Writing a Christmas letter has become a tradition for us as it has for many of you, a tradition we enjoy because it gives us a moment to reflect on our own lives as well keeping up with those of our friends.
The highlight of our year undoubtedly was the arrival of our grand daughter Abigail Grace Sandt born in October to their adoring parents Eric and Dawn. This now gives us seven grandchildren and all of them are treasures. After visiting with Eric and Dawn in their own home in Albuquerque and getting to know our new granddaughter, we spent some time, including Thanksgiving with Paul and Sue and their two boys, Michael and Bryan in Annandale near Washington. To our great pleasure Leslie and Joseph and their four youngsters, Hannah, Zach, Lindsey and Genna managed to come up from Cary in North Carolina so that we could have a wonderful reunion. We are so thankful that all are healthy and happy with their lives. We were greatly impressed with Michael and Bryan’s ice skating talents playing hockey. All six are doing well in school despite attending demanding schools with advance placement courses, and as Bill reluctantly admits doing much better than he ever did. Earlier in the spring we had a quick trip to Cary to watch Lindsey in a starring role in “James and the Giant Peach” put on by the Raleigh Community Theatre, one of the oldest amateur groups in the country.
Though age is beginning to take its toll, we still have been blessed with health that allows us to lead active, eventful lives. We still enjoyed some cross-country skiing even though after coming on strongly our winter snows melted away. Michigan winters without snow to brighten your days can be depressing so we took off on a cruise along the west coast of Mexico and a visit with Nancy’s brother and friends in California. Bill also was part of a team from our Church that spent a week in Slidell LA to help clean up the damage from Katrina and do some reconstruction. The destruction is mind-boggling and it will take years to erase it.
The focus of our summer was again our place in Omena on the shores of Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. The “Omania” was launched and sailed on the Bay. Despite Joseph’s heavy schedule in the company he founded, the whole Simpkin’s/Sandt family were able to drive up to Omena and relax at, in and on the Bay. The summer also included a trip to Europe including London, Dresden and Berlin. In London we were able to spend some time with Bill’s nephews and their families. Brian and Karin and their three boys, Alexander, Dominic and Lucas, just moved into a new home near London with a large yard that gives the boys plenty of room to play. Ken and Becky and their two children, Morgan and Torr, still live in Droitwich, as do Derek and Philippa. We were pleased to see that they too are leading healthy, active, happy lives.
From London we went on to Dresden in Germany for a reunion of Bill’s Shanghai German school. Although a large number of ex students of KWS attended there are only two or three of Bill’s class still living. Dresden which was totally destroyed in WWII has been rebuilt and is an interesting, historic city but somewhat depressing since the bricks used in the rebuilding, as was the case, with the original stones, contain iron oxide which turns them black making the buildings look like they still have scars from the fire bombing of the city. Berlin on the other hand was most enjoyable with its many waterways and superb public transportation, museums, palaces and wide streets that we enjoyed with the Peuscets’, our friends from Paris. The differences between East and West Berlin are noticeably fading.
Our fall took us again to Stratford in Canada for our usual theatre weekend of Shakespeare, musicals and plays and this year because of the warm summer we were able to harvest with our dear friends the Burditts’ some outstanding grapes, which hopefully will turn into a palatable wine in a year or so. Bill is still doing some professional work, requiring more and more computer skills, which are a challenge for a lawyer used to secretary and paralegal.
© 2004 Bernd W. Sandt. All rights reserved.