Round Robin Letters
Issue 21 -- Fall/Winter 1998

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


Jerry & Idee Keller

Sept. 8, 1998

Dear family,

We've had a busy couple of weeks since I received the family letter so will get this on its way before we get busy again!

We had our friends Jim & Ruth Vance with us. They are missionaries to Brazil for 30+ years and are on their way back after furlough. Ruth's maiden name was Ramsey. She and her folks and brother Wade lived next door to Truman and Montie Page. And Lou and I knew them from Merriam Bible Church and high school, etc. Always fun to see "old" friends. Part of our "old" gang.

Then Kathy came for ten days and we had a good time with her. She really needed a break. In case you haven't heard, Bill left her the end of June, very suddenly. She is devastated, of course. I spent a month with her in Wichita after he left. It's one of those situations you wouldn't expect in a million years - very bizarre. I don't like having to write this in a letter and won't say more. If you want to know more, give me a call and I'll be glad to talk. It's so hard to accept.

To something more pleasant - We had a great 10 days in the northwest with Gary & Pam & family the end of July. Don, Sue & Nathan came for a week, too. We spent Thursday-Sunday in Seattle, went up to Mt. Rainier Saturday. Ben & Vae and Jan & Dan went with us & we had a great day. Perfectly clear and gorgeous. Climbed a bit to see the alpine meadows full of flowers - really beautiful. Then Monday we drove up to Whistler, B.C., 2 hours north of Vancouver.

What a fantastic place - it's a ski resort in the winter and in summer, it's a real destination resort - has everything to do. It was really a great place for every age & we enjoyed being together. Then we had a couple more days in Seattle before we came home. Pam had made reservations and organized everything and we really appreciate all her efforts. They have two station wagons so we didn't even have to rent a car!

The rest of our family is doing well. Barb & Reg are busy with their literacy teams project and enjoying Isaac a lot. Talked to them on my birthday and heard Isaac "talking" in the background. Sure wish I could see him. He's 6 months old already and doing real well.

We are actually home for August and half of Sept. - really nice. Will have a fast trip to Calif. (Fullerton) the last weekend in Sept. for a board meeting for Stewards Foundation. We may get to see Lou & Larry?! We'll only be there from Thursday noon to Monday morning. Wish I could stay, but last Spring I promised Bruce & Geralyn I'd take care of Leanna for a week while they go east for their 10th anniv. trip, and that's right after we get home from CA.

Jer is still busy working and enjoying it too much. What a guy -he'll never quit.

Not much else from here. Trust you all are doing well - wish we could get together. I miss you.

Lots of love.

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Bob & Esther Staley

September 21, 1998

Dear Family,

I'll go a little slower writing this and maybe my handwriting will be a little better this time.

Our weather is cooling a little and we are enjoying the evenings, though we don't sit out often because of the busy street behind us.

We stopped at the mission for a couple of days to see Greg & Kathy. They expect to have running water before long. I should say we stopped by on our way to the Cadence Conference in Colorado. It's held at Horn Creek on the eastern slope of the Rockies.

Kathy is doing some volunteer work at the hospital in Farmington and greatly enjoys the change. Greg continues to be a "help" to many Navajos in the area. He also does some preaching and teaching in the Navajo church, visitation, etc.

On our way to the conference, we met David & Cindy at Walsenburg, CO, and had a good visit with them and their three kids. How we wish they lived nearer. They are just south of Walsenburg in Raton, NM, so it's a long way from here. Esther does all the driving and that complicates things some. The doctor doesn't think I should drive, what with the Parkinson's. Most of the time I get along fine what with my medication.

We saw Perraults in Colorado and spent a night with them. Nona is doing better and is gaining strength. Don does most of the work, etc. around the house.

I had a former student visit the other day. It was a real encouragement. He said he'd never forgotten the things he learned at the mission school. He had a wonderful testimony, has gone on some missionary (short term) trips with folks from his church. He's raising his family for the Lord. It was nice of the Lord to send him our way. It's easy to look back on all those years at the mission and wonder if it was worth it. The Lord is good and He is good to give us a little boost and encouragement now and then.

My love to you all.

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Larry & Lou Bush

September 30, 1998

Dear Family,

Seems the letter made a fast trip around this time so will try to do my part by sending it on before Sept. closes.

We had a great visit with Jerry this past weekend as he was out here for meetings with Stewards Foundation. We were just so sorry Idee didn't make it. Kathy needed her mom and we agree she should have priority. We sure expect a visit soon, though, Idee.

We've also enjoyed several visits from Tom and Peggy over the last few months while they got Merry settled into her dorm & classes at CSLB. Things seemed to work out well for her and we see her once in a while, also. She's already busy with her dance program which involves some evenings.

Our main occupation lately has been the remodeling of the kitchen. We didn't intend to do it first as other things in the house need attention (such as carpet!) but after the dishwasher broke, the electric stove worked 1/2 time, the garbage disposal quit, and I was already unhappy over the dark cabinets & white tile counter that could no longer be called white - we gave up. So, after two months of living without a kitchen, we're back in business. I've even got a whole new outlook on cooking - I'm doing it again. We kept our dark wood floor but put in light maple cabinets, white appliances and beige/brown/tan speckled granite countertops. All the drawers work well, the vent fan is great and the sink looks clean. Also did some stenciling in the little guest bath downstairs and it turned out okay - if a little colorful. I guess we'll eventually get to carpet.

We've taken two short trips since the last letter. One to San Francisco for the 50th anniv. of Earle and Julie Fries. It was a fun time to meet people we hadn't seen in ages! Also went to Santa Barbara for the wedding of the son of our friends, Dale & Marilyn Young. It was at the Biltmore Hotel in a beautiful room overlooking the ocean at sunset. So, needless to say, it was lovely. The bride & groom are both in late 30's, the first marriage for each, and committed believers. So it was a time of rejoicing for all.

A very big "Happy Birthday" to you, Ben! Sorry I don't do better on keeping up with these major milestones. Certainly don't have an excuse with all Becky's effort. I guess the main problem is not believing any of us are getting any older. Hence, no birthdays!

Our family is doing okay again after the disruption of Jim being out on strike with Northwest Airlines. It wasn't their union, but of course had no work since the planes were grounded. He's back to normal hours again. Laurence is in 1st grade, Allison is a funny, active 3-yr-old and Claire tries to control all the many comings/goings. She's not working but volunteers at school 2 days a week which cuts down on tuition a lot. Private schools in L.A. are a necessity - too bad!

That's about enough of my rambling.

Our love to all.

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Eileen Staley

October 5, 1998

Hello All,

Your letters arrived yesterday. The time span of events was from "too hot to paint any more of the fence now" - in Fresno in June - to "Ahh, the fence looks much better now that the painting is completed" - in October. The exercise was good for me.

What a birthday, Ben! Plus treasures to enjoy from now on. Your account of time spent at Mt. Rainier brought back special memories, Idee, of a wonderful trip Johnny and I had there - with a picnic lunch, interesting sightseeing with friends, and, at the top, car trouble. Rangers are much appreciated at such times - in the midst of hundreds of people. But nothing could have spoiled our day.

I'm sure there has never been a busier family than this group, nor a more interesting one. And all plans seem "go" for the year ahead.

After two successful eye surgeries, a wrecked car replacement, a new great-granddaughter, and a flight to visit my Oklahoma family, I feel ready to settle down and consider the holidays with thankfulness for many blessings.

Will look forward to hearing from all of you again after...

Happy Holidays!

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Glenn & Marjorie Layton

October 24, 1998

Dear Family,

It was good to hear from all of you via the R/R which arrived yesterday. As it happens, Malc & Bev are in Morro Bay so I'll save the postage and give it to him. They came for dinner yesterday and we caught up on news. They probably know more about the shops in the area than we do and always have certain places to visit. We will go to church and then fish dinner at the Great American Fish Co. with them tomorrow. ALSO, we got a generous bag of almonds (are you all jealous?).

We mostly hung around here this summer (except for our week at Hume) as we couldn't think of any place we'd rather be. If we wanted some heat, we just went over the hill to Atascadero. Glenn got the cedar outside painted. It's on the second floor and is not a small job when you have to very carefully rig the ladder at each move. It does look much better. He's also resurfaced the deck floor - at least half of it.

News from this area is that we are having a blast with our new Intel Pentium 233 computer and we also have e-mail. The address is: gmlayton50@aol.com. We have been in contact with several relatives, especially the 5 college grandchildren and find it hard to believe how quick it is. Just yesterday Barb & Reg sent an updated copy of a message to their church in Cambridge. Of course we didn't know some of the folks mentioned but we got a good report of the family and how it's going. Had a great message from Doug and we hear from Becky and others. Glenn is speaker at 11am church tomorrow so he's learned a lot about the computer as he prepared.

Also, we have another wedding coming up on July 24. Maggie is marrying Brendan Coalwell and everyone is pleased. She went with Jordan for at least two years of high school but it was good they broke up last Spring and Brendan, whom she's been a good friend with since 7th or 8th grade was right there! He is a Christian young man and a junior in Forestry at Cal Poly. Maggie is in her second year at Northridge on her pole vaulting scholarship. She feels like she can keep up studies, practice, travel, etc. Merry is enjoying her dance program at Long Beach, as Lou mentioned. The Bushes have been so great!

We feel so badly for Kathy and wish we could help. We do pray for her and what lies ahead. Hers is a story that happens too often with so little warning or answers.

Surprisingly, we are having a little shower this afternoon. We had some warm days this past week so this is quite a change. Weekend of the 6th we expect to take our motorhome up Hwy 1 to Plaskett with a few of our camper friends - if it isn't raining.

Not much else to report at this time. We'll be looking forward to having the O'Malley group here for Thanksgiving - including Brendan and possibly his identical twin brother, Garon. Their mother is in India for a few months visiting the oldest son and his wife and 2-yr-old. They are with Youth With a Mission there and are expecting another baby any day. Lois is a nurse so can be a lot of help.

I just noticed that I've gone into the second page which I didn't intend to do but I'm still new at this and don't have any idea how to change it now. Just want Bob to know that his writing is fine and to keep it up. What an encouragement to have a former student visit with a testimony of the work at the Mission. We had one of our first Y.P. group fellows visit a couple of weeks ago. He is 60 years old now and has a lovely Christian wife and two grown children. He has worked in many countries of the world as a property manager for large companies so has lots of stories. They left Indonesia a few months ago when things were getting rough for Americans.

That's all for now. So thankful you are all doing well.

Love to all.

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Malc & Bev Staley

November 10, 1998

Dear Folks,

Doesn't seem any time at all when I wrote the last copy in July!! Most news from here will be about the same, and at our age, that is really good news. We don't have any bad health problems as of yet but several of our local friends sure do have. One likely will be gone by the time you read this, at age 57.

We did a short trip in late Sept. to Eureka-Ferndale area for about a week. Our valley heat was still in force so the north coast sounded real special, not having been up there for several years. Also went to Morro Bay again a couple of weeks ago and got to visit the Laytons this time, as they were off to Denver during our last tour.

We do really enjoy our visits there and would probably be living there if we didn't have other relatives so close here.

Speaking of relatives, we haven't had any come by here for a visit for some time now!! Be sure to include us on your next itinerary if in this part of the country. We are only about 30 minutes east of Highway 5, the main route for north-south.

Mickey & Bridget are now on the internet, in case you didn't know. (Mustanggirl67@hotmail.com) They would enjoy hearing from anybody and have heard from a few relatives. Now they are in the process of talking us into getting a computer and getting "online." (Maybe??)

Winter arrived here last week; rains, fog and dark days but so far not cold. We started the wood stove last Saturday for the first time this season.

Bye for now.

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Ben & Vae Staley

November 23, 1998

Dear family,

I'm sitting at Becky's in Tucson and the weather is in the 70s and sunny, like Arizona is most of the time. We have enjoyed being here and helping Becky with her new location. Vae and I have been building and planting things. I made a big redwood deck and entry porch for the front. It has two levels and a shade roof, railings, etc. (See pictures at right) It's been a lot of work, but fun. We like projects and especially for our kids - when they need it.

As a reward for all this work, Becky is sending us on a 2-night stay in a cabin up on Mt. Lemmon above Tucson. It will be chilly this time of year, but fun. They may even have a little snow at 9,000 ft.

Some of you may have heard that Vae and I made a big driving tour of the fall colors in New England. Went all the way to Bar Harbor, Maine, then down through New Hampshire, Vermont, upstate New York. Stopped at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, for a 2-day inspection. Lots of old planes - just my thing. Then went south through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, to Texas and on to Tucson. It was a great trip and we tented most of the nights when it wasn't raining. The colors were spectacular and prettiest in Canada, north and east of Sioux St. Marie. Stopped to tour the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa, too.

We are staying at Jan & Dan's for sleeping and enjoying our time here in Tucson. We will probably head on home before Christmas, but don't know for sure.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday and we are driving about 40 miles southeast of Tucson to a little town for a special meal at a great little café we like. It's out in the grasslands - ranch country - but food you remember a long time. Jan, Dan, Becky and us will all go this time. Should be fun. Thanks for all the news in your letters, and trust you all have great holidays with as much family as you can. We are so thankful for our heritage and family. The Lord is so good.

Much love to all.

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