Don’t worry, Mom. I know Europe like the back of my hand
Far and away the line of the year. We were packing the car to head for Logan Airport for our fourth and last high school graduation trip to Europe. We took a last glance at our passports, fresh from the safe deposit box, to make sure everyone had the correct one. David noticed in dismay that his had expired. Tracy’s, too.
David made the executive decision that Chris and John-Adrian were going anyway, as they had a family wedding in Romania to attend. On the ride to Boston we were reviewing the maps, reservations, and schedules with the boys – who were suddenly more interested in the information than they had been just an hour before – trying to cram all the necessary data into their tender skulls on short notice. Dad is trying to be efficient. Mom is crying. The boys are becoming overloaded with flight times and hotel names. John-Adrian shrugs and smiles “Don’t worry Mom. I know Europe like the back of my hand.”
Well, that’s a foolishly overconfident thing to say, but it is precisely the sort of attitude that gets J-A through hard times. Chris, who had originally chosen a week in Munich to precede the week in Romania, saved the day by suggesting that they bypass Germany altogether and head straight for Oradea, where they at least spoke the language.
And everything eventually worked out. They crossed international borders the cheaper, Romanian way by bribing conductors rather than buying tickets; they made all flights on time; we got to know John-Adrian’s girlfriend Samantha better; and David developed a tooth abscess that he is happy he got treated in America rather than Romania.
Everything Can’t Go On Top
Tracy’s parents aren’t as mobile as they were, and Tracy does some organizing when she visits. Cleaning out the big freezer was perhaps the most exciting part, debating whether any food more than two years old can be salvaged (Shellfish, no; Pecans, maybe). As Ann sees all these buried treasures reemerge, she wants to be sure she doesn’t forget them this time, and pushes for them to be restacked “on top.” But everything can’t go on top, and that applies to more than freezers. That also applies to our chronic difficulties organizing our schedules as well, I suppose. Especially Tracy, who still accomplishes everything of any importance in the family. David naps.
Nana and Pops (with an s)
We have a first grandchild, Emily Adelaide Wyman, born November 6 – only fifteen minutes away! Tracy has long wanted to be called Nana, and two sons already call David Pops, so the names just fell into place. It has been quite touching to watch Jonathan and Heidi be such solicitous parents, and gratifying to hold a granddaughter and see a new generation start. The four sons don’t seem to mind having been suddenly relegated to second tier, as they have relegated us to second tier in the presence of Emily as well.
Digger, you’re going to be a Texas dog.
Chris was more than a little pleased to be accepted at UTI Houston for Auto Technician school. This August, he drove straight through in 39 hours in an ancient Saab, accompanied by his faithful hound and a friend with whom he was going to share driving. Unfortunately, the friend had his license suspended two days before departure and spent most of the trip sleeping. When awake, he wanted to look for skateboard parks.
Chris is getting the best grades of his entire academic career and loves the warm Texas weather. But Digger, never one to adjust well to new things (see previous Christmas letters – we think the dog is autistic), still doesn’t like going down the exterior stairs at the apartment complex and has to be forcibly dragged daily. Though he does like being with Chris, and that is enough. Apparently, a young woman named Brittany also likes being with Chris, and he requested their picture be enclosed (girl in green top). In view of that, we figured we had better include a picture of J-A and his girlfriend Samantha as well (girl in flowered dress). J-A is attending University of Phoenix online, living back home, and working two jobs. Sam will be going to cosmetology school in July.
His definition of “fine” is not the same as yours.
An uneventful year for Ben: only one shooting, one dead body in the parking lot (separate incidents), only one car died just after he bought it, only one flood, one mass arrest after a stakeout at his apartment complex, and the apartments across from him burned down just before he moved in, instead of just after. This wonderful new apartment he moved into to accommodate Chris and Digger was described to him as “fine” by a friend at work. Ben’s friend Erin produced the quote above.
Then, when he went for his physical, the doctor only wanted to have him worked up for violent allergies, instead of MS, heart problems, or exotic neurological conditions. Unfortunately, he actually does have violent allergies, unlike the conditions in previous years that turned out to be false alarms. Dust, many trees, and several animals he expected to be allergic to. Chocolate was an emotional blow, however.
His short comic films, including the “Arthur the Intern” series and “The Office” series, can be viewed at his website