Saturday, December 31, 2011

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Castle in the Sky

Posted: 31 Dec 2011 02:30 AM PST

Over the last few days, I wrote about my family history in Ancestral Call, my youth in Community of Elders, my teenage years in Coming of Age, and today I conclude with a little perspective on life and an expression of one of my deepest desires. You never know what will happen when you put something out in the Universe. Maybe my dream will come true.

Chasing my entitlements

When I was thirty years old, I found myself repeating mistakes and causing myself more unhappiness. I met some people who were happy and showed freedom of heart in the midst of the pressures of daily life. I wanted that for myself, so I joined their group and spent eighteen months learning what really drove my behavior and how I could get control of it.

The men in the group had several characteristics in common. They all sought help in their late forties because they woke up one day and realized they spent all their time and effort chasing money, and they didn't know their families. What was the point of making lots of money? They weren't enjoying it, and their families didn't appreciate the results as the family entitlements were taken for granted. The worst part was that these guys missed out on family life. They didn't know their children and many were in rocky marriages. All this for the sake of a few entitlements.

I remember a few of these guys telling me they were so happy for me. I was awakening twenty years early. At the time, I believed them. I was very happy, I had no stress, and I believed I would avoid the mistakes that caused these men to regret how they spent years of their lives. It's been nearly fifteen years since then, and I find myself repeating many of the errors these guys made.

There is a simple truth in life it has taken me a long time to fully appreciate: the financial stress in life is directly related to the level of lifestyle spending needed to provide your family's entitlements.

I suppose some of this is merely mid-life for wage earners. When I was thirty, I didn't have a family, and I was not concerned with the opulence of my surroundings or partaking in costly activities. If it were just me, I could live on very little. But it's not just me anymore, so I struggle like everyone else to provide a good life for my family. Unfortunately, at times this leaves me feeling so stressed I can't enjoy the fruits of my labor. But when I think about giving up Irvine schools, Disney passes, or living in Orange County, I go back to work and try to make more. When will the struggles end?

Perhaps when the recession in real estate ends, my struggles may lessen, but if I'm not careful, my entitlements may grow further, and the stress will stay with me. I hope not. I grow weary of running against the wind.


And the years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
I found myself further and further from my home
And I guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was living to run and running to live

Finding Home

Since I left Wisconsin in 1992, I have lived in many places, but I never really found a new home. I moved from place to place looking for financial opportunity, career advancement, and a set of living circumstances I wanted to sustain. Each place I landed left we wanting.

When my wife and I came to California in 2001, we didn't know what to expect, but I wanted to live where I could enjoy yearlong outdoor activities and the amenities of a large population center. I wanted to make a home. Getting established took time, and when I was ready to buy a home and put down roots, the housing bubble had pushed prices out of reach. I was forced to rent and wait out the crazy market.

When I began writing for the Irvine Housing Blog in early 2007, I had no idea I had found a way to become part of a community. I wrote because I wanted to save people from financial ruin, but why? Why should I care? I knew I was making the right decision for me and my family. Why did it matter what happened to everyone else?

It was through writing about the housing market that I found a way to give to the community. I made a difference in the lives of thousands of people. I found a way to matter to people outside my immediate family. I found a way to become part of a community again.

Now that the housing market is closer to the bottom than to the top, I need to find a new way to contribute. I still want to help people. If I didn't feel I had anything to offer, I would stop writing. Over the last few months, I have developed a detailed report on the activities in the Orange County housing market, and I have created a network of housing news sites to put out the word. If my work has value, I will have found the new way to contribute I seek. I don't know if my new blog will generate a sense of community like the Irvine Housing Blog did. Perhaps that time is past. I only know I will continue to write, provide useful information, and be myself as long as someone finds value in it.

Providing for James

Have you ever contemplated what you will be thinking about on your deathbed? What worries or satisfactions will you carry with you to the end? Something will be there for you. Will you be full of regrets? Did you leave your family in good circumstances? Will you be full of peace knowing your loved ones will live out their days in comfort, love, and safety? I live my life as a dress rehearsal for the final play. I want peace of mind at the end, and I am willing to work to achieve it.

My strongest dreams and aspirations still focus on my family. As many of you know, I have a child with special needs. Having a special needs child creates a different set of challenges for a parent. In all likelihood, James will never work or participate in the many activities we consider part of a "normal" life. This creates two problems: (1) providing enough income to establish and maintain a degree of material comfort, and (2) caring for him once my wife and I are gone.  These worries drive at the root of what it is to be a parent. Parents of typical children know their offspring will develop skills to take care of themselves. Parent's of special needs children know their offspring will never take care of themselves.



Love is here for you,
Strength is deep in you
Help is here for you,
Teachers near for you
Gifts are rich in you,
There is time for you
Teach us well as you
Walk your way as you
All is well for you
I can tell for you
You are welcome and wanted
There’s a place for you here...

Meeting the challenge of providing a lifetime of income for my son James has been the focus of the last few years of my life. When I formed a fund to flip Las Vegas properties, I knew it would afford me an opportunity to acquire action properties for myself. Since prices are so low in Las Vegas, all of these properties are cashflow positive. I convinced my parents to help out, and now we are all buying properties that will end up as James's inheritance. At some point, I will pay off the debt and the other investors, and my family will own a large number of rental properties. I am an only child, and so is my son. He will end up with everything. If I am successful at acquiring the properties I want over the next two years, I will supplement my parents retirement, I will provide for my own retirement, and I will secure a lifetime of earnings for my son. Needless to say, I am very motivated.

Based on his current trajectory of development, James will probably never live independently. My wife and I hope he achieves some degree of independence, and we work to encourage that, but realistically, he will always need some help. James will likely live with us for the rest of our lives. Surprisingly enough, we are both okay with that. As you probably surmised by this point, family is central to my life. My wife and I were never counting the days until James was out of the house so we could enjoy the rest of our lives without him. The majority of our activities involve the three of us, and although there are some things my wife and I do as a couple, the idea of having James around for his adult life is something we look forward to.

After my son was diagnosed with autism, I wanted to have another child. I wanted to know there was a blood relative who would be around after my wife and I were gone who could look out for an older brother. Some people told me this was unfair to the younger sibling to leave them with that responsibility. The people I have spoken with who grew up in those circumstances have told me it's a labor of love, a burden they gladly take on. I don't know what the right answer is, but we didn't have another child. We decided against it. Given how much stress and worry my wife would have gone through worrying about having a second special needs child, I'm glad it turned out the way it did. When we gave up trying to have a second child, the fears of what will happen to James immediately resurfaced.

Castle in the Sky

What happens to people who die without family? Have you ever wondered? Fortunately, the world has many caring people who will give love and comfort even to strangers. Many healthcare and hospice workers are wonderful people who selflessly give. I hope the caregivers for James are caring and loving people when that time comes. Mother Theresa asked herself where she could find a group of people least likely to receive any love or comfort as they lived and died, and she sought them out to give them what nobody else would provide. It's an amazing act of love and kindness to look into the eyes of a perfect stranger and treat them with the same compassion reserved for the most revered.

What the world needs is a Mother Theresa championing those with special needs. People with special needs like autism often don't have the best social skills. Giving love to special needs people often requires tremendous patience and selflessness because the special person may not reciprocate in a way the giver may understand. Mother Theresa created a center which attracts the most caring and giving to continue her work. A religious order is ideal for the work of providing love and comfort to people with special needs.

As I contemplated what would happen to James after my wife and I are gone, I fantasized about what would be the perfect situation for James. Whose care would I like to leave him in? What kind of experiences would I want him to have in his final years? I kept coming back to the same thing: I would like him to live in the care of an order of Buddhist monks or nuns. What? Am I crazy? Perhaps. My wife thinks so. Can you think of a more peaceful and caring group of people? I can't.

If I had the money to make it happen, I would buy the Friendship Mound and build a monastery on top. I would bequeath it to an order of Buddhist monks committed to care for my son James through his final days. It's the finest destiny I can imagine, his own castle in the sky.


I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind
Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind
Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind

The End

This is my final post on the Irvine Housing Blog. I want to thank you for stopping by and reading me for the last five years. It was my pleasure to serve.

real estate home sales

Friday, December 30, 2011

Home Architectural Design

Home Architectural Design

Villa Midgård by DAPstockholm – Maintenance?free Facade House

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 06:14 PM PST

Main objective for this Villa MidgÄrd is a solid, secluded house with a maintenance?free facade, a sense of ceiling height and a master bedroom with the benefit of morning sun. The client also asks the DAPstockholm to provide larger windows toward the scenery and have a sheltered space where they could sit and listen to [...]

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House In Barcelos by Rui Grazina

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 05:45 PM PST

The house located in a green protection area of Barcelos, Portugal. It designed by Rui Grazina based on the articulation between the existing alignments and the new proposed access road. The objective was to place the living spaces to enjoy the east visual points, and to make rooms face south due to the quality of [...]

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Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Coming of Age

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 02:32 AM PST

Having grown up in a community of elders with a long heritage, I have a deep connection to my old home town of Adams-Friendship, Wisconsin. I lived there throughout a blissful childhood until my family moved away when I was eleven years old. I struggled to adapt to my new environment always feeling like an outsider. In my Junior year of high school, I hatched a plan to go back to Wisconsin to have the high school experience I felt I was denied in Arkansas. I went home to come of age.


It was 1985, my thoughts were short my hair was long
Caught somewhere between a boy and man
She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
It was summertime in Central Wisconsin

I arrived back in Adams in the dead of winter. The second week I was there, the daily highs never reached above zero degrees. One morning, I went out to start my car to drive to school, and the temperature was minus thirty-eight degrees. That's cold. The cold weather stood in stark contrast to the warm reception I received from my friends. One of them changed the letters on a local marquee to read "Larry R is back in town." I was home again.

My friend David and I picked up where we left off over six years earlier when my family left town. From the time I arrived, I was his wingman, and he re-introduced me to the broader circle of friends I left behind all those years ago. I was immediately accepted as part of the group. In many ways, it was like I never left.

Taking Laps

One of the unique rituals of social life in Adams-Friendship is taking laps. The two towns share a single main street that's a couple of miles long. During lunchtime and early on Friday and Saturday evening, most teens looking for fun will drive up and down Main street. As you passed by one another, you would wave to your friends, scowl at your enemies, and ignore the rest. You knew where you were in the pecking order by who waved to you and who did not.

You could gauge the enthusiasm by the way people waved to you. Waving became a ritual onto itself. Young men and women who wanted to hook up would send signals by how they waived or whether they waived at all. Waiving to someone you previously ignored acknowledged them and invited them into your world. If they reciprocated the wave on the next lap, it was nearly as good as asking for a date. Most hookups were preceded by an exchange of niceties on the ritual lap through town.

At the time, I didn't fully appreciate what a unique and useful ritual this was. It was an important part of the socialization with a broader group of friends and acquaintances. Coupled with the in-car conversations with your closest friends, you heard all the gossip and knew what was going on. As a bonding ritual, taking laps was only second to the weekend parties.


Friday and Saturday nights

When I arrived in Wisconsin the legal drinking age had just gone up from eighteen to nineteen. It was due to go up to twenty-one six months after my nineteenth birthday. I was one of the last few who made the deadline. Since these changes were so recent, it wasn't terribly difficult to find a friend a few years older who would go into a bar or liquor store and buy beer. Most would do this out of friendship, and perhaps a cold one for their efforts. Each Friday and Saturday night, the first thirty to ninety minutes were spent trying to get beer. It was rare that it took longer than that, and we never went without. Getting beer was part of the routine, and we had fun doing it.

After getting enough provisions to last the night, we would set out to find people to enjoy it with. Usually, early Friday and Saturday evenings were lap-taking time. Everyone cruised town to find out where the parties were and who was going to be there. Often there would be a gathering at someone's house, but if nobody was having a party, there were a number of designated party areas at the end of deserted roads a few miles from town. The selected place would vary often just in case the police tried to crash the party.

These parties were fun, but the conversations were hardly intellectual. The most important thing you had to know was the engine sizes of eight-cylinder motors put in various muscle cars of the 60s and 70s. For instance, Shevy manufactured both a small block and large block 400 cubic inch motor in addition to its 327. Ford made a 298, a 302, a Boss 302, a 427 and a 454. Chrysler made various sizes as did American Motors. Lucky for me, my father owned a 69 SC Rambler when I was growing up. That made me cool.

My grandfather owned eighty acres just outside of town. It was a gathering place for some epic spring parties. Some of the better ones had a hundred or more people come and go during the night. One April day we all decided to skip school and play football out on the back eighty. We played football and drank beer all day long, then we brought in more beer and partied until nearly four in the morning. A good time was had by all.

All these experiences were fun and relatively harmless. They were also the type of experiences that was denied to me when I lived in Arkansas. I went to Wisconsin to have a good time with friends. That's what high school was supposed to be about. I'm thankful I went. I matured a great deal during my last semester of my senior year. I had come of age.

Summer in Wisconsin Dells

The summer after graduation, I stayed local and worked in Wisconsin Dells. I worked at an amusement park operating rides and spending my evenings down in the Dells where plenty was going on. It reminded me of the fun of my youth, but the activities had changed. Instead of racing go-carts and playing mini golf, we cruised laps and picked up on cute tourists. It was another wonderful and carefree time.

As the summer wore on, a certain foreboding began to set in. Everyone knew it was going to end. Many of my friends were preparing for college like I was. I knew I was moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the fall, and as the time approached, I felt sad and uneasy. When times are very good, you want them to last forever. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. Life is always changing, and no matter how much I wanted to stay and hang out with my friends, I couldn't, and neither could they.


Another turning point
A fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist
Directs you where to go
So make the best of this test
And don't ask why
It's not a question
But a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable
But in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life

Left again, unhappy again

I was excited about college in my freshman year. I got a scholarship to play golf at the University of Tulsa, and I felt prepared for the challenges ahead. I though college life was going to be similar to the fun I had in my senior year of high school. I was wrong.

The culture shock hit me again. Tulsa, Oklahoma, is far too conservative for the life I was looking for. Plus, I ran into the limits of my own talents at playing golf. The demands of maintaining a good golf game and good grades wore on me. I left Tulsa for the University of Arkansas for my second semester. My dreams of playing golf were done, and my fond memories of life in Wisconsin were fading fast.

The eighteen months that followed were the most difficult in my life. The lone bright spot was when some friends of mine from Wisconsin came down to live for a while. We partied and had fun like old times, and one weekend we drove back up home and met up with some high school friends still in the area. It was a joyous weekend in the middle of unrelenting misery. When the weekend was over, the idea of going back to Arkansas left be distraught and near a breakdown.

I pulled myself together and pledged a fraternity. I was looking for a group of friends like the ones I had left behind. Although I met some interesting characters, I never quite fit in there either. I left Arkansas for good in 1987 and moved back to Wisconsin to rediscover myself.

Return again to turn my life around

When I arrived in Wisconsin, I had two years of misery to put behind me. I couldn't enter school right away as I needed to work for a year to establish residency. I took advantage of my time off school to clean up my act. I took a job as a bartender in a local supper club and wove myself back into the fabric of local society. Happy days were here again.

My year of tending bar rebuilt my social skills and purged me of my bad attitude toward life I took on while living away from home. I was good at tending bar. I remember on night when I memorized everyone's drinks, I didn't say anything too stupid, and I made an above average amount of tips. I performed at that job the best I could do it. After that night, I started to lose interest in bartending. I was ready for something more.

I knew I was never going to raise a family on bartender's wages, and the only way I was going to do better than that was to leave Adams County and get a college degree. I knew it was time to move on, but this time, I would be ready for it.

Time to leave for good

I stayed in Wisconsin for four more years and completed my undergraduate degree. I didn't make a lot of friends in college. I was too busy with my studies to maintain a time-consuming social life. I still had a good time, but it was much more subdued than it was in high school. I recognized applying myself to my studies was more important in the long run.

As the time approached to leave Wisconsin, I knew I would be leaving for good. The foundation of family and friends that nourished and sustained me in my childhood and teenage years had served me well. Despite the setbacks when I left previously, I believed I had finally matured enough to make it on my own and bring my own happiness with me. It wasn't the people or the place that made me happy, it was my own attitudes toward my experience that mattered. Once I recognized this, I knew I could create my own reality and shape it to my liking. I was finally ready to leave the nest for good.


Every time I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay
Yeah, I know nobody knows
where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

real estate home sales

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Great Home Design, Architecture and Interior

Great Home Design, Architecture and Interior

Khayangan Estate: Stunning Villa with Magnificent Tropical Garden in Uluwatu, Bali

Posted: 28 Dec 2011 08:05 PM PST

beautiful ocen view villa

Bali is the most favorite tourist destination in the world. Beside offer the beauty the island, Bali also rich the magnificent of culture, food, architecture and interior that implemented to the villa for the visitor. So, besides enjoy the beauty of the Bali natural scenery, the visitor can stay to enjoy the traditional balinese and javanese architecture and interior. One of them is Khayangan Estate. This villa located in Uluwatu, Bali that in a magnificent tropical garden, the Estate comprises of a cluster of traditional, antique, wooden Javanese houses, known as ‘Joglos’, which have been collected by the owners of Khayangan and saved from destruction.

beautiful tropical garden

ethnic large livingroom

exotic of traditional balinese villla

magnificent of khayangan-estate photos

paddies filed view bedroom

romatic open spaces bathroom

sea view livingroom

traditional balinese bedroom

traditional open spaces garden bathroom

traditonal balinese home exterior

wooden canopy bed deisgn

Designed by Cheong Yew Kuan, one of Asia’s leading resort and luxury villa architects, in collaboration with the owners, the architecture blends Javanese tradition with contemporary design and European influences. The buildings incorporate an abundance of recycled teak wood in the form of floorboards, doors and elaborately-carved ‘pondopo’ centrepieces. This is complemented by ironwood shingle roofs and natural stone finishes. Some of the wall panels have been replaced with ceiling to floor glass, giving the buildings a contemporary feel, and allowing more natural light to enter. By watching the photos and reading the article, Khayangan Estate might be your best options to spent your Holiday with your family. (source)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home Architectural Design

Home Architectural Design

Lake House by Openbox Company – Weekend House in Thailand

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 08:40 PM PST

Lake House by Openbox Company: The site of this project was on the edge of a small, man-made lake, inside a property adjacent to Kaoyai National Park. The selected placement of the cluster was to maximize the views, ventilation and privacy. With part of the land curving around the lake, and a gentle slope towards [...]

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Exit 45 by Chiasmus Partners – Red Tree-House Design

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 08:13 PM PST

This house Exit 45 projected by Chiasmus Partners as a small red tree-house, perched between two giant volumes of the existing building. With its brilliant red color and striking volume, the project does not try to "blend-in" with the context. Yet, the interior space has the quality of a retreat. Through the filtered light and [...]

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FAD Residence by FAD Designing Group

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 07:33 PM PST

This three-story house sited on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The designer FAD Design Group creates the house in a strong geometric form that thrust itself out of the hillside made from concrete, glass and accented with some black stone. The concept for FAD Residence is a diamond in the rough and beauty through [...]

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Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Ancestral Call

Posted: 28 Dec 2011 02:28 AM PST

My rural roots

My roots run deep in the rural farm community of Friendship, Wisconsin. My fraternal family line can be traced back to Thomas Roberts, a Welshman born in 1831. Thomas arrived with two bothers in New York, but sadly, he became separated from them and never saw them again. Thomas immigrated to Adams County, Wisconsin where he started a family which still boasts many local residents. Although my name is Welsh, the women who married Roberts men for the next several generations were of Scandinavian descent. I am a mutt of the American melting pot.

Many Scandinavians, Germans and Poles were drawn to central Wisconsin. The climate was something they were used to, so adapting to the new way of life was a bit easier for them than most. I grew up with four seasons, although the winters are particularly long and cold. Like everyone else, I adapted to the climate, but I never really grew to like it. The first snow in the fall is exciting, and sitting in front of a cozy fireplace while a blizzard rages outside is a special experience outsiders don’t fully understand. However, the fortieth snowfall of the season in April and hard freezes in May are experiences I’d rather forget. It’s a wonderful place to visit, but I don’t miss living there.

The Castellated Mounds

In the last ice age, much of Wisconsin was covered by glaciers. Adams County was actually the bottom of a large glacial lake which left behind a flat pile of sand which slowly drains to the adjacent Wisconsin River. The marshlands are drained by a series of small creeks and dotted with a mixture of pine trees, maples, and oaks. The landscape is relatively uniform except for the unusual castellated mounds which spring up across the county.

These mounds are characterized by exposed sandstone rock outcroppings elevated above the treeline providing views of the surrounding countryside. Just as Ayers Rock arises from the Aboriginal outback, these mounds have long been a spiritual magnet for local peoples dating back to the Native American Tribe of Roche a Cri who inhabited this area. These earliest inhabitants carved hieroglyphs depicting the key events of daily life. Growing up, I explored many of these mounds, and I discovered carvings from settlers dating back to the nineteenth century.

These mounds draw me in as they have others for centuries. When I approach I feel like I am entering holy ground, seeing Gaia, naked and exposed. These rocks feel ancient and unchanging surrounded by an ephemeral environment of fire-prone forests, lakes, and marshland.

Whenever I go back to Wisconsin to visit my home town, I go climb these rocks. For me it’s a religious pilgrimage.

Agrarian Rural Life

Central Wisconsin is far enough south that the growing season permits salable produce. Fifty miles further north, and timber is the only harvest. My ancestors were farmers making a living from the land. It was a arduous yet uncomplicated life. They grew crops, ate what they needed, and sold the rest to obtain a few niceties. They knew their neighbors, and they banded together to share seldom-used farm equipment, protected what they had from outsiders, and enjoyed a beer or two at the local tavern. A close-knit community developed.

The local economy was based on crop production, and trade revolved around the mills which sprung up along the various creeks which crisscrossed the land.

Servicing an agrarian economy took merchants. My great-great-grandfather Rufus Roberts was one of these entrepreneurs. He started the Monroe Center Store in 1898 and ran it at the turn of the twentieth century.

Rufus Roberts sold the school district a lot for the first elementary school in the area. He also took over the local sorghum mill and operated it for several years. At one point, Rufus bought the old county courthouse, moved it on rollers by horseback to a new location, and converted it to four apartments. As a community leader, he began the forth of July parade in Monroe Center and fostered it’s growth over the years that followed.

Rufus and Tilly, my great-great-grandparents (seated) were the parents of William Roberts (second from left) who married Elizabeth Carleson.

William and Elizabeth had five boys: Roger (my grandfather, now 94, on the left), Alva, John, Otto, and Claude.

William and Elizabeth acquired the prime farmland just outside the farm community of Friendship, Wisconsin. This farm is still worked by the Roberts family today.

Adams County, Wisconsin, is the land of my forefathers. Many of their decedents still live there. I try to go back every year to catch up with family and friends and find myself all over again. I get very nostalgic, and it serves to ground me in what’s real. Some part of me will always call it home.

Adams-Friendship, Wisconsin

Friendship, Wisconsin, is a farm community of about 700 people. has been the county seat of Adams County since 1848. When the railroad came to the area, local landowners demanded too much money, so the railroad moved the station two miles to the south, and the city of Adams sprung up in the gap between the station and the village of Friendship. The city of Adams is home to less than 2,000 people, and the entire county has less than 20,000. Needless to say, it’s rather rural.

Rural communities don’t change much. The building facades change periodically as businesses come and go, but for the most part, those towns are the same today as they were forty years ago when I was a child. In all likelihood, these cities will be same for the rest of my life. I take great comfort in that. The sameness of my home town is something I can count on. No matter what else changes in my life, my connection to the past will always remain. These towns will always be familiar.

Roger Roberts

My grandfather, Roger Roberts, grew up in Monroe Center. World War II started when he was in his early twenties, so he enlisted in the US Army Airborne. While in basic training in El Paso, Texas, he became severely dehydrated on a long march and his kidneys failed. He was sent to the hospital to recover. While in the hospital his unit was sent to France where it was decimated on D-Day. If my grandfather had not had kidney failure on the long march, he would have gone to battle and died on D-Day with the rest of his unit. I try not to think about the crazy way Fate intervenes in life.

My grandfather became a Sergeant in the Army and ran the kitchen cooking for over 180 men each day. His most harrowing experience was during the Battle of the Bulge when his 101st Airborne unit was overrun in Luxembourg by German Panzers sixty-eight years ago this week. He survived, thankfully, or I wouldn’t be here to tell the story.

Roger returned home in 1946 after two years abroad. He married Edna Paulson, my grandmother, and they had three children, Larry (my father), Judy, and Kenny. He worked with his two brothers in their local salvage business for most of his working life. He’s 94 years old and still doing well.

Leo Wilda

My mother’s father, Leo Wilda, settled in Adams, Wisconsin, and spent his entire adult life there. He married Margaret Wilda and had five children: Pat, LuVerna, Audrey (my mother), Mary, and Mike.

My grandfather always had a deep connection to the land. He liked to farm and grow his own vegetables. I remember he would start his tomatoes under grow lights indoors to get a couple of weeks head start on the growing season. He maintained his own garden plot until late in life. He also maintained the grounds at the local cemetery, and he maintained the local 9-hole golf course, all part-time. If the sun was shining, he was probably outside. Leo Wilda passed away in 2000 at the age of 83.

There is a lot to admire about both my grandfathers. When I think about my mother’s father, I always deeply respected his connection to nature, and I enjoyed his quirky sense of humor.

It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Ancestral Call

When I think about community, I remember what it was like growing up in a rural area with family and friends. Kinship and shared values bound us together. Prospering in an inhospitable climate required people to come together for mutual benefit. There is a sense of shared sacrifice and creating something greater than oneself for the benefit of others. It’s one of the feelings I enjoy about blogging and providing information for the greater good.

I am a small town the child of two families with deep local roots and a love for the area. Both sets of grandparents and much of my extended family lived within a few miles of one another. It was a unique environment. I was part of a community of elders who helped guide me in the formative years of my life. I had every advantage a strong family could offer. It was a wonderful way to start out life.

Over the next three days, I am going to write more about my life growing up in this environment. These are the experiences that shaped and defined my beliefs and my outlook on life. Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.

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