10, 20, 30 Years Ago…

Last week my sister-in-law wrote a blog discussing her life ten years ago and how different it was then compared to now.  In response, my grandfather sent our family a chronology of HIS life going back ten years at a time… although, I noticed that he left off a decade or two 😉 I’ve copied my grandfather’s decades list at the bottom of this post so you can read it too. But I thought it would be fun to add my memories to the pile, so here we go!

2003 – It was my first year at UVA and I was loving life! I started the year by going to Killington, VT with the UVA Ski Team. Later that spring, our gymnastics team competed at Nationals in Austin, TX. I loved every minute of being on that team, and treasure the friendships I made while doing the sport that I still love. My transition into college wasn’t the easiest as I had to live with all girls and actual study for class. But I survived! My brother also graduated from NC State this year.


I got Funshine, my VW Golf, in 2003 and still drive it today. That summer I did what every college kid does, hangs out in their basement with good friends doing stupid stuff. It was incredible. I hope all of you enjoy these pictures by the way. That fall it was back to school for my second year. This was hands-down the most pivotal year of college for me. I switched my major from Math to History, I met my core group of friends, I was accepted into the Education program, and I just had a lot of fun.

Gym cowgirls

Two fall highlights were the time that UVA beat VT in football. And we rushed the field. And my good friends from Tech were there to witness the defeat.  Just before that, my “little sister” Katie was crowned Homecoming Queen. I got to be home to see that and be a part of her exciting weekend, which was awesome. That’s enough about 2003, but man was that a great year…


1993 – I don’t have any pictures from this year, but I can tell you that I was finishing third grade. I remember having Mrs. Kimmel and dressing up as Clara Barton for a social science project. That summer, I want to say we went to Wyoming/South Dakota/Montana/Idaho? If that’s true then I saw Old Faithful, took a scary tubing trip down a river, and camped along a stream in a tepee with coyotes on the other side. If that’s not true, then I have zero recollection of what I did that summer 🙂 That fall I started fourth grade which meant Mr. Searles was my teacher. He was amazing and painted his bald head as a Redskins helmet. I also got glasses that year. They were purple.

1983 – Oh wait, I’m not THAT old. I wasn’t even a pea in my mom’s stomach 😉

That’s it for me and my decades of memories, but here is my grandfather’s account of his life (which let’s be honest, sounds WAY cooler than mine).

Granddaddy’s “Blog”

2003:  Living on the James River.  Playing handbells in church.  Columbia Shuttle disaster.  Lots of golf and repairing of divots at the Golden Horseshoe.  Trips to Wintergreen, Greenbrier, Charleston, Millersville, New York.  Jason graduated from NC State.  Hurricane Isabel caused high tides eight feet above our dock.  Playing in a Dixieland Band.
1993:  Getting settled on the river.  Pier was built. Participating in Huntsville Space Conference.  Wintergreen golf and skiing.  Singing in choir.  Trip to Blowing Rock, NC. WVU/Pittsburgh football game.  Decorating church for Christmas.
1983:  Ray Chamberlain, favorite minister, comes to Messiah.  Sold house on Jansen Drive, rented townhouse on Carrleigh Parkway.  Another summer visit to Nags Head.  Family reunion in Canandaigua.  NASA hired me to write Spacelab history.  Susan and Ray moved to Countryside.  First Spacelab mission a big success.
1973:  Trips to Europe and Russia.  Salute to Apollo banquet.  International Agreement signed for Europe to build Spacelab.  Received Exceptional Service Medal for role in getting Spacelab agreement.  Tom and Jim’s tree house completed.  Basketball backboard erected on back patio.  White water canoe trip on Goose Creek.  Summer trip to Nags Head.
1963:  Studies of future space missions.  Manned Orbital Research Lab study at Langley.  Big shakeup in Manned Spaceflight management-George Mueller takes over, Ed Gray my new boss.  John F. Kennedy assassinated.  Visit to Washington Zoo with Whites.  Frank and Bev joined us for Atlantic Beach vacation.
1953:  Conducting tests of wings and controls at 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel.  Teaching Sunday School and taking over as Superintendent from Barbara’s Dad.  Played trumpet in Community Band and Peninsula Symphony Orchestra.  Played basketball and bowling in NACA leagues.  Played on championship church softball team.  Bill Guy married Jane Smith where Barbara’s brother Al met Murph Murray whom he later married.  First child, Susan, born.  First business trip to San Francisco.  Trip to Binghamton and Canandaigua.
1943:  World War II looking serious with Allied situation perilous.  Played first chair in high school band and orchestra and in award-winning trumpet trio.  Took test for Navy college training program and was selected.  Had measles when scheduled to be sworn in, was rescheduled.  Graduated from Binghamton North High School.  Navy sent me to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to study Aeronautical Engineering, the break of my life to date.  Uniforms were scarce and wrong sizes, but gradually we were assimilated.  Six men were assigned to dorm suites intended for two students.  Schedule of three semesters a year meant we would complete our 4-year course in two years, eight months.  One failing grade and it was off to boot camp!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Raymond Oliver
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 20:57:16

    Karen, Loved your story, and larger helps. Thanks. Liked Doug’s tale. On a different track several years ago I started an article about my childhood from several sources I had. , but I never got it finished or corrected and polished. Recently Kelsey asked about some family history so I sent her that document,just as it was. I called it “Getting to know granddaddy, or How things were back in the day”If you have any reading time or interest I’ll send it along to you. Looking forward to seeing you this week. Blessings, G-Dad O



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