Sunday, December 18, 2011

Annual Newsletter

Darn, I hate this getting old. I keep losing things. I had Summer right around here someplace, and now I can’t put my hands on it. Say, what’s that stuff coming down? Snowflakes? I guess another year has slipped passed, meaning it’s time to wish you and yours Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, A Wonderful Winter Solstice, or any other seasonal greeting you prefer. And of course, a very Happy Hogmanay to start a terrific 2012.

We began 2011 by taking Granddaughter Britnye to Disneyworld as we had long promised we would do when she reached her tenth birthday (September 16, 2010). We stayed at the Polynesian (see photo) and did all the usual things. Bob thought the Harry Potter ride at Universal the best ride he’s ever been on. But as noted, you can’t trust his memory now. At least, it was the best ride this year.

We had big news on the job front. Bonnie has a new job as a Meeting Coordinator for an association, still in the same building as Bob’s job. She loves it, but was surprised when her new boss left two weeks after Bonnie joined. With her 10-hour days, Bob has to carry a picture to recall what she looks like. (That memory problem again.) She’s moved from the third to the seventh floor, so now says she’s been promoted over Bob at work. We still commute together four miles to the building. Al Gore should give us an award for being so green.

Bob continues as Executive Director of a medical association, where they set a conference attendance record and a membership growth record, both for the fourth record year in a row. Since he’s only been there four years, and we hear the economy is bad, ASAE commissioned a study to determine how he gets these results. The conclusion: dumb luck. Bonnie thinks it’s his great staff propping him up. After all, he can’t even drive to work without her giving him constant directions!

In June, Bob’s senior Marine buddy (1964), Ron Pittenger, came for a visit. Most of their Sea Stories seemed to be about drinking and women, not war. We had a wonderful time in July and August with Britnye visiting us, attending Dance Camp and taking guitar lessons. She had her first public solo dance at a local church festival. Also in August, we went south to Bonnie’s old stomping grounds in Freeburg, IL for a birthday reunion of all her school buddies. She had great fun catching up and reliving old times. She and Britnye stayed with her cousin, Carla Lake, who is like a sister. They were born three hours apart and their moms shared a hospital room. Boy, can Carla cook!

Bob used the trip to visit Marine buddies Jack Beerup, his Radio Relay Chief from Vietnam (1967) and Bill Rajewski, who was in Radio Relay Tech School with him (1965). Bill has a large and thriving auto body business in Missouri, where his hobby is helping the police detect insurance fraud on wrecked vehicles. Very cool.

Jack is a retired cop, who lives so far out in the country he can set up a shooting range in his front yard. Which he did so we could try out our new M1 rifle (c1955). Bonnie never fired a rifle before, but with two Marines instructing she was soon putting them in a 6-inch bull at 100 yards. This is considered a very useful skill for housewives in Cook County, Illinois.

In November, while Bob was busy with his annual conference in Dallas, Bonnie went along to meet up with an "old" college friend, Vickee Kazee, who she hadn't seen in 40 years! (Yikes did you say 40?) Bonnie found Vickee through LinkedIn. Wonderful things, these social media! Anyway, Bonnie, Vickee and Vickee's partner, Sue had a wonderful week-end with Bonnie and Vickee filling Sue in on most of their escapades. Amazing how young you can feel at times like these.

Bob published two books this year. The Coming Collapse of the American Republic: And what you can do to prevent it, which has 21 5-star reader reviews on The other is Old Jarhead Poems: The Heart of a Marine, also available from Amazon. All royalties from both go to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund to help wounded Marines, with over $1,500 raised so far. Not bad for a one-fingered typist who finished in the top 95% of his high school class.

Our health is pretty good for old folks. Bob’s pulmonary fibrosis is holding steady, with no increase in oxygen needs in 18 months. Our weight is stable, meaning Bob is gaining and Bonnie is losing.

With retirement hopefully still far off, we have decided to put our larger condo in Madison on the market, so we are getting rid of a LOT of stuff. That and Britnye take us to Wisconsin many weekends. Britnye’s mom, Julie, has married and she and her husband, Lupe, are expecting a boy in February. More information on that will come with the next Christmas Newsletter. Bonnie’s son Dale remains in Pennsylvania. The three cats, Montrose, Marmalade and Britnye’s Tom are with us and healthy if not always well-behaved.

Don’t be a stranger. Gura beannacht ort an Nollaig is ná raibh inti ach tosach.

Bob & Bonnie


  1. Merry Christmas Bob and Bonnie, and a Happy New Year


  2. Good stuff, Bob. Merry Christmas to you and Bonnie and the family and best wishes for 2012.

    Joe & Barb