Christmas Letter 1976

Dear friends and Relatives:

This year my Christmas Greetings have a deeper meaning because of my latest ‘adventure.’ I wish I had time to write you about it in detail, and I wish that all of you could have enough leisure to read all about it. But, since neither is the case I’ll try to be brief.

I should brief you on what happened to me up to that point which is another exciting story for me. From last year’s letter, you know that after having officially retired on September 1, 1975, I proceeded to go back for a year to take over the SOUNDS OF FREEDOM singing group for their big Bi-Centennial year of shows, tours, and an exciting TV show. It turned out to be one of the busiest years of my life, but after hours of rehearsal, many more hours spent in planning and writing the script, we put the Bi-Centennial show together. In March we traveled to the Northwest and Canada, they the day school was over in April we left for a week’s tour of the San Francisco area. All the time we were honing the show down, adding numbers and deleting other, and constantly working to improve it. We did a show in the deJong Concert Hall shortly before we left on our tour in June and many of the Administration who were present said that it was the best show ever to go out of BYU. If I take credit for this I shouldn’t because 35 dedicated singers, technical, costume, narration and light people all worked their heads off to make it what it was. We had a narrator who was extraordinary, to say the least, and along with the other talent, we had a show, which didn’t entirely satisfy my perfectionist heart, but was still a satisfying one.

On July 21 we left for our Easter, mid-western and finally western tour. It was a great experience being on a bus with 35 talented, occasionally sick, spiritual, temperamental, crabby, happy….well, you name it. The students experienced it during the tour. But, the show was a smash hit everywhere. When we returned in August, I cleared out my desk and finally said a final farewell to being employed at BYU. Was I sad? Well, a little. Have I mourned the loss of my busy days…? NOT FOR AN INSTANT!! I’m having a ball away from the pressure. Oh, of course, I miss the students, and many of the joys of working with them, but I don’t miss the deadline, the problems, or the constant pressures.

But for 1976, the best was yet to come. Toward the end of September I went to California to visit my three families and sister there. Spent an enjoyable week during which my grandson, Douglas Christensen (Marilyn’s son) received his Eagle Scout award while a proud grandma looked on. Then there were only a few days left in Provo before Homecoming and the SOUNDS OF FREEDOM (members up unto 1970) reunion at Timp Lodge. This was a great occasion and we had a large group of former Sounds member, and tears and laughter and a general good time together.

A little over a week after that weekend, Donna and I met in Salt Lake at the airport. On October 23, along with my sister Donna, and 599 other people, we embarked on a BYU Mediterranean Cruise that will probably never be forgotten by any of the participants. Along with hundreds of others, we boarded a 747 and headed for Athens, Greece. We arrived early Sunday morning and part of us sped to the train station led by Dr. Richard Gunn, one of the tour directors, and headed for Athens. We spent hours at the foot of the Acropolis and Mars Hill at the many ruins of the Agora. The former places were left for the official tour on our last day of the cruise. Then back to the S. S. Atlas and about 11:00 p.m. that night we sailed. We were on the ship each night thereafter, but arose early, ate breakfast, waited for our bus to be called and were off for a wonderful day of sightseeing. We visited many of the Grecian Isles, spent a day in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, where we went to the museum and saw among hundreds of other things, all the artifacts from King Tut’s tomb. We visited the pyramids, rode a camel up the hill to the two largest and saw the Sphinx which is down in a swale.

(Marilyn: page two was missing. Page two told about the Holy Land. The following is page three.)

Speaking of families, mine are doing well. While in California, I had the privilege of going to the L.A. Temple with all my family and their partners one evening (except for Linda in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.) Then the Saturday after Thanksgiving we all went with Joan and Dick to the temple for their sealing and this was a choice experience. She is expecting a baby in January, so we were happy that they could be sealed before the baby is born.

Steve and Cheryl are doing very well with his catering business and Cheryl is also expecting…at the moment terrible nauseated. She lost a pregnancy at about four or five months last Spring, so we are praying that she can carry this one safely. Their three little girls are a joy, as usual.

Marilyn and Chris are finally getting their home remodeled. It has been a long, slow process, but things are moving on at last. Their four children are growing u fast, but achieving in various areas.

Next year, Linda and Rich and their children are going to England and spend his sabbatical year

there so this is a good excuse for me to plan a trip to Europe. Rich continues to do outstanding work with the symphony and at their last concert; they performed a composition entitled ‘Triptych’ which Linda wrote and which the visiting soprano sang, based on the Psalms of David. Their two oldest sons are in college…Kent at Iowa State and Steve here at the Y.

I had hoped to confine this epistle to one page, but as you can see I haven’t succeeded. This next year will be one of writing, refinishing furniture, a few short trips, and in general taking it pretty easy for me, so perhaps next year my chronicle of events will be shorter and pretty dull. (Goodness, I hope not!

This Christmas season finds me blessed as usual; a home, good health, a loving family, and the blessing of living in this wonderful land, in spite of all our problems. My testimony has been strengthened and I am thankful for the Gospel and all the joy it brings in trying to live it.

May your Holiday Season be a blessed one. With love, always, Klea