Beyond Barron

Daniel Van Tassel


A Memoir Beyond Barron, the second volume of a memoir initiated by the publication of Back to Barron (in 2008), encompasses captivating humor and telling detail to narrate the story of...

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A Memoir

Beyond Barron, the second volume of a memoir initiated by the publication of Back to Barron (in 2008), encompasses captivating humor and telling detail to narrate the story of author Van Tassel and his wife’s life together and their kindred careers. It focuses on schools and colleges and universities attended, taught at, and visited; homes purchased, built, modified, and redecorated; vehicles and pets acquired; and travels and forms of recreation that served as accompaniments to their academic careers and enhancements of family life. Following the saga of attending three very different high schools, a chunk of time at St. Olaf College culminates in Van Tassel’s earning a BA degree and his meeting a girl at a Fourth of July festival whom he falls in love with and marries that fall. Upon completing a grad degree at the University of Iowa, he takes an instructorship at Concordia College, while Rhoda becomes a “Cobber” and earns two more years toward her BA degree prior to the couple’s moving to California, and Chapman College for a year, where he teaches and she finishes her BA. Between colleges and squeezed in during the summer, they indulge in a grand tour of Europe, chronicled in the author’s Journey by the Book (2022). He with a PhD and she an MA, they move to Pacific Lutheran University, during which eleven-year tenure they have two children and build a house. In vignettes, anecdotes, catalogs and annotated lists reminiscent of an epic, and as scenes in a drama, the book traces in bas-relief the Van Tassels’ scholarly, administrative, and pedagogical achievements, additional moves (to Muskingum College, in Ohio, later to Cal State San Marcos, and, upon retirement, back to Minnesota), and recreational activities, including acting in plays, u-picking fruit and harvesting organically-grown vegetables, skiing, swimming, and boating as well as numerous trips and adventures within the US and beyond.


 “Not many of us take the time to review our lives, much less to trace the threads weaving in and out across our various pursuits, but Dan Van Tassel has done just that in this comprehensive survey of his contributions to college and university teaching and administration, his shared love of art and architecture with his wife Rhoda, their enthusiasm in building and renovating houses, zest for adventure, and not least, love for their children, friends, and numerous pets. With humility, humor and joy, Dan assembles memories of a life well lived. What a remarkable numbering of his days.”—Margaret Odell, Professor Emerita of Religion, St. Olaf College.

 “Beyond Barron, a sequel to Back to Barron, is a box of literary chocolates that chronicles the peripatetic lifestyle of Daniel Van Tassel, his wife Rhoda, and their two children Abby and Nat. For Dan, well-armed with a PhD in English Literature supported by a penchant for academic leadership, and Rhoda holstering an MA degree, academe became their frontier. For a span of forty plus years they served on the faculties of several institutions, with the longest tenure at Muskingum College. While the academic community was the armature around which they centered their professional lives, family life demanded equal billing. House building and decorating, skiing, boating and swimming, traveling, racing one of their cars, and acting in plays all had a place among the activities of the Van Tassel family.”—Richard Ezra Probert, author of Archie’s WayThat Good Night, and Whereabouts Unknown.

“In his sequel to Back to Barron (a must read), the author recounts special moments in his life, and, happily, we get to go along for the ride. And what an amazing trip it is! Dan is always in motion, learning, teaching, building, reflecting—and as traveling companions we, too, learn and reflect. The book highlights personal anecdotes and family stories that are funny, insightful, and thought-provoking. The book is a homecoming with the past, one that will prompt our own memories. Beyond Barron is a reminder that having a place to return to, even if it’s only in our mind, is a luxury. Robert Louis Stevenson said: ‘With a good book you can travel around the world and never leave your chair.’ Find your comfortable place and then roam the highways and byways with Dan.”—Richard Waters, emeritus minister, former bookstore owner, and writer.

Product Details:
Page Count: 154 
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: February 20, 2024
Imprint: Sunbury Press
Genre: BIOGRAPHY / Memoir

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