Families

Dad teaching Mom on beach 1970s

My Parents

Much as I treasure the image of a misunderstood outsider, I have to admit I had a stable, solid childhood. My father Anthony or Tony (1913-88) was a minister and then a professor of theology at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids. My mother Ruth (1914-2007) was a dutiful minister's wife, mother, and elementary teacher. Tony was rather remote - typical of his generation, maybe more so due to his role. My mother was declared "a saint" by a later pastor. They were both a bit clueless about raising kids, but they never fought, set good examples, and as prominent figures in their tiny Dutch immigrant community, they made us feel rather patrician despite our having no money.

Siblings 1958 Bay of Fundi

Siblings

There were four of us (left to right): myself (b. 1947), older sister Dot (b. 1944), younger brother David (b. 1950), and baby of the family Helen (b. 1954). We are shown here with feet buried in the sand of the Bay of Fundi, Maine, on a camping trip in 1958. In typical fashion, I seem to be leaning out of the frame in a vain attempt to dissociate myself from the rest of my family.

Siblings in Rome 1966

Siblings, continued

A transformative experience for the entire family was the year 65-66 in Cambridge (UK) — a sabbitical for our father. (For example, I learned how to apply myself to schoolwork and discovered art.) Here we are at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, on our dash through Europe in the Spring of 66.

Sibs Haarlem 2018

Siblings Today

Remarkably, we siblings have always gotten along well. Here we are at a sibling reunion in the Netherlands in 2018 (at our cousin Wout's house in Haarlem). The T-shirts say "Feast of Reason and Flow of Soul" (one of our father's pet phrases). These days we do a Zoom or FaceTime call weekly.

Sue Susan Sherman

Girlfriends

I was blessed with a few in early adulthood. In college "Sue" was a lovely, irreverant tomboy, but she moved on after a couple years

In grad school (NYC, 1970), I met "Susan" - sweet, artistic, with a loving Jewish family in MA. We stayed together until my mid-life exit to L.A. (1977).

Laura 9-82 Birth of Colin 82

Laura

My first marriage (1980-89) was to Laura. We met in Los Angeles, where she moved from Seattle, bringing her daughter Kristin, 16. For work, we moved to Utah, where Colin was born, then to Frederick MD. A creative photographer, she worked with me in interactive video in Utah and DC.

Colin in Utah

Our best times in Utah were the camping trips to national parks in our VW camper.

The move to Maryland led to difficult times. We separated in 88 and divorced in 90. The court gave me sole custody of Colin, then 7.

Laura and Kristin both now live in Bellingham, WA.

Goshorn Lake 1988

Single Parenthood

Becoming a parent at all was a surprise, but I was the adult in the picture when I became a single parent. My supportive family now included mom, Helen & Marv, Dot, Roger & their kids Sarah & James, and David, Susan and their kids Klaas & Janna — shown here at a reunion in Michigan in 1988.

Wendy-kids-door Wedding Aug 91

Wendy

I was living in Frederick MD, Wendy in Portland OR, when we met on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1989. I found her beautiful and a committed parent. She found me well educated and hoped it would rub off on her kids. (It did, mostly.) We lived together a while and married in Aug 91.

kids at Jumieges 94 Ashdown Sports Day 95

A great satisfaction of my life was living in Europe (Brussels & London) in 1993-96, when our kids were old enough to benefit but young enough (10, 9 & 8 on arrival) to go where we told them! We traveled widely in Europe. The kids had great school experiences in London and East Sussex.

Kids in London 95 Family Oct 2000

We would happily have stayed in London, but my job went away. Returning to the U.S., we shortly moved to Newburgh NY, where the kids finished high school. Here we are at the Balmville house in October 2000.

Sadly, the marriage dissolved as the kids left home: Wendy and I separated in 2005 and divorced the next year.

Wout & Big Chilll friends

Friends & Family

Many friends from multiple contexts graced my life. Calvin College thrust creatives, intellectuals, and ne'er-do-wells into solid friendships still in force, like Nelva, Jim, Linda, Jeannine & Wayne (2014), plus (unseen) Loren, Marcia, Rob, and 2 Pauls. Dutch cousins Wout & Anneke (left) are both family and friends.

Sanford & Courtney 2015 Emma, Ryan & kids 2020

Sanford & Emma

Sanford and Emma are my step kids, whom I helped raise. We stay in touch to this day.

Sanford married Courtney in 2015, settling into a cool modernist house in Phoenix.

Emma & Ryan have two lovely daughters: Parker (born 2016) and Rylee (born 2018). They live in Lake Forest, CA.

Jim & Alice 2017 (Brian Wolfe)

Alice

Alice and I had each been single for several years after our divorces. We were happy to remain so, but romance flourished when we met in 2012. The transition was eased by my traveling for work most weeks, but that helped give us a solid foundation.

Photo 2017: Bryan Wolfe

Alice's Family 2018

Alice's Family

Life with Alice brought me a new family - her kids (Winston, Newton, Hannah) and their partners; her sister Lydia & her husband Seamus; and their kids. Here we are celebrating "Faux Thanksgiving" (before the holiday) in 2018 at Lydia's house in Connecticut.

Jim & Alice Oct 2020 (Brian Wolfe)

Today

In 2018 Alice and I moved together into our own place. Our lovely apartment is in walking distances of the library, the post office, restaurants, and her book-binding studio. Our relationship survived closer quarters! I couldn't be happier. Let me count the ways...

Photo 2020: Bryan Wolfe