Dan Has A Dream – KGUA #75

Charlotte and Reese

For the January 24, 2022 KGUA Radio Writer’s Hour hosted by Peggy Berryhill and Mark Gross, we are asked to freewrite to the following prompt: I HAD a Dream…

My dream is for our five grandchildren, Brooks, Charlotte, Max, Owen, and Reese.

I have a dream…

That they have an adventurous spirit and taste other parts of the United States beyond Maine and Massachusetts.  To support that dream, Hannah and I will give them the gift of experiences with us in national parks and on the coast of California.


That they have good friends for the good times and the challenging ones. Friends who listen, not solve their problems. So often our answers come from within.

That they learn to play pickleball with their grandparents.

That even when they are too cool for words, they hang out with their grandparents.

That they invite their grandparents out to breakfast on a regular basis.

That they learn to say yes to life and no often enough to set boundaries and maintain their sense of self.


That they watch La La Land and West Side Story (both the original and the Spielberg remake) with their grandfather.

That they have a sense of home wherever home may be.

That they have a sense of humor and not take themselves too seriously.

That they know that they are much more than their SAT scores and their athletic achievements.

That they do all they can to enroll at Arizona State University, the Geneseo of the West.


That they have big smiles.

That they have someone to walk the beach with.

That they, in the end, can say that they gave it their best shot.

And somewhere along the way, that they loved someone or somemany deeply.

Dan Wraps Up 2021

Hannah and I are again big winners in 2021. Our three kids, Will, Robyn, and Molly continue to delight. Molly’s hubby Tip and Will’s wife Laurel shine. Our five grandkids, Reese, Charlotte, Brooks, Max, and Owen add light to our lives. We all got together at Will’s home in Ithaca, New York this past Thanksgiving.

Top row – Robyn, Dan, and Max. Next row down – Owen, Hannah, Charlotte, and Will. The row below them – Brooks, Laurel, Reese, and Molly. Then the photographer Tip
The formal portrait – The age of the kids are: Max (7.5), Owen (9.5), Brooks (3.5), and Reese and Charlotte (1.5) All May, June, or July birthdays.

My mom made Christmas stockings for all three of our kids. Mom (1921-2014) had a great run (92 years!) and we all are better for having known her and been encouraged by her.

This Christmas season our daughter Robyn, visiting will from New York, and I continued our holiday tradition of going to a movie, this time fully-masked. We were blown away with how terrific the Spielberg remake of West Side Story was. I loved the original (1961), but this one was just as fantastic. Later in the week, Hannah will continue another tradition with Robyn – mother/daughter going out for Chinese food.

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Jack Kornfield

Dan and Hannah Hike the Cascadilla Falls in Ithaca, New York

Lee is to the east of Albany

Hannah and I have come to central New York to spend Halloween weekend with our grandkids and their parents.  Our goal whenever we visit is to babysit Brooks, Reesie, and Charli while Will and Laurel can get away for a few hours. Giving Hannah and me such time away was the best gift my parents ever gave us.

Stopping in Lee, Massachusetts for a break in the 390-mile drive from York to Ithaca, we treat ourselves to a mid-day walk, cups of McDonald’s coffee and bran muffins we brought from home. Our Strava app to the left records it all.

Poppa goes one on two with Charli (standing) and Reesie
Brooks with his Omi

Arriving just before dinner time, we are quickly welcomed by our identical twin granddaughters, Charli and Reesie, and their big brother Brooks.  While Hannah reads to three and a half year old Brooks, the 17-month-old girls use me as a climbing wall.  I couldn’t be happier.

Good fortune further smiles on us as our daughter Robyn comes down from Syracuse for the day.  She easily mixes with the grandkids and teaches her parents a thing or two about playing cards.

Later in the afternoon, Hannah and I with Robyn drive ten minutes into town to the Cascadilla Falls.  Heavy rains the previous Tuesday have made the falls the place to be.  See the pictures below.

14 seconds of roaring H2O
Climbing the exquisite stone stairways of the Cascadilla Gorge
Robyn in red leads the way
Thundering Falls
Our Strava app documents our falls hike

And by the way, the next day is Halloween and all three kids take part in the holiday street celebration.

Charli (left) and Reesie ready for All Hallow’s Eve

Finally Brooks with his Omi …

…and Reesie (top) and Charli enjoying dinner


Dan and Hannah at the Wedding of Kara and Charles (October 3, 2021)

Kara is my brother Richard’s youngest, his only daughter. Charles is her guy. She and the C Man (I have no idea if Charles’ college buddies call him that, but it was fun to write.) had invited some 150 guests to the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York for their nuptials on the first Sunday in October (2021). 

Otesaga Hotel

Alas, one hundred made the scene in these Times of the Delta Variant of Covid; the ceremony and cocktail hour are to be outside while the dinner/reception will be indoors.

Otsego Lake, home to Otesaga Hotel Resort

Hannah and I wondered about coming to the wedding at all, but in the end felt satisfactory precautions were taken and we are Pfizer vaccinated. Click here for the link to the blog why we chose to come to the wedding.

About five hours of driving

Carpooling with our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip, Hannah and I arrive around noon at Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since the wedding is a 345 PM affair, we have time for lunch together with our three kids (and Tip), then walk the property at the Otesaga Resort and into town to get our 10+K steps.

Lunch of Wegman’s subs with Robyn, Molly, Will, Hannah, Dan, and Tip

Having not worn a suit in forever, I rocked the same gray suit that I wore to Molly and Tip’s wedding in 2011. With rain in the forecast, the ceremony is moved to a 120-seat ballroom. At the outset, I do wear my mask, then take it off. On, off, on off. Eventually I figure, what the hell, everyone is vaccinated and put it in my pocket.

The uncle and aunt of the bride with the groom Charles over Hannah’s shoulder
Molly and Tip who clean up well.

In Maine, the few times I go indoors, I always wear a mask. At our gym, I wear the mask in the facility but remove it when I exercise. I rarely go inside anywhere else. This afternoon, maybe half the folks are masking up for the fifteen-minute ceremony.  A 15-minute ceremony! That’s almost heaven, West Virginia.

Dan and Hannah with our daughter Robyn

Once in the side ballroom for dinner and dancing, we all sit at round tables for seven or eight. There is no social distancing. On the dancing floor, Hannah and I are shoulder to shoulder sans masks. By this time, just a few were wearing masks.  Alcohol and masks do not seem to mix. We are all vaccinated!

Eating and dancing at close range, I pretty much forget about wearing a mask myself.  By 9 PM Hannah and I wrap up while the younger generation rocks on into the night.

Six days after the wedding, no one at the wedding has tested positive for Covid. Coincidentally, two days later the pharmacist at the local Hannaford grocery store administers my Pfizer booster shot. (Glad you asked, no side effects just a sore left arm for 36 hours.)

And as Billy Shake says, All’s well that ends well.

Additional pictures from Kara and Charles’ Big Day

Will, Hannah, Dan, and Molly walking the downtown of Cooperstown
Dan and Hannah in front of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Main Street in Cooperstown, New York
Otsego Lake is the background for a joyful Molly with Tip
The women and one lucky guy! Anna, Robyn, Molly, Kara, Charles, and Tara. (Anna and Tara are my sister Patty’s kids.)

Dan’s Dream – KGUA radio free write #33

For the January 25, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to write on this powerful statement – “I Have a Dream.”  Dreaming sets an intention.  With an intention, purposeful action can/must follow. 

Of late, our York Public Library has a sign out front, “Good riddance 2020.  Welcome 2021.”  That just rubs me the wrong way. 

I will never say anything bad about 2020 because it was the year our identical twin granddaughters, Reese and Charlotte, were born.  They are healthy, flap and smile in their bouncy seats, and have two loving parents. 

Reese, big brother Brooks, and Charlotte

I have a dream that by the time the girls can vote there will be a woman president of these United States – for the second time!

I have dream at 90 that I will go to their high school graduation where they are not at the top of the class nor the best athlete but are known for standing up for what is right.  Instead of independence, they seek interdependence with their community and their world.

That said, I wouldn’t mind if one of them went to the Harvard of the West, Arizona State University, and became part of the solution for climate change.

I have a dream that they will come to their grandparent’s place in Maine, play cribbage with us, whack the pickleball around, and sit on our front deck having a conversation about their dreams.

Words – 198

Our son Will on the Sugarbench Podcast

Got ten minutes? Twenty? Five?

Our youngest child Will (clearly our favorite son) was interviewed on the September 9, 2020 Sugarbench Podcast about his journey in life.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll learn about Will’s early years in York, Maine, the value of his college years in Vermont, later grad school in the South, life as a husband and father to three kids in central New York, and his 400 miles of bicycle riding to raise money for the the Children’s Cancer Research Center to honor his sister, Robyn, a leukemia survivor.

Click on Will’s picture below to listen to Andy’s interview with Will.

Dan and Hannah and The Great Cycle Challenge

Our son Will is hitting the road.  Maybe you’d like to support him.  Here’s his note.

This September, I’m riding 300 miles in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight kids’ cancer. I am riding in honor of my sister Robyn, a survivor of childhood leukemia. Appropriately, this challenge falls during her birthday month!
Cancer is the largest killer of children from disease in the United States – 38 kids die every week. 
My challenge will be tough, but it’s nothing compared to what these brave kids face every day of their lives as they battle this terrible disease.  
And so I am taking on this challenge to end childhood cancer and save little lives.
Please consider making a donation to this cause at my fundraising page:
All funds raised will support Children’s Cancer Research Fund to continue their work to develop innovative treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
Thank you for your support!
Love, Will

Granddaughters, Bunions, and Courage – KGUA prompt #9

KGUA icon 2

This week’s KGUA radio writing prompt comes from the repeated words in last week’s submissions.  The words that kept coming up again and again were: trust, passion, peace, end, love, give, life, free, youth, kindness, nature, faith, walk, time, courage, ammunition, people, conviction, black, drown, and potential.

Mark Gross, the KGUA writing leader, asked us to time our free write for ten minutes, limiting us to 200 words.  We were to edit just for spelling and grammar, and send in the draft.

His directions were similar to what I did with seventh and eighth graders in Kittery, Maine and while leading the Teaching of Writing courses at Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of New England.  I would have a discussion, read a passage, or come up with a group activity.  From those activities, I would have my students write for ten minutes to see if they found a topic to take through to a final draft in our writing workshop.  Head down and trusting they’d write, I wrote along with my students.

Mark has given me a taste of my own medicine this week, and for that I thank him.  I chose three words below to run with.  The Walk draft aired on the KGUA Monday Morning Writer’s Hour on June 28, 2020 .


For the first time in six weeks, Hannah walked with me at the beach in Ogunquit, Maine.  You see, six weeks ago to the day, Hannah had bunion surgery.  First she was on crutches, then two weeks in a walking boot, and then wrapping her foot with surgical gauze twice a day in a hiking shoe.wa

words - ogunquit beach

Ogunquit beach on the southern coast of Maine

Oh, she could move around the house, then our yard, but walking for more than twenty minutes…well she just didn’t want to risk screwing up the operation.  It turns out she was walking on the side of her foot to protect her big toe.  A no no.

But this morning, we woke at five, stretched, then a little after six drove to the wide sandy beach here on the Atlantic.  Being low tide, we walked where the waves were rolling softly to the shore.  She thought she’d go halfway, but then…distracted by the fog, stepping in and around the pools of salt water, we were thirty minutes down the beach before she knew it, nearly to Wells.

Pumped, she headed back into the wind full speed ahead.  I’ve been listening to podcasts as I walk alone during Hannah’s rehab, but this was much better.  Both the conversation and the silence.



Hannah and I are just back from Ithaca, New York where we met our granddaughters for the first time.  Yes, granddaughters!  Reese and Charlotte are our identical twins.  In this crazy Time of Corona, we didn’t know if we’d even see them for six months or even a year!  But when our son and his wife, a nurse no less, invited us to visit the girls three weeks after their births, we were all in to drive 400 miles to be with them.

CR girls nose to nose

Charlotte and Reese

When we arrived, mom and dad hugged us!  Do you know how long it’s been since we hugged anyone else!  Yeah, you do, it’s three months going on a year!

The girls mold together as they lie in their bassinet, just like they were in the womb.  As I sat on the couch knees folded together, I held Reese as she lay sleeping.  Yeah, they sleep a lot.  Then they cry, then mom feeds them, sometimes at the same time, and then the girls sleep some more.

But after three days, they were looking around more and more, checking out their new world.  I look forward to being a part of their lives for a long time.



I have to admit I never really got the white privilege stuff.  As a kid, I was just a kid.  What did I know?  We did live in Radburn, a privileged part of Fair Lawn I learned later as a young adult, a pretty much all white community in north Jersey.  We did take two family car trips to the West Coast.  I just figured lots of kids did that.

words - map of maine

In tiny print, York is on this map

My goodness, I played tennis!  Is that ever a white man’s sport, even though the Williams Sisters took charge of the women’s game for the last twenty years.

I was just going through life.  Living frugally on a teacher’s salary while Hannah stayed home with the kids.  But then we moved from multi-cultural Arizona to white bread Maine.  As such, there were not many families of color here that I knew.  Without a second thought, our kids went to college, had careers.

Of late, I am aware that my white comfort is compromising the lives of so many fellow Americans of color.  Now is the time to have the courage to admit my privileged status and do my part to even the playing field.

I’m listening.


Dan and Hannah Meet Reese and Charlotte for the First Time

Hannah and I have just returned from four days with our new identical twin granddaughters, Reese (the older by six minutes) and Charlotte (the younger).

We had come to Ithaca, New York where our son Will and his wife Laurel live to support them all as they became the parents of three kids under the age of two.

Surprisingly, we could tell them apart.  Reese has more hair and Charlotte has a rounder face.  Without delay, here are Charlotte and Reese!

CR girls together 3

Charlotte and Reese Rothermel

CR girls Charlotte


CR girls Charlotte face


CR girls with Omi 2

Reese with her Omi

CR girls nose to nose

CR girls with poppa

Poppa with the girls!

CR girls outside in bassinet

Reese and Charlotte outdoors

CR girls together again again

CR girls three guys

Three generations of Rothermel Men

CR girls together 2

Reese and Charlotte

CR girls with Brooks

Big brother Brooks with his sisters

CR girls with omi

Omi with her beautiful granddaughters


CR girls together

These girls are close

CR girls Omi and Poppa with Brooks and girls

Brooks with his Poppa and Omi as Charlotte (right) and Reese chill

CR girls with family of five

And babies make FIVE!

Dan and Hannah Welcome Reese and Charlotte to the Family

Having experienced the joy of youthful male testosterone with our three energetic grandsons,

RC O and M

Owen and Max

RC brooks with mom and pop

Brooks with mom and pop


Hannah and I welcome our two identical twin granddaughters to the fold – Reese Kathryn Rothermel and Charlotte Mae Rothermel.

RC girls on pillow

Reese and Charlotte

Our son Will and his wife Laurel are ready for the ride of their life with three kids under the age of two.  As grandparents, Hannah and I have won the lottery, again.

Reese arrived first at 615P on June 1, 2020 weighing in at six pounds eight ounces, stretching out to just over eighteen inches.  Six minutes later Charlotte came barreling along at six pounds four ounces, a little lankier at nearly nineteen inches.

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

RC girls together 2

RC girls together Reese yawning

RC sleeping together

RC will holding girls

RC brooks with one

RC girls in heart pillow

RC W with girls lying on him

RC girls awake

RC girls on pillow 2

RC girls looking at each other day 9