Saturday, October 30, 2004

SOME WIND!


SOME WIND
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
The only problem is getting the leaves — and even pop cans — to stay put in 40 mph wind gusts.

OCTOBER SKY


OCTOBER SKY
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
And one can't complain, working under such a beautiful October sky. It's not quite a Vanilla Sky ... but maybe it will be this evening.

BACKYARD LEAVES


BACKYARD LEAVES
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
October 30, time to blow and mulch the backyard leaves, an enjoyable activity on a 70-degree day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

MY FRONTYARD MAPLE


FRONTYARD MAPLE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
My maples are starting to drop leaves, too. This is only a fraction of what's going to come down in the front yard alone.

FOBES FAMILY MAPLE


FOBES FAMILY MAPLE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Like the author of this blog, the Fobes Family maple tree is starting to fall apart, no longer able to support the weight of its own limbs.

I can relate.

Realization! I am beginning to understand why my favorite hockey team is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SOME FOBES FOLKS


SOME FOBES FOLKS
Originally uploaded by jonfobes
I would guess this Fobes Family picture was taken about 100 years ago.

The old-timer in the center is Franklin Justus Fobes, my great, great grandfather. Just to his left in the back row is my great grandfather, Charles Miller Fobes.

The complete rundown of names is as follows, front and back from left:

Florence, Franklin Justus , Carolyn, Esther;

Lydia, Harrison, Jane, Charles, Franklin.

FOBESDALE 2004


FOBESDALE 2004
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Some early Fobes / Kingsville history plucked from a variety of sources.


• How the Fobes name was born

Most distant, directly traceable ancestor is John De Forbes, a man of "rank and importance" circa 1250, during the reign of William the Lion. According to one source, "The surname ‘Forbes’ was taken from the lands of Forbes County, Aberdeen, Scotland, granted by Alexander II of Scotland, to the progenitor of this noble family." Forbes Castle stands in the middle of a 6,000 acre estate. Burke's Peerage and Baronage tells more about the Forbes family, offering such tidbits as, "Sir Alexander Forbes, gave in 1362, a varicolored altar front to the chapel of St. Anne in the Church of St. Nicholas at Aberdeen."

“Fobes” started with John Forbes, born in Scotland, raised in Leyden, Holland, circa 1600; he arrived in Duxbury, Mass., in 1636; he was the son of the Rev. John Forbes, who left Scotland for Holland with his congregation and the rest of the Pilgrims in the late 1500s.

Most of the Pilgrims had to wait many years before coming to the New World. John Forbes the elder returned to Scotland while and John Forbes the younger remaind in Holland so long he developed an accent that resulted in a soft pronunciation of the letter "r," so upon landing in Duxbury he gave his name as Forbes, but it was recorded as "Fobes."

And that started the Fobes Family in America.

• The first settler who was a land owner in what we now know as Kingsville, was Captain Walter Fobes, who came from Norwich, Massachusetts in 1805. He died in 1816. Kingsville at one time was known as Fobes' Dale or Fobesdale. For a short while, although not officially, Kingsville was called "Fobes' Tale." However, the settlers of early Kingsville did not like that outsiders were altering the name, so they finally got together and renamed their township, “Norwich” after the town that Captain Walter Fobes came from. However, the name "Norwich" was short lived.

A traveler named King heard about the controversy and came up with a plan. He suggested that the town be named after him. In return, he would give the people four gallons of whiskey. The people agreed and Kingsville was born. The township of Kingsville was organized in 1810 and was the first township created from Ashtabula Township.

• From an essay called, “Kingsville Women”

“The first woman whose husband settled upon his own land was Amanda, wife of Walter Fobes, who came here in 1805, and their daughter, OCTAVIA, born in 1806, was the first baby to take a glimpse of the world in Kingsville.
“The other daughters were Amanda, Rosamond, Louisa and Harmony. Left a widow in 1814 Mrs. Fobes devoted herself to the care of the sick during the remainder of her life.”

Link to a Fobes company in The War of 1812.


• WAYNE TWP. / ASHTABULA COUNTY

“In the spring of 1803, aging Simon Fobes of Somers, Connecticut, bought 1500 acres of land in the township, one entire tier of lots south of and adjoining the east and west center line. He traveled to the new lands with his son, Joshua, and Joshua's wife, Dorothy, and his young brother, Elias, age 10, a trip of 49 days. They were joined along the way by a cousin, David Fobes. Simon returned to Connecticut for a while after the Fobes lands were ascertained.
“Joshua and David began clearing land for a cabin, but were delayed when the work proved too much for the weary Joshua. It was October 8 before the family moved onto their own land, on lot 57, to become the first settlers in Wayne.”

• According to THE HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY OHIO
Published in Philadelphia by Williams Brothers in 1878

THE SIMON FOBES FAMILY. Members of six generations from this family are buried side by side in the cemetery at the centre of Wayne Township. The first death among the early settlers of Wayne was that of Mrs. Thankful Fobes, who died January 8, 1808; and three days later the funeral of her husband, Simon Fobes, took place. These aged people were married March 24, 1748. Their family consisted of eight children - four sons and four daughters - namely, Thankful, Joshua, Bethiah, Simon, Nathan, Ellis, Eunice and one who died in infancy.

Simon Fobes (2d) was born April 5, 1756. He was a soldier in the army of the Revolution, and fought in the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775, and afterwards joined the expedition under General Benedict Arnold against Canada, and was engaged in the assault upon the city of Quebec, where he was taken prisoner of war. After suffering incredible hardships, he escaped from the British on the 18th of August and reached his home on the 30th of September, 1776. He afterwards served as ensign in Colonel Levi Wells' regiment.

DAY AT THE BEACH


DAY AT THE BEACH
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Here's Mother Fobes with the Conneaut Township Beach stretching out behind her.

There's also a flock of Canada geese coming up the shorline. They might be easier to see if you click the link and view a larger version of the picture at Flickr.

BLAZING AWAY


BLAZING
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
You don't have to go to New York State to shoot pictures of blazing color from the comfort of your automobile. This is Lake County near the Mentor exit.

THE OAF


THE OAF
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
And here's the oaf who does this blog. Not a bad picture by Mother Fobes ... considering her first attempt showed nothing but leaves and feet.

FOBESDALE LEAVES


FOBESDALE LEAVES
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Some colorful Fobesdale leaves dropped by the huge maple and scattered across the back yard.

MOM ON STEPS


MOM ON STEPS
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Mom was a good sport and posed on the steps ... even though she almost took a header coming back down after the photo was snapped.

Monday, October 25, 2004

STEPS


STEPS
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
We also visited Lake Shore Park in Ashtabula, where the most scenic sight was this flight of leaf-covered steps.

THE BACKYARD MAPLE


THE BACKYARD MAPLE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
I remember when I could punt a football over the backyard maple. It gets bigger and brighter each year. And I get older and weaker. My punting days are done.

MOTHER FOBES


MOTHER FOBES
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Mother Fobes poses for a picture at Township Park in Conneaut. As a girl, she and some friends once pitched a tent and camped overnight on the hill in the background.

FOBESDALE


FOBESDALE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Since Kingsville used to be called Fobesdale, Dad long ago put a sign out front to remind people of that. And it's still there.

His cousin, Dale, had one that said, "Fobes, Dale." Honestly!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

WEIRD GROUPING


WEIRD GROUPING
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Once you start looking through old pictures, you never know what you might find. This must have been taken about 1986. It was first titled, "Jon, Scott and Wives,*" but since none of the people pictured stayed married, I changed it.

What's more, it's a bit scary to think how much those women look alike. "Weird grouping," indeed.

*My first and only — so far — his second of three.

MIKE DAY — SCOTT FARGO


ON THE ROAD
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
One summer in the late 1970s when Scott was doing research on the southern pine beetle, he hired Mike to help him cut trees and haul samples. To escape the blistering Texas woods, they hit the road and hitch-hiked to Florida, where they could find beer, Bud, sand, surf ... and probably some home-grown. (I love this picture despite its poor quality.)

REMEMBERING SCOTT FARGO


OSU 1973
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Note: One thing good about having a series of Web sites that go back for years, is that you accumulate a lot of material; but there’s a drawback — sometimes you lose track of things. Here’s something I just ran across from 1995. And it’s not something I want to lose track of.

Eulogy delivered by Jon Fobes at Bethany Lutheran Church, Ashtabula, Ohio Saturday, 16 September 1995 – 4 p.m.




I read last night that Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Every man is eloquent once in his life." I am really hoping today is my day.

I am glad to say – and proud to say – that I was friends with Scott for 25 years. We met at the Kent Branch – just up the street here – in 1970. I am not sure if we met because we had a class together or if we met for the first time in the KSU weightlifting club. I think it was at the club, probably early in the winter quarter.

Before long Scott became the equipment manager for a rock and roll band I was playing in at the time with another Scott, Scott Goddard, who was also a Kent student and a weightlifter. One day while lifting weights at the YMCA Scott Goddard and I told Scott that our band was going to be playing at the Psychedelic Lounge.

"You are not!" Scott said.

"Oh, yes we are."

"If you guys are really playing I’ll help you carry in your amps and set up your equipment." And he did. From then on Scott was there for every performance. And that’s really saying something because that band played once or twice a week for well over a year.

We finally said to Scott, "If you are going to be here every night, why not do a song?" We didn’t have to twist his arm too much. And so, at the end of the night, after a few beer breaks, and when the volume and the crowd both got cranked up somewhat out of control, Scott would come on stage and do his song. For a while it was "Summertime Blues." Then we switched to a song by the Rolling Stones called "Little Quennie." They were both good rocking, rolling, blasting, driving songs, and it was fun to have Scott up there singing them.

You may have known Scott as a clean-cut high school kid or a professor of entomology, but you should have seen him then. Hair down to his shoulders. Sideburns. Mustache. He wore a pair of blue jeans covered with stars on the bottom and patches on the top. He had a shirt with Daffy Duck on the front. He had some sort of headgear that looked like a World War I flying ace hat, one of those leather ones that came down over the ears and had straps hanging down. And he had a pair of boots he had spray-painted blue. I had a pair I had spray-painted gold, and sometimes we traded, so each guy had one blue and one gold boot. We both looked like something out of a parent’s worst nightmare – but we had a lot of fun.

One thing I will never understand is how that Scott Fargo, that long-haired, star-spangled, blue-booted, rockin’ and rollin’, space cowboy, in the World War I flying cap, ever got named Lady Elks Man of the Year in 1994. Amazing!

So, as time went on, we had classes together and we ran all over the place with the band. We played in Geneva, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ashtabula and all over the Youngstown and Warren area and God-awful places like Pymatuning Valley. And once we drove four hours, way down past Pittsburgh, to audition for a job that would have hardly covered our gas money! The point is this: When you add up the time with the band, and classes and the weightlifting club and double-dating and going to parties and concerts . . . you can understand that Scott and I spent a lot of time together those two years at Kent. That alone could have made us friends for life.

But after Kent, we were roommates at Ohio State for three years. That meant even more time together. And when you put that kind of time in, you really get to know someone. I should mention some other people at this point because there was a core group of friends during the KSU and Ohio State years. And I am thinking now of Mike Day, Jim Ogren, Scott Goddard, Jim Buckett and Bud Jerauld. There were other good friends at this time like our bandmates Perry and Stuart Burgess and Rick Tackett, and, of course, Mr. Burgess, who was with us for every job we ever played. Sad to say, Perry is gone too. But in those days, there always seemed to be lots of things to do and lots of people involved in doing them.

I think I can speak for these people when I say Scott was a great friend and companion. If you knew Scott for 5 minutes, you knew he was smart. And if you knew him for 10 minutes you knew he was funny. Or maybe it was the other way around, depending on the day. But if you knew Scott for a week or a month or a year, you knew he was a consistently great person to be with. As I said, he was smart and he was funny, and those are nice traits to have in a friend, but more than that, Scott really liked people. I am sorry that's such a cliché anymore, but he really did. He was interested in his friends’ lives. He wanted to know what they thought and how they felt, and he wanted them to know what was going on with him in his thoughts and feelings. I think it boiled down to this: Scott had a lot of love to give to his friends, and his friends gave him lots of love back. I think that is why Scott had so many good and lasting friendships in his life.

I think one of the things that was interesting about Walter Scott Fargo – and I think it shows you the affection people felt for him – was that he had an incredible number nicknames. In his family, and I suppose in high school, he was known as Scott. When I met him he was being called Wells. I think that was a weightlifting club nickname. Once a Kent English professor named Bill Poese, who started the weightlifting club, had picnic at his farm, and he had a donkey there. Scott was amazed by the donkey. He just kept saying, "Boy that thing looks like a big, blue dog," and so we started calling him Blue Dog Fargo. And that stuck for a while.

Then sometime later on we started calling him Wally, which apparently no one had ever called him before. Then came "The Wally-Eyed Kid." David was at OSU when Scott and I were there, and David was sort of chunky at the time, so Scott started calling him Fat Fark. So we started calling Scott "The Fark." And if you did something Scott didn’t like, he’d look you in the eye and say, "Don’t pimp on The Fark." And someone down at the Spot Cafe used to call him Scotty Dog! So we started calling him that, too. You might think it took a lot of brain power for Scott to get a Ph.D. in entomology, but it was nothing in comparison to the brain power it must have taken for him to remember all his nicknames because even though we invented new names for him all the time we never stopped using the old ones. So you could talk to him for an hour and never refer to him the same way twice.

I said before that I was proud to say I had been friends with Scott for 25 years. I say proud because there was something I deeply respected and admired about Scott: It was his enthusiasm for life and that he always wanted more of life. For example, he was in the KSU weight-lifting club to get in shape, meet people – and get more of life. He graduated from Ohio State and went on to Texas A&M for his master’s and his Ph.D. because he was interested in learning – and because he wanted more of life. He became a full professor at such a young age because he worked hard, had good ideas – and because he wanted more of life. And he was out jogging the day his heart stopped because he wanted to be fit and energized – because he wanted more of life. He wasn’t afraid to work, and he wasn’t afraid to think, and he wasn’t about to sit around and wait for life to come to him. No. He was a doer. And he knew that the right combination of hard work and play is the thing that brings you more enthusiasm – and more of life. And he would not settle for less.

If you want to know what kind of guy Scott was in regards to his enthusiasm and his ability to work really hard, just look at his obit headline. I am an assistant news editor at The Plain Dealer, and I was working the night we ran Scott’s obit. I had talked with the obit writer a few times that week, I had dealt with the photo desk on Scott’s picture, and when the obit page got put together, my friend across the desk asked me if I wanted to come over and see how it turned out. Earlier I had tried to put a little pressure on him to get the obit played high on the page; of course, I didn’t really need to because Scott earned the top spot on his own merit. Anyway, I went over to see the page, which was up on a computer screen, and the person doing the page said he had changed the headline a little bit so it read: "W. Scott Fargo/professor, expert/in entomology." Which is ultimately how it came out in the paper. I said, "Boy, those are two words you’ll never see in my obit headline. PROFESSOR and EXPERT. No chance!" And another person working nearby said, "Mine either. My obit headline will probably say ‘Jeff McVann, he liked to watch TV.’" And then another person said, "My obit headline will probably say: ‘Mary Jo McVay, she liked pie.’" About this time a copy aide walked past and said, "What a morbid topic of conversation," and that shut us up. But the point was obvious: Scott had done a lot with his life. He was a special person.

Quite a few years ago we lost our wonderful friend Mike Day. Mike was killed in a wreck in Florida. There were services for him here in Ohio, but Scott was in Texas at the time, and I was working in Dayton, and neither of us got back for them. So during one of Scott’s summer trips home to Ashtabula we went to see Mike’s grave. As I recall, we were both a bit angry that evening, not at Mike, but at life in general for robbing us of our friend. And we also were sad as we stood there, of course. But maybe most of all we were disbelieving of the fact that Mike was really gone. I remember Scott tapped the gravestone with the toe of his cowboy boot. I guess to see if it was real. I think we both thought it would disappear. But it was no dream.

Scott said, "We lost our pal."

I said, "Unbelievable."

And then Scott said something totally fitting and appropriate. He had a knack for that. He said: "Well, you have a pal that’s still here, that’s standing right beside you, and he is getting pretty thirsty, so I think you ought to buy him a beer!"

So I did. More than one, actually. But what I think Scott was saying was that it is fitting and proper to think about the people we lose as long as we don’t forget about the people we still have. There are people in this world you love and that love you, and don’t let this loss take your attention from them for long. If anything, let it remind you how much you should cherish the people you still have. And buy them a beer. Or a Pepsi. Or dinner. Take them to a movie. Go for a drive. Watch a TV show. Or just sit with them. But cherish your time with them. That’s what Scott would want. So don’t pimp on The Fark.

I think we’re probably all feeling what Scott and I felt when we stood at Mike’s grave. Maybe some of us are angry at life for taking Scott away so soon, when we had hoped for so much more in the years to come. We all are feeling a terrible sadness – there’s no doubt about that. And perhaps for many of us there is an almost overwhelming sense of disbelief. That’s what I feel most: disbelief. Maybe you too.

If so, I would say this: If you can’t believe Scott is gone it’s because he’s not. If you knew Scott they way I knew him then he touched your life in so many ways that you will never be without him. If he was in your life then he is in your life and he always will be in your life. That was the power of Scott’s personality, of his enthusiasm, of his friendship and of his love. Scott will live as long as our memories do.

And for me, that’s a lifetime.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I MIGHT HAVE TO LEAVE THE LEAVES


FALL LEAVES
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
I bought 5 packs of 39-gallon garbage bags today. But this year's leaf project could be cut short if all that blowing and mulching takes a toll on my back as I fear it probably will. I usually end up with thirty-something bags of mulched maple and oak leaves. That requires lots of bending.

Too bad the old-fashioned rake-and-burn method is prohibited in Lorain.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

THE SECRET NEWS ABOUT FOUNTAIN PENS


PENS
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
I will admit a weakness for fountain pens. When people talk about fountain pens they say a lot of things: that they are lovely, that they are a reaction against computers, but what nobody says is this:

They simply write better than anything else on the market. Yes, in some respects the fountain pen is certainly retro, but it's also light years ahead of the ballpoint and rollerball.

The more you write, the more you'll appreciate a nice fountain pen — or 40.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

FERNS FOR THE DESKTOP


FERNS
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
I use photos of my own plants as computer desktop backgrounds. Here's one.

These ferns grow beside my patio reading area. The bed also features Pacasandra and another green plant with spear-shaped leaves and little white flowerbells in spring.

Somewhere under all those fronds and leaves are a host of hungry slugs wondering where the hostas are.