take a soaring leap from post or rail,
And wonder why
He couldn’t fly,
And flap and flutter and wish and try –
If ever you knew a country dunce
Who didn’t try that as often as once,
All I can say is, that’s a sign
He never would do for a hero of mine.

An aspiring genius was D. Green;
The son of a farmer, age fourteen;
His body was long and lank and lean –
Just right for flying, as will be seen;
He had two eyes as bright as a bean,
And a freckled nose that grew between,
A little awry – -for I must mention
That be had riveted his attention
Upon his wonderful invention,
Twisting his tongue as he twisted the strings,
And working his face as he worked the wings,
And with every turn of gimlet and screw
Turning and screwing his mouth round too,
Till his nose seemed bent
To catch the scent,
Around some corner, of new-baked pies,
And his wrinkled cheeks and his squinting yes
Grew puckered into a queer grimace,
That made him look very droll in the face,
And also very wise.

And wise he must have been, to do more
Than ever a genius did before,
Excepting Daedalus of yore
And his son Icarus, who wore
Upon their backs
Those wings of wax
He had read of in the old almanacs.
Darius was clearly of the opinion
That the air is also man’s dominion,
And that, with paddle or fin or pinion,
We soon or late shall navigate
The azure as now we sail the sea.
The thing looks simple enough to me;
And if you doubt it,
Hear how Darius reasoned about it.

“The birds can fly an’ why can’t I?
Must we give in,” says he with a grin,
“That the bluebird an’ phoebe
Are smarter’n we be?
Jest fold our hands an’ see the swaller
An’ blackbird an’ catbird beat us holler?
Doos the little chatterin’, sassy wren,
No bigger’n my thumb, know more than men?
Just show me that!
Ur prove ‘t the bat
Hez got more brains than’s in my hat.
An’ I’ll back down, an’ not till then!”
He argued further: “Nur I can’t see
What’s th’ use o’ wings to a bumblebee,
Fur to git a livin’ with, more’n to me; —
Ain’t my business
Important’s his’n is?
That Icarus
Made a perty muss —
Him an’ his daddy Daedalus
They might ‘a’ knowed wings made o’ wax
Wouldn’t stand sun-heat an’ hard whacks.
I’ll make mine o’ luther,
Ur suthin’ ur other.”

And he said to himself, as he tinkered and planned:
“But I ain’t goin’ to show my hand
To mummies that never can understand
The fust idee that’s big an’ grand.”
So he kept his secret from all the rest,
Safely buttoned within his vest;
And in the loft above the shed
Himself he locks, with thimble and thread
And wax and hammer and buckles and screws
And all such things as geniuses use; —
Two bats for patterns, curious fellows!
A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows;
Some wire, and several old umbrellas;

A carriage-cover, for tail and wings;
A piece of harness; and straps and strings;
And a big strong box,
In which he locks
These and a hundred other things.
His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke
And Nathan and Jotham and Solomon, lurk
Around the corner to see him work —
Sitting cross-legged, like a Turk,
Drawing the waxed-end through with a jerk,
And boring the holes with a comical quirk
Of his wise old head, and a knowing smirk.
But vainly they mounted each other’s backs,
And poked through knot-holes and pried through cracks;
With wood from the pile and straw from the stacks
He plugged the knot-holes and caulked the cracks;
And a dipper of water, which one would think
He had brought up into the loft to drink
When he chanced to be dry,
Stood always nigh,
For Darius was sly!
And whenever at work he happened to spy
At chink or crevice a blinking eye.
He let the dipper of water fly.
“Take that! an’ ef ever ye git a peep,
Guess ye’ll ketch a weasel asleep!”
And he sings as he locks
His big strong box: —

“The weasel’s head is small an’ trim,
An’ he is little an’ long an’ slim,
An’ quick of motion an’ nimble of limb
An’ ef you’ll be
Advised by me
Keep wide awake when ye’re ketchin’ him!”

So day after day
He stitched and tinkered and hammered away,
Till at last ’twas done —
The greatest invention under the sun!
“An’ now,” says Darius, “hooray fur some fun!”

‘Twas the Fourth of July,
And the weather was dry,
And not a cloud was on all the sky,
Save a few light fleeces, which here and there,
Half mist, half air,
Like foam on the ocean went floating by
just as lovely a morning as ever was seen
For a nice little trip in a flying-machine.
Thought cunning Darius: “Now I shan’t go
Along ‘ith the fellers to see the show.
I’ll say I’ve got sich a terrible coughl
An’ then, when the folks ‘ave all gone off,
I’ll hev full swing fur to try the thing,
An’ practise a little on the wing.”
“Ain’t goin’ to see the celebration?”
Says brother Nate. “No; botheration
I’ve got sich a cold – a toothache – I
My gracious – feel’s though I should fly!”
Said Jotham, “Sho!
Guess ye better go.”
But Darius said, “No!
Shouldn’t wonder ‘f you might see me, though,
‘Long ’bout noon, ef I git red
O’ this jumpin’, thumpin’ pain ‘n my head.”
For all the while to himself he said: —

“I tell ye what!
I’ll fly a few times around the lot,
To see how ‘t seems, then soon’s I’ve got
The hang o’ the thing, ez likely’s not,
I’ll astonish the nation,
An’ all creation,
By flyin’ over the celebration!
Over their heads I’ll sail like an eagle;
I’ll balance myself on my wings like a sea-gull:
I’ll dance on the chimbleys; I’ll stand on the steeple;
I’ll flop up to winders an’ scare the people!
I’ll light on the liberty-pole, an’ crow;
An’ I’ll say to the gawpin’ fools below,
‘What world’s this ‘ere
That I’ve come near?’
Fur I’ll make ’em b’lieve I’m a chap f’m the Moon;
An’ I’ll try to race ‘ith their ol’balloon!”
He crept from his bed;
And, seeing the others were gone, he said,
“I’m gittin’ over the cold ‘n my head.”
And away he sped,
To open the wonderful box in the shed.

His brothers had walked but a little way,
When Jotham to Nathan chanced to say,
“What is the feller up to, hey!”
“Don’o’- the’s suthin’ ur other to pay,
Ur he wouldn’t ‘a’ stayed tu hum to-day.”
Says Burke, “His toothache’s all ‘n his eye!
He never’d missed a Fo’th-o’-July,
Ef he hedn’t got some machine to try.”
Then Sol, the little one, spoke: “By darn!
Le’s hurry back an’ hide ‘n the barn,
An’ pay him fur tellin’ us that yarn!”
“Agreed!” Through the orchard they creep back
Along by the fences, behind the stack,
And one by one, through a hole in the wall,
In under the dusty barn they crawl,
Dressed in their Sunday garments all;
And a very astonishing sight was that,
When each in his cobwebbed coat and hat
Came up through the floor like an ancient rat
And there they hid;
And Reuben slid
The fastenings back, and the door undid.
“Keep dark!” said he,
“While I squint an’ see what the’ is to see.”

As knights of old put on their mail –
From head to foot an iron suit
Iron jacket and iron boot,
Iron breeches, and on the head
No hat, but an iron pot instead,
And under the chin the bail,
(I believe they called the thing a helm,)
Then sallied forth to overwhelm
The dragons and pagans that plagued the earth
So this modern knight
Prepared for flight,
Put on his wings and strapped them tight
Jointed and jaunty, strong and light —
Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip;
Ten feet they measured from tip to tip
And a helm had he, but that he wore,
Not on his head, like those of yore,
But more like the helm of a ship.

“Hush!” Reuben said,
“He’s up in the shed!
He’s opened the winder — I see his head!
He stretches it out, an’ pokes it about,
Lookin’ to see ‘f the coast is clear,
An’ nobody near; —
Guess he don’ o’ who’s hid in here!
He’s riggin’ a spring-board over the
sill!Stop laffin’, Solomon! Burke, keep still!
He’s a climbin’ out now — Of all the things!
What’s he got on? I vum, it’s wings!
An’ that ‘tother thing? I vum, it’s a taill
An’ there he sits like a hawk on a rail!
Steppin’ careful, he travels the length
Of his spring-board, and teeters to try its strength.
Now he stretches his wings, like a monstrous bat;
Peeks over his shoulder; this way an’ that,
Fur to see ‘f the’ ‘s any one passin’ by;
But the’ ‘s on’y a caf an’ goslin nigh.
They turn up at him a wonderin’ eye,
To see — The dragon! he’s goin’ to fly!
Away he goes! Jimminy! what a jump!
Flop — flop — an’ plump
To the ground with a thump!
Flutt’rin’ an’ flound’rin’ all ‘n a lump!”

As a demon is hurled by an angel’s spear,
Heels over head, to his proper sphere —
Heels over head, and head over heels,
Dizzily down the abyss he wheels —
So fell Darius. Upon his crown,
In the midst of the barn-yard, he came down,
In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings,
Broken braces and broken springs,
Broken tail and broken wings,
Shooting-stars, and various things;
Barn-yard litter of straw and chaff,
And much that wasn’t so sweet by half.
Away with a bellow fled the calf,
And what was that? Did the gosling laugh?
‘Tis a merry roar from the old barn-door.
And he hears the voice of Jotham crying,
“Say, D’rius! how do you like flyin’?”

Slowly, ruefully, where he lay,
Darius just turned and looked that way,
As he stanched his sorrowful nose with his cuff.
“Wal, I like flyin’ well enough,”
He said; “but the’ ain’t such a thunderin’ sight
O’ fun in ‘t when ye come to light.”
I just have room for the MORAL here:
And this is the moral — Stick to your sphere.
Or if you insist, as you have the right,
On spreading your wings for a loftier flight,
The moral is – Take care how you light.




This is what my writing area looks like on the back deck. I generally “hit the deck” around 7:00am, setting up my work area, checking Email, and attending to other business while listening to THE TODAY SHOW from the small television on a shelf behind me.

The umbrella, purchased for the Outer Banks’ beaches last summer, has made a wonderful table umbrella, and also serves me in organization – I must have an organized area. Sometimes, I have 4-8 papers or items clipped to the umbrella which functions as a Lazy Susan. The base which holds the umbrella is filled with sand from the beach directly across the road from where the Wright Brothers first flew in 1903, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Flyer, the dog, and Logan, the cat, are always nearby. Logan generally rests on one of the deck rails so she can survey anything that walks, crawls or flies through the yard. Flyer always chooses to be near the door should I decide to move inside for any reason – she will seldom let me out of her sight. Now, when Logan spies something and goes into pounce-mode, Flyer stealthily moves to the steps to join Logan in her reconnaissance mission… and if it is worth it, they will both jump into the yard for the merry chase.

Today the humidity is already beginning to rise, and by Noon I will probably move inside and remain through the thundestorms we are expected to receive.

So this is my space when not teaching. It is a lovely, relaxing setting, and I could not be happier. A space in which to write, and spending time with my friends, Wilbur, Orville and Katharine Wright.




Only great minds can read this 


Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!  


I am hoping everything now goes as planned.

I finished teaching this evening at 5:30pm, just as a major 30 minute downpour ended. It was a nasty storm, and it looked like a fog settling in.

This morning I spent four solid hours on the Wright Brothers’ musical – major, major changes. I sent an email to my wonderful co-writers to receive their blessing on this over-haul, as it is slightly large.  At this juncture I hate making major changes without their input, and this overhaul is loosing four characters (not major ones), and an entire scene that was my absolute favorite because other playwrights and theatre folks said it was one of the funniest scenes; however, it did not advance the plot any longer.

Tonight, Thursday and Friday I will dig in and complete as much as I can.

Saturday morning until 3:30pm I will be in training for the update of my adoptive license. A pain in the butt, but something that needs to be completed.

Sunday, I will do as much as I can to prepare for the trip to Fowler, and the on to Chicago the remainder of the week. Mary Tarlano, from ACTION, will come by Sunday morning to do a walk-through of the house so she can complete the adoptive license update. The remainder of Sunday I hope to mow the lawn, and pack.

Monday (June 30th), I will teach about five lessons to students I missed this week due to camps and vacations – I do not want them to go two weeks without a lesson.

Tuesday morning (July 1st). I will head to Fowler, retrieve the boy from the Haas home and head 100 miles due North to Chicago. I hope to take in a lot that first day.

Will post the remainder of the itinerary as we get closer. Am keeping a close watch on the weather forecast.

 Favorite Photo of the Day… my nephew, Frederick Lee Haas, six months old June 30th, 2008

From Lafayette, Indiana Journal Courrier:

Benton Community School Corp. will lose 278 years of teaching experience this summer.

That’s the total years of experience that the nine teachers who accepted an early retirement incentive had in the district, according to Superintendent Ross Sloat. Their experience in Benton ranged from 13 to 43 years, and they were spread out among the district’s schools.

“You hate to lose the experience,” Sloat said.

But the retirements, which were approved Monday at the board of trustees meeting, will help save the district money. The district earlier this year made cuts to its budget — including cutting teachers — of more than $600,000, citing a potential $1 million general-fund shortfall.

Under the early retirement agreement, teachers with at least 10 years in Benton Schools and who were at the top of their salary scale were eligible. About 50 teachers could have applied, and between seven and 12 teachers had to accept for it to go into effect.

Each teacher received a one-time $18,000 incentive on top of other retirement provisions in their contracts.

Sloat said each of the nine retirements will save the district about $22,000 to $25,000, depending on the experience and the person hired to replace the retiring teacher. That could mean as much as $225,000 saved for the district, though the full savings won’t be known until 2009.

The idea is to save money by replacing experienced teachers who make more money with less-experienced, and therefore cheaper, teachers.

One of those retirements included the principal of Benton Central Jr./Sr. High School, Howard Feuer, who submitted his intent to retire earlier this month following a stroke last November.

The board named his replacement Monday. Destin Haas, who had been filling in as the interim principal, was named the new Benton Central principal.

Haas has 11 years of teaching and administration experience, all in Benton County. He began his career as a seventh-grade social studies teacher and most recently, he was serving as the assistant high school principal and the director of adult education.

“It’s an exciting time in my professional career,” Haas said. “I look forward to making some positive changes in the Benton Community Schools.”

Corey Robb, who had been the dean of students, will move into Haas’ former position as assistant principal.


This author of this post is Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler from South Florida. Wexler has been ubiquitous these last months as a top surrogate for Senator Obama — even representing him at the nationally televised DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Wexler recently called for testimony of Scott McClellan before the Judiciary Committee and delivered it. He has been front and center demanding impeachment hearings for Cheney and now Bush. Now Wexler has published a frank book about his political experiences and his thoughts on why Democrats should be more aggressive. The book is entitled Fire-Breathing Liberal – How I learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress


The testimony of Scott McClellan this past Friday in the House Judiciary Committee marked an important step forward for Congress in the battle to fully expose the crimes of the Bush/Cheney Administration and finally hold this White House accountable for its appalling actions that have weakened our constitution and our government. I am only sorry that we are taking this step so late in President Bush’s term in office. However, I am pleased that history will at the very least document the shocking revelations that Mr. McClellan testified to on Friday. Scott McClellan under oath last week agreed with me that it is a likely possibility that Vice President Dick Cheney was the individual who authorized the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert status. Mr. McClellan also said that he believes more White House officials should come before Congress and reveal the truth about this Administration’s actions. McClellan’s testimony underscores a simple reality: We must dig deeper.

The fact that much of what McClellan testified to on Friday is already known and reported on in the press should not diminish its import. We have a formerly loyal top official in the Bush White House stating under oath that the Bush Administration carried out a campaign of lying and misstatements to trick Congress and the American people into war in Iraq. This former White House Press Secretary states that Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove likely engaged in behavior that amounts to obstruction of justice regarding the leaking of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

McClellan’s testimony only touched the tip of the iceberg regarding the corrupt actions of the Bush Administration. As I have written about in my new book Fire-Breathing Liberal – How I learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress, this Administration has done more to weaken the balance of powers established by the Founding Fathers than any previous White House. In both domestic and foreign policy this cabal of right-wing true believers have violated our laws and our Constitution. Just this year it was revealed that the highest levels of the Administration including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Colon Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld approved and ordered the torture of prisoners and thereby violated US law, our commitments to international treaties, and vanquished whatever remaining moral authority our nation held in the eyes of the global community. The list goes on and on and includes hiding and censoring scientific findings on global warming and the blatantly political firing of US attorneys.

Earlier this year I began a nationwide campaign to hold impeachment hearings for Vice President Dick Cheney (and I have recently expanded my efforts to push for hearings for Bush as well.) Although the national media completely ignored these efforts, over a quarter of a million Americans did not and signed a petition of support on my site in order to advocate for accountability for this rouge Administration.

Just imagine, ten short years ago our media was obsessed with details of Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp and Republicans in Congress actually impeached a popular President of the United States because he had an affair and lied about it. Today we have a President and a Vice President that went to war on false pretenses, illegally ordered the torture of prisoners, obstructed justice by lying about the outing of a covert CIA agent, fired US Attorneys for political reasons, and authorized warrantless spying on American citizens. This president and vice-president took countless despicable actions that surely amount to high crimes and yet the media yawns and even the vast majority of Democrats in Congress are simply uninterested. This arrogant Administration simply does not respect the constitutional powers of Congress and by their actions — and by our reluctance to respond — we threaten to forever weaken the power of Congress. As you know, current and former Bush Administration officials have simply refused to testify before Congress even when subpoenaed.

This has never happened before in the history of our nation. Never before have high level executive officials refused to even appear before Congress when properly summoned by the Legislative Branch. The House of Representatives has held former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress for their failure to appear and a lawsuit is ongoing in order to force their appearance. I think we must do more. I have called for Karl Rove — who has also refused to testify — to be held in inherent contempt and for the other renegade officials such as Miers and Bolten to appear as required by their subpoenas or be forced to do so by the House Sergeant of Arms. The power of inherent contempt is lawful whereas the refusal of Miers and Bolten is not. Congress must stand up for itself against this executive abuse of power.

It is now the time for Democrats to be breathing more fire. We need to show the American people that they chose correctly when they returned our party to majority status in Congress. As I argue in my book, when we give Americans a stark choice — progressive values and policies will carry the day against the defeated ideas and old politics of the Bush Administration and the vanquished GOP Congressional majority.

I hope that the McClellan hearing will only be the beginning of an effort for genuine accountability rather than a culmination of the effort. We owe it to the American people and history to pursue the wrongdoing of this Administration whether or not it helps us politically or in the next election. Our actions will properly define the Bush Administration in the eyes of history and that is the true test.


Over the past month or so, I have watched all three series of the movie based on John Jakes’ novels, NORTH AND SOUTH… ahhh…

The writing, the directing, the cinematography, the costuming, the set design, and THE MUSIC… as if all this is not enough, the assembled cast is one of the most talented ever assembled for any one movie…

  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Patrick Swayzee
  • James Read
  • Leslie-Ann Downs
  • Jean Simmons
  • Kirstie Alley
  • Teri Garber (Luke & Larua)
  • Genie Francis
  • Wendy Kilbourne (married to James Read)
  • David Carradine
  • Inga Swenson (from BENSON)
  • Morgan Fairchild
  • Robert Mitchum
  • Hal Holbrook (ahh… the best!)
  • Robert Guilluame (BENSON)
  • Johnny Cash (too good!)
  • Gene Kelly
  • David Ogden Stiers
  • Wendy Fulton
  • Jonathan Frakes
  • Mary Crosby (Bing’s daughter)
  • Lloyd Bridges
  • Olivia De  Havilland (Melanie in GONE WITH THE WIND)
  • Wayne Newton
  • Forrest Whitaker
  • Jerry Biggs
  • Cathy Lee Crosby
  • Cliff DeYoung
  • Mariette Hartley
  • Peter O’Toole
  • Brandon Smith
  • Rip Torn
  • Robert Wagner
  • Billy Dee Williams
  • Gregory Zaragoza
  • Philip Casnoff

And these are only the ones I recognize! What a tremendous cast, and a great movie.

I was in college when the movie came out, and I remember watching it in its entirety. The music, however, moved me more than anything… I can remember going to the piano and playing it. Here is a clip from the opening credits:

From IMB:

1842, a special summer day at the huge plantation of Mont Royal. A South Carolinian young man, Orry Maine, leaves his rich home for West Point Academy. On his way northwards, in very strange circumstances, he meets two people who will play a decisive role in his life: beautiful lady Madeleine Fabray whom Orryhelps and with whom he falls in love and a “Yankee” George Hazard by whom Orry is helped and who is also on his way to West Point Academy. From that time, Orry and George are best friends and help each other at every moment, they fight for the USA in the Mexican War at Churubusco where George saves Orry’s life. A few years later, the friendship of Orry and George spread to the friendship of their families, the Maines from South Carolina and the Hazards from Pennsylvania. Yet, the love of Orry’s life, Madeleine gets married to Justin LaMotte, a rich cruel owner of nearby plantation in South Carolina. Their love cannot be fulfilled and they only meet in secret. Years pass by and the relations between north and south are not that calm as in the past. Northern abolitionists demand the end of slavery while the south demands secession and separation from the “damn Yankees.” Although George and Orry badly want peace between north and south, there is no escape from the inescapable fate. April, the 12th, 1861 and the attack on the northern fortress Fort Sumter done by the southerners means the beginning of war. These who fought together at Churubusco will have to fight against each other. Friends will have to become enemies. Will war be stronger than peace of mind? May the storm and noise of canons, rifles and bullets destroy honor, respect and true friendship? Written by Marcin Kukuczka

Based on John Jakes best selling novel this is the story of the friendship between two boys – George Hazard and Orry Main – that meet at West Point. George is from a wealthy Pennsylvania steel family and Orry is from a Southern plantation where his family keep slaves. In the years leading up to the Civil War their friendship is tested as their families interact and hostilities between the North and South increase. Notes: In the book Orry loses an arm during the Mexican war where he and George fight together but the in the TV version his injury is re-written as a limp. Written by Susan Southall {}

This sweeping, star-studded epic about two powerful families before and during the Civil War is based on John Jakes’ popular novels. The show tells the saga of the Hazards of Pennsylvania and the Mains of South Carolina and their loves, hatreds, jealousies, and robust rivalry. Book II opens in 1861 and continues the families story against the dramatic backdrop of the war. The carefully filmed battle scenes are sure to please Civil War buffs. Written by Anonymous

Two teenage boys; Orry Main from South Carolina and George Hazard from Pennsylvania, meet on their ways to military academy in West Point. Very soon, they become the best friends ever. In the Academy they spend lots of time together and together make the biggest enemy; ElkanahBent. After graduation, they go for a war with Mexico, where Orry gets hurt really bad, but is saved by George. When they return homes, they don’t give up on their friendship – their families spend summer together, their siblings falls in love, they become business-partners etc. But the situation in the country is not getting better, also not all the family members and neighbours like the idea of people from North and South being friends. In December 1860, South Carolina leaves Union. The war is much closer then it has ever been. It starts at a spring, 1861. George and Orry must fight against each other …


Well, as of tonight, my brother, Destin Lang Haas, is officially the principal of Benton Central Senior-Junior High School located near Fowler, Indiana.

Last November 30th, Destin was hurridly driving my sister-in-law to the hospital to deliver their second son, Frederick. Enroute to the hospital he received the news that his principal had suffered a massive stroke. Destin then became the acting principal, and tonight, the school board officially announced him as the principal.

I am so proud of my little brother!


  • Logan, my cat, has been with me fourteen years, today.
  • I called the dentist about my temporary crown, and they got me in at 11:40am. To save on gas, I took the bus to the Dayton Mall area. The one thing about the bus is that it forces me to walk! I logged in some great walking time. Following the dentist, I strolled through the mall – a place I generally avoid – and then went to Wal-Mart for some basics.
  • I arrived home a little after 2:00pm and took a nap, and then read my Glenn Curtiss books for three hours, taking notes. I received an email from Valerie Lockhart that Jackson did have a game, afterall, at the high school’s field. I decided to remain home until I received a last minute email from Val – Jackson learned he would be pitching… Uncle Darin could not stay home. I spent a great time with Valerie – Jackson was on the field, Mike was taking stats in the dug out, and Sophie was at camp.
  • After the game I drove to Kroger, and then home to work until 2:00am.
  • Darin Jolliff is 43 years old – still. Today, Darin Jolliffe-Haas is twenty-four years old. Anniversary of my adoption.
  • Woke at 6:30am, took tea on the deck while working on studio emails. Read more on Glenn Curtiss, and then began making long, detailed notes on how to insert some new material regarding Curtiss and Alexander Graham Bell.
  • Drove to ACTION at 5:00pm, and ate salad while talking to Pat Hill. Taught a wonderful new group of prospective parents on “discipline” which I entitle “creative discipline.” After class ended at 10pm, I talked with Pat, Cissie and some others until 11:30pm.
  • At home I was wide awake. I watched a little TV, and then read, hoping to fall asleep. The last time I coherently saw the clock, it was 4:15am.
  • Woke at 7:30am – wide awake. Drank my tea, ate an egg white omelet, and worked on Wright Brothers notes. At 9:00am I mowed the lawn, trimmed and raked. I took Flyer on a walk, and then returned to the deck for more scene sketching. 
  • After showering at 1:30am, I drove to Carillon Historical Park which is filled with Dayton History! Good stuff!
  • En route, Jose called me from Wal-Mart. With some of his earned money he purchased Guitar Hero. I will never see the boy once he returns home unless I venture into the basement. Again, he sounded happy and recounted all the work, and fun he has been having with Destin, Stacia, Parker and Fred.
  • Just before entering the park I ran into Ross Cali, one of my favorite musicians of all time. Ross came to the USA from Italy at the age of 17. He joined the Air Force and was in the Band of Flight. Ross married, and started Mita Copiers out of his garage. He built a wonderful little empire which he passed on to his son, Tony. Ross has played clarinet with some of the finest musicians, and best professional concert bands and orchestras all over. Ross was my principal clarinetist when I was conductor of the Centerville Community Band for seven years. Ross is just about the best there is – both as a musician, and as a person.
  • I slowly walked through the Wright exhibit – a replica of their famous cycle shop, the museum wing, and then the memorial hall where the 1905 Wright Flyer III rests – a national historical landmark. I went to the other sites, but absorbed as much Wright stuff as I could.

Newcomb’s Tavern – 1796 – original structure

 Replica of Wright Cycle Shop

  • I left the park and went to the Wright Brothers’ neighborhood – took some photos of their old home’s site.
  • Memorial structure on the original home site of the Wright’s home on Hawthorn Street.

  • Came home, ate supper, and worked until 12:30am on Wright Brothers.
  • 8:00am I woke, grabbed my tea and called Mother. Watched a little of MEET THE PRESS – I know I should be open-minded, but Tim Russert made me want to watch his program. Even Dr. Schuller didn’t hold my attention.
  • I moved to the deck to work until 3:00pm when dark clouds began hovering, looking as though they would burst at any moment… they did not. I napped until 4:00pm, took care of some emails, and while typing this I have supper in the oven.
  • The rest of the evening will be filled with actual writing…
  • Tomorrow starts another teaching week of three days – but lightly filled! Over half my students are at clinics, camps, or on vacation! I am looking forward to this writing opportunity.
Aside from Logan bringing the bunny head to the deck door, it has been a relatively quiet week. The first three days went amazingly fast, and here I am Thursday morning, ready to dig into writing on the Wrights.
I pulled two new books from the library on Glenn Curtiss, one of the Wrights’ biggest rivals. Curtiss is commonly known as either the fastest man on earth due to his motorcycle racing in 1900-1904, or the father of naval aviation. However, he is the villain in my show!
I also got a video on Alexander Graham Bell who was also against the Wrights – many do not realize that AGB was a major voice in early aviation, and worked extensively on behalf of the deaf.
Last night I was eating a brownie and one of my temporary crowns came off… grrr… I hate the thought of taking time out of my day to have it re-secured when I want to be writing.
This weekend I intend to camp out and write. I don’t believe there are any Lockhart ball games, and Jose is still having a grand time in northwestern Indiana.
Jeff Carter sent an email and blog attachment of his new digs in St. Louis. He officially started at Webster University this week.
Next week is a light week for teaching as many are gone on vacation, or will be attending camps and conferences. I am looking forward to the extra writing time. Monday I am finished at 3:30pm, and Wednesday, I have only two students at 4pm and 5pm.
The following week I am back on schedule with teaching and writing.
June 30th I will teach a few students.
July 1st I will head to Indiana to retrieve Pepito from Destin & Stacia, probably will need to pry his hands loose to drag him off. When he calls, he delightfully launches into what he has done, and it is always sprinkled with notes about Parker and Fred. I may need to set up a deal where Stacia sends a weekly supply of cooking – he does love Aunt Stacia’s cooking!
Either that evening, or the next morning we will head over into Illinois and spend a day or two in Springfield. Jose has mentioned several times he would enjoy going to the Lincoln sites again. I think he also wants to see Springfield since he lived there for approximately eight years with his birth family. Depending on the fuel issues, we may return to Dayton, and maybe take a weekend trip to Cedar Point. 
This week has been filled with wonderful tributes to Tim Russert. His son, Luke, a recent college graduate, was so impressive. Last Sunday, there was a beautiful photo taken of Luke following the MEET THE PRESS, which was a tribute to his father – Luke is standing in silhouette, his hand resting on his father’s empty chair at the moderating table. Very touching. The one item I loved the most was how on Friday morning, a few hours before he collapsed, Tim Russert drove over to his son’s new apartment to let the cable guy in! Tim Russert was a powerhouse in the political media, but an all around great guy and father.
Have a great week!

Yesterday afternoon I just happened to turn on the television as television journalist, Tom Brokaw, was breaking the news of Tim Russert’s sudden death.

This morning, I feel as though I have lost a favorite uncle. There is an emptiness, that great sense of loss. Every Sunday morning, I would call Mother, and then hang up as the musical intro for MEET THE PRESS began. I didn’t care who was a guest, or what the topic – I watched the program to listen to “Uncle Tim.”

I can honestly say I learned more about poliitics, and feel as though I am a better American from what I learned from Tim. I have always loved politics, and Tim encouraged me to love the art of political science even more. The greatest thing I learned, and still practice, is investigate both sides of the issue.

My Sunday mornings, except for my telephone calls with Mother, and THE HOUR OF POWER, will be terribly empty with Uncle Tim. I believe Tim Russert was one of the greatest Americans of this era.

The two hour special edition of THE TODAY SHOW this Saturday morning, hosted by Matt Laurer, and a host of his colleagues and even the vice-president, was a tremendous tribute. The closing shot was of Tim’s empty chair on the set of MEET THE PRESS.

(CNN) — Tim Russert, who became one of America’s leading political journalists as the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” died Friday, the network said. He was 58.

Tim Russert established himself as the face of NBC’s political journalism as host of “Meet the Press.”

The network said the award-winning journalist collapsed at work Friday. He was taken to Washington’s Sibley Memorial Hospital, where he died, the hospital confirmed.

Colleague and former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw broke the news on the network Friday shortly after 3:40 p.m.

Russert had just returned from a family vacation in Italy with his wife, journalist Maureen Orth, and son, Luke, to celebrate his graduation from Boston College, Brokaw said.

“I think I can invoke personal privilege and say this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice,” Brokaw said Friday.

“He will be missed as he was loved — greatly.”

Friends and colleagues remembered Russert on Friday not only as one of the country’s most respected and influential political journalists, but also as a friend, a devout Catholic and an avid sports fan, especially when it came to his home team, the Buffalo Bills.

“I just loved the guy. He had this enthusiasm about all of the things that life brings to you,” said James Carville, who often attended Washington National games with Russert. “My wife and I are in a complete state of utter shock.”

Russert was born May 7, 1950, in Buffalo, New York. His parents were Timothy John Russert Sr., or “Big Russ,” a newspaper truck driver and sanitation worker, and Elizabeth Russert.

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown ordered that all flags on city property be lowered immediately to half-staff in Russert’s honor.

He was a graduate of Canisius High School, John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He was a member of the bar in New York and the District of Columbia, according to a biography on

Before joining NBC, Russert served as press secretary for former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and as chief of staff to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Russert joined the network in 1984 and quickly established himself as the face of the network’s political coverage, eventually becoming senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC news.

His career at NBC was marked by a number of milestones. In 1985, Russert supervised live broadcasts of the “Today” show from Rome, Italy, negotiating an appearance by Pope John Paul II — a first for American television.

His rise to prominence coincided with his success as the best-selling author of two books, 2004’s “Big Russ and Me” and 2006’s “Wisdom of Our Fathers,” which documented his journey from blue-collar beginnings to law school to Washington powerhouse.

The memoirs, both of which were New York Times best sellers, transformed the award-winning journalist into the son of Big Russ, a Buffalo Bills fanatic, and finally, a husband and father.

Tim was a true child of Buffalo and the blue-collar roots from which he was raised,” Brokaw said Friday. “For all his success, he was always in touch with the ethos of that community.”

Russert credited his upbringing with helping him keep his ego in check as he became the man who interviewed presidents and important politicians of the day.

“If you come from Buffalo, everything else is easy. Walking backwards to school, for a mile in the snow, grounds you for life,” Russert told the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz in 2004. “Plus, if you have a family the way I do, it’s a daily reality check.”

Russert, who also served as a political analyst for cable network MSNBC, took the helm of “Meet the Press” in 1991, turning the long-running Sunday-morning interview program into the most-watched show of its kind in the United States.

During his 17-year run as the host of “Meet the Press,” the longest of any host in the show’s 60-year history, Russert earned the respect and admiration of many journalists and politicians.

“He was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it,” President Bush said Friday.

His professionalism earned him many accolades. The Washingtonian Magazine once dubbed Russert the best and most influential journalist in Washington, describing “Meet the Press” as “the most interesting and important hour on television.”

In 2008, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Brokaw described Russert as a political junkie who threw himself into his work during this year’s presidential contest.

“This was one of the most important years of Tim’s life for many reasons,” Brokaw said. “He loved this political campaign. He worked himself to the point of exhaustion many weeks.”

He was also the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including an Emmy in 2005 for his coverage of the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.







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June 2008
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