Dear Friends, December 1995
Hello from Atlanta. We have enjoyed the Braves finally winning the World Series and are bracing for the impact of the Olympics next summer.
This fall, Karen has crossed the quad at her school, but made a much larger jump in her development as she officially enters high school. She continues to be very active in sports: her eighth grade basketball team was the league champions with a 10-0 record; she played volleyball on an Atlanta metro team; and she is now on her school's 9th grade basketball team. She has a wide range of interests in school and is enjoying everything from Latin to English to math. She loves writing (this is from a kid whose entrance essay was a struggle at three sentences).
Karen turns 15 this Christmas -- in Georgia that is the magic age for a learners permit. Almost every time we get in the car, she says, "May I drive?" When challenged, she says, "I'm just preparing you." Lee believes Karen is trying to soften us up to get her a car by arranging a complex schedule of events that seem to constantly require driving her all over Atlanta. Karen's response is: "Is it working?"
Karen's fondest memory of last year is a week at Space Academy; she is ready to go up in the shuttle next year. She describes herself as very busy and having a good time whenever she gets enough sleep. Paul thinks she is "insane".
Paul has become very musical. He has traded his cello for a viola, he is in his school orchestra and chorus, his church choir, and has resumed the piano. He has taught himself chess, joined a weekly chess club where he is doing quite well, and entered his first tournament. He continues to love playing with the computer and dreams of owning Windows 95.
Paul lives the following Byron quote: "Some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested." Paul swallonws them whole. Helen points out his favorite diet is Star Wars novels; he has read at least 14 (and Lee thought there were only 3 movies...). Paul has heard that there are 6 more movies coming out soon. He is an avid Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space Nine fan.
The sad news is that Paul's best friend of four years, Ben Herman, moved to Ann Arbor this last summer. They talk occasionally by phone; Paul is looking forward to Ben's visit after Christmas and flying on his own to visit him in January.
Paul is already coveting Karen's room when she goes off to college; and adds, "She's not taking the Super NES with her when she goes..."
Helen has perfected a wonderful chocolate cake (recipe available upon request) that results in her invitation to many potlucks and church luncheon (our minister, who always requests the chocolate cake, asks how can one tell a Baptist from a Methodist on the way to church; the answer is that the Baptist is carrying a Bible and the Methodist a "covered dish").
Last summer, she was appointed to chair the North Georgia Methodist Conference "Commission on the Status and Role of Women." The Commission has been quiet the last few years, so whatever Helen stirs up will be exciting.
Recognizing that one of Helen's major occupations is shuttling kids around town, she is pleased to announce that the new love of her life is a 1996 white Dodge mini-van. It has sliding doors on both sides and head rests in all seats (see Helen's letter to the editor in the December Consumer Reports). When the van first came home, Paul spent at least an hour sitting in it in the garage; to resolve Helen's mystification, Lee described it as a "guy thing."
Helen is ahead of the trend in women's basketball becoming a celebrity sport -- she has Olympic tickets for the women's basketball quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals!
Helen has taken up tennis; she is not yet ready to challenge her family to a match...
Lee has been working on building up his frequent flyer miles through his job -- he just reached the 50,000 mile status for the year. The flying is a result of his focus shifting from his work in the Georgia region of Kaiser Permanente to the strategic direction for the national organization. As a result, he is being promoted to a corporate position involved in alliances and acquisitions. Through this will mean even more travel, he is looking forward to new challenges and opportunities. Ironically, in the context of this new job, Lee's goals for 1996 are to spend more time with his family and playing with his computer.
Early this year, the entire family was shocked the day that Lee came home from playing tennis and observed that of his own volition he just spent an hour and a half on a tennis court, gotten hot and sweaty, and enjoyed it. This coming from someone who has always taken Robert Hutchin's quote to heart: "Whenever the urge to exercise comes over me, I try to sit down until it passes."
Karen points out that Lee is always accepting donations of chocolate and ice cream.
The family spent a delightful week in Montreal and Quebec City this summer eating fine French food, watching street performers, and exploring. Whenever Lee "tried" to use his high school French, the natives responded in English with, Helen adds, a small grin. Lee considered it a victory that they understood him at all (his 560 on the SAT French achievement test was probably too high).
During the summer, Helen organized a Hutchison family reunion in northern, rural Georgia. We all enjoyed catching up with Helen's extended family.
Karen's volleyball took the family to New Orleans for a weekend of her playing, Helen watching, and Paul and Lee meandering around the French Quarter and aquarium. Paul also helped shag (collect) loose balls during warm-ups. Karen fell in love with "Beignets" (French doughnuts).
This fall, as part of the weekend before a conference, we toured Nashville. Though we don't recommend the city, the Mammoth Caves National Park, 1 1/2 hours to the north, is wonderful.
As we compose this letter, we are on our way to Hilton Head for Thanksgiving, riding bikes, building sand castles, and flying steerable kites!
Because Atlanta has expanded so much and the popularity of cellular phones has increased, the city has split into two area codes. Thus we have a new area code: 770.
Yours in peace,
Lee, Helen, Karen & Paul
Last Updated 02-Dec-95 email@example.com
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