Holiday Newsletters 

Holiday Greetings 1992!

1992 will be remembered down the road as the year that Sara went to school in Germany. She had a marvelous experience while attending Karlsgymnasium in Bad Reichenhall from March to July, and she came home fluent in German which was one of her main goals. (Getting away from home for five months was the other main goal, also successfully achieved.) It was quite different for the rest of us having her gone for that length of time, but our two week visit to see

her in June was a highlight of the year for the whole family. It was the first time to Europe for most of us (not Shannon). The food was wonderful (all but Jefferson thought so), the people were wonderful, and overall we found it beautiful and charming. We became friends with Erich and Sylvia Schiefer, parents of Bianca, one of the young girls who visited us later in the summer. Our time with Schiefers made our visit to Europe special. They showed us the highlights of the Salzburg area and took us to all their own favorite eating places. We never had a bad meal or a bad day. A favorite site for all of us was Ludwig II's castle at Herrenchiemsee. It was totally awesome, to borrow one of the teenagers overused phrases.

After returning to Annandale we had two German-speaking guests at different times for a total of seven weeks. One was 17-year-old Irina Yokish, Sara's host-sister from Bad Reichenhall, Germany, and the other was 15-year-old Bianca Schiefer from Salzburg, Austria. Of course we tried to show both guests the best we had to offer of Minnesota. They enjoyed water-skiing for the first time, riding with teenagers who can drive (not possible in Europe), convenience foods (particularly Kraft Macaroni and Cheese) and seeing other sites in the area. But after all the fascinating sights we enjoyed in Europe, what was the highlight of their stay in America? The Mall of America!

Now our international summer is behind us and life is back to normal with the kids in 7th, 11th and 12th grades. Jefferson is enjoying sports competition between schools at this level, and he's also gloating at having passed up his mom and sisters in height this year. Both girls are out for gymnastics this year, Shannon's fifth year and Sara's first. As I write, Shannon has been coaching Sara on her beam routine from the sidelines because she sprained her ankle trying a new dismount. There's no justice!

Both girls have been looking at colleges, Sara more seriously, of course. It's hard to believe that we are ready for the nest to start emptying, although we had a sneak preview with Sara's European adventure earlier this year. Sara's first choice right now is Grinnell in Iowa, and Shannon greatly enjoyed her visit to Gustavus Adolphus in Minnesota. Neither of them seem to be at all interested in our alma mater in Wisconsin, Ripon College.

While Sara was in Germany, Shannon took over her job at the public library. But Shannon may be working a different job soon since she became certified as a Therapeutic Massage Therapist in the fall. She was the only 16-year-old in her class, surprise, surprise!

John continues the process of connecting all of central Minnesota via fiber-optic cable while struggling to stay in existence as a communications provider in a future that sees all communication traveling through the air. It's hard to believe that when we came to Annandale 22 years ago that some Lakedale Telephone Company subscribers still had party lines, and a simple calculator cost $400.

I still volunteer for various projects in the community, mostly school-related. The biggest project has been coordinating the Middle School Activity Days, three last school year and two this year, and presenting the topic at a Middle School Conference. I finally had the needed knee surgery last August, but I hope to be back putting lots of miles on my bike in the spring. Despite that setback to my forty-something body, I continue to appreciate my healthy family and solid marriage (25 years on Dec. 30th!) and the freedom and opportunity to do whatever I choose with my life.

On alternate years when the Bishops stay in Minnesota for Christmas, John turns into Clark Griswold and decorates our house and yard with lights and garland. This year he started in October, and as of this writing in early December he is still going strong. We're looking in to renting storage for all of it in the off season. For the first time in many years my whole family will be able to join us for Christmas: brother Jack from Nashville, sister Jean from San Francisco, and my mother from Sarasota, Florida. To take advantage of the six trips to the airport, we were trying to think of something wonderful to do in Minneapolis while they were here. But all the Bishops saw The Christmas Carol at the Guthrie last year, and scheduling doesn't really work out for anything else, so what will we do? The Mall of America! (It gets more embarrassing the more I think about it. What happened to the de-emphasis of materialism in the 90's?)


Best Wishes to you all in 1993

from the Bishop Family,

John, Jill,

Sara, Shannon, and Jefferson

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