In Summer Quarter 1967, I went to Ohio State with no idea what would happen. I learned that being smart in high school didn’t mean much in college. I could not do calculus or chemistry at the college level, so I had to figure out what I could do. I found out that geography (which we last took in 4th grade) was an interesting field, with an international network. I majored in International Studies but the geography professors at Ohio State got me to try calculus again – yes, there’s math in geography – and I became a geography grad student. During that time, I met Cindy, a Columbus girl, and we got married in 1973.
I got my Ph.D. in 1975 and it was on to Norman and the University of Oklahoma for my first job as a researcher and professor. Our son was born there in 1981. Cindy’s parents retired to Florida and a job opened up in Gainesville at the University of Florida in 1983. I spent 18 years there, always figuring that we’d retire there – no snow to shovel but lots of bugs, humidity, and wood rot. Florida is a great place to visit, but you don’t necessarily want to live there. In 1996, my mom died and my brother, sister, and I sold the East Dunedin Road home we had grown up in.
Work as a geographer had been good to me. I’ve written a couple of books and dozens of journal articles (working on the publish-or-perish principle), and I’ve traveled to conferences all over Europe and parts of Asia. My family and I lived in Vienna, Austria for half a year as a Fulbright professor. My network of friends is largely global; few are in the United States. My graduate students are like my kids.
In 2001, a job appeared at Ohio State and I moved back to Columbus. In 2003, Cindy got brain cancer and died within a few months. I thought, I’m too young (at 54) to be alone. So Match.com put me in touch with an art teacher and interior designer, Kathleen, and we got married in 2004. We live between Dublin and Powell, near the Columbus Zoo, where I had worked while finishing my BA in the early 1970s. We have 5 grandchildren (Kathleen’s daughters’ kids) in the Chicago area. My son lives in New York City.
So I lived in Columbus for 26 years, then in two southern college towns for the next 26 years. I don’t do football, after being surrounded by Buckeyes, Sooners, Gators, and now Buckeyes again. So far, I’m in year 17 of the next 26 years or more in Columbus. Coming “back” to Columbus was not like coming back; my family was no longer here and even the department I worked in at OSU had moved to a different building. I’ll retire from OSU before long, but continue to read, think, write, and travel.