Christmas 1984

Season's greetings!

We hope your year has been a good one and that the New Year will bring you good times, good health, and good friendship!

Our busy year commenced with the completion of the landscaping and construction of the deck and spa outside; with a year to enjoy it now, we’re glad we were able to do what we really wanted. We took a break in March to escape to nearby Catalina Island with the kids, spending time biking, exploring, miniature golfing, and in general just relaxing. The weather was very cooperative — the sky stayed brilliant blue most of the time and the temperature remained in the 60s and 70s. Kids and Mom camped at Leo Carrillo Beach, a few miles north of Malibu, during Easter week, and only encountered rain one night. During another trip to camp there in August, it was so hot we sat on beach chairs in the surf.

Our summer vacation was very brief since Larry couldn’t take more than a long weekend. We drove to Las Vegas, stayed at Circus Circus (very crowded, but fun for the kids) and then drove to Hoover Dam and spent a couple of nights at the Grand Canyon. It’s just as grand as ever — pictures can’t do it justice. We came back through the Painted Desert and Zion National Park, wishing we had more time to hike and explore.

Cultural events have been a big part of our year; the most significant were the Olympics. On a usually quiet two-lane road through the middle of a bean field in Camarillo we witnessed the hand-off of the Olympic torch to the president of the Ventura chapter of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. He was dressed in the requisite Olympic uniform with his black leather jacket over it, which he then removed to reveal arms covered with tattoos! We joined a couple hundred Hell’s Angels and guest bikers in cheering him on as he briskly ran his kilometer, for which his chapter had raised the $3,000 contribution. One man said it all when a reporter in a passing press van asked whether he thought a Hell’s Angel should carry the torch: “We’re all Americans here.”

We really got into the Olympic spirit: Larry “trained” by running a 10K race in Westlake in 46:05 in May, but somehow was overlooked for the Track and Field. No hard feelings, though; we got tickets for the two of us for the first day of track and field at the Coliseum and cheered on Carl Lewis, Willie Banks, Edwin Moses, Seb Coe, and Steve Ovett, among others. We took the kids to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the semifinal soccer match in which Yugoslavia defeated Italy, and watched the closing events, lumps in throats, on TV with most of the rest of the world, half-wishing it weren’t too late for us to be athletes too!

Cathy is busy with cross-country and track at school, though she’s missed part of the season due to a hip injury. We’ll breathe a sigh of relief when swimming season comes, diminishing the chances of injury. She attended her first formal dance for Homecoming in October; it sure brought back memories.

Jenny graduated from eighth grade in June, following confirmation in the spring, and is now busy with high school. Her first report card bodes well for her: straight As! She’s involved in speech and debate and it seems a natural for her. She and Cathy made an overnight trip this month to Tijuana, Mexico, with the Youth Group from church to put on a Christmas party at an orphanage; it was quite an eye-opening experience for all the kids who went.

Brian’s free time continues to be consumed by sports: basketball, baseball, swimming, and soccer. A week at soccer camp this summer was his first away from home; though he forgot to shower and change his clothes at times, he apparently remembered to eat, so he survived and enjoyed it! His soccer team is undefeated for the season, winning two games with scores of 12-1 and 10-0, so they’ll be playing in tournaments throughout January. He graduated from Cubs into Boy Scouts this fall and is learning about rocket launchings, although a scheduled soccer game prevented him from going with the Scouts on a recent weekend trip to visit the new Satellite Launch Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

David started swimming this summer, and proved to be the best judge of when the strawberries are ripe in the garden. He seems to be a true outdoorsman; he loves sleeping in a tent and hiking. A broken arm in September and four stitches in the back of his head in November barely made him skip a beat in his busy life. He’s starting to read at school, but his real forte seems to be numbers; he goes to the kindergarten class twice a week for math and uses their computer.

Larry’s corporation continues to be a successful enterprise, if continuous employment is an indicator. The disadvantage is all the paperwork the government requires, but financially we can’t complain. He’s still programming inertial navigation systems at Litton; as soon as one project is completed, a new one surfaces. Although his contract expires in April 1985, there’s an excellent chance it will be renewed.

I’ve added some new responsibilities to my ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching job this year. In addition to teaching advanced classes, I’m directing adults on student visas in independent study in ESL, and teaching David’s class at church once a week (just for fun). During the fall jams and jellies from our kitchen won two firsts and three second-place ribbons at the Ventura County Fair. Anything to get out of doing the housework!

As Christmas draws near, we wish you all the best for the holidays and a very happy New Year!