Decades: Don, Age 90

SONY DSCDon was in education for 40+ years, as a high school teacher, principal, and college professor. However, his education experience began in a one room rural elementary school, with no electricity and no running water!  He is a native Minnesotan who lives in St. Cloud.


Don was born in 1925, the year the first motel opened (in San Luis Obispo, California), charging $1.25 per night. Also in that year, Mount Rushmore was dedicated, concern about “child idleness” was voiced in response to the first child labor laws being passed, and The Great Gatsby was published. In 1925, New York City surpassed London to become the largest in the world, and the first female governor in the United States, Nellie Tayloe Ross, was elected in Wyoming. A loaf of bread cost $.09.


  1. Think of a specific time you felt joy. What was going on, and why were you so happy in that moment?

At the birth of my first child. I was in the hospital (my wife’s parents were also present) when I saw the gift of my daughter. I was changed. Never to be the same again, ever.

When I heard the news that World War II had ended!

  1. What are some of your favorite sounds?

children playing

when my two children say “Hi, Dad.”

familiar melodies from a variety of operas

the whinny of a horse

the saxophone of Boots Randolph

the purring of a cat

the violin and cello

the voice of Pavarotti, Brenda Harris, Renee Fleming

Don as a referee
Fun times as a high school and college basketball referee (ages 20-35)


  1. What makes you feel upset or angry? Why?

Electronic technology–when it doesn’t go well–i.e. computers, iPad, iTunes, smart TVs, satellite remotes and channels,  not getting a “live” person on the phone and having to press several buttons in order to do so!


  1. What is something in your life that feels hard for you these days? Tell us about it.

Managing decline–loss of parents, siblings, friends; loss of capability to do a variety of former things such as horseback riding, running, hearing, hunting, snowmobiling. Decline of dexterity, balance, hearing, handwriting.

Don on his ATV
“I’m not a stick in the mud, but I was stuck in the mud!” (around age 85)


  1. If you were to recommend a book, author, movie, TV show, or musical group to readers, what would it be? What’s so great about it?

The Bible. Why? Because there are over 40 authors of the 66 books written over a period of 1500 years and yet they all come together and form one unified book of wisdom, prophecy and hope.

Don and an orphan lamb
Don, around age 10, and the orphan lamb he raised.








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