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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 78

12/12/78

Dear Friend:

It seems like another cold winter is upon us. the third one in a row for St. Louis. Last February I escaped from the snow and ice by spending a few days in New Orleans. In March, i moved to St. Louis. I've been wanting to live in the city since I've been at SIUE. So this has been a year of enjoying the many restaurants and night spots that a big city has to offer. Also I had more time to spend with old friends on the west side of the river. however, the 40 minute drive to work has become too much, so I'm now moved back to my old address at 24 Hiles Dr.

I seem to get more and more involved in my job. During the year there seems to be a never ending round of teaching, committee work, curriculum revision, and reading and writing. But I enjoy most of it, except when I forget to schedule myself for some relaxation.

In August I got my playtime. I took a 10 nation tour of Europe for 30 days. I lived every day as fully as I could, and it was wonderful. I shall never forget sitting in the Roman and Pompeiian ruins, lunching on the Left Back or overlooking Paris from the Place du Tertre where the opera "La Boheme" is set, climbing the bell tower at Piza or the spire of the Cathedral at Cologne. the art was fantastic—Michaelangelo's David in Florence, Rembrandt's Night Watch in Amsterdam, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo in Paris. I listened to Strauss waltzes in the Stadtpark in Vienna and contemplated the incredible riches of the Hapsburg dynasty, took a bus up steep cliffside roadds overhanging the blue Mediterranean to Alex Munthe's high villa on Capri. I gambled in Monte Carlo (but didn't break the bank), walked through the quiet Sunday morning streets of a provincial French village, saw the humorless, gruff faces of the Yugoslavian people, got drunk at a wine festival on the Rhine, contemplated the face of Mt. Blanc, and walked atop the old city walls of Lucerne.

Now when I look at travel guides to Europe, I am still amazed that I saw so much. It was also a unique experience living with 30 other people on the tour. There was much diversity—young and old, rich and not so rich, conservative and liberal, different religions and life styles. Towards the end of the tour, the group became almost like a family with its trials and tribulations and its joys. Much of it is really too personal to discuss, but all in all, it was the experience of a lifetime.

Brother Tom, wife Dee, and twins Heidi Danielle and Adam Thomas (9 mos. old) moved to Whittier, Ca., where Tom found good work. The move was difficult, especially with the babies so young. I think it may have been as hard for the grandparents as Tom and Dee! But they seem to like California and I'm planning to visit them in the Sring. Eveyone else in the family is the same and ok.

I gave myself an expensive birthday present this November. Over Thanksgiving vacation I was in the h ospital for reconstructive surgery. Some of you may know that I had an operation when I was a teenager which left my chest scarred. My doctor (who I have been told is the best plastic surgeon in St. Louis) has given me a new chest. Thanks to him I now look completely normal, much to my and others' amazement. This is a miracle of modern medical science and I am very pleased.

I sincerely hope that your year was a good one and if there was some pain in your life, my heart goes out to you. Best wishes for the new year!

Sincerely,

Jim Andris