For The Chronicle of Higher Education: A Day in the life of Ron Shriver & his family
Rory Shriver walks past her grandparents' barn door. Ron Shriver's family painted the U.S. flag in honor of Ron a few weeks before he left for boot camp -- in the summer of 2001, weeks before 9/11.
Clearly, the little girl in the above photo is not Ron Shriver, a retired Marine staff sergeant. It’s of his six-year-old daughter, Rory. It also just so happens to be my favorite photos from the super cool “Day in the Life” assignment I shot for The Chronicle of Higher Education back in April. (I gotta thank Chron photo editor Erica Lusk for this assignment, too.) I spent the day with Ron, his two kids, the Chron’s very talented and lovely staff writer, Libby Sander, and Ron’s epic beard. The story is behind a pay wall, so most of you can’t read it, but if you’re a subscriber, you can read it here.
After eight years in the Marines, Ron Shriver and his family moved back to Westminster, Maryland, so he and his wife, Jen, could take advantage of the new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and, essentially get paid to attend McDaniel College. He’s the first member of his family to attend college. After getting her undergraduate degree from McDaniel, his wife moved to Alaska to pursue her graduate degree. Ron and his two kids Rory & Miles moved into the basement of his parents’ large farmhouse.
After Ron graduates, the plan is to pack up the few family belongings he didn’t get rid of, and drive cross-country to reunite with Jen in Alaska. Also, Ron’s an avid runner, so, he’s also planning to stop midway to race in a 100 mile ultra marathon.
Libby and I met up with Ron, Rory & Miles the night before. I was worried what kind of trust issues the kids might have with me if our first encounter was me taking photos of them while they’re waking up. So, Libby and I hung out with them at McDonald’s and later at swim lessons. The next day, we were with Ron from 6am to 9:30pm.
The problem with telling a “Day in the Life” story is that it’s so process oriented. We were here and he did this. Then he went here and he did this. It can be a challenge to make important parts of a subjects day visually compelling when they aren’t. Luckily for me, Ron has an amazing beard, so he’s always cool to look at. McDaniel College is nothing to sneeze at either. His kids are adorable, too. And wait till you see photos of Ron’s parents’ farm house. This assignment was a visual smorgasbord.
But still, there’s a linear story I have to tell. However, that’s not what this post is about.
That picture of Rory might possibly be my favorite photo from 2012, too. That’s why it’s up top. The point of this post isn’t really to tell the linear story of Ron’s day. It’s to celebrate what I think are the best photos from the shoot. Aside from the 1st 3, they’re presented linearly, so still get an idea of how the day unfolded.
Although, if you’d like to see a more expansive gallery where you can buy photos click here. Press here for a cool slide show version of the gallery. All photos are presented linearly, too, so you can see the “day in the life” effect.)
- Ron Shriver tries to find a cool-down partner after McDaniel College track team practice in Westminster, Maryland Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
I spent the day with Chronicle of Higher Education writer Libby Sander. Here she interviews Doug Renner, the McDaniel College cross-country and track coach.
Ron Shriver, a health conscious retired Marine, doesn't like McDonald's, but his kids Miles, sitting on the bench, and Rory do. Tuesday is family night at the Westminster Maryland McDonald's. Happy Meals are discounted, which is helpful for Ron, a full-time student at McDaniel College.
Rory at the McDonald's playground.
After swim lessons at McDaniel College's Harlow Pool in Westminster, Maryland Tuesday, April 10, 2012, Ron Shriver efficiently uses the locker room shower as a way to ready his children Rory, 6, left, and Miles, 5, right, for bed. After showering, they put on their pajamas, so when they get home they are ready for bed. Ron will wake up at 3am the next day to study for an exam.
Ron drops Rory off at daycare. Normally she goes to elementary school, but it's Spring break.
Ron and Miles arrive 15 minutes before the Carroll Community Child Development Center at Carroll Community College opens. So Ron takes the wait as an opportunity to study on his iPhone while Miles entertains himself.
When Ron Shriver was in the Marines he had to shave every day. After retiring he decided to stop shaving. His beard has come and gone over time, but his most recent growth is nine-months old.
McDaniel College Exercise Science Professor, Dr. Steve McCole applies electrodes to Ron Shriver's body before participating in a VO2 Max test in the Gill Center's Human Performance Lab, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. The test is part of Ron's exercise science lab course. Ron's classmate Jake Zamostny tosses a marker while talking to Ron and Dr. McCole.
Dr. Steve McCole, puts a breathing measurement tube on the head of Ron Shriver before participating in a VO2 Max test in the Gill Center's Human Performance Lab, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. The test is part of Ron's exercise science lab course.
Ron Shriver participates in a VO2 Max test in the Gill Center's Human Performance Lab, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. The test is part of Ron's exercise science lab course.
Miles Shriver, 5, flexes his muscles en route to his dad's track practice at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Ron Shriver's mother Elaine Shriver picks up her grandchildren Rory, and Miles (out of frame) while Ron has track practice Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Rory wanted to stay.
Ron Shriver, right, has track practice with McDaniel College teammates Peter Merkel, left, and Jason Stein, middle, Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Miles Shriver, 5, plays with a basketball under a hoop, installed low to the ground on an outside barn wall.
Rory searches for chicken eggs in the barn.
Unable to express to her grandmother what she wants for dinner, chicken, steak, or something else, a frustrated, teary-eyed, Rory Shriver runs to her dad in his parents' living room.
Rory Shriver walks around her grandparents' backyard.
Rory Shriver finds her bicycle and helmet in her grandparents' barn.
Ron Shriver likes his children to play before bed so they're more likely to go to sleep. Rory Shriver's biking startles a barn cat.
Rory and Miles ride bikes at dusk Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Ron Shriver likes his children to play before bed so they're more likely to go to sleep.
Ron Shriver talks on the phone with his wife Jen, who lives in Alaska finishing up her graduate degree, while their children, Miles (watching a movie) and Rory (already in bed) have some down time before going to sleep.
Rory has the bed all to herself for a little while before Ron and her brother Miles turn off a movie and hop into bed.
After sunset, Ron's dog Casey stands outside the Shriver family's farmhouse in Pleasant Valley, Maryland Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Casey will stay at the farmhouse. Ron says he's too old to travel across the country to Alaska.