Housekeeping & Self References

Seven Interesting Things

Well, I'm back after a month, and I thought I'd start out easy. I'd been tagged by Dan to try to figure out 7 interesting things about myself. I've never been a fan of chain letters, and while is a similar sort of thing, it was a friend who asked so I'm happy to oblige. However, I won't pass it on to 7 others 🙂 I'm also not a big fan of posting a lot of personal information about myself online, so I'm not going to stray too far in that direction. However, there are some family members I'm quite proud of, so that's the bulk of things.

  1. My maternal grandfather, George Oliver Atkinson Jr., was in the navy and was present during Operation Crossroads (1, 2, 3) on Bikini Atoll.

    He was part of the team that took the submarine USS Parche to the Atoll, where it became one of the targets of the blast. My Uncle sent me this picture he took of one of the letters my grandfather sent to my grandmother while he was en route – you can see the postmark is the name of the submarine. They sent sometimes 2-3 letters to each other every day, and numbered each envelope so when they were replying to each other they could reference each letter. Yes, these were nuclear tests that saw the residents of that area relocated, and nuclear explosions are not exactly all unicorns and rainbows. Irrespective of such thoughts, I am very proud that my grandfather was standing there, watching the explosions, and being involved in the process.

  2. On my Dad's side, my great-aunt (my paternal grandfather's sister) Marian Williams, was in showbiz. And she was glamorous! I don't have a picture, but my Dad has loads, and there are a variety of pictures online of the orchestra. My Dad can spot her in both Here Come the Co-Eds and When Johnny Comes Marching Home. (Here's a still from one of the movies.) In this picture, she's sitting with her saxophone over the shoulder of Phil Spitalny, vertically positioned between the accordionist and the trombonist, 2, 3). I'll try to get up a family picture. She was, among other things, a member of Phil Spitalny and His Hour of Charm Orchestra (1, 2) (I can't believe that I could find web pages that mention these family members!). This orchestra was an all-girl big band orchestra, and she played saxophone, clarinet, among others. I still have a tape kicking around of a record that my Dad has of the orchestra.
  3. I've recently discovered that I'm a third-generation programmer! The same grandfather that was involved in Operation Crossroads worked on some interesting programs in his later days in the Navy. As my Uncle says, "just before he retired at the height of the Cold
    War, Dad worked with the Joint War Games Agency section for the Joint Chiefs of
    Staff.  He designed and programmed the first computer War Games Modeling
    software, written in machine language and punched onto tape.  So I never
    knew, when I chose programming as a profession, that I was following in Dad's
    footsteps until around 1985, when the stuff he worked on was declassified and he
    showed me some of his design documents." That was the first generation, the second is both my Uncle and my Dad, the latter of whom in the course of his postgraduate studies used punch cards to program the SAS statistics software.
  4. I don't like coffee. That's why they kicked me out of the USA.
  5. I enjoy geocaching.
  6. When I was very small (toddler or just a bit older), my family found me sitting on the dining room table eating a stick of butter. Yum!
  7. I enjoy knitting and crochet. Included is a shot of my current work 🙂

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By Allyson Lister

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