A January 2001 letter to our friends:

As the year 2000 came to a close we took off again for Mexico. There we three spent ten days of mid-December enjoying the sun, sand and surf of Rincon de Guayabitos, a small town 45 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. That was a time for reading, relaxing and recharging of batteries. Now we are home again, caught up in the busy routine of every day activities.

We still are very active and in good health. To a great degree we attribute our good health to a physically active life style and good diet. Mary Ann walks three to four miles in Whatcom Falls Park before breakfast (daylight permitting) then plays racquet ball twice a week followed by a swim or time in the weight room. David still goes to the YMCA several times a week for swimming before he goes to work at the university. He is now working 5 hours a day at his job and loves it. They love him, call him Romeo.

George is back on his bicycle after his accident on 2 November about 14 months ago. But he now has one of the finest bikes made in America, courtesy of the dog-owner’s insurance company. He raced in the Ski to Sea race last May (oldest rider of 400 teams) and rides between one and two hundred miles each week (weather permitting). George loves every minute of it, feels riding gives him energy to do all the other things he is involved in (except maintaining the household checking account, weed the garden, etc.). He intends to race in the National Masters bicycle race in Spokane this July and also in the Washington State Senior Olympics. He’s crazy! But it is a healthy crazy.

In March we went to Ecuador and while Mary Ann stayed in Quito George went into the jungle with our friend Gustavo Perez R. for a four-day visit with the Indichuri clan of the Quechuan tribe. Their village is located near Puyo on the Rio Pastaza, a tributary of the Amazon River. George is trying to develop a community based eco-tourism project with the tribal medicine man (curando) and spiritual leader (shaman). They would present a four-day seminar on jungle medicine for pharmacists, naturopaths, etc. with walks in the jungle collecting the herbs then preparing them for use. The first seminar will be held in late March this year and, if successful, would be repeated monthly or even more often if the demand is there.

Here in Bellingham the Big Rock Garden Park sculpture garden project that is under way in what was formerly our garden/nursery is generating a lot of publicity and visitors. Sebastian, the world-famous Mexican sculptor, donated a work to the park. He and his wife Gabriela were our guests in Bellingham for several intense days of receptions, public ceremonies and trips to Mt. Baker and to Vancouver, BC, Canada. This year George expects to have over 90 sculptures by artists from at least ten nations in the garden for the summer. George is chairman of the sculpture committee.

George’s major current activity, though, is developing support for the Korean War Children’s Memorial to be built in Big Rock Garden Park. It is to honor the GIs who,

during the war, saved the lives of over 10,000 children and sustained the lives of over 50,000 children with over two million dollars in donations from their meager pay. If you are connected to the Internet take a look at the web site www.koreanchildren.org. He will soon have posted on the web site over 200 newspaper articles and over 300 photographs of the armed forces interaction with the children during the war period in Korea. Some of the stories he has posted are truly dramatic. A TV documentary producer is working on making a one-hour documentary on the subject using George’s data.

David is learning to ride a bike and has one of his own now. Parents of his girl friend, Beth, got him started when he was visiting them out in the county. They run the old country store in Van Zandt, about 20 miles from here on the way to Mt. Baker. He is still working at the university in the food service at Ridgeway Dining Complex. He loves the job and they love him. It is wonderful for him to have this regular employment in such a nice environment.

Mary Ann enjoyed a beautiful extended autumn by going to Wisconsin in early October for her 50th nursing class reunion. The fall colors were more glorious than she remembered them being when living there. She enjoyed visits with friends and relatives.

On her return there were about six more weeks of autumn color in the northwest and very little rain. We did get in a few hikes in the late summer. The alpine trails did not open until late in the season because of the immense amount of snow last winter. Once again we spent four days in Stehekin at the ranch where Mary Ann meets annually with a group of spinners from Oregon and Washington. George read and worked on his laptop computer. David went on a horseback ride and a river-rafting trip. We all enjoyed the food and friendship.

Mary Ann meets regularly with spinners in this area, in the homes of the members, in various parks and sometimes in assisted care facilities or nursing homes where the activity always creates a lot of interest among the residents.

As you can note, we live a full life and are enjoying our “Golden Years”.

With love,
George, Mary Ann and David