BAHS: What is your best childhood memory?
MW: My best childhood memories were hunting and fishing with my parents and all the memorable time I spent with my grandparents while growing up.
BAHS: If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
MW: I would have studied and learned German and Japanese.
BAHS: How did you meet your Wife?
MW: This was crazy. I met her on one of the busiest train platforms in Tokyo. I missed my train and here she was minding her own business and not wanting to be disturbed by a foreigner. Luckily, I had the travel time of five stations to coax a phone number out of her. LOL.
BAHS: What do you feel most proud of?
MW: I am extremely proud of my two children who are talented, capable, humble, solid citizens and a credit to humanity. I am also proud of our efforts to develop the tract of land we have established as an environmental safe zone here where I now live.
BAHS: What is your favorite music?
MW: I have always been a jazz fan but enjoy classical music a lot as well. Pat Metheny is by far my favorite musician and I love the music of Gershwin.
BHS: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
MW: Namibia has always been interesting to me and I’d love to visit Russia.
BAHS: If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
MW: A hard drive with all of my photography, a .22 rifle given to me by my great grandfather, a box with my kids’ college diplomas inside, an artistic print of my mother in a boat with a monster fish, and a special Japanese woodblock print.
BAHS: What teacher in school made the most impact on you and why?
MW: My high school English teacher was in the twilight years of her career but had such a great love of her students that we truly loved her back and wanted to do well to make her happy. We couldn’t let Mrs. Carlson down with bad test grades. That impacted me because she was the true embodiment of how one should approach any task with passion and humor.
BAHS: What do you want your tombstone to say?
MW: He found ways to get things done!!!
BAHS: What was one of your most defining moments in life?
MW: My first backpacking trip to Europe one summer changed me forever. I knew I had to expand my horizons beyond the US and move about in international circles.
BAHS: Why did you choose to become a teacher?
MW: I finished my undergraduate work and spent a year in law school. This was during the Viet Nam War years and while I could not escape the military to continue my education, teachers were needed so I jumped into a teaching job and loved it. The rest is history.
BAHS: How do you spend your free time?
MW: I am very blessed to live in a natural setting of close to 300 acres surrounding a semi-private lake where I have taken up the role of “forest meister.” I spend most of my time in the woods working on projects that have to do with improving and preserving this wonderful gift.
BAHS: If you won the lottery, what would you do?
MW: Winning the lottery would give me a chance to set up programs to teach “parents how to be BETTER parents” in communities across the country. Unfortunately, this is a lost art and I feel the unraveling of society can be traced back to disinterested parents who are too busy to put in the effort to prepare their children for life’s challenges. It’s easier to expect the schools to be educators, coaches, music teachers, food providers, and guidance counselors. Teachers are not prepared to take on so many roles and it isn’t fair to expect this from our educators.
BAHS: Whom do you most admire in life?
MW: I most admire our amazing groups of volunteers in all walks of life… People who are making a difference with no pay, very little recognition, and only personal satisfaction as a reward most of the time. I admire people who visit children’s hospitals to read to bedridden kids, men and women who come into boys’ & girls’ clubs on Saturdays and volunteer their time to supervise activities and coach, hospice care workers……on and on and on. They are true heroes.
BHAS: What are your top three favorite books and why?
MW: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” because the simple message is to make choices and do things with quality in mind. “Catch-22” because it embodies the foolishness of humanity in a very funny way, and “The Roads to Sata” which is a true accounting of a 2,000 mile walk done by a Brit trekking from the northern most point in Japan to the southern tip of the country. The journey is made memorable by his interactions with people and situations met along the way and of course his wonderful descriptions of the scenery.
BAHS: What are you most afraid of?
MW: I am most afraid of the world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. We have gone over the precipice of environmental destruction and are in a hopeless back slide to extinction. It may take a hundred years, but we’re on our way unless we step up to the plate and make some difficult choices.
BAHS: What feels like love to you?
MW: Looking into my kids’ eyes always feels like love to me. Hearing stories of everyday citizens doing heroic things in times of danger with no regard to their own safety speaks volumes for the love man has for his fellow man.
BAHS: What is your strongest personal quality?
MW: I think my strongest personal quality is my ability to help keep things on an even keel and get through difficult negotiations between polar opposites.
BAHS: What was your most embarrassing moment?
MW: After too much sake, I had to come out of a public Japanese bath, walk naked through the lobby crowded with people, and ask the lady at the desk to help me open my locker because I lost my key and couldn’t remember which locker was actually mine. It took time. LOL.
BAHS: If you were president, what is the first thing you would do?
MW: This is a good one. If I was President. First, I would honor the historical lesson that goes back thousands of years and maintain a solid protective force for my country. But… my foreign policy objectives would be to provide other nations with only two things: Hospitals and schools. I would build them, staff them and that would be it. NO WEAPONS TRADE WITH ANYONE!!!!!! No arms or troop commitments for any country. How can a foreign nation hate you if you bring health and education ONLY to their country??? So simple.
BAHS: What age do you feel right now and why?
MW: I have had a couple of setbacks but I feel mid-50’s easily because I can still do most of the things now that I could do then. I watch my weight, work out, eat well, get enough sleep, and try to laugh as much as possible every day, which is very important to overall health.
BAHS: If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?
MW: It would be interesting to spend a week back in dinosaur times if you could be protected.
BAHS: What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
MW: The skill I would like to develop would be to learn a foreign language…German or Japanese as mentioned before.
BAHS: What does a perfect day look like to you?
MW: A perfect day for me would be to have our extended family at our island cabin on Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Canada, for fishing, swimming, water sports, and a fabulous meal together followed by a sunset cruise with cocktails. (We do it often, actually.)
BAHS: How would your friends describe you?
MW: My friends might describe me as helpful, noisy, an over-the-top comedian wanna be full of annoying junior high humor, a buddy who can be counted on, and generous.