December 2020

Dear Friends,

What a year it has been.  The background on this page is a classic Christmas background, but I chose it because it was a reminder of the coronavirus, which has dominated our year.

We went into quarantine in March, after we saw Carousel and that was the last time we went out. Theaters shut down.  Restaurants shut down,  Everything shut down.  In October, I had been out of the house about four times, all four briefly (one was to take the dog to her shot, one was to get MY flu shot).  We had to miss my mother's 101st birthday.  Jeri has not been able to fly out here, as she always does.  We have not seen Tom and his family in 2020.  It's been a sad year.

But we've managed to keep busy with our own in-house things.  Jeri is now teaching on line, which is not exactly easy to do when you teach composing and arranging music.  She had to give up her summer high school program at Berklee, though.  Also, she has no theater to play for and she is missing that terribly, but she has participated in some great musical videos, but not for a salary. She, Phil and Lester go for walks each morning and she sends a video each day to the family.  She also has daily Facetime chats with Brianna and Lacie, sometimes reading books together, sometimes playing games together, and she has a chat with Walt and with me at least once a week and even calls her grandmother, so she is "being here" as much as she can be.

Jeri and Phil voted at Fenway Park

Ned and Marta have now lived with us over a year and it is going very well.  Marta is now working at home and Ned has a once a week radio show, which he records with his friend, Clyde Bowman.  Ned records at home, with Clyde calling in on the phone, and when the show is all put together, he e-mails to the Davis radio station, KDRT.  It is on every Tuesday, but is streamed for the next two weeks. 

Marta has cut all of our hair, and does it quite professionally.  Ned is doing a lot of work around the house and yard, the most fun of which was building a bird house, which has never been used by birds, but which became a home for squirrels.  Four babies were born and we had a good time watching them grow up and eventually leave the house and start exploring the back yard.  Now a new squirrel has made a home in the bird house, so maybe there will be more babies.

They briefly adopted a cat, which they hoped would fit in with the dogs, since she had lived with dogs before (and Bouncer had lived with a cat for many years), but it didn't work out and after a few weeks, they put her back up for adoption again.

The four of us celebrated our wedding anniversaries (our 55th, their 27th)  at a special dinner, catered by Ned's friend Sarah. The plan had been to have Alaska King Crab legs for dinner, but sadly, crab is caught in months ending in "r," which June does not.

Tom and his family bought a new house this year.  They are doing for Laurel's father what Ned and Marta are doing for us, and so they needed a bigger house. This is twice the size of their previous house and on 0.8 acres of land.  The girls each now have their own bedroom and there is even a koi pond and a pool table. Tom turned 50 this year, but because of COVID-19 we could not have the annual BBQ on the beach, so we had a surprise Zoom party with family from all over the country participating, even Tom's Winnie the Pooh, who usually lives on display in a mayonnaise jar in our living room.

The girls are still going to school on line, which is better for Lacie than for Brianna, who has started junior high and has to have it from her bedroom.  I am able to play on-line Scrabble with the girls (and with Jeri), so at least I have that interaction, though we will not see them in 2020.

My mother is doing all right health wise but you can't have a chat with her.  I've started writing to her, including my photo in each letter so she knows who I am, though apparently she thinks I'm either her mother or her brother.  She has made it to 101 and we'll have to see if she'll make it to 102. I put a note on Facebook asking people to send her birthday cards and many people did, which was nice. I think she enjoyed getting mail.  I was sorry not to be able to make a birthday cake for her.  I tried talking to her on the phone, but she didn't want to talk.  Sandy, the man who runs the house where she lives, sent me a photo of her on her day, but I didn't see any evidence of a cake ... or a smile.

I took up pen palling this year, and found several on-line sites with people who are looking for pen pals.  I have several pen pals in this country and in several other countries.  Since I have no theater reviews to write, it's nice to have letters to write.  With no salary coming in, I had to give up many of the kids I sponsored through Compassion Int'l, though I kept a few of the special ones. 

Walt gets out on a bike ride every day, and runs brief errands to Trader Joe's, though Ned does most of our shopping.  Walt and Polly have developed a very special relationship and my favorite thing each evening is watching their routine of saying good night, Polly's tail wagging a mile a minute.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We are feeling happier and more hopeful about the coming year than we have about the past four years.

Walt and Bev

with Jeri, Phil, Ned, Marta, Tom, Laurel, Brianna and Lacie
Polly and Bouncer
and, in absentia, Paul, David, Sheila and Lizzie

Link to Bev's blog