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300 | John Cole - An Extraordinary Artist and Author

September 30, 2022

300 | John Cole - An Extraordinary Artist and Author
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John is retired Coast Guard who served for 35-years on active duty in both the enlisted and officer corps. He is now a full time artist who uses his talents to bring joy into the lives of others.

He is best known for his dot painting pet portraits, a unique pointillistic style used to capture our beloved companions on painted tile.

When not creating with paint, brush, cloth, or pyrography, he is writing. He has self-published more than 14 books including two travelogs, a graphic novel, and multiple genealogies.

He will appear in the anthology "Behind the Power: You’re Not Crazy, You’re Powerful" by Allyson Roberts coming in the fall of 2022.
He is also creator of the YouTube animated series The Boy.

He holds an AAS, BS, and MS in Information Technology, a graduate certificate in Projects and Programs, and soon Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design (Dec 2022).

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Unknown Speaker  0:02  
Welcome to positive talk radio. Our goal is simple to explore evolving ideas, one conversation at a time. So stay with us. And right now, we present. We got a great show for you today. I have a gentleman who has been on the show before. And he is so intriguing that I had to have him back because he's his, let's see, he's an author. He is a genius genealogist. Is that how you say it?

Unknown Speaker  0:33  
Yeah, that's you can say it that way. Yes, absolutely. genealogist family historian, I like to use that word sometimes,

Unknown Speaker  0:38  
oh, family historian is good, too. And he's also an did I say, artists, he's an author artists. And and his wife is an animal communicator. And they have got its, and he was in the Coast Guard for 35 years. So he's been around. And he's done a lot of things. John, welcome to the show. How are you?

Unknown Speaker  0:59  
I'm doing well. Kevin, thank you very much. And thanks again, for having me on. I was really looking forward to this. So probably be the last podcast interview with you prior to the behind the power event, which is coming up in October. Yep. Well, hopefully we'll touch on that later on in the in the show.

Unknown Speaker  1:15  
Yeah, well, actually, we can start with that if you'd like because that is a program that you are going to be a speaker at. And are you doing a breakout room as well?

Unknown Speaker  1:25  
I am yeah, the my right. So there's there's three different components to what I'm going to be participate for. For really, if you want to get down to it. The first part is I'm going to be presenting a 15 minute speech, I'm going to be focusing on codependency, because that is a product project where I can't speak tonight. That is a problem that I have experienced throughout my life. And it wasn't something that I realized was manifesting up until I met Allison Roberts. So that's, that's the first part. Second part is the breakout room. And I'm gonna change it up a little bit. With my focus being on some of the challenges that I faced shifting from, I'll use the Coast Guard, but basically shifting from a lifelong investment in time and effort, and basically changing careers because that was a really big challenge for me. And I think there are a lot of people out there that have similar challenges. If they're shifting from a career over here and trying to find another career. After that, it can be frustrating sometimes. That's the second piece. The third piece is the panel. So I'm going to be participating in a couple panel sessions with some of my peers on stage, one of which will be talking about vulnerabilities and things like that. And then the fourth piece, of course, is I will be showcasing some of my art. So I'm going to have a table that's going to be set up at the hotel col Lee in Atlanta. So if folks want to stop by to check it out, they're welcome to do that.

Unknown Speaker  2:53  
And it's really exciting because the event is the premium event is sold out, which which is really cool. And but you can still go and you can still go virtually, absolutely, from anywhere in the world. So we can talk about that, as it's called behind the power, go to behind the power And you can get tickets to and find out all about it. All the speakers are gonna be there. I think it'll be a lot of fun for everybody. I wanted to touch bases with you, first of all, on this, this thing that it goes on with a lot of it is older guys, like, you know, like you and me. That Are you know, you were involved in a career for 35 years in the military or the Coast Guard, which I consider part of the military. And in knowing what you had to do and somebody was telling you what to do or you were telling them what to do for that entire time. You had a rank you had people that were were saluting you and and it was it was your existence was purely it was there and it was clear what you would get up in the morning and do and what your day would be consist of and and then you go home and you do the same thing again tomorrow and stuff. And then suddenly all of a sudden you retired. And then you were just John. Yep. That that is a major transition, isn't it?

Unknown Speaker  4:24  
Yeah, it was. It was a much bigger transition than I was expecting Kevin. And I tell you if you really want to know the Bucha you know how horrible horrible it was. I mean, the conversation with Christine my wife would really be the one that can give you the the ground truth on that because she had to deal with me, right? It's no nicer way of putting into that. But you know, the big thing for me and you're right you know when you're when you're in an environment that's very organized, very rigid and very structured. You do get used to it. You know, it is a is an institutional type organization. And not to compare the military with prison because there's clear differences. But conceptually, it's, it's the same because you're you are told what to do. You're told what to wear, you're told when to show up, you're told when you can leave. And quite frankly, the higher up and rank you get in any military organization, the same applies, right? Yeah. Whether or not you're somebody right out of boot camp for many of the armed forces, or you're the senior most person, you still have a quote unquote, nine to five job. Matter of fact, it's not even a nine to five job, it can literally be a 24/7 job, right? Yeah. Because for me, most of my career, I was on call. And when you're on call, you need to be prepared at all times. So that adjustment going from that to Hey, John, you can do whatever you want to do now? Well, my my first thought was, well, what do I want to do? You know, it's hard. Yeah, really, is

Unknown Speaker  6:04  
it it gives my father was an executive with Nordstroms for for almost 40 years. And when he retired, he found several things about his life had changed. First of all, he was no longer Mr. McDonald, because he was an executive. And so everywhere he went, he had people that were scurrying around making sure that their racks were right. And the displays were right, and everybody was working, and all that kind of stuff. And then he retired, and he was just plain old Jack. And Jack had nothing to do. And then he went home. And he'd worked six days a week for most of his adult life. And he invaded my mother's house. Because it was she had it set up the way she wanted it. And then he had nothing to do. And so he was kicking around the house, which caused them to break up for a period of time. Because it was really stressful for both of them, because they they didn't even know each other that well, have. They just kind of passed in the night kind of thing. So it was, yeah, it was hard. And I don't want to pry about, about you and Christine or anything like that. But I imagine that that is an adjustment for a person that's been set up the house the way they want it and all that kind of stuff. And then all of a sudden you're underfoot?

Unknown Speaker  7:18  
Well, yeah, I mean, it's particularly bad even today, after two years. It's, it's, I mean, we're working on it. And we're working through managing some of the complexities. I mean, it's something as simple as laundry. I mean, you wouldn't think that that would be a contentious issue. I mean, socks are dirty, you throw them in the machine, they can then you dry them, and they're done. Right. But who does the laundry, when the person that may be has historically been doing it now has to share that responsibility? I mean, it seems like a really easy question to answer. But it's not because even scheduling is different. Right? Like me, to this day, I get up between five and 530. I just wake up naturally between five and 530. So

Unknown Speaker  8:11  
you get up on purpose. Yeah, yeah. Oh, you poor man.

Unknown Speaker  8:16  
Well, I enjoyed. I've always liked the morning anyway. And I am programmed to get up that early, right. But then again, I'm in bed by nine o'clock at night. So there is a trade off there, right. But she doesn't, she gets up later. So it's like working with it's like me working with you, Kevin. Every day. You're on West Coast time. I'm on East Coast time. And somehow we need to make all this work. It's no different in that relationship. So here I come in with my militaristic way of thinking, I get up at 530. And it's like 637 30. Meanwhile, the laundry sitting there, well, I'm just gonna go ahead and do it. I'm not doing anything else anyway, right? And she gets up, she's like, Well, why did you do the laundry for I was going to do it. You know what I mean? So and that's just one small thing. You multiply that now with everything else, and it's something, there we go. She's confirming exactly what I'm saying. It does. It does take patience. And I think what what what's really good for me is I do have Christine who's a very strong person, you know, and she's been very good at communicating that to me. And I think being in Allison's program, both of us has actually supported this dialogue much better than it could have been.

Unknown Speaker  9:29  
So by the way, I'm really taken with how you said that. She's a strong woman. I haven't really communicated that well to me and somebody else might have said, she is tough and she yells at me all the time.

Unknown Speaker  9:44  
She She doesn't yell and that's the thing she she does her very best to understand. I mean, we got we got married when I hit the 20 year mark with the Coast Guard. So I, you know, I was matter of fact, I was planning on retiring that year when I met her. And the reason I didn't retire is because I thought, well, I'm getting married, I needed an income. And by the way, I speak a little bit about this in Atlanta, because this is part of my overall codependency issues that I've that I've dealt with my whole life, right? I need I need to rescue my new wife. So I need a job and I need to do this thing to rescue her right. But for the last 15 years, she has, has been very well aware of, you know, my commitment to the service and to the American people, right through the services that the Coast Guard provides search and rescue, law enforcement, drug interdiction, the whole nine yards. And in the hours, I mean, I was working 1314 hours a day. So her being witness to that I think, made her a little more understanding to what I was going through when I did retire. Now, at some point, at some point, though, she's gonna say, All right, it's been two years, it's been three years, you know, time to fix this, right. And I'm working on it, and we're getting there. But it is a very slow, slow process. So I would think that my my advice to anybody, you know, and that would probably be something that I would discuss, and probably will, during that breakout session is to be patient with yourself, because I might be a little slower than other people. But either way, it takes time.

Unknown Speaker  11:33  
It's a whole lifestyle change. It's everything about your, and even how you feel about yourself changes that happened with my dad, because he was suddenly he was just jack. And and nobody, nobody came around. His friends were still working, he retired a little early and, and he had nothing to do. And he didn't know what to do with himself because he'd spent so much time doing the one thing he could not transition. I'm I'm so glad that you all have are in the process of transitioning as the into an artist and an author, and your job and you're doing all kinds of things. So you're, you're transitioning quite well.

Unknown Speaker  12:18  
Well, thank you. Yeah, I have, and have always had a lot of hobbies, which have the potential to be quite exciting. I mean, it's really it's really nice that I'm I've postured myself, where I have some flexibility now where I can focus in on artwork or writing or, you know, family histories and genealogies and things like that. But where the struggle for me lies is. Now I do have that time. Where do I put that focus? Yeah, you know what I mean? It's like, I don't necessarily want to, and I don't maybe I maybe I do, maybe I don't know what that focus area ought to be. You know, it's kind of a complex thing for probably a lot of us in this position is, you know, where do you put all your eggs? Which basket you put your eggs in? You know what I mean?

Unknown Speaker  13:15  
Yep, I was a bus driver for 12 years. And there were, there were guys that work, you know, 50 6070 hours a week as a bus driver for 2530 years. And what happened to them was they would retire. And their whole family was they, they didn't have a good family structure around them. Because they were working all the time. Right. A lot of a lot of them. And I know you've you've heard of this. A lot of a lot of them just ended up passing away. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Because a lot of people when they retire, they they end up not knowing what to do, they ended up sitting in front of the television, of 2830 hours a week and, and stuff and it ends in their life. For for all intents and purposes, at the very moment when they have the freedom, and hopefully the financial wherewithal to be able to do some fun stuff. They all of a sudden, just sit there. And they don't feel like they can do anything. And that is sad. And that's what I hope. I hope that's what your topic is going to be about in in Atlanta is as to always do, have always be looking for the next thing.

Unknown Speaker  14:20  
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think that's, that's one of the key points for any any transition process. You know, you know, there's there there are folks that I know, even transitioning from shorter periods of time, you know, five or 10 years that they've obligated, you know, in a particular role or function at an organization. And they say, Well, I'm going to take the next two, three months off to just that's okay to maybe do that for a week or so or two weeks. But I think that if you if you become too complacent or too if you don't focus on the next thing, I think that's what you're describing will happen. I think you tend To fall into I want to make sure I say this right? I think that you, you can very easily fall into a position where you lose that desire to hit a goal or meet an objective. Because if you do have a steady income, for example, you know, like for me if I'm, if I'm getting a retirement check in, and let's say that it's enough to meet my basic needs, What's my motivation then to do anything other than, like you're suggesting just sit and watch TV? There isn't. There is.

Unknown Speaker  15:37  
So unless you have a passion for what it is that you're going to transition to.

Unknown Speaker  15:42  
Right? And that's so right. So that's the key thing. And I think that if you, if you do stop, and lose that sense of motivation, motivation is such a hard thing to get back. It is. I mean, I used to run and all it took was maybe a month or two of me not running, and I completely lost that motivation. And to get it back. It's like pulling teeth. Or getting or getting a root canal, which I just got yesterday, by the way, I'm just letting you know.

Unknown Speaker  16:08  
I'm sorry. I've had a bunch of them.

Unknown Speaker  16:10  
Yeah. But I think you know what I'm trying to say hopefully, hopefully, the folks listening to this podcast, understand what I'm saying as well. i But But I agree, I think if it's not a matter of looking to do something for the sake of doing I think it's a matter of always looking for something to keep you excited about life. Yes. Because that's really what it's all about. I mean, life should be a series of excitements even if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to turn out. You know, new challenges, new adventures, new new experiences, really is what makes what we're doing here worth it.

Unknown Speaker  16:50  
Yeah. And when you stop doing that, then then things go downhill for you. And, and the and the people around you. Oh, yeah, absolutely. It makes it really tough for when other people are, are either dependent upon you or they care about you to see you just kind of stop and, and that's the thing. My dad when he retired, he didn't feel like he wanted to go volunteer. You know, we said go, you know, go walk, some dogs go Do you love dogs and stuff and go do stuff like that. And he wouldn't do it. Because it's like, well, I want to get paid for all that. So he ended up he joined the country club and played golf. And it was really interesting, because what he did was he now instead of working at Nordstrom, which he had for so long, he now was a member of the country club. And so playing golf was his job. So he get up at seven o'clock in the morning, he'd go down to the club and get coffee on the way. He'd sit there and have coffee and talk to the guys. They'd play around a golf. And then then they would go and play gin. And then he would go home at five. So it looks like he had a job. And that was he was what was accustomed that what was what he was accustomed to.

Unknown Speaker  18:09  
Yeah, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. No.

Unknown Speaker  18:14  
And he got his butt out of the house, so my mom wouldn't shoot him.

Unknown Speaker  18:17  
Oh, there you go. See the laundry would have got done on her schedule then. Right? That's

Unknown Speaker  18:21  
exactly right. That's exactly right. And this is a doctor Marnie, and she's a friend of the show and a doctor Marnie, got to have you back on again. So let's get in touch. Another great interview, John, you've got a great attitude about life. And you do. And as the crow flies, she just says, Hello, how you doing?

Unknown Speaker  18:44  
It's him kitten? ashita.

Unknown Speaker  18:46  
I know her. Yes. I know her too. She was on the other day, wasn't she? She was and she's going to be on again. She was delightful. As you guys all are. You guys all are. And, you know, we mentioned Christine. And Christine is an animal communicator. And something happened in your house in the last couple three weeks. That is it's life altering in this life changing. Tell us what happened.

Unknown Speaker  19:13  
Yeah. Yeah, after. Yeah, after 1313 and a half years, almost 14 years, our beloved Milkbone, who you can see in the background for those that have video. He passed away. He had about four or five months ago had a case of vertigo, which is something that happened inside of his brain, I guess. And he had some issues with that. And I'm not quite sure he ever recovered from that. He was starting to have some breathing difficulties, and then it just went downhill. So about 334 weeks ago. We took them to the vet and unfortunately the vet couldn't do anything And we had to say our goodbyes to him. And, you know, Milkbone was, for me, the only dog that has ever been in my life. Growing up, we had stray cats. We had a ton of stray cats outside our house. So we had, we had come in from all over. And we used to name them as kids. You know, we had one that was called short tail, and one that was called softball head. And you know, we had all these really weird names for these stray cats. But we never had a dog. And, you know, Milkbone story real quick is my Christina and I had got got married up here in Massachusetts, and immediately the Coast Guard gave us orders to West Virginia, West Virginia, wild and wonderful, right wonderful place to live. But when you're moving someplace new, it can be a struggle to adapt to the community adapt to the climate, the whole nine yards. So Christina and I, we were having some struggles, our first year of marriage was not exactly the easiest thing. And I thought to myself, This is how husbands think, I know. I'll get Christine somebody that she can talk to. So instead of going out and hiring a friend, I decided to bring home a Springer Spaniel. And I remember telling her Hey, honey, I brought home a puppy and the first thing she says was, that's a puppy because Springer Spaniels, as puppies are pretty big, and I think it was maybe eight weeks old. So he was up. I mean, I was lugging this dog in. But from that day forward, those two bonded and and I did as well, he became, he became our best friend. He was with us all the time he a very well traveled dog. I mean, he lived in West Virginia, lived in Hawaii, lived in California. Lived in, you know, of course, Massachusetts, and he's been in New York, he's been to Georgia, he's been all over the place, but he's really going to be missed. And for those folks that have dogs, cats, or any kind of animals, I absolutely now more than ever understand what it feels like to lose somebody that's so close. So the good news is, I know, I'll see him again. I just know it, I feel it inside my soul. I know that I'll see him again. It's just going to take me a little while before we get to play again. So and I know he's looking forward to seeing Christine too.

Unknown Speaker  22:34  
Now, Christine is an animal communicator. And when when Milkbone was going downhill, did you have an opportunity to talk with them? Did she get any, any thoughts? Any anything from him? Or was he kind of sometimes it's hard to communicate when they're not feeling? Well?

Unknown Speaker  22:54  
Yeah, I I'm not going to speak for my wife and what she does, or how she how she communicates, because I don't really know that much about it. But I know that towards the end, I know that she was picking up that he was feeling a little bit of confusion. I don't think he wanted to go. But I, but I don't think he had much of a choice. I mean, I'm not an animal communicator. But I, but I was there when, you know, when we saw him at the vet, and Christina and I made the mutual decision that he had to, you know, cross the Rainbow Bridge, there was no way around it. I mean, I'm not going to describe it, but he just was, there's no way we could have brought him home. There's just no way, you know. But I think he, from what she said, I think the only thing that she picked up on was that he was just a little confused as to what was happening because what was really interesting, Kevin is as much as he was struggling to breathe. When he saw us, he waggle this tail. Oh, yeah. You know what I mean? Oh, he was very aware of what was going on. It's just his, it's like, it's like with us, I think with we get to a certain point in our lives where our bodies are just start to not function. Our minds are sharp, and we're like, Dude, you know, I got all this stuff. I gotta do this, and this and this. And it's like, well, you know, I can't even run anymore because my knees hurt. Right? It's

Unknown Speaker  24:32  
um, they're, it's, I'm going down the Rainbow Bridge. Hopefully it'll be a while before.

Unknown Speaker  24:38  
I hope so too. Right. But actually, yeah,

Unknown Speaker  24:41  
but but and I gotta tell you, John, then this is from years of working with animal communicators and, and folks that I've talked to my dogs and stuff like that. They look at they look at passing on as differently than we do, in that they don't have any fear of it. Because it's just a natural part of life. So, and he does have a soul. And he will see you again. And he's waiting for you. And that time will go very quickly.

Unknown Speaker  25:10  
Yeah, you know something, I think you're right. I think I will go a lot quicker than I think. Because the older I get the more as I sense how fast time moves, you know what I mean? So, and I'm not saying that this is going to happen tomorrow or the next day, but I think, you know, the next one, what am I 50? Something now 56. I mean, hypothetically, if I lived to 80, which would be super, you're only looking at another three decades, which is far less than the time I spent in the Coast Guard, for Pete's sake, you know what I mean? So, relatively speaking, it's not that long. So

Unknown Speaker  25:41  
Oh, no. And and see, since there is no time over there. Yeah, exactly. It moves, it moves really quickly. And before you know it, you guys will be together. Now, the only caveat there is. Sometimes dogs like to come back in another in another dog suit, to enjoy the same family because of the relationship that they had. So I would implore you, if there is a dog that magically I don't know how, well it just magically shows up at your doorstep. Don't disregard that.

Unknown Speaker  26:19  
wouldn't wouldn't dream on it wouldn't dream it?

Unknown Speaker  26:23  
Yes. Indeed. And, and, and hugs to you, Christine. John Milkbone soul is always with you. And that's, that is that is absolutely true. And you know, it's amazing. We, you know, dogs have good. A good friend of mine who's of animal behavior law says, dogs have Masters, cats have staff. And so you know, it's always nice to come home to somebody who's always happy to see you. Yeah. And I didn't give that when I when I was married. I didn't always get that, you know, that. Gee, honey, I'm happy to see you kind of look from my significant other, but I always did for my lungs. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  27:07  
yeah. Yeah, he was he was he was wonderful. He was. So

Unknown Speaker  27:11  
now in addition to what you do, cuz you're an author, you've got you write a bunch of stuff. And I'm curious to know how you got into genealogy.

Unknown Speaker  27:22  
Well, that's that. Thank you for asking that. Kevin. That's a really good question. And the short, the short story to that is this. My mother for years was interested in family history. And this was well before the internet. So she would write letters to people in other countries trying to track down her side of the family. Right. So her maiden name was Hinton. And over time, she learned that the Hinton's came from England. So she would converse with folks from England to try to establish that particular family tree. In the meantime, she identified a potential connection to the early Plymouth colonies, specifically, Edward Bang's, who came in from England and 1623 aboard the N. And I still remember, I think it was in the early 90s, when she called me when I was living in Massachusetts, thrilled to confirm that we were in fact descended from Edward Bang's the pilgrim because he was third ship over that we had that direct ancestry there. So, me living in Massachusetts, this was again, probably right about the time that the internet started to be a thing, probably the early 90s. Asked me to go to the library to do some research. So I go to the library down there in downtown Salem look some things up for so I would help her a little bit remotely because she was living in New York State, I was living in Massachusetts, all that wasn't enough to really get my juices boiling yet for genealogy or family history. But that's kind of how I dip my toe into the arena. All right. Awesome. Fast forward from the 90s to 2006. My mother passes away. Okay. It's a sad thing. I inherit what must have been 20 boxes of genealogy. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  29:26  
You kind of got forced into it. Yeah. Well, I wouldn't

Unknown Speaker  29:29  
say forced into it. But I'm like, wow, this is this is. This is this is when I moved with Christina West Virginia. This is right around that same time period, or actually a little bit before. No, it was right around the same time period. So I've got all these boxes of genealogical material. Meanwhile, we now have the internet. So my first thing was, well, I hate to throw out all my mom's work. I can't keep it so why don't I start to confirm what she found by using By using, you know,, and a lot of these other sites. And when I started doing that, of course, everything she found was accurate, but I was able to convert it through these or confirm it through these sites. And then the meantime, if once things were once things were found, I would just get rid of the old paperwork, because a lot of it was just like, literally dot matrix printer type papers, right? Like old school stuff, right? Just keeping some of the essential original paperworks, you know, papers, things that she would get from from England, or some handwritten documents and stuff like that. But during that process, I'm like, Well, where does my coal ancestry come from? Because my mother never focused on it. She never looked any of it up, because she was doing her family.

Unknown Speaker  30:47  
Right? Right.

Unknown Speaker  30:50  
So the coal line now that's that's really where my love for genealogy sprung because the story with my dad is this is growing up. He never once spoke about his family at all. At all, like who are your parents never spoke about it. Do you have any brothers and sisters never said anything? Where are you from? The only thing we knew is that he was born in Syracuse, New York. That was it. Wow. Okay. Now, I couldn't ask him in the year 2006 Or beyond because he had died in 1987. So he wasn't around. So I'm like, Alright, I'm going to focus on the coal ancestry. Alright, so it didn't take too long to start making connections. I suspected that he was the son of Frederick Cole that lived in the Syracuse area. So once I made that connection, I found out who he was married to. It was a German immigrant that came over in the early 19th, early 20th century on one of the boats, she was like 16 years old, her name was rose. They ended up getting married, my father was born. And then of course I am here. Interesting thing about them is my grandfather. Frederick was 20 years older than his wife. My father, coincidentally was 20 years older than his wife. I am eight years older than my wife. So I didn't quite hit that 20. I tried really hard, but But getting back to the coal mine, what what I what I really wanted to solve was who was Frederick's father? And the problem was this. I couldn't find any records for that. Until I came across the book that showed a Frederick coal which was a son of orange coal. The guy's name was orange, Theodore coal. And why I thought that was Frederick's father is because the middle name was Theodore orange. Theodore Cole. Frederick's middle name was Theodore Frederick Theodore Cole, in the never guess what my father's middle name was? Theodore. Correct. So what are the odds that Theodore isn't a family name? The thing the problem that I had was the birthdate for Frederick listed under Orange was a year off. Fortunately, New York State has really good records. So I sent away for the marriage record for Frederick Hall, which lists orange Cole is this father. Oh, wow. Orange was a Civil War veteran for the Union. And once I had his name, I was able to then trace the coal surname all the way back to Plymouth, this time to the Winthrop fleet with a fleet that came over in the 1630s. So both my family tree lines both came in through the Plymouth colonies, right around the same time. And what's really interesting, Kevin, is that when you look at these family trees as they branch out, at some point, they do reconnect. So my mother and father were actually 10th cousins. Isn't it funny how that works?

Unknown Speaker  34:14  
That that that really is and is it kind of like, by the way, Christine says, you found appreciation for your ancestry which is which is really cool because my ancestry goes back to my grandpa to my grandparents. And as after that, there's nothing but is it kind of like a detective novel that you're just kind of looking at clues about things and and stuff like that and then you're trying to piece stuff together?

Unknown Speaker  34:42  
It absolutely is. And I tell you I get so lost in that. That it for a while there, it caused some marital issues with Christie and I'm not gonna lie. It really did. I was spending so much time focused on that, you know, after work, I would come home and work on that, that it's like Never saw her and I had to kind of back off a little bit. My choice to do that, not hers. But But yeah, it is. And And sometimes what makes it more interesting is when you start to research other family that that aren't even related to you. Right? So I've done family histories for for friends of mine, you know, over the years. And it's surprising how many people that I've done at random, you know, and what I mean by random is, you know, I'll do yours and I'll do somebody's from, you know, Arkansas, and I'll do somebody's from Vermont, what I'm finding is that, more often than not, I can, I can tie these people into my family tree. Which means then we're related. I, my first one was, my first non relative was a friend of mine I did in Hawaii. I found out it his family came from Spartanburg, South Carolina. And we share a common ancestor. So we're cousins. Right? I did a friend of mine that lives in New Hampshire, and found out that we're cousins, I did one for a friend of mine, I met in Boston find out we're cousins, our secretary in Boston, when I was working there, my last job with the Coast Guard, I did her genealogy, and we're cousins. It's like, we literally are all connected. Kevin, and, you know, when we look at the world, and we and we watched all this negative talk between people, I think what we're missing is that, at the fundamental level, we are all related to each other. And it makes me wonder if you knew that, would it make things any different? I don't know. But

Unknown Speaker  36:50  
well, if you knew it, but more importantly, if you believed it, because you know, even if, but you see your your family tree goes back 400 years in, in the United States, or in the US, yeah, in the colonies and stuff. And then it goes back even farther than that. But, you know, if you, and thank you for tennis, for saying that, that we are all connected, because I know, fundamentally deep in my soul that we are all connected. And it would be it would change, it would literally change everything. If you no longer thought somebody was different, or you were fearful or you, you You You're disdainful of their past or the the color of their skin or who they loved or any of that. We're if we could get through that it would fundamentally change the world. And I think we're, we're on the path to get there. But sadly, I'm going to be across the Rainbow Bridge before we get there, I'm afraid.

Unknown Speaker  37:49  
What we you know what I would agree that we will get there at some point. When I don't know. And I would agree, I don't think I'm going to be around when that happens either. But I think it starts with people like us, I think it starts with wanting to see things better. And really, it I'll be honest with you, what really helped me through the years is things like family history, looking at your own family and understanding where you come from, because you know, you've got you've got people that don't necessarily know that they might be related to people that they currently hate. You know what I mean? I don't necessarily mean contemporary, but let's say for let's let's take the whole slavery issue really quick. I mean, you could be running around heating the African American community, and not even realize it in your family tree. You might have African American ancestry or relatives in their that might have been slaves, which might even change your entire perspective on that argument. You wouldn't even know that.

Unknown Speaker  39:01  
Yes, indeed. Right. Or,

Unknown Speaker  39:03  
or, you know, or or you don't even think it's an issue. So you don't even address the subject or it's somebody else's problem. Not knowing that if you go back five or six generations, your third fourth great grandparents own slaves. Right, I mean, so it ethic it can change your perspective.

Unknown Speaker  39:27  
It would if you know, as an example, if you are somebody who is for lack of a better term, I'll just say a while just just your garden, run of the mill racist. They believe in the white privilege and they believe in white people. But if you go back into their genealogy, and if they at one time had relatives that were slave owners, chances are they have a brother or sister or a cousin or somebody that from back then that was African American, and because they they did a lot of you know even wasn't Alexander Hamilton? He he had a mistress who was an African American I believe, and and stuff so So I wonder what it would do to your psyche? If you were a devout person that was a devout racist, and then you had an ancestor, who was that race? It would have to change your opinion, I would think

Unknown Speaker  40:27  
I would hope that it would. But I think with that comes a comes a willingness to write, I think, you know it when it comes to beliefs specifically, and that's why I'll bring up Allison, again, that's why Allison's program is so important to me and why it's so important to the people that are working with her and why she why it's so important in the world is that she she helps us change our minds about things because you know, when we are very focused on anything, whether or not it's a racial issue, or a political issue, or, you know, a laundry issue, those are just thoughts in our head. Yeah, right. And thoughts can be changed, because we change our thoughts all the time. You know, how many times did the alarm go off this morning, and you thought, Well, I think I'm gonna hit the snooze button for another eight minutes on my iPhone. So you hit the snooze button, you changed your mind. So if you can change your mind for that you can change your mind about anything. It's just it takes a willingness to do that. And I think that's the part that some folks are just resistant to.

Unknown Speaker  41:43  
I couldn't agree more. By the way, that's Allison Roberts, go to Alice, to find out more information about that. And also behind the power event, which is coming in October, October 19, to 21st. And it'll be a lot of fun for everybody who gets to go now you can go virtually. And then now the rooms are sold out, Dominic, I wanted to go to swim in the pool that was on the roof. That will be fun. But then everybody else would leave if I've gotten.

Unknown Speaker  42:14  
Maybe we'll jump in there with you. Who knows?

Unknown Speaker  42:17  
That could that could very well be by the way. We're talking with John Cole. He's an author. He's an artist. Let's talk about, you know, genealogies. Well, before I leave that subject, I gotta ask you, because there is a rumor in my family that my great grandfather on my mother's side, had a family of five in St. Louis, or the Midwest somewhere and left them there and went out to Oregon and had another family of five. Is there any way genealogy wise that you can trace that back? How would you trace that family that is was in the Midwest somewhere? To him? When he was in Oregon?

Unknown Speaker  43:05  
It did what time frame are we talking about?

Unknown Speaker  43:08  
1860s 1870, somewhere in there.

Unknown Speaker  43:11  
But pretty much I'll be through the census records initially. Because 1850 is when the first US Census started to collect everybody's names. right for them for households prior to that they pretty much just focused on the males, right? So it'd be, you know, 1840. And earlier, it'd be Kevin McDonald, your name would be listed. And then for those members of the household, you know, there'd be one female, that would be over the age of 40. We do just little hash marks, right. So you wouldn't have names, but 1850. And moving forward, they would list everybody's names. So at some point, the census takers because they did a much better job back then than they're doing now. Because now nobody wants their information out there. So I'm not going to do the census. You're going to know my information out there anyway, for Pete's sake. Right. But you would track that using the census records.

Unknown Speaker  44:05  
Got it. Got it. So So you were doing genealogy before you retired? And then you picked up and then you were also writing before you retired, I'm assuming and then you picked up the artistry. How did you pick up the artistry? And I assume that was after you're retired? Or did you do those? Were you just doing all these hobbies and you just transitioned into a career out of it?

Unknown Speaker  44:28  
Well, I the artwork while the writing the writing piece started writing piece started while I was in the Coast Guard. It started with a back in 90 I think was 1990. I had a newspaper, Op Ed published in the Buffalo News. And I saw my name in print. I'm like, oh my god I can write. That's what it was. It's like they actually printed something and put it in the newspaper. My mom So proud It was awesome, right? And then I wrote some articles for Great Lakes boating magazine. I did that for about a year when I was working for the Coast Guard, and in Buffalo, New York. And then I started my first book set was documenting the charter streets cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts. And that turned out to be seven volumes, you know, you know, the large larger format, softcover books. So that so the writing actually started before I retired, the art started maybe four or five months before I left Hawaii, because I was suddenly inspired to paint

Unknown Speaker  45:45  
work. Did you know that you are good at this when you started? Because these years are just phenomenal.

Unknown Speaker  45:53  
Thank you know that's that's part of my my codependency issue as well is not recognizing the value of what I do. So I have been told that my artwork is good. And I will say thank you for that, Kevin. But one of the things that I've been working on for the last two years, since working with Allison is, you know, recognizing my value. So

Unknown Speaker  46:23  
now this is something new that I can do. Oh, I'm showing your artwork. And by the way, down here where my cursor is, that's Milkbone that's not been yet. And I I was looking at this one, a Wiley

Unknown Speaker  46:41  
Wiley estimates carries. How did you get

Unknown Speaker  46:45  
the eyes to do that? That looks so real.

Unknown Speaker  46:51  
Thank you. Now it's just those are painting with dots. It's all it's like a pointillism type technique.

Unknown Speaker  46:58  
It is just amazing what you're doing with these cars. And by the way, if you are a dog lover like I am, my father was, we had a dog named Susie. And she was one of his favorites of all time. And we had a portrait done of her before she passed. And and that had a place of honor in his house all the way until he passed. Because he was indeed, our animals are so important to us. But I tell you you are you are extraordinarily talented young man.

Unknown Speaker  47:35  
Thank you. Thank you. And there's munchie munchie is the first cat and only cat I've done so far.

Unknown Speaker  47:41  
That's because you're getting a cat to sit still for very long. It's hard to do. Yeah, maybe

Unknown Speaker  47:44  
that's it hard to photograph. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  47:48  
But you get the you get the eyes, you get the everything looks. looks so real. So congratulations on that. That's, that is just awesome. Thank you. So I can do that now in that cool, that is cool. That's awesome. If somebody wants to get a hold of you and would like to commission you all the all you need is a picture, I would assume and they can commission you to do their their portrait of their animal or like on here it's on on tile, what you're doing is you're putting them on. So that's that's really cool, as well. How do they get ahold each one?

Unknown Speaker  48:24  
Well, there's two ways if you go to the website, which is John Robert Or email is John Cole And the reason that the URL is not the same as my email is because somebody else has my URL right now. So

Unknown Speaker  48:44  
what's your hate that I got? To comedy? I got a guy in 2003 when I did positive talk radio on KK and w the first time there was another show on there called contact talk radio. And he and this is the early days. This is 2003 I didn't know anything about the internet. I didn't know anything about buying domains or any of that kind of stuff. So he bought positive talk He still holds it to this day. And now he wants $2,600 for it.

Unknown Speaker  49:22  
Yeah what do they call it internet scalping or something like that? They used to have a term for that right?

Unknown Speaker  49:29  
Yeah. And yeah. And so that's why we are positive talk Because he let that net go because he didn't want to pay that one too. But he's still holding on to that one that he's for $2,600 So it's not worth it to me for them. Yeah and outside. So but anyway, go to John Cole or John Robert And look at his pets and and and commissioned him to do your your And, and before they go, because you'll miss them. And that having that there is just really cool.

Unknown Speaker  50:08  
Yeah, yeah, I appreciate that. But, ya know, it's, they're, they're fun to do, they're meaningful to I mean, I enjoy, I'm gonna use the word connecting, it's not connecting the same way as Christine connects with animals, but I do enjoy connecting, in my own way with, with these animals. It's really nice, it's touching too.

Unknown Speaker  50:33  
It is, and we each of us can connect to each other and can connect to animals in our own specific way. And that doesn't have to be able to how anybody else does it. It's how you do it. And it means a lot, and it means a lot to the owners. And it's, it's really, it really is remarkable. So, John, thank you. I'm glad that we have this time that we're gonna have to do this again, if you don't mind. Oh, not

Unknown Speaker  50:58  
at all. I'm not sure about between now and October, though, with the event because you are one busy man. However, it would be great. It would be great to hook up with you afterwards, just to see how everything went when that'd be. I'd love to

Unknown Speaker  51:13  
do a post mortem on it. Yeah, yeah. ism. If you look at my schedule, I can't believe how busy I am.

Unknown Speaker  51:19  
Oh, you're popular. And it's awesome. I mean, you do such a great job, Kevin. And I know you've got you've got a great number of people watching your shows, and some really interesting guests too. So that for you.

Unknown Speaker  51:29  
I have and you know, what's interesting about it is that they come to me because apparently, this show is unique in the fact that not a lot of people are doing exactly what I'm doing. Because I do it live. warts and all. You know, it's not always perfect, but, but some really profound information comes out of that and, and things like, were the things that you and I have been talking about today. Everybody goes through. Yeah, there really is a commonality to the human experience, that that everybody thinks that I'm the first one that this has ever happened to and then later that it's happened to all of us, and that's in the house, it'll tell you that.

Unknown Speaker  52:13  
Yeah, yeah, we're not alone. And that's really the big message, I think, is that you're not alone. You know, anything that anybody's going through, you know, and somebody's been there. You know, and they can help, that's the important thing, they can help.

Unknown Speaker  52:29  
Yes, they can and, and if you if you are willing to accept help, some some of us have trouble with that. But you know, that's, we're all this is all a process of growing, of, of having our experiences, and the experiences add up into the sum total of who we are. And then we have to work to do the best we can. Yeah, that's all you can do as best you can. So, okay, I'm gonna set myself aside over here. And I want you I want, I'm gonna give you a moment or two to tell our audience, but ones that are listening now. Hi, Christine. And the ones that Dr. Marnie, and the ones that are gonna be listening later to tell them anything that you would like them to know,

Unknown Speaker  53:14  
anything. Okay? Well, first of all, for those folks that are either watching live, or will watch the replays later, thank you so much for for taking the time to not only listen to Kevin, but listen to me as well. I mean, it means a lot to me. I think the big thing for me this evening, with the behind the power event, specifically, I'll start with that is, it's going to be an amazing event. Earlier today, we had a meeting with the other speakers to go over not only the logistics for it, but also just a little bit about what to expect, it's going to be phenomenal. I've heard all the speeches now from all the other folks that are going to be presenting, they're very, very powerful, and they're going to be meaningful. And I think if you don't go you're going to be missing out on what could be the event of the year. And I know that sounds a little cliche, but I'll be honest with you, you really wouldn't be so if you can't make it in person. Again, there are virtual tickets available WWW dot behind the behind the power We are also all going to be available at the event. So if you'd like to chat with us, just say hi. Or if you want to talk about something a little more in depth if you know we happen to connect, you know from a spiritual sense. Just ask and we will sit down and we will make the time so that's the first thing. Second thing is the family history, the genealogy I wanted to touch on that real quick. Family history is incredibly important to all of us. Because who we are today is because of who we were and where we come from. The more you know about your past Just the more you can change your present and your future. So no story is too big and no story is too small and no story is not important. Everybody's story is important. Take the time and write some of it down, put it in a book, that doesn't have to be expensive, it can be very, very inexpensive. Take the time to do that. Somebody will connect with that, and somebody will want to read your story. And then, of course, lastly, I'll just let you know, Kevin that one of the other things I didn't mention is that I am currently in the process of sewing my own shirt for the event. So when I get on stage, not only do I paint, right and do family history, I also sew, so I'm making my own shirts. So that'll be interesting.

Unknown Speaker  55:49  
That's, that's pretty amazing that you're doing all all of those things. And I wanted to add one more thing to what you just said. And that is this everybody's story is important. And one of the saddest things that I find or have found is that for a long time, I was doing a company called, or a program called Family legacies, where I would interview somebody who was older, and had and they would, that they would tell me their life story, I put it in the CD, I'd wrap it up, and then then the family would get it. And what I've found is that a lot of older people don't value who they are, or who they were, the first thing that they keep telling me is, nobody would be interested in my story. My story is, you know, that was a long time ago. Nobody knows. And the one that specifically he didn't tell me anything about him. When he got he was on the the staff of George Patton. As George Patton was racing across Europe, to free Europe from Hitler. Yeah. Then he goes to Hollywood. And he meets and works with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby. And at the end, he was saying, why don't have any value. We really, you have value in who you are for every day of your life.

Unknown Speaker  57:22  
Absolutely couldn't agree more. Grand

Unknown Speaker  57:25  
by the way. Holly says love your patrons. portraits. John, keep up the great work. She also says great interview. And by the way, you can always go to my website and buy me a cup of coffee. And there's a little coffee cup in the corner. And you can always go do that. Do that. And that's that's just fun. And oh, and Jerry Murphy says, claps and says hello.

Unknown Speaker  57:52  
Hi, Jerry. And thanks.

Unknown Speaker  57:54  
And way to go, John. So do you know Jerry,

Unknown Speaker  57:57  
I do that she's in our unapologetic power group.

Unknown Speaker  58:01  
Oh, very nice. Very nice. Well, nice to meet you, Jerry, when you coming on the show. John, thank you so much for being here. I couldn't not you. Every time I talk to you. We have a great conversation. And it's fun. And I'm looking forward to you going to do so your shirt, do the behind the power. And then we'll do a post mortem after that.

Unknown Speaker  58:28  
All right. I'll promise I'll wear the shirt too.

Unknown Speaker  58:30  
If that that that would that would be great. What colors the shirt.

Unknown Speaker  58:36  
It's actually mixed colors.

Unknown Speaker  58:37  
So that's a smart man right there. So if soup soup gets on it, you can just kind of hide it, then nobody will know. Thank you very much. And you have a great day and everybody else you have a great day too. And so we right there, John. We'll be right back. All right. Hey, thanks for enjoying this episode all the way to the end. Please give us a like and subscribe to this channel. This has been a production of positive talk radio dotnet please visit our website oddly named positive talk radio dotnet for more details about us and our mission, which is to provide great positive programming designed to inspire us all. I'm Kevin McDonald, and I'm proud of these shows, and I truly hope that you'll like them and share them with friends and family. So on behalf of our entire team, remember, be kind to one another because each other's

John R ColeProfile Photo

John R Cole

Artist / Author / Speaker

John is retired Coast Guard who served for 35-years on active duty in both the enlisted and officer corps. He is now a full time artist who uses his talents to bring joy into the lives of others.

He is best known for his dot painting pet portraits, a unique pointillistic style used to capture our beloved companions on painted tile.

When not creating with paint, brush, cloth, or pyrography, he is writing. He has self-published more than 14 books including two travelogs, a graphic novel, and multiple genealogies.

He will appear in the anthology "Behind the Power: You’re Not Crazy, You’re Powerful" by Allyson Roberts coming in the fall of 2022.
He is also creator of the YouTube animated series The Boy.

He holds an AAS, BS, and MS in Information Technology, a graduate certificate in Projects and Programs, and soon Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design (Dec 2022).

Kevin McDonaldProfile Photo

Kevin McDonald


Creator and Host of Positive Talk Radio and its Parent Company