Round Robin Letters
Issue 22 -- Winter/Spring 1998/99

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

Jerry & Idee Keller

December 6, 1998
Dear family,

I decided I would hurry this on its way before it gets lost in the shuffle of the holidays. I'm not really in the Christmas spirit yet. We've not had any winter at all. Our weather has been in the 60's and 70's. It's really strange. I haven't had a coat on even - great blazer weather at night. The geraniums are still blooming and my herb garden is still growing. I just picked some parsley for a dish for a potluck supper. I was raking leaves yesterday in jeans and a short-sleeved shirt and was sweating!! We're not complaining, believe me. The grass is gorgeous and still growing and the lawn mowers are heard daily. I put up our Christmas lights and decorations outside yesterday and it seemed out of season. But, tomorrow it's supposed to change - the high 47 degrees - ugh! Now we're spoiled! In fact, it's raining now; first in a long time.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with Bruce & family and Don & family, and Kathy drove over, too. The weather was beautiful so Kathy had a good drive over and back. The grandkids were fun and love playing together here. They love going upstairs and looking through the balcony and sneaking something over and down once in a while - that's a no-no! And they play downstairs in the basement family room where all the toys are. Maddie gave us a concert of her latest piano pieces. She's doing very well for her age. She's quite grown up for an almost eight-year-old. Geralyn home schools her (and the two younger ones preschool) and she's moving along fast. She reminds us of Bruce that way. Leanna was standing on the hearth giving us directions for some kind of play or other - she is not shy - and we were all so sleepy from our dinner that we weren't responding much at all. Ethan and Nathan were watching her but not really interested. They liked their cars, etc. much better. Leanna finally gave up, disgusted with all of us lazy grownups. We're thankful we have some of our family close by.

We enjoyed our three weeks in Sanibel in October. We drove down this time; hadn't done that in years. It was a nice time and we realized again how far it is - 1230 miles. We always fly nonstop TWA in two hours - we took three days each way so we could sight-see a bit. Got in on the gorgeous fall colors in the mountains in Tennessee - it was gorgeous.

Did you know Harry (age 91) & Mary Sommerville have moved to Marble Hill, Missouri? They had a lovely house built on the grounds at El Nathan Home and just love it. They are a real bright spot for all the folks in the home. And Charles Bollinger is thrilled to have them. It's a hilltop location looking out over the Ozark hills, a really beautiful spot. We go down 2 or 3 times a year. They ask Jer to speak at the chapel there and we love going. It's about 2 hours south of St. Louis off highway 55.

We have some holiday activities coming up - holiday concert at the symphony with a group from church and a group trip to Illinois to dinner and a light display and music, etc. And I went to a ladies banquet last Tuesday and Christian Women's Club luncheon tomorrow. And I'm having all the chapel folks for a buffet dinner on the 19th (we're a small group now). And I still have to get a lot of good nights' sleep! Oh, and it's my turn to have all the Keller clan this year. We're 22 in number now (that's not counting Gary's family and Barb's family). All the cousins enjoy being together. John's grandkids are from college age down to 3 years old!

Better close - hope everyone is doing well and enjoys Christmas. Love getting the letters! Bob, your writing is great! Lots better than Jer's ever was, believe me.

Lots of love.

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Bob & Esther Staley

January 4, 1999
Dear Family,

Well, the Christmas decorations have all been up, enjoyed, and taken down and stored away for another year. The round robin has been here and - oops - delayed longer than it should be. I thought I'd written it, but I hadn't. Sorry about that. I hope that your Christmases were all enjoyable. Most of us, I suppose, had some grandchildren around and that always adds to the excitement, etc. We spent the day (half of it, anyway) with Esther's family at one of her daughters. They have 2 little boys so things were sufficiently noisy, active, and etc.

We enjoyed several programs, musicals, etc. during the holidays. One was a performance of the "Messiah" and that is always good. Living in the city has advantages. Our church, Bethany Bible, is large so there's plenty of talent to be used.

One place that we have every year intended to go is a Charles Dickens Village - life size, proper dress, streets and all. Also we went to a performance of the First Institute Choir. It was a black group and, boy, were they good!

Have been wondering how the winter storms have hit you all? This morning early was our lowest temp so far - 34 degrees. And, yes, we did have a little snow a few weeks ago, but it didn't stick. Glad that our citrus wasn't ruined. As I look down our "street" the trees are heavily laden with oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, etc. It's pretty and we all eat from them, "fresh pickt."

We have had for several months now construction going on for a new freeway close to us - almost in our front yard. Huge trucks and giant equipment is almost constantly going by. It'll be nice when it's finished but now, whew!

I think you "northerners" should pay a visit to Phoenix to get out of the cold and snow for a while.

May the Lord bless you all.

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Larry & Lou Bush

February 26, 1999
Dear Family,

I don't know why I don't get this letter off sooner - just a mental block held over from the never ending writing at UCLA, I think. Mom always did such a good job of it and was so faithful in answering letters right away. I still have great memories of her sitting at the big dining room table writing, almost daily. Somehow that enthusiasm was not passed on to me.

With Larry home now, it just seems I got busier. He's always got so many projects - or will create some. His latest one is another boat, yes that's right. Somehow being "boatless" for six months was enough to know he really missed it. I think living near the water is a constant reminder, plus the easy access to Marinas. So, since his dad's estate was settled, he felt he could do it with a 5 year window of use. (We'll see!) But it's been a fun process and he found what he's always wanted for a "great deal." It's a power boat this time; a conventional troller style, 36 ft, with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a kitchen & lounge area - all small, of course, but seems much bigger than our sail boat which was 38 ft. (Power boats always have more room available). The big wrinkle in the process is we made the sale in Ensenada, Mexico, where we have to leave it for at least 90 days before bringing it back to the U.S. This avoids all sales tax and use tax. As you can imagine, it is a very popular thing to do with Calif. & Ariz. folks. The Marina where the boat is located has about 200 boats in the "91 day yacht club" as it's called. In fact, our neighbors at the next slip are from Fresno. They plan to keep the boat in San Diego as a vacation spot to visit.

When doing this, though, we must actually use the boat while it's in Mexico. This means a trip down every couple weeks. It's only a 3-hr drive on excellent roads (60 miles from the U.S. border) and is a great location. We manage to find family or friends to go along almost every trip. My Spanish has increased to about 10 words, but English does just fine most everywhere. We stay on the boat but have the use of all the hotel facilities where the Marina is located, so we feel like it's a vacation. Larry always has things to paint, fix or rebuild while there, of course.

Enough of boats. We'll have it back in LA about May so it is available to give trips to Catalina to all who come for a visit!

Our other newsworthy item is Tom is now the proud owner of a little condo overlooking the ocean in San Diego. He found it through a friend whose dad manages/rents property in the area. It's big enough for Tom - one bedroom - on the 3rd floor, just steps from the beach with a fabulous view in 3 directions. So he's quite thrilled to not have to pay rent anymore. He hopes in a year or so to be able to move out in the summer for a couple months & rent it weekly to people who come over from Arizona for vacation. Seems to be a real popular thing in his area. The former owners did this so we'll see how his plans work out.

We hope to take some short RV trips before summer which I really enjoy - if we can work them in. I like to be here for all the grandkids music programs, Little League, etc. etc. so dates get tight.

We're enjoying our new church and my Bible Study ladies also so we haven't really "retired" yet, I guess. Looking forward to a great Seattle reunion and seeing you all. God bless.

Our love to all.

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Eileen Staley

March 4, 1999
Dear Family,

Your welcome letters arrived Saturday. How nice to have you all drop in at the same time! Took only 5 months this round. In another 5, maybe everyone will be face to face in Washington.

My weeks are almost routinely scheduled: Sundays & Wednesdays - meetings and lunches. We do have some interesting teachers who keep us busy with written homework during the week; a frequent bus trip of interest is in the making at some church and my little group of close friends now represents 4 churches (so many have left CBC); Tuesday of this week seven of us met for lunch in a new home of one of the group; Wednesday we visited one of the group at the surgery center and today two CBC'ers with shingles and flu needed food! Exciting? No. But I'm glad to be able.

Fresno has been in beautiful bloom these last three weeks. Surely we can soon spend more time outside.

God bless each of you.

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Glenn & Marjorie Layton

March 26, 1999
Dear Family,

Nice spring day in Morro Bay, although we have been having some rain this week - which we really need. After the floods last year it's strange to be looking for more rain. It was good to hear from all of you even though some letters went back quite a few months. Glad we started this R/R - it keeps us in touch.

We don't have much excitement to report. We did take a trip with RV friends to Quartzsite, AZ, in late January. It's a fun thing to do and we always come back with some real bargains - probably no bargain if you consider the cost of the trip but it's fun, too. We had hoped to spend time with Malc and Bev who were there with a group, but their camp had the flu bug going around. We had a couple of short visits but Bev was feeling crummy so they left early. We went south a couple of hours to Yuma and did some sightseeing there. I'd always wanted to visit there since Warren was in the service there.

We also had some company in January - a couple from Washington and another from Arkansas, but since then things have been quiet.

We do have the need for meals for families with sickness and I'm often on call for that service. Also Glenn has been "foreman" for a little more remodeling at the Chapel. Seems the improvements and repairs are never done. Also he has made a 9 ft planter outside the dining room on the upper deck and we used the Claassen's nursery gift certificate to buy herbs. It will be fun to watch and use.

Maggie has been home this semester to try to get some answers for her recurring migraines. She is a teacher's assistant in 3rd grade at Creston where Peggy teaches so has a part time job. Plans are progressing for the July wedding. Tom has been spending hours (with helpers) doing yard improvements. They have decided to have the wedding in the yard at home and it should be a beautiful setting. Merry will be home tomorrow for a week.

Wendy had carpal-tunnel surgery a couple of weeks ago and was not looking forward to the weeks of recovery. Zach is home for 9 days so that will cheer her up. She is finding it difficult to use only her left hand.

Marjanne will graduate with her Master's degree on May 7 as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She says she's learned a lot although it has been a lot of hard work. We're proud of her for pursuing the added degree.

We are impressed with the Bush's latest addition. Something about looking out at the Pacific that makes you want to get out there. I'm sure they'll enjoy it and we just may take them up on that Catalina trip sometime.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in August.

Love to all.

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Malc & Bev Staley

April 12, 1999
Dear Folks,

I think we have finally finished up with winter around here, after a lot of unseasonable cold weather. There have only been two days this year in the 70s which is nearly unheard of, even for northern California. Our garden really shows the results, as we had two mornings of frost just last week. They say we will be immediately into the 80s this week!!

We got back from Arizona about a week early this year. Quartzsite was somewhat colder than normal by the time we got there. We did have a nice week in Yuma before Quartzsite stop. We left for home a few days earlier than planned as most people in our tourage were getting the flu, even the two of us after getting our flu shots in October.

As a hard luck reward, after we got home we went out and bought a new 5th wheel trailer. It's a 25-ft one this time. our 6-yr old one was 26 ft with only one 'slide-out' section and the new one has two slide-outs. It also weighs about a ton more. I won't be topping out the tall passes at 55 mph anymore, even with the V-10 engine doing its job.

We plan on going on our first trip with it next week up to 49er Village near Sutter Creek. (Ben and Vae will remember this park as we met them there a couple of years ago). Probably will get a trip in to Morro Bay before the reunion time, maybe late May.

Our almond crop looks good so far this season for a big harvest in Sept. Last year not good at all. Two trees blew over last week in a storm (not unusual), so I have spent most of today chain sawing and hauling brush. It is excellent exercise even for somebody seventy +.

We are still active in our local Model A Club and go on tours every couple of months and still have the same two cars for over 40 years!

Bye until August.

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Ben & Vae Staley

April 28, 1999
Dear family,

A beautiful spring day here in the Northwest. We are glad that the rains have stopped and the flowers and trees are showing color again. Vae has planted a few flower seeds and some vegetables. We'll see who gets to eat them as they develop. The slugs like to cut things off at the ground, rabbits and other varmints are around, too.

We haven't been doing a lot this spring but are enjoying our house and area - sort of country-like around us. I particularly enjoy being close to the airport (just a mile away) and seeing lots of planes of different sizes and shapes. I've made a couple of plane models this winter and have been out with Ben's two boys a time or two to try flying them or to run our engines. Kelly is getting the building bug and is working on a radio-control model with dad's and grandpa's help. I enjoy that, too. We will try to get him flying this summer, probably.

We are enjoying our local church and are helping out there when we can. Have appreciated the staff there so much and their spiritual attitude and straight-forward approach to Christianity and the way they teach. We are taking a Bible class on Tuesday evenings in Genesis and learning how the creation is handled nowadays. It's been quite a few years since we have studied that. It is called "Precept on Precept" studies and makes us study at home, too, during the week.

Planning for the reunion in August is coming along and Vae will have some information coming your way soon. So far there are about 68 signed up and may be more. It should be a special time and a nice place to meet. We pray that everyone will arrive safely and are looking forward to it. If we can pick someone up at the airport or supply a bed and breakfast, let us know. We'll be glad to help wherever we can.

All the family here are ok and keeping busy. We have spent time with Jeff and Barb and kids a couple of times this winter. Went to Lake Chelan with Jeff for a weekend in early March and enjoyed being together. He had a special condo deal that he had to use and his family was going to Barb's mom's in San Francisco so Jeff asked us to go along. We took the all-day boat trip up the lake and back and had a beautiful sunny afternoon to see the snowcapped peaks all around. The lake is like a fjord as you get farther up and is so remote that boat or plane is the only way in.

We visited with Idee at Gary & Pam's one day when she visited there last month. It's nice to have this extended family to see from time to time. Better close.

Much love.

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