I am thinking of you today
because it is Christmas, and I wish you happiness. And tomorrow,
because it will be the day after Christmas, I shall still wish you happiness.
I may not be able to tell you about it every day, because I may be far
away or we may be very busy. But that makes no difference - my thoughts
and wishes will be with you just the same. Whatever joy or success
comes to you will make me glad. Clear through the year...I wish you
the spirit of Christmas.
Greetings from the Tennison Family to you and yours this holiday
season. We are all healthy, happy and busy and wish the same for
you. The 1990 holiday season finds the family all living in Contra
Costa County, California--five different towns, but the same county.
That's pretty close quarters for this group. The year added two more
Tennisons to the property tax rolls and thus more firmly established this
foreign land of California as a home base. This coming year we will
be here twelve years, but just last week as I hopped out of a cab in Las
Vegas and the Sky Cap asked my destination (weary and ready to return home)
I quickly answered, "Chicago." He gave me a strange look when I adjusted
that two thousand miles west. Well, you can take me out of the city
but you can't take The City out of me...or something like that.
Ray continues to travel a good deal with his job with GE. Supposedly
his area is west coast only, but with headquarters in Maryland, his boss
in Georgia, and conferences/conventions all over the map, he goes to many
other destinations. A bonus is the mileage that a frequent flyers
pile up that non-frequent flyers (that's me) can use. As an independent
library consultant, I can now make my own hours and tag along to interesting
destinations. We went to Chicago in March for a friend's wedding
plus a visit. Ray came for the wedding, and I stayed on for the visit.
Also did some genealogical research at Newberry Library, which is completely
remodeled. Ray and I tramped around to cemeteries to locate various
ancestral grave sites. This genealogy has me in and out of multiple
libraries all over the place. I also spend a great deal of time on
the National Genealogy Echo, which is a computerized bulletin board for
genealogical research. Fascinating stuff.
In April/May we traveled to Scandinavia for a trip through Denmark,
Sweden and Norway--with a quick visit to Germany. We began and ended
in Copenhagen, so we spent a lot of time in that lovely city. Traveled
by car and ferries throughout Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Norway's
capital city, Oslo, is a fabulous place--Viking history, Polar Vessels,
Nobel prizes and massive Vigeland sculptures all give this city a special
place in our memory. And the unusually warm temperatures--75 to 80
degrees in early May--were a great sightseeing clime. From Oslo we
ferried back to Denmark and traveled the length of this picturesque farmland
and down into the financial city of Hamburg, Germany before our wanderlust
took us to a seaside resort on the Baltic called Lubek. This German
town is a must-visit if you are ever in that part of the world. Finally,
we returned to Hans Christian Anderson's Copenhagen, and his "little mermaid"
for a couple of days before our flight home. With Disney's release
of "The Little Mermaid" coming quickly after our return, I enjoyed this
animated tale possibly more than most folks. Well, someone had "to
take Monica" to see the latest Disney release. Actually, everyone
in the family used Monica as an excuse to see the film--we are all hopeless
Disney addicts. We have the video now, so don't have to drag Monica
around. An October visit to the Midwest landed us, not in Chicago, but
in St. Louis. Nice town, been through there hundreds of times but
never really stopped before. Visited the "Arch" and several historic
places. Not a lot to do there, but it was a relaxing trip.
December's visit to Las Vegas was not to gamble but to square dance.
We attended a three-day event being held for the first time with dancers
from all over the U.S. and Hawaii. And, small world that it is, met
some people who dance with my cousin in Hawaii. We spent the week-end
prior to dancing enjoying excursions to Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Red
Rock Canyon. We met Ray's brother, Rich, and wife, Roswitha, for
a fun visit; their proximity to Vegas makes them excellent guides.
We enjoyed the visit, a Vegas show, and the dancing.
When not traveling, we landscaped the front yard with drought tolerant
plants--after all, this is a desert! Also rearranged several rooms
now that we are rattling around in this house by ourselves.
Ray and I continue to enjoy our dinner/gourmet group, which we have
somewhat downgraded from gourmet to, "The Meet and Eat Group." Good
friends and good food are an unbeatable combination, no matter what you
label them. Our card playing is limited to pinochle, unless we sub
in a bridge game. Must figure out some way to get back to this, as
we both enjoy it. Went to so many birthday parties this year with
wild themes that we felt like kids again--but that is fuel for another
essay entirely. Our circle of friends has parties for any and every
occasion--I had one in early November just so we could thumb through "junk
mail" catalogs. Any excuse for a party is fine. Square dance
week-ends, about one per month, keep us on the road, but mostly in the
Bay Area. We take our motor home, Camelot, to anything in a 150-200
Got to see many folks from our past this year. At the Chicago
wedding in March, Ray met a friend from his grammar school, and they reminisced
throughout the evening--my high school friends were there also. In
August a 50th wedding anniversary brought members from both sides of my
family together (another interesting story). A visit from a friend
of Mom's since the 1930's in September had us going through well-worn photo
albums. The delayed honeymoon of our Chicago friend had us enjoying
a beautiful October dinner cruise under the Golden Gate. And two
of my grammar school chums who are long-time San Jose residents perused
old school photos instead of catalogs at our November party.
We continue to enjoy the theater whenever we can. With our
ongoing season tickets to a local company we recently enjoyed a presentation
of "Nunsense." We had seen it before in San Francisco, but laughed
just as much this second time. Bev has tickets to this theater also.
Now with the opening of a "regional arts complex," we have season tickets
to this where we enjoyed their production of "A Chorus Line."
The whole family, and some friends, went to see "Les Miserables" in San
Francisco. Everyone enjoyed it immensely; Bev went to see it a second
time later in the year. Since "Phantom of the Opera" didn't show
any signs of coming to the Bay Area, we went to see it in Los Angeles for
a mini-vacation trip. Splendid, haunting music. Can't get it
out of my head. And the lyrics are wonderful, "Open up your mind,
let your fantasies unwind."
Lloyd's computer business is keeping him very busy as he expands
his customer base, his contacts, and his knowledge of the field.
He and his partner wrote and sold a menu program and wrote a DOS utility.
He attended the annual computer convention (COMDEX) in Las Vegas in November,
with a trip to Santa Barbara before the convention. And...in October
he purchased and moved into a bi-level condominium--three bedrooms and
two baths--in Walnut Creek quite close to his previous apartment.
He also acquired a tiny black kitten which has grown into a cat who terrorizes
our little dog, Busby. They take care of Busby when we are out-of-town
quite often, so Hastings, the cat, gets plenty of practice.
Mark continues to work as an assistant manager at the San Francisco
Hilton, putting in long hours which we all now accept as an inherent part
of this job. In compensation, as it were, for the hours, he gets
to attend functions with such dignitaries as the President and Vice President
of the United States, heads of state of various other countries, World
Series teams, the Blue Angels and a host of others I have long since forgotten.
Mark is now fully settled in his Walnut Creek condominium he bought last
year and is watching his siblings struggle to get settled in theirs as
he did last year. With the drought conditions out here, his (and
everyone else's) skiing has been somewhat limited, but he gets away whenever
possible. He vacationed at the Caribbean Club Med in Turkoise where
he worked previously. His tales of scuba diving and "free-falling"
off the continental shelf, sound mystical but frightening to me.
As an associate attorney at Broad, Schulz, Larson & Wineberg
in San Francisco, Pam is now commuting from Walnut Creek. In
November she purchased a condo a short distance from brother, Lloyd's.
Her three-bedroom two bath is on four levels--interesting floor plan.
She is still buried under boxes and hopes to emerge sometime in 1991.
Suburban living dictates that she must purchase an automobile and will
do so as soon as she has a chance. A leisurely visit to Chicago in
August was occasioned by her 10 year high school reunion. So, she
visited with high school friends, neighborhood friends and visited many
of our old stomping grounds--the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and
Industry, the Field Museum, etc. etc. She, too, is hoping for a better
ski season this year than last. Work related travel had her in Washington,
D.C. (the week she closed on her condo), in New York, in Los Angeles, with
possible future trips to Chicago and to Virginia.
Gail and Monica are now living in Concord. Just before Christmas
last year they returned to the East Bay, and in spring Gail and Dave decided
to divorce. Monica lives with Gail but sees Dave multiple times each
week. Gail is as busy as always. She taught adaptive education
for Foothill College at the California School for the Blind in the winter
and spring quarters. Now at Diablo Valley College she is again teaching
adaptive education and works as an exercise physiologist doing stress testing,
exercise prescriptions and programs. She also is an exercise physiologist
for John Muir Medical Center, running a senior citizen facility.
Additionally, she teaches aerobics at the YMCA and gives CPR and First
Aid classes whenever she can. She attended the American College of
Sports Medicine Annual Conference in San Diego again this year. Monica
was three years old in April--can hardly believe it. She is quite
grown up and independent in many ways. She goes to preschool while
Mom works and loves it. Following in Mom's footsteps, she does gymnastics
weekly and took swimming lessons last summer. She plays with her
new friends, enjoys stories, and listens to children's music and books
with tapes. When she comes to Grandma and Grandpa's house she visits with
Busby, our dog, and Bilbo, our black cat who loves all the attention from
Monica. Sometimes she even says hi to her grandparents.
Bev is living in Martinez, attending school in Berkeley and teaching
in Vallejo. She continued to teach pre-school through June, vacationed
in San Diego visiting friends in July, and returned to attend U.C. Berkeley,
her alma mater, once again in August. She is now in the graduate
school of education in the ERA (Educational Research and its Application)
teaching credential program. The year long program has her teaching
three and a half days a week and attending classes one and a half or two
days throughout the year. She says she is so busy she hardly has
time to breathe, but that is what keeps her going. She will have
two different grade levels in the program, and this past semester with
her 5th graders, in what is euphemistically categorized as the "tough"
district, she has taught and been taught a lot. This is her first
exposure to kids from homes where no English is spoken, where their only
meal that day may be the one they receive at school, and where a little
first grader describes a shooting he witnessed. She has found it
challenging but extremely rewarding. She says, "I look forward to
having younger children next semester but will have a place in my heart
for these older ones." As an avid football fan she is feverishly
working to get a trip together with friends to go to the controversial
Bowl Game Berkeley will play in Arizona.
Paul's Pleasant Hill house is still home to him and his roommate,
but a few other roommates have come and gone. They have almost decided
that the burden of the extra rent they must pay may be more favorable than
hazarding another unknown companion. Time will tell. Paul continues
to attend school at Diablo Valley College and to work for Longs' Drugs
where he has been since high school. His plan to enter an engineering
program is awaiting the "vesting" of some funds at work. Meanwhile,
he does work on automobiles for family and friends plus his own--his garage
is a veritable autoshop. He has done extensive work on our motor
home, Camelot, this past year. Did manage to get him out of the grease
and into the dirt when he helped re-do the landscaping in the front of
the house and put in the drip-irrigation system.
Well, that's about it for the 1990 Tennison Chronicles. If
you have read this far and have been getting these letters for several
years, you may wonder why? Well, they have been going on since 1967,
the year Paul was born, and were conceived out of desperation due to a
lack of time. They have grown to be a family history. A few
years ago I compiled notebooks for everyone and inserted all the Christmas
Letters to date. Now they are used as sort of a family encyclopedia
of events. If there is a doubt as to when something occurred, someone
goes to the bookcase and whips out the binder with the Christmas letters
to verify the date. So, your subscription to the chronicles continues
with no obligation stated or implied.
We wish you a happy holiday season and a healthy and happy 1991.
Joy, Ray and family