Hannah Fills You in on Fifty Things you just might not know about Dan

Even though he’s Daniel A. Rothermel (as was his dad) he is NOT a junior. (Dan’s middle name is Archer – his mother’s maiden name and now our grandson Max’s middle name. His father’s middle name was Angstadt.)

He was born 6 weeks prematurely – and his Grandmother Archer insisted on his coming home (against the hospital’s wishes) after two weeks so she could help nurse him up to fighting weight.

50 Algeria

As a junior in high school, he spent five weeks in the summer of 1964 on Rue Victor Hugo in Algiers, Algeria with a French family.

He delivered the afternoon Bergen Record newspaper for nearly six years well into his junior year in high school. The paper cost patrons thirty-three cents for six days of delivery. A seven cent tip was huge!

The hardest physical test he ever did was biking the 190 miles of the mountains of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada over four days with me (my hardest too!).

Mamas and Papas

The Mama’s and Papa’s California Dreamin’ planted the seed for taking his first teaching job in Anaheim, California.

He quit that job as a fifth and sixth grade teacher of science, social studies, and Spanish by Christmas of his very first year.

The US government did not believe his contention that he was a conscientious objector during the Viet Nam War.

In retirement on Thursday afternoons he plays ping pong with his amigo George Derby, one week in York and the next in Kittery Point.

In 1973 he and I bought our first house at 542 West 16th Street, Tempe, Arizona for $21,000…fully furnished!

50 Tresh

He was president (albeit self-proclaimed) of the Tom Tresh Fan Club (a player on the New York Yankees in the 1960s).

He took me by train to New York City on New Year’s Eve in the late 60’s when we were dating as college students; clueless about making the most of this opportunity, we were back home in New Jersey before midnight.

He lived with as many as 11 other guys in a two bedroom apartment in Tempe, AZ; rent for the six of them who were actually paying rent was $30 per month.

He was a political science major/history minor at the College of Wooster, Ohio.  He transferred to Arizona State University his senior year and graduated with a degree in elementary education.

Super Bowl 49 Malcolm Butler

He still can hardly believe the good fortune of our New England Patriots winning Super Bowl 49 over the Seattle Seahawks.  Karma!

Pete Carroll is his favorite coach.  Not because he called the final play of Super Bowl 49, but because of his positive philosophy of life outlined in one of Dan’s favorite books of 2015, Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play like a Champion.

He lived in the Irish Hall dorm his senior year at Arizona State.  When the Arizona residents left for home on the weekends, he bonded with four out-of-staters in the dorm for his good times: Rich Meyer (Hawthorne, NJ), Big Steve Kyker (Vienna, VA), Gale Nobes (Muskegon, MI) and Art Pfohl (Bergenfield, NJ)

Doug with Hannah circa 1971

Doug with Hannah circa 1971

He was one of my brother Doug’s very best friends.

His first car was a ’68 Volkswagen Beetle.  He bought it for $1800 after graduating from Arizona State.

He and I shopped for our wedding bands at WOOLCO (aka Woolworth’s) just off the Salt River river bottom in Tempe.

He and I married on July 1, 1972 on my dad’s Christmas tree farm in East Penfield, NY.

50 Johnny Rivers

His choice of song for our wedding was Summer Rain by Johnny Rivers.  (By the way, I chose Crazy Love by Helen Reddy.)

We got married at 130P and by 430P everyone was gone.  No reception, though there was a wedding cake.  No first dance.  No best man toast.  No throwing of the garter belt.  Just the start of the ride of a lifetime.

Two of the ten best days in his life were July 3, 2011 (Molly and Tip’s wedding day) and April 25, 2015 (Will and Laurel’s wedding)

A third of his ten favorite days in his life was our first dance in the fall of 1967 at the College of Wooster in Severance Gym that started our five years of off-again and on-again courting.

He would hitchhike from Wooster to his Uncle Bill’s and Aunt Caroline’s in Toledo, OH with his brother Richard carrying a sign that read “It’s Mom’s Birthday!”  It worked wonders.


Born into the Lutheran Church, he spent a good part of his adult life wandering in search of a spiritual community.  He went to a Quaker Church with me, was a Unitarian-Universalist, and attended the local Congregational Church.  He was a square peg in a round hole.  Then two years ago our friend Donna Ellis talked about her experience at Unity.  Ever since, he and I have ourselves an excellent spiritual home.

After giving up tennis after college, he is just now getting into Pickleball on the courts of the Kittery Community Center.

Growing up, his favorite foods were: jello, Wheaties, and tomato sandwiches.

50 Wheaties

One year in high school he ate 1362 (he tallied each one) bowls of Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions he thought.

For my 40th birthday, he sent out index cards to all my friends asking them to mail them back to me with words of wisdom that had helped them in Life.

On another of my birthdays he asked many of those same people to recommend their favorite book; many of them sent me a copy.

On still another of my birthdays in the 1980s, he sent friends a cassette tape on which to record their birthday message for me.

Tuesdays highlight his weeks as he and I drive to Chelmsford, MA to spend the afternoon and evening with our grandsons, Owen and Max, then have wine and dinner with Molly and Tip.

His brother Richard and sister Patty are two of the most generous people he knows.

50 Blue Highways

Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon about traveling the country in a van is a favorite book of his.

He would like to take a one month road trip with me to celebrate our 70th.  (not in a van!)

He ran the Fiesta Bowl Marathon in Arizona in 1981.  He was smoking a 7:15 per mile pace until he hit the “wall” at the eighteen mile mark and hobbled to the finish line at 3:48.  At the end of the race he couldn’t step down a curb.

He uses dental tape (NOT floss) – 18 inches at a time.

Hannah with Angel's Landing in the background

Hannah with Angel’s Landing in the background

Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park is his favorite hike.

He loves him some Carpenters, Barbara Streisand, Spanky and our Gang, Petula Clark, Dionne Warwick, and Barry Manilow.

Among his favorite songs: Monday, Monday by The Mamas and Papa, To Out of Three Ain’t Bad, by Meatloaf; MacArthur Park by Richard Harris (Oh no!!);  My Heart Will Go On by Celine; Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler; What the World Needs Now by Jackie DeShannon; and Abraham, Martin & John by Dion.

He took violin lessons for 4 months as an adult.  He played the clarinet in the Fair Lawn Marching Band.

50 blackjack

He gave blackjack playing in Las Vegas a shot.  He would count cards to see if the deck was rich in tens (an advantage for the player).  Even so, the advantage with card counting was a slim 1%.  He did not have the capital to withstand the inevitable swings of good cards and bad cards and returned to teaching.

His dream job was teaching teachers.  He lived the dream at Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of New England in Maine.

It took him three separate attempts to write his dissertation.  The title of his dissertation is Using Writing Composition Pedagogy in an Introductory Teaching Education Practicum to Learn about the Motivations, Journeys, and Understandings of Preservice Teachers.

He graduated with his PhD in Reading and Writing Instruction in 3.5 years from the University of New Hampshire.

Dr. Jane Hansen and Dr. Tom Newkirk were the key figures in getting him through.

CF 5 real CF with H preview

Comet Falls, Mount Rainier National Park

Comet Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is his favorite waterfalls hike.

The California coast is his favorite for bluff hiking.

Two of his favorite movies are The Graduate with Katherine Ross and Dustin Hoffman and Raiders of the Lost Ark with Karen Allen and Harrison Ford.

When we hike, he likes me to lead. (Same when we dance.)

During our mid-1990s family trip to Alaska our daughter Robyn’s appendix burst in Fairbanks.  While we four camped, she spent four days recovering in the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

One day later he and I had all three kids hiking at Denali National Park.  (By the way, we did not win Parents of the Year in 1995.)

2 thoughts on “Hannah Fills You in on Fifty Things you just might not know about Dan

  1. Love this post! I was lucky enough to meet Dan during his stint at UNE and was energized and inspired by his teaching. Thanks, Dan! And then I was lucky enough to meet Hannah as well. What a dynamic duo!

  2. Tell Dan to also read Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road”. I also loved “Blue Highways”.
    John Grisham’s “Bleachers’ is a short read but would take Dan back to his High School glory years.

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