Archive for April, 2006

Episode #3

This week, I sit down with Professor William Nolan from the Atlanta College of Art.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bill tells us about his famous father, W.I. Nolan, who served as the 24th Lt. Governor of Minnesota and in Congress as a Representative from the 5th district. While doing a little follow-up research on his father I discovered something very interesting which Bill did not mention in our interview.

W.I. Nolan co-sponsored legislation back in 1930 which is now known as the Shipstad-Nolan Act, which was pioneering legislation which would shape our countries view of wilderness area for years to come.

Here as all know is the last great wilderness of its kind on the continent. Nowhere else can such beautiful lakes be found. Nowhere else can you find them close enough together to make what is known as a canoe country, and nowhere else is there so much beauty concentrated in one spot as here. It is the last area of its kind in the country. Are we going to sacrifice it to the ogre of commercialism?

So wrote Sigurd Olson, champion of northwoods wilderness conservation, in a 1929 letter to Congress in support of a bill that would ban logging on shorelines of lakes in the Superior National Forest including what would become the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. One year after Olson’s letter, Congress passed the Shipstad-Nolan Act, the first congressional act to specifically preserve wilderness.

Seventy-three years later, the Superior National Forest—including part of the BWCAW – contains over three million acres of rugged forested terrain, impenetrable bogs, countless lakes and over 2,250 miles of streams. Living within is a diverse array of wildlife including loons, lynx, bobcat, pine marten, black bear, moose, birds of prey from eagles to osprey and the largest population of timber wolves south of the Canadian border.

Bill also speaks about his mother, who was years younger than his father, and her devotion to a teenaged boy who didn’t know to appreciate such devotion at the time.

Bill reminisces about his career as an art professor and his travels which took him from Minnesota to Washington, then Nova Scotia, Kansas City, and eventually Atlanta. He shares with us, his favorite artwork, which I will be posting here at RetroMental as soon as I receive it.

An accomplished artist who has worked in painting, computer imagery, and experimental sound, Bill Nolan has spent over half a century either creating artwork or teaching others how to hone their own skills.

Running time for this interview is 45 minutes and 28 seconds. The interview was done with the VN-960PC Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, with the noise cancelling microphone.

This week we have two sponsors for the show. Insignificant Thoughts and Buttercup Mercantile. I thank them for sponsoring the show.

Of course, our opening theme song is “Tracked In Mud”, by Cory Davies, and the music played in the middle of the podcast is “SHABD #5” by Bill Nolan.

Now sit back, relax, and take a journey back in time, while we get RetroMental.

Episode #3

Episode #2

In our second interview I find myself sitting a mere 30 feet from the location of our previous conversation, but this time, I’m with my father-in-law, Michael.

Born at Ft. Meade, Michael talks about growing up in Glen Burnie, Maryland, and living for a time in Florida, then working at a plastics plant, before devoting 40 years to United Airlines.

Michael mentions relatives who were killed in an indian raid outside of Chicago, some who immigrated to the United States from Poland, and another who attempted to run away, only to ask if he could come back home.

Michael reminisces about his mother and her black-walnut cake which was coveted by church members, and how the recipe to make it died with her.

Michael’s father served in the army before and during World War II, and Michael tells a few of the tales his father used to tell, and even has a story about a famous general’s first wife.

He recalls time spent hunting with his father-in-law, and his brother-in law. He also talks about his siblings, his children, and a few of his 15 grandchildren, and how he hopes at least one of them will turn out to be a hunter.

As an avid hunter he also has a few “experiences” to share with us, like his hunting trip to Alaska, and how he knew there was a bear nearby.

Running time for this interview is 35 minutes and 51 seconds. The interview itself was done using the VN-960PC Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, with the noise cancelling microphone.

I found a new theme song for the show on, titled “Tracked In Mud”, by Cory Davies, and I forgot to mention the theme music used in the previous episode, which was titled, “Her Hand In War”, by The Tiler.

Now sit back, relax, and take a journey back in time, while we get RetroMental.

Episode #2

Episode #1

For our debut interview, I sit down with my mother-in-law, Joyce, in the comfort of her living room.

Throughout the interview you will hear her daughter, April, sitting in the background, snapping her fingers on a book. Joyce has dedicated her life to taking care of April, who is severely handicapped.

Joyce talks about living as a young child in West Virginia and playing near the New River Bridge.

She also discusses the Great Depression and the effect it had on her family.

Follow along as Joyce tells us about her family’s move to Baltimore and how she eventually made her way to the state of Georgia.

Running time for this interview is 42 minutes and 47 seconds. The interview itself was done using a VN-960PC Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, which works very well, but we have already ordered a noise cancelling microphone for the next interview, just in case.

We hope you enjoy the show.

Episode #1


RetroMental: Time Capsules is a weekly podcast where we step back in time through the minds of everyday Americans, as they recount the days that made our country what it is today.

Our original goal was to conduct relaxing, informative interviews with a variety of people from all walks of life, and present those interviews here, in a print format, but with the advent of the podcast, and the ease of RSS, RetroMental: Time Capsules was born.

Join our host, Michael Barrett, as he sits down each week with people from all walks of life to share the stories that shaped their lives, that may otherwise have gone untold.