The Green side of the family has been sadly neglected these past couple of
months, as we have had so much activity circling around my side of the family
tree. I am chagrined that it has taken me so long to get back to writing a
family letter, and of course I will forget many of the things that are worth
remembering. It has been a happy, busy time.
My parents arrived in early May, and returned to Hawaii last weekend. Shortly
after they arrived, Daniel moved back home from Hopkins. We have enjoyed a
whirlwind of activities, very varied ones at that. Just glancing over my
calendar I see Peter’s PowerPoint presentation at Lucent Technologies, a magic
show, several plays (Narnia, A Man for All Seasons), the art show of the
boys’ art classes, soccer games (Peter nicely scored a goal for his
grandparents to see), the Bach Choir concert, a fancy formal tea, and so on.
David and Daniel went off for a week of camp in Panama City, Florida.
Of course the highlight of the month was the anniversary party for Mom and
Dad’s 50th. Each day leading up to the big event they learned of
another little surprise. We got Dad to go to the airport under the guise of
going to repair his suitcase, and there we met his sister Dorothy arriving from
Florida. Then Mom’s sister Doris came down by train from Toronto, and was
picked up by David at the station in the seamy town of Yonkers. Just before the
service Dad was again surprised to find that two other sisters, Marianne and
Grace (with Uncle Bus), as well as his niece Bethany, had also made the long
trip down from Canada for the occasion.
Planning for the reception had been a joint effort with my brothers, and we
had lots and lots of email going back and forth, which was fun. Some of the
decisions were in unfamiliar territory – how many mints does one need for two
hundred people? Answer: a lot less than I purchased! Anyway, being a typical
family event, it did have its "hairy" moments. Just as we were rushing
around to go to the church, Chris lost his glasses, my neighbor called to say
that the rabbit was loose in her yard, the flushing mechanism of the toilet
broke, and the promised tablecloths, punch bowls, and vases were nowhere to be
found. In spite of everything, I believe the evening went off very well; I only
wished I had more time to talk with all the people who were there.
We left the next day for Camp Hebron, and our family reunion. Although the
weather was spotty, we managed to fit in something for everyone – a memorable
hayride, rock wall climbing, volleyball tournament (in which the team of uncles,
"Old Fogeys", went further than the cousins, "Young
Whippersnappers"), horseback trail rides, a bluegrass concert, and a
campfire to make S’mores. In addition to our usual family circle time, we
added the special treat of David, John, Peter, and I performing The Canary,
sans benefit of practice.
It was sad to say goodbye to everyone after such an emotional high. The
following weekend I went on a retreat with the other teachers in the Master’s
Academy at a cabin in the Poconos on a private lake. This was the most luxurious
cabin I have been in, and it was an ideal place to plan for the coming school
year. We ate fabulously! No sooner did I get home from that than I had to pack
for our trip to the RUM staff training in Atlanta. David and I went– leaving
the kids in Nana and Poppa’s capable hands – for most of a week. The RUM
affair was held at Callaway Gardens, similar to Longwood Gardens. We had perfect
weather – unusual for Georgia and in contrast to what the Pennsylvania gang
was experiencing. The schedule was relaxed, except for a six hour seminar for
the wives led by Pam Benton, and even included a night out at a great
restaurant. The best part was the afternoons we rented bicycles and rode the
trails through the park, stopping at a butterfly pavilion, horticultural center,
and other places of interest. I hated to leave.
But I did leave early because I had a Master’s Academy conference on the
north side of Atlanta. David drove me up there and then returned to his
conference. The MAFA conference was held at Simpsonwood, where all of David’s
Atlanta conferences are usually held, so I got to see the place. It also is very
nice, though on a smaller scale than Callaway. We had interesting training
seminars in which a lot of good ideas were shared for improving the program. We
got home very late on the official day of Mom and Dad’s 50th
because our original flight was canceled, but we learned that the boys had
encouraged them to go out for dinner anyway.
The month of June saw David preaching several times – once at Lehigh’s
Packer Chapel for Alumni weekend, and twice at our church in our pastor’s
absence. I began leading the summer women’s Bible study again, so each week I
am frantically putting together the lesson – rather like the pattern I have in
the school year with my MAFA class! I am also in charge of coordinating our
church’s Summer Institute, four seminars on topics of general interest for
several age levels. And just for fun I am directing a couple of skits to be
performed at the church picnic. You begin to see why I haven’t been writing...
The summer is always a time of travel and visiting. Last weekend the Frigges
arrived shortly after Mom and Dad left. These are friends from Hopkins and
Philadelphia – a family of seven – who now live in Iceland. We were
certainly a houseful, and with the heat and humidity it was hard to keep enough
drinks and ice on hand. But we had a great visit over the weekend.
There has been a certain amount of drama in the neighborhood, too. One day
David was driving down Broad St. when he noticed a trailer truck backing across
the street in front of him. This was unusual, but then it continued backing
across until it ran into a building! He saw that no one was in the truck and
apparently the brakes gave out and it was on a roll. Last week Daniel and Peter
arrived at KFC only to learn that just a half hour before some teenage customers
came in and got into an argument. Then one pulled out a gun. Somehow the other
one beat him up without the gun going off. Another morning I smelled smoke and
went outside to see that a house around the corner on North St. was on fire. I
had never seen a real fire that close at hand before. The windows blew out in
the heat and flames were leaping out the windows. The house is still standing
(it was brick) but the inside is gutted. The paper said that the family had left
a candle burning on the kitchen table when they went out for twenty minutes. I
don’t know why they were burning a candle in the morning, but it didn’t take
long for them to lose everything.
I should give a brief report about the boys. Daniel and Peter are working at
KFC. Daniel had several computer internship possibilities, but they all fell
through. Then KFC offered him a big raise and it certainly is convenient to have
both boys at the same place. Christopher and Stephen are doing part-time school
in between playing with the computer, friends, babysitting, and reading books
for the library book discussion group. Chris is also working on learning basic
Korean vocabulary, and has just finished a textbook on rocks and minerals.
Benjamin loves swimming in the backyard pool or at Memorial. He also took an
uncanny interest in a biology dissection video that belongs to David, and for
several days just wanted to watch the frog and fish dissection. His other
favorite videos are Blue’s Clues and Swiss Family Robinson.
Mom told a story about Ben that I want to repeat for those who missed it. He
came to me asking to make a bag of microwave popcorn when he saw Stephen making
some. I told him that he should just share Stephen’s. "I don’t want to
share," was his honest response. Aunt Dorothy chimed in with a Biblical
exhortation about the virtues of sharing. Ben walked over to her and held the
popcorn bag in front of her face. "See, " he said, "it says ‘DO
Well now I feel better that we are back in touch. Happy Independence Day!