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Tabletop memories

Books a look into the McGlaughlins

June 9, 2008
Sometimes small side journeys from the everyday routines of life can evolve into very rewarding ventures. For one Minot man, what began as a simple project for his granddaughter has turned into a very active endeavor. Tim McGlaughlin has published three table-top books and has several more in the works.

With the use of both keyboard and camera, McGlaughlin quietly put together his first work, “Springtime In My Neighborhood.” McGlaughlin was inspired to do a children’s book for his granddaughter after observing her keen interest in nature during a walk through Minot’s Oak Park.

“My granddaughter was less than 2 years old at the time when we took that walk in Oak Park,” said McGlaughlin. “She had such a keen interest in anything that moved, any kind of bug or squirrels or anything. I thought, ‘She likes these things.’ Why not do a book that would teach her something about the animals?”

McGlaughlin has been an avid photographer for as long as he can recall, so he had the knowledge of how to compose quality photographs. For more than three months he took regular walks through Oak Park, trying to capture on camera the images that would help teach his granddaughter about nature. When he was satisfied that he had the necessary photographs, McGlaughlin found a self-publishing company and added text that turned his project into both a colorful and informative book.

“Photography has always been a hobby and I always wanted to write a book,” said McGlaughlin.

The book was well received among McGlaughlin’s family. So much so that he decided to act on other publications that family members requested. One of his daughters, who grew up in North Dakota but currently resides in Seattle, mentioned to her father that she missed the prairie and would like him to send a few photographs. That led to the creation of “A Day On The Prairie.”

“I did those books as family things more than anything. I thought, what an opportunity to be able to do this for the kids,” remarked McGlaughlin.

“A Day On The Prairie” displays McGlaughlin’s view of North Dakota through the eye of his camera lens. The pictures are excellent and give a wonderful glimpse of rural North Dakota, particularly the nature of the prairie.

“Sometimes the universe conspires to give you everything you need. Ninety-eight percent of the pictures were taken in two days. That one started out as Christmas gifts for my brothers and sisters. My neighbors saw it and decided they’d like to do the same. I think I’ve ordered 70 of those now,” said McGlaughlin. “Frankly, I have been absolutely blown away by all the response to these books. I just had no idea.”

McGlaughlin’s latest work, “Honor Flight,” turned out to be his most inspired publication thus far. Through stunning pictures and carefully chosen words, McGlaughlin tells the story of accompanying his wheelchair-bound father on a visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. McGlaughlin’s grandfather was among the U.S. Marines who fought fearless Japanese for Henderson Field on the Pacific Island of Guadacanal in WWII. His father was in the U.S. Navy. Although little had been said about their war experiences by either man, McGlaughlin wanted to include their service to their country in a family history.

“Honor Flight” began in November 2007 when approximately 250 WWII veterans lifted off from Fargo, bound for Washington, D.C. To his surprise, McGlaughlin’s father told him they would be doing a book on the trip.

“Many of those veterans wanted to shield their families from the horrors of war,” said McGlaughlin. “But right from the start the guys on the plane started talking and the tears came as they remembered a lot of things. Many talked about being overwhelmed by the enemy and wondering if they’d ever make it out of there.”

McGlaughlin’s grandfather passed away in 1954 without any accurate history of his service life having been documented, something his grandson wishes would have occurred.

“He died at John Moses Hospital here in Minot. I was only 6 years old. To this day I don’t know what he died of,” said McGlaughlin. “I know he went through a bad case of malaria from his time in the Pacific and suffered shell shock. Today they call that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’m told he used to go the closet and tell the Japanese to come out.”

The photographic collection contained in “Honor Flight” shows veterans visiting the memorial during very emotional times. There’s also several photographs of the WWII Memorial that need no explanation. The experience of watching his father and other veterans visit the memorial became very emotional for McGlaughlin.

“There was something you could feel and sense from being around those veterans. It was just remarkable. There was a real sense of unity and also sadness,” said McGlaughlin. “I have a new appreciation for what veterans have gone through and what my grandfather went through. There’s 57 ships at the bottom of the ocean around Guadacanal.”

Upon his return to Minot, McGlaughlin was determined to meet a self-imposed two week deadline to complete a book on the experience. He worked at it while the memories of his recent trip remained fresh.

“We always talked about doing a family military history but we’d never actually written it,” explained McGlaughlin. “I had all these memories from being on the trip with all those guys. I was sitting at the computer and tears were rolling down my cheeks.”

Included in “Honor Flight” is “Reflections Of A Son” where McGlaughlin recounts the impact his father has had on his life. The paragraphs help complete a family history book that has mushroomed from a few copies to over 40 now, mostly gifts from his father to other veterans of WWII.

All three works have encouraged McGlaughlin to do more books in the future. The first of three additional books he has plans to complete will soon be at the printer. It is a series of photographs and interviews about harvest time in North Dakota, a book he had nearly completed when the project was interrupted by his trip to Washington, D.C.

Another book that McGlaughlin hopes to complete will detail his experiences on a keelboat. The avid buckskinner made a five-day, all-primitive river trip a year ago.

“Even our food was dried,” said McGlaughlin. “I’ve got a lot of pictures from that trip. We had the most fantastic sunsets. It was just so much fun. That will be a book somewhere down the road.”

Article Photos

Kim Fundingsland/MDN

Tim McGlaughlin, Minot, displays three table top books he has published.



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