Thursday, December 4, 2014

What Does it Mean to Have an Adventure

What does it mean to have an adventure?

This blog has been dormant for so long. In part, because I thought my life had stopped being an adventure and became about a job. But this week I was awarded the most important grant of my career. That has made me think that maybe I have not been looking hard enough.

I wrote an article in 2003 about the most important experience I have ever had in a museum. It was the evening after the Dunbar House re-restoration opening when I sat in the parlor with a half a dozen people and listened to Paul Laurence Dunbar's poems performed as the light at the end of the day faded. I think 3,000 people had come through the home, including the Secretary of the Interior, but in that that intimate setting I felt like the house became what it had always wanted to be, just a place where a poem could be shared with a few friends.

In July, 2014, I had a new most important experience. My oldest son was married. But to say that he was married does not justify the experience. My oldest son was married in the first museum I designed and constructed. I can not even express what this means to me in terms of having had a career developing museums and historic sites.

My son's fiance found a site on Pinterest that she thought would be the perfect place for a wedding.  It was the church at the Ohio Village, a historic village at the Ohio Historical Society Museum. She had no idea that I had designed the interior and had managed the construction contract. The building won an Ohio Builder's Award, according to my resume my first award winning project. This was also my first project after being hired at the Ohio Historical Society in 1997. As a young idealist architect, I had no idea that the gas lighting, hand-rubbed wood finish, and three-tone mauve interior would be the setting for the best day in my son's life. But the backdrop was priceless.

As I get older, I am constantly nagged by the perceived failure of my career and the fact that my friends have had so much more success than I have had.  

But in this one moment I have received a gift. How could you ever expect that the circle of life would circle around back to this...your first daughter-in-law framed in the place she wanted to be married ...a place that you had created.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Best Friends

I wish my son could be my best friend. I am sure  it doesn't work that way, but I'm just sayin.

I took Lucas to the airport on Monday to fly back to Chicago. He has been here over spring break. I told everyone that he called his mom and asked to come home, because he missed home. How could I not buy him a plane ticket. He misses us.

When I told him that story he said he did not remember the conversation going like that. But I am glad he came home, because I miss him.

This week we went rock climbing, off-roading, and hiking. We sat at the Museum booth at the Mid Winter Fair and Fiesta. Lucas used our Adobe Illustrator program to design a new t-shirt and two cups for the gift shop at the museum. He is so cool.

We talked about architecture and city design. Over the weekend we went to a history conference and sat through a dozen presentations on local historical organizations. On Monday I got an email from the president of the San Diego Congress of History telling me what a nice boy Lucas was.

On Saturday we went to see San Fermin at UC San Diego. The concert was so cool...and by cool I mean loud. On the two hour drive home we talked about the history of music and how current artists fit into the genera of past decades.

I called my brother Bryan this week to tell him how much I missed our dad. I had no idea how much my father loved me. I am only beginning to realize how much joy he got out of what I thought were sacrifices. I am so happy that our boys are moving on to become men. And I am very proud of the men they are becoming.

One day they will see life through my eyes and realize how much I loved them. And by that time I will probably be gone, just like my father was gone before I could realize how much I wished he could have been my best friend.  

Just so you know, yes, I am crying like a big baby.