We are pleased that our wonderfully large, extended, blended family is
doing so well. As the family grows, however, we have found we just
cannot report on all their successes and so this letter focuses on our
immediate family and ourselves.
reconfirmed our status as “National Park Junkies.”
’s 60th birthday we
toured Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP. It was old home week for
who while in college worked at
as a “savage” -- jargon for
waitresses who served “dudes”
aka tourists. It is
amazing that the
had the foresight to declare this
wild and beautiful area the first national park in the world.
We saw buffalo, moose, elk, bear, geysers, strange thermal
features, incredible waterfalls – the
is truly magnificent.
keeps saying that the Grand Tetons
are “in-your-face” majestic. They rise nearly vertical from the
lakes to reach almost 10,000 feet.
the fall we re-visited
Bryce, Cedar Break, Capital Reef
and Arches national parks. (We were
there last year, but the camera broke so
said we weren’t really there.)
planned to do the
’s Landing hike, which involves
climbing along a very narrow ridge with sheer 1,500 foot drop offs on
either side. Before we
left, however, grandson
called. “Grandma, I don’t think
you should do that.” (Last spring, he
and his dad had climbed it.)
did the Angel's Landing hike up through
’s Wiggles as far as
’s Landing at the West Rim Trail
junction where, remembering
’s sage advice, did skip the last
here and you'll see the half mile I skipped). We were so happy to share this trip with our good friends
and her sister
spent a girls-weekend-away in the
It was so incredibly foggy that
still doesn’t believe there is a
valley. They literally could not see ten feet.
Nevertheless, they took a couple of hikes and enjoyed their
annual trip together (well, not really annual – this was the first
time in 25 years that they went away together).
continued to take joy in the wonderful successes of our grandchildren
and their parents.
’s daughter, graduated from college
(which she completed in four years) and loves her new theater job
’s son, had a hard time deciding
which of the honors programs he should take – Japanese conflicted
with computer animation or something like that.
Rory Larkin, Ruane’s son, is in his last year of college,
plans New Years in
, and is getting a little worried
about what will happen when he enters the real world. Probably like
the rest of us, he’ll change careers about 10 times.
His dad is happy teaching social studies (does that run in the
continues to be an avid outdoorsman;
is coordinating the startup of
; and their children are stupendous.
visited us on her own in July (1st
solo flight, broken leg in cast, and all).
We think she enjoyed being pushed around in a wheel chair at
the zoo by her grandparents!
is in junior high (gasp!) and is
doing outrageously well. He’s
in wrestling, FBLS and newspaper clubs, Boy Scout Patrol Leader, and
gets straight A’s. Lastly,
Dawn and Shannon’s children, Hillary and Connor, are warm, wonderful
of the highlights of the year has to have been Valentine’s Day.
We’d rented a house in the country for a get together with Dan,
Michelle and the children.. They made it to DC, the blizzard hit, and
we all got snowed in here in our 2-bedroom apartment for 3 days. Cozy
it was -- and fun. We scheduled a make-up date on July 4th.
also came out. It was an
few other memorable moments in 2003 included season tickets to the
National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center; Elizabeth’s 12th
season attending the Emerson String Quartet;
a few getaway weekends, and Thanksgiving with wonderful niece
Paige and her husband Everett and their three children.
’s work continues to be
intellectually exciting. The National Science Foundation was recently
rated as the 2nd best government agency in which to work.
She doesn’t understand why it wasn’t #1.
It is an extraordinary place. And if you wonder what
does, check What’s
New? on www.evanderputten.org.
did have some hard news this year. Our best man
of cancer in
. He was a lawyer passionately
devoted to civil right and a former New Mexico Supreme Court Judge
(his colleagues called him “The Justice of Jazz” for his lifelong
interest in jazz). In July, our
dear niece Caitlin died of cancer after a valiant struggle.
As the Washington Post obituary said of her, she was a feisty
fighter for the rights of the most vulnerable of our citizens, the
mentally ill. We also had
a wicked scare when daughter Kathi found she had cancer. Fortunately
(and we all are keeping our fingers crossed) after chemo, surgery and
more chemo, she seems to have weathered the storm.
are glad to report that
’s Dad is doing well. She tries to
get up to visit him on
every few weeks. He scared us all
last summer when he fell.
gets a kick out of discussing such
things as quantum physics with him (neither is an expert in the area
but that never stopped a good discussion). Her
aka the “Bionic Woman” gave us a
couple of scares when her hip popped out and she ended up in the
hospital. But she’s fine now.
should be fun. In May,
and at least one friend (others may
join) are going dining and hiking the Amalfi Coast of Italy and Isle
of Capri. Another major event will be two weeks in the early autumn in
with tours of the
, Ouray, and
. And finally, after “two more
will graduate May 15 J
Christmas 2003, happy New Year 2004, and love to all.
Brian J. Larkin and Elizabeth VanderPutten
December 20, 2003, Washington DC