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Family Newsletter - May/Jun/Jul 2002

Past Issues: 1998 June July August Sept Oct Nov/Dec 1999 Jan/Feb March/April May June July Sept/Oct Nov/Dec 2000 Jan/Feb Mar/Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep/Oct 2001 Jan/Feb May/June Sep/Oct 2002 Jan/Feb Mar/Apr

From: Priya

Priya is busy getting settled in Washington, DC. She and Nikhil will be attending SAIS, the international policy school of Johns Hopkins. School will start soon, and in the meantime Priya is waitressing in a Turkish restaurant (Turkish, right, Priya?). Priya's found a place to live, which is a great accomplishment in itself. Loey said there were 80 applicants for the room she got, and each applicant had to go through several interviews.

Priya says "it's a little weird to be back in the States... the pace of life is especially hard to get used to. But I've been aiming to go to Johns Hopkins for the last three years and my excitement for school definitely overshadows any of my other feelings of culture shock or of missing Kodai. " Have a great time there, Priya and Nikhil!

From: Harlan

Mary won an award from the Johns-Hopkins Talent Search. The Talent Search is open to kids who have scored in the top 3% of students on standardized tests, such as the SAT or CAT-5. If a kid scores that high, they are eligible to take the Johns-Hopkins test, and if they do well enough on that test, they can participate in various programs throughout the country. Mary's scores put her in the top 35 students in both the verbal and math sections for the state of California (for 5th graders). It was all the more impressive in that she prepared for the exam by staying up late the night before watching a movie with me and playing the entire game for her YMCA league basketball team that morning (they were shorthanded that game).

I wish that I had remembered my camera, but I didn't, so I didn't get a picture at the ceremony. I took some pictures when we got home, but they are still in the camera...

(That's really great news, Mary! Your Great-Grandma Hiebert would have figured it was the result of your inheriting HER genes...)

From: Paul I just returned from two weeks in Korea. The trip went well, and I taught a class of 80 seminary students in anthropology and ministry. It was a fun group. The night that Korea won the match over Italy everyone was dancing and shouting. Amazing to see a whole nation--literally the whole nation--dancing and cheering together.

From: Michael and Margy

Michael, following Grandma Hiebert's footsteps, traveled Greyhound this last week. He spent a few days with Frank and Jo, and joined them on a quick trip to see Paul. Here are a couple of pictures from this visit.

Michael with Jo and Paul

Looks like Michael's taller than you, Paul!

Margy showed us siblings a video of her doing some of her dance routines with Brian. Amazing how much swing someone can have after growing up a proper Mennonite! I'm really envious, and think they should go competitive. -Jo

Margy doing the Tango? with Brian

From: Jo

I've been working hard at my research about the increase of babies with birth defects born in our county. One group that has been very encouraging and helpful has been the Trust for America's Health. They are connected with John Hopkins and with the PEW Charitable Foundation, where Michael Dahl works. I have some parents working with me, and we'll be doing an interview with our local editor sometime soon.

As part of my connection with the Trust for America's Health, I'll be on their Community Profile. Since they needed a picture to go along with the information, I decided I should include Gentry, John and Noah. Here's the picture that will be on the web sometime soon.

Jo and her favorite grandsons

From: Gwen

Debbie and Dary and family are moving to Salina, Kansas as Dary has finished medical school. They bought a house in the country, following the footsteps of her mother and sister. Jason is still at Ft. Bliss, hoping not to be sent to Kuwait--so far so good. Nathan goes back to college for his sophomore year at the end of summer. Jean is busy ferrying kids to summer swim lessons, etc. I have finally retired - sort of. Still has several students who haven't finished their dissertations and two books that are almost complete. Blake is spending three weeks with us and truly enjoys being the only child. Dick is catching up on yard work and is teaching Blake to shoot and fish. The grasshoppers are worse than ever before but thanks to a new chemical I am killing them dead! -- at least those around my flowers and trees so are not having the total destruction we had last year. If you see a lady wearing a mask, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots, spraying plants, that's me. In the evening I go around sweeping up the dead grasshoppers with glee.

From: Frank

I reached an important milestone this year by retiring from active service with Monmouth College after 29 years. We came to Monmouth in 1973 to "give college teaching a try." It has been a good experience, and this has been a good community in which to raise our family and be a part of over the years. As they say, "My, how time flies when you're having fun."

I know that I will miss colleagues, the classroom and especially working with students. However, as I join Jo in retirement (whatever that means for her!), we look forward to many new activities and experiences ahead, especially those involving the grandkids and delayed adventures.

Jo and the family gave me a neat retirement party, which of course included a few laughs at my expense, and folks at the college gave me a good send-off. I'm very thankful for our life here and look forward to the future.

Frank with his cake decorated by Chris Creations

Starting his new career: playing with grandkids

From: Pete

Pete and Kristin with John, Gentry and Noah

Our Writing Workshop at Betty and Carl's Place
June, 2002

We siblings got together for a writing workshop at Betty's early in June. We had a really great time. Here are some of the comments from this special time together. Some of the pictures are taken from Margy & Brian's website; others are ones I took. If you have any you want to share, please send them to me. Thanks. - Jo

Siblings, June, 2002

Admiring Betty's red hat

Our tradition "Legs" photo; looking better and better....

From Margy:
Here is a link to some photos from our reunion:
Hiebert Reunion
The actual address is homepage.mac.com/mshiebert
The web site is compliments of Brian...he prepared it.

Enjoy! Marg

Phyllis during a writing session--our supposed purpose in getting together

From: Phyl


-Adults cook one meal and then sit down and eat it together.
-Children are fed mac+cheese or chicken nuggets first w. parents urging "two more bites" while hasty cooking of adult meal goes in the background; then adults sit down and eat except those on lookout duty.

-Adults make schedules and sit down and talk.
-Children run around grabbing toys, screaming at the sight of a tiny scratch on arm/leg/foot, and chanting "I'm hungry" while parents scramble swim suits on/off them, hustle them into cars, and head for the lake, loaded w. towels and sand toys, not murder mysteries.

-Adults spend a quiet evening watching Monsoon Wedding.
-Children are coached through a puppet play (Good Samaritan w. rousing robber action and addition of Sniper Fox who steals the guy's money) and then unanimously yell that they don't want to go to bed. Much later the weary parents slump on couches for some child-free time together, such as it is.

Goal for adults: get some sleep and talk about old times.

Goal for adults w. kids: get some sleep and avoid drowning/broken bones/forgetting toys on beach/mayhem/running out of ketchup.

I liked all of our reunion. Thanks for renting the India film, Betty, and for the old photos. For your competent cooking, Carl. Jo, for the yarn squares and the welcome rites for Paul. Gwen, for setting up important talk time. Margie, for walk to park and the Hawaiian print skirt I wore at the lake here. Loey, for inspired cooking event. Paul, for lending us your cheerful self for a couple of days and for kissing my feet (long overdue). What a gift to have such a family of siblings!

Margy and Phyl taking a break

From: Margy

This last get-together was, for me, the best ever. I think we are all improving with age, like fine wine. Rooming with Lo, Jo and Gwen at the hotel was like having pajama parties complete with great breakfasts (cooked by someone else). The food, as usual, was heavenly--thanks to all the talented cooks in our family. Carl, you must have inspired us!

Betts, --what can I say? Your home is always a haven, a place of comfort and joy. We did a lot of sitting around your cozy dining room table, talking, drinking coffee and eating way way too much (but no regrets). Paul--glad you could make it to join what was originally a sisters' writing club gathering. We sure had fun toasting/roasting you that night, making obeisance, kissing your feet, placing garlands, etc.

I was delighted that we did actually get to the writing agenda. My friends here, when I tell them about all of you, are in complete awe that all of you are talented scribblers. Phyll, thanks for the talk and walk--those are a tradition with us, right? Always come just at the right time. Gwen, my stylish sister, I'm glad you are done with Teflon and his evil empire and can do as you please--like make more fabulous quilts like the wall hanging you made for Betty.

Margy madly trying to finish her script

Paul taking a quick lesson on how to operate a digital camera

Jo, as always your mischievous sense of humor livened up everything we did and kept us from taking ourselves too seriously, which we have a tendency to do. And you are indeed my favorite sister, right??? Loey, it made my heart glad to see you, and to see you casual, relaxed, once again "Indianized" or whatever you might call it. I felt like I were meeting the Loey of much earlier days. How come you don't age along with the rest of us?? Thanks for the long conversations. They meant more to me than you can imagine.

Betts, I admire so much your courage and sunshiny self in the face of such adversity and daily pain. Your comments to us that last evening made me realize even more why I love you so much. I love ALL of you. Wow, what a family. I wouldn't trade families with anyone, ever. Can't wait til next time.

Gwen checking out Betty's quilting patterns


From: Gwen

The family reunion at Betty's was one of those rare occasions that I will recall fondly for the rest of my life. We had opportunities to talk and share memories, some of which were new to me and so were particularly precious. The last evening our sharing of thoughts and particularly Betty's words about her death, her attitude toward dying and regrets about what she will miss were so unusual. How often does a family get to talk freely about dying? Rarely, I'm sure. I also think that very few reunions include sessions on writing! Makes me realize that we are truly intellectuals at heart. And how many reunions include exotic foods - Tai and Indian curry and Carl's French cake? What a family!

From: Loey

I am so glad that I was able to come back for the family reunion/writing conference - it was the highlight of the trip. I have yet to contribute to the writing portion of it and may not for a while but it was fun to read all the stories (still have some to go). What fun it is to have so many neat sisters (oh ya, and a brother...) who are accepting, accommodating, and giving. I always learn something when I'm with all of you - this time it was that one should always honor one's brother so I am practicing kissing feet! Love you all.

Loey, just in from India, getting over jet lag

Loey & Margy, the two youngsters in our family

Jo listening intently

From: Jo

We cooked...

...and ate....and ate.

From: Paul

Finally seeing the light, Paul's sisters gave him the adoration and respect due him all these years.

Our Most Honored Brother

Paul with one of his adoring sisters...

...and another adoring sister

Bets with Margy

and with Phyl, who was taking ANOTHER break...

From: Betty

Like many of our gatherings, our family reunion began with a trio of sisters planning to get together and like Topsy it grew and grew. Soon all but Paul were signed on and then came word from him that he could come. What a stroke of luck--Loey in from India and Paul from the Philippines. I thought it was impossible, but it happened and I will treasure it for as many years as I live.

One sister noted that the memorable thing about this gathering, which started as a get together to critique our writing, was that no one had an agenda. We were all relaxed and could enjoy each other. We did critique stories, but we watched a film set in India (Monsoon Wedding), made curry, shared pictures, shared memories, caught up on news, celebrated birthdays, ate nectarines from California, and generally had a great time. It was hard to see everyone go again on their separate paths, yet we all felt that we shared a unique bond that has kept us close despite numerous family problems in childhood. Psychologists say that going through bad times together helps bonding. If so, we are a really "bonded" family.

Margy gave Betty this red hat, which symbolizes her being a part of the "Red Hat Society." Here are members of the family acting as models. Any of you who would love to be part of this society, check with Bets.

The Red Hat Society

A GREAT time was had by all!