Category Archives: Family

All the news that’s fit to read about the family.

Family Ties

Tonight, Warren, Katie and crew arrived at the house after a long drive from Golden, Colorado. They sure a lot of fun to have around!

We all piled up downstairs and fired up Ice Age on the “Jumbotron” (as Becky calls the Mitsubishi) for an evening of entertainment. That’s the first time I’ve seen that film on the new screen, and man oh man was it astounding! Of course, the sound was great, but the clarity of the textures on surfaces just blew me away. Truly amazing.

Off work tomorrow, and a long weekend for me. I’m beat, and I think it’s well deserved!

Scanning the Past


“The Project” is now officially underway.

Tonight, I scanned and OCR’d a loose-leaf binder Mom gave me while I was in Chattanooga a few weeks ago. The binder was titled Loveday Memories, and contained pieces written by several members of the Loveday clan, of which Dad’s mother was part.

It was strange to see pieces talking about, and parts written by, folks that I’ve heard about all my life, but never had any hard link to. An example was running across a piece written by Grandma Wright’s brother, and another piece that talked about her father, David Preston Loveday, of whom I’ve recently found some photos.

I’m also on the prowl for some software to help with the building of the family tree pages, and ways to link all these photos to those. I still thinking building a search engine to look for keywords associated with the photos is the right answer. The search could be pretty simple, but the keyword tagging of the photos would be laborious. That’s ok though, as long as I get the notes from folks who can recognize folks in the photos, I can always link it up at my leisure.



More gold for The Project today.

Grandma sent another large envelope of photos from the Cox/Holley side of the family, along with some geneaology my great-uncle has worked out, which takes one leg of the family back to the late 17th century, if I read it right.

So, along with a bunch of scanning, I need to get some research done on how to present family trees on the web so I can get this info and photos not only published, but published in a way that others can find.

Becky dropped me an e-mail from Grandma with an invitation from my great-uncle to come to Seattle for a few days as part of our vacation. That’s a generous offer! I’m sure I would learn a big bunch about that leg of the family. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met any of Grandma’s siblings and their families.

We’ve got four weeks to figure it out, so I’m sure we’ll get the driving plan settled by then!

Home Again

Five hundred miles later, we are home. It’s not a bad drive, but it sure does sap the energy from me. We were supposed to have storms all the way up from the mountain, but didn’t really see any rain until we got within an hour of St. Louis. I guess Spring is here.

I spent most of the trip listening to old music, and musing on events encountered during our journey.

I thought of Roaul, and the impact he’s had on my life. Between him, dad and Larry Buhrman, I was inspired to become an amateur astronomer, ham radio licensee, and a computer junkie. I owe so much to the memory of three men who probably never heard me tell them how they’d influenced my life.

I thought of Kevin, and his freelancing adventure. I truly am a little envious of the freedom he has to pursue his tasks and career however he pleases. He’s fortunate, and seems to be full of luck, as he always seems to fall into some of the greatest situations. He has a couple of those right now, and I wish him the best. I just don’t have the gumption to go out and make a go of it solo — I’m just too tied to corporate teat. Love those benefits, and the regular paycheck. Of course, Kevin doesn’t have some of the same financial obligations I have, and that makes the consulting gig much more manageable for him, and out of reach for me.

I did a lot of thinking about The Project. Given the box of photos I received from Grandma during the trip — along with another box of photos and documentation on the way — I’ve got to get myself in gear and get the JAlbum code written for the skins for The Project. There’s too many folks I need to get this in front of, and I’m not getting any younger or finding any extra free time. I have, quite literally, thousands upon thousands of source images to scan from mom’s archive, and many hundreds from Grandma’s archive…. there’s a lot of to-do’s associated with all that!

With Honors

A tough, tough day.

At the hotel last night, I slept very little. No outside influences keeping me awake, just my mind working over the fact that Roaul is gone.

Mom, Beck and I got up early, went down for breakfast, and loaded up the car. Mom had already made up her mind that she would be ready to head for the mountain at the end of the day, and that was probably the best answer for her.

We went the mortuary, and began meeting and greeting relatives and friends. Many of them we had just seen a year and a half ago at dad’s funeral — it’s a shame that this is the only time we see each other, and that it had been such a short time since our last meeting.

I got to see Bill and Devon Prichard. This was the first time I’d seen Bill since my and Kevio’s trip to San Diego in the late 1970’s. I’d not seen Devon in about 15 years, the last time during a trip he took to Omaha in the mid 1980’s. I don’t know if I would’ve recognized either one of them.

The director gathered the “active” pallbearers together — there were honorary pallbearers, too — and seated us down front. While that was the right thing to do, I hated not being at mom’s side, there for her as she needed. Becky and family surrounded her, though, so that made it more bearable.

The service was very nice, and the key piece buried in the message was that Roaul had found the Lord. He emphatically told the preacher this, close to the end of his life. That’s thrilling! He and Dad are, I’m sure, having a great time, reliving the “old days”, and wondering why we’re all so sad down here.

We all piled up in our vehicles, and travelled to the cemetary for the graveside services. Roaul was a veteran of the US Air Force (kinda runs in the family, I guess), and given a full military ceremony — color guard, 21-gun salute, and Taps. It was fitting, and proper, and I was very moved by it.

We piled in our cars again, and went to Merilyn’s house. This was probably the first time I’d been in the house in at least twenty years, and it was almost exactly as I remembered it. Friends and family gathered, and in true Southern style, we ate and talked, remembered Roaul, and spun tales that we’d heard before, and revelled in their re-telling one more time.


Roaul’s Obituary [The Oak Ridger]
Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville (RACK) Obituary

Catching Up

Beck, Mom and I loaded up the Impala, and headed to Oak Ridge for Roaul’s funeral tomorrow. Today, though, we spent catching up with members on Mom’s side of the family.

We went to see my grandmother in Maryville. I can’t tell you exactly when I last saw her, but it’s been four or five years, I think. Beck had only met her once.

We went to her apartment (15th floor, overlooking the mountains — beautiful scenery), and caught up on all kinds of things. I even got to do a little computer work for her, and got her machine functioning at 100% again. She’s got a fast, fast connection, and that got us to talking about “The Project”. The Project is the capturing of my family’s history through photos that all of us have been hoarding away for years.

The basic concept is that I’ll scan images (negatives, slides, prints, etc.) from various folks’ archives, and post them on my server. I’ll send the link around to any family that I can, and let them identify the who, where, what and why for the photos. A little classification, a little HTML crafting (maybe another combination of MT and JAlbum), and it will be preserved with all the details we can all remember.

Grandma pulled out a big box of photos, and handed it to me as the cornerstone for capturing images of the Holley and Cox families. This is a gold mine of images of relatives I’ve probably never met, and would have no other way of getting. I can’t wait to start getting these images processed scanned, and on the web.

After visiting Grandma, we went to see Mom’s sister, Frances, in Oak Ridge. I think it’s been at least ten years since I’ve seen her, and it was wonderful to catch up with her after so long. She is a wonderful person, full of life… and a NASCAR fan, like me.

Returning to the hotel, we decided to grab a bite of dinner, after which we all went to bed after an exhausting day of travel and time well-spent with family. Over all of this, of course, was a sense of dread — tomorrow will be a long day.


Tomorrow, Mom, Beck and I will travel to Oak Ridge to meet family, and talk about old times before Roaul’s funeral on Tuesday. I’ll be a pallbearer, a duty I’m proud to discharge.

My earliest memories are of being in Oak Ridge around Roaul and Merilyn. When we lived in Harrison, I think we went up there easily once a month, and if we weren’t up there, they were at Mom and Dad’s house in the valley.

Roaul and Dad were terrific with electronics. Both were hams, and they talked almost every day for most of my childhood, bridging the 120mi gap between them with a pair of 500w 2m amplifiers they’d built from scratch. My bet is that Roaul’s is still hooked up and functional.

Later in life, they both camped together, usually at Chester Frost Park in Hixson. The last times I saw Roaul and Dad together were at Chester Frost, sitting around rehashing the old days, and spinning long yarns.

It seems like every time Dad and Roaul (and Teddy, when he was alive) would get together, the tall tales would spill forth.

Dad used to tell how he was roller skating once when he was about 10 or 12 years old, living in Concord. He fell and broke his arm, and had to walk to the hospital from the rink. Grandma was working at the plant in Oak Ridge, and the farmhouse in Concord had no phones, so the doctors couldn’t get permission to anesthesize Dad to set his arm. So, they set it with him wide awake. He walked home to the farmhouse, and as he walked down the road, Roaul came zooming up behind him (Roaul was six years Dad’s senior). Dad tried waving him down, but Roaul thought he was just waving to be friendly, and continued on down the road, much Dad’s chagrin.

Dad and Roaul used to talk about how they would double date in the late 50s, and, if they decided to, swap jackets and swap dates with the gals never knowing the difference.

Once of the last stories I remember them telling together was the tale of skipping school and stealing Grandpa’s car. Everytime Grandpa would try to keep them from taking the car, the three of them would come up with a solution. Grandpa would hide the key, so the boys made their own. Grandpa then hid the rotor, so they bought their own. Grandpa chained the car to the fence, so they sawed the fence post so they could take the car. Eventually Grandpa started chaining the car to a tree at the farm. This didn’t stop them — they got a split link for the chain, and took the car again.

There were hundreds of tales, and I always thought that they would make great reading material. I figured someday I’d get a tape recorder in front of Roaul and Dad, and let them spin away. I never did that, and now those stories are silent, and once removed just in the memories of those of us who remain, as all the Wright boys are now gone.

Roaul E. Wright, K4EAJ, SK

Roaul E. Wright, K4EAJ, 1934-2004
Click to enlarge!

Becky and I beat a fast path down to the mountain today, and shortly after we got to the mountain, we got the news that Roaul had passed away around 8:15pm ET.

I’m glad we came down, but I sure wish I’d gotten to see him. He just declined so fast, and there was no way to get from the mountain to Oak Ridge that fast.

So, another funeral. And, the last of the Wright boys is gone.

Like Mom said, we’re losing all the good ones. That’s the plain truth.



I love clocks. I’ve always been facinated with almost any kind of timepieces — clocks, watches… whatever. SF tales centered on time have always been my favorites.

Today, though, I’m not as found of clocks. Or time.

Roaul has been given about two months of time left among us.

In fact, Mom called tonight — have I said how I dread getting calls from her in the early evening? — and told me that Merilyn called with the news. She also said they were moving him from home to a “hospice home” of some kind in Halls Crossroads (north of Oak Ridge). The hospice folks just couldn’t take care of him in his home.

Becky and I had already made plans today to go to the mountain tomorrow in preparation for travelling to Oak Ridge on Sunday. This news just steels my determination to go.

I’d rather had seen him in a less… sterile, I guess… setting, but either way, it’ll be great to see him. Hopefully, he’ll know we’re there (Mom’s going up to Oak Ridge, too), and will find some joy in that.

Man, does this seem too familiar.

Bluer Wednesday


This time I called Mom in the evening. She had talked about her and/or Kevio going to Oak Ridge to see Uncle Roaul. I heard tonight that they are about to get a snowstorm, so I thought I’d see what the plan was.

Well, Kevio did drive to Oak Ridge (and back) today, and did see Roaul. As I understand it, Kevio had about 10 minutes of lucid conversation with Roaul before he drifted off to sleep sitting in his chair. He’s at home, and from all indications, he and Merilyn are just waiting for his time. The hospice folks are involved, and that leads me to believe that things are quite grim.

Even Bill (Faye’s widower) is coming in from San Diego and has said he will hang around “as long as he needs to”.

I want to just go dashing down there, and see him for what might be the last time, but there’s soooo much to work out with work and the dogs, and probably a host of other things I’m not thinking clearly about right now. And I know that we may just have to turn around and go back to Oak Ridge after getting home from the trip.

As you grow up, you see your parents and aunts and uncles, and think they’re gonna live forever. Then you get side-swiped by reality, and they start leaving, one by one, until, as it is now, there’s only one of them left.

I’m sure Faye, Teddy and Dad will all be waiting for Roaul when his time comes, and there’s some comfort in that.