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Family Newsletter - May/June 2001

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

*NOTE: Folks, This is the MAY/JUNE newsletter I had all set to put on our family web page just before Chris was in an accident in New Jersey. I decided to go ahead and put it in this way, and then get the summer's news in next month. Hopefully now things will go back to normal and I'll get the update done every other month.

Just a quick word on Chris: He was in an accident in New Jersey on June 6th; when he stepped off of a moving bus. He suffered a fractured acetabular (socket of hip joint) and had surgery in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, NY City, a week later. Frank flew to NY and I followed by train, and we stayed there during the month he was in the hospital. He's now home and will be here probably until Christmas while his hip heals. I decided to put Chris in our Picture-of-the-Month so he could at least get a little recognition for all his pain! -Jo

From: Jo

Sorry it's been such a long time since our last family update. This spring has been absolutely wild, trying to get all the assessments done and finishing up 24 years of teaching. I retired at the end of May, and now I can start doing all the things I've been putting off for years.

Be sure to read the stories that Uncle John and Aunt Wilma wrote. I have Uncle John's second fishing story in this update, as well as the first part of a life story that Aunt Wilma sent me. They're very interesting and tell so much about life in Minnesota years ago. John also has a short explanation about when Mom fell off a horse in Montana. Leona has written up the history of our great-grandpa and grandma Wiebe (Grandma Hiebert's parents). It's absolutely amazing how many tough times they went through and still survived. We have a very strong heritage. We also included a couple of recipes---Pfefferneuse (Peppernuts) and Pakoras.

I had a really fun retirement party in early May, with former students/parents/friends coming to help me celebrate the evening. Then I went to the Monmouth High School National Honors Society meeting and was inducted into the NHS as an honorary member. I'd been chosen by the juniors and seniors, many of whom had helped as aides in my class when they were in 5th and 6th grades. It was such a delightful honor, especially since Steve, Chris, Pete & Kristin all were members of this Society.

With my little friend & student Ryan

With Dr. Surber, my Boss

Pete, Gentry, John and Kristin at my retirement party

Getting the National Honor Society Medal

Now we're off for a week at the Y camp in Colorado with Pete, Kristin & Gentry & John. Steve and Chris are going to join us. Usually we only get to have everyone together at Christmas, so this year we're having two Christmases. Neat. (Later: this was postponed when Chris got hurt but we're planning to do this in August.)

I am planning to get back to regular updates of our family news, stories, recipes and family history. You'll be hearing from me!

From: Steve

"Everything is always troubles," my little nephew Gentry once told me.

I thought of this phrase often as I took a 3-day solo backpack trip through the mountains around Crested Butte, Colorado, at the end of July.

After a hectic spring and summer working to get my photo business display set up at a store in Boulder (as well as working at my "real" engineering job), I was ready for a relaxing hike through the spectacular Rocky Mountain backcountry.

What I actually got was not quite what I had planned...

Turned out that the week I had picked was a very stormy one down in the southern Rockies.

After only several hours of hiking the first day I had already been caught out in three thunderstorms, with lightning getting a bit too close for comfort for someone out in an open valley. That evening, though, as the last storm cleared and the sun set I had a great view of the swirling clouds over the surrounding peaks.

The second day began quite nicely, with a beautiful sunrise and deep blue skies.

But as I began my climb over a 12,000 ft. pass into the next valley, I found myself racing another storm to the top. I made it over as the clouds closed in over the pass and it began to hail. I jogged down the other side to the safety of the trees.

That afternoon I had planned to camp at a lake that my map claimed had a nice trail leading to it.

The map was wrong.

I finally arrived at the lake, but only after bushwhacking through about a mile of dense pine forest, struggling over the many downed tree trunks with my 70 lb. backpack.

Of course it proceeded to rain again for over 3 hours once I had set up camp...

My last day out it started raining at 5 A.M. and did not stop until noon. I could not wait for it to stop, so I packed out soaking wet. There was so much water in my boots after an hour of hiking that every time I stepped down I could feel the water squish out between my toes. Once the rain stopped, I put on some damp, 2-day old, sweaty socks (quite a treat after the wet ones!) and squeezed out my wet wool socks, releasing about 1/4 cup of water in each sock.

On the positive side there was the amazing night above treeline when I watched the clearing storm clouds swirl around the surrounding peaks as the sun set, or the time I looked out the tent at midnight at the clear night sky and saw the Milky Way stretching out brilliantly above me, with no city lights to diminish it.

So it is always a package deal... and of course "Adventure is not fun while it is happening"

From: Betty

News here is that we look for another grandchild via Cindy and Mike in late August or early September. Mike and Cindy are now in Philadelphia, in case the East Coast crew want to visit. Mike took a job as financial director at PEW Foundation (2nd largest foundation with hundreds of dollars into many projects). He is excited about his first week and has a huge office with windows and an efficient secretary. Mike and Cindy braved driving both cars, 2 year-old Nicholas and two cats (Jambie and Mohnihan) to Philadelphia from Denver. We didn't expect that quick a move and never even got to ski country with them. Oh well, we shall see the LIberty Bell.

The month of February was spent near Tampa on Indian Rock Beach (with Margie's help finding a place). It was a pleasant month with a beautiful beach, great swimming pool for the kids, and 3 bedrooms. Mike, David, and Carol and their families all visited and had a good time. We found a place for January and may stay 2 months next year. It is fairly close to Margie - an hour or so away. We enjoyed seeing Margie, Michael and Brian.

Carol manages Oracle Computers' main product release and she got a hefty bonus for a job well done. It is hard to imagine quiet Carol telling 2200 engineers what to do, but she is a tough but fair manager. David and Susan are fixing up their house and do most themselves so they keep busy with one project or another. David is very busy at work too.

I am regaining some of my walking and strength and look forward to the warmer weather. Carl is a real trooper, handling the cooking for the most part and outdoor work too. He has the yard pretty well cleaned up and we look for the plants. A few daffodils have braved the weather. The cardinals begin to sing in the morning and it makes me feel more hopeful for the day. I love their songs.

From: Harlan

When asked if there was any news, here was Harlan's response!

I wish. Lately Carol and I aren't doing anything other than working. The only exciting family news I have is that Mike and Cindy recently moved to Philadelphia.

From: Phyl

Hi from sunny Fresno (after the rains). Karen and her two little ones Grace and Toby were here over Easter, which meant parks, rides on little trains and on paddleboats, stories and sloshing around nudie in the blowup swimming pool. Elmer is slogging away on last corrections to his Jeremiah commentary. I'm trying to get out my spring advertising for Eng. games--working up a new mailing list. At the schools everyone is testing day after day--SAT 9--but a few manage to get into trouble as usual. Yard needs much work but at least the roses are blooming nicely, purple and pink and red. We're due to leave for Vietnam on June 18, for 3 weeks. Anybody need anything from there? Love, Phyl

P.S. Phyl is coming to Omaha this next weekend, so Gwen and I are joining her and Bets there for a 4-sister get-together. Too bad Margy and Loey and Paul can't be there, but they chose Paris and Bankok and Turkey instead.....

From: Sandra

Sandra sent these pictures of her little Madison to share with you.

1-year-old Madison

Madison in her tutu

From: Uncle John and Aunt Wilma

Here is part of a note from Uncle John:

Wilma's youngest grandson, Cullen, is going to be married the first part of August and the wedding will be in the Cayman Islands. They must have met several years ago during their winter vacation there with their families. This year they became engaged in the same place. We met this girl on Easter when they came with his parents to see us in Mountain Lake. We had dinner together at the Pizza Ranch and got to visit them for some time. She is a very nice Christian girl. They insist we come to the Caymans for the wedding. We have already ordered tickets to go and possibly stay there for a week. All the relatives from here expect to be there - even Wilma's oldest son, Bruce, and family is coming from Portland, Oregon.

From: Nikhil

Awhile back Nikhil sent some pictures of the village where he's been teaching. Right now he's in Kathmandu, where there's rioting because of the murder of members of the royal family---allegedly by the Crown Prince. Loey is to go to Kathmandu soon. By the time this update comes out, hopefully things will have calmed down. Anyway, here are Nikhil's pictures.

Me walking home

My family on our party in Santale

View from my balcony; Temke in background

A little girl in the bazaar

Mustard fields near Khadbary

Rice fields near the Makala Baran National Park

Houses along the way back to Bhojpur from Khadbary

Arun valley, Khadbary on the hill & Tumblingtar(?) with its enormous airport

From: Priya

Priya is getting ready to head to Kodai for a year. She'll be working with public relations and in contacting new students for Kodai...I think! She sent some pictures of Chelsea & Rick's Brian. Good luck in your new venture, Priya.

Chelsea & Rick's Brian....

....and Brian again; isn't he adorable?

From: Loey

Loey wrote from Chiang Mai: "I'm taking Thai massage classes for 5 days and then 3 of cooking. Then to Nepal to see Niks. It's a nice life at the moment as I stay at a smallish place with a pool and there is a great veggie Thai restaurant around the corner. Lots of good food, handicrafts, massage etc. What more can you want, especially on $20 a day for all of it."

(Later note) I just spent the day south of Chiang Mai - hired a taxi for the day and went to the elephant orphanage and hospital. Really cool. It's a govt thing to help take care of elephants - they train them to help out in the forest etc. so at 3 a baby elephant has to go to school and start learning to move logs. They had 4 babies that were about 4 years old - sooooo sweet. They had a small show and they all had to come out and bow and show off a bit - just like little kids. I loved them. The older ones were well trained and could move logs and whatever. It's a huge reserve so they are quite ok there. In the hospital were 3 elephants that had stepped on land mines in Burma - but they are recuperating. I'll try to get pictures of them and the temples on the web sometime. I also found out that I could get yet another certificate... they allow you to live there and learn to become a mahout - elephant trainer. Wouldn't that be a stitch."

Note: We'll be setting up a schedule for massages as soon as Loey gets back; just notify me of the time(s) you want scheduled. And if you have an elephant you need to train, I'm sure she'd be happy to help.

Loey and Gary just finished their first year in Kodai. Gary finished up the year with an amazingly successful directing of "Fiddler on the Roof!" Gary is currently taking a motorcycle ride around Colorado and Loey will be heading for Nepal next.

Loey has a website that shows some of the quilts she and the women's co-op in Kodai have been working on. To see these, go to:


From: Paul

Paul is heading to Turkey for a few weeks and then will be in India for the rest of the summer. We had a chance to see him a few weeks ago---see picture below.

Paul at his home in Highland Park

Paul and his gorgeous sister Jo

Frank and Paul solving the World's Problems

From: Margy

(Margy and Brian are on a trip to London and Paris)
Hi everyone....just a quick note from the internet cafe before we head to hotel for last night in London before heading to Paris.

It's been a great adventure revisiting the places I remember from when I was 10 -- Madame Tussaud's, the Tower and crown jewels, bus rides. etc.

Hope you are all well. I'll give a full accounting when we get back. Tomorrow by chunnel to Paris!!!!

From: Carol Smith

This is a note Steve received by email. Thought you'd be interested in it.

Hi, My name is Carol Smith and I have thoroughly enjoyed the recipes on your website. I live in Conway, Arkansas. I was looking for a recipe of Pluma Moos and your link popped up on Google.com

I haven't checked the whole site out yet but you sure have brought back a lot of memories. Here and there there was a name I recognized. Anna Warkentin. Mountain Lake. Hiebert.

I went to Grace Bible Institute in the late 60's-early 70's. I was from Illinois, and raised Baptist, but two of my roommates were Mennonite and both were from Mountain Lake--Marjorie Loewen (now Rasmussen) and Gloria Classen (now Mrs. Wendell Klassen, still from Mt. Lake). I made a couple of visits there. Gloria's mom made me my first real homemade zwiebach.

The cooks at Grace were all Mennonite and made a lot of authentic dishes--like Pluma Moos, which I really came to love, and chassa moos.

Thanks for putting these on the web. Carol Smith