Christmas, 1986

Rainbows of friendship color our days with a happiness
that never seems to fade.
They curve far beyond the horizon of here and now...

but the treasure is at this end!
Greetings from the Tennison Home,

 We pray that 1986 was a good year for you and yours.  Our growing family is up to its normal busy activities.  The first of our offspring has left the home nest, so to speak, as he is not in this state or even the country at this time.  Life progresses and things change as we go on.  Three are in various stages of collegiate life, one beginning a family, and the others are pursuing careers, while Ray and I continue our lives, our careers, our parenthood, and our friendships.

 Yes, our lives still center a great deal around square dancing activities and acquaintances.  We enjoy our week-night activities, our local weekend dances, and most of all our frequent weekends of dancing.  Most trips are fairly local (up to 150 miles) except for one to Reno and another down past Fresno.  I'm still trying to get Ray to Southern California, but everyone here considers that a foreign country.  We did dance in Fairfax, Virginia in November which we enjoyed.  Don't, however, think we exist for square dancing only.  We still play cards, both pinochle and bridge, enjoy the theater (loved CATS), round dance, and even do some ballroom and country/Western dancing.  As librarian at JFK University Law Library, I have to visit work now and then, and Ray's work at GEISCO keeps him on the move.  Our gourmet dinner parties are festive occasions with great wines, delicious food and dear friends.  Our Oriental party was great fun--Ray and the boys moved the furniture out of the family room and set up a table about a foot off the floor with pillows around for the guests.  We turned on the TV to the Chinese station from San Francisco and would you believe some of my guests got interested in a soap opera all in Chinese?  Ray plays tennis; I do aerobics and still am in a "ladies" bridge group plus an occasional luncheon.

What were we doing square dancing in Fairfax, Virginia, you ask?  No, we didn’t go there just to square dance.  That’s right, we just did that on the side.  Actually, our vacation this year was more like “vacations.”  With Americans boycotting Europe and the terrorists, we opted for the World’s Fair in Vancouver.  But, unlike friends who went in summer, we decided to be wiser and wait until September - Ha!  That’s when the biggest crowds were there.  Retired people waited until kids were back in school; “locals” with season passes purchased long before the fair opened suddenly realized there was lots more to see, so they were there en masse; add that to the other stupid tourists like ourselves who were there to avoid the crowds, and you had record breaking days of attendance during our visit.  We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in a Vancouver suburb and took public transportation to the fair daily.  Then we rented a car and went to Victoria to get out taste of “merrie old England” in the capital of British Columbia.  It was a tiring but enjoyable trip.  Now, we have gone to a World’s Fair, and that’s that!

 When we returned, I worked two days then left to visit Chicago on October 1st, the day after Ray left on business to Atlanta.  My mother arrived in Chicago three days before I left, so we each got to do some mutual and some separate visiting.  I stayed with a dear friend and enjoyed all of my visits, however short some of them were.

 Flew home and barely settled back into work, when Ray said he had some scattered meetings in the Washington, D.C. area in November, and would I like to go along?  Since I haven’t been to Washington since 1974 and love the area, I said sure and started making arrangements.  The weather was horrendous while we were there, but the monuments were as beautiful as ever.  We traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia and toured the Naval Academy at Annapolis.  Ray got his work done, and I got some relaxing done.  Then it was back to reality.

Guess I should try to bring you up to date on the rest of the family members’ lives . . .

 Lloyd works for a San Francisco firm with offices in several locations.  Thought he might have to move to Los Angeles for a while, but considered his options and decided to just travel there more frequently.  As a matter of face, I called him at home a few days ago and left a message on his recorder.  Since I didn’t get an answer, I called him at work and learned he’s in LA again.  Seems like he did mention it to me, but at my age, if you don’t write it down . . .  Lloyd enjoys his work, and like his father, seems to be totally immersed in it.  He takes care of some upkeep around the old homestead when coerced into it.  He is looking forward to a visit to Chicago next spring for a 10th year reunion from high school–but don’t tell anyone we have a son out of high school for ten years, as I would certainly deny it.

 As you probably guessed, Mark is the one out of the country.  He sold his interest in the nightclub which was wearing him to a frazzle and accepted an offer from Club Med as assistant food and beverage manager on an island somewhere east of Cuba.  Mail gets flown from a post office box in Miami.  He calls once in a while, but the telephone static tends to make conversation difficult.  His job is even more challenging than you might expect–his high school French was never any great shakes, and his Parisian boss, Phillipe, speaks only French, the Haitians who work for him speak only French, and all his company report forms are in French–give him a while, and he’ll be bilingual.  We miss him very much, and he misses being at home but seems to be adjusting to being half way around the world from us.  His contract runs six months, so we’ll be seeing him in April sometime.

 Pam is now in her second year of law at Hastings and has an apartment on “Nob Hill” in San Francisco.  She worked for a local law firm last summer and has an offer to work for a San Diego firm next summer.  She was accepted to three of the law journals at Hastings but had to choose one, so is with the prestigious Hastings Law Quarterly, that in addition to her schoolwork, her clerking job with a San Francisco law firm, and being a student representative for both the school council and for a bar review course, seems to keep her busy.  She managed to have several quick vacations last summer to southern California and Baja, so she hasn’t just worked . . . there is some time for fun left. 

 Yes, Gail and Dave are the ones I meant when I wrote "beginning a family."  They will make us grandparents in April.  Gail was graduated from California State University at Chico this past May with a degree in developmental psychology and entered the School of Nursing there this fall.  She is taking next semester off school when the baby is born, but had to be urged to do that.  Dave is working long hours with the Holiday season but they have lots of other activities keeping them busy.  After graduation last June, they visited Chicago.  Gail had to show Dave where she grew up and have him meet some of her longtime friends.  They had an enjoyable trip.  No snow skiing for Gail this winter, which she will miss terribly, but last summer it seemed like they were out with a group every other week water skiing.  Mark, Bev and several friends joined them one week camping on an island in the Delta so they could water ski every day.  Now Mark is doing it during his free time in the afternoons!  Gail was in a wedding in November here in Lafayette, so that was a festive occasion and a first for me--a daughter who was matron of honor!  As a student nurse, she is being very clinical about the baby--like when she was standing in the driveway with a stethoscope to her stomach listening to the baby's heartbeat!  I used to tap them back when they kicked me!  As you can imagine, we`re looking forward to this grandchild tremendously!

 Bev at Berkeley will finish her studies possibly within the next year.  She finds the classes demanding and challenging.  Her life is at school, and she seems to miss the activity when she's home.  This summer she continued working for the university store plus worked with me in the Law Library.  She shares a duplex with friends very near campus, and apparently likes it better than apartments she's had previously.  Bev enjoyed her Chicago trip almost a year ago, but didn't limit her traveling to that.  She too goes to Southern California--but visits in both LA and San Diego.  That along with the water skiing and sailing trips last summer and her new adventure of snow skiing keep her free time filled.  She still square dances, but infrequently.  I think right now she is just looking forward to finishing finals at school and enjoying the semester break!

 Paul lives at home and works full time for an auto dealership in Oakland.  He attends the community college part time but plans to make that full time school and part time work after the first of the year.  Being the only one left at home, he rattles around in the big house but there is always lots to do here.  He keeps busy with his friends, his girlfriend, keeping his car running, and promising to fix his other car and Pam’s, which is stored here (no place to park or drive in San Francisco).  Paul still enjoys camping in the Sierras from time to time.

 Mom is getting by in Manteca with lots of friends to support her, and a new cat to keep her company.  She enjoyed her visit to Chicago--except for the broken heel which happened the day before she returned here to California.  If you think we’re excited about being grandparents, you should hear the great-grandmother-to-be!

 May God be with you this Christmas season and all through 1987!

                                                                                               Joy and Ray

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