The sights and sounds coming out of our shopping centers remind us in no uncertain terms that it’s Christmas again, and our custom of letting you know how we have been and what is new in our lives.
First of all we hope that the advent of the coming holidays finds you in good health and spirit and looking forward to a joyful celebration. Our best wishes also for the coming year to you and your loved ones.
For us this past year has been eventful to say the least. Probably the most significant event was Bill’s retirement from Dow in September after 25 years. However, he has not given up the practice of patent law, and is continuing to work for Dow and other clients on a hopefully limited basis. Like thirty years ago when Bill set up private practice in Washington D.C., Nancy is acting as office manager and secretary. In keeping with the technology of the times, Bill is trying to acquire the necessary computer skills with its frustrations as any can commiserate with who is used to a corporate security blanket and then finds himself out into the cruel, cold world.
Speaking of cold, we had a really superb winter last year with record snowfalls that allowed for excellent cross-country skiing throughout Northern Michigan of which we duly took advantage.
In the spring we attended Bill’s high school reunion in Berlin, staying in the eastern sector, and then on to Hamburg to visit friends and relatives. From there we toured the Scandinavian countries with our trusty Eurorail passes. The train ride from Oslo to Bergen and the fjords around Bergen were undoubtedly our scenic highlights, but we equally enjoyed the old towns and their inhabitants in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Contrary to what you hear, we found Scandinavians to be friendly, gregarious, and open people. When you throw in palaces, castles, and museums that are a must for tourists, you have an idea of what our trip was like.
Berlin was totally different from what we had expected, particularly in the eastern sector where construction reigns supreme. It may not have been a very lively town under the former regime, but they did do some marvelous reconstruction of historic buildings and museums. The other features that struck us were the lakes, rivers, canals, and green areas in and around the city. The city may have been isolated when the country was divided, but there were plenty of places to escape to from the congested city areas. It was, of course, also wonderful to catch up with old friends and hear about the changes are going on in Shanghai, which we hope to visit next spring.
This summer again we were unable to spend as much time up at Omena as we had wanted. The addition we put in last year, which is now carpeted, painted, and at least minimally furnished, came in handy when both our son Paul with Sue and their two sons, Michael and Brian, as well as our daughter, Leslie, and her children, Hannah and Zachary, were able to spend some time with us. We had forgotten how fast children develop, and it was wonderful to observe that progress without having to worry about the daily routines that go along with growing children.
For Thanksgiving, we visited Leslie and Joseph, who are expecting their third child in February in their beautiful new home near Raleigh in North Carolina. What a pretty area that is, but is it ever growing and getting congested.
As you can see, we have had a busy year. There is so much more we’d like to tell you about friends we’ve seen and places we’ve been, but the best way to do that is face to face over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Now that we have retired, we should have many more opportunities to get together and do exactly that. Let us know where and when, and we will plan it. In the meantime, stay healthy, enjoy life and don’t forget us.
With our best wishes, we are Bill and Nancy Sandt.
© 2004 Bernd W. Sandt. All rights reserved.