Holiday Newsletters 

December, 1994

Greetings from snowy Minnesota! After those brown, snowless winters a few years back we appreciate the white winters in recent years even more than usual. After all, this is Minnesota! The ground became white the Sunday after Thanksgiving; the airport closed two hours after we put Shannon on the plane to return to college. Yup. After leaving here in a blizzard, Shannon returned to a sunny 78 degrees in Los Angeles where she is a freshman at Occidental College. If she had had any doubts about the wisdom of her college choice before that day (which she really didn't), that snow-to-sun day assured her that she had made the right choice. While she finds the academics rather challenging, taking way too much time from friends and good times, in every other way she loves it. The TV program "90210" is filmed on her campus, so tune in on Wednesday nights and look for Shannon in the background.

Sara is a sophomore at Grinnell College majoring in German and economics. Occidental and Grinnell are fairly similar schools, but their settings couldn't be more different. Sara's school is literally in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa, and Shannon's school is right in the middle of L.A., home of earthquakes, riots, O.J., and Hollywood. Sara still loves Grinnell, but a good portion or her time these days is spent in visits to or from Nebraska with Grinnell graduate Joel Nelson. Hmm.

Jefferson's biggest memory of 1994 will certainly be having his mouth wired shut because of a broken jaw. The liquid diet and keeping stats rather than playing basketball for a month will not be forgotten soon. But there was more to the year for him than that. He was confirmed in May and now teaches Sunday School to 3 and 4-year-olds like his sisters both did. He plays piano, is in band and choir (something of a challenge with a mouth wired shut), plays football in the fall, golf in the spring, and water-skis and rollerblades all summer. These weeks of malts and stats have been a major break in his usual active life, but it will soon be over and forgotten. (That's easy for me to say, he says.)

Annandale's fifth annual triathlon has become one of those events that make Annandale a fun place to be in the summer. Our whole family participated this year. John and I got our T-shirts for volunteering, Sara ran and Shannon swam on a relay team with their friend Heather who biked, and Jefferson did the full triathlon himself.

It's getting harder and harder to find time for family vacations. Summers seem to be out for now, so last March we all headed to the southwest for the first time for any of us. Santa Fe, New Mexico, greeted us with 8" of snow as we stepped off the airplane, but it melted fast and we enjoyed discovering a new part of the country. We appreciated the beauty of the area and visited many of the art galleries -- not quite enough for me but far more than necessary in Jefferson's view.

John struggles to keep ahead of the dizzying pace of change in the communication industry. The latest addition is Lakedale's ability to offer DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite), an 18" dish on the house that provides over 140 TV channels. Although channel surfing takes longer now, sometimes there's still "nuthin' good on" and we just go for a walk outside.

All of the college shopping for the girls in the past several years whetted my own appetite for more education and resulted in the decision to go back to school myself. I haven't decided yet what I want to be when I grow up, but when I find out I'll let you know. Meanwhile, though my classes have crowded out most of my volunteer work (for now), I've loved my courses in philosophy and anthropology. They're quite a change from all those biology classes at Ripon College back in the 60's. Another highlight in my life recently is playing the clarinet in the community band. School and clarinet -- both big parts of my youth, now back in my life. Am I regressing or rediscovering the real me? I'm loving both, so I choose to believe the latter. More nostalgia: a reconnected group of high school friends has been meeting yearly, Portland in '94, New York City in '93, and in Minnesota before that. Rediscovery seems to be a theme in my life these days.

This 1994 Christmas holiday will find our family gathered in San Francisco at my sister's house for the first time. Three of the five cousins are already on the west coast at their respective schools, so we will be enjoying the Golden Gate Bridge (or maybe a cablecar) as a backdrop rather than the usual Florida palm trees or Minnesota fish houses.

The Bishops wish you peace, love, and joy
this holiday season and always,

John, Jill, Sara, Shannon, and Jefferson