Cousin Letters
February 1997

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John Douglas Staley, November 2, 1922 - February 9, 1997

Heaven is a richer place due to the passing of our dear brother, father, uncle, grandfather. The Lord took him suddenly on Sunday, February 9th, following a stroke on Saturday from which he never regained consciousness.

Services were held in Fresno, California, on Friday, February 14. A grave side service was attended by all his living siblings and many family members. Following was a church service attended by hundreds of those whose lives he touched in his local church and community.

The following was prepared by Doug and read at the church service:

Dad was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 2, 1922, the second of eight children. When he was 2 years old, the family moved to his granddad's farm south of Wellsville, Kansas, where his dad took over the farm work when his granddad retired from farming and moved to town. Around 1928, just a year before the Stock Market fall and the Great Depression, the family gave up farm life and moved to Garnett, Kansas, where Granddad Staley went to work for his father-in-law, George Gray, at his Church Furniture Factory. Dad remembered the growing family's struggles to make ends meet during those years and remembered everybody pitching in to make money where ever they could.

He remembered his mom making donuts, and he and his older brother selling them door- to-door. He and his older brother, Warren, also had paper routes in Garnett, at which each earned a dollar a week. It must have been then that owning a bike became so important to Dad, probably because it was such a crucial piece of equipment for money earning to them, and undoubtedly because it became a "freedom" machine in town and around the countryside in Garnett.

It was always important to Dad that Carol and I have bikes, and take care of them. I remember him as being a "bike expert" and sitting in his wheel chair in the garage teaching me to fix my own flat tire, repair the chain, put oil in the bearings, and anything that needed doing to get me back on wheels. He knew the freedom a bicycle gives to a youngster and encouraged us to learn it for ourselves.

He remembered skinny dipping in a farm pond outside this little country town of 4,000, working for his merit badges until he became an Eagle Scout, Sunday school picnics, sledding and kite flying, and he shared these stories and so many others with us from a time when life may have been simpler, but certainly harder in the effort to provide for a family. His childhood was a rich and happy one in his memory, and he wanted Carol and I to experience all he had as a youngster, and more.

Dad graduated from high school and moved to Inglewood, California, where he got a job with North American on the airplane assembly line. I've read some of his letters to his mother from that time and I remember he must have had a H.S. sweetheart then, as he asked his mother to please tell her hello from him. Within a year after starting at North American in Inglewood, an opening in their Kansas City plant came up and he transferred back home to take that position. By this time, the Second World War had begun and the plant in K.C. was in full production on the huge B-25 bomber. The whole nation had geared up for war, and everybody pitched in to help, even farm girls from Oklahoma.

In 1942, Dad was a foreman on the B -25 assembly line, and on his riveter crew was a "sure enough" girl with what, to him, turned out to be a dangerous last name -- LOVE! Eileen Love had trained as a riveter with North American and, when she was qualified, had been assigned as the only girl riveter in Dad's group. The story can probably get pretty interesting at this point and, though I know some of it, I figure if any of you need to know the whole story of how the blond, curly-haired young rake went about courting the raven-haired beauty with a rivet gun in her hand, you'll just have to ask her yourselves. For now, you'll just have to settle with the knowledge that Dad and Mom were married in Kansas City in 1943.

All the boys were going off to war, and Dad, too, decided to do his part by enlisting in the Navy. After his boot camp in Faragut, Dad joined the crew of the Thetis Bay, a baby flattop being commissioned in Astoria, Oregon. He trained in a new technology for the time and became a ship's radarman and observed the war in the Pacific through a radar screen.

When Dad put out to sea, Mom went to live with her sister in Borger, Texas, where I was born in 1944. His carrier was assigned as a fighter plane transport carrying new planes to the Pacific airfields and bringing damaged ones home for repair, so the ship arrived and left from some port in California about every 4 months. During this time, Mom's parents left the Midwest and moved to Crows Landing, California so, when friends of Dad's decided to move to California from Kansas City, Mom hitched a ride, bringing me along.

Now, when Dad's ship arrived back from a run, she was able to see him for a few days before he sailed out again. She moved in with her parents and waited for the war to end and Dad to come home.

Dad was discharged from the Navy at Park Field near Tracy, California, in December, 1946. I remember him telling me that the first thing he had to do before he could go to Crows Landing to see Mom and his in-laws was buy a civilian hat. He said a hat was a necessary part of a man's dress in those days and it wouldn't have looked good for him to show up at his bride's parents home bareheaded.

Now reunited, Mom and Dad set out to create a life and home of their own. With all the boys coming home from the war, there was a major shortage of homes available nationwide and, when they looked and were unable to find a place in Modesto, they decided to try in Fresno. They'd traveled through Fresno several times during their shore visits and had liked the little town. An added attraction was the Gospel Hall church assembly, a branch of their group in Kansas City. At the assembly, one of the men there told Dad of an opening at Buckner Manufacturing Company. Dad applied and was hired. Dad now had work but still no place to put his family, so Mom went back with me to her folk's near Turlock, and Dad found a "sleeping room" where he could stay at night between working and looking for a house.

He eventually found a tiny place, and brought Mom and I home. This little house was the first of several little "cottages" we lived in for short periods as Mom and Dad worked to save for a down payment on a real house. Eventually they were able to buy a home on the North side of town, just north of Ratcliffe Stadium. Carol was born in October of 1948 and the Staley family in Fresno was complete.

Dad worked for Buckner for a little over 3 years, until March, 1949, when he quit to start his own sprinkler installation contracting business.

At that time, sprinkler irrigation contracting involved digging all trenches with a pick and shovel, cutting and threading galvanized pipe without power tools and, like individually-owned businesses today, involved long hard hours on the job to make it a success. As in everything he did, Dad pitched in with all he had and began to make a go of it.

One day in June of 1949 he got home worn out from a hot, hard day of work and that night he began to feel bad and, in an hour or two, really bad. They've never known for sure how he had contacted the Polio virus, but Polio is what he had. He spent the next few months in what was known as an iron lung at the old community hospital near the Fresno fairgrounds, paralyzed essentially from the neck down. He was 26 years old. In the meantime, his friends from Buckner jumped in and completed the sprinkler system contracts he'd left uncompleted.

The doctors finally decided he should move over to the veterans hospital on Clinton and Fresno Streets, where they had all the latest therapy equipment funded by the government and where they might be able to help him regain muscle and movement. He was there for six months but only regained a little movement in his left arm and hand, and his left leg and foot.

At Christmas, they allowed him to come home to be with his family just for the weekend. In March of 1950, he was finally home for good, but on a gurney (which is a bed with wheels). In the months following he tried specially-made body braces hoping to learn to walk with those as his muscles regained some strength but finally had to concede that a wheelchair was going to be his mode of transport for life. Even being able to develop the muscle strength to sit in it took over six months. Years later, Carol remembers him telling her that when he was lying helpless on his back in the hospital, the Psalms 46 passage, "Be still, and know I am God" came often to his mind. During all this time, donations from the people at the Gospel Hall, friends, strangers and family put food on the table and made the house payments.

With Dad finally home again, he and Mom had to figure out together how they were going to live and raise a family under a totally different situation than either had ever known or heard of. Dad was barely able to move, two small children were dependent on them, and neither had much more than a high school education to qualify them for anything other than physical labor. Mom managed to find some part time work and one of the owners at Buckner told Dad, "If you are able to do anything, we'll find a place for you." I was in Kindergarten and they found an inexpensive nursery school that took Carol for part of each day, so each was able to work part time.

Dad worked half a day for several months at Buckner for no pay, operating a specially designed phone switchboard to prove to himself as well as others that he could be useful. He was still learning to do everything with his left hand as, before Polio, he been right-handed. So he learned to operate the button switchboard by pushing the buttons with a pencil to extend his reach.

Mom was now selling Stanley Home Products, housekeeping items sold with the "in home party" method, and then placing the orders. When they arrived, she packaged and delivered the items in her spare time. Sometimes she'd deliver the orders in the evenings while Dad stayed home with us kids, and sometimes we'd ride with her to homes all over Fresno and Madera Counties on deliveries.

Dad was finally hired on at Buckner full time and Mom applied at the Fresno School District and was hired for half a day each day at Burney Elementary School. During all this time, Mom was putting Dad to bed, getting him up and into the chair, dressing him, handling his personal needs, and taking him to work and picking him up each day. She also was cooking and feeding us all, attending school functions, and raising and loving Carol and I just like any other mother. Dad was baby-sitting us while Mom was busy and teaching us to help with the small household chores, and gradually taking on more responsibility at Buckner, just like any other Dad.

Carol and I have talked about those times and now realize with amazement that we were never really aware until years after we'd grown up and left home that our parents and our family were any different than our friends and their families. Only every once in a while, when some stranger might approach Dad asking "What's the problem?" did we even notice he was in the chair.

Mom eventually went to work full time and Dad had regained more control with his left arm and hand and was able to move into the drafting department at Buckner. They now were able to begin thinking about finding a home that would better facilitate growing kids and be more maneuverable for a person in a wheelchair.

In a unique transaction for that time, they traded the equity they had in the house near Ratcliffe for three unimproved lots in a new home tract development way out in the country at Barstow and Fresno Streets. They'd met the developer who was the father of one of the Cub Scouts in my Pack and he not only made the trade, but then bought two of the lots back, providing Mom and Dad with enough money to get a house of their own design started.

In 1953 we moved into a brand new, beautiful home with a view of the Sierras above almond orchards and pastures. Carol and I started school at Wolters Elementary and found ourselves amongst farm kids who let us ride their horses and we walked through open fields to and from school. In the new house we had a huge fireplace with a big hearth to play Chinese Checkers on, a big yard to play in, our own rooms, and Dad was able to roll in and out of the house on an imperceptible ramp in the garage.

Sometime after our move, Buckner built their big, new plant South of Roeding Park and Dad moved into the purchasing department there. In 1955, Mom went to work full time at Fresno City College, still on the old campus at 'O' and Tuolome Streets, downtown. She'd get up, get Dad up, grab us all something to eat, then take Dad to Buckner and drop him off and then go on into work herself. The process would reverse in the evening, and then she'd make dinner for the family, help kids with homework, and finally get kids, Dad, and herself to bed.

Carol and I remember those years well, our mornings beginning with Dad pushing himself backwards in his wheelchair down the hall past our bedrooms, whistling a loud reveille. We knew we'd better roll out and get cracking because, around our house, there was no time to spare in the mornings. Mom and Dad would whisk off to work at about 7 AM, and Carol and I would lock the doors and head out to school about 7:30.

When we got home, it was our job to do the dishes and whatever other chores were on our list that Dad had left for us, then do whatever homework we had. Weekends were family time. First the chores, like pruning the roses, weeding flower beds, mowing the lawn, washing windows, vacuuming, and anything else that would appear on Dad's chore list. Chores were accomplished under Dad's supervision. Whatever needed to be done, especially outside chores, were done by Carol and I with Dad's active participation. Equipped with a yardstick for a pointer, Dad could manage to get roses pruned, garages swept, and sprinkler systems fixed in nearly professional time.

We learned lately that many of the things we did, even he hadn't known how to do until just prior to the effort; rose pruning for instance. Mom says he would read a magazine or booklet about it, then put it on the list. Come the weekend, out we'd go, just like a troop of pros and perform the task. He truly believed that a person can do anything he puts his mind to, and the amazing thing about this belief was that he actually could -- using nothing more than a yardstick as a tool!

When the chores were done, Carol and I were free to spend the rest of the weekend in any way we wanted. Sometimes we'd all take a drive to the foothills or some weekends we'd head off to the coast. We'd usually know a week or two in advance if we'd be heading somewhere because Dad would announce to us all that he had "itchy feet." That meant we'd better not make any big plans for the next couple of weekends because we were probably gonna go somewhere fun. Sometimes he and Mom would clue us in as to the destination, sometimes not, and it'd be a surprise. Itchy feet were, 99% of the time, a good thing. It was seldom anyplace that took much money because there wasn't much to spare, but we had fun together wherever we went.

Sometime around my Junior year in High School, Dad quit again at Buckner and started his own irrigation consulting and design service. He'd design systems for supply houses and contractors on his board at home for a fee and charge hourly for on-site supervising if needed. He stayed active in this for two years, sometimes using me as an assistant and driver, and in the process taught me far more than I ever intended to know about the Irrigation business.

I know he'd observed my unhealthy attitude toward school and grades and he and Mom must have decided the only way to make sure I'd finally grow up and leave home is if I had some way to make a living. He never let me know he was teaching me so, sure enough, I learned the trade well without knowing I'd learned it.

He'd done a lot of design work for local contractors George Dirksen and Nick Siemens during this time, and they'd been asking him to come to work full time for them at their Valley Turf irrigation supply store for quite awhile. I guess they finally made him an offer he couldn't refuse and he started for them full time around 1963. He quickly took over as manager and, a year or two later, bought both the business and the real estate.

At Valley Turf, Dad began a new concept of "do-it-yourself" sprinkler systems. This was a novel idea at the time but he recognized that the professional irrigation contractors were bringing him little business because of the Siemens/Dirkson relationship and the contractors felt they were buying from a competitor, giving Valley Turf an unfair advantage. His answer was to advertise a "design and material supply service" with the promise that anyone, however unskilled, could install their own sprinkler system with a "Custom Kit system" from Valley Turf Supply.

Fresno was then growing by leaps and bounds and, in the warm months at least, this do-it-yourself idea was a real success. He and Mom learned to tighten their belts in the winter when business was slow and save a little during the summer to cover payroll and expenses as things slowed down. During this time, he and Mom were able to help Carol and I through college.

When Mom retired from her position at City College, she got involved in the Valley Turf business, and even Carol and I worked for them off and on during that time. Dad said later that owning a business isn't always what it appears to those standing outside looking in. His comment was that it was "SELLING THE BUSINESS that finally made owning it and working so hard for 8 years worthwhile."

In retirement, Dad and Mom finally settled down......and really got busy! I know, in my own thoughtful way, I helped by constantly dropping off grandkids for a day or a weekend. The kids always thought they had an especially cool granddaddy because he had a chair they could climb on, work on, and even ride in his lap when they visited. But he and Mom also became actively involved in church activities, helped out at the local neighborhood credit union, volunteered with local organizations, and even did a little well-earned traveling to see friends and relatives around the country.

I know Dad enjoyed his retirement years at least as much as he enjoyed his years prior.

One of his most important legacies to us all was his attitude.
Doug Staley 2/13/97

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Following are a few comments spontaneously sent to me (Becky) in reaction to Uncle John's death.

From Jeff Staley:
I think a lot of us had a feeling this past summer that this could be the last time all the brothers and sisters would be together -- at least that was my feeling, and one reason I so much wanted to go to the reunion. Glad my kids at least got a chance to meet Johnny once!

From Geralyn Keller:
Even though I have not met John and Eileen (nor most of you for that matter) I still feel so much a part of the family, knowing so much through the cousin and Aunt and Uncle letters. The Staley family is quite a unique family and has been blessed so many times over with so many who love the Lord and live their lives with that love guiding it. What a wonderful legacy you all are giving to your children, nephews, nieces and friends.

From Ben Staley, jr.:
During our Bible study last night I was praying for Pa and the rest of the family when I got a really special picture of Uncle John walking with the Lord. It was the only time I have cried after hearing about his death. I feel sad for Pa and his brothers and sisters but joy for Uncle John.

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Naylor News
In the latest edition of Naylor News (1/97), Barb writes:

"By the time you read this, we will be back in South Asia, settling into new responsibilities and new surroundings... in the city! Gavin and Claire started another new school on January 15. Fortunately this is very likely the one they'll stay in for the next 3-4 years, God willing. Please pray for all of us in these early days and weeks, that we would draw on His strength in each transition.

"Yes, we do have an address that you can use to get in touch with us. In fact, we have two:

"The first one is for personal correspondence and small parcels. In using this address, please keep in mind all the points laid out in the [Wycliffe] column. This will protect our being able to stay in the country as mail is periodically opened and read before we see it:

Reg & Barb Naylor
G.P.O. 8975
E.P.C. 1035
Kathmandu, NEPAL

"The second address is for printed newsletters from any of our friends working overseas, anything that is printed on mission letterhead or that would have anything on the envelope mentioning mission work. Mail sent to this address will be regularly passed on to us:

South Asia Office
Horsleys Green
High Wycombe, BUCKS HP14 3XL

"Thanks in advance for cooperating with the guidelines. Mail from people like you is more of a boost than you'll ever know, so keep those cards and letters coming!

"(If you are on e-mail, send us your e-mail address by snail mail to the first address. As soon as we have our own e-mail address -- in the next month or so -- we'll get in tough the fast way!)

"During the next couple months, our main task is to work on gaining a long-term visa. Currently our visa is valid for only five months. We have several good options to explore. Please pray that we would be given wisdom, creativity, perseverance and faith as we pursue the various possibilities. This is a big concern and will obviously affect just ouw settled we can be! We believe it is God who has led us back, and into the work ahead of us... and He is able to make a way for us to be here. We'll keep you posted...

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Toby doing well at UCSB (by Doug Staley)

Toby Staley clawed his way through his 1st quarter at University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), Doug reports. He displayed some mental bruises when he was home for the Christmas holidays, and was all but certain that he'd crashed in Chem and Chem lab. Grades were not a subject for discussion with him if you wanted his company!

However, his e-mail to Doug on returning to campus was that he'd nailed a C in Chem, and a C+ in Lab. Happy Campus Camper!!! The old transition from H.S. to College isn't easy, and while the Prof's first job is to teach, it's also to make the freshmen prove that they are College level material and to crop those that aren't, so looks like Toby has made the first cut! His parents are very proud, and Toby's relieved.

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Warren tries something new (by Warren Staley)

Warren Staley has known the Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Humboldt State University for some time. He has been a good source of information about potential employees from that school. In late December, he phoned Warren to ask if he would be interested in teaching a class.

Warren has spent a great deal of time in his practice training recent graduates. As he was assembling a resume for the job, he was amazed at how many of the practicing CPA's in the county had obtained their required experience working for him.

"It has for many years been a desire of time to try my hand at teaching in the classroom," Warren says. "Now I will have the opportunity to give it a try."

Next semester he will be teaching an upper division business class at the university. Skip has been giving him lots of help in preparing. Skip is teaching math full-time at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California.

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Empty nest syndrome?

Warren and Erleen Staley have only Mark at home now. But, lest you feel sorry for them rattling around in their house, they do have some consolation. They have a young lady living with them who is a new Christian and needed a place to live away from a situation which was not conducive to growth in her walk with the Lord. She may be leaving soon for a Christian training school.

They also have a young man moving in who will be attending College of the Redwoods next semester. His parents are old friends from a remote area of the county. They teach in the little school in Honeydew and have a considerable ministry there.

This is how Erleen describes their current family situation: "Mark is in puberty, Erleen's in menopause, Warren is in mid-life crisis and Grace is a new bride! Without Jesus as our Center, we'd never make it!" They will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this month and praise God for the wonderful life God has blessed them with. "Every day is a new beginning because of the cross."

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Bill & Mary Bush

"Hello from Long Beach," Mary writes. "Because I did not get one single Christmas card mailed this year, I thought I had better at least attempt to get something sent to Becky this time."

They are all doing really well, well except for Matt who had the flu which provided his mother with the perfect opportunity to write. Warren is in first grade, doing great and loving it. He just finished his second year of soccer and is getting ready to move on to baseball (T-ball). "Never a dull moment around here."

Matt is in fourth grade and is on the all star soccer team so he is still playing (which must be especially fun considering all the rain they have been having lately) and he will start baseball soon also. He is in the choir at his school and is doing beginning trumpet (using his Uncle Jim's old one) so he is one busy (and happy) guy. "It is really hard for him to be sick. I'm just hoping he's not the first with the rest of us to follow."

Bill's been keeping very busy with his woodworking and refereeing soccer games for both the boys. He also, with the help of another father, got every classroom and all the computers in the computer lab at Warren's school connected to the internet. That is still keeping him busy and probably will for a long time or at least until he can find another parent to pass to baton to.

Hughes Aircraft has sold the portion of the company that Bill works for to Raytheon, another large company. So for the first time Bill & Mary find things a little unsettled and unsettling. These changes are fairly recent so it will be a while before it actually impacts them. "We are keeping a positive thought and hoping for the best."

Mary is very happy not being PTA president anymore. After two years she is content to take on some smaller jobs and volunteer more in the classrooms. "I don't think I am up at school any less, but I really enjoy the things I am involved in."

Probably their most exciting news is that Lou and Larry Bush are moving to Long Beach - only about 2 miles away from Bill & Mary. "It will be great to have them so close and, needless to say, the boys think it is the absolute best."

"Well, I think that hits just about all the highlights. Our love to you all. It was so good to see everyone at the reunion. I sure wish we could have been there longer. God bless."

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Bruce & Geralyn Keller

"It seemed like a fairly normal year until we started reviewing our calendar and saw all the stuff that has happened," says Bruce.

Maddie will turn seven in March and is in 1st grade. She loves school and is heartbroken when she has to miss a single day. Ger is the lead room mother for Maddie's class and coordinates class activities, etc.

Lianna will be three in April, and is in the middle of the "potty training" experience. She is doing quite well, although she presents quite a challenge to her parents' persistence.

Ethan is 18 months and growing fast. He is definitely all boy, with an appetite to match. He loves to laugh and play with his sisters, and they adore him, even when he's driving them crazy!

Ger and Bruce are busy with parenting. In the last year they have been involved in a family ministry at their church which is using the Growing Families International curriculum called Growing Kids God's Way. "God has blessed our family through this ministry and we are thankful for the way he has faithfully caused us to grow in our understanding of His will for us as parents. We heartily recommend this organization to you." It is thoroughly biblical in it's approach and also provides a great context for parents to examine their own relationship with Christ.

They have had some great family times together this year. Their annual fall apple-picking outing reaped a rich harvest of both apples and good memories. They look forward to it each September.

In October, Ger and Bruce finally "bit the bullet" and carted the whole family down to Sanibel Island, Florida, for a week of vacation with "Grammy and Grampy Keller. The trip in the van was quite an experience! The last time Ger and I were there it was just the two of us (no kids yet!), so this was a little different."

The kids LOVED the beach and couldn't get enough of the ocean and the shells. Jerry & Idee Keller are SO hospitable and patient, and Bruce & Ger & kids really appreciated having them all to themselves for a week! Even an unplanned trip to the emergency room when Ethan cracked his head open couldn't dampen their fun. (He's fine, by the way).

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David & Cindy Staley

The family is well and they're thankful for all the ways the Lord has cared for them this year. They are pretty settled in their new home and like it. There are plenty of home projects waiting to be done, of course. The neighborhood has lots of nice people and they live right next to the old Santa Fe Trail. David likes to ride his bike up the hill and around the mesa that overlooks Raton. It's quite a climb!

The boys like school and are motivated. Phillip's teacher is especially neat and creative. He continues to be outgoing and very verbal. "I think he has to talk to think," Cindy says. He's a really neat kid and pretty mature for a seven-year-old.

Cindy teaches Byron's P.E. class once a month along with the other two kindergarten classes. Byron loves school and brings home lots of 100s. He is their "artsy" guy and draws and colors almost continuously -- except when playing on the new art program on the computer! He does like to play outside, too.

Andrea goes to work with Cindy most mornings down at the church since she dropped out of Headstart! She plays in the nursery and entertains herself nicely most of the time. She and Byron go to a sitter two afternoons a week and enjoy that, too. "Andrea keeps us in stitches," Cindy says. "She stood in front of her closet the other day, naked as a jay bird, and said, "I don't have anything to wear!" They can't wait ‘til Jr. High! She got a Barbie from Aunt Brenda for Christmas. "Oh no."

David and Cindy are currently looking for a new church due to discontent with a recent decision by their presbytery to vote down an amendment to the National Church constitution that would have prohibited practicing homosexuals from being ordained. The amendment would also have prohibited anyone involved in sex outside of marriage from holding office or a pastorate. David's disappointment is evident when he quips, "It is too politically incorrect for most Presbyterians to ban anyone from anything and, after all, what relationship does our church life have with our private and consenting practice at home?

"Call us naive, call us ignorant, call us David and Cindy, but we believe that we (all Christians) can read and interpret the Bible -- not just PhD's. We believe the Bible is clear on the issue of homosexuality (an abomination) and that is enough for us."

He promises to get down out of the pulpit just as soon as he recovers from the soreness due to his recent bike ride!

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Special prayer request for Cindy's brother

Cindy included the following in their recent Christmas letter:

"I'll share a prayer request with you about my older brother, Kenny. He went into the hospital in New Hampshire with pneumonia and very low blood count and has since been diagnosed with AIDS. He also has progressed Hodgkin's Disease (cancer of the lymph nodes). The news was not a big surprise as we have known about his lifestyle and how it wasn't very healthy, but of course we feel terrible about it.

"My folks are holding up amazingly well, though I know they are really hurting for him. I talked to him recently and he had started intravenous chemotherapy. He was feeling pretty good, considering. Hadn't had any adverse reactions or side effects so far -- that's encouraging. We had a good talk.

"My folks are planning to go back after Christmas, I think, or perhaps right after the new year. We've decided it will probably be best for me to wait and go back by myself later in January or February. My folks will be here then and can help watch the kids."

Cindy's mom and dad recently moved to Raton. Her mom retired from teaching midyear and they had bought a place in Raton last summer. David and Cindy look forward to having them nearby.

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New church for the Meyers

Brenda and Doyle and family are attending a different church, this one in Farmington, NM, called Exciting Tabernacle Baptist Church. It's a large church and there are two young, innovative pastors which the kids particularly enjoy. It is a growing church and they are enjoying being part of a church whose philosophy of ministry jives with what they believe. It was difficult for them to leave Animas Valley Community Church but they felt it was right after much agonizing and prayer. "Here at ETBC we are healing and our children are loved," Brenda says. "This is the first church where, after the first visit, Pete said ‘I like it' and we felt it was right. It is so important to be somewhere where your teens like to be!"

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More from Doug

As Doug Staley sat thinking about the words "new beginnings", he thought of how grateful he is that they don't have much to report here either. "Maybe it's my mood (it couldn't be my age!), but I think this year that I'm happy that we have no great, exciting plans or projects pending, no changes or special events visible on the horizon (I know I'll be eating these words.....Catsup, please.), and just a grand, new year laid out in front of us to work, play, and love in." No doubt they'll get, as brother-in-law Jim Conrow says, their ‘monthly suprises' (which usually means another trip to the cash reserve), but "it's ok," Doug says, "Bring em on, cause this year my little pea brain is not cluttered with distractions!"

"As for Pat & I, the cabin has become I guess, our life's hobby." They've owned it for about 7 or 8 years, and have been ‘remodeling' (read - "trying to keep our 70 year old pile of boards and rocks from sliding into the creek") since they bought it. They've nearly finished the bed, bath, & kitchenette underneath at last, which means they can now jack up the sagging back corner, put a foundation under it, rebuild the upstairs bathroom, finally put a real kitchen upstairs. "Really, it's been a lot of fun in the winter shoveling 12 tons of snow so we could open the front door and get in, and in the summer working like frenzied ants to get stuff done so it'll survive another winter. Shoot - maybe we ought to buy a boat, too. Then we'd have something to do with all our free time! (Methinks the lady doth complain too much!)"

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Cami to Graduate in May

Camilla Claassen reports she is on track to graduate in May with a BS in Systems Science and Engineering. She has decided not to go directly to graduate school... maybe later. So she will be looking for a job (probably in Denver or St. Louis).

She had a tough first semester with a senior project, a lab class with a partner, and an independent study (plus two dance classes and a computer class). All the ambiguous structure threw her for a loop, she said, and she had a tough time adjusting but survived!

She is still involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a member of Exec (the group of student leaders). She's the Servant Group Coordinator again this year coordinating small group Bible studies.

She also has a boyfriend of eight months from Minnesota. He's a senior, double majoring in Elementary Education and Religious Studies. He'll probably become a fourth grade teacher in an inner city school. He is the Large Group Coordinator with InterVarsity. "We're opposite on pretty much everything, but it generally works," says Cami.

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Erinn (Staley) gets married!

She met Michael Dooley the day before Easter at a gathering for employees of PetSmart. He and a friend wanted to go to church but hadn't planned where. Erinn says, "Adrienne, Michael and I went to my little, aged (even the members) church and then had lunch together."

The three made arrangements to meet at the giant city park later but, conveniently, Adrienne didn't show. "Michael and I spent that day and every day since together during our free time."

She says "the wise, old members of my church think Michael is it, and the wee ladies seem barely ashamed to admit ‘he's cute besides.'" The parents of her students took no time in their conclusion that "he's a keeper." She met his family on Mothers Day and "positively adores them."

At Michael's quarterly break from school -- he's a chiropractic student -- Erinn finally made that trip back to California. They went canoeing and picnicing with her mom, Lynda, and had a most unusual conversation, which ended in a proposal of marriage!

They were married two days later at the El Dorado County Courthouse where Lynda works, complete with a bouquet of flowers, cards, cakes, gifts, and a wedding party of nearly twenty. "Zowie, what fun!"

After the wedding they travelled to Fresno to visit Doug and Pat -- "Whew! I think they like him, too."

They are now sharing an apartment with friends but looking for their own place soon. Michael attends Life College which specializes in chiropractic and nutrition. They expect to be able to move west in about 3 years. "Hopefully God will bless us with a practice or wiser goals by then."

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Grace Staley marries

On January 4th, Grace Staley married Matthew Westbrook. Matt is a wonderful and Godly young man. He will graduate from Humboldt State University this May in Business. He is working for Warren part time and shows great potential as an auditor. Warren and Erleen would love to keep him there but his current plan is to pursue full-time Christian work with DJ and Melodee. These plans are still tentative, though, so only the Lord knows for sure.

Grace drew a picture of the wedding cake she wanted and Erleen's efforts were rewarded with a unique and beautiful cake.

The wedding was unique in several ways. First of all it rained for over a week before the wedding. You may ask yourself, "Is that unusual for northern California in the winter?" However, the normal weather pattern is rain for 2 or 3 days and then a few days of clear weather. This time it rained steadily and heavily for over a week. The Mad River rose to eight feet over flood level as did all of the North Coast rivers exceeded flood level and they were cut off from the outside world by land.

Although the weather turned out fine for the wedding, the aftermath of the flooding had its impact. Matt's family lives in Quincy, California, which was also cut off from the rest of the world. His father is a pastor and was scheduled to perform the ceremony. Until the day before the wedding, it was still not certain that any of his family would be able to attend.

Quincy doesn't have commercial air service, and a family friend with a small plane was stranded in Reno. However this friend was able to get to Quincy the day before the wedding and flew Matt's dad and a few others to the wedding. Sadly, his mother was unable to attend.

The wedding was unique in its impact on those who attended. Matt's father and Grace's pastor both participated. There was a powerful message and even an invitation to receive Christ. Warren writes, "God's Spirit did a mighty work and many were impacted. We know of one couple who were so under conviction that they were unable to attend the reception. Instead they went home to pray, repent and reconcile."

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New Baby

Skip and Teresa Staley are expecting a baby in April -- a brother for Tia. Erleen already has a video of the baby! Warren Glen Staley will be the baby's name.

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Legal hoops

Bill and Kathy Hobson are in the midst of doing paperwork and running here and there for appointments with attorneys and social workers. They are going through all the "legal hoops" possible to get an adoption under way by May!

They are going to be adopting a child from England and the birth mother's due date is May 8th. They ask prayer that everything will come together in a timely fashion. They will head overseas on "vacation" in May for a few of weeks to pick up the newest addition to the extended Staley clan!

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Tim Staley at a new job

Tim got a new job in October. He's still with Airborne Express but now monitors four outside vendors that do data entry work for the company.

"I mostly track their work on a computer and talk a bit on the phone. Although it's a very busy job, I enjoy the change away from being a lead."

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New job for Gary Keller

In December, Gary accepted a new job. The Lord provided a position at a firm still close to home but hopefully without so much overtime. Gary worked too much overtime this year, Pam and he felt.

Now they would need a second car for Gary to get to the new job and, as the Lord would work out, Jerry & Idee were selling the one that Barb & Reg had used while on furlough.

They bought it and Pam drove it back to Seattle through the Northern route during December. "Yep! Crazy!" Pam says. "We spent Christmas in St. Louis and had a mini-Keller reunion. What fun! It was good to see everyone together. It won't be like that for a long time to come."

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Church news from Bruce & Ger Keller

Bruce writes, "If we aren't doing family stuff, we are usually busy in our roles as members of New Community Church." They are going on their sixth year there, and they have been very encouraged to see God bless and grow the church family through both good times and trials. Bruce and Ger are co-leaders in the family ministry and are excited about the ways God is using it to deepen people's walk with the Lord. Bruce is still playing guitar and singing for the Sunday worship team, and they have added a formal rehearsal to the schedule. "If I'm not careful, I might have to admit that I am in a band! (Oh No!)"

Ger has been involved in an inductive Bible study using material from a group called Precepts Ministries. The studies (in I Tim. and Colossians) are quite in-depth and require hours of preparation each week. "It has been really awesome to see a hunger for God's word build in the women as God speaks to them in their study," Bruce relates. "Jerry Marshall, our pastor, is worried that they might be putting him out of a job (ha-ha!)" Ger coordinated the women's retreat in the fall and was also a "star" in their first dramatic Christmas musical (Bruce just sang bass). Bruce has had an opportunity or two to speak on Sunday morning which challenges him greatly; "I love doing it." They value prayers for them as God is gradually expanding their ministry at church. "We want to honor Him in the ways we choose to involve ourselves and make sure that we are not spread too thin."

With all the activity, Bruce & Ger still manage to squeak out a few moments to themselves. They spent a weekend away last spring in the Amish country in eastern Illinois. They hope to get away again soon for a quiet weekend alone. "Though few and far between, they are special times to recharge ourselves and just have fun together. We trust you all take the time to do the same.

"I am always thankful for all of you and love to hear the latest news. I never tire of thanking God for the special blessing of the Christ-centered legacy we have been given as members of the Staley clan. The older I get, the more I realize just how unusual and rare a blessing it really is. I can't wait for the day when we will all be together worshiping Him in person. That will be great!"

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Top salesman: Dan Greenough

Dan was awarded top salesman in his company for the second year in a row. He and Jan put on their "fancy duds (Dan even rented a tux!)" and went to a "sparkly" awards banquet. Dan currently is juggling three subdivisions -- two of them have just a few houses left, including the subdivision they live in. He's working out of a trailer in a new subdivision down the road, with lots of dirt and models half completed.

Jan's law office job continues much the same; "it's comfortable and part-time, giving me a little free time for other things."

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David & Cindy Staley

Cindy continues to love her work as part-time secretary of First Baptist Church. She has been learning the bookkeeping over the past few months and enjoys working on the computer and writing her own paycheck! "Wish I could put in some higher numbers!" She has enjoyed getting to know all the neat people that attend that church.

David enjoys his teaching down at Maxwell for the most part. He has new responsibilities this year with all the computers and that's extra work. As head teacher, he also has to deal with all the discipline problems and of course that gets to be a pain! But he likes the school and students and his sense of humor helps him endure. He took a group of 7th graders down to Santa Fe recently and one of his students had never been south of Wagon Mount (about 40 miles south of Maxwell)! The kid thought Las Vegas, New Mexico, was THE gambling Las Vegas (Nevada)! The poor kid was disappointed and a little embarrassed.

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Paul & Beth Drechsel

Paul continues to work for his parents in the printing business. Beth says he must like getting his hands dirty because he's always up to his elbows in projects! He and Robert & Kevin have enjoyed working on the layout of an electric model railroad tucked away in the garage. They often sketch and draw at the kitchen table. Paul has recently started a new hobby -- watercolor painting. He's also got Greg Staley looking for a 1940-1950 pickup truck on the reservation to buy cheap for a rebuild project!

Beth has had more free time this past year but expects it to all end in January when she begins a job providing full-day child care for a 2-month-old baby. Beth has been meeting with an older woman from church in a mentoring-type relationship which has been a real blessing to her. Her wisdom and godly advice have been helpful. Beth has also tried her hand recently at writing poetry and short stories, having one small article receive an honorable mention in a writing contest and another item published in a Christian calendar!

Rob is eleven years old and in the 5th grade. He grew up a lot this year and his parents can see the emerging of a fine young man. He still loves math and science, particularly astronomy. He has joined a band and is learning to play the saxophone. His first concert was January 21st and he did real well. His band teacher is superb and they just found out that she attends their church so that was an encouragement to Rob. His hobbies are reading, building plastic models, and collecting Star Wars toys.

Kevin is eight and in the 2nd grade. This year he joined his brother in Project Ideal, a program for academically gifted students -- it's his favorite class. Kevin's humor and delight in life are a joy. He spends a lot of time with friends, young and old. His favorite activity is playing soccer with his buddies at recess. He enjoys learning about animals, riding his bike, and going to the airport to watch airplanes.

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Doyle & Brenda Meyer

Brenda continues to substitute teach and stays involved in her ministry with Clotheshare -- a local free clothing giveaway to the needy of the community. Her dream is to occupy a building on Main Street in Aztec where they can open the doors once a week or so and have everything better organized and handy. Right now their garage and shed are full of boxes and bags. Doyle is considering presenting their case to the city within the next few months.

Chris graduated from high school last May and took a class last semester at San Juan College along with working full-time. He's helping the youth pastor at church with a Dance Club. His present love is music and anything Star Wars. He and brother Pete are collecting Star Wars memorabilia and have made plans to see the new releases together. Chris is making plans to go with Operation Mobilization next September for two years. He is looking at Belgium and would love to be in a coffee-house ministry. He has been interested in missions for quite some time but only seriously lately following conversations with his Uncle Al and Aunt Julie Meyer in Lynden, Washington, this past summer. They and their 6 kids have made a career with O.M. and are stationed in Belgium.

Pete is a freshman at Aztec High School with a heavy schedule. He gets bored if the schedule is too easy! He plays soccer for the High School team and they did quite well. Now he is playing basketball -- to stay in shape for soccer, he says! He hopes to work on staff at Kansas Bible Camp this summer like his brother Chris did last year.

Erin is in 5th grade, her last year at Park Avenue School. Next year she'll move on to middle school. She is almost as tall as Brenda, is quite the young lady and has her own taste in clothes. She loves to make things, loves classical movies, and collects Polly Pocket toys, Nutcrackers and lots of other things. She loves to swim and dive and hopes to get on a swim team.

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Mick & Bridget Staley

A year ago January Mick shut down the parts store and took a job as manager of a Michelin tire store. It's a big shop in the middle of "beautiful" downtown Vallejo, California. Vallejo is about 20 miles north of Pleasant Hill so he has a big 30-minute commute each way. "As it turns out, it is the biggest tire, muffler, and brake shop in the North Bay with 8 of the biggest, ugliest, and meanest mechanics a manager could ever hope for," says Mick. The owner of the Vallejo store also owns a store in Concord, California, where he is sent to manage about 2 or 3 times a month. It is only 10 minutes away and in a nicer neighborhood. Mick says the best part of the tire business is the Michelin training sessions called "Ride-Alongs." They set up several cars with different tires and let them race around special courses. "Just can't get enough of that training!!"

Bridget quit the restaurant business last April to do home day-care for two boys Andy's age and to be home with Andy for his first grade adventure. In December, Bridget let the two boys go to spend more time managing 8 rental units in Martinez for Malc & Bev Staley.

Bridget's brother, Dennis, has been staying with them on and off for the last few months. He came down from Alaska in November for knee surgery. The surgery went fine and it looks like he will be heading back to Alaska soon.

Andy is now 7 years old and about halfway through the first grade and about halfway thru the Tiger Cubs. He starts his first sports adventure next month -- baseball.

Now that the old parts business is sold and Bridget is at home, they hope to get away this spring and summer to go up to their favorite camp spot on the Russian River.

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Snowboarding? (by Doug Staley)

Doug's contribution here has to do with snow primarily, most of which at his writing was running off the Sierra Nevadas, blowing over the dams, and 'smokin' to the Pacific.

Toby & Shelly have forsaken the sport so loved by their parents (skiing) and taken up a rash, ungentle sport called SNOWBOARDING. Both will brashly state out loud in public something that was once only whispered behind closed curtains in a lost, politer society, "I don't care if I ever ski again."

As of Christmas morning, the kids were outfitted with the most (according to Doug) vulgar looking pants, jackets, etc., bought their funny looking boards in a day or two, and off they went to the cabin just below Yosemite which was used as the headquarters from which they would go to Badger Pass and be seen in public with these outfits.

Well, the rains began on their first day on the hill, and didn't let up for a week. That first day, they got soaked on the lifts, the slopes, and even the parking lot. One day on the hill, and the embarrassment was diverted for Pat & Doug. Surely Providence had a hand! The kids vow that one battle is not a war, and that they'll return more unkempt and more poorly outfitted than ever, but Pat & Doug have tasted sweet victory, and are celebrating!

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Atascadero pole vaulter to attend Cal-State Northridge (by Peggy O'Malley)

Maggie O'Malley's most important day as a pole vaulter may have been one when she failed to clear a height. That was the day last spring she caught the eye of Cal State Northridge pole vault coach Brian Marston.

"That was my worst meet," Maggie said of the CIF-Southern Section Division III Track and Field Championships. "I don't know how I impressed him. He said I had good warmups."

Maggie, an Atascadero High senior, must have done something right. She recently signed an NCAA Division One letter of intent to attend Northridge. She is getting in on the ground floor of women's college pole vault, which was offered as a scoring event for the first time last spring.

"I'm very excited," she said. "I got in at the right time for high school and the right time for college. It's worked out real well for me."

Her two best meets last season came within five days of each other. She jumped a personal-best 11 ft, 1 inch in a Los Padres League dual meet, then took the LPL title with a mark of 10-6.

Maggie is a former gymnast who has put her skills to use in the pole vault. When she began looking for a college this fall, she sent out pictures of her vaulting and letters of reference. The offer from Northridge came November 4, 1996.

Maggie's vault coach, Jan Johnson, predicted this. "Jan told me last year I could get a scholarship, but I didn't believe him," Maggie said. "Jan said I could go to college on the pole vault. I said, ‘Yeah, okay.'"

Maggie did her homework before accepting Northridge's offer. She consulted Atascadero High director of athletics, Donn Clickard. He sent her to football coach Larry Welsh. "He gave me advice on which questions to ask," Maggie said of her meeting with Welsh. "I went down there (to Northridge) with a notebook full of questions and I got them all answered."

Northridge fit Maggie's needs. The school has programs in kinesiology and physical therapy and will field a group of women's pole vaulters. She also visited San Diego State and Azusa Pacific. Northridge is in its first year in the Big Sky Conference. The school has both indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.

Maggie will not only have the opportunity to compete against the Big Sky schools, but will face five Pac-10 conference teams a year. She is running and working out with weights to prepare for her senior season.

"I'm looking for consistency," she said. "I look at 12-6 as my goal height, but the main thing I want is consistency and I want to work on form. Just the basics." Shamelessly plagiarized by Becky from an article by Dan Ruthemeyer in an Atascadero newspaper!

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Seattle Little League tryouts

Last Saturday was little league baseball tryouts for Kelly and Alex Staley. It happened to fall on the one day of the week that was dry and warm -- their first spring- like day in Seattle! It got Ben in the mood for baseball.

They've been doing a lot of snowboarding this year. "Its been fun having a group of 4 or 5 of us that hang together," Ben says. "The boys are good enough this year to go on the steep runs that dad likes and we all try the same jumps etc."

They've also been planning a few trips for the summer; a climbing trip to the Tetons in early July to climb the Grand Teton -- a full day rock climb but at 12 to 13 thousand feet elevation, quite a lot different for those living at sea level. The other is a mountain biking trip to Moab, Utah, in early September. Ben says it will be biking on mainly sandstone canyons and rocks. "I'm looking forward to drying out a bit from the rain here."

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The Reunion 1996

Bill and Kathy Hobson started out in San Francisco for the weekend prior to the reunion. "What an eye-opening experience that was!" says Kathy. They found it to be a very "colorful" city but had a good time at the Pier, on the cable cars, at the Square -- especially Planet Hollywood -- "What fun and great food!" (They went twice!) Then they drove down Hwy 1 to the reunion.

It was Bill's first time driving down the coast so he enjoyed the scenery while Kathy tried hard not to get car sick.

Kathy enjoyed the reunion talking with everyone, goofing off, shopping (one of her favorite parts), and Bill enjoyed boogie boarding. That was a big highlight for him.

They felt the group activities were "wonderfully planned and very enjoyable. Just enough, I think." Although she said one week is never enough -- how about a month next time?

Kathy loved the girl cousin breakfast and the dinner at Peggy's house. "What a treat!" The Olympics during the "rest hours" was nice, too. They enjoyed being in the house which became the "point of origin" for the cousin doings. Everyone seemed to congregate there to figure out the day's plans.

"It was a glaring success and, for those who did not come, you missed out on one of the best reunions I can remember."

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Disneyland for Tim & Josie

Tim Staley writes, "We all had a terrific time at the reunion. Thanks to all who contributed to the planning and activities."

After the reunion, their family and Becky went to Disneyland. Everyone had a great time, especially 5-year-old Kevin.

On their way back to Seattle, they stopped by what Tim calls "Josie's Disneyland." That would be Chinatown in San Francisco!

After the trip, they were out of money, out of vacation time, and out of breath, so the remainder of the summer was "pretty boring." They went surfing once at the sole surfing beach in Washington, Westport, and also did some rock climbing.

Christmas this year included visits with Becky and Tim's parents who flew up to Seattle for the holidays and fun. Unfortunately for Becky, the huge snowstorm hit just before she was scheduled to leave, so she had 1-2 days of waiting, phone-tag with the airlines, and trips to the airport. But the Seattle gang looked at it as an opportunity to see more of her!

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Christmas at Kellers

Bill and Kathy Hobson report on the big gathering of Kellers -- everyone was together for Christmas this year!

It was a brave undertaking for Jerry and Idee Keller to have everyone there at the same time. Their time was spent in all sorts of fun ways including a "girls only" cookie decorating day, many swim parties (at the hotel where Bill, Kathy, Gary, Pam & kids stayed). There was also a family picture day which included a time of honoring Jerry and Idee with hand-written letters from everyone telling how they influenced the kids' lives through the years.

They also played many games and had many late nights. Everyone helped Reg and Barb Naylor pack their things and said their goodbyes before the holidays were over.

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Gary & Pam are hikers

In August, Gary and Pam Keller finished hiking 64 of the 94 miles around the base of Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland Trail. It is appropriately named because of the many beautiful views of Rainier. They were enjoying a belated anniversary celebration.

Gary is planning to climb Grand Teton, WY this summer so he is exercising those desk job muscles. Steven is enjoying snowboarding and Erin is swimming and sometimes enjoying her piano.

Pam hopes to get together with Jeff & Barbara, since they moved to Seattle in December. If there is any spare time, she might try to work on a few quilts.

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Jan & Dan Greenough

They had a nice four days in San Diego in early December, visiting Dan's oldest son, Jim & wife, but they were entirely eclipsed by last summer's three-week tour of the west. They had a super time at the reunion and "agree that group gatherings and private time worked out just right. It was a great week."

Afterwards, Dan and Jan drove up through California, across Nevada and southern Idaho, to Yellowstone Nat'l Park. They camped out for 6 days in spectacular country, saw a LOT of wildlife, bison, elk, deer, swans, geese, even 2 bears from a distance (the best way). "It was wonderful. On the way home, we spent 2 days at our honeymoon spot (13 years ago), Steamboat Springs, Colorado." They also stopped at David & Cindy's in Raton, NM.

Future plans include a ski trip to Sunrise ski resort (in Arizona). "The weather has been so warm, though, I'll be lucky if there's any snow left," says Jan.

She and Dan were stuck in Tucson for Christmas, which they feel turned out to be a wise choice considering what they heard from Becky about the rain, sleet, rain, snow, rain in Seattle, and how she almost didn't make it home. They missed the company of family, though, especially nephews, brothers & sisters-in-law.

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Brenda & Doyle Meyer

They spent three weeks in August with the Meyer family in Seattle. Brenda and Doyle were able to get away for a couple of days to celebrate their 20th anniversary at a Bed & Breakfast in Friday Harbor accessed by ferry. "There's just something about islands and the ocean and lighthouses!" Brenda says.

They had a gang over for Thanksgiving. David and Cindy from Raton, Beth and Paul came in from Phoenix, and Greg, Kathy, & Matt from the mission. Even Jeremy came in from Arizona State University. They made lots of puzzles and played in the snow; Doyle and Paul pulled the sled behind the truck!

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Barbara (& Jeff) settling in

Jeff reports that Barbara likes her new job at Social Security in downtown Seattle. It has no stress to it, and she does not have to see the public each day as before.

Jeff is commuting to Tacoma for January and will also be doing the same in the Fall, to teach at Pacific Lutheran University. It is 59 miles south, but a tad better than the 150 miles he commuted to campus last year.

Since Barbara begins work at 6:00 a.m. and Jeff begins at 11:30 a.m., they both avoid the heavy traffic hours.

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Job changes for Erinn (Staley) Dooley

Erinn has been in Atlanta since October 1994. She helped to start up a business called "Access" using the skills she learned from her Sacramento (and San Luis Obispo) based company. She and a friend worked with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) children but were amazed to find themselves with many autistic clients. Their progress with these students was terrific.

By January 1996, the business had progressed to the point it needed more direction than either she or her coworker could provide so she began to look for something else.

Her apartment lease ended around that time and a wonderful family (Erinn had worked with their autistic son at Access) invited her to move in with them. She continued to work with their son and had several other students whose homes she would visit daily.

This worked well for a while but she continued to feel pangs of homesickness for California. She let go of her students and got a job at PetSmart -- a job from which she could easily extricate herself when the time came to move back to California.

Well, those plans soon went by the wayside due to a certain young man named Michael Dooley! (For all the news of the courtship and marriage, see the "New Beginnings" page.)

In addition to being a wife (she just learned that doesn't only mean when they're together) she's back to working with 3-5 autistic children all around 7 years old. This keeps her busy 5 or 6 days a week.

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The original Round Robin?

August 23, 1956

Dear Cousins, Uncles and Aunts,

I wish I were as smart as Aunt Gussie so I could type because I'll bet I have twice as many in my family as any of the rest of you. You really should allow me two sheets.

Believe me, I haven't held this letter up since July 18. Someone must have carried it around in his pocket till August 16th which is the postmark, regardless of dates.

I think this is a wonderful idea and I hope the round trip is made long before Christmas. I have heard from the most of you recently because of the death of Father. It was so nice of you to be concerned. Mother is doing fine now. Hasn't been out much except for rides in the car. She is taking an interest in things and back at her embroidery and crochet. We are glad Dad is at Home with the Lord whom he loved and served so long.

As I write August 23rd, it reminded me of Ida Mae who was born 22 years ago in Garnett. We were so happy to have our second girl after five boys. Wish you had one, Altair.

Ida Mae and her husband returned recently from Alaska where they did a two-year tour in the Air-camps. They are building a nice new home in St. Louis where Jerry is a lawyer in his dad's tax account business. Barbara, their little "Eskimo," is a year old and another one is due in September.

Mary Lou, now 20½, is expecting her first late in November. She and her husband are in Pensacola where Larry is a flight instructor in the Naval Air Corps. They have another year there. Lloyd and I drove down there in June to see them and enjoyed our trip very much.

One day this week we drove out west in Kansas about 160 miles to see Bob and his family. He is principal of the grade school at Ramona and school will be in session in about 10 days. Robbie and Greg will be in 1st and 2nd grades this year and Betty will still have two at home to keep her company; Jeff, 4, and Brenda, 2.

I took a little trip to California in late April to welcome Peggy Joyce at Marjorie's house. She was born May 4th and reports are that she is a perfect baby. I'm glad because Marj and Glenn have three older under 7 so it keeps them busy. They do lots of church work among the young people so they always have a house full and Marj is always cooking.

Bonnie lives close by and is to be married September 2nd to a fine Christian young man. We're very glad for her for she has been alone for 13 years. Her Warren is 12 now and a fine young chap.

I visited John and Eileen at Fresno. They have a lovely new home and live such a normal life. It's an inspiration to visit them. Johnnie will probably always be in a wheelchair but he has a fulltime job and Eileen is in the office at Junior College. Their two children are 8 and 12 years old now.

Malcolm and Beverly are at Walnut Creek and have no children so I go there for my vacation. There are so many interesting things to see in the Bay area including Cora, Bruce and their darling girls.

I have one grandchild close enough to spoil, that's Ben and Virginia's little girl. Jan was a year old in June and is just a cuddly doll. Ben will be teaching Math near here this fall.

That's it, no more room. Remember 41 years ago this summer when we all had so much fun.

Loads of love to all,

Mary and Lloyd

Psalm 34:1

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Jeff & Barbara

We had a great Xmas "vacation" here in Seattle, getting together with Tim and Josie, Ben and Kathy, Becky, and Uncle Ben and Aunt Vae. Ben and Vae even came over to our new house and helped us paint for a day before we moved in! We had a great time together. We hope to see more of the Staley clan up here since Gary and Pam live only about ten miles away, too. We are kind of in between them all, I think.

Love to all, Jeff, Barbara, Ben, Allie

Jeffrey Staley and Barbara Wong
801 234th Street SE
Bothell, WA 98021
(206) 485-2278
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Seattle weathers the influx of additional Staleys

Jeff wrote from their new house in Bothell, WA. The sun was shining in his eyes making it hard to see the computer keyboard. His new study faces east, as does their front door, in good Navajo fashion. He says it is nice to have a house angled this way, as was their house at the mission. Because their house in Portland was aligned north and south, they hardly ever had sunlight filtering through their windows. "Now with two skylights added above," Jeff writes, "I shall enjoy the light."

When it is clear, they can see the edge of Mt. Baker off to the northeast from the kids' bedroom windows. Outside the dining room they have a wetlands ("Some ignorant people might call it a swamp, but we know better"), and beyond the wetlands is a farm, red barn and all. They wake up to roosters crowing and wonder where they are.

Yes, Bothell is a suburb north of Seattle, but it still has rural patches around. In fact, there is a thoroughbred horse ranch just north of them, and a llama farm just to the south. Immediately beyond the llama farm is an area called "country village." It is a collection of old farm buildings that now house 45 craft and antique shops. Yes, just 2/10ths of a mile south! Equidistant north is a Taco Bell, Burger King, and a fancy market that has Cinnabon and Starbucks franchises inside. "The kids think they are in seventh heaven."

They have been there now for about a week and a half, and are feeling almost like they are moved in. Boxes are still strewn everywhere, and they cannot yet park in the garages, but it is "beginning to feel like our house."

The kids have both discovered kids in the neighborhood who are in their classes at school, so that is a real relief to them and their parents. Jeff reports both kids have had their moments of sadness and pain over leaving good friends behind in Portland, but both seem to be doing surprisingly well.

Jeff Staley

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Becky's turn

Not much new in my life so I didn't have anything in particular to add to the other sections but I did want to add a few comments.

Thanks so much to everyone who wrote for this edition of the cousin letter. I'm always amazed at the response from everyone and really appreciate it. It really is easier than writing 25 individual letters now, isn't it?!!

Doug's masterpiece on the Front Page is wonderful, isn't it? If anyone wants me to print out just that section (minus the cousin letterhead) as a keepsake, please let me know. I'd be glad to do it. It certainly is a "keeper."

I also have reprints of the piece Uncle John wrote a few years ago on "Living with Polio." And I have a reprint of the letter he wrote to Grandma Staley in the early 1940s when he first moved to Ingleside, California. If anyone wants those again, just ask.

During this era of so-called sports "heros," I'm glad we grew up knowing a couple of true heros in Aunt Eileen and Uncle John. Like I wrote to Doug, the fact that Johnny's disability was virtually invisible to us is a tribute to how graciously he and Aunt Eileen handled such great adversity. So many people today seem to define themselves by their disability and allow it to limit them. John and Eileen moved beyond that and became outstanding examples of Godly people who accept what God has given and live for His glory. It's something to strive for in our own lives.

Wait till you see what I'm working on next in the Family History project! I'll just say that the wild west will never quite be the same to you after you read it! Grandma Staley certainly had some colorful relatives! Here's hoping Jeff's stash of family memorabilia never runs dry!

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