Christmas 1994

Seasons greetings to you all!

Survival seems to be the operative word this year, and I’ve learned not to ask what Mother Nature is going to do next. The January earthquake changed lives and landscapes and made us appreciate being on solid bedrock—funny word, isn’t it!

We had minimal damage, but Cathy had to move out of her Studio City apartment and find new quarters. Everything vertical in her apartment came crashing down; her microwave danced into her dishwasher, which was jolted open by the force of the quake. Her bedroom door was blocked by falling furniture; her roommate had to force it open to free her. Still, in spite of the major damage her apartment sustained, she was reluctant to move; after all, it was “home” to her, cracks and all. Reason prevailed and she moved to a single in the Fairfax district.

None of us went to work for a few days owing to extensive damage and the need for inspections. Larry was off the longest as Litton in Woodland Hills is only four miles from quake central. My high school in Simi Valley had less damage, but went on double sessions to accommodate cross-town rival students whose campus was closed for a couple of months. We taught from 7 a.m. to noon; our “guests” arrived at noon and worked until 5 p.m. They’ve been back on their campus since late March but their gym is unusable so ours does double duty.

After such a shaky start, we took a little time to smell the roses: in March, Larry, Cathy and David went cross-country skiing at Yosemite Institute; Jenny, Larry, David and I went to Hawaii in late June and we got in some beach camping in August. Jenny and David’s first trip to the Islands gave us a chance to revisit the sights; but the really important decisions were whether to swim in the pool or the ocean, to eat pineapple or mango. I found the perfect place to retire on Maui; Larry prefers the Big Island—less chance of island fever setting in. ‘Course, then somebody had to mention tsunamis.

David spent a hot July week with Jenny in Texas; I’ve promised never to humiliate him again by having him fly accompanied, although I’m sure I can think of something equally embarrassing to inflict upon a 14-year-old. He made his bed and did dishes every day hoping to be invited back next year for more of that Texas-style cooking and laid-back life.

Brian kept his nose to the grindstone with two sessions of summer school, putting him on target for June graduation from UCSD with a B.S. in Computer Science. He’ll be home for winter break until January 9. A couple of computer programming job interviews on campus perked him up considerably this fall; he says he now realizes why he’s spent all these years slogging away in school. We’re so relieved!

Cathy not only moved into a new apartment, but into a new life. She began at the Los Angeles Police Academy in June and is scheduled to graduate in January as badge number 14239. The training is demanding, and has been complicated by injuries and illnesses (sprains, torn ligaments, bronchitis, flu, etc.). On visits home she’s shown us her police issue 9 mm. Beretta, handcuffed David to the refrigerator door and promised to teach me what every mother needs in her arsenal: the perfect restraining hold to use on recalcitrant teenagers. After graduation she’ll work near USC—a tough area, but no L.A. assignment is easy.

Jenny will be here for the holidays for a few days, then back to the maelstrom of work. Their busy time at the University of Dallas is coming soon: college applications to be sifted through and campus tours and visits to be arranged. She’s had more responsibility this year, including some hiring and firing, with the usual accompanying angst. No hint of wanting to return to California yet.

Brian joined a new men’s soccer team in San Diego and enjoys the workout he gets. We’re planning a trip to SD to watch him play—when his team starts winning. Dave’s club team played lots of tournaments this year, including a July Disney Cup at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Following all the hoopla and hype of World Cup, they marched in a city parade with thousands of other young players, and played to a final second-place finish against an elite Australian national team—holding them to a 1-1 tie at the half, but finally losing 4-1. They were thrilled to be playing at the Rose Bowl and excited at using the same locker rooms as the World Cup players. I can occasionally make it to one of his games after school, now that he’s playing for Newbury Park High School this season; it’s a very different level of play. Some brilliant individual moves, but little time to develop solid teamwork. He’ll be back with his club team in February for spring tournaments.

Larry still works on navigation software at Litton Aero Products. He could be there another month or another few years, working at the discretion of management, hoping that his work will continue to be appreciated, and enduring the discomfort contractors feel when confronted by a resentful employee.

Larry and Dave have taken off on the Information Superhighway this year, using America OnLine to access the Internet. You can reach either of them at Laarry@aol.com or Daayve@aol.com. We are so dazzled by this instant communication!

Hope you and yours are all well and that the New Year brings peace, calm and comfort to all.