Here we are, 54 years ago! What the heck happened??
Once a year the Round Robin letter appears in the mailbox. It's filled with pictures, letters, and stories from my High School friends (Margo, Freda, Sandy M., Sandy N., June, Donna, Betty, Nola, Ann, and Mary) at Traverse City Central High School, class of 1953. It came this weekend, loaded as usual with news, health issues, happiness, sadness, travel and empathy and understanding. I sent it off today, with new pictures of our cruise, and a letter of our past year. This is it:
Great timing for the arrival of the Robin. I love it when it comes before the happy confusion of summer in T.C. The pictures are fascinating - it’s a wonderful way to watch those grandkids grow up.
Looking back over the past months since I last wrote makes me think of the famous quotation “ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities).
The Worst of Times:
Briefly, I had a back injury last summer resulting in severe sciatica, nerve damage and weakness in my left leg. I lost the whole month of September, being heavily medicated with pain meds. I began aqua therapy in November. and regular Physical Therapy six weeks later. After months of P. T., Dick and I are continuing to go to the gym twice a week. Improvement is coming slowly but surely (emphasis on the “slowly”). Today, my leg is still noticeably weak, and I use a cane for distances.
What I learned through that whole ordeal is that I picked a peach in the garden of love. Dick’s favorite thing is Univ. of Mich. football - and he only went to one game last season - he stayed home with me the rest of the season. He did go to the Mich.-Mich. State game, but he arranged for a good friend from Belleville to come here and “babysit” with me while he was gone. He took care of the house, cooking, shopping, laundry and everything for several weeks. He’s a real winner in the human race!
My Mother spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in the hospital, and was discharged to a skilled nursing facility instead of back to her assisted living apartment. Mom passed away in February at the age of 98. Her last days were peaceful and quiet. She was ready to go.
The Best of Times:
In March we took a road trip to Memphis and St. Louis for 10 days, finding a geocache in each of 7 different States. It was wonderful to see daffodils and blossoming trees after such a gloomy winter. One of the highlights for me was finding the burial site of my Kanitz great-grandparents and long forgotten relatives in Arthur, Illinois.
But the highlight of the entire year was a Caribbean cruise in April with our whole family to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Our kids gave us the cruise for Christmas, and the best part is that they all came with us! Dick and I were in a lovely suite with lots of closets, a living room, and a huge balcony. We sailed from Miami to Belize (Mayan Ruins), Cozumel, Costa Maya and Grand Cayman. It was such a marvelous experience - a once in a lifetime event. We were thrilled by the whole thing. The cruise was with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines - the ship was The Explorer of the Seas.
Our kids are all fine and they are all in the same places - Laurie, Chip and Dylan, the world’s greatest grandson, live in Palm City, Florida. Laurie and Chip both work for American Airlines, and Laurie spends a ton of time volunteering at Palm City Elementary. I knew that degree in Education would come in handy someday! They come to stay with us every July, and we’re expecting them again this year - it’s the best time of the year for us. I think you all met them at one of our reunions.
Tom lives in San Diego and works for Cymer Corporation designing lasers for computers. He’s a mountain biker on the side, which means he keeps a good supply of bandaids! He was just here last week for a long weekend to attend the wedding of a cousin. We love having him around.
Jana is in Washington, D.C. working at Congressional Quarterly. She has a great position and she does a terrific job. Last September she came home to stay with me for a while when I was down and out. Her bosses sent me flowers - I was very impressed! She came back home at Christmas time which she likes to do every year - she loves the snow and Christmas at the river. Tom goes to Florida for Christmas to be with Dylan!
Dylan is 9 ½ years old, just finished the 3rd grade and can hardly wait to get to T.C. He loves tennis, camping, geocaching, biking and computer games. He’s a delightful boy and we feel that even though we have only one grandchild, somehow we managed to get the best one!
The National Governors Conference will be held in Traverse City the weekend of July 20. Dick will be working long hours the whole weekend - he’s in charge of the 75 volunteers who will be at the Cherry Capital Airport meeting and greeting the Governors and their families. They will help the visitors get to their lodgings, get rental cars, and just generally ease their arrival. He’s just hoping that no luggage is lost along the way!
The kids will all be here again on July 28th when we host GenFest, the annual Steiger family reunion of all living descendants of Dick’s Mother Gen.
A couple of you mentioned the possibility of a 55th class reunion next summer (2008). As of this weekend there’s no date posted yet on the Central High web site for the Class of ’53 for next summer. As soon as I hear something I’ll let you know so you can make plans. We’ll be here, “the good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” so you can plan on a pre-reunion reunion.
Stay well, spoil those grandkids, and keep in touch.