Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2002 Flight in Young Eagles and to Guatemala

This first letter I found from 2002 was only sent out to the other members of our immediate family, trying to firm up plans for my Mother-in-laws Birthday and for a Christmas exchange that didn't require everyone getting together to draw names.

April 24, 2002

Goode(e) Morning,

It is only 9:00 and already the sky os the waxy blue of a turquoise crayon.  The air is soft, and still, and warm enough that I have all the windows and doors thrown wide and the soft drumming of a wood-pecking Flicker seems to have temporarily stilled my parrots.  It is a lovely morning to share with family but mine are all off to school and I don't have a sub job for today so it is also a lovely morning to turn my thoughts to loved ones even farther away.

Looking forward to celebrating Mimi's 70th birthday makes it a truly Goode Celebration.  We do seem to have little regard for the public's sense of "on time." (BTW, Her Birthday was really in May before school was out)

I have been having the idea that I'd like to put together a booklet for Mimi about the things people love and remember bout her.  I've made up a fairly simple page that I'd like tp have filled out by as many family nd friends as I can. Please send it, and any photo copies that you might be willing to share. Also, I was just at a party where everyone found a button or a bead that reminded them of the person and strung them into a necklace, including why they chose it on a recipe card. Ideas like cat hoed buttons or mini-food baskets, or a Tasha Dog.  What do you think?

Then I listed family names and a plan for a rotating gift exchange that could keep going until 2016.  It worked for awhile, but then a Sister died, and a nephew as well,
Mimi and Harvey at her 70th in June

changes made us drop it.

Anyway, that's enough meddlesome me for awhile, so how about one news from the state of Jefferson? (It's a state of mind)

Greg:  He just had to serve two days on jury duty on a DWI case.  He's been busy working with the church choir and a couple of musicals at his school.  He just finished the paperwork needed to transfer the boys to his school next year so that he can teach them and participate more in their field trips and parties and awards etc.  He may be quitting the church choir to focus on a dreamed of - raveling, competitive level, children's choir that he wants to start in the fall.  He's been buy fighting the lawn, last year the lawn won but this year Austin has proven to be an adept driver of the ride on mower so he may have a better chance of success.

Dixie:  I've been substitute tacking at the boys school in Fort Dick, CA. That is fun because I know all the teachers and most of the students.  Next year with the boys at Greg's school, I'll be open to go to other schools as well as Greg will be able to deal with them until the end of the teacher day.  I am also in the beginning stages of a children' novel for my writing class.  Outlining chapters and researching the Oregon Trail both in 1854 and now.  My teacher loves the book idea but isn't an editor anymore although she was one for 13 years, just my teacher/friend now.  In other words she cracks the whip and gives suggestions but will never buy it herself.  I'm also getting ready to fly out of Portland, OR with the boys at 6:15 AM on June 7th.  Mom has signed us up to go to Guatemala with her to help build cement block houses in a Mayan Indian village close to a volcano lined lake in the mountains of Southern Guatemala.  Some of the political unrest of the region sounds frightening but it also will be wonderful to show the boys our obligation to be (as Gandhi said) "The change we want to see in the world."

Austin and Emerson:  Both are doing well in school.  We've hooked them fairly firmly with a love of books and libraries.  Both are creative and have wonderful imaginations and can tell fully developed stories and are starting to be able to write them as well.  Both are very good at math and both stink at spelling.  Both still fight with Greg about practicing their violin or cello but are learning in spite of themselves.  They are not however, carbon copies.  Austin bores of anything that doesn't involve other people.  Emerson will play gameboy or listen to books on tape while flat on his back on the couch all week of only his mean old parents would let him. Austin tried out for a part in the community production of Oliver and got two parts.  He rehearsed for close to 12 hours a week for 2 1/2 months and then put on seven performances.  He was intensely dedicated and loved it, and he has a singing voice that belongs in the Vienna boys choir.  Emerson didn't try out.  He won't do anything new until he knows exactly what to expect, but he learned all the songs and still sings them and will try out next time he say.
Brigadier General Chick Yeager, who first broke the sound barrier, now has a program clued the "Young Eagles" in which kids write essays to qualify, then are taught the basics of flight and allowed to take the controls for one flight.  Austin's essay won him a flight alone with the General, Emerson was too young for the contest but went along to watch and a pilot took him up and let him fly too!  I was so jealous.

The greyhounds, the parrots, the cat and aquarium are all time consuming but also soothing, friendly part of our home.  This weekend we're leaving them to go camping and that is also soothing and peaceful.  Lots of Love

The handwriting says "the Quetzal, a long tailed, green and red bird is Guatemala's National bird because of its free untamable spirit.  This Sketch, with the Spanish, "Paz" for "peace" is from a Guatemalan coin.  The coin is also called a Quetzal.
December 2002

Greetings again to all of our family, both by birth and by choice,

     The view from our window is full of holiday red and green.  Our neighbor's holly bush, the green of new grass where we just reseeded to cover gopher holes and where the greyhounds love to dig, the flame red of our maple leaves.  Never will we be quite used to December in Crescent City - yet this year we will spend Christmas under our brilliant blue skies.  This year has been so dry that not one drop fell over Thanksgiving - or during one of the boys soccer games.  I'm afraid our gills and toe webs may completely shrivel and vanish if this keeps up.
     We are hoping that your year was a good one.  Ours, as usual went along at breakneck speed and we were all lucky to remain healthy and happy.  OK, so once I got so angry ay Greg that I tore the phone out of the wall and stomped on it.  He had thrown away some of my "Treasures," but what is it about that man?  Even when I hate him, I love him!  So we're back in each others good graces once again much to the relief of the boys who, since they weren't around for our first ten years, don't realize how normal those adult temper tantrums used to be!

Back in January, 2002

     We spent New Year's Day in Wyoming - and did the miller family portrait on Jan. 2nd, Brett and Shannon's gift to us all.  Unfortunately Emerson was really sick, once we got home he tested positive for strep, and he had to interrupt the photographer more than once while he ran for the nearest toilet, or garbage can! (and he was as white as my white shirt in the pictures)

January 26th, we actually had snow in Crescent City for the first time sine Austin was born (in 1993) so I kept the boys home and we went up to Rowdy Creek and into the hills to, well . . . to get rowdy of course.  Snowball fights with lots of laughter, but snow is something different when you go to it, to play in it, rather than trudge through it every day for months.
     Austin started rehearsing for his two roles in Oliver, 7-9 PM, four days a week and on through February and half of March.  Now the Craziness resumes as both Greg and Austin have new roles to play in The King and I for March 2003.
Greg and I with the greyhounds, George and Grace

     On February 24th Austin's essay, "Why I ant to learn to fly." was one of five to win a flying lesson from the first man to break the sound barrier, Brigadier General Chuck Yeager.  Austin flew the General for a bit when he was allowed to take over and will probably never forget that little piper plane with just the General and Himself.  Then Emerson, who had just come along to watch was allowed to take his own flying lesson from a lady pilot who is one of our local people, and he also got to pilot the plane.  Greg and I were both jealous of our babies. So, both of them are officially on the registry as "Young Eagles."

March and April
     Instead of birthday parties, the boys both chose camping trips - so twice we went up to a lovely campground on the Chetco tiger up by Brookings, Oregon.  It would be over-run with both smoke and firefighters by the end of summer but in March and April we had solitude for our campfires and our Easter Egg Hunt.
     Austin also finished up his tun in Oliver and had a lot of fun, and so did the audiences.  Austin is 9 and Emerson 8 now.

     Emerson's class got to have me as a sub for over a week.  It was great except Emerson almost never had to pull his card for his "real" teacher, so when, "Mrs. Mom" made him pull his card for sticking posy-it notes on his friends backs, "Kick Me"  It wasn't long beer he was wearing a sign of his own, "Kick my Mom!"  His class did get a roller Skating Field trip that was great.
     Austin's entire, overcrowded class of 36 third and fourth grade students went camping up in the redwoods at Howland Hill Outdoor School.  Emerson was sick, so I went back home with him after the dinner but Greg slept up in the hills and seemed to have a great time.
     Both Emer and Austin are in GATE, for gifted and talented kids, mostly due to math skill and great imaginations.  NO! Not my Kids, or Greg's?  So the GATE group also took a field trip to look for fossils in the sandstone cliffs, and they did a brain games carnival where they studied rocket science and had fun designing airplanes.  Then the kids at Redwood school watched a coast guard crew from Coos Bay land their helicopter on the playground while the kids waved flags and then the crew stayed all day while the class checked out the helicopter.
     On May we also went to San Jose and stayed in a fancy, sky scraping Hotel with the pool on he roof.  We went to see Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat and visited the Tech museum and an indian Pow Wow.  Then on the way home we're sure we saw George Lucas at our Favorite bayside Restaurant in Tiburon.  It was May 16, the day the Attack of the Clones was released to Theaters.

     Was our most exciting month in the magic carpet ride that was 2002.  On the first, Dixie and the boys drove up to Tommy's birthday party in Ashland, OR.  Then on the 3rd, with only days to spare, after weeks of uncertainty, our passports arrived.
     On June 4th, after a regular day of school, Emerson's class of second graders went on a 12.2 mile bike ride through dairy land and winding on through the sacred Indian land of YONTAKET.  Here, close to the beach, the Indian village that once nestled among marsh grass and rolling hills, was slaughtered by the angry locals over a hundred years ago.  Now only the deer and gulls live there, but there's a loveliness anyway.  After the ride and a pizza party in Emerson's class we moved into the school lunchroom where Austin starred as Clark in the 3rd/4th grade class production of LEWIS and CLARK or, as Austin loved to proclaim, "that's Clark and Lewis."
     Then on June 6th, even though school ran through the 14th, Dixie, Austin and Emerson drove up to Portland, Oregon and on June 7th the three of us flew to Houston, Texas where we waited 7 hours in the airport before meeting Grandma Priscilla and Uncle Lance just minutes before we had to get on the plane to Guatemala City.

My Brother, Lance and I
Austin, setting out from Panajachel to Santiago
I could write for days about the week we spent in Guatemala! (Turns out, that wasn't an exaggeration, as the Guatemala trip became an important part in the three books I've written for the Duffy Barkley series)  Suffice it to say that we started in a large, multi-cultural city with very modern city trappings - Volkswagen dealers, espresso joints, McDonalds's Playlands, Tai-Kwan-do studios, then we traveled by bus, bright red, old school bus, up nearly 6,000 feet into the mountains and down to the beautiful shores of Lake Atitlan, surrounded by three lovely, cloud-haloed Volcanoes.  We traveled through a marketplace rich in weavings and leather work, wood carvings and bamboo, then by small motorboats across the lake, through the bullrushes to Santiago, the home of the Tzuitajil "Sweet-uh-heal" Mayan Indians.  There we worked on a Mayan Grade School where our kids taught their kids "Duck, Duck, Goose" and "If you're happy and you know it clap for hands."  We also had them teach us a circle game that I now use when a sub lesson plan says, "PE, Your Choice of Activity." which happens frequently.  The people were friendly but quiet.  Life had been very hard for them

( in reality, had we known of the events only 12 years before,

 murder, people thrown from helicopter by soldiers as young as 14, a violent uprising that left 13 people dead and the military forever banned from Santiago and the mine strewn peach fields on the slopes of those volcanoes, I probably would not have taken the boys along.)

Mom on left, Emerson and Lance seated on right, Austin seated with back to camera at center
but they still retained the traditional handwoven family clothing of past millennia, but still they knew basketball and soccer - so Austin and Emerson were quickly making friends and playing Blind Man's Bluff.  The area was thick with ripe bananas, avocado, papaya and lemons and the flowers could be described in glowing poetry without doing them justice.  It was warm and lovely but poor, undereducated people had left it deep in litter.
     The boys have adopted Quevin, a Guatemalan boy to whom they send $15 each month to help with shoes, medicine, toys and school supplies.  The Guatemalan recent history has been brutal to the Mayans even into the 1990' with police stated trying to exterminate them.  Still the people have survived, and while the older people are ca worn and twisted by heavy burdens, there is still faith, hope and even joy, especially in their children.

 We flew back to Portland.  Greg drove up and we all regrouped at April and Vince;s before driving to Wyoming for the Goode family reunion in honor of Grandma Mimi's birthday.  We went to see Dracula at the Black Hills Playhouse and visited buffalo in Custer State Park.

Then we spent a day on the shores and in paddle boats at Sylvan Lake with its towering granite spires and evergreens.  Harvey's lingering effects from the motorcycle wreck were evident when he looked at the lake they had spent many times at and said, "we should have come here before."
Greg's Brother Matt's daughter, Remi

Then we went to Cody Wyoming for Grandma Priscilla's birthday and came to the end of that most lovely month.  We won't soon forget June 2002.

     We were mostly at home, but on the 23rd we drove up to Portland to see the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and visit the zoo, where the polar bears performed their swimming and playing with enthusiastic energy.
     July 26 and 27th, Greg and A and E participated in "relay for Life," but as they walked the track the smoke rolled in and turned the sun into a pale, red waxen disc in an orange sky.  Ash blanketed the town from the biscuit fire which eventually reached almost 500,000 acres and dominated the entire month of August and left bare hills which would turn to mud slides and close the only road off the coast with the first rain.  My pear tree thought that it was winter - so when the smoke cleared in September and the sun returned, the tree was soon covered in snowy blossoms and pale leaves of new green velvet.

     days were filled with Greg's summer band camp, Austin's soccer practice (Emerson opted out) and long, Lazy days swimming in the Smith River.  I wish I could send you each a day in the Redwoods, under the warm sun, floating in Jade Green water like liquid bottle glass.

     We moved the boys to Pine Grove School so their Dad could teach them.  They resisted leaving old friends and the familiar school and it added chaos to Greg's mornings but I think the move has gone OK and it freed me so I can Sub at any school, and more than tripled the number of days I worked from Sept. to December.

Austin and Rocky in the apple tree
Aunt Fran drove out from Wyoming on a whirlwind visit.  One fun day of "Beaching"  The boys then picked apples from our ancient tree and baked pies for the Boy Scouts, "Fella's Bake Auction" with a real auctioneer and no females allowed anywhere near the kitchen.  The two pies earned $48.00!

In November, we had a lot happening.  Greg was turning 40 but he was almost too busy to notice.  He started the Youth Choir that he and another music teacher have been dreaming of ever since they started the summer band camp together a decade ago.  The Crescent City Youth Choir is Audition only and not connected to the schools.  Over 90 kids from 4th to 12th grade auditioned and ultimately they narrowed it down to 35.  Austin had to audition for the other teacher and he made it in. So November was set building, fund raising, rehearsals and the first two concerts, including having the concert on local TV.

     We also had sunny weather for Thanksgiving -so our annual Thanksgiving on the beach included April and Vince and a sunset hot dog bonfire on Friday.  We had a Thursday turkey dinner in Charleston Harbor and a stroll through the light filled botanical gardens.
     Don't ask about car sick greyhounds on Thanksgiving.  It wasn't on the Thankful list.
     We also ran a slumber party at the Methodist church - where the Sunday school kids made nine crock pots full of soup to serve afar the service the next day.

     Now it's December and only 7 more school days to vacation.  We got a big tree and we need to slow down. Emerson is really determined that Santa is giving him, fully assembled, a $269.00  3,104 piece STAR WARS LEGO SHIP. So maybe it's time for reality to rear its ugly head a bit here.  Hopefully we'll enjoy no big toad trip this year, and maybe no more bouncing checks, or telephones.

    Love to you, of course, now take at least as long as it took you to read this letter.  Bresthe slowly, inhale the pine and send thought of love and peace to those you hold dear.  Peace on Earth has seemed far away, many times in the past, yet the human race is still here to dream the dream, and what a beautiful dream it is.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weinachten


Greg, Dixie, Austin and Emerson

Goodes andMichiels at Portland Zoo

Emerson relaxing

Aunt April's tree

Cousins at Grandma Priscilla's

No comments:

Post a Comment