Saturday, August 11, 2012


Dearest Friends,

From the time we heard about those "possible openings" back in the states, we entered a state of limbo. Not knowing whether we were going on our usual home-leave as soon as school let out, or actually moving home, affected pretty much every thing we did, and rendered us completely helpless when it came to making any plans or decisions. Normally the month of March would have been a flurry of travel-planning and list-making. Instead, we sat there twiddling our thumbs, hoping for word. When we could wait no longer, the kids and I finally booked flights home for early June, not even knowing whether it would be a one-way or round-trip journey.

Lizzy and Lexie, in one of many school skits.
A letter home from John, dated 4/7/94:

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well, I don't know what to think of your Cowboys. Jimmy Jones must really be something else if he can't get along with a coach that took him from last place to two Super Bowls. I think it would be funny if the Cowboys fell on their fannies next year, but they have too much talent to do too badly. Not much is going on around here. We are finally beginning to plan our home leave for this summer. Looks like Becky and the kids will come home the first of June as usual, but I won't come in until July. There is a conference in Venezuela that I want to attend that starts July 17. Right now I'm not sure what my travel plans will be. I may go straight there before coming home, or may go to Dallas for a week, then Venezuela, then to Odessa for 2 weeks. I should know a little more later this month.

Mom, I need one favor from you. I need you to take $1,400 from the credit union and send to to Becky's sister Kathy. They are going to pick up a small computer for Becky to use in the kitchen, if and when we get to come home.

The kids are getting anxious to come home this summer. I think we have found a couple of good camps for them. In fact, we have sent in a deposit for a 2-week camp outside Dallas (YMCA) that they can both attend at the same time. Then there is a Cub Scout day camp in Dallas that is held in the park near Bill and Kay's house. All in all, I think the kids will have fun. Becky doesn't seem to have any special plans for this summer. With Carolyn trying to sell her house, it will make it a little awkward for Becky and the kids to stay there too long. I think Becky would prefer to move around a little bit anyway.

The weather here has been extremely hot lately. Thought for a while we were into another rainy season, then it stopped all of a sudden and got hot. I still say I should plan my home leaves around a trip to the mountains or some place cool. Each year I've come home you've had heat waves there! Well, I will be talking to you this weekend, so I'll go ahead and close. Give everyone our regards. We'll be seeing you soon. The kids can't wait to get their hands on Taz.


Austin and Ryan, on top of the world!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Dearest Friends,

In mid-January John got word that there were a couple of positions in the States that might be a good match for him. Basically, he was putting me on alert. We had no way of knowing if or when either of these would actually materialize, how much notice we would get if one did, or even if we were really ready to leave yet. However, we did know that out of the six kids in Lexie's class, the only two girls (sisters) were definitely headed back to the states, the oldest boy was graduating, and her friend Christopher was probably heading off to boarding school. That would leave her and one other boy. We didn't think that was an environment she could thrive in, and knew we didn't have the guts to send her off to boarding school, so home seemed like the only other option. We decided we'd best be prepared. Once again I set myself the task of paring down our belongings, one room at a time, trying to finish up all my quilting projects so I could pack that stuff away, and taking the ever-dreaded inventory of everything we owned.

As far as school went, there was another teacher appreciation luncheon to plan and host, another play for the younger kids to help with, and scariest of all, The Science Fair. Lex had really blossomed under her fifth grade teacher Mr. Jacoby, who had done wonders for both her confidence and her concentration. She was doing better than we ever thought possible. Still, we couldn't help but be a tad nervous when, in late February, her science teacher (also the school principal) called an assembly for his older science students and their parents. Apparently, this was to be like no other science fair she had ever participated in -- a two month long project, with the first assignment (a typed outline of her problem, problem statement, hypothesis, materials, procedure, variable, control group, time line, dates of completion for each step and data collection sheet) due just four or five days later. Could she stay focused for that many weeks? Only time would tell.

One day our friend Jodi called to tell us that her hubby Steve and our buddy Dan were rigging up a little slip 'n slide thingy for the kids in the field behind their house, and we should bring the kids over to play on it the following Sunday afternoon. It never occurred to us to don our own swimsuits. We should have known that with those two engineers involved, and a bevy of willing volunteers to assist them (every driver and gardener in the neighborhood, I suspect) it would end up being waaaay more than "a little slip 'n slide thingy." Next thing I knew, I was headed down it, fully clothed!

When John's turn came, he made the mistake of grabbing a small donut-shaped tube, and tried to slide down sitting up. Because he was much larger than the kids, he gained momentum fast, and when he hit the mound at the end, instead of slowing him down as intended, it sent him airborne. I can see it all now as if it were a slo-mo replay. John is flying through the air in one direction, the float in another. We have no idea when he will land, where he will land, or how hard the landing will be. A pretty good description, now that I think about it, for our emotional state at the time, and all the questions we had regarding the move home. As it turns out, the answer in both cases was "pretty damn hard!"