Wednesday, December 31, 1997

A Christmas Letter from America – 1997

Well another year has shot by but it seems like not a lot to interest has happened as we sit to write this note. I started a new job early this year which requires far more travel than I ever wanted, prompting Eleanor to claim that I wasn’t her Daddy anymore as I lived somewhere else now! Wow, that hurt!

My brother Martin, his wife Anita and their new baby Misha spent last Christmas with us, which was a lot of fun. This was closely followed by a visit from Arlene’s sister Donna and boyfriend John. While they were here, Arlene’s Mum, sister Sharon, and kid’s, (Danielle and Gregory) joined us. This meant for a packed house but it was wonderful to watch the five cousins play together after being apart for so long. I can only remember one fight, (between Greg and Tarrant over a pretty girl who lives in the neighbourhood). This made me a little nervous as the boys were only nine, but the girl’s Dad must be feeling a lot worse!

We mostly made local trips, one of the best being a day at the Coca Cola Museum. This is always fun with a bunch of kids as the vast quantities of sugar and caffeine consumed result in a giggling fit that is hard to control. Danielle introduced Georgia to the Spice Girls, which caused quite a stir. The synchronised dance routines where quickly learnt by the boys and we even managed to get the loan of a Saxophone which Danielle played beautifully on the front lawn for a group of neighbours.

Tarrant had a part in a school play which he seemed to enjoy, and Eleanor was a model is a local fashion show, displaying her dimples to great effect (in my unbiased opinion). The rest of the summer was spent with swimming lessons for the kids and a week in Nashville, home to The Grand Old Opry, the mecca of country music. This includes Opryland, a country music theme park with rides that turn the stomach, hey, come to think of it, the music turns the stomach too, (no offense!) Arlene and I have spent some time at local concerts, mostly seeing Blues bands which are in good supply being in the deep south.

Tarrant started the year playing basketball, his hero being Micheal Jordon. He can be seen practicing his “cool” shots on the front drive with local teenagers and we have been to watch our team, the Atlanta Hawks on a few occasions which was a great experience. Somehow, my attempts to introduce the boys to Cricket and Rugby seem to have failed and I just can’t work out why! This is somewhat compensated by the fact that soccer is very popular with youngsters in the U.S.A., Tarrant and Elliot both joining local teams during Autumn. It’s a lot of fun watching 18 six year olds kicking the ball around, although the parents seem more excited, frequently screaming “wrong way, wrong way” to their over-zealous offspring.

Arlene is in deep shock after offering to help out at Eleanor’s school. This is her first taste of work (outside the home that is), for about 10 years but she appears to be having fun although the last thing she really needs is to look after 12 demanding two year olds.

Eleanor is really quite something, fulfilling her self appointed role as head-of-the-household wonderfully. I tend to do most things I am told, although I stop short of wearing the pink tiara and waving the magic wand on every occasion she demands. She thinks the whole world is a musical, dressing up as Dorothy for Halloween and offering renditions of Yellow Brick Road at the most inconvenient times.

Well that’s just about it from the Newnham household this year. Best wishes to you all and we hope you have a great 98……


Dale, Arlene, Tarrant, Elliot and Eleanor