Profile Updated: September 7, 2010
Residing In: Wichita, KS USA
Spouse/Partner: Thomas E. "Tom"
Occupation: Retired/Volunteer
Children: Michelle Angelique Carr Barr "Angie"; Grands Felicia and Leo Thomas

Jennfer Lynn Carr Balzer; More…Grands Abbey, Tommy and Ethan

Angie and her children live about three blocks from us (in Riverside) which makes it very easy to stay connected.

Jenny (married to Milton Lee Balzer)lives in the College Hill area. Having both daughters and all five grandkids within 8 miles is a huge blessing.

Tom was out of the Navy and thru Business College when we got married. His employers told him that he had reached the top of his pay scale so he decided to go to college (Cowley County Community College and WSU). I was a Sophmore at Friends when we married and didn't finish at that time -- being a wife and a mom was my full time job for quite a while (and I've never regretted being a stay-at-home mome for the first 15 years).

During the college and raising a family days we bought houses, basically gutted them and redid them while we lived in them. It used to be you could make some money that way -- things are too expensive now AND we're too old to enjoy it as much. I'll bet I have stripped miles of painted woodwork down to the original wood and to this day I CANNOT paint natural wood -- I think that's "un-natural".

We've been married almost 44 years and have moved 14 times (six of those houses were in the Riverside area). We now live on West River Boulevard and my mom lives right next door in a converted carriage house -- so easy to keep track of her that way.

I went to school for about 30 years and worked as a temporary (by choice) for about 15 years. It's not that I was too dumb to get an education the "right way" -- I wanted to be able to travel with Tom when the opportunity came up. He was a Contract Negotiator for NCR, ATT, ATT-GIS, Symbios, Symbios Logic, Engenio, LSI Logic and LSI. He never left his permanent location at 37th and Rock Road but the company changed names so often the employees would call it the "velcro company" cause they barely got their new name badges and the name would change again.

Until his retirement in 2007, we had wonderful opportunities to travel all over the Pacific Rim areas. As long as I promised to eat only the apples at the concierge's desk and sleep in his bed, we only had to pay for my airline ticket. That meant I got to go to nearly every country he had to do an audit in. Singapore was a major destination for about 15 years -- we would go there for 2-3 weeks and he'd fly from that location to wherever else he needed to go. I was not allowed into China back then, so I had to console myself with soaking up the sun on a rooftop pool and wandering around on the MRT. Life was good.

Singapore had no crime when we were travelling there (or none that you heard about) and women could walk on nearly every street without any fear of trouble. Singaporean law were very rigid -- flogging was a major threat and that thought alone kept most people honest (or so very careful). You might remember about the young man who made national news during Clinton's administration because he damaged (keyed) someone's car. I can't remember the exact numbers so don't quote me -- but in the 1980's it cost about $15,000 US to get a license to buy a car -- that cost about $75,000 US (cars were not allowed to be older that 5-7 years because of the environment). THEN, you had to pay about $40,000 to park the car. All this to say -- you don't mess with people's cars in Singapore.

Since that young man grew up there, and he knew the rules -- I'd say he was well aware of the consequences. Personally, I think we might benefit from some more stringent rules here at home. Singapore was safe, pristinely clean, and called "the Jewel of the Pacific".

Only bad thing about Singapore -- we would leave Kansas on a frigid February morning and arrive in Singapore about 23 hours later dog-tired, where the temperature was around 90 and the humidity was around 99%. You would literally melt when you stepped out of the airport -- we considered buying stock in Johnson's Baby Powder just so we could continue to walk.

We also stayed in Taipei, Taiwan for a while (Tom was there during his tour in the Navy but it was called Formosa then) -- not so clean, not so safe, and I did not leave the hotel alone. We were met at the airport by armed military who did a complete pat down on every single person coming thru.

Taiwan had skyscrapers with sheet metal bolted to the windows, bamboo scaffolding even on the skyscrapers and oddly none of the sidewalks were connected (either in width or elevation). I asked our guide how handicapped people could get around, because I was having a hard enough time myself -- and he told me that Taiwan does not have handicapped people. We found out later that handicapped people do exist but they are not seen in public.

Sanitary conditions were less than desirable, also. The street shops might have an open air market right out on the sidewalk with sewage running in the gutters and a motorcycle shop right beside it. We were not inclined to try the little mom and pop type eateries. Most of the hotel restaurants were clean and efficient. Growing up in Kansas sort of turned me off of ordering the chicken, duck, pig, dog, monkey or whatever that was hanging by the neck, covered with flies. No can do!!!

All of the military men were 6' to 6'2", weighed about 145 lbs and moved with scary synchronization. We took some group tours of the National Museum (saw the Jade Cabbage) and of the General's Palace. I don't believe that Taiwan had a program to address blighted neighborhoods at that time.

In the 1990's we visited Spain, France, England and Ireland to select the offshore site for Engenio's European company - Flextronics. After the selection, we lived in Cork, Ireland for about 10 months when Tom was helping to source a new contract. He worked and I made friends with the neighbors, our church friends (another whole story) and took watercolor classes. If you have ever seen the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" you have seen downtown Cork at Christmas -- it even "snowed" about 1/4" while we were there. I could live in Ireland if it wasn't so far away from our family.

Ireland has so many shades of green that you can't acutally believe it. They also have dozens of rainbows on most days. We drove into and backed out of a rainbow three times on the way to Kilarney (seriously). The Irish call it a "soft day" if it's misty -- we would probably put on raincoats cause we're weenies. Most Americans want to know where Inishfree is -- made famous by the John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movie "The Quiet Man". Unfortunately, there is no such place.

I think that Ireland should build an Inishfree since they are so "branded" by it anyway -- somewhat like Kansas/"The Wizard of OZ" is to the rest of the world. They'd probably have a whole new tourist industry.

My only attempt at interferring with the political action in Ireland was writing letters to the editor begging them to NOT let a big box store build on the outskirts of town. The small shops downtown were so unique -- you bought paper at one shop, pens at another, hankerchiefs at another, etc. It was like stepping back into the 1950's and I'll bet a lot of people my age wouldn't mind revisiting the '50's.

Another thing to consider. Irish (most European) towns were built hundreds of years before cars, so using the feet was the way to go. They also have far better public transportation than we do.

At the Port Museum in Cobh, Ireland we learned that the good old U.S. of A. sent ship after ship filled with wheat and corn when the Potato Famine hit Ireland. Americans are well liked there, unlike our unpopularity in most other European countries.

We were there in 1999-2000 during a rowdy election and the rolling of the millenium. An amazing time in history. My mom lived in Astoria, Oregon; Angie lived in the Tampa, FL area; Jen and most of the rest of the family in Kansas; and a good friend and her husband lived in Ethiopia as missionaries. The wonderful invention of email allowed us to have daily ongoing communication with the "reply all" feature.

If you ever have a chance to travel -- plan a trip to Ireland. But, please don't try to change it.

What Elementary School/s Did You Attend?

Sunset Hills, Lawrence, KS

What Middle School Did You Attend?

John Marshall

School Story:

After graduation from North, I spent about 30 years going to school - Pittsburg State, Friends, Cowley County Community College and finally graduated from Southwestern College with a B.S. in Manufacturing Technology.

I love going to school -- love learning new things. LOVED Chemistry, Architectural Drafting and Journalism.

I think of Mrs. "D"(rowatzky) every time I see an error in the Eagle.

Miss Goodwin was the one who encouraged me to STOP working on a painting -- she said that sometimes you just have to call it good.

Mrs. Morse was my favorite English teacher at North; Mrs. Beulah Strickler was the English teacher who demanded the most of me -- I still remember her reading "The Pit and the Pendulum" out loud in 8th grade. She was also my homeroom teacher for three years.

I remember David Andree nearly passing out in 8th grade Biology when Mr. Casey made us take our own blood sample (cork with a needle in it). I was absolutely sure I would die -- if a guy like David didn't like it, I surely wouldn't live thru it. Still don't like needles.

Miss Soukup/Keefer teaching us girls how to make "White Sauce Rarebit" and meringue. I can't tell you how thrilled Tom was when he found out that's all I could cook.

I got in big trouble for going home and reorganizing my mom's kitchen according to Miss Soukup. I threw away all of mom's Fiesta Ware (navy blue) because it didn't fit the "Plan". I still hear about that 2-3 times a year. I've actually thought about replacing the dinnerware, but I think mom really likes to rag me about it.

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