Christmas, 1997
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Christmas, 1997

Dear Family & Friends


As 1997 careens to a close for the Franklin family, they find themselves writing this while Taylor, their pink Barbie nightmare, thunders across the floor of the local dance studio. Parents blinded by too many Disney movies could call this tap ballet. The Franklins say, add skates and it's a dead ringer for roller derby.


Yes, it's been an athletic year for the Franklins. Joe ushered in 1997 with a visit to the local Urgent Care Center for a broken wrist. This injury was sustained through self-congratulatory high-fives and beer tab opening at his year-end neighborhood "Geezer League" basketball game.


Both Jimmy and Taylor played soccer this fall. This year, Jimmy actually figured out the game but decided it was much more fun to kick his opponents in the shins. Taylor's team inadvertently won a game when they kicked a ball out of the path of an oncoming butterfly and into the opposing team's goal. The losing goalie burst into tears, her teammates burst into tears and then Taylor's team felt so badly that they burst into tears. Sensitive stuff, this game of soccer.


However, our hearts go out to Jimmy. Now 6, he has adopted his father's favorite sport and now plays in the Manhattan Beach junior basketball league. The poor kid doesn't stand a chance- Joe is his coach. Like all those sacred things that are handed down from father to son, generation to generation (like breaking wind and belching), Jimmy is learning all the basics: elbowing your opponent, adjusting your shorts and popping the tab on a tall, cold, frosty one for your father.


Both children are enjoying school. Jimmy is in Kindergarten and Taylor in the Pre-Elementary Preparation (PEP) program. Why, the school year wasn't more than 2 weeks old when Joe and Nancy found themselves sitting in those little, itty, bitty chairs while Jimmy's teacher droned on about the importance of self-control. Taylor, on the other hand, runs her class and has only held her teacher hostage once demanding fewer raisins and more chocolate at snack time.


Joe and Nancy have enjoyed watching both kids pass some growth milestones. This October, Jimmy had lost most of his front teeth. The Franklins thought about sticking a flashlight in his ear and putting him on the porch for Halloween. But they settled for the more traditional pumpkin Jack-O-Lantern.


And, speaking of traditions, the Franklin Family held their annual family reunion in Indiana this spring. What could be more touching and strengthening than flying your pre-schoolers1500 miles across the country in the equivalent of a cigar tube to listen to show tunes played on an accordion at 2am? With the matching t-shirts they all got to wear, it was like the Von Trapp Family-on-Acid reunion.


But this Christmas letter cannot go forth into the great void without describing the Franklin’s summer vacation in Seattle. Imagine their surprise when Joe decided to rent a "recreational vehicle" to tour some Washington State beaches. Why, with his union label t-shirt and "America, Love It or Leave It" baseball cap, one could almost hear those country tunes. And there's nothing that quite describes the intimacy of 7 people (including Nancy's sister and her two kids), 6 large bags of chips, sodas, cookies and other assorted snack items together for three, fun-filled days of "roughing it". The Franklins wish to thank their wonderful friends, The Rengstorfs, for providing real, flushing toilets, toilet paper, showers, a hot meal and sanity when the Franklins "recreated" into their driveway one afternoon.


But what newsletter would be complete without the career updates? Joe, in a remarkable display of responsibility, not only managed to stay at the same job, but developed two entrepreneurial side businesses, as well. Of course, none of these interfere with his regular 15 foot commute, naps and coffee klatches with the neighbors.


Nancy, on the other hand, continues to claw her way up the corporate ladder. After last year's job change, Nancy had just enough visibility to get herself launched to a regional position. Now, instead of one hospital, she supervises the marketing and communications for 35 hospitals in Southern California. This is not unlike running a daycare center. And, having medicated herself through 2 preschoolers, with just a simple increase in her medication schedule, she should be able to handle this, too!


So, as the Franklins look forward to another Christmas, and Nancy's personal nurse brings her scheduled medication ("Nurse!"), we give thanks for our mental health, which becomes more important to us each day; for our mortgage, which continues to give us a reason to get up in the morning; to our creditors, to whom, apparently, we will always remain in debt. And, of course, we are thankful for you, our family and friends, who continue to put up with us and let us invade your home with these obnoxious missives each year!


Happy Holidays! And may you have joy, health and happiness in 1998!




Joe, Nancy, Jimmy & Taylor Franklin


PS. Here are the Franklins cavorting with the sea lions in San Diego last spring. They just beach themselves in La Jolla (they know good real estate) and let us mere mortals make fools of ourselves taking pictures with them. Thanks to Wayne and Lynn  (and the wenches) for the photo and good company!


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