22 Years Ago Today: My First Page of My First Web Site

The first page of my first web site, November 12, 1999.

I posted the first page of my first web site 22 years ago today. You can see the original here.

It all started at a youth camp in July of that year. I was at Park of the Pines in northern Michigan. It was Thursday, July 22, 1999. Right before dinner time, Kim, one of the teens at camp challenged me to a foot race to the dining hall. I said no. She challenged me again and I said no again. She challenged me a third time and I decided this must be important to her, so I said yes.  

Kim (left) and a friend at Park of the Pines, 1999.

Given our approximate 30 plus year difference in ages, I was doing better than I expected (not winning but only a step or two behind her) until I tripped over a tree root. I came down hard with the left side of my chest striking a boulder. I never hurt so bad in my life. Harvey, who was one of the people in charge of the camp, wanted to take me to the hospital in Petoskey right away, but I wanted to eat supper first. (And I didn’t want Kim to think I was hurting as much as I was.) He asked again after supper but I didn’t want to miss the evening activities. He asked again later but I didn’t want to miss the campfire. When campfire was over, Harvey said “NOW can I take you to the hospital?” We went.

We were there until after 2 am. The doctor showed me one of the x-rays and said I broke 4 ribs, maybe 5. (I still have the x-rays.) He said I would hurt for a few weeks and they wrapped me up and sent me back to camp. I hurt SO bad.

I survived the rest of the week, but the long drive home on Saturday was awful.

I told my doctor at home what the Petoskey doctor said. He looked at me and said “You are going to hurt for a long time.” He was right. For the first several weeks he limited me to not driving or being in a car for a distance of more than 15 minutes from home. He didn’t need to limit me. I couldn’t stand to be in a car for that long. Gradually he stretched it out. After the first several weeks with a 15 minute distance limit, I had several more weeks with a 30 minute distance limit from home. Then several weeks with a 45 minute limit. Then 60 minutes.

Not being able to drive around Michigan and do my thing was driving me crazy. I needed something to do. My photography students at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts had been bugging me to put up a web site. Stuck within an hour’s drive of home, I was needing something to do, so I started a photography web site.

I went to Angelfire, a simple “post photos and text” site with the ability link pages. I created my first page with text and three photos and posted it 22 years ago today. Over time I added more and more pages. Several months later I created JimDoty.com. It was a much better site.

Good things came out of my broken ribs. A book agent needed an author, found my photo site, contacted me, and it led to a book contract in the Dummies series. A few years later my photography book led to a contract doing photography workshops for The Ohio State University. The whole story is at the second link below.

And it all started with Kim challenging me to a foot race. Every now and then I thank her for that foot race and the web site, book, and teaching contract that all grew out of that surprise beginning.

Jim and Kim at Park of the Pines, Michigan

I still go back to Park of the Pines, but instead of engaging in foot races with teenagers, I am doing photography workshops. One day, 18 years after the original incident, I was in the middle of a weekend photo workshop and Kim walked through the door. What a happy surprise! It made my whole weekend! Kim and the workshop manager thoughtfully conspired together to create this surprise for me.


Jim’s Photo page at Angelfire

From Broken Ribs to a Book Contract and Teaching at OSU

Park of the Pines on Lake Charlevoix near Boyne City, Michigan