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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 76


Dear Friends:

I just finished decorating my Christmas tree. I wish you were here to enjoy it with me! Sitting here quietly with these pink, green, blue, and yellow lights blinking on me brings back a coloful collage of memories of the past year. After six years of going through changes, it's nice to look back on a slow, peaceful year.

I started a six month sabbatical period in January. First there was a three week trip to Florida. I visited Brian Fitzgerald and Joe Fernandez in Orlando and Jim Perry in Tampa. Orlando was a whirl of parties at night and sunshine in the day. My trailer was transformed into a greenhouse with plants from Green Thumb where Joe works. Jim was a fellow student at Indiana University with me and teaches now in a Tampa college.

Joe and Bryan in Orlando
Jim Perry and his son in Tampa

Back home, I enjoyed reading at my leisure for the first time in years, especially in counseling and new modes of consciousness. I got two TA groups going as part of my training program. I macrameed wall hangings and plant hangers, batiked a few intereesting designs, and generally decorated my place. And I made new friends and renewed old friendships. Hi, David. Thanks Dan, Beth, and Bruce.

Andris Family Reunion

I returned to teaching in the summer with renewed enthusiasm. I taught the courses with at least one different method every day. Time off made me realize how much fun teaching can be. July 4th was great fun. I drove home, and our family was having a reunion. Mom, dad, Vicki, husband Jerry, and two boys, Tom and wife, Dee, Plus dad's brother, Al, his wife, five daughters, and eleven grandchildren. We sang harmony in parts, and suprised ourselves.

I also played my first single piano and singing act in a downtown St. Louis bar called the Red Room. What a bar! Blacks, whites, mixed couples, gays, hookers, old and young. I played everything form ragtime to rock. Lots of friends came down to hear me from all over. Sometimes we had jam sessions.

I also had a fantastic visit from Mariam Edgar and Sandy Hancock. Sandy is beginning a career as a singer and Mariam (of Delta Queen fame) is managing Sandy. They stayed here for a month, and Sandy got some gigs under her belt. I expect to see her name up in lights in a few years. They're in Nevada now, following a trail I blazed.

Sandy and Mariam and a Barry Manilow Concert

When I went to California for a month in August and September, i visited Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, the Bay Area, Santa Clara, and Monterey. I drove my new yellow VW Rabbit. Tahoe is gambling, blue mountain-rimmed water, redwood pine, and beaches. San Francisco is steep hills, cosmopolitan, gay Victorian houses, and a song. South of the Bay is brown hills, small wineries, outdoor restaurants, Spanish, and casual. Monterey is rugged coast, surf, blue sea, craggy pines and sunsets. I made many wonderful friends in California. The people there are hospitable, genereous, and friendly. Thanks Ron, Jim, Tom, and Bob.

Ron Hendricks at Lake Tahoe
Jim Sanders and dog at Dolores Park
Tom Manual
leaning on sequoia
Bob Bullock's place
corner of Sand and Spray

On the way back though Fort Collins, Colorado, I visited Toni and Sandy Farquhar and their two daughters, old friends from 1960 Cleveland. Sandy is an amazingly versatile artist, working with many media, and Toni teaches English at a junior high school.

This fall it was back to teaching and counseling training. I took a rapid reading course this fall. I can now read between 900 and 1500 wpm, and my comprehension is as good as before the course (zero). Average reading speed is 250 wpm. I've read six 300 page books in the last two weeks. I read War and Peace yesterday while sitting on the john. I think it was about Russia.

I will close with a Christmas verse that I just composed:
Christmas time is like a diamond; how it sparkles, how it glows!
Toys and turkeys, cards and carols are some facets that it shows.
It's a thing forever cherished and passed down throught many years.
With old photos it reflects our past; with memories it mirrors.
It's a sign of life-long loving; it's made beautiful by lights,
And there's something crisp and clear within the coldness of its nights.
Those nights once cupped a star that showed the way to peace and love,
That still sparkles, waits, and watches in the heavens high above.

Merry Christmas and Much Love
Jim Andris