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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 94

December, 1994

Dear Friends:

We started out this year in Sarasota, Floriday visiting with Will and Caroline Lutz at a beachfront condo. Will and I correspond almost weekly since our respective colleges are connected by electronic mail. Meanwhile, Stephanie was back home figuring out what to do with her life after her impending graduation form college. About February, she went to Boston to work and sort things out.

At the same time, a new young man came into our life—Eli, a beautiful, big wonderful, healthy intelligent African-American boy, now 1 year and 1 month old. But back then he was just 2 1/2 months old. Stephen has been his full time "danny" for this year. What a joy to see this little miracle grow into a grinning, playful toddler. Eli is the adopted son of Susan and Deb; Susan has been the Curate at Trinity Episcopal for the past five years.

This has been a year of publication for me. I gave a paper in Florida in February, one in Washington, D.C. in March, and one will be published in March of next year. Stephen went with me to Washington. We were able to visit the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian. We stopped in marietta for a family visit. Everyone there is fine, but Vicki's husband, Jerry, has had a real bout with hip surgery this year.

Spring seemed to roll by all too fast. Juggling caring for Eli with gardening and editing has been a real challenge for Stephen. Despite a bout with colitis, his health now is quite good.

Two important events occurred in June. Stephanie graduated from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine and my nephew, Adam, played the first movement of Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata at his first recital to a standing ovation. He was 37th on the program, so the accomplishment is even more amazing. We had to miss it, though, because we were ensconced at the Anchor Inn in Bar Harbor, enjoying our third spring of the year (the lilacs and tulpis were still in bloom). A few "brews" in the local pub, some nice meals, listening to Sen. George Mitchell address the graduating class, a reception at an elegant lakeside home of a Board of Trustee meeting—it all added up to a lot of pride for her mom and dad and me too.

What really hurt was to say goodbye to Susan, our Interim Rector at the end of June. We saw her off at a huge square dance where "family values" reflect the true diversity of the human race. In our square were Tom and Betty, Matt and Steve, Dave and Kathy, and Stephen and me. We parted with tears in our eyes and a warm glow in our hearts. But, of course, Stephen and I still get to see Susan and Deb because they are Eli's moms. Finally, we have selected a new rector, Jennifer Phillips, scheduled to come to St. Louis from Boston at the beginning of Lent in March.

We also hosted Stephen's brother, Jim , his wife, Jackie and their grandson, Jordan this summer. They got a chance to saunter around the Central West End. We had to stop at Dressel's Pub, of course. Meanwhile, Stephanie entered law school in Boston at Northeastern. She's taken to the job and studies all the time. After a very tight budget, she got another loan, and it looks as if she'll finish the first semester with flying colors.

In August, probably due to a summer of intense work, I got one of my infrequent but monster gout attacks and was laid up in the house for a couple of weekes. I had to delay a planned trip to Marietta. Determined to be positive and productive, I cranked out three piano rags on my laptop computer. I was quite pleased with the result, and later in the fall I wrote three more. But on the seventh rag, I rested.

In October, just when things seemed to be smoothed out, Stephen had not one, but two accidents. The first one totalled his Toyota. The second one occurred the next day when he and Eli were being driven by Jim Richardson, Eli's godfather, to the doctor's office. Susan's car was totalled in that one.

But things happen for a purpose, no doubt about it. The accident, though quite stressful for us all, led to the discovery of an old injury that Stephen had that is now being corrected. But most of all, we now have two new vehicles! I have a 95 biege pearl Altima and Stephen has finally got his "white charger" 94 Nissan truck with camper. Susan now has a beautiful new Volvo. And everyone is ddriving happily ever after. I even get to drive the truck a couple of times a week.

We got to see Mariam for weekends in July and November. She's sales director on the Mississippi Queen and periodically comes down to Laclede's Landing. It's always good to see Mariam; we love her dearly.

Jan Dunlap, Stephen and I continue to be "hooked" on The X-Files and Deep Space Nine on the Fox cable channel. Under normal conditions we see Jan almost weekly for TV with popcorn and dessert. Leonard Catkin goes off his feed occasionally, and now has a grey left eyebrow, but he is still just as loving and beautiful as ever. He's 12.

We had such a beautiful year this year. The Spring came reasonably early, the Summer was wet and not to hot, and the Fall lasted forever! In fact, even today, December 11, there are several deep purple rebloomer iris, a big pink chrysanthemum and several red geraniums out in the yard.

We hope you had a year at least as good as ours, and wish you the best in the coming year.

Love, Jim and Stephen