The Long and Winding Road ...

... that leads to ...

Graduation Day 1998.

        Welcome to my Biographical Page. The material is organized in rough chronological periods of my life, some of which overlap each other.

  1. Ancestors
  2. Germany
  3. Arlington, Va.
  4. Tien Mou, Taiwan
  5. Ft. Meade, Md
  6. Arlington Revisited
  7. High School
  8. College Days
  9. Protest and Politics
  10. Arbeit (Odd Jobs)
  11. Nagoya YMCA
  12. University of Hawaii--ESL Department
  13. Aichi Gakuin University


        All of my ancestors seem to have come from Ireland--both Northern Ireland and the Republic --during the 19th century. Their descendants are now concentrated in the northeatern part of the United States--Syracuse [the Walsh family], Phildadelphia [the Blair family and the Love family], and southern New England [the Connelly family].

Munich, Germany

        I was born in Munich a few years after its liberatation from the Nazi government by the U.S. Army. My father was stationed there with the occupation forces. He was following in the footsteps of his father, who had been with the first troops to enter Germany at the end of World War I. Six months later I was baptized into the Catholic Church.

Arlington, Va.

        My family moved into our own house at 3130 S. Glebe Road. I attended kingdergarten at Grace Episcopal Church School, had a sixth birthday party that included pony rides, got my first bicycle, and learned to ride it. At first I approached the problem analytically:

        step 1--learn to balance the bicycle,
        step 2--practice peddling and steering.

This step by step analytical approach did not work, and eventually I adopted a wholistic approach ("just do it") with much better results.

Tien Mou, Taiwan

        I attended first, second, and third grades at Tien-mou (American) School. Since the school could only accommodate half the students at any one time, we went to school in shifts and had the other half day off. We used this extra time to play kickball, ride our bicycles around the neighborhood, and explore the surrounding rice paddies. When the weather was bad, we often played with our Dinky Toys and toy soldiers. Sometimes nature had an excess of energy so that we experienced 2 or 3 typhoons each year and occassional mild earthquakes.

        Dad worked with the Military Aid and Assistance Group (MAAG). And sometimes we could hear artillery fire coming from the off shore islands. Part of his job was diplomatic, so Mom and Dad went to parties with high government officials. At one of these parties, Dad receive name stamps for each of the family members as a present from President Chiang Kai-shek.

Ft. Meade, Md.

        When we left Taiwan and headed to Ft. Meade Maryland we stopped along the way at Disneyland, Knots Berry Farm, and the Presideo in San Francisco. Then we visited both sets of grandparents: Muz and Faz at Drexel Hill near Philadelphia and Grandpa Ed and Nana at Cape Cod. At Cape Cod we met our cousins--the Toners and the Foxes, went swimming at New Silver Beach, and ate Good Humor ice cream when the truck came around.

        My family moved to 7820 Harris Loop at Fort Meade Maryland. I attended fourth and fifth grades at Pershing Hill Elementary School. In fourth grade I got my first pair of glasses. I spent a lot of time in the surrounding woods fantasizing that I was Robin Hood or an artic explorer in Lapland. , but in more serious moods began to think of future careers as an FBI agent (bringing evil doers to justice) or as a herpetologists (studying snakes).

Arlington Revisited

        I returned to Oakridge Elementary School as a sixth grader and then attended seventh through ninth grades at Gunston Junior High School. This is where I learned everything I know about mathematics.

        What else did I do at Gunston besides study mathematics? Not much. Listened to The Beatles and learned from Fred Lutz to play a few guitar chords and Heart and Soul on the piano. Also discovered that he and I went to kindergarten together. (He remembered the ponies at my sixth birthday party.)
        I went out for track and field in the 8th grade. I tried to high jump, but never got very high. This was before the Fosdick flop. The scissors and western roll were still state-of-the-art techniques.
        I played trumpet in the band and/or orchestra. There were too many trumpet players, so in the 9th grade I moved to the French horn section. Because there were no French horn players, the school lent us ex-trumpet players French horns for free.
        I did lighting, under the guidance of Mr. Buttermore, for a couple plays and assemblies. I recited poetry--The Cremation of Sam McGee--in 8th and 9th grade, same poem, even won at the class level the second time (practice makes perfect). I ran for school treasurer and lost, but was then elected to represent my class with Dory Brown (one girl and one boy, I think).

High School

        I attended tenth through twelveth grades at Culver Military Academy.

        Whenever I hear about ALS or see someone doing the ice bucket challenge for ALS, I always think ... I've already done that, a couple of times, in fact, except it wasn't a bucket. It was Lake Maxinkuckee. Yes, the Culver Canoe Team started practicing on the lake as soon as a small section close to the boat house thawed out. We used to play icebreaker with our canoes. Jeff Marxen was in the bow and I was in the stern. Jay Miracle could make a hit movie about it ... Not So Titanic. One of the better (light fiberglass) canoes suddenly became available during one of these early practices. Having arrived a little late, Mox and I were stuck in an old aluminum model. So we happily switched the new canoe. Only one problem, the seat in the bow was way forward, not enough room for Mox's legs. He decided to prop them up on the bow. He lost his balance on the first stroke and over we went. The cold water went right through the sweatsuits and I must have gone into shock or something. I felt like a couldn't breathe despite the fact that we had on life preservers and my head was above the freezing cold water. I tried to get on top of the canoe, which was floating upside down, but couldn't. We had to wait a few minutes until the coach came by in his motorboat and pulled us out. Then we ran back to barracks in our cold, wet sweats. And the canoe went to another team. They went into the lake, too, as had the team before us. Five teams went into the freezing cold water on Lake Maxinkuckee that day. We also a dip in the Tippecanoe (and Tyler, too) River in the dead of winter, after being broadsided by a Indian war canoe (paddled by some of our teammates). Too bad there were no video cameras around to record these two events.

College Days

        I did most of my undergraduate studies at California Institute of Technology. When I entered Caltech I thought I would major in mathematics. A course in behavioral biology, however, convinced me to become a biology major until organic chemistry convinced me otherwise. Finally I decided that being in the History Department would allow me the most freedom in my studies--a balanced curriculum of history, economics, and science.

Protest and Politics

        [under construction]

        [under construction]

Arbeit (Odd Jobs)


Nagoya YMCA


Univ. of Hawaii--ESL Department

        From August 1992 to March 1996 I studied applied linguistics in the ESL Department (now the Department of SLS) of the University of Hawaii. After finishing my course work I then returned to Nagoya, Japan and began working at Aichi Gakuin Junior College (now a division of Aichi Gakuin University). I continue to maintain my connection with the Department by actively participating in the Alumni Association (see Board of Directors and By-Laws).

Aichi Gakuin University


Last updated September 2014
Copyright (C) 2000-2014 by Jeff Blair
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