Merry Christmas from the Crossetts:
Busing Janus to College
We managed to get Janus home at Christmas time (92) with his round trip ticket from Idaho Falls, but had some difficulty in finding a flight to get him back to Ricks College before the start of classes and for a reasonable price. We decided to use the Ricks bus system which traveled through Rochester, NY. We located another family who were doing the same thing and arranged a ride to Rochester for him. It was a long trip, but he was able to make lots of acquaintances on the way!
Lots of Snow
This was one of the largest winter snow falls in a decade or more! It still did not rival some of the winters of our youth or of the early �70s. We managed to have one really good storm which buried everything and canceled church. We had the whole family in the yard doing some of the shoveling at one time or another!
Pattie’s Photography Class
The winter snow provided Pattie with ample material to photograph in her winter term photography class. This is the class which she had been preparing for by taking a variety of art classes which were prerequisites to this class. Pattie spent many hours improving her photographic skills as well as many more hours learning new darkroom skills to prepare her portfolio which would be displayed in Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center! She was able to collect an excellent set of pictures which were familiar to us : cats, snow scenes, White Mountains, family members, chapel, etc. Bob made several harrowing trips to Hanover in the winter driving to pick up Pattie who spent long and late hours in the darkroom!
In January, Bob was chosen to be a member of a team which would work to make improvements in Thetford Academy over a long term basis. The School Leadership Project (sponsored in part by Dartmouth College) spent many hours of meetings working on skills and topics that were necessary to make real improvements in any school. The work was culminated by a week long workshop, with two other pilot schools, which focused our efforts and improved our skills. We spent much of our time preparing a framework for the 175th Anniversary of the founding of Thetford Academy!! (This will be Bob’s 25th year at TA!) The only drawback was the additional time demand it placed on Bob and the family.
Bob’s Excel and True BASIC Classes
In addition to the SLP, Bob took two computer classes locally at Lebanon College to improve his skills. Both classes (Excel and True BASIC) were helpful in his computer responsibilities at the Academy. Since the classes were on the same day and in different locations, he was able to get some walking in each class night.
Janus’s Mission Call
Just after Janus turned 19, he decided to put in his papers to go on a two year mission for the Church. About two weeks later he received a call to the Belgium Brussels Mission. This mission serves the French speaking portion of Belgium, Luxembourg, and northern France. He was delighted with the call and with the opportunity to use his French language training. Unfortunately, he was not able to reach us on the phone before the desire to open the envelope became too great! This was exciting for the whole family and it seemed nearly impossible that so many years have raced by to find him old enough to serve!
Lost Gumdrop and Calf
Our oldest cow gave birth in the spring, but the calf did not survive until morning when we found it. In addition, Gumdrop came down with milk fever and we lost her too. A rather tragic beginning to spring. It appears that our farming days may be numbered. We have too many things going on to give the necessary attention to the farm animals and we have had limited success lately. The raccoons caused great problems with our chickens as well.
Janus Home from College
With the help of his grandparents we were able to get Janus a ticket home and a return ticket to Salt Lake City to the Mission Training Center at the end of June. Once he returned we began to worry about money for his mission and related expenses. Fortunately, the Bishop was able to provide him with temporary work at the Joseph Smith Memorial doing grounds work. The money he earned was enough to provide for his suits, white shirts, overcoat, underwear, ties, umbrella, suitcases, and other incidentals!
Apple Orchard Best Yet
The weather was just perfect for our apple orchard and we had good pollination for a change! We have many more apples than usual and it is exciting to think that some of our labors have reached fruition. We have made applesauce with some of our early maturing Lodi apples.
Kids in Brigadoon Musical
In the spring, Chris continued his efforts in the track and field events, but Megan and Jonathan decided to try out for the spring musical instead of doing track. The musical was a lot of work for them, but very satisfying. Jonathan was given a solo singing part in which he did very well!
Janus’s Mission Farewell
In order to have all the desired speakers at his farewell, it was necessary to have the service in mid June – just after graduation, but before we left for Virginia. He did very well in his portion of the program. His grandparents were there and other family members. Janus told a story about sending a thank you note to a business person who had given a prize for youth who were winners in showing their calves at Tunbridge Fair in 1983. This was the first thank you he had received in all the years of donating prizes. He framed Janus’s letter and placed it on his office wall. Many years later he found Janus’s picture in the newspaper as a recipient of the Eagle Scout award. He sent Janus a copy of his thank you note that was still hanging on his office wall. He had still never received another thank you since Janus’s. Janus went to meet him in person before leaving for the Mission Training Center.
After Janus’s farewell we loaded into our van and began our trip to Williamsburg, Virginia where Chris, Megan and Jonathan were to participate in a week long church program called Especially For Youth. The first day we traveled to Laurel, Maryland where Pattie’s cousin Melody Arrington lived. They provided us with space to roll out our sleeping bags for a few hours before we left again to get to Williamsburg by 1 PM on Monday. This was a very positive experience for our kids and they are looking forward to doing it again next year.
While the kids were at EFY we went back to Washington to do Janus’s endowment work at the Washington Temple before going to the Mission Training Center. Robbie stayed at the Arringtons while Janus, Bob and Pattie were at the temple. It was exciting to be with Janus at this event. While at the temple we happened to meet another young man who was going to the same mission as Janus and was going to the MTC the same day as well. Janus was pleased to find a familiar face at the MTC and has done some running with Elder Hoover. In addition to doing his own temple work, Janus was able to do the temple work for his uncle Everett Corwin who had died a few years ago. This was particularly satisfying for Pattie since Everett had asked her to have Janus do this work for him near the end of Everett’s illness.
On our way back to Williamsburg we stopped in several outlet stores to buy needed clothing for Janus’s mission. We were fortunate to be able to buy good quality clothing at reasonable prices. It takes a lot of clothing to prepare to be gone for two years!
Two of the nights in Williamsburg we camped in local campgrounds to keep our expenses to a minimum. On the last night before picking up the kids from EFY, we decided to see if there were any good prices on vans in this area since we had trouble with our van during the winter and found that our little Caravan was pretty tight accommodations last summer as we traveled west! We hoped we could find a larger Caravan for a reasonable price. After spending some time looking in classified we went to check out a possible van. It was an ok van, but there was another van we could check out before deciding. On our way to check another van we stumbled across a used Ford conversion van which looked like it was way out of our price range, but to our surprise, it was exactly what we wanted and needed last summer! We had to pick up the kids at EFY and then come back a purchase the van. We went through many difficulties getting on the road again: had trouble getting money for van, van failed inspection, had to get new muffler for it, had to have it reinspected, had to get a U-Haul to pull van home, had trouble hooking up U-Haul, etc. At about 8PM we left Williamsburg for a all night drive home. Most people slept in the fold down seat or the captain chairs. Bob drove nearly all the trip, but Janus drove through New Jersey. New Jersey was the most difficult part of the trip since they would not let our U-Haul towed van onto the NJ Turnpike. We proceeded to find alternative routes at about 2 AM! It was a tough but safe return!
Janus Off to MTC!
We spent the remainder of June getting the last details covered before taking Janus to the airport. We all got up early on the 29th of June to drive to Concord, NH where Janus was to be set apart for his mission by Pres. Gary Carter of our stake, and then on to Manchester, NH airport to go through those last painful moments before he boarded the plane to Salt Lake City. Our friends the Gunthers picked him up at the airport and took him to the MTC the following day. It was a relief to complete this major event in our family – our first missionary!
Bob Works at CRREL
Bob spent his summer working at the Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory where he worked two summers ago. He spends his lunch time walking, walks to Hanover for a ride home and runs on the TA cross country course in the evening. It is having beneficial effects on his waist and health!
Pattie Works at Dartmouth
During the summer, Pattie worked part-time a Dartmouth as usual in preparation for her trip to France in September! Part of the money went to pay for a new Canon camera to use in France. In her master’s program she has been a group leader for one of symposium study groups which has been challenging and rewarding.
Meg & Jon Sitting
Megan and Jonathan have been baby sitting this summer. This is a full day job which means getting up early in the morning and getting home late in the afternoon. They are beginning to understand what it is like to work full time! Megan is saving money for a spring trip to France with her class at TA. Jonathan dreams about remote control airplanes which we try to discourage as much as possible (he has two now!)
Chris at Blood’s Seafood
Chris has been working hard for a caterer on a part-time basis. They seem to appreciate his work ethic and call him back on a regular basis. Chris continued helping a neighbor with haying. One afternoon her returned home with two adorable black and white kitten who had just become orphans. They feel that they are cute enough to move inside and become house cats, but we still want them to be barn cats.
Robbie at Home
Robbie is at home most of the time and fills his idle moments with bike riding and helping Chris with lawn mowing. He is putting his new bike helmet to regular use.
Grandpa Knee Surgery
Grandpa Crossett had surgery on his other knee which should make it easier for him to get around.
Riding Lawn Mower Disaster
No sooner than Chris and Jonathan get Jessie Curtis’s riding lawn mower in running order, but they had a fire due to a leaking gas tank and are back to pushing again! No one was badly hurt – minor burns on Jon’s hand.
Back to school
School started in September for the first time in many years. Jon and Chris were involved in cross-country running again this year. Robbie played 5th grade soccer to his delight. Bob timed soccer games and cross-country meets. Jon and Megan did survival arts as an after school activity which allowed them to be creative in a variety of ways. Bob took a C++ programming class during the fall which turned out to be too much of a stretch with Pattie in France – but he managed to complete the class. Chris worked in the lighting and sound booth during his Senior class play which gave him much joy. Jon and Megan sang in the school chorus in preparation for our Holiday Concert which had to be postponed due to bad weather. Robbie sang a solo part of the �Little Drummer Boy� in his Holiday Concert.
Janus to Brussels
Janus left Salt Lake City airport on August 31st with the support of Darla Taylor and family to be the one familiar face to be waving good-bye to him. He called from Atlanta for the last phone conversation until Christmas! It was good to hear his voice and he was excited to be getting into the mission field. After meeting his �awesome� mission president he was on a train to Tourcoing France for his first area of service where he has had a variety of experiences which include scuffles with the Arabs, a visit by his mother on one Sunday, a major fire in the building adjoining his apartment building, cold and ice, interesting investigators of the church, and lots of walking since he has yet to get a bicycle. He had Thanksgiving dinner at an American Club in France and met a church member who was performing there. He is yet to be transferred to a new location after four months in Tourcoing.
Pattie to Toulouse
The whole family took Pattie to Logan Airport in Boston on September 16th where we parted company for ten weeks amidst tears and fears. Her experience in France was very positive. She stayed with a very nice French LDS family with five young children. Her French improved as well as her understanding of the French culture. She developed a great love for Romanesque architecture and for the people she knew best. This was a once in a life time experience. She took a vacation midway through the program in which she traveled alone to Bordeaux and Paris to explore more of France. While in Paris she stayed with the parents of her host family. They went to EuroDisney and Versailles while in Paris. After much deliberation and frustration, Pattie decided it was best to visit her missionary son while she was only a few hundred kilometers away. So she took a night train to Paris and on to Tourcoing via Lille. She went to the ward in Mouscron Belgium and was delighted to find her son in good spirits and health. Janus had become more proficient in French than his mother at that time. On November 27th Pattie flew back to Boston where Bob picked her up with much relief and happiness. Pattie discovered that she would really rather be at home rather than a world traveler without her family. Bob learned that being a single parent was not a desirable state and missed the support of his wife while she was gone. Pattie returned with short hair which was a long term desire of hers and this had been a threat before she left for France. It actually looks very good!
The Sunday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday of Pattie’s return, Chris took the faithful Dodge Caravan to have his senior pictures taken and to school where he was meeting with classmates to work on a cooperative English project. No sooner than he had settle into his work when he was notified that a van was on fire in the parking lot! The fire department was called and lots of volunteer fire fighters came to our rescue. Unfortunately the van was a total loss. We spent the next weeks working with the insurance company and searching for a used vehicle in our price range. We were blessed to find a 1988 Dodge Caravan with lots of miles on it but for a good price. It was a blessing that the van burned in the school parking lot rather than on our way to church or while Chris was driving it! It was also a blessing to have purchased the conversion van earlier since it provided necessary backup transportation.
This was an unusual Thanksgiving for our whole family. Pattie had hers in France with her classmates. She realized a personal goal of singing �O Holy Night� in French as part of her final presentation for the French families and students. Janus had his in an American Club in France. Bob and children went to his parents in Barre for a small gathering with them. We all missed the large whole family gathering which has been an annual event at our house for more than a decade. Bob and the children spent much of this Thanksgiving vacation making final preparation for Mom’s return. Lots of cleaning and improvement had been made over the ten weeks.
As the last half of the year progressed, Bob got more and more obsessed with the idea of fitness. It began with a little running in July which increased throughout the remainder of the year. He is currently running 7.6 miles in about 67 minutes and is looking forward to some half-marathons and marathons in the spring. Bob met a marathon runner while giving blood recently and this has raised his interest level to a new high!! Bob has gotten Pattie jogging after her return from France and she has made excellent progress. While in France Pattie joined a health club and was able to do lots of physical conditioning. In addition, she did lots of walking to get around in Toulouse. These activities resulted in a net loss of 16 kg for her. While Pattie was gone, Bob ordered a weight training machine to give us more opportunity to do aerobic workouts at home. We have gotten the children to do weight training as well. In addition we are working on simplifying our lives so as to reduce the number of activities which make demands on our time. We are trying to put our lives in line with the things which we value the most and eliminate all the extraneous pressures and demands.
Our Best Wishes for a Peaceful Holiday Season and New Year. Joyeux No�l Tout le Monde
Bob, Pattie, Janus, Chris, Megan,Jonathan, Robbie