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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 91

Dear family and friends:

After spending the fall with us, Stephanie and Alison saved enough money from their various jobs cleaning houses and working for Imo's Pizza to move into their own apartment last December. Even though they had little in the way of furnishings, they loved their new place and the freedome it allowed them. So did Miriam, the somewhat wild "attack" and bird-hunting, not to mention squirrel-chasing, cat they rescued from the animal shelter. We managed to maintain a close relationship by preparing a weekly dinner for each other, one week at their table and the next at ours—they lived fewer than three blocks to the east on our same street. Our favorite pastime for the remainder of those evenings was Trivial "Persnoots," which we played on the floor in front of their fireless fireplace.

The girls worked diligently and supported each other well. They both earned complete financial packages, including loans and scholarships, to the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. Although they no longer share an apartment, they love their new school and the beauty of nearby Acadia national Park. Beginning their school year with new adventures, Stephanie spent a week ocean kayakking while Alison backpacked in the Grand Canyon of Maine. Stephanie studies marine biology and plans to teach science and math; Alison studies plant biology.

Stephanie and a new freind, Derrick, flew to San Francisco for a visit with her friend, Christine, at Santa Clara University and an evening with her Uncle Jim and Aunt Jackie. Unfortunately, plans to stop in St. Louis on her return trip didn't meet with airline requirements for standby passengers. We'll miss her!

This year Jim and I, mainly I, have been working on some renovations to our condominium. We redecorated and carpeted Stephanie's old room and installed beautiful oak bathroom furniture, which the bath sorely needed. Now I am repairing the back door and beginning to work on the den, which will also serve as our main office. I also made great progress in landscaping the condominium grounds with hundreds of bulbs and other annuals and trees. I even put in a herb and perennial garden with a stone walk and bird bath. I'm now caring for the condo lawn, too.

Jim is busy at work, still constructing his computer complex, and has applied for promotion to full professor. He's also on the vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church and serves as head usher. I continue to sing in Trinity choir, including canting some psalms and intercessions, and now I am a member of the Bel Canto Chorus, a St. Louis choral group. Our first concert is December 15.

Jim and I vacationed in Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan during the last week in August and the first of September. After celebrating her birthday with a One-Two- Three-Four cake I made from scratch, we took my friend, Agatha, from Cedar Falls, on a tour of the Iowa river bluffs country; dined on Czeck cuizine in Spillville; boated by moonlight on Two Sisters Lake with the Hildebrands; played bridge with the Breiters in La Cross; took a smooth four hour boat trip out to and hiked on Isle Royale for three days (on the way back, we were caught in a typical Lake Superior storm which made all of us sick); toured the Wisconsin copper country; brought an Art Deco style lilly pad lamp and supped at a fish boil in Bayfield; hunted agates on Little Girl Beach; ferried out to and spent the night on madeline Island; visited the Norwegian american Museum in Decorah, IA; gathered elderberries for a sourcream pie which Jim made at Agatha's, where we picked up Molly before returning home. Molly loved her visit with Agatha, where she can see out the window and chase squirrels to her heart's content.

There has been a lot of travelling this year. We went to marietta in June for the graduation of Jim's sister's oldest son, Jeff. Jeff's grandmother, Sally, passed away this year. We also got to visit with Jim's mom, dad, and his brother Tom's family. We returned by way of Berea, Ohio, where we visited the Lutzes. Later in July, we attended Jim's 35th class reunion, along with Jim's old friends Dee and Kay McFarland and Willard and Caroline Lutz. We had a dinner at the Lafayette Hotel and the next day took a morning cruise on the Becky Thatcher, an old steamboat. Still later in the summer, we went with Jan Dunlap and her friend, Ann, to Memphis, where we saw a wonderful show on Catherine the Great—thirteen rooms full of paintings, furniture, costumens, dinnerware, jewelry and other fascinating artifacts.

My younger sister, Judy, married Peet, her teenage sweetheart on November 2. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend their wedding. My father and his wife, marion, now living in Ojai, California, have taken several falls which have severely jarred their systems and made getting around and enjoying life more difficult. My mother continues to suffer from lonliness and heart problems. I hear that my sister, Carol, still enjoys raising abandoned and ill cats. My sister Janice has a whole new lease on life and appears to be enjoying being a grandmother. I hear from my father that my brothers, Jim and Larry, and their families are doing well.

We've had our share of sadness this year. many acquaintances and dear friends continue to die of AIDS. It makes us all the more sad to know that many of these deaths are most probably aggravated by AZT, which almost assures death in two years, since it is a bone-marrow suppressant. We also know that the most important thing that persons living with AIDS can do is to develop a peaceful and healthy life for themselves. Many scientists now think that the hypothesis that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus is incorrect. Pray with us that the government and the medical community develop a more adequate response to this and to all diseases, focusing on healthful living as prevention instead of powerful drugs and surgery as treatment.

We sincerely hope that this Advent season finds you well, and tha your new year looks hopeful and peaceful.

Stephen Nichols and Jim Andris

December 10, 1991