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Dr. SETI's Blended Family

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Nine individuals with three surnames between them became a blended household in September, 1993. Seen in this 1994 photo are, left to right (front row) Erin, Curran, and Devin; (middle row) Erika, Aubrey, and Bryn; (standing) Muriel, Paul, and Andrew. click on thumbnail

Paul and Muriel were married in a private ceremony on December 30, 1996, in Williamsport PA, with five of their seven children in attendance. A radio astronomer and retired engineering professor, Paul is Chief Technology Officer of a high-tech startup company, and serves as volunteer executive director of The SETI League, Inc. With degrees in biology and psychology, Muriel is an educational advocate, substitute teacher, and practicioner of the alternative healing arts. They look forward to a lifetime of productive collaboration. click on thumbnail

A year and a half after their civil ceremony, Muriel and Paul finally celebrated a proper religious wedding, outdoors under a chupa, in front of their new home on a hilltop at Cogan Station, PA. The multi-cultural ceremony was performed by the Rev. Ken Weiss, a member of Paul's temple. In attendance were all seven of their children, Paul's father, and a dozen of the couple's closest friends. click on thumbnail

Erika, b. 19 February 1974. A dancer and choreographer, Erika graduated in Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and moved to Seattle to work with a modern dance troupe. She danced, waitessed and choreographed there, in San Francisco, and in Europe, before joining the faculty of the Experimental Performance Institute, New College, San Francisco. Winner of the Bay Guardian 2003 Goldies Award for Dance, for a time Erika lived alone in a tiny little cabin at the bottom of Mt. Tamalpais, and the solitude brought her images. She now lives in San Francisco, and owns (but does not drive) a classic 1971 Honda CB-350F motorcycle, the rare 4-cylinder model. (2003 photo from the San Francisco Bay Guardian) click on thumbnail

Andrew, b. 24 September 1977. Andrew has been a rock drummer, a champion High School wrestler, a wrestling coach while in college, and a hip-hop DJ at his campus radio station. Has several hip-hop mix tapes on the market, and a music video in rotation on German MTV. Graduated from Santa Clara University, a Jesuit school in the San Francisco bay area, with dual majors in art history and studio art. Living in Berlin ever since finishing college, DJ Werd is touring, recording, and winning hip-hop competitions all over Europe. (Photo circa 1998) click on thumbnail

Bryn, b. 17 October 1984. Bryn earned the Boy Scouts' highest lifesaving award for rescuing his handicapped brother after Curran fell in a pond at his father's house. Bryn is now a Sophomore at Mansfield University, studying computer science. He and his brothers Aubrey and Devin were on a Nick News TV special in 1997. (Photo circa 1999) click on thumbnail

Aubrey, b. 12 April 1986. Grew up on Arthurian legends, love of dragons, and learned to live by the code of chivalry. Fits in fine among the misfits of science fiction fandom. A Life Scout who just missed making Eagle, Aubrey is a Frewhman studying bioinformatics at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Aubrey is seen here with his long hair, before The Haircut to benefit cancer treatement. (Photo circa 1998)

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Devin, b. 10 April 1988. Devin is sensitive, artistic, creative, moody, and somewhat shy. At age five, he was drawing rainbows in spectrally correct order. When asked how he knew the colors, he merely responded "that's what they look like." Devin suffered a serious false start in school due to a learning disability which prevents the two hemispheres of his brain from communicating fully. His diagnosis was complicated by the fact that he can readily perform both right-brain and left-brain activities, but has difficulty correlating the two. Instructional supports are finally in place for Devin, and his creativity and desire to please are helping him to succeed as a Junior at Williamsport Area High School. He frequently serves as a very patient personal aide to his brother Curran, and aspires to be a Special Education teacher.

Devin is seen here dancing in Coppelia with the Williamsport Civic Ballet. (Photo circa 1999)

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Curran, b. 30 January 1990. He stopped breathing four days later due to an allergic reaction, incurring brain damage leading to cerebral palsy. Curran is spastic quadraplegic. For a year (before leaks and infections dictated its removal), his spasticity was mitigated by an implanted pump which injeced Baclofen (a muscle relaxant) directly into his spinal fluid. Walks with a walker, drives a power wheelchair for distance locomotion, plays Challenger division Little League baseball (note the uniform), has been in two Little League World Series exhibition games, is active in Boy Scouts, and when younger took theraputic horseback riding lessons (in addition to receiving speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy). Curran is in eighth grade learning support classes at Lycoming Valley Middle School. (Photo circa 2000) click on thumbnail

Erin, b. 6 May 1993. As the baby of the family, he gets away with pretty much everything. At age 3, Erin decided he wanted to play violin. We leased him a 1/16th size instrument, but he refused to practice (we returned the instrument after 3 months). Now in the sixth grade at Lycoming Valley Middle School, Erin is in Boy Scouts, but prefers to spend his time playing computer games. (Photo circa 1998) click on thumbnail

click on thumbnail Ben, Paul's dad, b. 10 January 1919, Kielce Poland, d. 3 March 2005, Oceanside CA. Largely self-educated, Paul's dad was an author, artist and poet. Married four times and variously annulled, divorced, and widowed, Grandpa Ben had an acknowledged weakness for women, and for beauty. He retired from a lengthy career as an advertising artist, long lived in Miami FL, where he took college courses at the Institute for Retired Professionals, and was Poet Laureate of his Unitarian Universalist congregation. Lived his final years with Paul's youngest sister Era in Oceanside CA, where he was a member of a Jewish Humanist temple, and stayed busy with various Senior Center activities. Grandpa Ben loved reading to children at a local bookstore, and writing poetry. click on thumbnail

Joyce, Muriel's mom, b. 13 May 1933, d. 16 February 1998. Muriel's mom was an active radio amateur (WB3ECT) and emergency communicatons volunteer, who handled messages for both the Navy MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) program and the Pennsylvania SKYWARN project. Joyce's career included stints as an airport secretary, and as the most popular waitress in several Texas, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania truck stops. Joyce was a published author who lost a lengthy battle with cancer before completing a book dealing with her numerous near-death experiences. She lived with Paul and Muriel for her last few months, and achieved her wish of dying at home, among loving family, and with minimal medical intervention. (December 1996 photo) click on thumbnail

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