Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Way back in 1977, one of the first miniseries in America was aired on ABC. Titled “Roots”, it was based on Alex Hailey’s 1976 novel by the same title. It won numerous awards, and inspired a slew of shows that mimicked the miniseries format.

As we all get older, we tend to make more interested in our family history, which is one of the reasons that my family and I retraced our parents’ 1971 trip to Ireland (the home of my ancestors) in 1999.

On this day in 1946, Laurence Joseph Brennan and Anna Mae Stenson got married, and a roughly a year later, I came into the world. The fact that the event occurred 69 years ago makes me feel just a little bit older, and was reinforced by the fact that I finally had to write “white” as my hair color when we recently updated our drivers licenses.

Whether we like it or not, we all BECOME our parents at some point in time, at least to a degree. Both my wife and I recognize the fact that we have inherited at least some characteristics of our parents, and we also have noticed that our children have ALSO inherited some of those characteristics as well.

Having been exposed to LOTS of children in our jobs working for the public school system, we have become aware of the fact that there are a LOT of dysfunctional families in America, which make my wife and I very grateful that we both came from families that had good, substantial roots. Sharon and I also tried to provide a solid background for our kids, who somehow have seemed to turn out OK. However, both of them are exposed to troubled members of society on a daily basis, so having a good background has helped them maintain their sanity - at least on most days.

I’ve already published numerous articles about both of my parents and other members of my family, which you can read at the links below:

a Hell of a bicycle ride

do you know what your wife is up to?

tiptoe through the tulips

I miss Dan Fogelberg

this story is for the birds

what in the world is a shillelagh?

get outta my way!

north to Alaska

the green, green grass of home

the little girl with the big brown eyes

October 6, 1972

do you believe in ghosts?

my humble origins

how much does a ruby cost?

As a result, you should have a pretty good idea of my roots. Although my thoughts on a variety of topics will continue to live long after my demise, at least in electronic form, the epitaph that I’d like to be remembered by is the phrase that my cousin Jean uttered at my dad’s funeral in 1994:

“ you know, he was a really good guy”.

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