Christmas Letter 1975

Dear Friends and Relatives:

Can you believe that 1975 has flown the coop? But somehow I’ll muddle through as usual. And, I love Christmas time. It is so special in every way. Although I am now among the army of the retired, my zest for Christmas is the same as when I was six.

Retirement? Hah!!! About a year ago the people in Program Bureau asked me if I would take over the SOUNDS OF FREEDOM when I retired and get them ready for the coming Bi-Centennial year and their big tour of the United States next summer. I thought it would be interesting and not take too much time, but I’ve never worked so hard in my life. At first it was difficult since they have changed so much from when I had them before, but we are gradually making progress and hope to have a ‘hum-dinger’ of a show for the tours next year. And when the summer tour is over, I am going to try real retirement and get to my writing and all the other things I have planned to do.

Speaking of retirement brings memories of all that happened at that time. It would take gapes to give the entire story so I’ll make it brief. I firmly told the University that I did not want the usual retirement reception and that if they had one I wouldn’t show up. I just wanted to ‘quietly fold my tents like the Arabs and silently steal away.’ However, a week before my last official day, I was invited to a luncheon supposedly to give in-put on training programs. Something sounded fishy so I wasn’t surprised when they ushered me into a banquet room and there sat all my family, people I had worked with in years past, a group of singers who had gone on various tours with me, and all those I was working with presently. It was hilarious. The luncheon was delicious and there were speakers who worked up something ‘good’ about me from the recesses of their memories, and then the group entertained for a half hour. At the end I was presented with a beautiful silver punch bowl and tray, and also a lovely white soup tureen I had admired a few before at ZCMI. It was a very nice thing for the University to do and I appreciated it, in spite of all my protestations.

My family was here because for six months before I had planned my own retirement ‘bash’ with my family as sort of a reunion, in a beautiful mountain home above Sundance which I rented. We were to go up on Friday morning and I had to run an errand and when I returned home, here was a large banner across the front of my house saying, HAPPY RETIREMENT MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER. And the fun began.

But I’m ahead of my story. I should tell you that my daughter, Joan, and two of her boys came up and went to Summer school; the boys to a special school and Joan at the Y. She almost didn’t come at the last minute because a romance was blossoming in her life, but both of them felt she should go ahead with her plans. But, they soon found that being separated was painful and the phone bills staggering. So they decided to get married in August and I suggested that while the whole family was here, they could get married at the cabin on Saturday if they wished. This they decided to do, so wedding plans were going on along with my retirement celebration.

The night before going to the mountains, it was wall to wall beds at my house since there were 27 people here, but it was fun. By noon Friday, we were at the mountains and Steve even made it up in his motor-home, in which he had brought all the items needed for the wedding supper. Since he is in the catering business, he took over that part of the wedding.

Friday night I began to suspect that something was happening that I wasn’t in on because I was barred from certain rooms and I could hear whisperings and singing rehearsals, etc. Well, that night after dinner they sat me in a big chair in front of the fireplace and they put on a program to end all programs. I laughed until I hurt. All the family was in on the high jinks and there were songs with appropriate words, funny gifts, beautiful gifts, pictures drawn by Linda rolled down from the balcony at appropriate spots. Linda wrote an original song which they all sang, and it general it was quite an evening.

Saturday we all hiked to the falls up behind Timpanogos and suddenly it was 1 p.m. and we hadn’t done a thing to prepare for the wedding at 5 p.m. So we tromped back quick and all pitched in and by five p.m., the living room was beautifully decorated, the house was clean and we were ready. Meantime, Steve and Rich, Linda’s husband, had been busy all morning cooking and trimming the tables, etc. My granddaughter, Kathy, decorated the white frosted sheet cake with real flowers, the tables had fancy skirts and everything was lovely. My stake president came up and married them and it was a lovely wedding there in the mountains with Timp in the background and the hills covered with pines and shrubs. We had invited 45 people but it ended up that 65 came, but there was plenty of food and we had a great time.

The rest of the time at the cabin was spent in just visiting and relaxing. Monday morning we packed up and came back to Provo and soon all the family were gone except for Kent, my oldest grandson, who is attending the Y, and Steve and Cheryl left their Jana with me. The house would have been terribly empty if they hadn’t been there, but as it was I didn’t have time to get lonely because I continued to have company and in the midst of everything else Jana got the mumps, so Cheryl and the two little girls came back up to be with her. You can see that it was a rather hectic summer and this had continued right on until the present.

However, I do have my mornings free and I am enjoying this and have begun to do some things to the house which it has needed for years and which I could always put off with the thought that ’I can do it when I retire.’

Other than all the above my year was pretty much more of the same…never hum-drum, but nothing very out of the ordinary happened. Linda and Rich are still in Cedar Rapids and doing well. They miss Kent, but are glad that he is enjoying school here. Joan and Dick, her new husband, are very happy and in love and considering her many years of unhappiness before, it is a joy to see the two of them so thoughtful of each other and enjoying their life together. Dick has five boys (only two at home) so with her three this makes five. They have quite a house full. I was in California for Thanksgiving with all of my family and was so pleased to see how the problem boys in the two families have settled down and except for occasional outbursts, they are doing fine.

Marilyn and Chris are still in the throes of trying to get their home remodeled and not making too much headway, but things seem to be looking up in that direction and their children are all doing well in school and Church and that is a great satisfaction to them. Their son, Doug, as the lead in Amahl and the Night Visitors in a community production and is having a great experience. Kathy’s Arcadia High band wins the sweepstakes awards for their school wherever they march. Julie and Mark continue to have good experiences in school also.

Steve and Cheryl and three daughters are doing well. Steve finally decided to drop plans for moving to Utah and opened his own catering company in one part of a building he is buying in Arcadia. He calls his business THE BASHFUL BUTLER and so far he is doing very well.

At least two of my families are coming for Christmas so we will have the house running over and that is the way I like it. Everyone is well and that is something to be thankful for. At this Christmas season, I am thankful for so many things. My lifestyle is changing but is still rich with blessings and full of challenges. I’m still refinishing antiques, and plan to dog for antique bottles, and for opals in Idaho, as well as take some exciting trips.

I think of all of you often and wish we could sit down for a good visit. I hope each of you have Holidays that are a time of rejoicing and happiness. Love, Klea