1990 Christmas Letter

Christmas 1990

We meet again to talk of deeds past but not forgotten! We had a deadly cold December 1989 and January 1990. The woodpile flew through the house at a great rate, then came March with warmer rainy weather followed by a colder than usual April. Our spirits mourned the agony and passing of Pattie’s brother Everett as he died the hideous death of AIDS in March. His last days were brightened by the presence of his dearly-loved children, Teddy and Stephanie, and by phone calls from Marie. He left this earth pleading with his family and friends not to make the same mistakes that he had so they could avoid his bitter end.

We were grateful to turn our minds to other happier things as Janus prepared to go to Paris, France for two weeks in April to exchange the visit of Widade Habes who came to us in February. Bob, Janus and Jonathan went to Washington, DC to show Widade and one of her friends the sights. They stayed with Melody and Werter Arrington and had a wonderful time. May saw a long-time dream fulfilled –we had our kitchen remodeled–on a shoestring, to be sure, but it is so very nice, and so much more convenient.

Janus patiently waited until June to try for his driver’s license. He was delighted to get it on the first try–then turned around to razz Christopher about how he would never get his permit the first time. In October Chris did, in fact, do that very thing!! The trip home that day was nerve-wracking–with a very euphoric Christopher at the wheel, and a -more than concerned Janus backseat driving, Pattie’s nerves took a real beating!!!!

Summer brought an unbelievable potpourri of experiences, starting as soon as school got out! Pattie participated in the well-known Rassias ALPS program–a ten-day intensive total immer-sion language class-French, in her case. The program gave her the confidence to attend a French class at Dartmouth College (taught by Professor Rassias himself!) during the fall term-a benefit allowed all Dartmouth employees. With her skill improving, as well as Janus and Chris’s, the family enjoyed the short visit of Veronique, a very nice girl from Quebec, during the month of November. Chris will go to her home and school in March on our school’s exchange. Maybe Pattie will try out her French as a chaperone!

As soon as the ALPS was over, Bobbi Brough, the daughter of Pattie’s very dear friend Toni Brough, came to visit for a week. We all had a wonderful time, though she, at 11, was a bit homesick. Most of the family climbed Mt. Washington while she was here. Sailing got into full swing while Bobbi was here with several mornings spent around home and afternoons and evenings spent at the lake.

Janus, Christopher and Bob went to scout camp and Megan went to girl scout horse camp and all had a good time. Jonathan looks forward to next summer when he can join them.

August brought the wonderful visit of Chika Oshima, who is the sister of the delightful Hisayo Oshima who was with us last summer. We had a truly marvelous time with Chika doing a variety of things that she could take home as memories of the United S tates when she returned to her home

in Japan. She spent her days improving her quite good English proficiency at Dartmouth, but weekends were free for family outings. The best weekend of the summer we went to Kennebunkport, Maine for camping and swimming. Chika and Pattie also went on a little shopping venture in town where there seemed to be more people than the last time we had gone to Kennebunkport eight years ago. We all wished that we had brought the sailboat with us so we could sail on the ocean. Maybe next year!!

The garden went well this summer and brought us lots of good produce, though not a lot was preserved. Same story, maybe next year!

Robbie entered the second grade and has the same teacher and the same classroom that he had in first grade. None of us minded because we all adore his teacher! Same story with Jonathan who is in the sixth grade. Jonathan was inducted into Boy Scouts this fall after completing his Arrow of Light in Cub Scouts. Janus and Chris continue in Boy Scouts with Chris earning his Life Scout and Janus working on his Eagle Project (in a fitful sort of way!). Both Janus and Christopher have been inducted into the Brotherhood of the Order of the Arrow…more responsibility, more work, but enjoyable. Janus is also Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. Christopher is also in some leadership position but it eludes me at this moment. Megan is still in Girl Scouts. This year she is actually working on achievements with her troop. Robbie is looking forward to next year when he can join Cub Scouts. Pattie looks on it with mixed emotions since it will undoubtedly mean she will be a den mother again. This is the first year since 1982 that she has NOT been a den mother!

Fall brought with it cross country running for Janus and Christopher with the team winning the League Championship and Janus participating in the State Meet late in October. Megan and Jonathan both played soccer. Again Robbie looked on hopefully and impatiently!! (We have a family rule that ‘little kids’ don’t have to participate in after school sports. Besides all the other good reasons–it is just too much hassle!). He spent some time at each home cross-country meet running the course. Bob had a new Mountain Day assignment–after climbing Cardigan Mountain with the Junior class for twelve years, this year he climbed Mount Ascutney. Having not climbed the regular trail before, we took one afternoon and made the trek.

One of the best Saturdays of the fall we took the sailboat and flew down to Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire and spent all afternoon blasting up and down the lake in heavy winds. It was a great deal of fun for those stout-hearted among us, and not quite so much fun for the rest., .though when it was over all agreed that it had been worth the trip. The one main concern was getting the boat back out of the water at sail’s end. We managed to pull it out with our little truck, but we are looking around for a bigger engined machine–thought the economy is not with us on this one!

We are now preparing for Christmas with much sneaking around, whispering here and there, baking, choir practices, more guitar and flute practice than usual and Christmas carols filling the house. Also cries of whose turn it is on the computer since Bob got his new Macintosh Ilsi in November, thus freeing up the Macintosh SE/30 for kid use. It is amazing how many people can gather in the three foot square around the computer in the dining area!!

We hope you all have a wonderful and prosperous new year. We look forward as always to hearing all your news.


Bob, Pattie, Janus, Chris, Megan, Jonathan, Robbie