Dateline: Somewhere in the vast American Heartland – Xmas ‘16
Thanksgiving is upon us, so another year is closing fast; time to remember friends, family and the good times of the past. That’s not to say that the present isn’t good, but it’s hard to feel nostalgia for the present.
The Warrens (Kate, Ty, Xander, and Mira) keep up their usual frantic pace in Leesburg. I guess the pace is usually frantic with an 8th grader and a Junior in high school. Mira, the 8th grader, was pleased to be invited to join the regular and “select” choirs at her school, which means, among other things, that she will get to join with her brother’s choir for a tour of the local nursing homes and the “feeder” elementary schools later this year. As they have rarely gotten a chance to perform together, even in groups, we think this is being viewed as something of a treat. Xander, the Junior, is in the Chamber and Concert choirs in his high school and also has, seemingly, found a calling to the Drama class. It would appear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His latest role has been as Mr. MacAfee (Kim’s dad) in Bye Bye Birdie, his high school’s Fall musical. Ty is still keeping Comcast functioning (Fathers mostly work [he said remembering]), but he is also a pretty active “gamer,” doing 24-hour charity marathons every so often. Of course, just trying to keep up with his family keeps him busy. Kate is in her sixth (and final!) year of heading the “Teacher (and Staff) Appreciation” operation at the Middle School (having children 3 years apart can do that) and is looking forward to not having to deal with that any longer. However, she is also the “Concession” Chair for the high school Chorus Boosters, which seems to have the prospect of becoming almost as big and complicated a job, but she thrives on such participation.
Maggi has had a busy year keeping the Hyatt Gold Passport system working and trying to maintain her Magickal Miscellany and Wool of Bat businesses. Life was unusually challenging this summer, after she discovered a drainage problem in her basement was going to require some fairly extensive reworking of the foundation. This ended with an interior French drain and replacement of the moldy carpeting with a wood-look, floating vinyl flooring which has given that level quite an amazing new look. As part of the renovation, Maggi (who has always wanted a “dungeon”) decided to dress up the back room of the basement with that sort of a look. So, part of the summer, while waiting for the guys to come to fix the floor, she (with some help from her parents) built a fake fireplace and painted the walls to look like castle rocks (scenic building-painting experience helped). It was all done, just in time for the most elaborate Halloween party ever, complete with an “evil queen” costume (based on Once Upon a Time), which her mother designed and built from pictures from the net. (See enclosed picture of the costume and the “dungeon.”) It was all VERY impressive, and quite a successful, huge party.
Bonnie has continued to “do” the Dogwood Crafters newsletter, although the distance has posed some difficulties. She is keeping quite active with the New Neighbors League, which involves a book club, Giving Circle, and other groups, in addition to other monthly (and Board) meetings. This Fall, she started a monthly “Needles Unlimited” group, so she meets with some folks once a month for talk and various “needlework” projects. She is also involved with the American Sewing Guild Omaha Chapter and the Omaha Area Alpha Xi Delta Alumnae group. The highlight of her year (maybe several years) was a trip with her sister, Shirley, as guests of her brother, David, for three weeks in Italy on a U. Chicago Alumni tour. The tour itself was terrific, but being all together made for the greatest memories.
Richard, a bit less active, keeps himself busy reading all sorts of books relating to Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, or the Salem Witch Trials when he can get them and popular mysteries, etc., when other stuff isn’t available. The library is his friend! He is also a regular attendee of the (now officially named) Omaha Sherlockian Society, which just became an affiliate organization of the Baker Street Irregulars (the major US Sherlock Holmes society). He also spends a fair amount of time thinking about, or writing, for “Dr. B’s Notes,” his occasional blog @ www.richardsbeam.net.
Together, B and R have continued their visits to the various museums, the botanical gardens, and the zoo, although not, perhaps, quite as actively as at first. They, generally, still do Aquasize classes several times a week and have made several trips back east to check on the house, etc. They got to see a most interesting all-female version of The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged), which featured some of the last of R’s students at WCU. Of course, they always go to Biltmore House when in the area. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to be able to visit the mountains very often in the future, because they HAVE SOLD THEIR HOUSE IN SYLVA! This is a bit of a relief, but it also means cutting the last physical ties to 43 years of their life, years, which contained a lot of good memories and friends. It’s so hard to say “Good Bye” to that.
Just after Xmas this year, B and R celebrate 50 years of marriage. It’s been a fast-paced, sometimes complicated, path, but well worth the journey from Bloomington, to Evanston, to Sylva, to Athens, to Cullowhee, to Sylva and then to Omaha. Through two kids, a son-in-law, and two grandkids, it’s been a pretty good ride.
We hope that you and yours have a year filled with Peace, Joy, and Wonder…
Bonnie & Richard