Round Robin Letters
Issue 18 - Summer 1997

Skip to other sections: Malc & Bev, Ben & Vae, Jerry & Idee, Bob & Esther, Larry & Lou, Eileen

Glenn & Marjorie Layton

May 15, 1997

Hi gang,

This time Iím writing from our RV in Midpines where mornings and evenings are cool but midday is getting into summer temperatures.

As some of you know, we have been back and forth for over a month to repair extensive damage to one of our rentals here. The tenant (an attorney who should have known better) let an outside fire get away. This is not a pleasant job and Iíve had some trouble adjusting. Weíve had to tear out stuff, sweep up debris, rewire... and it goes on and on. Thankfully, Scott Greenaway (contractor) is here now and umpteen supplies have been delivered so things should start to improve.

Since we were all together for Johnnyís memorial, Glenn has had a part in 5 services. Not close friends (mostly) but sad and emotional. This has not been a great year so far. Because Johnny was my "big" brother and we were closer in distance, Iím really missing him. It helps to call Eileen and we can share together. Talked to her on Sunday and she mentioned the possibility of going to Oklahoma the end of the month. She was just seriously considering it so I hope it worked out. Elmer is her only living sibling and his wife has cancer.

We are looking forward to Bev & Malc coming to Morro Bay after Memorial Day. We wonít be finished here but we are going to take a week off (also we have things at home to do).

We really enjoyed a visit from Whaleys the week after Easter. Bryant is so cute and fun and so healthy and contented.

Tomorrow Cami will be a college graduate from Washington U. in St. Louis -- in engineering. Now we will see if there is a job for an engineer just beginning in Fayetteville, Ark. She and Howie will be living there where he will be IVF leader. We will plan, of course, to be in Denver for the August 2 wedding -- and looking forward to seeing the Claassens!

Our prayers are with Kathy and Bill as they pursue this adoption. Our numbers keep increasing -- Skip and his wife should have an addition by now, too.

Glad to have an update for the Bushes -- sounds like retirement isnít too terrible.

Love to all.

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Malc & Bev Staley

June 6, 1997

Dear Folks,

Some of the enclosed news is getting sort of old so should get this out and going again! Just got the change of address card for Ben and Vae and was surprised to hear of their "settling down" again in one spot. I think they still need some type of RV, though.

We just got back from a week in Morro Bay with our RV and nice visit and several activities with the Laytons. We always enjoy our stay right there on the water and this time the RV park was very lightly filled, maybe time of year but we have never seen it so empty looking before. We always visit the nice seafood places we like to go to and very seldom disappointed in that regard.

Our RV group from church has an outing every couple of months so we will be over to Monterey area towards the end of July. We donít go more than a couple hours away except in January when we go to Arizona.

We had a nice overnight visit from Eileen in May, along with Judy and Bill Stephens who are also friends of Eileenís and Johnny for many years. They moved to Fresno from Concord many years ago and we have kept in touch. Eileen was planning on going to Morro Bay with us but had to cancel out because of some ongoing back problems. We will try again in the future on that one.

Home front here going about same as always. We will have the largest almond crop ever, as it looks right now. Wish we had 40 acres instead of 4, as the return will be real good this year at the wholesale level. Our trees are 16 years old now so are big enough to put out a sizeable crop when the weather cooperates.

We are heading into our hot season now and not particularly looking forward to it. Had a hot May with slight relapse last couple of weeks but now ready to start our summer big now.

Andrew gets out of school next week and it looks like he will be coming down here about the same day he is out. (Finishes 1st grade). He likes school but doesnít get to stay as long here as he used to so we will probably make up for it real soon. We always have a lot of things here he likes to do.

Hope you arenít asleep yet. We are all fine here and hope you are same! Love to all.

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Ben & Vae Staley

June 17, 1997

Dear all,

It is cloudy and rainy here today so a good time to write this letter. Maybe you have heard that we have settled down -- finally -- in Marysville just north of Seattle. We are in a mobile park about 4 miles north of Marysville and just Ĺ mile east of I-5. We can hear the traffic some when outside, but it is convenient. This move sort of surprised us, too, if it did any of you. All of a sudden while driving into Seattle on our spring return trip, we just decided we were tired of travelling and living in a small trailer. We bought this mobile after looking for a week or so and, though it is used, it will be nice when we get everything fixed -- inside and out. The yard is big -- and lots of weeds -- some painting and fixing on the inside, but it seems large to us now.

We will still go to Tucson in the winter some, probably not as long a time. And will stay with Jan or Becky or rent a place now and then. Weíve wanted some projects to do so this will keep us busy for a while.

We enjoyed a visit to Jeff & Barbís last Saturday. Allison had a piano recital so we went for that and then supper together. Ben, Kathy and the boys came for supper, too. It was nice visiting with everyone. We worked on a 3000 piece puzzle some, too, but didnít make much headway. Weíll see how long they leave it out.

Vae has been working hard out in the yard. We fixed up a compost bin for all the weeds and she is filling that today. She had really missed having a yard to work on. We are sore and tired at night but it is good exercise.

This Friday we fly to Kansas City for a reunion at the Overland Park Chapel. Itís their 47th year, they say. Anyway, I can remember helping Dad and others look for a building for a church and it was probably 1949. Also I helped clean up the old building that was purchased and helped begin Sunday School and childrenís meetings. We figured there would be lots of people at the reunion we probably wouldnít see any other way. It will just be a weekend trip but should be fun.

Love to you all. Come and visit us!

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Jerry & Idee Keller

July 3, 1997

Dear Family,

Itís summer here -- full blown and typical for this part of the country. Today itíll be in the 90ís with lots of humidity. I stay in when itís like this or just go from the house to the car to the store or wherever. This is when Iíd like to go north for two months!

Iím staying home today because a guy is coming to redo our alarm system -- the lightning zapped it and it has to be replaced.

It was great to see Ben & Vae last weekend in K.C. They really surprised me. The Chapel in Overland Park had a reunion. They thought it was 50 years when they first started planning it but decided to go ahead anyway and celebrate 47 years. We had a super time. Lots of folks were there from out of town that I hadnít seen for ages -- some since I was married. And then, of course, the ones still there that we do get to see once in a while.

Russ and Mary Lynn were there, the Harpels (Carol Matthews) from Cincinnati, my friends the Peters from Pittsburgh, and a couple from Long Island. I think there were probably 200 at least. They rented the Roeland Park community center for the day Saturday. Had catered meals that were good and lots of activities for the children. Friday evening and Sunday morning were at the Chapel and it was packed. Saturday evening Bob Gallagher put together a slide show from days gone by and it was really special.

The whole thing was very well organized and so much fun. Of course I spent time with Truman. Heís doing well for being 86. And Harry Sommerville never changes -- heís 91 and still going great. I took our family reunion pictures so they got lots of "lookers." Most everyone brought pictures -- it was fun. Last Thursday through Saturday I took care of Ethan while Bruce & Geralyn went to a conference. We had a fun time. He wonít be two Ďtil July 26 and he did real well and Grammy made it through fine, but I was really tired. Ethan enjoyed being the center of attention for 3 days without his sisters to bug him. Heís a real cutie and reminds me a lot of Bruce at that age -- very curious and tries to figure things out. You can just see the wheels turning!

I guess you have all gotten the news by now that Kathy & Bill were not able to bring the baby home. England just does not have private adoptions. Their "immigration attorney" in Wichita gave them totally wrong information and thatís what they went on. There was a lot involved and it could have been very serious if they had done what he told them. After having Hannah for 3 Ĺ weeks as their own, they had to leave her. Her mother kept her and is doing well with lots of support from family and friends. The folks over there were absolutely marvelous -- beyond anything I could imagine and they still call and write and feel very close to Kathy & Bill. Weíve gotten letters from them as well.

Kathy & Bill have really had a hard time coming back and dealing with the disappointment. Us, too. Theyíre coming along but it will take a long time. They are coming over this weekend. Bill doesnít get three days off very often and obviously doesnít have any vacation left -- they were in England 4 Ĺ weeks.

Jer has moved to his new office as of last Friday. His merger has worked out so great -- heís very happy with all the arrangements. Has a little farther to drive now but not heavy traffic areas. Hopefully heíll be able to take it easier and do more or less what he feels like. The big responsibility is not his anymore of running the business. Heís been working really hard getting rid of lots of files, etc. and cleaning out his old offices and still has a ways to go. The company has invited us to their partnersí retreat which is next Wed-Sun in Nassau. There are 12 partners (& their wives) & should be a nice trip, even though it is hot there, too. No worse than here, I guess, and at least thereís the beach, right? Weíve never been there so weíll enjoy seeing new places. Some good shopping, I hear.

Barb & Reg are in Thailand right now at a conference & will be returning to Nepal July 13 -- hopefully they will be allowed to return. Reg is registered at the Univ. in Katmandu so they will have a student visa. Pray for them on the 12th. They are doing okay but these visas are a real hassle. Their original one ran out June 11 so they had to leave and the current one (supposedly) doesnít start Ďtil July 13.

Well, I guess Iíll stop. I always write long letters. You all are such good journalists -- short and concise.

Glad Lou & Larry are settled in. Sounds like an ideal situation. And Ben & Vae have settled in and have a good location, they tell me.

All for now. Lots of love.

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Bob & Esther Staley

July 11, 1997

Dear Family,

Things are quiet around here as I write this. Esther is out this afternoon so I donít even have anyone to talk to. Iíll try to make this letter legible. It seems like my writing gets worse and worse -- as does my English.

We were away last week to attend a Bible & Missionary Conference up in Colorado. It was sponsored by Cadence International -- formerly known as Overseas Service Menís Centers. It was really great -- good ministry, etc. We had gone last year and so we knew a number of those who were there. It was held at a Christian camp at over 9,000 feet. Along the way we stopped for a couple of days with David & Cindy at Raton, NM. It was fun getting acquainted again. On the way back we stayed at the mission a couple of days. There werenít many there who we know this time. Things have and are changing there -- particularly with the school. Things seem to be going well what with the confusion of building a new building and all.

They are almost fully staffed this year, thank the Lord. That can be a real problem sometimes.

In a couple of weeks weíll be off to Jeff & Barbaraís near Seattle and then over to visit Robbie & Sherry in Alberta. My kids sent us round trip tickets to Seattle so it will be quite a gathering.

Trust this finds you all well. My love to you all.

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Larry & Lou Bush

August 15, 1997

Dear Family,

Youíll never guess where I am! Iím in Alaska sitting on the desk of a fishing/hunting lodge overlooking a beautiful lake, Lake Louise (not the one in Canada). Weíre about 2 hours (150 miles?) east of Anchorage. It is so sunny & peaceful here. I wish I hunted or fished! Weíve been in Alaska for two weeks and have three days left. After our trip here in 1989, we decided we had to come back to see all we missed the first time and, since we came up the inland passage by ferry last time, we decided to take the ferry again -- only go out the Aleutian chain of islands on the western end of the Alaskan ferry system. It only goes out there once a month so we had to schedule everything around that. The Howatts are with us since we did the trip together before. This is kind of a delayed extension of our í89 one.

This time we flew to Anchorage, drove down to Homer and picked up the ferry there. That drive alone was worth the trip -- very mountainous with ocean inlets all the way. Then we boarded the ferry -- we had a "stateroom" (think bunks & a bath!) for our six-day round trip out to Unalaska Dutch Harbor. Luckily we had good weather with only one period of 18 hours that was quite rough. It was really educational seeing the tiny native towns where people live year round -- mainly on fish since everything is brought in by boat or plane, even mail. The whole village would come down to welcome the ferry. It was such an event. We saw whales, puffins, bear, dolphin, mountain goats, lots of different birds and zillions of jumping fish. They claimed the fishing was very poor this year, commercially, but it looked like lots to me.

After getting back to Homer, we spent a couple days driving (we picked up a car) around to Seward. Anyone who fishes would think they were in heaven. Reboarded the ferry and went across Prince William sound -- just a 14-hour trip this time and all in daylight since the sun doesnít set until 10pm. That, also, if no other trip on water is taken, is worth it. We had a gorgeous sunny day & went by the Columbia Glacier and into Valdez. Took a tour through the refinery there (thatís where we left the ferry for the last time). Now weíre making our way by car back to Anchorage. Itís been an experience Iíd recommend to anyone. Thank goodness for "frequent flyer" miles accumulated from Larryís working days. Weíre about to run out, though!

Well, the above should send you all to your maps and there will be a 10 question test later. Someone said at the last family reunion that I didnít tell about our trips -- so you now see why. Too long.

Weíre all fine and family is fine. Iíll write about them next time. Congrats to Ben & Vae on their new home. Love to all.

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Eileen Staley

August 29, 1997

Hello All,

The reports came today and I was glad to hear from everyone again. What a variety of activity! You are allowed to write about scenes from Alaska anytime, Lou -- even "long" accounts!

And we share the disappointments along with those who are hurting. So sorry about the loss to Kathy and Bill.

On little more than a momentís notice, Doug and I flew to Tulsa and drove on to Bartlesville Monday for the funeral of my brotherís wife, Jewel. In spite of the reason for the trip, we had a worthwhile and lovely time. We enjoyed revisiting family and meeting new members, seeing the lush green country, and we even stopped at the Woolaroc Wildlife preserve and museum -- begun by Frank Phillips in 1925 -- his own brand of the wild west -- on our drive back to Tulsa. The flight was on schedule everywhere and we arrived home again late last night.

Erinn and Sarah Lyn were here overnight on the 20th for our inspection and enthusiastic approval. We were instantly captivated and are sorry they are so far away.

The Labor Day holiday is arriving and Iím glad to be home. Until the next round of letters, have lovely times through all of the holidays ahead.

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