I am Gustav W. Verderber, naturalist, author, professional nature photographer, and adjunct professor of environmental science. I am the son of John and the stepson of Martina of Huron, Ohio, and the son of Ruth Verderber of Morrisville, Pennsylvania. I live in northern Vermont with my wife, Cheryl, and our English Setter, Charlie.
I was compelled to begin this blog when my father passed away in January of 2011. Modest, self-assured, and never one for drawing attention to himself, he cared little for publicity or recognition. Moreover, he was bereft of sufficient sentimentality even to take snapshots of his family, let alone keep a family photo album. Which was fine. Dwelling in the past hardly suited him. What he did, and did very well, was to enjoy the moment.
Yet, when the family gathered for the funeral and my brother, Wolfi, and I found a whole drawer crammed with old photos and memorabilia in my father’s dresser: photos of Wolfi in the Air Force, of Wolfi’s kids, of Cheryl and myself, our dogs, writing and photography I’d published and sent him, we realized that our dad wasn’t quite the stoic he had everyone believe. He just wasn’t sentimental enough to take the time to organize all those memories into a scrapbook or album.
My mother, on the other hand, was as sentimental as a nun is religious, and it was she who took nearly all of the images of my childhood posted in the “Personal Photo Album” on this site. Indeed she was, from the day I was born, the photojournalist in our family, and I am truly grateful to her for having compiled such a thorough documentary of my life. When she passed away in August, 2014, I inherited a veritable library of photo albums.
In my essay, “The Gardened Child” (As yet to be published which is why it doesn’t appear on this blog yet, but is available as a hard copy manuscript upon request.) I reveal why I inherited my mother’s and none of my father’s genes, including her sentimental inclinations that ultimately impelled me to put together this blog. Initially intended as a tribute to my father, the blog has, admittedly, evolved into a memoir.
As certainly as I know that it’s snowing outside while I write this, I know that my father would have scoffed at my broadcasting my personal life on the internet. “No one cares,” he would have stated as a matter of fact while firing up the barbecue, “you’re no celebrity.” Thing is, I inherited some rebel genes, don’t know from whom, but I would have mustered them up and come back with, “Frankly, dad, I don’t give a damn whether anyone cares. This is my story, and I’m going to tell it.” My dad would have smirked, shook his head, and asked me how I wanted my steak.
Most of all, I hope this blog provides a means of staying in touch with kindred spirits, family, and friends, old and new. So, please do leave your comments, thoughts, musings, and greetings. We all have our stories to tell.
Some of the portfolios on this site are password protected. Please email me at “Gustav AT SojournsInNature DOT com” for the passwords.