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e-vents in Your Downtown

Spring Forest Ball

The William & Mary Ball Family Home in Boone Township, Madison County. Settled in 1821 by my 5th great-grandparents. Their son, William Ball, lived on the farm, and is buried in Forestville Cemetery, one mile directly south of the property.  There has been a fire, and the home is no longer habitable.

  1. Doctor Bunnell Ball & Rachel Denman
  2. William Ball & Mary Jane McCray
  3. Prudence Ball Greenlee
  4. Anna Greenlee Jones
  5. Mary Belle Jones Clary
  6. Donna Clary Barmes
  7. Diana Barmes Haas
  8. Darin Jolliffe-Haas

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Spent a fun, Memorial Day Sunday evening with Quintin, Aaron Jacobs, The Webbs: Ashley, Emily, Savannah, Harrison & Ethan, and The Kress Family: Brady, Amy, Kate & Sarah, and several thousand others!

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Mother moved from the city that had been the childhood home to three generations, and a county that had welcomed our ancestors 201 years ago as the earliest pioneers.

Elwood will always be home, yet, with Mother living on the Northwest side of the state, passing through Elwood, and Ball State University’s campus, will be a great deal of time, and miles, out of the way.

Here are some scenes from my last day in my hometown…

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Sunday morning, my brother, Destin, arrived with several students, two trailers, and two pick-up trucks.  A family friend joined us, and within two hours, Mother, Destin and the students were heading Northwest to Fowler, Indiana.  They were met by more than a dozen helpers, and within 30 minutes, per Destin’s report, Mother’s belongings were inside her new home.

Here are some photos of moving day:

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Last week, my cousin encouraged members of another site to please check facts before posting erroneous information.  Naturally, it fell on deaf ears because the respondents were too enthusiastic in adding to flaming the fires of misinformation.

Friday afternoon, a Facebook friend posted was furious upon reading President Obama was not scheduled for any Memorial Day services.  She did not state where she read the information, nor did she provide the link with the information.  Her post fueled a barrage of others chiming in, pushing the authenticity of the comment further from any supportive facts.

I just finished listening to the president’s speech from earlier today, and it does seem as though the president did have an event on this Memorial Day.  His schedule, today:

9:15 am – Hosts a breakfast in honor of Gold Star Families who have lost a family member in battle

11:00 am – Lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

11:15 am – Delivers remarks

1:50 am – Delivers remarks at the Vietnam Memorial

When I typed in to Google, “President Obama’s 2012 Memorial Day Schedule” there was a nice, healthy list.

We are in the midst of another national election, and there will be constant finger pointing published in the media.  As responsible citizens, and posters, I encourage all of us to double check the facts on items we read.  With the internet it is so easy to research, but it is also very easy to get fooled.

Be smart.  Be responsible.  Be good citizens.  Be good friends.

The following are remarks President Obama delivered May 28, 2012, at Memorial Day ceremonies at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.:

Good afternoon, everybody.  Chuck, thank you for your words and your friendship and your life of service.  Veterans of the Vietnam War, families, friends, distinguished guests.  I know it is hot.  (Laughter.)  But you are here — to honor your loved ones.  And Michelle and I could not be more honored to be here with you.

It speaks to the complexity of America’s time in Vietnam that, even now, historians cannot agree on precisely when the war began.  American advisors had served there, and died there, as early as the mid-’50s.  Major combat operations would not begin until the mid-’60s.  But if any year in between illustrated the changing nature of our involvement, it was 1962.

It was January, in Saigon.  Our Army pilots strapped on their helmets and boarded their helicopters.  They lifted off, raced over treetops carrying South Vietnamese troops.  It was a single raid against an enemy stronghold just a few miles into the jungle — but it was one of America’s first major operations in that faraway land.

Fifty years later, we come to this wall — to this sacred place — to remember.  We can step towards its granite wall and reach out, touch a name.  Today is Memorial Day, when we recall all those who gave everything in the darkness of war so we could stand here in the glory of spring.  And today begins the 50th commemoration of our war in Vietnam.  We honor each of those names etched in stone — 58,282 American patriots.  We salute all who served with them.  And we stand with the families who love them still.

For years you’ve come here, to be with them once more.  And in the simple things you’ve left behind — your offerings, your mementos, your gifts — we get a glimpse of the lives they led.  The blanket that covered him as a baby.  The baseball bat he swung as a boy.  A wedding ring.  The photo of the grandchild he never met.  The boots he wore, still caked in mud.  The medals she earned, still shining.  And, of course, some of the things left here have special meaning, known only to the veterans — a can of beer; a packet of M&Ms; a container of Spam; an old field ration — still good, still awful.  (Laughter.)

It’s here we feel the depth of your sacrifice.  And here we see a piece of our larger American story.  Our Founders — in their genius — gave us a task.  They set out to make a more perfect union.  And so it falls to every generation to carry on that work.  To keep moving forward.  To overcome a sometimes painful past.  To keep striving for our ideals.

And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam — most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there.  You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor.  (Applause.)  You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised.  You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated.  It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened.  And that’s why here today we resolve that it will not happen again.  (Applause.)

And so a central part of this 50th anniversary will be to tell your story as it should have been told all along.  It’s another chance to set the record straight.  That’s one more way we keep perfecting our Union — setting the record straight.  And it starts today.  Because history will honor your service, and your names will join a story of service that stretches back two centuries.

Let us tell the story of a generation of service members — every color, every creed, rich, poor, officer and enlisted — who served with just as much patriotism and honor as any before you. Let’s never forget that most of those who served in Vietnam did so by choice.  So many of you volunteered.  Your country was at war, and you said, “send me.”  That includes our women in Vietnam — every one of you a volunteer.  (Applause.)  Those who were drafted, they, too, went and carried their burden — you served; you did your duty.

You persevered though some of the most brutal conditions ever faced by Americans in war.  The suffocating heat.  The drenching monsoon rains.  An enemy that could come out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly.  Some of the most intense urban combat in history, and battles for a single hill that could rage for weeks.  Let it be said — in those hellholes like Briarpatch, and the Zoo and the Hanoi Hilton — our Vietnam POWs didn’t simply endure; you wrote one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of military history.

Read more:

News from Congressman Mike Turner U.S. Congressman Michael Turner

Congressman Michael Turner: Proudly Representing Ohio's 3rd District
News Brief Forward to a Friend | Web Site
Honoring those Who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice this Memorial Day

Each year on Memorial Day, we honor the men and women of our military who fought and paid the ultimate price for our Nation’s defense. As Americans, we often take our freedom for granted, but we should never forget those whose sacrifice made our freedom possible. As we pay tribute to those who served, I want to reaffirm my commitment to upholding the promises our Nation has made to its active duty service personnel, military veterans, and their families.

This month, the House passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (HR 4310). As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I worked closely with members of the Committee to craft a bipartisan bill that advances our national security objectives, establishes a robust national missile defense, and ensures that veterans and their families maintain access to the care and benefits they have earned through their service. This bill protects veterans and military families from a proposal by the Obama administration to increase most TRICARE enrollment fees and co-pays, and prevents the Administration from implementing new fees.

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, across-the-board cuts known as a “sequester,” are scheduled to take effect next January, due to the failure of the bipartisan “super committee” to agree on a plan to cut federal spending. I voted against this law, which raised the federal debt ceiling and created the so-called “super committee,” because these cuts would place our national security at risk and have a detrimental effect on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and our regional economy. Funding for the Department of Defense will be slashed by $500 billion, and certain domestic programs face an automatic eight percent across-the-board cut. The federal government must learn to live within its means and balance its budget, but our servicemen and women and their families need not shoulder the burden for Washington’s failure to budget responsibly.

Missing In American Project: WHIO-TV

On May 10, 2012, the House passed, with my support, legislation that protects veterans programs from the sequestration and prevents these catastrophic cuts to our military (HR 5652). I have also cosponsored legislation (HR 1297) that prioritizes spending to ensure that our service members continue to receive their paychecks in the event of a government shutdown or if the debt ceiling is reached. Our troops risk their lives each day to serve our country and protect our national interests. The last thing they need to worry about is whether or not their paychecks will come home to their families on time.

The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) is now accepting applications from unemployed veterans aged 35-60, who may qualify for up to twelve months of training to learn a new skill or trade under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty program. The VRAP is part of a new law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which I cosponsored to help move unemployed veterans out of the unemployment lines and into the workforce. To learn more about the VRAP program, call 1-800-827-1000, or visit:

This Memorial Day, let us honor the millions who answered their country’s call to duty, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice—the men and women of our armed forces who have made America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Michael R. Turner
Member of Congress

You want to see what fun I am having with the IRS??

They are disputing Quintin’s adoption, and that I should never have claimed him as an adopted dependent to receive the earned “adoption credit” of $13,000 – which is something new for adoptive families.

This March, along with my completed taxes, I sent in, as requested by IRS, copies of:

  • his current birth certificate
  • adoption decree
  • Navajo pedigree document

In early May I received a letter stating I was being investigated for the adoption credit, and that my information on Quintin did not match up with their information.

When I called the one representative, she said that I could not claim him as a newly adopted son because:

  • there was no mother listed on the birth certificate (?)
  • his birth certificate clearly shows he was born April 1995 to me, and that he was, therefore, not adopted

I explained there were copies of the adoption decree, and of course, she did not have them.

I resent copies of all the papers, including his original birth certificate with items marked in “red” to indicate he had birth parents, and then me as his adoptive parent.

Today, I received a large envelope filled with items. They want even more proof – tons and tons of items!

  • a letter from the adoption agency on letterhead, explaining Quintin was adopted
  • a letter from the placing agency (New Mexico) on letterhead, explaining Quintin was adopted
  • a letter from the adoption attorney on letterhead, explaining Quintin was adopted
  • a letter from the tribe official on letterhead, explaining Quintin was adopted
  • the court decree (which will be the 3rd I’ve sent in!)
  • the Navajo pedigree (which will be the 3rd I’ve sent in!)
  • my marriage license (good luck on finding that one!)
  • letters from New Mexico
  • letter from last school to indicate he left
  • foster care agency to indicate he left

Quintin’s current

  • 2011 school records (to show 6 month’s attendance)
  • 2011 medical records from Ohio
  • any other 2011 education documentation to prove his residency

My residency papers

  • 6 months of 2011 utility receipts for electric, water, gas
  • 6 months of 2011 house payments
  • 6 months of 2011 telephone receipts (but cell phone is not acceptable, and we’ve not had land line for some time)

They sent me an EXAM that I must complete, by mail, to prove my residency in the USA, and Ohio – I’ve been a full-time USA resident since 1964, and in Ohio since 1990!

Good grief!

The 2012 Haasienda Grooming is nearly done.

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11:30am, the festivities began with running errands, and returning home to a solid six and one half hours of work.  We were so pumped over the accomplishments we didn’t realize it was long past lunch until the three hounds started their kitchen-prance for their 4:30pm feeding.

A new corner fence is now installed in the front yard, replacing the three-year old fence that had become a termite buffet.  We also added one to the back yard to prevent the pups from jumping from the deck directly into the yard, thus creating bare patches in the lawn.

Quintin was such a super help, and actually did a good portion with me.  He asked to plant the hostas, and impatiens, and then asked if he could create a brick border.  And plant, and create, he did!  I was proud of his hard work.

We ended the day by heading to the skate park so Quintin could enjoy a good 90 minutes of skate time.

And now I sit out on the deck, typing away, quite exhausted, but not wanting to waste a minute of fresh air, and some awake-quiet time.

My first year in 7th grade band at Elwood Junior High School, we were scheduled with the 8th grade band on the first day.  The saxophones were seated in front of the trumpets, and I was seated with 8th grade trumpets, Mick Helpling, Darrell Whitkamper, Brad Gillum and Dana Miller, directly behind me.  Since this was the first class with the 8th graders, I was excited, but very nervous.

As Miss Simmons gave instructions prior to warm-ups, I laid my alto saxophone across my lap.  I heard something hit the floor, but paid little attention.  Suddenly, I heard Mick Helpling say, “Look!  A Twinkie fell out of that kid’s saxophone.”

I was stunned.  Could the sound I heard and the comment from Mick have anything in common?  I allowed some time to pass, and with all the gumption I could muster, I casually looked to my left.

Sure enough, there was an individually wrapped Twinkie next to my foot.

I began sweating buckets, my stomach began churning, and I, always the good little band student, was blocking out everything Miss Simmons was saying.  I honestly cannot remember if I picked up the Twinkie, or let it remain on the floor.  Knowing my love for Twinkies, I doubt I left it there.  I don’t recall the 8th grade trumpets saying anything after that; if they did, I was probably too much in shock to have heard.

When I got home that day, Mother was standing in the kitchen.  I asked if she had stuck a Twinkie down the bell of my saxophone.  She tried to deny it at first, but finally gave way to guilty chuckles.  The only other culprit would have been my grandmother.

Thirty-five years later, I am still teased about the Twinkie in the saxophone.  Even this week, a student brought one to his lesson with the hopes of being able to place it in my saxophone.

Heritage Festival Fireworks
Heritage Festival Fireworks

Dayton Heritage Festival
Sunday, May 27, 2012
at Carillon Historical Park
11:00am – 10:00pm

Presented by Time Warner Cable
Fireworks Presented by Wells Fargo

($5 parking per car)

It’s a Memorial Day weekend to remember with an old-fashioned patriotic celebration! Join Dayton History at Carillon Park on Memorial Day weekend as we celebrate Dayton’s history from its founding in 1796 through present day during our one-day community festival – the Dayton Heritage Festival.

Live Entertainment
Hey There Morgan at 12:00pm
Classic Jazz Stompers at 3:00pm
Carillon Park Concert Band at 6:00pm
Dayton Philharmonic Concert at 7:00pm
Fireworks Finale at Dusk

Fun For All Ages!
Play Base Ball with the Clodbusters
Americana-style Food – Beer Garden
See New Exhibits and 30 Historical Buildings
Kids Fun Zone – Fireworks Finale
Carousel and Train Rides for $1 each
Scavenger Hunt – Hands-on Activities

Exclusive Hawthorn Hill Tours
Showcasing The Garden Club of Dayton
May 23, 2012

Dayton History will be providing exclusive Hawthorn Hill tours to the public on May 23 showcasing “Soaring”, a flower show presented by The Garden Club of Dayton. They will be showcasing a flower arrangement division with categories centered on the theme of flight.

The tour takes about an hour and costs $15 per person. Dayton History will shuttle guests to Hawthorn Hill from Carillon Historical Park at 11:30am, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm.

Space is limited and reservations are required.
To make a reservation for this exclusive one day opportunity to enjoy this spectacular flower show,
please call (937) 293-2841

Fleurs Et Vin
May 20, 2012
1:00pm – 4:00pm
at Carillon Park

Dayton’s Premier Wine
& Gourmet Food Festival

For more information or
to purchase tickets

Culp’s Café Open for breakfast
starting June 2, 2012

New Hours starting June 2, 2012

Open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
breakfast & lunch
8:00am – 3:00pm

Open Tuesday – Friday
11:00am – 3:00pm

Spring Forest Ball! 1890s Victorian Themed
Spring Forest Ball
at The Old Courthouse
June 9, 2012
8:00pm – 11:00pm

Space is Limited! Reservations Required!

To make a reservation or for more information call (937) 313 2010

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Dayton History by
following us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Carillon Historical Park | 1000 Carillon Blvd. | Dayton, OH 45409 | 937-293-2841 |

The day is rather quiet, but has definitely been busy.  A trip to the store to buy a hose for the front yard, followed by mowing, trimming and blowing the front yard.

Now, I am seated on my deck.  Lunch is completed.  The dogs are lounging around the deck, panting in the mounting heat of the early afternoon.  I may take a nap before teaching seven straight hours without a break.

Tomorrow, I will hopefully find me working, and visiting my creative place that I have desperately missed.

Thursday’s teaching day will commence at 9:00am, but end early so I can travel to Beavercreek High School to serve as the MC for their choral awards.

Friday evening we will support my middle school saxophone students, and director, Aaron Jacobs, for the middle school OMEA large ensemble contest.

Saturday evening will hopefully find us attending THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Dayton Playhouse, following a morning of completing the construction of the new corner fence.  Monday evening, I cemented the posts, but will need assistance with attaching the cross rails.

The day is quite beautiful, and the gentle breeze keeps the wind chimes singing a frequent line.

The week was busier than usual, but sped by so quickly that I had to continually stop to remind myself what day it was.

Monday I purchased my impatiens from the Fairmont Industries plant sale – my annual purchase – and completed a good deal in the front yard.

Tuesday I baked cookies for the students and staff of Fairmont industries, and completed a few tasks around the gardens in back.  The raised garden near the fire pit has new plants.

Wednesday I spent the entire school day at a middle school to serve as a mock-judge as each band prepares for contest in a few weeks.  I was so tired I fell asleep at 8:45pm, and woke at 10:45pm to find Quintin already asleep.  I only saw him as he walked out the door for school, said good bye as he left for percussion auditions.

Thursday I taught all day and night. I was exhausted, but it was the only time I had actually gotten to spend any decent amount of time with Quintin.  We grabbed some Taco Bell, and several movies, settling down to watch NATIONAL LAMPOON’S FAMILY CHRISTMAS VACATION.  I love this movie, and now Quintin is hooked on it, as well.

Friday was spent with more impatiens-potting, mulching, teaching, and missing a program at Beavercreek. I thought it began at 7:30pm and it actually started at 6:00pm.  I am not a happy camper at the moment.

Tonight, we will join Aaron Jacobs at Wright State University to watch a student written/directed musical at 11:00pm.  I love these late shows the students produce, as they are generally quite good.

This weekend we will hopefully replace the rotting corner-fence out front, and add a new one to the back yard at the foot of the deck so the pups won’t continue to jump off the deck, creating bare patches.

This is a wonderful project by Richard Chenoweth.  Please take a few minutes to read the article, and watch the video:  The Most Beautiful Room in the World


I am now the proud gardener/owner of Mary Todd Lilies thanks to Jim McCutcheon & Debbie McCutcheon!

Be watching for these in the front yard of The Haasienda!

‘Mary Todd’ has stunning large 4- to 6-inch bright yellow softly ruffled and crimped blooms. A stately maintenance free beauty with prolific repeat blooms over a long period. Excellent for landscaping and erosion control, each plant will provide a huge splash of color in your garden. Mary is a strong grower that multiplies quickly, crowding out weeds.

According to Oakes Daylilies, the Mary Todd Lily is one of the most popular of all time, and winner of the 1973 Award of Merit, and the 1978 Stout Medal, daylily’s highest award (from their catalog of MANY varieties, only a handful have won two awards!). 


Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

In 1986 or 1987, I was doing research for a music composition project while a student at Ball State University. My project was based around the life of President Lincoln, and eventually transformed into the musical, LOVE IS ETERNAL: Mary Todd Lincoln.

In the course of research, I discovered there was a polka commissioned in honor of the First Lady, entitled, The Mary Lincoln Polka.  I set out to find a copy, or recording, and was always told it no longer existed, or by some Lincoln scholars that it never existed, ever.

Around 2002, following a few more requests for verification, I received a Xerox copy of one page from the score!

Twenty-five years later, I have numerous confirmations that there is, indeed, a Mary Lincoln Polka, and many have heard the music.  I sadly, have not.

Jim McCutcheon, guitarist

Jim McCutcheon, guitarist

Once, while visiting a very popular eatery in Kettering, Ohio, The Peasant Stock (now Figlio’s in Towne & Country plaza), a good friend and popular guitarist, Jim McCutcheon, was entertaining the appreciative diners. Jim was graciously taking written requests from the guests, and I scribbled, “Please play ‘The Mary Lincoln Polka.'” I will never forget the hysterical look that came across Jim’s face as he read the note before searching the room for where I was seated.  It will always remain one of my favorite, more milder  pranks!

Here are some recent findings to support the existence of The Mary Lincoln Polka…


On February 5, 1862, there was a major ball at the White House to show off Mary Lincoln’s redecoration of the interior. As part of the night’s festivities, the Marine Band, under the direction of Francis Scala, premiered one of his works, “The Mary Lincoln Polka.” Upstairs, Willie and Tad Lincoln lay feverish with typhoid. Tad survived, but Willie did not. After his death on February 20, Mrs. Lincoln could not bear the thought of the semi-weekly concerts. “It is our especial desire that the Band, does not play in these grounds, this Summer. We expect our wishes to be complied with,” Mrs. Lincoln wrote to Lincoln aide John Hay in late May 1862. After Hay wrote Mary Lincoln asking if the Marine Band could resume its concerts in Lafayette Square, she replied: “It is hard that in this time of our sorrow, we should be thus harassed. The music in Lafayette square, would sound quite as plainly here. For this reason, at least, our feelings should be respected.”

The Marine Band concerts were moved that summer. In August 1862, Stoddard wrote: “The Saturday evening musical promenades are held in the Capitol, instead of the White House grounds, this summer, and the Marine Band discourses sweet music to gay and wandering crowds; but the striking features are changed.

Transcript from the PBS documentary, ABRAHAM & MARY LINCOLN: A HOUSE DIVIDED:

Narrator: On the evening of February 5, 1862 Mary Lincoln organized a glittering reception in the East Room. Her lavish renovation would at last be on display while the Marine Band entertained with music specially composed for the occasion “the Mary Lincoln Polka.”  

Linda Levitt Turner, Biographer: Mary Lincoln’s Grand Gala Levee was plotted for months and months and months. And it was such a grand party that it was the kind that people invented an excuse to be out of town if they weren’t invited. On the table were models out of spun sugar of Fort Pickens and another one of the Ship of State and then over here was the terrapin and over there was the turkey and there was the ham and there were the shrimps and there were the oysters.

Narrator: Mary herself appeared in a white satin dress with a neckline so low that her admiring husband asked her if some of what he called its “tail” shouldn’t be sewn to the top. She had hoped that this splendid evening would finally make her not only the “First Lady” of the land — but the Queen of Washington Society, as well.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian: The reception had glittering men and women, fine dining. It was the moment of triumph that Mary had so yearned to find. This would be her crowning glory.

Narrator: The festivities went on ’til three in the morning. One newspaper called the ball “a brilliant success”: “Primarily we must remark the exquisite taste with which the White House has been refitted under Mrs. L’s directions… Mrs. L. possesses as rare a beauty as the Empress of the French.”

But Mary and the President spent much of that evening upstairs in 11-year-old Willy Lincoln’s bedroom. Their son was ill with what the doctors called “bilious fever” — typhoid.

During the days and nights that followed, Mary never left Willy’s side. As she nursed him, some newspapers savaged her for having entertained so lavishly in the midst of war. “Disgraceful frivolity, hilarity, and gluttony,” said one.

Another charged that the evening had been worthy of “a woman whose sympathies are with slavery and with those who are waging war.”

All the while, her son grew weaker. At five in the afternoon on February 20, Willy Lincoln died.

The evening teaching schedule ended early since students are with choirs competing in the OMEA state competition, or performing in musicals.

The deck is peaceful… birds are singing… a breeze has conquered the humidity… the speaker from the track meet next door at the high school is keeping me posted of the events… the traffic is busy on Shroyer Road… Navi is perched at her backyard guard station at the edge of the deck, preparing to tackle anything that enters the yard… Chief is asleep on his back (?)… Flyer is nestled at my feet, snoring… the skies to the south have darkened and thunder is rumbling, announcing the impending storm… this is such a beautiful afternoon…

A moment ago, after writing the above paragraph, I recalled the theme of my horoscope from earlier this morning:

It’s important to remember to appreciate beauty today — the creativity you’re nurturing needs some aesthetic inspiration to fully flower. Natural beauty is the most effective way to do this, so try to find time to take a walk and enjoy the day. Even if you can get outside for only ten or fifteen minutes, the fresh air and light exercise will serve you well. Try to time it in the middle of the day, when you will likely need a boost in your energy level.

For once, I can buy into this horoscope!

Photo from yesterday…

Each week throughout this current school year, 53 students, arriving for lessons, stepped over the threshold that leads into my home. This number does not include the accompanying parents, siblings, and sometimes, friends.

I have eleven seniors this Spring, and six of these students have been with me since they were ages 5-7, beginning their musical careers with piano lessons. That is a good deal of threshold crossing into my home for each of these students!

This is always one of my favorite times of the year. And, it is always one of my least favorite times of the year.

It is exciting because there are so many musical productions, concerts, auditions, and other wonderful activities that accompany the full arrival of Spring. The air always seems so energized.

However, as my fellow teachers can attest, it is also a bittersweet time of the year.  Our “kids” have grown up, are ready to graduate, and step across the lesson-threshold one last time. As I sit through these final performances of musicals, concerts, and a few commencement ceremonies, there is always a point when my mind retraces the years with each student. I am terribly happy for them, but a little wistful that our last few moments together as student and teacher are nearing.

The past several weeks I received six emails from former students who are graduating college. They are preparing to step over another threshold for the final time.  Two will graduate with music education degrees, and four with musical theatre degrees.

It is refreshing to receive their feed-back, and to know that many of the seeds of their successful high school, and collegiate years were planted in my ten-by-ten study. I am so excited for their futures, and will follow them closely as I do countless other students who are now teaching, or performing, or writing, or directing.

To my current high school seniors, and the dozen-plus former students graduating college… I am proud of each of you, and am grateful for the many hours spent together in lessons.  As you stand at this current threshold, transitioning into college, or career, savor the moment – even if you are a bit scared. This is one of the most exciting moments of your life!  And remember, there will be many more thresholds to cross.  Celebrate each one.  

Know you are loved…

Mr. Haas

The Jolliffe-Haas Family of Ohio


…A Little About Darin…

Darin was born in Elwood, Indiana in 1964. Since he premiered the same night as the television sitcom, BEWITCHED, he has been a lifelong fan of the program. Darin Jolliffe (pronounced, “Jah-liff”) was adopted by his step-father in 1984, and added the name “Haas” (pronounced, “Hahz”) to his birth name. However, as a teacher he is known just as “Mr. Haas.”

At 48, Darin is a private teacher (voice, saxophone, piano), a playwright, a musical theatre director, a band booster, works with the Beavercreek High School show choir, and a volunteer with ACTION Adoption Agency where he often teaches classes, and served as president of the board for three years. In 2009 Darin directed his 85th musical production which was also the 60th anniversary premiere of the musical SOUTH PACIFIC.  He is currently completing the writing of a musical on the Wright Brothers, the Lincolns, Father Flanagan, and several projects on the back burner. Music is a major component of family life in the Haasienda!

Darin’s 3 loves…

  • Being a dad
  • Being an uncle
  • Being a teacher

Darin enjoys a wide variety of activities, especially when he and the boys are doing things together. They love going to historical sites, out for ice cream/coffee, to movies or local events, cheering family friends on in shows or sports, walking the dogs, hiking, going to Kings Island or Indiana Beach amusement parks, or spending time with family, and family friends. Darin can be found watching a Netflix documentary or History Channel documentary, or reading books on American history, presidents, the White House, or biographies.

 …A Little About Jose…

Jose, now 21, was adopted in 2004 from Oregon when he was twelve years old, and adjusted wonderfully to adopted-life.  He graduated from Fairmont High School in June 2011. Two weeks later he was transported to Fort Benning in Georgia to fulfill the 18 weeks of basic training with the national guard. The biggest thrill for Jose during high school was marching with the award winning Marching Firebirds where he was in the front-line percussion as a marimba player. He also performed with the regionally award winning Fairmont Percussion Ensemble.

While in high school, Jose willingly accompanied his dad to ACTION Adoption to assist with the younger children while their parents are in training or support group, and often joined his father when training prospective adoptive parents.

While still serving in the National Guard, and attending classes at the local Sinclair Community College, Jose is also finishing up his training with the Ohio Police Academy.  Jose lives in his own apartment near The Haasienda.

…A Little About Quintin…

Quintin, now 17, arrived at the Haasienda in December 2010 when he was 15, and quickly transitioned from New Mexico to Ohio.  Within a month of arriving in Ohio, Quintin auditioned on guitar for, and was selected for one of the area’s largest church’s youth band. His budding personality and quiet coolness quickly wins over hearts of teachers, friends, and anyone who meets him.

May 2011, Quintin joined the marching band’s percussion section where he is a part of the battery on cymbals.  From November to mid-April (2012), Quintin rehearsed, and performed with Fairmont’s highly competitive indoor percussion which was ranked Mid-West champions, and ranked 12th in the nation. He is thoroughly enjoying his freshman year of high school for all the music and art opportunities that are available.

When not spending time with Dad, and friends, Quintin skateboards, sketches pictures, or composes new songs on the guitar.

…A Little About Flyer, Chief & Navi…

, 11 years old, was adopted by Darin in 2001, and has been an absolute delight. She is trained to respond to her commands in English, German, and Sign Language. Flyer loves spending time with “the men” and especially loves going on trips to visit Grandma, and other family members in Indiana. August 2010 Flyer developed pancreatitis and nearly died; however, despite losing her sight, she rebounded beautifully. 

DSC03587Chief & Navi, born November 2010, arrived at the Haasienda in February 2011. They quickly becameDSC03588 household fixtures, and are quite popular with all Darin’s students. They are doing a great job with their commands, even learning some of their commands in German and instructional sign language.  They love going on the family walks in the evening, and spend most of their time relaxing on the back deck, chasing one another around the back yard, or staying near Dad. Now almost fully grown, “the kids” are much larger, much more playful, much more trained, and still, much more a hand-full!


…A Little About Our Indiana Family…



If any woman deserves Mother or Grandma of the Year, it would be this woman. Darin’s birth father left the family when Darin was 12. His mother did a wonderful job of raising her children as a single parent, and served as a wonderful role model as a parent. In 1981, Grandma joined the Elwood Police Department while still managing a busy home filled with children, and their many friends. In February 2012, Grandma retired from the police department, and moved to Fowler, Indiana to live near Darin’s younger brother, Destin, and his family. Although her children are raised, they often turn to her for advice, and she is highly involved in all the grandchildren’s activities. Grandma frequently travels to Ohio to watch Quintin’s (and formerly, Jose’s) marching band contests, or Darin’s theatre and music activities. The success of her two sons, and now their children, is easily traced to Grandma.


Darin’s brother & sister-in-law

536683_3298227394238_1826094904_nUncle Destin is Darin’s younger brother, and is married to Aunt Stacia. Uncle Destin is ending his career as a high school-middle school principal to become superintendent of schools. In 2010 Uncle Destin was one of Indiana’s 2010 Principals Of The Year. He has been nominated again for Indiana’s 2011 Principal of the Year. Destin is currently completing his doctorate in education while remaining extremely active with his family. Aunt Stacia, an educational therapist, is currently a stay-at-home mom, and keeps busy with their sons, Parker, 7, and Freddie, 5, and Carolyne, 2. The end of January, they are expecting their 4th child.  Uncle Destin & Aunt Stacia are very involved with their school corporation, their community, and their church. They live on a beautiful farm that has been in Aunt Stacia’s family for over a century. It comes complete with barns, a pond, tractors, and a landscape dotted with wind turbines. Due to the very similar family values, and ideas on parenting, Destin & Stacia also are on our family Godparent Team.

…A Few Things About The Jolliffe-Haas Family…

Being in the Jolliffe-Haas family…

  • means you are very loved, accepted, and special…
  • means being part of a tight-knit family team that thrives on time spent together in a variety of activities…
  • means cheering one another in their events…
  • means being honest with one another, and ourselves…
  • means celebrating one another’s victories while being sensitive to one another’s moments of need…
  • means laughing – a lot…
  • means picking up after our selves, taking responsibility, and doing our best…
  • means learning about family, friendships, and most importantly, our selves…
  • means learning about the world around us and how we each fit in as individuals, and as a family team, and as a community…
  • means learning to be the very best we can be as individuals…
  • means most importantly – always knowing we are all loved.


…About the Godparent Team…

Darin decided that instead of having one family designated as godparents, an entire team would be assembled. In the unlikely event that something should happen to Darin, this group would come together to work on the best plan for his sons. Uncle Destin & Aunt Stacia would lead this team of dear family friends. The team is comprised of teachers, a college professor, youth leaders, coaches, writers, a college vice president, a social worker, a pharmacist, engineers, two retired military personnel, musicians, active church members, an educational therapist, and above all, wonderful people who would be certain Darin’s sons each received the same values, tools, and love for life.

 Those serving on The Godparent Team with Uncle Destin & Aunt Stacia are:

Bill & Kay Hetzer

Darin has been dear friends with the Hetzers since 1996.  In 2000 and 2001, Bill and Kay adopted two sons, Joey & Chris, through ACTION Adoption Services. The Haas and Hetzer boys grew up together, and always had the common bond of adoption journeys. Bill is retired from the United States Army, and is a teacher. Kay, very involved in music, is also a teacher. They are also very proud grandparents!

Jeffrey Carter

Darin met Jeff in 2004 when he returned to Ball State University for the Ball State Singers’ 40th anniversary performance. Jeff and Darin became immediate friends, and Darin coached Jeff through his own adoption process. Jeff now lives in St. Louis, MO, where he is the director of music for Webster University, and a nationally-renowned conductor. Jeff is a busy world traveler, and visits The Haasienda as often as he can so he can see his nephews!

 Aaron Jacobs

Aaron Jacobs is the newest member of The Godparent Team.  Aaron, an outstanding band director at a local middle school, also studies voice with Darin.  Both Jose & Quintin look forward to seeing Aaron at lessons, or at the numerous music events.  In the fall you can usually find Aaron playing and marching with the alumni band with The Ohio State Marching Band. This fall, Aaron will return full time to Wright State University where he will complete his graduate studies, and serve as a conductor.

 Brian & Joanie Pollock 

Joanie & Brian Pollock have lived all over the United States, even Alaska, as an Air Force family. Now, they live in Beavercreek, Ohio, right next to Kettering. Brian’s career still keeps him at the base, and Joanie is a social worker for Catholic Social Services. Their eldest son, Tyler, is a senior & soccer star at Butler University, and Zach, now in college, is one of Darin’s former students, was one of the Miami Valley’s strongest teen performers. Brian and Joanie are currently adopting a 17 year old African American son who is in show choir and musicals. Our families do a number of activities together, and enjoy the fun of teenage sons.

Pati & Mike Rogers

Pati and Mike Rogers are very active band parents with two teenagers in the band program.  Mike is a brilliant mechanic, and drives the marching band’s semi-trailer.  Pati is a phenomenal photographer, and is the band’s photographer.  The Rogers are a fun family, and have ‘adopted’ Quintin as one of theirs.

Steve & Shawnee Breitenstein

Steve & Shawnee Breitenstein, and their two children, Lauren and Patrick, live in nearby Beavercreek, Ohio.  Shawnee, a former band director, is now a full-time band mom, and along with Steve, a businessman, volunteer many hours to the middle school show choir where their son is a featured singer and dancer.  The Breitensteins are very active in their community, schools and church.

Tom & Heather Bridgman

Tom and Heather, like the other godparent team members are busy as a band and show choir family. Their daughter is in Beavercreek HS’s show choir and concert band, and their son is in the middle school show choir. Tom is in business, and Heather is a technology director for Ohio’s Autisim & Low Incidence.  They are an active family in school and church.

Tony & Susan Saliba

Darin has known the Saliba family for many years having served as a teacher and director for two of their three children.  Tony is the dean of engineering at The University of Dayton, and Susan is the program director for The University of Dayton’s Research Institute in Engineering.  One son is a senior in college, one a senior in high school, and their daughter is a freshman in high school. Show choir and church activities keeps this family quite busy.

…Our other family…

~ A.C.T.I.O.N Adoption Services~

 Mary Tarlano   Patricia Hill (director)   Angela Brosh

 ACTION, Inc. is a private non-profit adoption agency licensed by the State of Ohio founded and operated by adoptive mothers/licensed social workers.  ACTION provides a wonderful support group for both parent, and children, each Friday night, and hosts a wonderful Christmas Party for all their adoptive families each November during National Adoption Month.

A.C.T.I.O.N. believes that all children have the right to a loving, caring and supportive family to aid in their growth as moral, functional members of society. They value their commitment to aggressively recruit families for waiting children across the United States in order to create Forever Families.  ACTION believes in educating perspective and adoptive families as well as the community on adoption.

 Darin teaches pre-adoptive courses, and the boys often assist with the children’s program, or hang with other adopted teenagers.

 ACTION’s Website:

Watch the  2012 Jolliffe-Haas Family Holiday video:


…Family Photos…

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May 2012
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