Matt Andresen

Former mascot, banker, co-owner of web analytics co. and financial advising co. Currently PR, content and analytics marketing dude with Cleland Marketing.

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With A Little Help From My (Community) Friends…

Scientific Method - DougIn all of my schooling (from Kindergarten through my bachelor’s degree in college and continuing through current life learning) the successful epicenter of it all came from one man whistling “Dixie.”

“Over 20 years ago, teacher Doug Eldon was having his sixth grade students work from a big, beautiful, new, thickly illustrated textbook. The problem was too many students couldn’t remember or understand what they had just read, even though they used the materials with hands-on activities. Students were overwhelmed by the amount of information. So Doug started whistling “Dixie” one day in the shower and soon came lyrics all about the scientific method. Eventually he had a nine verse song which he offered to those who were having difficulty learning, and to make a long story short, they understood and remembered the information, as demonstrated by the improved test scores (and their confident smiles).” – Lyrical Learning Website

Doug Eldon was my six grade teacher and I was one of the students having difficulty learning. Science quickly became one of my favorite subjects.  If only finance was too.  Now, while most parents want want their kids to make their own mistakes, I am sure running up huge credit card debt (like I did) wasn’t what they had in mind. Mr. Eldon was only one man and he developed this one great idea.

What I am asking for here, is not to have teachers simply step up their creativity (by cloning Eldon’s creativity), but for community members (such as financial institutions) to supplement teachers in their efforts to provide life lasting moments.  These community partners could easily help provide helpful financial content.  Think of it this way; teachers  are like a 747 airliner traveling through the sky without time or money to land for gas.  Now what if there was a community partner acting as a refueling plane, that can provide gas in mid-flight? I think you get my drift…

It has been over 20 years since I first participated in Mr. Eldon’s lyrical science learning, but I remember nearly every word to those songs.  Its direct science benefit ended in my singing under by breath in my college science classes.  I never had a community partner help in the way I suggested above, so all I can do is wonder what I could of avoided if Mr. Eldon had taught economics.

A musical excerpt of the scientific method:

The World According to Madeline: The Luck of the Andresens

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I hope you are enjoying  Saint Patrick’s Day.  I spent mine in remembrance.  If you know me at all, you know how much I loved my grandmother (Madeline Andresen).  It was enough for me to get an Irish tattoo in remembrance.   Five years ago, knowing that she was the last strong link to my Irish heritage, I had her write a blog post about how my great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from Ireland.  Here is the beautiful Madeline:

Gma with Tattoo

My mother, Anne Hickey (Higgins?) Darsey, was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1900. She was the daughter of Bridget Higgins, born in 1885. Anne was the illegitimate child of Bridget and her father was unknown. Anne did not have a good relationship with her mother, but did with her grandmother,Bridget Higgins. She was a thorn in her mother’s side. Bridget left for England to work while Anne was still an infant. Anne was left in the workhouse and where she was christened. She was not christened at at St. Michael’s, the local catholic church, because of her illegitimacy. To save Anne from abandonment, her grandmother took her from the workhouse.

Anne adored her grandmother, who raised her until she was 10-years-old. Anne’s beloved grandmother was very indulgent with Anne. On the way to school, Anne and her classmates passed the local protestant church and graveyard. The children all would swing on the gate to the cemetery and sing: “Prody-wody ring your bell, eat your supper and go to hell”. Anne was never admonished by her grandmother for singing this rather disrespectful ditty about the protestants. Her grandmother was a great reader and taught the importance of reading to Anne. She always told Anne, “If you have a cup of tea and a book to read you don’t need anything else”. This philosophy taught Anne the love of reading and the importance of education. (This philosophy was carried on into Anne’s adult life when she became a parent and always instilled in her children the importance of an educaton).

In 1910 grandma Higgins, Anne and her grandma’s youngest child, Joe (he was about 9 years older than Anne) emigrated to the United States. Anne, her grandmother and Uncle Joe landed in Boston (not Ellis Island). Anne’s mother met the ship and so Anne finally met her mother. Anne’s mother’s greeting on meeting her was an admonishment for wearing her new coat on the ship and getting it dirty. Bridget Higgins had traveled from England to the United States (New York City). She went to the United States with her sister, Fanny. In the United States, Bridget met and married Jeramiah Hickey. She then produced three more children, Madeline, Fanny and Tom. All these half-siblings were strangers to Anne. She was placed in school in New York and was put back grade because she did not know the monetary system of the United States. This demotion made her very unhappy. None the less, she enjoyed school and graduated from the eighth grade. Anne wanted to continue school and graduate from High School, but she had to go to work to help support the family.

John Dempsey Darsey, my father, was born in Macon, Georgia in 1895. He was the oldest of five children: Albert, Marion, Anne and Rosalie. Rosalie died as an infant. My father always said that Rosalie died in a fire. We never heard the details of said fire. John’s father was a railroad engineer and worked for the Panama Canal Railway Company. He contracted malaria. In Panama, at that time, there was no cure for Malaria so he was sent home to die; which he did do. His death left Anne’s mother, Elizabeth with 5 children to feed. There was no governmental agency for her to appeal to for aid. Elizabeth then moved to Atlanta to Peachtree Street where she opened a boarding house and thus was able to support her family. By now, John was 15 years old. He joined the Navy by lying about his age (said he was 16) and his mother signed the necessary papers. Thus, Elizabeth was left with one less mouth to feed.My mother, Anne Hickey, met her future husband, John, at a street dance in New York City. He was a young sailor and Anne was but 17 years old. John told Anne his name was “Arthur” because “sailors never told girls their real name”. Therefore, Anne called “John” “Arthur” for the rest of her life.

Anne and John married within a year after meeting. Anne’s mother, Bridget disapproved of the marriage, so banished her from the family apartment. The newlyweds, Anne and John, went to live with Aunt Fanny. Anne was soon pregnant with her oldest child, Elizabeth Anne (Lily).(Sept. 1919) Lily was born while Anne and John were still living with Aunt Fanny. While Lily was still an infant, John was transferred to Key West, Florida, to the Navy Yard. Anne, with Lily, then followed him to Key West. In Key West, Anne and John’s second child was born, Madeline Ellen.(November 1920). Anne did not like Key West. She was homesick for New York City and her family there. She was very happy to leave Key West when Madeline was nine months old. Lily was almost two years old at that time. So, the family returned to New York for a short time; then to Portsmouth, New Hampshire; then back to New York City where Anne’s third daughter was born, Edith Bridget (Biddy) (February 1922). 

And that is the story of us…the Andresens.  I’d say we’ve been pretty lucky.

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The Heart of my experience

Corvallis, Oregon

Corvallis, in latin literally means Heart of the Valley.  It is more than that to me.  As much as I would love to say I was born and raised here, I can’t.  I was born in Seattle, Washington and moved here when I was 2-years-old. Nothing against Seattle, but a big part of what defines you is not where you were born, but where you are from.  Many of my passions (education, faith, fitness and sports) stem from this place.  Corvallis has a higher education rate per capita than any other city in the State of Oregon and one of highest in the country.  While I live in one of the most unchurched counties in the U.S. I still have a faith stemming from my Pasor Uncle relocating here in 1990.  In regards to fitness, Corvallis boasts to be one of the most bicycle friendly towns in the U.S. and one of the healthiest. To fulfill my sports passion, I live in Beaver Nation, home of Oregon State University (my girlfriend literally lives across the street from the football stadium).

Admittedly, I went to Washington State University and have a strong passion for the Wazzu Cougars (I even was the mascot), but I also love and follow the Beavers. I could go on and on about Corvallis being the greenest city in america, the safest city in america and one of the top in pushing out pattents, but I’ll spare you.  I think you get the idea.  I just love my home town.  If you would like to know more about the town that helped mold me into who I am today check out the Visit Corvallis page.  For the more visually inclined, here is a Corvallis song complete with capured images of the town I love.  Cheers.