To our dear friends this holiday season:
The rainy season is upon us with overcast skies and days without seeing the sun so we are heading for Rincon de Guayabitos, our former beach hangout in Mexico, for 12 days in December. David will be going with us on this trip as he lost out on other trips this year due to his work schedule at the university dining hall. His supervisor is letting him off a few days early so he could join us at the beach. David loves his work and hasn’t missed a day since starting. He is also liked very much by his co-workers. His main job is cutting cakes and pies and placing them on serving dishes. One of the perks of his job is a free lunch, all he can eat of anything on the menu.
We started the year renting a house for a month in Oaxaca with Jack and Louise Monahan. Using that as our base we took trips to the beach at Puerto Angel and to the mountain villages in Chiapas State where the Zapatistas are fighting. We also visited many craft villages in Oaxaca State.
George sold the International Creche Festival Association nativity set collection and all accessory items to the Maryknoll Fathers in Dayton, Ohio so he is no longer involved in putting up exhibits in store windows in the center of Bellingham. But now he is chairing a committee to put sculpture in Big Rock Garden Park (our former garden). His goal is to install 100 permanent sculptures in the park in the next ten years.
In September we were part of a delegation of 22 persons from Bellingham to visit our sister city of Tateyama in Chiba Prefecture in Japan. It was the 40th anniversary of the founding of that relationship. Mary Ann and I were houseguests of Dr. and Mrs. Ohta.
He is an acupuncturist and she a primary school teacher. We slept in the tatami room with futons on the floor for beds. It was very comfortable. All meals were in traditional style with a lot of seafood as Tateyama is on the coast. Mary Ann walked along the beach and on the small lanes in the neighborhood each morning and George went on 15 to 25 mile bike rides before breakfast. The week in Tateyama was packed full of banquets, outings, receptions, tours and picnics. We had no more than about 30 minutes for shopping! It was an intense trip.
From there we went to Seoul, Korea. For George it was an emotional return. He had left Korea as a GI forty-five years earlier shortly after the end of the Korean War and never wanted to return. Since our flight was stopping over in Seoul he decided to revisit the Seoul Adventist Hospital where the GI’s in his company took the orphans when they closed up the company orphanage. We had breakfast with Grace Rue who headed the orphanage back in those days. She is 88 years old and can still beat us up a flight of stairs! The hospital was formerly in the middle of acres of rice paddies. Now an eight lane wide street passes in front of the old hospital. Six story apartment blocks and commercial buildings exist where only rice paddies were when George saw it last.
George is working to install a monument in Big Rock Garden Park honoring the humanitarian aid the American soldiers rendered the children of Korea during the war. His plan is to raise $150,000 to build a traditional pavilion to be dedicated in year 2000, the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the war. This project is now under way. He hopes to raise most of the funds in Korea.
Mary Ann still finds great joy in spinning and weaving and meeting with other spinners at least twice a month. For several years now the spinning group has occasionally visited nursing homes on their spinning day, an activity that is always of interest to the residents. Mary Ann’s hats and scarves are still selling well. She especially enjoys putting colors and textures together. All three of us went to the annual spinner rendezvous at Stehekin Valley Ranch located at the far end of Lake Chelan. It is a real backcountry experience.
David still lives a very busy life. When not at work on campus he is volunteering in Big Rock Garden Park. He loves the park and considers it his own garden. As if that wasn’t enough, he also rakes the mountains of leaves from our yard and drive and since we live in the woods that is no easy task. Indoors he has his rug hooking and stamp collection to keep him busy. His stamp collection fills about eight thick 3-ring binders.
Our health is excellent. David continues participating in Special Olympics. George has put over 5,000 miles on his bicycle this year and participated in one major race. He was the oldest cyclist and second oldest competitor of the 2,600 participants in the 5-sport event. Others our age must be on the couch getting old. We’re too busy for that. Mary Ann still plays racquetball, swims and uses the weight room at the YMCA on a regular basis. We still do get to the mountains for hikes, not as often as we would like, but on occasion we do take advantage of a beautiful day and head for the hills.
Someone has offered us the use of a 61 ft. sailing schooner for ten days in January of 1999 (it comes with a three person crew!) so we are exploring the possibility of a visit early next year to New Zealand to take advantage of that offer. While there we will spend another 10 days traveling and visiting many of the Kiwi friends Mary Ann made on her earlier trip.
‘Nuf for now. Happy holidays to all and to all the world, peace!
George, Mary Ann, David 2900 Dakin St.,
Bellingham, WA 98226