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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 98

(This was a draft of a letter that never got sent.)

Dear Friends:

This has been a year of change and stress, yet things are much better for all the difficulty. Stephen has had a recurrence of colitis, and he has had a difficult time coping with this very debilitating illness. However, we now have a treatment plan, and that gives us hope.

We finally moved! And to a wonderful place—a 100 year old yellow brick, terra cotta ornamented row house just a stone's throw from elegant Compton Heights, a development that surrounds the Victorian water tower that stands like a sentinel for the near-south side. We have 2700 square feet, a deck, a full basement, a back yard all our own with eight Bradford pear trees, 4 fireplaces, original unpainted woodwork, two staircases, an elegant entry way with a pier mirror and hall seat. It is just what we both wanted. See the place at http://www.siue.edu/~jandris/house/house1.html.

Moving from the Barwick was a semi-horror story of incompetent repairmen and difficult and uncooperative neighbors. The miracle was that we found a buyer who wanted it just the way it was, and for our price. I never even had to make a single double payment! We don't miss our old neighborhood at all, and we get back there once or twice a week for church. Our new neighborhood is quiet and residential but near everything, and our neighbors are great (so far—I found out you really don't always know your neighbors.)

This was the year that my retirement counseolr told me I could retire in 2001 with maximum benefit. YIPPEE! Only two or three more years to go. I've already got plans for hobbies, travel, leisure, and visits, maybe even a new stint as ragtime pianist extraordinaire. Since last year, I have been pronounced a "ragtime perfessor" by others of stature mightier that I. Once a month I play 4 rags at the Ragtime Rendezvous at Dressel's Cafe in the CWE along with notables such as Jay Douglas (curator of the Scott Joplin House) and Trebor Tichenor. The Friends of Scott Joplin are going to publish seven of my rags as a folio.

And just on December 3, I had my 60th birthday. This was the easiest decade I've ever moved into.