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This website is now published on my mobileme account. Any opinions expressed, however, are totally my responsibility.

The original website was published through the courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Jim Andris, Sept. 17, 2003.

Christmas 74

Greetings, friend:

As I set here looking out my window at the snow covered fields across the road, I think back over the past year to last winter, and it seems a perfect time to share my recollections with you as a continuation of a bond we may have formed winters or summers before.

Last winter I was filled with great expectation. I returned to my new home from spending six months at Indiana University completing my dissertation. I was buying that home with David Miller, an artists from Decatur. Dave and I both entered TA (Transactional Analysis) and began the exciting, challenging, and sometimes painful process of learning to accept ourselves and others as we or they are and not as we think we or they should be. At my job, I was finally garnering the rewards of a lifetime of formal education. I got my Ph. D., tenure, promotion to assistant professor, inequity raise, permission to teach graduate courses, and all the subtle but existing rewards from getting your "union card"—the degree. Of course, I was active as always in musing too. I played a two month stand with the Ray Austin Trio at Reidel's. It was not a completely successful engagement, and I began to see some limits to my natural ability which could not be overcome without hard work.

Spring was a time of self-discovery. TA was beginning to take effect in Dave and me. With Dave, its effect was to make him aware that coming to St. Louis was a mistake, and that he really wanted more than anything else to be a successful artist. With me, I began to see how little confidence I had always had in myself. I began to learn what it is to love yourself. And as my self-confidence began to radiate, my aility to make new friends grew. I began to like people who were self-confident, instead of being afraid of them (for fear that they would "show me up." I played a two month gig at the Red Top Inn with the Rusty Lode. It was old '50s rock and roll, and our primary audience was the F Troop motorcycle gang from Granite City. The place was rough, and I left the group after a Sunday shoot-out closed the bar. Tom and Mary Alice Breiter and their four children came to visit, we went to Four Flags and played pinochle too late every night.

Debbie Breiter
Bill Breiter
Jim Breiter
Dave Breiter

I shifted gears in summer. I taught a course at McKendree College in addition to my course load at SIUE. I became depressed because things weren't working out between Dave and me. In August, everything seemed to click into place. I graduated from TA where I traded my old sweatshirt for a new one. The old one had "Mr. Wonderful" on the front and "How'm I goin', mom" on the back. The new one says "I'm Wonderful" on the front and "You're Wonderful, Too" on the back. (Thanks, Jim McKenna.) Eventually, Dave and I decided to sell the house, and he continued making plans to go on tour, leaving in September. I want you to make it, Dave. I did a lot of visiting, too. Beth Bumgarner and Bruce Meisner entertained me in Chicago, and brother Tom and wife Dee cavorted with me in Marietta. Also saw mom, dad, grandmother, sister Vick and husband Jerry, and their children Jeff and Joey. Jim and Anne Murtha spent a pleasant evening with me for the first time in 15 years. I used to accompany Jim as part of the Four Flames in college, and now we bout teach in college—quite a change.

Fall finds me in good shape. There's some difficulty with selling the house, times being what they are, so we may rent or lease it. I'm moving back to my trailer on December 15—note new address (which was my old one): 24 Hiles Dr., Glen Carbon, Ill. 62034. My work as part of a three man team in educating secondary education prospective teachers is a real thrill. Don, Bill, and I see eye to eye on the nature of the program and support each other's efforts. The program gives me the opportunity to relate foundations of education to actual classroom events in which the students become involved. I started taking voice lessons, have learned some Italian songs, and now am starting on German Lieder. Shiela, my voice teacher, is fun and talented. I'm teaching two graduate research courses, too, which is new. Also, I gig on weekeneds. Sometimes I play old standards, jazz, and some rock with the Ray Austin Quartet, and sometimes i play old standards, jazz and some rock with Ellen O'Brien as a duo. Ellen and I worked previously as part of Cold Harbor, a rock group. And finally, I spend a few evenings a month playing bridge with Rosanda Richards, Bob and Mary hildebrand. Bob and Rosanda both teach in the same department that I do. Many of the most valuable things I have learned or have shared were with these beautiful people.

Ray Helsel, Warren Brown and me "Austin," George Josse, and "Brownie"

It's great to be alive. I have so many plans for the future, I want to share a few of them with you. Next year I plan to become a Special Member of Transactional Analysis by entering a training process. TA has and will continue to make me a more authentic person and through that a better teacher. I'm hoping for a sabbatical and time to read, write, think, and plan ahead. I also hope to continue to explore new directions in music, new forms such as modal jazz, composition and performance. And most of all, I plan to enjoy myself and all the wonderful people I know!

Have a gay holiday, I wil!
Your friend,
Jim Andris

and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
The Beatles, 1967.

Merry Xmas.