Tennison Christmas Letter
Thirty-third Edition 2000

 The Year 2000 has been an adventure.  I’m not certain how to present it, since it is a really long saga.  We traveled all year, seeing and doing pretty much what we wanted to, which in itself was quite a change in lifestyle.  I guess a chronological narration is the simplest, so here goes.


We spent the holidays in the Bay Area with the family and then enjoyed the first of part of January visiting with friends and family.  A square dance weekend in King City was our first stop the middle of January.  From there we enjoyed the Gibraltar of the Pacific, Morro Bay, then on to a few days riding our new bikes on the ocean in Ventura. For Ray's birthday we saw the Palm Springs Follies–a Ziegfield-like production whose performers are all over fifty years old, and one high kicking dancer was eighty-two!
Quartzsite, Arizona, home of the "world's largest swap-meet," merited a stop to see what all the talk was about.  Then to Lake Havasu City and the London Bridge before visiting Ray’s brother and wife near Phoenix where we enjoyed an Indian Hoop Dancing tournament, a Chocolate Festival and a Senior Fitness Fiesta.


After Phoenix we visited  Ray's mother and sister in Tucson.  Then Mesa for square dancing with lots of old friends.  Stopped in Apache Junction towards Tortilla Flat (sounds like a bad Western novel, doesn't it?) at a ghost town turned tourist stop. 

Hoopla about Arizona's newest state park, Kartchner Caverns, induced a stop where we arose at 6:00 a.m. to get in line to get tickets to visit.  The last time I got up that early to see something was in Australia to go to Ayers Rock.


Before leaving Arizona we visited Tombstone, home of  the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral, and the Bird Cage theater.

Deming, New Mexico’s history induced an overnight stay, as did Columbus, the town Pancho Villa raided in 1916.  General “Black Jack” Pershing followed Villa into the Mexican Desert in the first U.S. cavalry action with mechanized vehicles.  Carlsbad Caverns’ 750 foot descent  in a mile did my knees in–ouch; then in Pecos, Texas a windstorm blew me off the steps of our rig and onto the ground–another ouch!

We toured Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston for more Texas history–the USS Texas, the San Jacinto battlefield and NASA, then Galveston wound up our Texas odyssey.

Louisiana’s Lake Charles, Lafayette, Avery Island, Baton Rouge and plantations were interesting visits en route to New Orleans where we enjoyed all its sights,  smells, and tastes including a fascinating cemetery tour.


We spent the month of April in Florida.  We drove down the West coast seeing all the sights it had to offer, then on to Key West where Ray had a reunion with old work friends, headed up the East coast and stopped at Epcot.  Think our favorite place was St Augustine.


May found us reveling in Southern hospitality and history first in Savannah, site of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, then Charleston’s Confederate roots and Columbia’s Confederate flag over the Capitol.  The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina confirms the existence of American royalty, regardless of what we call it.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park took us on Top of Old Smoky and through the Cherokee Reservation that was the origination of the Trail of Tears.  We visited the nuclear reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.  Mammoth Cave in Kentucky was another descent into cave land.  We  had dinner with friends in Ohio and did some genealogical research in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We did not, however, visit the Dan Quayle Museum or stop for lunch at the KFC Buffet (only $3.99) for their liver and gizzard special.


We were back home in Illinois and had an enjoyable visit with friends in Springfield, then some more research in Galesburg before  stopping at a friend’s outside Chicago for a leisurely stay that afforded us the time to visit with others and enjoy our hometown.  Bev, Rick and Selina were visiting Chicagoland, so we spent time with them, too. 

A square dance in Milwaukee was an enjoyable respite, and some Wisconsin family research proved almost as fruitful as our Indiana findings.  At an overnight stop in Minnesota we parked right on the Mississippi before continuing genealogical research in South Dakota.  Unearthed some first cousins of Ray’s mother with whom we visited near Aberdeen.  The “You Betcha” accents in North Dakota charmed us before heading into Canada.


Winnipeg, Manitoba was our first Canadian stop, and we continued to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan then Edmonton, Alberta.  Visited museums, universities, capitals and the famous Edmonton Mall.  We learned more about Canada than we had ever known before.  The Calgary Stampede was next on our must-do list and was thoroughly enjoyed. 

Banff National Park is as spectacular as everyone says it is.  Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, the Columbia Icefields were unbelievably gorgeous.  Leaving the Rockies, we entered the Lake Country of British Columbia and relaxed near the Okanagan enjoying the cool Canadian air of late July.


Spent ten days at a Resort Park just over the border in Washington before we picked up granddaughter, Monica, in Vancouver who traveled with us in Canada, and Washington seeing the sights of Vancouver, Seattle, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge before departing from Portland.

We visited Ray’s uncle in Salem, Oregon and went to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland before entering California and spending a week square dancing in McCloud.  Then it was time to rush back to the Bay Area to retrieve suitcases and clothes for our European trip.

September and October 

We got organized and put our rolling home into storage, caught our plane and met Ray’s brother, Rich, and wife, Roswitha, in Frankfurt.  We traveled together for ten days going to Expo 2000 in Hanover, Dachau, Oktoberfest in Munich, Luxembourg, Trier, and the Passion Play in Oberammergau.  After they left, we continued traveling in Germany to Nuremberg, Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin before heading to Aachen to see son, Paul. 

After six months in Aachen, Paul was a knowing host, and we caught up on each others lives and saw some sights.  Nearby Cologne was a day trip and the treasures of Aachen were right there.  Belgium and the Netherlands are just a few minutes from Aachen, so when leaving we visited Brussels and Bruges before heading north to The Hague, Amsterdam, and the Zuiderzee. 

Returned to Germany for another trip to Berlin, Wittenberg, and back to Aachen before leaving Frankfurt to return to the U.S. at the end of October. 

We rested a few days then headed our home to Arizona so Ray could visit his mother before his hernia surgery in November.  Had a leisurely trip stopping in Palm Springs and Phoenix to recap our trip with brother, Rich and Roswitha.


We visited in Tucson with Ray’s family then stopped in Palm Springs on the way back to the Bay Area.  Ray’s surgery was in mid-November, and he recovered nicely by Thanksgiving.  The family gathered at Bev and Rick’s for Thanksgiving, with everyone but Paul making it for dinner.  He is back in Michigan and will be out for Christmas.


We’re enjoying the holiday parties and festivities with friends and family, doing Christmas shopping, but no decorating with those tons of decorations held safely in storage.  Sometime later in life, but not right now, thank you.  Ray flew to Phoenix for a pre-holiday visit with his mom.


Our granddaughters are the most difficult part of traveling, as we hate not being around more to share in their growing up.  Monica is a teenager now, so she doesn’t really miss us.  Selina was three last May, and she grew so much between times that we saw her, we feel we missed a lot–seeing her in June helped.  A sibling for Selina will arrive in late January, and Bev and Rick are preparing for that now.  We plan to be here to help out before and after the big event.

As for the rest of the family, Lloyd has sold the cleaners and now works more normal hours selling cell phones and with a barter organization.  Mark is director of sales at a Four Points Sheraton in Los Angeles and still skydiving whenever he can.  Pam is now a full time fifth grade teacher and loving it. Gail is a pharmaceutical rep keeping busy with her active life and that of her teenage daughter.  Bev and Rick’s active lifestyle and social lives may slow a bit with the birth of their second child in 2001, but maybe not.  Paul is back in the United States after spending six months in Germany following his six months in Kansas City. 

Have a Happy Holiday Season, and a great New Year!

                                                                                      Joy and Ray


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