The first advent has passed and the time has come to think about the coming holiday season. Not that you are liable to forget if you listen to the radio or television, read a paper or visit almost any store. However the Christmas we like to think about is the one of family and friends and particularly those that we have not seen this past year. A letter note or card may not be the same as an actual visit but it does help to bring us together and remember the times that we were able to be together. In the spirit of this memory we wish you happy holidays and a successful and healthy New Year.
Again we have been fortunate to experience another year full of activities and happy memories. Our winter was a quiet one with some skiing and relaxing days up in Omena where winter’s snow creates a magical carpet in sight and sound. A quick business trip to Hamburg gave Bill an opportunity to get together with his family for some wonderful hours of exchanging thoughts and memories. Yes, Bill is continuing to do some professional work and asserts he loves the work and does not mind the money, as long as it does not interfere too much in other activities, and it did not. Nancy still spends many hours poring over financial papers and managing our modest assets in addition to doing the bookkeeping for the Yacht Club, which is getting bigger and more diverse in its finances.
Although we had many wonderful experiences we will have to admit that our three-week trip to Europe in May and June was the highlight of our year. The principal reason was Bill’s reunion of his Shanghai school. This time it was held in a suburb of Bonn in a hotel on the Rhine River. Each time we attend, there are some wonderful surprises such as this time a copy of the paper Bill’s class put out on graduation in 1945. The nice thing about reunions is that once you start down memory lane you forget that you have grown older and the events you talk about happened 50 years ago. From Bonn we drove to Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance, with a gorgeous view of the Alps, to visit Sigrid and Rob and admire the new addition, a young lady named Charlie. You may remember Sigrid from our past letters—the young girl from Italy that we took under our wing so she could attend a University here but that hardly spoke a word of English. You would not recognize the polished executive assistant she is today.
From there we went on to Innsbruck and then to Waidbruck and Bozen where Bill’s mother’s relatives live, including Sigrid’s parents, Gernot and Johanna Ringler. We are again grateful for their kind hospitality and hope that Johanna has recovered her health. Then we drove to Munich and took the train to Vienna, where we spend about ten days including side trips to Melk on the Danube, Prague and Budapest via hydrofoil on the Danube and back on the Orient Express. Vienna again was an experience in sight and sound as well as for the taste buds. Austria has done and is doing a fabulous job of restoring, renovating and cleaning the historical buildings and exhibiting its heritage. The Vienna opera and other musical fare abounded and we partook. Loved the city and people of Budapest and want to go back.
The summer started out with a pleasant visit from Jacques and Francoise Peuscet from Paris. We were finally able to show them Omena, unfortunately Jacques busy schedule made the visit much too short. As in past years we were happy to welcome our children and grandchildren to Omena, again for much too short a time, but long enough to appreciate the way they have grown and matured. We have to admit that each year we love them more.
Speaking of grandchildren, Leslie and Joseph added another girl to their family, Genna Rose, in September. That gives us an even three granddaughters and three grandsons. In October we were able to visit with Paul and Sue in Washington. Both Michael and Bryan are turning into keen soccer players in addition to all their other activities. How different life was when we were growing up!
In November we took a short trip to London and England to visit Bill’s sister and her three sons. Got to know our grandnephew Alexander, Karen and Brian’s son who now has a brother born on Nancy’s birthday. Also took in a couple of shows and a few museums. We saw “Riverdance." What a marvelous, up-beat show. We also had intended to do some Christmas shopping, but we were so shocked by the prices we came home empty-handed.
Well that is about all for this year. We are looking forward to next year and again have big plans. We send you greetings and our best wishes for your health and happiness in the coming year and hope to hear from you.
© 2004 Bernd W. Sandt. All rights reserved.