Friday, December 2, 2011

Uncle Jimmy

Dear JJ,

Your uncle Jimmy would have been 60 years old today - he died in 2006 from lung cancer.  You were named after him.  Jimmy never had children - he had a cancer early in life that took away that ability, but he loved kids - -and was known to play endlessly with them, even when he didn't have the energy to do so.

I miss your uncle greatly. But in you I see a lot of him. You have that grin that you flash when you know you are getting away with something- the same smile my brother had - in fact, he wore that smile almost all the time. You are very social - even at this age- and Jimmy knew everyone. Most of the people at his memorial service knew him since he was a kid in Ketchikan.

So- here are a few photographs of your uncle, some when he was a little boy.

He was a good man- and not too many things make your daddy cry- but missing him, and seeing you are two of them.

James Erick Simpson 12/2/1951 - 12/7/2006  RIP



Jimmy's High School Photo

Mom holding Jimmy, brother Ron

The three boys- Jimmy on the right

In Ketchikan- Jimmy loved Christmas

Ron and his little brother Jimmy

After Jimmy died I asked my friend Jim Hunt to do a cartoon for us

Terry, Ron, Jimmy - a long time ago

One of the last photos of Jimmy taken in November 2006

Suffering from cancer, losing weight- still ready to eat

Jimmy's famous dog, Judas -

Jimmy, wife Bev, and my dad

Jimmy - on a beach - and now forever in our hearts

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Through your eyes

Dear JJ,

Your second Thanksgiving - and we were able to celebrate with Grandma and Grandpa. It was a good time- and your little life has made this holiday mean a lot more than ever.
Grandma and Grandpa Simpson came down for Thanksgiving

When I was a young boy we lived in Alaska- away from family, but an area where there were a lot of friends and having people over was a great thing.  Occasionally we would be in Oregon, and there lots of friends and family would be over.  So many years have past, and so many of those nice folks have passed on. 

There were many years where I spent Thanksgiving far away from family, when I was in the mid-west. Locals would invite me over, but I didn't want  a sympathy Thanksgiving.  Occasionally my friends who were in similar circumstances at The University, would get together for a non-traditional time and enjoy some company.

For you, it is nice to grow up with memories, with family, and with a lot of friends. And you are lucky- there are so many people out there who love you and care for you. But we have been a bit selfish- and now it is time to have a lot more people over for these times.

This  grim reality hit me- all of those nice folks who loved me as a little boy are gone, and now you are the little boy.  Time goes by fast, and you are a loved little man by so many.  And if there happen to be those who want to stay by themselves as I once did-- time for them to realize -- life is short, and there is this special little boy who has a whole lot of love to give.  There is another part of that grim reality - I won't be with you for every Thanksgiving - so the more great memories and aunties and uncles and grandparents you have, the sweeter life will be. So my goal is to always see Thanksgiving through your eyes.

Just like my parents, who are in their 80's did for you by coming down here for this one- your mom and I will come see you for every holiday we can.


Where else can you play outside in November

Your best buddy, Luck

You like your dad's Turkey

Felt your first raindrop

Loving to read

Your Grandma- checking out how your dad is making eggs

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Returning to Ketchikan

Coming to my hometown, Ketchikan, with my son
Dear JJ,

I grew up in this little town called Ketchikan, Alaska - about 5000 residents (if you counted dogs and cats). When I went away to college in 1974 I came back for summers until 1978 - and after my folks left there didn't seem to be much of a reason to return. 

For years Ketchikan, Alaska,  my hometown,  didn't cross my  mind  - then you came along. Now there was this need to connect where I grew up with you.   You and your mom awakened something- because I connected here I want to share this special little place I grew up with your uncle Jimmy and Ron. 

Something about the town I grew up in, now makes a place in me. So this  September we made a trip back to the hometown - and something tells me we will be going back again.

Here are some early and current photos



Tower Road today- paved
Tower Road in 1956 with Your Uncle Jimmy

The last time this cedar fence was stained was when I did it in 1978

Behind our garage you can see a bit of the fence left

From our house looking down Alaska Ave. in 1975

Your Grandpa built this house

Uncle Ron and Uncle Jimmy

Flying to Metlakatla to fly to Oregon

Uncle Jimmy, your dad, and Uncle Ron- on Tower Road

The house Grandpa Built- 3903 Alaska Ave

Your dad, uncle Jimmy, uncle Ron getting ready for School

Creek Street in 1965 - more later

Sept 2011 - looking up Tower Road

The house grandpa built today in Sept 2011

Our old backyard has been overgrown but mom's flowers are still blooming

This was one way we had to get off the island!

Our house on the corner of Alaska Ave and Tower Road - 1968

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not a word I use

Dear JJ,

There is very little that I am not afraid to say. Words are powerful. They have meaning, but sometimes they are overused so much that they become vapid. So, there are a few words I just don't use- or they are hijacked by some group such that using the word or phrase makes it so much less.
We enjoy our morning coffee

We've had a great month this October. Aunt Kim and Uncle Bob were by.
Your Aunt Kim loves reading to you

We were able to travel to a few places like San Diego, Oregon, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. People ask - how is your son to travel? The answer is you are easy to travel with, and there is no thought to do otherwise.
Never a doubt that traveling is easier because we do it together

Sometimes I have to travel a lot- but the ones I always want with me when I go are you and your mom. Then it isn't a hotel room, it is our temporary home.

Brings me back to that word. Having you in my life has made me blessed.



The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire made you a king
You are helpful around the house

Friday, September 30, 2011

Aunti Lori

Dear JJ,

The firs person to visit you in the hospital was Lori Moreno - a good friend to your mom and I.When your mom and I got married, Lori came.

I met Lori on Twitter, as I did your mom, and some other wonderful friends.

Today is a tough day for your aunti Lori- because her husband died last night. They had a love story, like your mom and I.  Married for over 25 years, traveling the world together- she always spoke about him in wonderful glowing terms.  He had been ill - and while death can be a wonderful release from infirmity, I know that she will miss him greatly.

But one thing always makes Lori smile- and that is her nephew JJ. So today when you smile- those smiles will be for your Aunti Lori- who selflessly spreads love throughout the internet and life - and today needs it from all of us.
Reaching through the internet to give Lori a smile

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Two week Trip

Always ready to travel

Dear JJ, You continue to amaze us as we traveled for two weeks! We are learning a bit more about traveling with a toddler- so much that we started a website just to throw tips out -- .

One of the first things we discovered is that you like floor space on the plane!
Our first stop was San Diego- where your mom got to try her hand at paddle boarding- and your father got to cook food in a small kitchen!
Your mom paddle boarding in Santa Barbara Bay in Mission Beach area
Time with mom in the pool
Our view from the room
Small kitchen- but we made a few meals here

From San Diego we went to Portland- so we could celebrate your grandpa's 87th birthday - and your grandparents 63rd wedding anniversary.But before we left, you enjoyed a bit of time in a local water park.

Then we went to Alaska- but a special trip this time.  From Portland we flew to Seattle- and allowed you to "get your wiggles out," - as your mom likes to say.  So for a few hours we had in the Seattle airport we spent a part of our time in the play area that they have for kids.

First stop- my hometown - Ketchikan, Alaska. Where, son - I was born and raised. Funny thing- no matter where you are from, or when you get back to it- home is where mom and dad are.

It was a great trip son- you travel well.

Before we left, you had to say goodby to Gigi, as she left for China

Our water boy- enjoying water in Portland

Hotel shampoo- lots of fun


My two favorite people leaving Ketchikan for Juneau

Yes, you have to do your puzzle when you get on the plane

Whale watching in Juneau

Everytime we are back at the Captain Cook, we see the view

You like Bears

From Alaska to California- here you and your mom enjoying a meal at Morimoto's

And, what is Napa without visiting Thomas Keller's restaurant

We got to see Uncle Bob and Kim

Eating grapes at Michele Schlumburge winery

You missed lucky- but found another friendly doggie to play with at the winery

Headed home - standing room only on the plane