Dear family:

I boldly announced that the computer was mine this evening, and thereby have no further excuse for delaying in writing to you, other than I donít know where to begin. Iíll try to follow some consecutive order, but before I do, there are a few family milestones left over from the summer that never got mentioned in previous letters that I made note of on a scrap of paper. I mention them here in case we need to know these things fifty years from now. The first is that Ben gave up his "bedtime blankie" this summer. Just prior to his fifth birthday I suggested that he should give it up when he turned five. He thought about it for a few minutes and then said he would give it up when he was six. But actually, it disappeared without being noticed or mourned by anyone but me.

Similarly, my old faithful Laneco grocery store closed down this summer. I now have to travel farther afield to a store with less efficient check-out clerks. Itís funny, I know, but I feel a bit homeless without a grocery store. Quite a few people have gushed to us about the grandiose new Wegmanís that has opened up in the township. It is not close to us, but Mom and I intend to take a sightseeing trip there some day soon. Fortunately we have our wonderful little Simís neighborhood store to keep us from starving.

My last letter was written in such a rush that I didnít even mention the World Trade Center disaster. Peter was just exiting his Lehigh World Politics class when we heard about the first planes. Of course we were riveted to the radio (not having TV reception) and the day unfolded in a most unreal way as the disasters piled up and we hurriedly reviewed whom we might know who would be at risk. There is no question that life feels different since the 11th. Peter, Steve, and I had been in the WTC with our French student exactly two months to the day prior, which felt like a close call until we learned that a family in our church was sightseeing there the day before. As it turned out, all of the people we were concerned about (parents of Lehigh students, etc.) were safe, and yet the tragedy nevertheless felt very personal. The students were quite shaken and we had very well attended prayer meetings on campus in the aftermath. At this point, the observable effects on our culture have been largely positive. There is a stirring of patriotism and camaraderie in the displays of flags everywhere, and people seem sobered and less likely to sweat the small stuff. However, the prospect of future terrorism, a lengthy and expensive campaign against it, and being the parent of military age boys is not a comfortable feeling.

Life has gone on, of course. We welcomed Mom and Dad home on October 4th. They were the last to come down the airport hallway, and we had become concerned that something was wrong. We asked the flight crew and they immediately assured us that the only problem was that the Feavers had had too much to drink! We made quite a scene in the airport Ė they brought leis for us, we had flowers and balloons for them. Benís first question was whether they wanted all of the balloons for themselves. After a dinner out with Uncle David (where we gave the leis to the happy restaurant personnel) we returned home Ė which for Nana and Poppa meant staying at our house since theirs was under renovations, not to mention without furniture.

John and family arrived on the weekend to add to the welcoming party, and promptly set themselves up next door to "break in" the new house. It was great to have the bulk of the family (notice that I am excluding Peter, in England, from the phrase "the bulk") together, and the immediate helpfulness of Gail and Megan in particular was a real boost to making the house habitable. They brought a truck with furniture from Gailís fatherís home, for which everyone was grateful. We didnít have much time together, but we did have the opportunity to listen to a tape of the eulogies given at her fatherís funeral, which was very touching. After Johnís family had tested the house for ghosts, Mom and Dad felt it was time to move into 629 for sleeping purposes, but continued to spend the days here.

Those days have been busy, but so wonderful to have them to share with. The first priority was to get Dad established with the medical community here. Their first taste of culture shock was the more officious way that medical care is managed here, compared to the informal Hawaiian style. We also took care of a myriad of details Ė new licenses, parking permits, and all the little things that are involved in a major move. In spite of all the run around, Dad improved daily and was benefitting from the cooler climate. His blood sugar came down to normal and his shortness of breath was gone. He was promptly taken off medical leave and put to work teaching Latin to Christopher.

Just this past week the contractor completed the kitchen, though I use the word "completed" loosely. We have had some dramatic and tense moments Ė for instance, when the refrigerator wouldnít fit -- but it is now usable. Then their container from Hawaii arrived mid week, and they have been busy finding places for their things and shopping for items that they now need. The highlight of this week was the news that they have a buyer for the condominium in Hawaii. They purchased (for a song) a car from someone in our church, a car with 225,000+ miles on it, but so well cared for that it is more reliable than any of our vehicles!

There have been plenty of special events. Our daily routine seems to revolve around looking for lost items and coordinating schedules. But each week is punctuated by interesting diversions. Many of these involve the Lehigh students and their social events. We have had students over for meals lots of times, as well as for movie nights. There have been several concerts at Zoellner, and we had quite a crowd for the night we went through a corn maze. Our family has done corn mazes in the daytime before, but the Lehigh gang wanted to try one at night. Ben was eager to go along, too, but had serious reservations once we were out in the middle. Fortunately David has a good sense of direction and we made it out in decent time.

I had one night out with some women in my church to see Princess Diaries. We are all mothers of boys, and figured weíd never get our families to watch it, so we had a ladiesí night out. We had the theater to ourselves, so it was a lot of fun.

Of course, you are all more interested in news about the boys than about my gallivantings. Iíll start at the top.

David. David has been juggling two dorm Bible studies, a large group meeting, a grad student Bible study, a leadership team meeting (for which he makes breakfast), and now a ministry team meeting each week. Practically every weekend he is away on some ministry or another Ė one week it is presbytery, another weekend he went to Homecoming at his fatherís church in West VA, another he was at a missions conference, yet another he was at fall conference with students in Connecticut, and last weekend he took a bunch of students to help out at a soup kitchen in Manhattan. Twice in the past month he has preached at other churches. In addition, he has been the primary manager of the renovation project next door, and we have lost count of the number of trips he has taken to Home Depot. I donít know how he does it, though the boys insist that his energy is fueled by late night raids on the fridge and their Halloween candy. One result of all this activity is that his desk is literally buried under piles of loose paperwork, some of which may be important. The good news is that one of the students is volunteering time to help him sort through it. This student is particularly qualified for this job, as he is an anthropologist/archeologist specializing in Peruvian artifacts!

Daniel. Last weekend was my turn to go away (I guess we are back to my gallivanting already) for parentís weekend at Hopkins. I hadnít seen Daniel since his birthday weekend in August, and he was a sight for sore eyes. Judging by his reaction, though, I got the distinct impression he was more eager to see the frozen meals that I brought with me than to see my face! He is in a generous-sized apartment, in which the main decorating theme appears to be computers and boxes. Consider this letter an SOS to send him posters and/or pictures to personalize his walls. Peter came along, too, and we had a couple of nice dinners out. We attended an a capella concert and I almost talked them into going to the Baltimore Art Museum. Peter stayed at the apartment with Dan and was up till all hours with his friends; I was keeping almost the same hours with our friends, the Badorfs, with whom I stayed overnight. Daniel is finding this semester more manageable than previous ones, as evidenced by the fact that he has been able to do some recreational reading for the first time since enrolling at Hopkins. He is working a few hours a week at a warehouse, and applying for internships next summer more related to his field.

Peter. Peter is the major newsmaker in the household. No sooner did he recover from his sprained ankle than he broke his clavicle in a collision with another player. This started yet another round of doctorís visits. He managed to once again heal fast enough to catch the latter part of the soccer season, scoring a total of four goals for his team. His team was favored to win the districts, but lost in the first round in a heart-breaking upset. (Hearts werenít the only thing broken. A number of the players were injured and one even ended up in the hospital.) I caught most of his home games but since the away games are often quite a distance, I usually didnít see those. However, one beautiful fall day I decided to jump in the car to watch his game against Wetherly. I was feeling a rush of sadness that Peterís senior soccer season was ending. I had no idea how far away Wetherly actually is (past Jim Thorpe) and had serious questions about whether the car was in fact up to the challenge of the mountains once I was on the way, but the drive through Lehigh Gorge was stunning.

Peter is now senior class president at LVCHS. The full story is that he lost by one vote to a girl, and she resigned in the first week, so the job went to him. None of us are quite sure what his responsibilities are supposed to be; however, he returned from the school retreat shaved completely bald by his teammates , which had some connection apparently. We pointed out that he will now be required to attend the Christmas banquet (he was too cheap to go last year), and have given him helpful suggestions about which girls we think he should ask to this social event of the season. (Most of our suggestions he rules out as being girls with "too much class".) He did have a letter to the editor published in the Morning Call bragging about his schoolís Pennsylvania Assessment scores. This might be the right place for me to brag about his SAT scores, 1410! Much to his uncleís relief, he also scored well on his first Lehigh exam. We are cracking the whip over him to get the college application process well under way before the holidays. We have painful memories of last minute pressure with Danielís three years ago.

Peter continues to exasperate his mother by things like having his senior picture taken in his favorite "Do Nothing/ Avoid Criticism" tee shirt and not getting his driverís permit. If heís smart heíll butter me up because the school bus drivers are going on strike this week and heíll need a ride to school.

Christopher. I think all of you get Christopherís newsletter, so you know exactly what is going on here and in his life. His current project is a massive vocabulary list. Iím a little fuzzy on its purpose, but there is no question about it being his passion. If nothing else, it is a distraction from his assigned project; namely, a major research paper on the history of mahogany in furniture making, and the dreaded geometry. He started attending the 4-H Veterinary Science club, something he has wanted to do for a few years, and hopefully will join the local homeschool chess club, as well. I should comment here that Christopherís main hobby appears to be eating. He is unquestionably in the "hollow leg" years.

Stephen. Yesterday marked the end of Stephenís soccer season Ė one of those "character-building" seasons. He turned twelve in October, and though his birthday was nearly lost in the shuffle, he managed to come out of it with a new bike. Somewhere in the house he has hidden a massive amount of Trick or Treat candy. He and his friend Joseph went around both Bethlehem and Wescosville dressed as elves from The Lord of the Rings. This past week we went on a field trip to John James Audubonís home. Stephen proved to be a talented scout, as he led his group out of the woods on the nature trail. He has been practicing with his bow and arrow outdoors, and his harmonica indoors. Stephen would probably describe school as a necessary evil, but he loves the daily reading time when Nana reads missionary stories aloud to him.

Ben. Benjamin has taken to public prayers which, I blush to admit, are the kind that the Pharisees made popular in Biblical times. They always begin, "Jesus Lord, help us to have a good timeÖ" after which follows a long list of anything he can think of doing. Once in a while he shows potential as a Pentecostal preacher. "Show us the way, God, show us the way!" Then, when he is finished, he sidles up to me and asks, rhetorically, "Wasnít my prayer the BEST?" On the way to a service in which David was preaching, he asked, "When is it my turn to speak up front?"

He misses the interaction at nursery school, and looks forward to weekly events such as Masterís Academy and Awana club. At MAFA he has made friends with a little cutie and I was told that he was asking about the price of a ring for her! Nana has been an invaluable help to me as often she has put Ben to bed when we are out for some reason. His soccer season is now over, too, and he estimates the number of goals he made at somewhere around sixty, though it was probably more like three.

Thatís the roundup. We love hearing from all of you and send our deepest affection.

 

 

E-mail David Green: david@cdgreen.org

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