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Family Newsletter - July 1998

From: Elmer and Phyllis

Just a few news items for the Web. Elmer and I saw our newest grandchild in Denver last week--Anna Elise McDermott Martens, now 6 weeks old. Very alert, knows her own little mind, has mom and dad willingly obedient to her slightest cry. Lots of brown hair and big eyes. We traveled by Amtrak along a scenic route, Sierra and Rocky mountains--the train often runs close between the towering walls of canyons, just us and the mountains, no highways, cars, or billboards. Very smooth and silent ride except for noisy people in the lounge car. Great way to go. Floods in Iowa made our return train 4 hours late (the previous day's train was only 5 hours ahead of us = 19 hours late!).

I (Phyl) plan to be with Paul and Fran July 12-20 as Paul has a heavy week of teaching, Fran's present chemotherapy is hard on her, a more potent chemical than before. If only they could know the treatment would have an end pretty soon it would be easier. Hope to take a box of California nectarines along. Speaking of illness, we found out today that George Konrad formerly of the Seminary is in the later stages of cancer down in Phoenix--some of you probably know him.

I have officially retired as of June 30--will attend a conference on pharmacology tomorrow rather than sit in the agency office purging files (throwing out the junk) to make more room for more files--boring job. I don't know if one in a hundred of these things ever get looked at again. Now it's on to making English games. Elmer is deep in writing projects enough for the next ten years I think. He built cabinets for the garage, great job too. Is making bookshelves next as he has to move out of his school office eventually.

Elmer and Rick Bartlett are planning a teaching trip to Congo (Zaire) in January-February, during which time I want to stay with Karen and Gracie. Martens family reunion at the beginning of August this year with all our kids coming except Ken and Fran in Vietnam.

That's it for now. Elmer and Phyllis.

From: Lauren and Heller

Lauren and Heller just sent a picture of Anna Elise that we wanted to share with you. It's hard to believe that she's already two months old. How much sleep are you two getting these days, Lauren and Heller?

Anna Elise McDermott Martens

Re. Paul and Fran:

Paul and Fran flew east (to Philadelphia?) for Holly's baptism this last month. The whole family was able to be there: Eloise, Barb and John and their families. That will make such a neat memory for Holly.

Re. Chris:

Chris Sorensen is up at Interlochen International Summer Camp for the Arts at Interlochen, Michigan. He is teaching theater and playwriting classes for high school students, helping to direct several productions and directing the students' original one-act plays. He's been impressed with the quality of the students there--says some of them are as good or better than the ones he taught at Cornell University this last year. If you're in Michigan this summer, be sure to stop by to see him. He's one of the many wearing the regulation light blue shirt/dark blue shorts uniform!

From Frank and Jo:

On Monday afternoon, June 29th, Monmouth was hit by winds up to 80-90 miles per hour. The winds lasted close to an hour, and by the time they had passed through there were power lines and hundreds of trees down. Frank and I were at the mall in Galesburg when the winds hit, and everyone had to go to the corridors until the storm slowed down. When we got home, we found our back yard literally covered with trees. Altogether we lost 8 trees--most of them big ones--and will probably lose 2 more that were badly damaged. Pete, Kristin & Gentry came back from vacation Wednesday evening--just in time to help with the cleanup. Gentry was worried about his swing, which is attached to a tree that lost most of its limbs. Pete's been helping us cut & haul tree limbs. We've taken over 10 flatbed-trailer loads and still have a way to go, but at least now it feels like it's going to be done someday.

We really hate losing the trees--we enjoyed them so much. It'll be tough adjusting to seeing neighbors; we've always had complete privacy. Guess we'll have to dress before we eat breakfast outside and pull the curtains when we change clothes. What a bother! Any ideas on what to do with a very large gap in a treeline of large white pines? We're thinking totem poles..... The good thing about all this? Both of our wren families survived.

From Betty:

Betty, Loey and Gwen are busy being entrepreneurs. It all started when Betty decided to make a doll bed outfit for her granddaughters' American Girl Dolls. She asked Loey to make the doll quilts, and the result was so neat that they, together with Gwen, decided to market them. Loey and Gwen make the doll quilts and Betty finishes the beds and makes the sheets/pillows. Betty says the doll beds are really beautiful when they're all put together. She is starting to show them at craft shows, and the three are considering marketing them through the web, with Nikhil's help. Grandpa Jungas would have been impressed!