Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Christmas Newsletter 1995

Merry Christmas to all...

This has been a pretty good year for all of us. We have time to write at this particular moment because Elizabeth is one of the furloughed feds and a half inch snow storm has closed down the rest of Washington.

Elizabeth is in her 7th year of studying intermediate Spanish. She spent two weeks last August in Cuernavaca, Mexico, living with a Mexican family and studying six hours a day. Most of the time, though, she wonít speak Spanish to strangers. Brian, of course, who knows seven phrases in Spanish, continues to impress waiters and others by saying "la cuenta por favor" and Feliz Navidad with such verve they think he can speak it. (If truth were known, he canít even spell Feliz Navidad.) Ah well. He spent five weeks in Puerto Escondido in February, three weeks without Elizabeth but equally important, three weeks without his computer. Withdrawal symptoms were high, but he loved the warmth.

Work is okay. Brian continues to write computer programs for the liquor industry, particularly Bacardi Imports. One of his other programs, EVIEW, is an international seller. Maybe not many sales but at least has had sales in Germany, Ireland, Italy and England. As part of his business, he went to Seattle to do a "dog and pony show" for the House of Seagram. He definitely decided its too cold and rainy there for him there.

Elizabeth continues at the National Science Foundation as a Branch Chief of a section someone said takes care of body and soul. Well, she does have a cafeteria, library, TV studio, travel agency, information desk and a Science Museum/Exhibit center under her. Since she admittedly didnít know much about these activities when she took over the Branch last year, its been a good learning experience. She got to go to Santa Barbara to attend a "digital library workshop" and to a Museum Exhibit Directorís meeting. NSF also sent her to a one week executive management class in the fall.

After having served on our Condo board as president off and on for 15 years, Elizabeth finally rebelled and said "no more" So, she nominated Brian for the Unit 1004 seat on the Board and he now President. Someone called this nepotism; we call it enlightened self interest.

Brianís family are all doing well. Ruane graduated from St. Roseís college, completing all his courses in four years while working full time. Rory, Ruís son, looked very proud of his father at graduation. Dan and Michelle bought property in the "country" in really rural upstate New York. They feel that living in Ganesvoort outside of Saratoga is too citified. Now, for any of you who know up state New York, this means there are people within view of their house. Not sure when they will build but owning the property is a great step forward. Their two children, Shane and Erica, remain delights. Erica was Mary in the Christmas show; Shane insisted on going as a cowboy. Dad, the State Trooper, said okay but no weapons. We think Shane was pretty smart about this -- after all the shepherds were old fashioned cowboys. Shannon has a vivacious little girl named Hillary who is quite proud of having three grandmas. Kathi is in New Mexico and is quite pleased with her two children, Sara and Stephen.

Elizabethís family remain fine. Her father is celebrating his 85th year but is as he says definitely approaching middle age. He canít swim as much and gets tired after reading four or five books a week. He still teaches for the Power Squadron and is active in his "Peer" group which is a program run out of Hofstra University where participants teach and take classes five days a week on a full range of subjects. Many of the participants are retired teachers, professors, doctors and typical New Yorkers who love to learn, discuss, argue and intellectually grow. Dick and Peggy and family are thriving. Michael, Elizabethís only godson, is working for Computer Associates and gets to travel to lots of neat places. Richard is engaged and will be married in March. Dorothy is, heaven forbid, in her last year in college and is the star of her soccer team. When asked by a local reporter how she learned to play so aggressively, she said survival -- two older brothers.

Jean, Elizabethís sister, is active in her local theater group and a banjo group. Her husband, Bob, is busy with his business in court reporting but has been volunteered at times to work on the plays. Says he enjoys it. John and Pat are excited about their three grandchildren and, of course, their daughters Dawn and Jill.

Brianís brother Maurice and his wife, went (happily) into involuntary retirement -- their thriving restaurant in Salt Lake City was bought out by the Mormon Church. His sister Maureen has moved to a really rural area in Virginia (even Dan might like this area).

We are looking forward to 1996 and to our usual mid-winter two weeks in Puerto Escondido in Mexico. This year Ruane and his friend are coming with us as his graduation present. This will be their first time out of the country so it should be fun. Our friends, Clay and Eve Cummins will again be with us. Clay is a study partner of Elizabethís and is also taking intermediate Spanish for the seventh time.

Weíll be making lots of trips to see family also, and hopefully a few trips to the mountains (as in Shenandoah) next summer (assuming the government gets back to work by then).

Elizabeth Anne (aka Betty) VanderPutten and Brian Larkin
December 1995
Washington, DC