Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Sands of Time

September 25, 2009

When my children were young we often traveled to Taylor’s Resort on the Marblehead Peninsula in Ohio. Taylor’s Resort was owned by my father and step mother. In the early 70’s Marblehead was relatively undeveloped; a peaceful camping and cabin resort area on Lake Erie. It was relatively inexpensive, ideal for families.
One interaction between my father and my daughter remains in my memory. She had spent the day cavorting on the sandy beach(slightly larger than a postage stamp).
Each evening my step mother would prepare a delicious dinner. We were all sitting around the table gabbing about something when Lisa entered from her play. She began to remove her shoes stopping when she realized that they were full of sand. She quickly went to the back door, removed her sneakers and left them on the back stoop. A stoop is a porch that is not large enough to be called a porch. Its more like a step hence stoop? Maybe “storch” would be more descriptive but stoop it is.
My father asked Lisa if she emptied her shoes. Answering with perfect aplomb she said ” Oh no, I put them on the stoop so the sand can melt away.”
Hey, cute is cute, so we all laughed. Needless to say this left grandpa speechless which was a rare thing indeed.

The Fun Lovers

THE VALUE OF SEARCH ENGINES or How I found out I was having a heart attack.

July 10, 2009

One can peruse millions of bits of info, conveniently, using search engines on the world wide web. Search engines were created because we’re lazy. Who wants to go from website to website, entering url info each time, getting typer’s cramp when we can go to one convenient source and point and click. Search engines have been likened to the yellow pages by Lee Underwood. Well, maybe the yellow pages on steroids. Web robots were created to wander the web to count web servers. These became known as web crawlers or spiders. According to Mr. Underwood these robots indexed the web info in a systematic way so that users could find what they were looking for. Investors saw a way to make money and Search Engines were born.  The idea is to refine your search so that you have only about 30,000 choices rather than 2 million.

Early Webmaster

Early Web Robot

The following tale recounts my first reliance on search engines to gain needed information.

One Saturday in October 1999, I awoke at 4:30 AM with a heavy pressure in my chest. As I tossed and twisted in bed to relieve the ache, I thought that this pain is not easing. Naturally, I arose and went to the bathroom to relieve myself. That didn’t end the pain, even after I put the seat down.

Being well read, I thought “hmm” maybe there is something wrong. What could it be? Just then my skin became clammy, I broke out in a cold sweat, and I felt faint. Very uncomfortable. Say, maybe this is a heart attack.

Time to spring into action. I turned on our computer. My wife is peacefully sleeping, no need to bother her, I have technology. I entered heart attack in the search box.

Clicking on a likely site, up popped a drawing of a human figure. Actually, it looked like one of those police outlines at a crime scene, not a promising beginning. Several points on this outline were highlighted with a description of heart attack symptoms. The chest was one such area. “ A crushing, heavy pressure” was the description. Yep, that’s me. In the attached notes were the symptoms, clammy skin, cold sweat, light headedness. Me, me, and me!

Its 6:30AM, time to wake Mrs. Taylor. I shook her saying, “Mary Anne”, “What?!”, “I think I am having a heart attack.” She rolled over, “What time is it?” “Its 6:30” She then said, “Come on, this no time to be kidding around.” I said “I’m not kidding!”

Mrs. Taylor jumped out of bed, overcoming her natural skepticism of my announcement, and called 911. The Barnard Fire Department Rescue Squad did a fine job of saving me and took me to the hospital. While in the hospital, my wife suggested I have a brain scan, but I declined, knowing the probable outcome.

Luckily it was a mild heart attack and there was no damage to my heart.

Search engines work!

Check out this link for more info on search engine history, http://www.webreference.com/authoring/search_history/

Remembering David M. Taylor

June 29, 2009

An early memory of my younger brother is David chasing my cousin and I down the street. That wasn’t unusual in itself, he always wanted to hang with the big boys. My cousin and I were home for lunch during our second grade class. What separates this chase from others is that David was naked from the waste down. My cousin and I may have been teasing him while he was taking care of business, chanting “Stink Bomb Harry”. David was an action man from the start and jumped off the throne to chase us, no pants and all.
David was a loyal brother who would do anything to help me. Like the time I was involved in a fight with a neighborhood kid. The kid and I were flailing away when from the left there came a blur propelling itself toward the kid’s legs bowling him over. It was David. He decided I was losing the fight and needed his help. Everybody but me was laughing so hard the fight was forgotten.
We lived in a small village in Western New York and grew up in the sixties. In that small town the sixties were pretty much like the fifties. Kids could be kids. We avoided adults like the plague. The best adult was neither seen nor heard. David and I did not have a father around, so we stuck together.
When Dave was in his late teens he began to experience mental problems. He had a break down and was treated with electro-shock therapy, which might qualify as torture under the rules of our latest political sages.
We found him asleep on our back porch or he would be hallucinating that the CIA and FBI were following him. I asked what made him so important to have this kind of surveillance. David couldn’t say but it seemed reasonable to him.
With the onset of his illness, he was a different person, not the brother and friend I had known.
His wife came home one day to find everything(lamps, chairs, couch, table) from their living room on the front yard. It was arranged exactly as it had been in the house. Why did he do it she asked. Looked better out there. We were all happy that he did it during the summer.
Over the years, David’s illness worsened and he spent time in an asylum. To control him the staff doped him with Thorazine. We worked to get him out of there into an outpatient facility. He then had a period of respite and managed to graduate from college with a business degree. He had amazing energy and optimism.
His life was a crazy quilt of a strange Christian sect that did not associate with non-believers except when members needed money, remarriage, and a move to Houston, Texas. Through all of this he took his medicine, he didn’t take his medicine and his illness waned and waxed with each behavior.
After his second wife died in a horrific traffic accident, he lost everything and we lost David. He was somewhere in Houston but we could not find him.

On August 13, 2007 a Houston hospital emergency room called to tell me that David Taylor had collapsed and died on his way to a day labor office. Was I David’s brother? Yes.

When I met the staff of the Houston day labor office, I learned that David was a kind and generous client. He always had a word of encouragement for the staff and his sense of humor was well known among the staff and other laborers.

For those wishing to know, David was schizophrenic, paranoid, and bi-polar. He was fifty five years old when he collapsed and died.
But for me, my brother was a tow headed kid who defended me at the drop of a hat, the kid who wanted to be around me all the time, and he was Stink Bomb Harry.

Rest in peace, my brother.