Christmas, 1992

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die...a time to heal...a time to break down...
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance...
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away...
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak...
A time to love...and a time of peace.

     This edited version of Ecclesiastics fairly well sums up 1992 for our family. We did our share of weeping, laughing, losing, embracing, loving and mourning. Towards the end of 1991, my mother, living in Manteca, grew weaker and weaker with undiagnosed illnesses. Frequent trips the sixty miles to Manteca didn't help, and in March Mom was hospitalized and diagnosed with terminal cancer. In May she was released to us in our home in Lafayette. Everyone shared caring for Mom both in the hospital and at home. The kids all live close enough that they were able to spend much of their free time with Mom and helped with her care. Mom mercifully died in her sleep here at home the end of October. Her long illness made her death a little easier to accept physically, but certainly not emotionally. 

     The day Mom came home from the hospital, Ray's father in Phoenix entered the hospital and was diagnosed with a fast acting cancer. Just one week later while Ray was with him, he suffered a stroke and died within hours. While he died as he wished, quickly and without a long illness, the shock of his loss and consequent adjustments for his survivors are considerable. All of the kids and Monica flew to Phoenix for the funeral while I cared for Mom at home. Ray's mother is adapting to the widowed state through various craft and senior citizens groups. He tries to visit Phoenix every few months, however briefly.

     This loss of parents and grandparents seems to have overshadowed most everything else this year. We are undergoing the healing process, but it takes time. Naturally, everyone's lives continued within this framework.

Ray continues to work in the new office here in our home when he is in town. He travels a great deal and now has even picked up more distant states as part of his area--how Texas is considered a West Coast area confounds me! At any rate, his success earned us a company reward trip to a luxury hotel in Cancun in November. The change and rest were quite welcome at that juncture in time. My business was not ignored,  but certainly curtailed with Mom's illness. I have managed to keep one client which keeps me busy a couple of days per week, but am looking toward expanding once again in 1993.

     Square dancing remains our most enjoyable diversion, with the theater, cards (pinochle and bridge) and dinner groups following closely behind. We didn't entertain this year during Mom's illness, but our friends included us in all the wonderful parties and dinners as always. Don't know what we would have done without their tremendous support. We attended a few square dance week-ends in King City, in Hollister, and in Napa. Theater-wise we saw the touring production of Will Roger's Follies; and Lancelot playing King Arthur, or Robert Goulet in Camelot, plus excellent local productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Kiss Me Kate. I took a couple of days with a dear friend from college to visit the wine country in June, and the second annual November trip to Calistoga with six other couples for some R&R and an elegant dinner was enjoyed.

Lloyd's business has a new location. He has an actual office here in Lafayette, instead of the home office with a mailbox/suite which we have all used in the past. His business has expanded and his participation in the Chamber of Commerce and a few other community groups has provided a good client base with multiple contacts for him. His in-town location meant he was able to visit his grandmother sometimes between business calls when others couldn't be here. He was great about spending an evening with Mom when Paul was at school or whenever.
      Mark's career took a double jump this year when he moved from the San Francisco Hilton as assistant Banquet Manager to the Newark/Fremont Hilton as Director of Food and Beverage, a position equivalent to his former boss' boss. While this is obviously a much smaller hotel than the San Francisco one, his position is quite demanding. Now, he has no one but himself to complain to about his terribly long working hours without week-ends and on and on. And, he has staff to complain to him about their scheduling and long hours. He must now prepare budgets, forecasts, do advertising, and create promotions. He's tired, but I think enjoys the challenge. Prior to taking the position he was able to schedule his days off to be with his grandmother during the week, and most frequently was the one who took her in to the hospital for her weekly visits. A quick vacation to Club Med in Sonora Bay, Mexico plus a week-end in New Orleans were squeezed in before he started his new position. Good thing, too.

      As an associate attorney with the San Francisco office of the Chicago based national firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal since May, 1991, Pam works on civil and commercial litigation from antitrust to commercial contract disputes to insurance coverage disputes. She even defended the University of Health Sciences/ Chicago Medical School in an action in Stockton, California. Her long, long hours of work, plus her grandmother's prolonged illness precluded a much needed vacation this year. However, frequent business trips to Los Angeles and to Monterey at least provided a change of scenery. Whenever she was in town, she spent evenings with her grandmother, quite often working while Mom rested, but their physical presence comforted them both. Her social activities continue in the Alumni of UC Davis, and she is definitely planning a vacation in the near future--doesn't matter where, she says.

     Gail and Monica now live in the same condominium complex as Lloyd and Pam--can you believe that? Early this year, while condo shopping, she was shown one there which she loved. After certain negotiations regarding privacy rules amongst the three of them, she purchased and moved into her new home. Busy schedules mean she is still settling in. Gail's sporadic hours of work enabled her to be here with Mom  at times when no one else was available. And oftentimes, she and Monica would spend the evening with Mom while Ray and I went out.

    A trip to Los Angeles enabled Gail to see Phantom of the Opera, a visit to Palm Springs offered relaxation, and an August visit with a friend north of Chicago enabled familiar Chicago trips to museums, the Art Institute and taking their kids to Great America before returning home to a new position. No more gallivanting around to multiple jobs for Gail. She is now the "Director of Aquatic Rehabilitation" at an occupational and sports medicine facility called, The Advantage. A seminar in her new position sent her to Philadelphia in November. She, like Mark, is now immersed in employee relations, budgeting, and all the good headache material that goes with being a department head. With all the demands of the new job, she is taking only one course this semester at USF in the doctoral program.

     Bev is settled nicely in her home in Pleasant Hill, where she has been for about a year now. She and the gas lawn mower had several spirited encounters this year, but otherwise, she seems to be surviving. As a teacher, Bev had much of the summer free and spent many long hours with her grandmother. Mom gave the orders and Bev did the leg work. Bev made preserves, baked and cooked. It was great to have the smell of  Mom's cinnamon rolls in the house.   I felt like a little girl again.     When Mom didn't feel up to projects, Bev read to her, took her to the doctor, or whatever was needed. The bond they formed in their time together is rare in this day and age.

   Again teaching 5th graders at Hesperian School in San Lorenzo, she has 28 students, as compared to the 33 of last year. She pleads, "I'm still amazed at how deprived of love some students are. If parents and families only would realize that a little time with each other is always good, and no time leaves horrendous scars on the child..." Her students come from varied backgrounds, and her goals for them are much more than academic ones. February skiing in Utah, San Diego trips in January and November, May to Los Angeles, trips to Mendocino and to the Gold Country kept her busy. An August vacation to D.C. with a high school chum to visit another high school friend included the D.C. highlights seen before, with the addition this time of the Vietnam Memorial which touched her greatly. A train trip to the Big Apple meant staying at the Waldorf (compliments of brother, Mark), seeing the Phantom of the Opera and visiting with friend, Michelle, from grammar school days in Deerfield.

      Almost as this is written, Bev and Ricky announced their engagement and plans to wed in 1993. This much postponed event is welcomed by all, as Ricky has long been a welcome part of family events. Now, he will officially be family. Mom will be very pleased.


     Paul's studies and work have continued with an intensity I can hardly believe. Summer classes once again this year kept him studying at a furious rate. He has applied to UC Berkeley for next year, so, hopefully, all this concentration of effort will pay off. The flexibility of his job, plus the longevity of it, has allowed him to work when possible while attending school. His presence at home was a godsend when Mom was here and Ray was traveling. I know it was hard on him, but he was wonderful with her, taking care of anything she needed whenever she needed it.

     And, our little Monica started kindergarten this year! Five years old in April! Where did these past five years go? She is so grown up, and was so good with her great-grandmother. Sometimes she would bring a video tape over to put on in Great Grandma's room to watch with her. She attended her Great-Grandpa Tennison's funeral in May with the rest of the family, and then had to say good-bye to her Great Grandma in October. She is a great little girl whose mere presence delighted Mom.

     Family gatherings were frequent this year, but not necessarily festive. Mom's much anticipated 80th birthday party in April was postponed, and never took place. The holidays are difficult, and we are changing some things to make them more tolerable. We have made a greater effort this year to help others less fortunate. Pam's law firm had letters to Santa from underprivileged children in Headstart programs, and we all made special efforts to fill their requests. A local homeless shelter has a truckload of clothing thanks to a contact Lloyd made, plus several car loads of clothing from our family alone. A food basket for a family at church made us realize how lucky we all are to have each other and our lives together. 

     May you and yours have a Blessed and Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful 1993. We value your friendship, cherish your love and return it to you in kind. 

Love from, 
Joy, Ray and family