Another incredibly busy year has flown by with many experiences which we will cherish always. The few difficult times were survived with the Lord’s help and the prayers of friends. Someone wrote that a bad experience that one survives makes one stronger. We should all be very strong!
On Christmas day 1994, we met the Boutouyrie family at the airport. Bertrand, the oldest son (now deceased) was Patty’s pen pal for many years and our friendship with the famly has continued over the years. We had almost given upon the hope that Madame Boutouyrie would come, but she, Bruno (son #2, a doctor working in Pennsylvania for 3 years), Marie-Christine (his wife) and two daughters spent a wonderful week with us. We went to the usual tourist places as well as a day trip to the desert. They also arrived with the news that Claire (Bertrand and Bruno’s younger sister) would be married on July. They asked Patty to go, but at that time it didn’t seem possible.
Katianna, our daughter for a year (from Finland), also go to see more of the southern California area during that week. She had a very busy year, making many friends and doing well in school. She participated in the school play, sang in the church choir and was a member of the church high school group. She also went to the Christmas formal dance and the prom. (Jenk kept quite busy as Katianna’s chauffeur!)
The night after the prom Katianna was in the back seat of a car which smashed into a light pole when the driver fell asleep. The driver, a very responsible young woman who was just too tired, was in intensive care for many days and against all predictions survived. The passenger (sister of the driver) was not seriously injured, while Katianna had a fractured skull, a deep cut across her forehead, and a very badly broken arm which required surgery. We were thankful that the girls were not worse. Katianna was incredibly strong, and 4 days after leaving the hospital she was back in school. She was even able to take her place in the school play, wearing a sweater which covered her cast! By the time Katianna left for home she had only an arm brace and a light scar on her forehead. (This was the first of Jenk’s endless trips to the airport for the summer!)
In June Marc graduated from junior high school with honors. He was one of 14 students (of a class of 500) who earned straight A grades during his 2 years on campus. He had been invited to spend a month with our friends the Durieux from Toulouse, France. (Michele and Patty were friends from the University of Provence many years ago.) So, a few days after Katianna’s departure Marc left. He had a wonderful month, learning to windsurf, spending 2 weeks on the Mediterranean, and even learning to speak French! (Jenk was amazed by how well he was able to speak by the time he returned home.)
The day after Marc returned home Gregory Durieux flew to Los Angeles. He spent almost a month here, but the time went by too quickly. We camped in Sequoia for a week, went to the beach, saw and Angels game, etc. Gregory also worked on his English. The boys communicated in a combination of languages and had a great time together.
On the day after Marc’s departure Patty left for a month in France as a chaperone for an exchange program. Traveling with 350 students is not exactly restful, but the job enable her to attend Claire Boutouyrie’s wedding in a farm village in Normandy. It was a spectacular day ending with a 6 hour banquet and dancing!
While the students lived with French families in the southern par of France, Patty lived with a wonderful nurse, Marie-Claude, who lives in the city of St. Etienne. For about 10 days Patty spent most of her time checking in with the students and families, solving some problems and moving one student who was not in a good situation. Then there were some sunny days of sightseeing with Marie-Claude. Patty also traveled on the TGV (fast train) to visit the Rodallec family she lived with in high school, Madame Henault in Aix, and to se the Durieux (and Marc) at the beach in Collioure. A final 3 days in Paris with 100 students was “difficult” to say the least, but most of the students were great.
After Patty left for France, Jenk took Beth to Grandma in Paso Robles. She spent a wonderful month even though there was not enough time to do everything they wanted! (Beth also had a great year in school with outstanding grades. She was very involved this year with her Girl Scout troop, while both she and Marc also ran track on the city team.)
Once he finished seeing everyone off, Jenk flew to Texas to spend 3 weeks. He stayed with cousins, saw his sister, Carolyn, and visited his father daily. He also drove to Dallas where he was able to visit with the families of his youngest brother, Dave, and the oldest sister, Linda.
In September Beth began the 6 th grade, Marc entered Hart High School and Jenk and Patty returned to Saugus High School. All was going well until October 24 when Patty was critically injured in an automobile accident. After surgery to repair major internal bleeding, 8 days on a respirator, 10 days in Intensive Care and a total of a month in the hospital she returned home on 24 hour oxygen. Patty’s Mom stayed with her for nearly a month. Unfortunately the lung problems continued requiring another week in the hospital to try to re-inflate a lung. The doctor predicts a slow recovery, but Patty is hoping to be able to return to teaching by the first of February.
All of us wish you a Christmas of joy surrounded by loved ones, and a healthy and happy 1996!