(Thanks to Joe for transcribing these. Once their brood began to grow up and start their own households, Eileen and Francis started a round-robin letter which eventually turned into a newsletter, first on paper, then on the web. Below are Mark's contributions for the last half of his life.)
(See also Mark's letters as a teenage exchange student in France)
last updated on 12/01/98
1991 -- Mark's list of those
who helped at the
Letter -- with
Nothing new in Washington but a pollution alert. And we've got that every week anyhow.
Tourmobile is busier than before. Each day we break a record. Today more than 7000 people rode in the Mall Tour only ! There were about 5600 in the tour through Arlington National Cemetery. It says something about our service that we can put that many people in our buses with few complaints.
Started out the summer by going to the beach every weekend. It lasted just two weekends, but I got a little summer tan. Went to Rebobaden Beach, Delaware, just about three hours from here.
Have been visited right regular by everyone else's relatives. But no Schmitts! Alas... There's lots of room here, especially for my relatives.
I would like to remind everyone that I moved last October to 148 11th Street S.E., Washington, DC, 20003. Same phone: 202-546-6711.
Maybe something exciting will happen by next time.
Christmas has officially begun here in Washington -- Richard M. Nixon lighted the National Christmas Tree this afternoon. Only one star (on top) is lighted this year because of the energy crisis.
I'm almost ready for the holidays. Have been picking up gifts all during the year. Got some things in New York, some in San Francisco, and even a few in Washington.
That was the lead-in for my vacation story. I spent eight days in California at the beginning of November. Flew to San Francisco for six days with a friend who used to live in Washington. Did all the usual tourist things -- Fisherman's Wharf, Woods, Berkeley, Oakland, Sausalito, Ghiardelli Square, etc. The day I rode the cable car, all the cars had to go out of service because of some malfunction or another. I had a rent-a-car, to getting around was no problem. Drove down California #1 down San Francisco to Los Angeles. It's a beautiful drive into managed to make it on a sunny day. The Pacific Ocean is so clear blue and green -- really not at all like the Atlantic, which is kind of brown and nasty.
In Los Angeles, I took the tour at universal City Studios, the company which runs Tourmobile. It was interesting to see how they run their tour. Gave me much new perspective about our company.
In L.A. I called Marge Grobel, who is Mrs. Richard Greenwald. I managed to spend the night with them at Huntington Beach, which is south of L.A.. Saw slides of Marge and Dick's wedding, also for Mary and Jim's. And should take note that Marge cooked pasties for dinner. She has her hair cut very short, and is not working. The Greenwalds seem firmly entrenched in the middle-class -- have a nice, big house and beautifully yard. In the yard they have jade trees three feet tall -- and in full bloom. Marge gave me cuttings from everything in her yard, and they have all taken root. Now I have a living memory of Southern California. Was really good to see Marge and Dick -- and they seemed equally glad to see me, a stranger in their midst. Strange all right.
Vacation really did me a lot of good. Has improved my personality a great deal. Would like to vacation every two weeks or so.
Nothing to exciting is going on in the nation's capital -- just for corruption showing up every day. Businesses extra slow at Tourmobile. We have more employees than tourists some days. Business may pickup during the Christmas holidays. I hope so. The energy crisis has really put us in a crunch.
Ran into Jim Bridenstine one day this fall. He bought a house in Reston, Virginia (a "new" town) and worked for the National Portrait Gallery. Something in the educational department.
Sister Doris Wood (Mom's friend) was in town this fall and she gave me a call while she was here. Our signals were crossed, so we never got together.
Am going to save energy by finishing this letter right now.
Love to all,
Since I have had this letter exactly two weeks, I guess I'd better move it or it won't come my way again. Really, this letter is the best idea I've had in years.
Since I last wrote, not too much in the way of excitement has crossed my path. Spent Christmas in G. C. and had a beautiful time -- saw most of the family and several friends -- never enough time while I'm home. Spent new years with friends in Philadelphia and it was great fun. Really is a nice city and everyone who lives their thinks it's the greatest.
Business has nothing to good this year although we then busier than anything for the last 2-3 weeks. People finally are beginning to believe that gasoline is available in the Washington area.
Weather here has been beautiful. Spring has been here for over a month. My house plants have been outdoors for a week or so and my dead fig tree has come back to life. There are tulips and dogwood trees in bloom all over the place.
Received a letter from Judy Bedard over the weekend. She seems to love Australia and has moved twice and bought two new cars and she's been there. She reports that there it is Kmart in Australia. She remains thin -- even sent a photo to confirm the fact.
Happy birthday to Lucy and Paul and everyone else.
Love to all,
[Photo of Bedard into Mazda]
Dear Schmitts, etc.
Guess that I've held up this letter long enough. I figured that since Lucy gets this after me, I would hold it up long enough for her to have something good to tell everybody.
I leave tonight for several days in glorious Garden City. Will be very few days to help with the preparations. Also have to renew lots of old and not so old friendships. Like with Hudson's.
Have stayed right in town almost every weekend since new years. Spent one weekend with friends at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It really is good to get away for a while and they don't even have telephones at the beach houses.
Dale's parents are visiting this week from Garden City. Their other son and his wife Linda live about an hour from here in Virginia. The Hardins said they've done all the sightseeing they want to do, so they look for projects to do when they get here. She has washed all the curtains and ironed them. He bought some real long nails and fixed our original pine floors (installed before the Civil War) so they don't squeak anymore. There have been a lot of repairs made on things I didn't even realize were malfunctioning. It really is kind of nice to have a live-in couple.
Business improved quite a bit during the last several weeks of the summer. We still have not done anywhere near the business we did last year, and everybody knows that is not good for the company. I'm still in the personnel office (in charge, no less), but the personnel office has been phased down in the winter in days gone by so I really am not too sure of too much right now. I may have to polish up my Tourmobile speaking voice. That's always kind of fun, so I guess it's a good thing that I am so flexible.
The girl whose typewriter I'm using just returned from lunch, so I guess that's as good an excuses as any to end this up. I wish I had a garden so I could report on the plight of the tomatoes and squash. I did have a couple of geraniums. Of course my house plants spent the summer out in the backyard and everything is a lot bigger and healthier looking. Even me.
Love to everybody,
It takes so long for the letter to get around the country that I kind of forget most of the juicy tidbits that would like to pass on. We'll see what my old memory can dredge out of the recent past.
I guess everyone knows that Mom and Dad, Alice and Philip were here for the Dental Convention in November. We all had a nice time. Alice and Philip spent one night at the Mutlus, who live about an hour from me. Dad went to meetings all the time, and Mom took it easy (for her) just lounging around the house while Philip and Alice and I did some sightseeing. I couldn't stand the idea of going to the top of Washington Monument again, so they went by themselves. Would be nice if everyone would come to visit. But just for a few days, of course.
I was on the news Monday night. We have extended our Tourmobile route to the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, and I wrote the narration for the tour. When we started the service, there were tons of news people and cameras, so it was decided that I would narrate the first tour. I did, and now have lots of fans in the Washington area, thanks to Channel 4. It really was kind of nice to be a celebrity for a few hours. Now, a local citizen's group has taken legal action against our tour extension, so who knows? I may see the cameras again.
I will be moving in the next few weeks. I have bought a condominium apartment in Southeast Washington, and expect to be comfortably moved in by the first week in March. It's a garden apartment complex built in the '30s, and completely reconditioned. I have a one bedroom apartment, with a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and even a trash compactor. It will be my first experiment in living alone, and I am looking forward to it.
We will all be moving out of our big house on 11th Street. Dale is moving to San Francisco, where he has always wanted to live. We have several friends there, including Pam Salvatore. I don't know just where Melvin, our other roommate, will be goin, but he is a native Washingtonian, and shouldn't have any trouble. Miss Margaret Jones (a.k.a. Andy), our St. Bernard puppy!! will be living with Dale's brother and sister-in-law in Virginia.
Weather here has been most unusual. The same week we had 75 degrees on Tuesday, we had 4 inches of snow on the weekend. That's a lot of snow for Washington. We hadd a field day shoveling snow all around the neightborhood. Took Miss Jones down to Lincoln Park to play in the snow and she was just set free. She loves the cold weather, and especially the snow. Of course we know that she has relatives in the Swiss Alps dispensing brandy alexanders or whatever.
My new address: 2128 Suitland Terrace S.E. #202, Washington, D.C. 20020
I will probably also have a new telephone number, but of course do not know what it is yet. Should anyone want to call me, just call Washington information (202 555 1212) and they'll have any number I can be reached at.
Hope to see some of my siblings this year. I think we may have reached a plateau as far as weddings are concerned, so we will have to make up some other reasons to see each other. Get your minds working.
Love to all,
I am the guilty party this time. Have been extremely distracted of late and haven't been doing anything else on time either.
I am now completely settle in my apartment. In fact it looks like I've been living here for ten years already, it's so comfortable. Living alone has agreed with me. Without roommates, I have been able to lose 25 lbs. in the last three months. I'm involved in the condominium association, so I know most of the neighbors. Nosy as ever.
Really had a busy summer, especially August, which has traditionally been my worst month. This year really took the cake, and you have never met anyone more glad to see Labor Day.
As for traveleing, I haven't done much. Spent a weekend in the Shenandoah Mountains in February. Drove with my friend Mitchell for a weekend in Detroit in June while most of the Schmittss were in the Southwest.
Martha and her friend Robin spent a week with me in the beginning of July. I think they really had a good time. I did too, but you'd better believe it's no picnic being the "mother" of two 16 year old white girls in Washington, D.C. Dick and Pietrina and Joe and Maria and I all had lunch together one day. They were here helping Jim Bridenstine move to Ohio. Dick Greenwald was here in the spring, and we had dinner together and did some sightseeing. Marion Milton was here between planes on her way to Williamsburg in late July, so she took a tour and we had lunch at my apartment. So I haven't managed to lose track of my roots.
There is not really too much of note happening to me these days. I have no garden to report on. Wish I did. My new project is to strip the woodwork in my kitchen and end up with a natural finish. But I am so lazy and have that Gemini tendency to leave a lot of half-finished projects. Perhaps it'll be done by Christmas or Easter.
I don't have my VW anymore. Bought a '73 Toyota Corolla Sport Coupe from a friend. It suits me fine. Another friend gave me a motorcycle which I don't know what to do with. Anyone want it? It's a Honda 175, and I'm perfectly content with being a one car person.
I plan to be in California in October some time. You never saw a person readier for a vacation than I am right now. I hope the earthquakes don't occur while I'm out there.
Sorry I kept this so long. For the record, if anyone is keeping it, my telephone number is 202 575 0786.
Hello to All--
For my birthday I would like an IBM Selectric just like this. Then perhaps I could get these bundles of joy out of here a little quicker and not have to type them at the office. This time I have an excuse for being one or two days late. I was too sore to type when I got this. I will do everyone a favor and make a long story short: I was hanging wallpaper in the kitchen of my friend Phyllis when I fell off the refrigerator. It was quite a fall, and she still has not had her stove and oven repaired. They were severly damaged when they broke my fall. No broken bones or anything like that, but now I am scared of heights. The next day, as I was suffering (not in silence, I assure you), the letter arrived and brightened my outlook considerably. I thank Anne and Chuck for their flawless timing.
It's been a busy six months since I last wrote. I spent two weeks in San Francisco in October and never had a nicer vacation. The weather was clear and bright every day. I visited the Napa Valley and tasted many wines, visited beaches a long way up the Coast, and got lots of exercise bike-riding and just walking around looking. I stayed with Dale and JR, both former housemates in Washington, and visited with many of my other friends who have relocated "out West". I expect that I will eventually relocate somewhere out there, at least for a few years. The whole idea of living is so totally different from what I see here in the East.
I spent a few days in Garden City over Christmas, and it was one of the nicest Christmases ever for me. Of course I didn't have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do in Detroit, but I never do. Dale flew back to Washington with me on Christmas Day, and Judy Bedard joined us two days later. She was in the States from Australia for the first time in three years. The three of us had a delightful time, and Judy left on New Year's Day, just after Mary Schmitt Masal arrived for her two day visit. Dale left a couple of days after Mary did, and I was more than glad to become a recluse again, at least for a few days. It really was a busy holiday season, but it was a really good time.
One of my resolutions was to travel a bit more than I have in the past. So far, I have managed to spend a weekend in New York City, my first visit there in three years. Last weekend was spent in Williamsburg, Virginia on a shopping expedition (Marion Milton always flies to Williamsburg to buy candles). More weekend trips are in store.
I have been extremely busy at work, especially in the last couple of weeks or so. We are preparing for our spring influx of tourists, and this year promises to be our busiest ever. I have been interviewing and training Narrators like mad. And being very thorough and efficient about it, I might add. For those of you who are taking all those management courses, let me remind you: I have been the Personnel MANAGER for two years now. You should be impressed. I do enjoy my work because I get to boss people around (after I get to choose who will work for us), and because I am expected to know everything that goes on. You all know how nosy I have always been. Finally, it has paid off.
Weather here has been quite strange. All of February was beautiful, with most days in the 65-70 range. This week we had a ton of snow, but now it's all gone.
Alas. The end of the page. Sorry I was so late, but you must admit that I had a viable excuse.
I have had this letter exactly three weeks. I know I am one week overtime, but it really is a lot of work trying to find newsworthy items. I have gone through my diary countless times, but most of that stuff is better left in the book. Everyone else's letters are filled with all this interesting stuff-- most of it just P.R. Or maybe B.S. is more like it. The beauty of this letter is that we can take all the interesting experiences of the last six months and put them on one page. That way, we all sound like fascinating people who stay busy every minute with all these fascinating activities. Well, I know the truth...
August, traditionally my worst month, has been kind to me this year. I have had no major problems at work. It must be because I overhired by a mile. It really has been nice though. The weather for August has been gorgeous-- we had a two week period when we didn't even need the air conditioning. My social life has also been particularly nice this summer. Alas, I think I have reached my prime. I just hope it lasts for awhile.
I took tennis lessons this spring and enjoyed that for awhile, but it really gets too hot here to do much tennis in the summer. I have courts right across the street, so I'd like to get back into that this fall. Am still not too athletic.
Travelwise, I haven't done a lot since I last wrote, but all of it has turned out well. In May, I traveled to Garden City, Michigan for the West High 10 Year Reunion. The whole experience was a delight. Dale somehow worked it so that he and I were in charge of the affair. I was the Emcee. All the people were really nice-- everyone had mellowed so much. It really is amazing how young we all looked. In June I spent a weekend in New York. I saw "The Wiz" which was a really wild experience (it's the all-black musical version of "The Wizard of Oz"). The New York weekend was really nice-- I expect to go up more often. In early July I spent a day or so with the Schmitts at Ocean City, Md. They were staying at the Mutlus' plush condominium apt. on the seventh floor of The Irene-- two bedrooms, two baths, to balconies. Very nice.
Then the Schmitts (Eileen, F.M., Phillip, Alice, and Theresa M.) spent a couple of days in the Nation's Capital. They stayed in a motel just down the street since I don't have a whole lot of room. It was quite fun for dad and the kids who did a lot of sightseeing. Mom spent one day just being dull and relaxing at my apartment, or so I thought. When I got home from work, my kitchen windows had been washed. It was nice to have a live-in maid who does windows.
I planned a couple of Tourmobile parties this summer. One was very fancy, and of course I selected myself to be the Emcee. I also planned Jimmy Bynum's wedding on July 24. It was another first for me. It was a Black wedding-- at least all the principals were Black. I had to make sure the preacher arrived in time, etc., etc. It was a delight. Of course we had a very well mixed guest list. All those Schmitt weddings were good training for me. Jimmy Bynum and Eva thank you. I convinced them to have the wedding and the reception outside. I have had a couple of parties myself this summer, and am getting right back into the swing of entertaining.
I wish I could say I've been busy like everyone else-- singing with the band, refinishing furniture, exploring ruins, taking workshops in Nuclear Power-- but I've mostly been just taking it easy. Visiting friends, relaxing, being dull... I enjoy it. I'm glad that I have the time and the resources to be able to take it easy. I am also thankful for the training in laziness I have managed to pick up along the way.
I wish everyone the best of luck with their problems. At least you can take me off your worry list for the time being. To the best of my knowledge, I am happy and have no insurmountable problems. I hope to see everyone at Christmas-- I already have my reservations in.
Love to all,
I have made a big change in my life. Friday is my last day with Tourmobile. I decided early in January that I had put enough time (more than 5 years) in here. Some of the little things were starting to get to me, so I decided that it would be good to leave while I still have so many good feelings about the people and the place. I submitted my resignation on January 12, so they had almost a month's notice. Eileen Andary (who was my training assistant) was selected to take my place, so I know that the job will be done by someone who is right for it. Tom Mack, the boss, has asked me several times to reconsider, which is nice to hear, but he is really the main reason I'm going. Perhaps he began to appreciate my many talents just a little too late. Anyhow, I have done it. The big "Farewell Party" is Thursday evening, and promises to be quite an event.
I have learned a lot of nice things about myself since I announced my resignation. All the people I've worked with over the past years are learning about it through the grapevine, and then calling me and wishing me well. I suppose it must be nice to be modest, but it really is nice to know that people think a lot of me. Good for the soul.
I have no immediate plans. I am just going to rest for a little while, and keep my eyes open for another job that I will really enjoy. The training and experience I have received at Tourmobile have certainly increased my skills, and I am very employable. But I'm not going to rush things. I really would like to take a few months off. I haven't had more than two weeks off in about 7 years. Your hearts bleed, I'm sure.
I forgot to mention that I have made my training skills available to Tourmobile for Cherry Blossom and summer training of Narrators. And they were quick to take me up on the offer. So now you can call me your son, the consultant. If it sounds strange that I would quit my job, and then want to do it on a consulting basis, it really isn't. Training was my favorite part of my job, and this way I only get to do the best parts. Someone else gets to do the less enjoyable parts. Perfect.
Otherwise, things are going very smoothly for me. I got a new hide-a-bed sofa this month, so I am welcoming overnight guests again. I will have time to exercise and read and catch up on all my projects. Till I get bored, that is.
Will write more when I have more leisure time. Just wanted to let you know about this before you heard some other way. You know how Dad used to say, "Your parents are always the last to know". Now you know.
Perhaps I'll see you soon.
My big news this time is that I am pleasantly unemployed. My last day at Tourmobile was Feb 4. A lot of thought went into the decision, and I eventually did what I thought was best for me. I had no regrets until this very moment, when I pulled this little old unelectric typewriter off the shelf. Ah, yes. I will miss the office. Pushing so hard on the $&#* keys only aggravates the arthritis.
I am still maintaining communication with Tourmobile, and will serve as "Training Consultant" for the spring and summer training classes. Narrator training was always my favorite part of the job, so I am looking forward to it, and don't mind at all not being bothered with the more mundane details of a full-time "position". I am in no big rush to go back to work, but am staying alert for any interesting possibilities. I was given not one but two going-away parties, and it was a real ego trip.
These days I am just enjoying myself-- staying out late, sleeping past noon, reading numerous books and magazines from cover to cover in one sitting, and just being generally lazy. I have made some half-hearted starts at some much-needed projects like painting and home repairs, but it will be some time before any of that gets into high gear. I am also busily deciding where to go on my travels and when. This might be the year when you all will see too much of me.
I spent two weeks in San Francisco in October, and it was a most delightful time. I expect to spend several weeks there in the spring if I can the the $$ orgainized. Not having a regular paycheck is a rather unnerving thing to adjust to, but I think I will manage after a fashion. It's important to remember that you will never have time and money simultaneously, so we must try to enjoy whichever commodity is available at the present. I love having the time. I had just adjusted to having the money, and in the last three or four months bought a new sofa (hide-a-bed, from W&J Sloane yet), a stereo, coffee table, a vacation in SF, and Christmas in Michigan. Paid cash for all those treats, which is quite a novelty for me. I am still paying off charge accounts for God-knows-what(?), and if anyone ever needs a lecture about the evils of credit, please call (202) 575 0786.
Christmas in Garden City was delightful as always. Dale and I gave a party for Judy Bedard on the 26th, since she missed the 10 year high school reunion. Dull party, but it's always nice to have an excuse to get together. She's back in Australia now.
I believe I'm at the end of the page. Now I'll sign off and go soak my fingers in epsom salts. Typing is some chore without the proper equipment. I'll be seeing everyone soon, I hope.
P.S.: Don't compare dates. I rec'd this 2/3/77.
My big news is this typewriter. It's an Olivetti Underwood Editor 2, for those of us who are into brand names. I traded it to Tourmobile for my OLD Zenight record player, which I convinced them they would need to own since they wouldn't be able to borrow it any more. So a little BS goes a long way, and I have an electric typewriter. I do much better letters on this one than on that old miniature portable, and these keys are much easier on the old fingers.
Old fingers! I turned 29 on June 4, and was not delighted by it. I thought it wasn't supposed to hit you til you're 30. I reviewed my life and all that, and was not real pleased with myself. For awhile, that is. It took a day or so, but I realized how many positive things are in my favor. So, I got over that crisis, and am more well-adjusted than ever. Til my next birthday, anyhow.
So what have I been doing with myself? Quite a bit, not a great deal-- it all depends on how you look at it. I have reacquainted myself with the D.C. Public Library, and accept magazine donations from generous friends. I've reread many of the items in my own collection. I get to read for as long as I want-- even all day if I feel like it, and sometimes I do. I can also lay around and listen to records as long as I want to, and actually have the luxury of just listening to music and not have to do anything else at the same time. I read the whole newspaper every day, and enjoy the whole thing. I visit friends. I chat on the phone for hours. I go shopping (the window variety). Mostly I just do whatever I feel like doing, whenever I want. Which is why all projects here in the apartment remain in my imagination.
Travel News: I spent a week in New York City in April. It was nice to get back to the big city and have enough time to just walk around all day if I wanted to. Also, New York is the bargain-hunting shopper's paradise, and I managed to pick up several fabulous bargains. If only I could just say "thank you" when someone says "nice shirt". Instead I say "Alexander's, $3.99". How immature! But I just want people to know that they, too, can get these things. Hopeless...
I spent almost a week in Garden City in early May, just visiting, getting my teeth cleaned, and puttering around in the yard. It was nice and relaxing, and rich with new experiences. Like attending Maria's First Communion Party. And eating Alice's whole wheat bread fresh from the oven. And listening to Grandma's "oral history". Very nice trip-- I drove my '73 Toyota, and got 30 miles to the gallon on the highway. And I came back with a carful of goodies, including two loaves of fresh-baked bread. I won't mention all my other prizes... I don't want to start any sibling rivalry.
I acted as "Training Consultant" for Tourmobile for three two-week periods, and just finished the last class on June 10th. Now I am free at last, and am in the process of planning my "big trip". I'm not sure just what is going to be included yet, but I hope to do as much of the West as my meager allowance will cover. So what I'm saying is that if I don't show up on your doorstep, I'll send you a postcard.
Anne was here for several days in March, and Paul and Cindy were here a couple of days in April. Both were nice visits, although too short. It really is nice to have "family company".
I had not intended to go on past the bottom of the page, but I hadn't finished yet. Is there a rule about more than one page?
I have a new hobby. Sewing. Can you live??!! It must be 'in the blood' as they say. The only thing I sew is pillows, and I do a fine job on them. My specialty is personalized pillows for gifts. I zig-zag the person's name or initials across the front of the pillow in some contrasting color. Then do the cording to match the letters. Very personal. Very handmade looking. Very cheap to do, especially for wedding and birthday presents. And very well appreciated by the recipient (use i before e, except after c... how did that word manage to slip through Sister Carmel?). All these little treasures are produced with the help of my Singer sewing machine, purchased by Eileen Schmitt for $15 at a garage sale several years ago. Apparently I am not yet an expert on the machine, since the repairman called me indignantly on the phone and asked "Who's been playing with this machine?" I explained that I had only 'adjusted' it myself. The man almost died. The repair bill was $34.50, but the machine works like a dream now. So the repairs were my birthday present to myself. I planned to use that excuse when I buy my camera-- guess I'll have to think of some other creative excuse. Oh. To get back on the track, that whole long paragraph was to warn you all to expect pillows for Christmas.
Enough, enough. The letter took only four months to return to me, so I make haste. As always, it arrived just when desperately needed. I arrived home from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware last night with a horrendous sunburn, and was not looking forward to the evening of rubbing on lotions. There it was. So if this speed continues, we'll get it three times a year. Oh! Out of Room!! Bye bye!!
Since I've had this letter almost three weeks without a good excuse, I thought I had better get at it. This typewriter has been getting a real workout with resumes and letters begging employers to hire me. I am finally looking in earnest for a high-paying job, and it is quite a chore. I'm sure I will have good news the next time the letter comes my way.
Since I last wrote, I have got quite a bit done, both travelwise and projectwise. I have yet to become bored with not working, but economic considerations are forcing me to give up my "life of leisure". The bank is beginning to insist that I make deposits to cover my checks and other withdrawals. VISA (formerly BankAmericard, formerly Michigan Bankard) also wants a little something each month. You all know the story, I'm sure. Event the mortgage company expects to get a check on the 5th of each month. Thank goodness my car is paid for and still performing well.
I spent a weekend in late June in the Philadelphia area (actually Norristown, Pa) when I was an usher in another Tourmobile wedding. I spent most of the time visiting friends in Philadelphia, and it was a real Italian wedding, similar to Dick and Pietrina's ten years ago.
I took my "big trip" out west in August and returned in mid-September. I was gone five weeks, most of which were spent in San Francisco. The weather was lovely although quite dry, and I had a great time. Dale finally moved into a fabulous place with a view of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. It even has a sundeck on the roof. I had my own room (the den-guest room), and went about my own business as I pleased. We took a weekend trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe which was also delightful. Dale planned the trip to coincide with a rodeo in Reno. He has gone "Western" in a big way, but you know Dale. I enjoyed the slot machines and other gambling much more than the rodeo, but it was all fun. Lake Tahoe is as clear and blue as the postcards show, although it is quite built up and getting worse. I had planned to get to Seattle and San Diego, but never did get that far from SF. Those places are not as close together as I had led myself to believe. The whole "vacation" was really great, and it was nice not to have to rush back to work when I got back home.
I've put in about 100 feet of shelving since June, and still have more junk to deal with. Shelves line an entire wall in the bedroom, and half a wall in the kitchen. All cupboards and closets are still full (bulging). Perhaps I should have been raised in a family that throws things out, but I'm afraid it's too late for that. Now I am trying to figure some way to cut a hole in the ceiling, so that I can take advantage of the attic space above my apartment.
I am including a photo of one of my sewing projects. It's my friend Mitchell's sofa, most of which had been eaten by Scarlett, the Irish Setter. All pillows were made by me, and I was quite proud of it. I have already started sewing for Christmas, so beware.
I finally got my camera in September. Guess I'd better turn the page, eh?
It's a Canon FTb, just like Dick and Tom both have. I got a telephoto lens and other equipment with it, but have not yet become comfortable with all that stuff. I've taken over 200 pictures already, and am pleased with most of them. I am learning, and will have camera in hand next time you-all see me. Beware!
In September I was elected to the Board of Directors of my condominium group. I am the secretary, and the whole experience is a real eye-opener. I have already attended an average of two meetings a week. I haven't met so often since the West High "float meetings", and believe me, those were a lot more fun. But this really is an educational experience. I am learning a lot, and getting to know more neighbors.
I gained ten pounds I didn't need while I was in San Francisco, so I am on a severe diet. Again... the story of my life, I guess. I hope to be back at my goal (165 lbs) by Christmas, but that's a tall order. If only I could grow 4 inches (vertically), my weight would be in perfect proportion.
Guess I'll get this off. In the meantime, don't worry about me. I renewed my Tour Guide license and hope to do some freelancing while I look for the right job. And I still have some money left, although not much. These months off have been marvelous for my mind and personality, so there is some profit in idleness. Enough philosophy. I love you all. See you at Christmas.
The big news this time around is that I am gainfully employed with the DC Government. I work for the Dept. of Finance and Revenue in the Assessment Administration office. Our office handles all real estate assessment and property tax matters. The work is quite interesting, and I am gaining a great deal of practical knowledge. The boss (who is my neighbor) brought me in on a temporary (4 months) appointment. He has since told me that he is very pleased with my performance, and he is in the process of creating a "permanent" job (more $$$) for me. So I am satisfied with the outlook for the near future.
My job is right downtown on Pennsylvania Avenue, right across from the National Gallery of Art. I use public transportation (buses) to get to and from work. My car often sits at home for three or four days at a time. It seems to have adjusted quite well to neglect, and I enjoy the bus ride, at least in the morning. I'm up at 6, out the door by 7:10, and in the office by 8 AM. It's quite an adjustment for a confirmed late sleeper, but the work is quite enjoyable so I have adjusted readily. The department stores, liquor stores, museums, main library, etc., are all just a few blocks away, so my lunch hours are filled with errands. I'm starting to feel "urban" again. The next time this letter comes my way, I expect I'll have a real title to impress you-all with. In the meantime, I'm happy to be working again.
My new boss has graciously consented to give me time off so that I can do narrator training for Tourmobile in June. I plan to do four weeks of training. It's something I enjoy doing, and Tourmobile pays me quite well as a consultant. So things seem to be working out very nicely, thanks.
Travelwise, 1978 doesn't look like much for me. I started the new year off in Philadelphia with Dale, but travel funds are low on the budget this year. Maybe a quick trip to New York...
I'm still active on my condominium's board of directors, and get to print the newsletter (the Fairfax Tattler) once a month. Projects in the apartment still get put off due to lack of funds, energy, or interest-- although I did paint my bedroom red in April. I'm still learning my camera and taking lots of pictures. My social life is very active, and I'm enjoying life.
My big event for 1978 is my 30th birthday, which is fast approaching (June 4). I find that I'm looking forward to being 30, although that may be sour grapes. I feel more in control of my life, and more and more content that I can and do pretty much as I please.
I have always been proud to be a Schmitt, but never more so than at the time of Anne's funeral. The behavior and attitudes of family and friends of the family has strengthened my character and my respect for all of you. We really are lucky to have such a large and strong family, and I think that Anne's death will bring us closer together.
Love to all,
I confess. I am the guilty party this time. I have had this letter two months and I humbly apologize. I am also loaded with reasons. The last two months have been extremely hectic for me. I did a month of narrator training for Tourmobile from mid-March to mid-April, then drove across country in a drive-away car which didn't make it all the way. I was back in California for a week when I had to fly back to Washington for the funeral of a close friend who was killed in a tragic elevator accident. The day after the funeral, I had to fly to Dallas to work a convention. Now I'm back in DC preparing for another month or six weeks of narrator training.
I guess all of you know about my new job by now. I started working in August for ICS International Travel in San Francisco. ICS stands for Incentives, Conventions, Seminars. We run mostly incentive programs for various companies (Shaklee, Avon, Ford Motor Co., ad infinitum). People attending these programs are being rewarded for their good job performance-- top sales, etc. They are not paying for anything, so they are in a pretty good frame of mind for these programs. My job is with the "road crew" which runs the programs, most of the time on the road. Since starting in August, I have been on a Carribean cruise, three trips to Hawaii, one to New York City, and several smaller programs in such locales as Kansas City, Wilmington, Chicago, and of course San Francisco. The work is somewhat seasonal-- very heavy from late summer to late fall, and not particularly lucrative. So I supplement my meager income by flying East to do the Tourmobile training. My particular job with ICS is the ground transportation. When I am working on a program, I meet participants at the airport and put them into their transportation-- Deluxe motorcoaches (buses), taxis, or limosines, depending on the budget of our client. Of course it's more pleasant to work with a larger budget, and I rather enjoy helping them spend their money. We also work with the hotels, the airlines, and so on. The work is challenging-- we are expected to solve the numerous crises that occur, and every day is something new. I run around in a three piece suit and look like I own the place-- wherever we are, so it really is enjoyable work. The experience is valuable, and who knows what I might develop from this?
I am settled in Oakland with Dale, Aaron Jones, and Buster (a 4 year old Basset). We live in a beautiful house in the hills and have a magnificent view of Oakland, San Francisco, the Bay, the bridges, Alcatraz, and just a peek at the ocean. I rented my condominium in Washington to a good friend-- fully furnished. Guests are invited to visit if you can find me there. I will be in DC through June, in Oakland through about mid August, when I go to Vienna and Munich to work. New Address: 31 Asilomar Circle, Oakland, Ca., 94611 (415) 339 9000. And in DC I am staying with Mitchell at the above address [19 East Linden, Alexandria, Va., 22301]. Phone (703) 548 7881.
I suppose this all sounds like all work and no play, but I go for weeks at a time without working so I do have time for myself, which I find quite necessary. Then when it rains it pours. I was able to spend a couple of days with Mary and Jim in Houston after I worked in Dallas last week, and she put me right to work in the back yard. I also spend a few days with the Schmitts in Garden City on my drive across the USA in April. I hope to do some more visiting this year when I have the time. Of course, I won't have the money, but it always works out that way.
I'll sign off for now-- I am supposed to be revising the Narration manual so it can ge to the printer by Tuesday. Once again, forgive my late letter. And lets move this thing FAST.
Love to all,
Hello to Everyone--
Once again, I have held up "the Letter". Sorry, sorry. I returned from a long trip last Monday and have not been near a typewriter since then.
Since my last report in May, things have been going pretty much the same. The convention business went in high gear in early August and still has another month to go. To make matters brief: Mid-August was in Vienna, Austria with a short stop in Munich, and a before and after overnighter in Chicago. September was spent in the Magic Kingdom, both in Anaheim, CA and Orlando, FL. If I never see another Mickey Mouse it will be too soon. October has been somewhat more interesting with a trip to Nassau the first weekk, a couple of days in New York City, and then the finale: 11 days in Norman, Oklahoma. So much for the glamorous travel business. To backtrack, I returned from our nation's capital in early July after two months work (for old faithful Tourmobile). July was spent doing dreary office jobs for ICS in San Francisco.
I am currently preparing for the final trip of my season, a series of small programs for Avon. It looks like I get to spend 4 days in Norwich, Connecticut before going on to Washington, D.C. for a couple of weeks. Then it's off to Garden City, Michigan for Thanksgiving and Mom's birthday with the Schmitts.
This schedule and this type of work seem to suit me just fine. I have officially been a California resident for well over a year, and I like California just fine. My job allows (in fact, forces) me to travel regularly and I have managed to visit Washington four times since relocating. I am now ready to head for Washington once again. I really haven't had a chance to miss my friends since I get to see them quite often in Washington, and many people have come to visit me in CA.
We have a lovely house with a spectacular view in Oakland. There is a guest room which I will happily fill with relatives should any of you be lucky enough to get out this way.
I hope to see as many of you as possible at Thanksgiving in Michigan. I will be staying in California for Christmas this year, for the first time.
Love to All--
This letter seems to be moving briskly once again, and I shan't hold things up. I would like to just take a few lines to re-establish the rules of this letter. I believe that two weeks is the limit that anyone is allowed to keep the letter. As we are all extremely busy (if one is to believe the info one reads), we can all understand how much trouble it takes to get "the letter" out on time. However, if things are so hectic that one cannot find time to add one's page, may I suggest that one send the letter along to the next person, who may be starving for family news. Then, when one's turn comes around the next time, one would have even more interesting items to fill a page. If we maintain a two week limit, the letter will arrive 3 or 4 times a year, rather than the 1 or 2 times it now graces our mailboxes. Enough said?
And now for the news: I am currently enjoying a visit from Paul, who is attending a medical conference in San Francisco. I took the day off Wednesday and we toured the wine country in my new (to me) '76 Fiat red convertible. With the top down, of course. I would welcome visitors, and will be in town until August.
Since I last wrote, I have changed my job status. I am still with the same company (ICS International Travel, Inc.), but I am now in a management position. In January, there was a big management shakeup, and I was one of the replacements in the Field Operations department. I am doing the same type of work, but with more responsibility, and with a steady paycheck. When not traveling with conventions, I report to the office in San Francisco on a daily basis. I have a lot more to do with the preparations for the conventions and am getting to really know the incentive travel business. I like the job and the benefits and am learning a lot.
Since I wrote in October, I spent time in Connecticut (unexciting) and two weeks in Washington, D.C. on an Avon program. I was in Garden City for Thanksgiving. Christmas was spent away from the ancestral home for the first time, and I enjoyed Christmas in California. In February I spent a week in New Orleans (also Avon) and the timing was perfect: I was there for Mardi Gras. In March I traveled to Monte Carlo for another Avon trip, then went directly to Maui, Hawaii, for Howstess (Twinkies, cupcakes, etc.). The last trip was the first I was in complete charge of, and was a real pleasure. I came back with a nice suntan which has already disappeared.
My travel picture for the coming months is not completely set, butI hope to see as many of you as possible real soon.
Personally, I am doing just great. The steady paycheck has improved my disposition and circumstances, although I do miss the large amounts of free time to which I had accustomed myself. C'est la vie.
I expect to get this letter in 14 weeks. That's August 15. Till then...
Hello to All!
After the lecture I gave in my last letter, I should be ashamed to have held up the letter for almost three weeks. However, the letter arrived in my mailbox one day after I left for a two week trip, from which I have just returned.
The most recent two week trip involved two Caribbean cruises on the Paquet Line's S.S. Dolphin. In between the two cruises I spent four days in Miami cultivating a suntan and doing little else. When the second cruise was finished, I was off to Lincolnshire, Illinois to run a sales management meeting for Avon. A very nice easy trip.
In August I was in charge of two big conferences for Avon. Both conferences were comprised of 450-475 people. The first was in Chicago at the Drake Hotel, my first real experience with Chicago, and a very positive one. The second Avon conference was at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, and our local "support staff" included Martha and Philip Schmitt, as well as many other familiar names. Mom and Dad came to see just what my glamourous and exciting career is really all about, and they graciously hosted a staff dinner at 31211 Brown when the conference was over. I spent several days in Garden City recuperating from the exhaustive work schedule, and also doing lots of gardening projects when it wasn't raining.
I am really enjoying my work and all the travel to exciting locations now that I know what I am doing. The job provides lots of variety and I meet lots of people. I get high visibility in the hotels, and am now known as "Mr. Schmitt" all over the country. I don't know how long I will last as the hours are quite demanding, but I am enjoying it while I can. I also don't know how long my company will stay in business, but I think I would not have too much trouble finding work, especially with all the valuable experience I am rapidly gaining.
On the pleasure travel side, our whole office took a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona in early June. The heat there was unbelievable, but we had a good time. Over the 4th of July weekend several of us from the office took a trip to Honolulu, just to lie in the sun and inspect a couple (4) hotels. I am finally getting a few of those much talked-about "travel benefits".
Kathleen and Robert paid me a visit in early July. It was their first trip to California and they had a wonderful time. I had lunch with them one day while I was in Garden City in early September.
I was able to help Dad transfer Grandma from 31211 Brown to Fontbonne Manor in Nazareth while I was home. The place is filled with little old nuns, and Gram should get all the attention she cares to get.
Personally, I am doing fine. I dieted for several months this spring and summer, and am now tipping the scales at about 160 lbs (5 lbs less than my high school weight), so I am looking and feeling pretty good. I have fully adjusted to California and I love it out here.
I don't know my holiday schedule at this point, but I hope to be able to see most everyone sometime soon.
Love to All,
Best not to be too specific on the date [Mark dated it "Autumn 1981"]. Things have really been hopping since I got this letter some weeks ago.
I am currently in New York City working on advance preparations for another Avon program (to be held at the Waldorf-Astoria next week). I will be in NYC for a total of about 4 weeks this trip, the second long trip in just a couple of months. ICS is keeping me busy enough to keep the bills paid, well at least the minimum.
Summer was quite busy. In August I worked the Shaklee Silver Jubillee for Dale in San Francisco. Before that I was in Chicago and Washington, D.C. for Avon, with three weeks in NYC before that. In June I made my first trip to Italy, seeing all the major cities in one week. May brought me to Monte Carlo again.
I have been free-lancing this year, ever since ICS closed the San Francisco office last December (1980). Most of my work has come through ICS in NYC, and I have worked a couple Shaklee programs for Dale. It is nice to be removed from the constant 9 to 5, but it seems I have to work so much harder when I am working, just to protect all that time off I so desperately need.
I am enjoying the work, which does have many advantages such as travel, luxury, never a dull moment, etc. But the work is pretty high-pressure at times, and does require nice vacations in between jobs. And of course the politics get very exciting at times, which happens on every job, I guess.
I have no garden to report on, just the usual house plants, thriving just like their owner on the California sunshine. I really love it out there, and would love to welcome some guests.
I will rush this off, and hope that I am allowed to participate in its rounds next time.
Guess I will see everyone over some of the holidays this fall and winter.
Please note the new information above [1911 South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 550 0514]. Dale and I and Buster (our Basset Hound) have moved from the Oakland Hills to THE CITY. We already miss the old place, but the owners wanted to move back into their house, so there wasn't much we could do to stay. We decided since we had to move, we might as well move into the city and cut down on our mileage and traffic headaches.
We have found a spacious flat (top floor) in a vintage (1885) Victorian house in San Francisco's Mission District. This is a sunny area, if such a place exists in the city. The flat lacks certain things we are accustomed to (such as more than one bathroom, a dishwasher, disposal, numerous decks, etc., etc.), but the location is most convenient for getting around the city and onto the freeways. We have 14 foot ceilings and nice hard floors, two marble fireplaces, etc. All things I can look at while waiting for Dale to get out of the bathroom. There is also a "garden" out in the back of the house which is in severe need of my red clippers, and I can hardly wait. We also have a back porch which can be fixed up with some plants and chairs. So it won't be what we are used to, but it will be comfortable once we it is all pulled together.
We still have room for houseguests on the hide-a-bed in our family room-den. Please give me lots of notice as I already have lots of guests coming in the next several weeks.
I have started working full-time again for ICS International Travel, Inc. They have opened a new office in San Mateo (about 10 minutes below San Francisco airport). It's just like working in Southern California, lots of sun and palm trees and shopping centers and all that. I drive 21 miles each way, the reverse of rush hour traffic. My new work address and phone: 3125 Clearview Way, San Mateo, CA, 94402, (415) 574 3344.
It doesn't look like I will be traveling much at all until mid-October. Then we are operating a huge (5000 persons) program in Honolulu for the Cambridge Diet Plan.
Please remember the new address when mailing checks and letters to me. No more bills, please. I have enough stacked to last for years.
Instead of rehashing my standard letter, I am just reproducing it above. Just put on your corrective lenses to read. [Mark has a reduced standard letter to everyone, which can is under 8/1/1982.]
As you can see, I am back at work again, doing pretty much the same job as before. I am currently recruiting Travel Directors for the huge program in the works. I like the job and the steady paycheck, and who knows what will happen?
I have had visits from Martha and Philip this summer. Martha and I took the Amtrack from Oakland to Seattle and spent a few days with Pam Salvatore before and after visiting Paul and Cindy and seeing all the sights in and around Roslyn. Philip arrived just a few days before we had to move, and he was a tremendous help all the way around.
Early this year I did a lot of free-lance assignments for ICS, and got to Mexico (Cancun) for the first time. I kept fairly busy, but not enough to keep up with the creditors, so it is for the best that I am full time again.
I had a short visit from Kathleen and Robert and their son Douglas, but Aunt Tiny died the night they arrived, so it was a very brief stay.
This is on the way. Hope to see some/all of you soon.
The letter has been returned to me in just seven months, so I will follow the sterling example of those ahead of me and rush this newsy item on its way after only a couple of days of putting it off.
Since I wrote in August, I have been very busy with my job. Two weeks of terror in Hawaii in November was followed by six slow weeks. Then it was Christmas time, and Dale left town for Southern California. Pam Salvatore spent several days with me over the holidays, and I had the full tree and all the other trimmings.
Since the start of the new year, I have been around quite a bit. I managed to do a trip to Chicago the first week of January and was able to get to Garden City to help celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of the folks. A very quick trip, but better than nothing.
I've also done a program down in Atlanta, and one in New York City during the big blizzard in February. Then down to Washington for a couple of days, a trip to short to catch up with all my old friends and possesions.
My big trip to Rio (February 27-March 6) was a lot of hard work, but it was filled with the excitement of that city, which was all we had heard about. Of course, I was working like mad, and not indulging in all the excitement, but it was quite a worth while trip (for Avon, very deluxe). I also spent a couple of days prior to the Rio trip in Fort Lauderdale visiting friends and hoping to get a slight tan (rained every day).
Now I'm back in town for what looks like awhile, but you never know in the travel industry. We are waiting for our biggest client to sign a few contracts, so the future is still uncertain for the next few months. But things will pick up as the economy picks up, and I will be too busy again.
It's good to see that more Schmitts are traveling these days. I still have room for guests, and with Dale traveling almost constantly, I usually have lots of space. It is sort of like a Victorian bed and breakfast. Of course relatives can make their own breakfast.
Weather in California this winter is WET WET WET!!!!! and lots more is promised in the next several weeks. Hopefully any of you planning trips out this way will plan them in a more temperate season (late spring or fall-- rains all summer too!). I still love it out here, and plan to stay until some real sweet offer comes my way, and I am not exactly fending off too many sweet offers these days.
Hope to see you all this year. Let's stay on the right track with THE LETTER and keep in this close touch...
Love to all,
Hello to everyone!
The main news from here is that I am now "free-lancing" once again, having been "laid off" (with six other victims) once again by my former employer, ICS International Travel Inc. They are on another downturn, same old story.
I am enjoying the free-lancing lifestyle again. I have been fairly busy since leaving ICS in late August. Travel Incentives, Inc. has discovered me. I have worked for them a couple of times this fall. I took my first trip through Canada (by air, although we drove two limousines from Seattle to Vancouver on a beautiful sunny day). TII (please remember, initials only for these "incentives houses") has as its major client: Apple Computer, so at least its not diets and health foods or cosmetics for a change. After 5 Canadian cities in 5 days, I headed for Garden City to relax for a few days. Saw lots of family, Tom's pool and ambitious deck, Debbie's Jaguar, etc... I visited Philip at College, had dinner with Greg and Amy. Martha came for the weekend. I even met Philip's girlfriend. So I had to head back here to rest up from all that! Had a couple of weeks off, now am working on a project, then off to Honolulu next week. I am paying the bills (the minimum) trying to keep overhead down. Viva free lance-a!
Prior to my release from full-time employment, I traveled to such locales as Kansas City, Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., and several side trips to Las Vegas! I always like to go someplace new.
Otherwise things are fairly dull around here. Dale is continually traveling, with his job and without. Buster is my devoted companion, man's best friend to the nth degree. Visitors would be welcome. We have a sunny deck and usually an extra bedroom.
Concerning Mom's query about saving these letters (for eventual publication): I have made copies of all letters since August 1976. My version of white-collar crime. The letters are organized, chronologically, in a 3 ring binder, an occupational hazard. I have all my own originals since 1983, making this the ten year anniversary of ***THE LETTER***
Congratulations! I hope to see as many of you as I can as soon as I can. Happy holidays. Keep the letter moving... Anyone wishing to copy old letters and forward them to me for the archives, please do so. I'm sure you will be appalled to hear that I copied the photos too!!!
Love to all...
Dear Mom and Dad:
Well, I have some news for a change! I start a new Job Monday in the Los Angeles area! Yes, I am moving, driving my car down tomorrow. I am just taking clothing and personal necessities, big stuff will come later.
The new job is with Travel Incentives, Inc, 650 Hampshire Road, Westlake Village, CA, 91361, (213) 707 0102. The location is west of Los Angeles, right on the Ventura county line. It's right on Highway 101, which of course goes right back into Los Angeles.
I will be doing pretty much my usual job, handling field operations, staffing, uniforms, advance planning, etc... I will also do a few more "site inspections" where you fly off with the client and hold their hands 24 hours a day inspecting ballrooms, etc. TII is a small concern, about 15 in Westlake Village, 3 or 4 in Sunnyvale (where I worked "on assignment" but didn't really want to work full time in that office). It is extremely busy, with dozens of clients and almost constant programs. I will be extremely busy the first half of 1984 for sure. It is a much quicker pace than I am accustomed to, but I think I can adjust. I know my limits.
TII is owned by twin brothers, about 45, Mike and Phil Moss. I had met Phil several years back on a program in Maui. My dear friend Denise Reseter has worked for them for the past couple of years. She was my connection for "free-lance" with TII, they like my work. So they offered me a job when I was in Hawaii doing the Apple convention with them. I agreed to come down and talk to both brothers at once. We had a lunch interview, agreed to terms, and they wanted me down right away.
I'll be staying at Craig Schaefer's apartment, 859 N June St. #105, Los Angeles, CA, 90038, (213) 467 2424 (he has a message machine).
Craig is in show business and has fortunately (for me!) accepted an assignment for two months in Australia. So I will live comfortably while I hunt for my own small, cheap mansion. Craig's place is in Hollywood, so I will drive my aging Fiat up to Denise's place in Laurel Canyon. It'll be a long commute, but should be fun, we can even discuss business in the car (after we finish Ann Landers, gossip, etc.).
Things have worked out great for me. I have wanted to move down to Los Angeles, the big city, for some time. I got a job without having to go look for one, it came to me. I think I will be happy there.
Dale will be staying in San Francisco for awhile, he gets a huge promotion at Shaklee and gets heavier into production. Also more $$$$. So he stays and I go. He will move out of our big flat, hopefully where he can walk to work downtown.
We are keeping the SF flat through December 31. I hope to fly up for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to pack things up, etc. Since neither one of us knows where we're going, furniture decisions are delayed. I will take some, Dale will take some. He wants me to take almost everything, I want him to keep it all in SF. Same old story. We have enough to furnish two places. Also undecided is the fate of poor Buster, our Basset Hound. He is eight, we've had him for five years! But I will be traveling constantly, at least at first. At least we don't have to decide today.
I'm not sure where I'll end up living, I could either head for the beach or the city. I've got a little time to scout around, am sure I'll find something I like, and can afford.
I'm sure I won't be your way for the upcoming holidays. But this new job will probably get me to your door real soon!!!
Hello and Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Everything is just fine here in sunny Southern California. I am all settled in. It was not difficult to adjust to sunshine every day. It is true that it never rains in Southern California. We've had two days of rain since I arrived last November.
I am firmly settled in at my job as well, in fact it seems like I've been here for years. I am Field Operations Manager at Travel Incentives, Inc. Same old job as usual, recruiting free-lance staff for incentive travel programs. I'm working with a lot of the same people I have been dealing with for the last five or six years. The only unattractive part of the job is the daily commute, 35 miles each way. I occasionally succumb to "freeway fever" and totally miss my exit. However, with the car pool this happens less frequently, since one of us is assigned as navigator, and can be blamed if we somehow go astray.
I am quite settled into my little garden apartment. I am just completing a major project: A flagstone patio just outside my door. I purchased Arizona flagstone @ $.07 a pound, and now have a huge patio, all for about $100.00 in materials. Labor was "free", I did it all myself. These major projects don't move as briskly as they once did (when I was younger). Anyhow, the patio is beautiful, the garden is green, I just reach up and pick fresh lemons off the tree. We also have orange, grapefruit, and avocado trees on the property. And I can lean out the window from my bed and pick fresh strawberries. The rent is cheap, there is parking, etc., and it's 3 blocks to Beverly Hills.
I have a hide-a-bed sofa for guests. Mom & Dad keep threatening to visit. I enjoyed a short visit from Jim Masal this spring. The rest of you are welcome. Just be sure to rent a car. Accomodations are complimentary, transportation is not. There is plenty to do around here, especially for the first-time visitor.
Work has kept me pretty busy, but my traveling has been sharply curtailed. I guess I'm just too valuable to be out of the office for very long. I did a one-week Caribbean Cruise (Apple Computer) in February, in January three cities (also Apple) including Dallas, so I was able to drop in on Mary & Jim, in fact Mary came over to the hotel and helped. Then in April we did a giant (3,500 participants) program in San Francisco (Apple again). Other than those few excursions, and a couple of trips to Hawaii, it has been strictly stay-at-home, which is fine with me.
I will now close and do my part in zooming this letter on its way. Let's try to move it a little faster and spend less time thinking up acceptable reasons for delay. Things are tough all over, especially on the remote relations anxiously awaiting this literary masterpiece. Just to refresh the rules: You get two WEEKS and not two MONTHS to add your piece.
Love to all,
I would like to compliment everyone on the swiftness with which THE LETTER has moved on this most recent issue. Four months is just fine, we should get it three times a year at this rate. This current issue is a sterling example of THE LETTER at its best. Pietrina was expressing contrition for going over one page. The one page restriction is best forgotten. Please continue to report all the news that's fit to print. And if you go onto page two, you might as well fill it up. Also, I'd like to welcome Greg and Amy to the letter. It is unlikely that Amy could be thrown off the letter after writing such a hilarious piece. Humor is always welcome.
My travel routine is still rather slow. In August, I did a small program in Seattle and Victoria, B.C. Following the program, I took a week's vacation, shuttling between Paul, Cindy, and Gideon in Roslyn and Pam Salvatore in Seattle. Have also done programs in Honolulu and San Francisco. Nothing too exciting.
This month marks the completion of one year of living in Lotusland. It's been a good year, I really like it here, particularly the weather. I love my little place in the garden, it's just what I've always wanted.
I'm looking forward to a busy holiday season, with Mom and Dad visiting the week after Thanksgiving. Alice was here this past weekend, and Mary & Jim and Alice will all be here over Christmas. I haven't had Christmas with the family in YEARS.
Alice is just a cheapie airfare away from me in Phoenix, and has been to see me twice already. I hope to see her frequently, I'm sure she will need a break from the world of social work and altruism.
I'll practice what I preach and send this masterpiece on its merry way. I hope to see lots of you in the coming months. Happy Holidays.
Love to All,
I must say I was delighted to get the letter so soon. Medals should be awarded all around. Now let's just keep up the momentum...
I'm just back from a three-city thing for Apple Computer. I did San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Had a good time in San Francisco visiting with old friends (Macy's, etc.). Wound up the program in Seattle, and Paul, Cindy, Gideon, and Morgan all came into Seattle to pick me up. We had a nice room service lunch, and enjoyed the view. Gideon especially enjoyed the monorail, the fire trucks and buses, the planes, and the boats on the Sound. Then I went out to Roslyn for one overnight. The main reason, other than relatives, was to pick up bread sticks at the Cle Elum Bakery. These are outstanding, don't miss this stop if you are visiting these Schmitts.
I also spent one night with Pam Salvatore in Seattle, trimming up her rose bushes before she would allow me to head back to L.A.
Spring is here in Los Angeles. The camellias have just about had it, and the azaleas are just starting to pop. Many of the bulbs I got for Christmas are just about to bloom. It is beautiful. Weather is not really toasty, but it's nice when the sun is shining.
Work is fine, the same old thing. I am not traveling as much as in the past, and that's fine with me. Only easy trips and destinations where I can visit friends and relatives interest me. Of course I hope to visit a few "new" places like Hong Kong in the future, but time will tell.
Had a nice visit from Mom and Dad after Thanksgiving. They will probably have been here again as the letter goes around. It is nice to have them, and I extend my invitation to the rest of you. I can sleep two "guests" comfortably, three in a cramped manner. Now that the weather is nice, we can do a lot of that famous Southern California Outdoor Living. Just be sure and give me plenty of warning, and rent a car. I'm just an hour from Disneyland, and conveniently close to other southland attractions.
We had a nice Christmas in California with Mary and Jim and Alice. I'll offer "no comment" on the Christmas gift exchange dialogue. I'm sure you will all make the right decision. It is comforting to know that this is one of the biggest problems in our family. Count those blessings.
Love to All,
Please don't compare dates, as I am already pleading "guilty as charged", and with no catastrophic explanation. As the one most often reminding others of keeping the letter too long, I certainly do know the rules. So in the interest of saving time, I am attaching the 55 deadly alibi list.
I also flunked the new Christmas gift exchange, and hope to catch up by March. I guess I will remove myself from the 1986 list, and just go back to my old way of doing it.
It sure was nice to see everybody last year, I hope we can do it again this year. It looks like there will be a few occasions. This is my 20th year since high school graduation, and I hope to attend (but not plan) the reunion this year.
Since I left full-time employment last July, I had a nice long rest, then started doing free-lance stuff again in October. I am still dealing with the same clients, just not going through the rigors of that daily grind. I have not done a lot of assignments, but am right now in the midst of a heavy schedule of programs. Just did seven days in San Francisco for seven days with Shaklee. I don't have a lot for the books after that, but the assignments will come, they always do. I'm keeping the overhead low, so I won't have to take just any old thing, and can still spend lots of time lounging around my garden, etc.
I enjoyed quite a number of guests during my leisure months. Not working in the office makes me a better host. Alice even found out that I can cook a couple of things, something she never learned on her many prior visits. She and Martha came while I had a number of other friends in town, and we had quite a ball, taking tours of Hollywood and looking at houses in Beverly Hills. We even went to the zoo! So this might be a good year for visitors, I might even accompany visitors to Disneyland. But, no promises.
Not much other news to report. I still putter in the garden, and when I left on January 23, the oranges, lemons, and grapefruits were ripe and the trees were loaded. Camellias were in bloom, the azaleas were just starting, the daffodils were just popping, and the strawberries were blooming. I love that climate, we can grow just about anything but tulips and peonies. The situation here is ideal, since a gardener comes twice a week for the major stuff, and I just add to it all, and play around in the garden for relaxation.
My main reason for delaying the letter is lack of a decent typewriter with a correction key. I got spoiled by that great word processor I had at the office, and this one is a convention rental. Next time I will get the letter off in two weeks or else jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Sound repentant enough??
Love to all. Hope to see everyone this year, and soon.
This time I will not be guilty of holding up THE LETTER from its appointed rounds. I got it just the other day, and out it goes. It's been a busy year since I last wrote in January. My "free-lance" career has just taken off, and I'm as busy as I want to be. I have been just about everywhere in the U.S. this year, and still have several cities to go before the season is over (mid-November).
I was not working during May and June, and had a lovely time visiting family and friends back East. All of May was spent in Washington, D.C. It was a lovely time to visit, not too hot. And most of June was spent in Michigan, the main event there being of course Martha and Jon's wedding. I also did a major gardening project there at the old homestead (area between driveway and fence, bike shed and Hammer's. Small area but it seemed like a major job at the time).
A set of programs I did for Apple in July brought me back through Garden City again, the program was at the Novi Hilton! And then I went on to New York City and Washington again.
Now I'm in Boca Raton, Fla., and will go back to Garden City after this for my 20 Year Reunion for GC High.
Otherwise, everything is fine, fine, fine. Garden is doing great, the strawberries were really sweet this year. And all the flowers are looking beautiful. Someone waters for me when I go on these extended trips.
Nothing else much new, especially since I've seen all the letter recipients already this year.
Hope to see more of everyone soon.
I'm sure I now hold the world's record for delaying the LETTER the longest ever. I apologize to everyone, and beg your forgiveness.
The main reason for procrastinating so long is of course, the typewriter. As I'm sure you have by now guessed, my fingers are black from ribbon fights. [This letter is very faint, and very hard to read.] We will just cooperate until the end of the page, then go shopping for keyboards. The only things I miss from my days of working in the office are the typewriters-- and going out to lunch every day!
I have been busy (mostly) working since my last installment. Just finished up the busy spring season. Since Christmas, I was lucky to have several assignments in Southern California locations: San Diego, Palm Springs, and even Los Angeles. It was wonderful to drive to an assignment instead of going through all those airports. Also got to Aculpulco for the first time, and recently did a deluxe trip to Lake Coma, Italy via Orient Express to Lucerne, Switzerland, then up to the Alps for our hotel. The ideal trip, I wouldn't mind a few more like that. I had my pocket picked by the gypsies in Milan. Lots of cash (expense account) in my front pants pocket. It was quite exciting. Anyhow, I've had lots of work, and am booked through the fall.
I have gone whole hog on my garden this year. Planted all new [unreadable, looks like a'eal, certainly some plant I've never heard of], etc. It looks quite beautiful. The impatiens are in full glory... strawberries, fuchsias, lemons, oranges, etc... I have been enjoying it a lot this summer, and haven't done much personal traveling, just "working" in the garden. Part of our old boxwood hedge died this year, a couple of pyera pracathas have also bit the dust. It's nice to fill the "openings". There's always something new in the garden.
I had a nice Christmas, even though Alice didn't make it. Jim Schmitt came out for the holidays, and he and Dale and I drove up to Lake Tahoe for a few days with my old friend Mitchell (from Washington, D.C.). Then we drove to San Francisco for New Year's. Then back to Los Angeles. Jim is quite popular in California. He had even done a couple of programs, and he is booked with me on the Shaklee fall tour. It should be fun.
Otherwise all is well. Hope to see everyone in the coming months.
All is well here in "sunny" Southern California. I am enjoying late February in the garden. Currently in major bloom: camellia, azalea, fuschia, orchid, geranium, impatiens, orange trees, strawberries, and all the pollen on every tree. Lilies are up about one foot. Daffodils and Hyacinth are finished already. All the hillsides are green, and everything looks just great.
We had a very nice family Christmas here at my place. Dale was here for several days. And Alice and Ron visited twice on their California vacation. Jim Schmitt was here (from San Diego). We had a major party, Open House, on the 27th. Photos enclosed were taken that day. For relatives we had Alice, me, Jim, Ron & Melanie Renauld, and Marge & Dick Greenwald (and Joey & Anna). Very nice party, about 35 attended. Dale tended bar (in the garden), Alice and Jim were very helpful as usual. Fortunately my landlord Bob Resetar was gone for the holidays, so we were able to use his kitchen as well as a couple of bedrooms.
I'm as busy as ever with my travel career. 1988 marks my 10th year in Incentive Trave. Since my last letter, jobs have taken me to Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Aculpulco, and Carmel, Newport Beach, Palm Springs, and Laguna Niguel, California. I have a fairly busy year ahead, including two trips to Europe (London and Gleneagles, Scotland, and Montreaux, Switzerland).
As you all can plainly read, I finally got a NEW TYPEWRITER!!!!! Yes, I got it last fall in San Francisco (Macy's). It's a very small portable Brother EP150. Very nice and smart, even has a calculator. But no spelling dictionary. The nuns at St. Raphael's taught me to spell.
I hope to be able to do some personal travelling this year, and get to see a lot of you.
Have also been working in Travel Incentives and learned how to use the Mac computer, and I love it even more than typing!!
We are all on a "glamour Campaign" out here. Dieting since the holiday, etc. So subtract 20 lbs. from photos.
I hope 1988 is a great year for ALL OF US.
LOVE from MARK.
I know it looks like I've had this letter for too long, and I guess I have, but of course it is not as long as it appears. Just to trot out a few excusesL It came when I was on a program, there's ten days right there. Then I went off to visit Alice and took the letter, and left it at her house in Arizona. So she returned it to me at the Schmitt Thanksgiving and Mom's Birthday Celebration in Garden City, and now I am writing this at long last! Well, at least I didn't lose it like Dick!
Career-wise, this has been a very busy year for me. I have made trips to all the usual places: Hawaii (4 times), Aculpulco, Cruises, San Diego, etc. I also got to London for the first time since 1965 with that Catholic Youth Exchange (the French boys!). Had two assignments in London, two in Ireland, also got to Scotland (all during a month over there). Then I went with Shaklee to Amsterdam and Montreaux, Switzerland. So it has been busy, but fun, with a lot of new destinations, and a lot of working with my good old friends in the travel business.
I've enjoyed two nice visits to the Garden City Homestead this year. I arrived one day after my 40th birthday for a week at home, had a nice Father's Day party at Greg & Amy's, did some gardening and gallavanting. And I also enjoyed the traditional Schmitt Pre-Thanksgiving and Mom's birthday celebration. It sure is nice to see everybody, and see how fast the grandkids are growing up!
This has been a banner year for my garden, it sure is nice living in Southern California!
I am on my way to New York City to work at my friend's flower shop on the upper west side. It's a job I did before Christmas 10 years ago. Three weeks in New York should convince me that I really love California!
Dale and I are planning a trip to Australia in January, we have been promising Judy Bedard for 15 years! Airfare from Dale's United mileage+.
Next year looks busy, but I guess we will be starting it out together, at least quite a few of us. I hope to see everyone soon.
The letter came at a busy time, as usual. At least two weeks elapsed before I got home to read it (etc., etc.).
I'm off to Honolulu today, a big program, also to "site-inspect" for Mom and Dad's trip with the Dentists in November. It's my 7th trip to Hawaii this year!
Assignments this year have taken me to Disneyland, Las Vegas, Vancouver, B.C., Scottsdale, AZ, Washington, DC, Aculpulco (Princess), and one nice trip to Europe. This was a chartered cruise on the Windspirit, computer controlled posh sailing vessel. Sailing from Monte Carlo, ports were St. Tropez, Sardinia (Porto Cervo), Giglio, Italy, Elba, where we visited Napolean's home, Porto Venere, and Portofina, Italy. This was a dream trip, a good reason to stay in the travel business.
Last December I spent a couple of weeks in New York City, working for my friend Pat Braun at his flower shop, Salou. I decorated Christmas trees for various rich clients (Springsteen, Mia Farrow, Woody, etc., etc.). I would also go out on delivery, going all over town to Malcolm Forbes, Ralph Lauren, etc., etc. Anyway, it was a lot of fun so I am doing it again this year. The shop is Salou, 105 West 72nd St, NYC 10023. (212) 595 5607. Salou is Pat's Cherokee name.
I have been having a big year for visiting family this year. Of course Alice's wedding in January wins the prize. I also had a nice short visit from Dick & Pietrina. Pietrina and I went to taping of Jeopardy. She even met some of the contestants, Seniors Tournament finalists, since they were in the same hotel. I had a nice week in Garden City, arriving on my birthday for a week of planting and other gardening projects. Had a couple of days with Paul, Cindy, and boys, we saw Batman at the local theater, hiked a mountain (etc., etc.). Also spen a couple of days in Tempe with Ron and Alice. Mom and Dad also came in for the weekend. We enjoyed seeing the old home movies that Ron has converted to video. These are much more fun with the remote control! And Mom & Dad will stop here on their way to Hawaii, and I'll be home for Christmas (with Dale and Judy Bedard). So I have kept it up and hope to do more of that next year.
I've also had a few nice vacations, Washington, Kauai, Seattle.
We are reeling here over yesterday's San Francisco earthquake. Dale was in Hong Kong, Jim Schmitt in Europe.
Garden looks great here, it was a real good year for just about everything. I am doing great too!
RECIPES FOR SUCCESS
Mom's Best Dishes: New England Boiled Dinner Spaghetti & Salad w/Bacon Dressing Chicken & Dumplings Sauerkraut & Polish Sausage Round Steak and Gravy Mashed Potatoes & Gravy Scalloped Potatoes & Ham Turkey Dressing Sunday Vegetable Soup Seven Layer Jello
My Unfavorites: Liver Tuna & Peas in White Sauce, served on toast (A rare Friday night special)
I remember Friday Night Fish Fry, at home, with Mom cooking dozens of smelt in the deep fryer. When we would (occasionally) eat steaks, Mom would cook them to order for us.
I was the only Schmitt kid who would not eat peanut butter or jelly(ugh!). So my school lunch almost always had to be different, such as a bologna sandwich with mustard!
My favorite thing in school lunches was Mom's homemade nut bread, buttered and made into little sandwiches.
I also remember saving my 5 cents milk money so I could buy candy bars at Minder's Drugs on the way home.
Breakfast on a School Day:
Orange Juice Bone Meal Tablets & a MultiVitamin Eggs Toast No reading at the table And don't ask for a note(sick the day before)
Until Carnation Instant Breakfast was introduced, then Mom became its biggest proponent. "Good Morning! Fix it Yourself!"
Mom's favorite response when we'd come home from school claiming HUNGER: "Have a piece of bread."
Mom was well-known for her cooking, but equally well-known for her incompetence at opening packages such as bisquick and even dry cereal. She could tear the boxes almost beyond recognition. We always saw the humor of this, I don't think she did.
Dinner was at 6:00 every night, or the minute that Dad got home from the office. Unless Mom was making spaghetti sauce that had to simmer for several hours, she normally started cooking at 5:00. Her secret weapon was the pressure cooker.
Mom always tried to get me to cook with the pressure cooker, not my favorite way of cooking. She bought me a pressure cooker at a yard sale, and reconditioned it with new gaskets, etc. She and Dad were in Los Angeles on a visit. Mom assembled a nice pea soup, put it on the burner in the pressure cooker. She and Dad went into my bedroom for a nap, I went down on the couch. About ten minutes later, the pressure cooker exploded all over my apartment. This finally convinced Mom to give up on me as a pressure cooker devotee.
When Mom and Dad would visit me in L.A., we would always go to Denise & Gilbert's for dinner. The hitch: Mom would make the dinner, and we'd take it over to their house. Gilbert's favorite of Mom's signature dishes: New England Boiled Dinner.
SWEETS FOR THE SWEET
One of the earliest "sweet" things I learned from Mom was how to select the caramels and other desirable candies from a large box of chocolates. This skill allows others to select the fruit creams and jellies. I retain this skill today, and always thank Mom when I score a caramel!
At Hallowe'en, we were never discouraged from taking in as large a haul as we could carry. This always involved canvassing all the houses from Marquette to Florence(Mom called this area "the projects").
When we arrived home to dump our stash on the table for inventory, Mom was right there to buy all the apples, for 1 cent each, to use in our school lunches.
Mom's favorite Hallowe'en candy was peanut butter kisses. We always gave her as many as she wanted, no charge of course.
The day after Hallowe'en was a day off school. We had our candy stash consolidated into cigar boxes by then, and serious trading began.
Mom's Best Desserts: Strawberry Shortcake Boston Cream Pie Peach Cobbler Lemon Meringue Pie(by Mrs. Johnson)
Least Imaginative, and one of our un-favorites:
MOM AND THE GARDEN
Mom had a beautiful perennial garden at 5910 Lathers. I especially remember her red poppies.
One thing I remember best about Mom is how she had a sixth sense and would come running out the back door hollering "STOP" whenever I'd get near the (overgrown) lilacs with my clippers. She was also very overprotective of forsythia.
Mom's dream tree was the Dogwood, and we could never get one to bloom successfully on Brown Street. She was also champion of the old Smoke Tree, which is one of only a few I have seen all over the world.
Every year, Tom & Bev would buy Mom geraniums for her window boxes as her Mothers Day gift. They would volunteer to plant the boxes every year, but Mom always waited for my early June visit so that I could do the planting. In recent years, we'd go to the Nursery together and buy dozens more plants to fill the boxes, tubs, and other planting areas.
Every summer, Mom and I would walk around the garden and admire all there was. Mom would say, "Aren't those ferns beautiful, Anne planted them." I would reply that No, Anne did not, I planted those myself in such and such year. To which Mom would always say: "Oh, are you sure? I always thought Anne planted those."
Mom always liked coleus. Every year at the end of summer she would take numerous cuttings and root them. Then they would be planted into small foil-wrapped baby orange juice cans, and sent over to the St. Raphaels Christmas Bazaar, where every one always sold.
Mom's favorite thing out of Dad's gardens(mine too) was ripe tomatoes. Her favorite summer sandwich was tomato and cheez whiz.
One of Mom's biggest secrets of success was her daily nap. This was one hour of regularly scheduled time, and it was not to be compromised in any way.
She usually napped from 2 to 3 p.m., at least when we kids were in school.
In summertime, she would send us all out in the back yard during her nap. On Lathers we had a huge vegetable garden, and Mom would send us out with salt shakers. We would pick tomatoes off the vines, and sit right down and eat tomatoes(all except Tom). We also had a drinking fountain at the back of the house, no excuses were accepted for disturbing Mom's nap.
When we lived on Lathers, we would ride our bikes to and from St. Raphaels. This would give Mom a little time to pull herself together before her five "big kids" came home from school. When we moved to our big house on Brown Street, we were all quite happy to be close enough to walk to school. At first, I would run home, until Mom greeted me one day at 3:05 p.m., and let me know that there was no need for me to rush home so quickly.
Mom was not to be disturbed for phone calls, people coming to the door, or even if one of her friends popped by. Her nap was sacred!
In later years, Mom was able to pace herself by taking a lot of naps, more than she really wanted I'm sure. Probably one good reason she lived as long as she did was that she knew and respected the value of THE NAP.
HOME AND FAMILY MANAGEMENT
Mom's Suppliers: Mr. Ganz, Jewel Tea Company Mrs. Martini, Avon Lady Mrs. Johnson, Breads & Pies, always the best Bread Man(wonder-bread type), also had candy and other misc. foods on the truck Twin Pines Milkman Mary Ann & Nancy Wagonjack, twin babysitters Lillian Okon, hairdresser Mrs. Blackman, "Lady who helps Mom"
As well as numerous mailmen, UPS guys, etc.
Mrs. Blackman was Mom's prized helper. She allowed Mom to leave the house and babies if she needed or wanted to. Mrs. Blackman adhered to very strict standards when she was left in charge of us. She wouldn't let us cross Lathers to play with Terry and Larry. Mrs. Blackman was picked up and taken home by numerous teenage drivers with brand-new licenses. Mom paid into Social Security for all the years Mrs. Blackman was employed, and always included her in family functions, until Mrs. Blackman died.
Mrs. Blackman was especially noted for her picturesque(to us) speech, such as "Whatchamacallit", "Thingamajig", and my personal favorite, "Half past eight", which it took me months to decipher into: 8:30 p.m.
Mrs. Blackman always had interesting work assignments from Mom: Clean out the junk drawer, neatly stack comic books in sitting room cabinet, polish the silver. She did do a lot of ironing, until permanent press that is. Then her load was somewhat lightened.
Mom did a lot for Mrs. Blackman, and I guess Mrs. Blackman was sure a big help to Mom in raising this big wonderful family.
Our(unsuccessful) nickname for Mrs. Blackman: MR. WHITEWOMAN.
Mom's main management tool was THE LIST. First of all, there were weekly assignments, such as: set & clear the table load & unload dishwasher pots & pans rexair kitchen floor after dinner etc, etc...
These chores were rotated on a weekly basis, but the real assignments came on the Saturday List. This was the real list, and it was as good as law. Each kid would have several assignments, such as: Wash floors Rake leaves Vacuum sitting room Clean basement etc., etc...
We were allowed to sleep in as long as we wanted, and to do the chores at our "leisure". However, we could not leave the premises until these chores had been completed, and were inspected and approved by Mom. She really did not hold us to unreasonable standards of perfection, but of course we had already been trained to do a pretty good job. Her approval was not too hard to get on Saturdays.
Not every chore was a snap. For years, Paul and I were assigned to the kitchen floors every Saturday. The team was actually Mom, Paul, Mark. And here's how it went:
Move out all furniture except table Rexair Serious wash to remove old wax (Mom on hands and knees for this part) Wash again Rinse with clear water Wax, wait for it to dry(add fans) Replace furniture
We really learned how to clean a floor. But, I can count on one hand the number of times I have washed a floor since those days!
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Mom's beautiful cherry dining room set included the table and hutch-cupboard, both of which survived her. The chairs did not last so long. These were a colonial-type, with those dowels on the back. Of course we were always severely reprimanded if we were leaning back on two chair legs or otherwise abusing them, as several had already bit the dust. I was doing this very thing and broke the second to last one. My punishment for this: Sitting on the bench for two years! And of course, to this day I will not rock back on chairs.
We were given an allowance, in return for chores performed. The allowance stopped, however, as soon as we got outside employment such as baby-sitting, cleaning Dad's office, mowing lawns, etc. Of course your name still appeared on THE LIST, and you were still expected to pull your weight. My top allowance: 50 cents.
ROOM AND BOARD
There was a period in 1970 when I was working at Eloise, but not going to school(Schoolcraft). Mom told me that I would be responsible to pay room and board to help cover my expenses. I agreed, and she determined the amount: $45.00 a month!
I was a junior in high school when Mom was pregnant with Philip. She was not able to get out too much, so I was more than happy to take her car and do the family grocery shopping. Mom would give me her list(set up according to the layout of the supermarket) and numerous $20 bills, and off I'd go. This was extremely educational, and I am a smart shopper to this day.
Paul and I needed some shirts, around late high school. Here's how Mom shopped for us: "Take my Hudson's Charge Card and this note, take my car, and only buy permanent press". And she was always pleased with what we bought. BABY STUFF
Before we had Martha and Alice and Philip, we could always tell when we were about to have a new baby. Mom would resurrect these old dresses from a cedar chest, and start wearing them around the house. Lucy and I would say, "It's almost time for that little talk". After a week or so, Mom would gather us all around the table and say "Things are going to be different around here, we are going to have a baby, etc."
Mom always kept the baby in that white box, right in the Sitting Room traffic pattern. Of course this caused everyone who passed by to stop and play and chat up the baby. These kids got so much attention, they were so cute, and we always enjoyed them too. Of course, no baby talk was allowed.
When Martha and Alice and Philip were born, Mom would send lists of names from the hospital. Then we would vote on the names. Mom made it quite clear that they were not being named after Martha Wychor or Alice Karr, just that we thought the names were pretty. Mom claimed to have selected names that could not be nick-named, and never could stand to hear "Annie", etc.
Mom's official policy on Birthday Parties was that we could have one every six years. This did not include family birthday celebrations, which of course we celebrated every time. But the policy was: Party when you're 6, when you're 12, when you're 18.
I had a nice party when I was 6, don't remember the guest list. Then when I was 7, I had completed 1st grade at St. Raphaels, and went right ahead and invited Denny Okon, Mary Ann Darnell, and Janet Wathen to my 7th Birthday Party. So Mom went ahead with the party, for Mark and the "three Little blondes".(All of these families were represented at Mom's funeral). Anyway, it seems like I was able to have a party just about whenever I wanted after that test case.
In my high school years, Mom actively encouraged me to have parties, and we hosted quite a few. These were dress-up parties held before the prom, homecoming dance, etc. I also had a number of nice Christmas parties, right up through 1989.
Mom thought it would be bad to run out of food at a party, so she would always "contribute" a ham or something if she thought I didn't have enough to eat. My last party(Christmas 1989) was co- hosted by Dale and Judy. Dale and I came back from the supermarket and Mom was practically in shock: "You spent $100.00!!" (Dale doesn't like to run out of food either). No one ate a thing at the party, they all just wanted to talk. Another good party, but too many leftovers.
FASHION & BEAUTY
Mom always looked good, she had her own certain style. These are some random memories:
Red Lipstick, Pressed Powder Silk & Silver for her beautiful hair Chanel no.5 Trifari Jewelry Butterfly scatter pins Black wool coat, Black low-heeled pumps Always in skirts(til later in life)
Coming home from beauty salon in late 60's, combing out all the teasing in her new hairdo
I will always remember Mom's appearance at my 1966 graduation from Garden City West: Pink two-piece dress and a pink chiffon turban on her head! She was the height of fashion, particularly in Garden City.
In my travel career, I'd always buy Chanel #5 at duty-free airport shops, then bring it to her. She finally told me "Don't feel you have to bring me perfume, just bring yourself".
Mom became quite a traveler in later years. When we were growing up, Dad went to a lot of dental conventions all over the place, but Mom didn't go, so Dad would buy her a Hummel, hence her large collection.
Once a year, Mom would go to Chicago on the train with Dad for the Dental Convention. She would plan our menus, cook and freeze the dinners, and leave us a schedule for all of this. They always stayed at the Conrad Hilton, Mom always shopped Marshall Fields, and she always brought us each a present. I will always remember the year she brought us each a pair of scissors with our names engraved.
This was a wonderful season for us. Each kid bought a gift for each other one, as well as the parents. We opened family gifts on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, we'd open the gifts from Santa, four for each kid(not that we counted). I remember saving the silver icicles year after year. These were lovingly placed between the pages of a 1950 Fortune Magazine.
When I was about 12, I had a job at the "Little Big Dollar Store". I got Mom a couple of milk glass platters(still in her collection), and also a tree-top angel with a silly look on her face. Mom always used that angel, and always reminded me where it came from.
Mom saying to Denise and Gilbert's three girls, circa 1990: "Just call me Grandma".
Mom's political career in GC, supporting various candidates, and assigning us kids to hand out political propaganda at the polls. I also remember attending a victory party at the Moose Hall with Mom.
Mom made me numerous caftans and bathrobes. I lost a few of these by leaving them on the back of hotel bathroom doors. Mom made me swear never to use those hooks again, and I haven't. My current robe has been remodeled and patched by Mom a few times. When she gave it to me she said "This is probably the last robe you'll get out of me". And she was right.
Each one of us will have different memories, we all are different. Thank Goodness! This was always mentioned in our old Christmas letters, where Mark was regularly referred to as "the rugged individualist". There was never any big effort going on to make me conform to anyone else's standards, now I am a one-of-a-kind(we all hope) adult.
I sure had a happy childhood, and I sure had a good mother.
[Published October 1991]
THANK YOU ALL! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As coordinator of the Rehearsal Dinner, I want to give credit where credit is due. I am sure there are numerous examples of helpfulness and kindness I have omitted. Please forgive, and feel free to toot your own horns!
DAD Neatest Woodpile east of the Mississippi River agreeable attitude toward spending $$$$$; very good job as Head of the Family. We were proud of you.
TOM/BEV Excellent hosts for continuous Pool Parties; Tom volunteered a lot; daisies for rehearsal dinner.
DICK Got Auntie Ev moved and settled into apartment.
PIETRINA Made that salad for Rehearsal Dinner' didn't pout because we wanted it - AGAIN Wonderful Dinner party for Joe's Graduation; Colored bells for name badges.
PAUL Organized bike hikes; provided beer for party; cut grass.
CINDY Shopping for Votive Candles.
LUCY/MORT Thank you for hosting Philips's Graduation Party; all the hard work showed.
GPEG/AMY Hosted Pizza Party and Theatre Outing Loaned and transferred that wonderful BAR & Coke cooler; chopped down trees.
MIKE Sure split a lot of wood for Dad's piles.
DEBBIE Your brides gifts were beautiful.
JON BAR MANAGER EXTRA-ORDINARY Didn't have to bounce out too many drunks.
MARTHA Bean dish; Numerous other duties.
MARY Kitchen Manager and food provider; Photo Collage with Philip as Honoree; etc., etc.
JIM Chicken Ordering and Pick-up and delivery to us; Slave to Mary (Finally) .
ALICE Clean-up Specialist (BACK Porch, etc.); Baking
ALICE/RON New brick floor and porch in historic playhouse.
PHILIP Numerous garden chores; Living with stress without losing it too of ten; painted back steps; was almost confident we could do this; dives headfirst into trick issues (seating at wedding dinner).
CHERYL The perfect bride, fully organized; always pleasant and complimentary; a real asset to this family. Showed up with a huge platter of homemade cookies just as the upstairs oven quit functioning, saving the cooks from serving raw cookie dough for dessert that night!
AUNTIE EV Votive candles from St. Mels convent; Boarding House Manager; Liturgy specialist; We were happy to see you in that front pew.
JOE Plastic Flower Making; Getaway Car Decorating.
JOHN EXCELLENT GARDEN SLAVE Planted a lot of flowers; did a lot of weeding; used Psych 101 techniques to deal with "Supervisor".
PAUL F. Set Tables; Helped with a lot of stuff; very amusing guy.
MARIA Assistant to Bridesmaid; Name Badge Distribution; She was good at insisting people wear badges.
SUSAN Credit to family as Junior Bridesmaid; Good for a test-drive; Most regular visitor to Brown Street; Good Baker.
ANNA Name badge distribution.
PETER Supervisor (and chief torturer) of small boys; Chair and table set-up & take-down; Supervisor of Ice Cream deliveries.
MORGAN/GIDEON Chair set-up and take-down; Ice cream delivery.
ELLY a.k.a. Ethel Merman; Entertainment and Garter Supervisor (wedding); This girl is so shy.
EVAN A baby to hold/see if YOU can make him smile'
We should also be grateful to various neighbors and family friends. It really took a lot of cooperation to pull it off so well, and we did it. Dad even thanked the mosquitoes for closing the party nice and early.
So, if you are not praised here, Well I am sorry. Our family certainly turned out fine. I know Mom is proud.
Love to all, Mark
(ED NOTE: And a thousand thanks to the organization man behind the success: Mark! Without his skill and all his time and effort we could have still pulled it off but we wouldn't still be speaking to each other! To Mark, thank you, thank you, thank you )
April 15, 1992
I wish to commend you on your supervision of the family letter.
It is. true that it is far closer to the original letter. But I must admit that I liked the more recent also.
A good policy for all readers is to love it however the editors decide to do it Yes, we love it, please keep editing and publishing it for several years. Anything to Postpone our turns!
Now for the sour grapes: The current format lacks a few thing. I got used to real fast: Mainly, it is those amusingly vicious captions over the paragraph.. Double-entendres, inside "jokes", old family traditions were all shown in . new light. I must say the captions mad. me laugh out loud more than once per page!
Another function heavier editing could do is weed out smart-alecky salutations such as "Dear older Siblings". A truly dedicated editorial team could polish up prose for all contributors, maybe even ghost-writing a few amusing line.
As far as households with computers, most of us have them, and a couple of the families without now have kids, so they are certain to become computer families in a few short years. Of course we can all do our Part when called upon, computer or not.
So here is how the succession look. to this devoted family member based upon the way it has been done so far:
Dick, Mary, Alice. Martha, Tom, Philip, Paul, Greg,. So that covers it for a few years, without having to put the "middle children" on the spot. We were always getting lost in the shuffle anyhow .
Well, that is enough of this letter to the editor. I feel like Stanley Glamb already. This letter is mainly to thank Mary and Jim for doing such . good Job on our current family letter, and to thank Dick and Pietrina and family for their excellent Work, especially including the Mom Memorial Edition, which is such a Wonderful document.
Keep up the good Work. And Oh! What is the next deadline(Could not find it in latest issue!)
Anonymous (one of the middle ones?)
September 29, 1992
Dear Anonymous Middle Sibling:
My apologies for not responding sooner to your desperate plea for attention in the last newsletter. I made a note to myself to write you but I guess it just got "lost in the shuffle."
While it is true that the Editors of the newsletter should be commended for a great job I cannot help but see your letter for anything but its true purpose, that to further suppress those behind you in the genealogical chain.
After spending your entire life fruitlessly taunting your younger siblings don't you think it's time to get on with your life? Listen, do you think it's been easy growing up with the mental and physical handicaps you've dropped on us? Tossed into a comer during family meals due to a uniqueness you claim is a handicap. Forced to sustain mental anguish and physical malnutrition just to get a small glass of milk ("Please pass the milk, no short stops, not even long ones"). Not to mention the stigma of attending a grade school in which your reputation preceded us!
I am very sorry for you that in the time that you were my age and when I became my age that shoes were invented, that St Raphael School moved off of that uphill grade to within 4 miles of home, and that electricity was invented.
Incidently, thaT was great spelling in your familoies teller to the editor. [editors note: I corrected Mark's spelling mistakes but Philip reproduced them here but, Incidentally, I'm not so sure that he spelled the first word of this paragraph correctly].
The Young and the Restless
October 30, 1992
Hello from Los Angeles!
My last submission was from Brown Street, I am doing this on the Mac at Travel Incentives, where I am supposed to be helping to get ready for my next trip, next week, to Paris and Monte Carlo.
I went from GC to the Mauna Lani on the Big Island of Hawaii, my favorite place. It was a big group, the House of Seagram. We could only have Seagram brands on the bars, I was getting pretty lonesome for some good old Jack Daniels. This was a normal busy program until we had a helicopter crash, or as they call it, a "hard landing". Fortunately, no casualties. The Big Island was fortunate to escape any damage from the recent Hurricane lniki, which destroyed every hotel on Kauai.
July was pretty dull and pretty hot. I made a weekend trip to San Diego and house/pool sat at Denise and Gilbert's on a couple of long weekends. The high point of July was the Tourmobile Reunion I attended the weekend of July 28. It was 21 years ago that I started at Tourmobile. I loved that job and all those people and had a wonderful time at the reunion. Stayed in Washington with Mitch as usual.
I started August in Nevis, the West Indies again. This is a nice spot, but a hell of a long trip. From there I stopped in New York City for a couple of days before flying to Montreal for Shaklee' s big summer program.
From Montreal I was able to escort a group of 18 people to Detroit, where they boarded their flight to Paris for Shaklee's Presidents Club. Dad picked me up and fed me, I stayed 2 nights. Did a little gardening, got a super-quick tour of Tom/Bev's addition, then I left! Still have not done the edging around the driveway curb. Paul F. was there as garden assistant (Slave) and dug and hauled a lot of mulch around as directed. All the window boxes and other spring stuff still looked great.
Next I was on my way to Miami for a cruise on the Fantasy. As the VIPs and I arrived at the Miami airport, our local liaison informed us that our hotel was closed as it was right in the path of Hurricane Andrew. Well, they did take us in after all, since every other hotel room in Florida was full, and this is where we stayed for three days. The hurricane hit around 4 am, yes we could hear and see it right out the windows. We were left without power and water. We did get some electric and, mercifully, air conditioning. But it sure was a long walk up to my room on the 12th floor! By the time I got there I had to lay out on the bed for an hour. We had NO WATER and could not flush the toilet or bathe or do any thing much in the personal care department. The hotel was prepared to feed us one night, they got us for two nights and two days, they did a darned good job, but you never knew what would come out of their freezer next. Anyway, we were lucky and we all knew it, but as soon as we were able to escape, we did. We chartered a bus (we call it deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach) to Orlando(4 hours) and checked into a super deluxe property, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. My room had two bathrooms! and I used all the showers. So we had a couple nice days of sun and relaxation, the group was only 20 people. And in Orlando, the waitress for our party in Hemingway's Restaurant was a Garden City girl named Stephanie!
I'm just back from my favorite and most deluxe trip of the year, of course it was Hunt Wesson Foods, this year they went to Vienna, Austria. We stayed at the Hotel Imperial, very regal, and did everything there was to do. This was my third trip to Vienna, I was almost an expert. We took the train to Budapest, Hungary for a day trip. It is a beautiful city. I was in Austria for twelve days, and ready to come home. My flights were: Vienna to Frankfurt, 3 hour layover, then Frankfurt to Los Angeles, a flight 11 and 1/2 hours L-0-N-G. I was working with Denise and Scott, my "oldest" friends in the biz.
I'm looking forward to Paris, I haven't been there since 1965, remember the French Boys? I will try to look up that charming Franck Hamaide, and give a report in the next letter. Last time I was in Paris, I saw Charles de Gaulle in the 14th of July Parade, and also saw the Beatles at the Paris Olympia. After Paris/Monte Carlo, I'll be back to L.A. for a couple of days. Then it's off to San Francisco for Shaklee and Thanksgiving with Dale and Aaron. Then to NYC for my Christmas decorating career to the rich and famous. I wonder if Woody will pay for Mia's tree as usual? More name-dropping in the next issue.
Happy Holidays to everyone. Please send Christmas cards to me c/o SALOU DESIGN LTD. 105 West 72nd St.(Basement) New York, NY 10023 Phone # (212) 595-9607 at work (Best to call at work) Home # (212) 877 4472 (5 West 86th St, Apt 16 C)(Machine picks up)
I am planning to be in Garden City to celebrate Dad's 80th Birthday and Christmas. I'll arrive on Christmas Eve, in the morning, and depart for Los Angeles on the 29th. I think we will have a party on Brown Street, probably on Sunday afternoon, December 27. Details later...
Love to all,
Wed. Nov 4 Los Angeles to Paris the Grand Hotel Phone#33-1-42-68-12-13
Wed. Nov 11 Paris to Nice(Monte Carlo) Loews Monte Carlo Phone#93 50 65 00
Sat. Nov 14 Nice to Paris to Los Angeles Home for Balance of the Weekend
Mon. Nov. 16 Burbank to San Francisco(Shaklee Convention) Fairmont Hotel Phone#(415) 772 5000
Sun. Nov 22 Stay in San Francisco @ Dana Turner Phone#(415) 586 4375
Tues. Nov 24 Stay in SF for Thanksgiving @ Dale & Aaron Phone #(415) 550 0514
Fri. Nov 27 San Francisco to Burbank Home for the Weekend
Mon. Nov 30 Burbank/DFW/New York City(LaGuardia) Christmas Dercorating Career @ Salou Design Ltd. Phone (212) 595 9607 FAX # (212) 496 7573 105 west 72nd St. New York NY 10023
"Home" c/o Pat Braun Phone#(212) 877 4472 5 West 86th Street Apt 16-C NYC
Thurs. Dec 24 New York(JFK) to Detroit Ca Dr. Schmitt Phone# (313) 422 3012 31211 Brown, Garden City Michigan 48135
Tues. Dec 29 Detroit/DFW/Burbank @HOME (818) 761 1432
FYI Travel Incentives, Inc. (800) 753 3400
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel - the Big Island May 1, 1993
Aloha from Hawaii. I am here for 8 days with the House of Seagram, no Jack Daniel's for Mark this week. From here I go back to LA for a program at Newport Beach, then I am off to Hong Kong and Bali, finishing up with a short vacation in Seattle and Roslyn, WA. So things are pretty busy for me again. Now for the rest of the travelogue:
I did my usual Christmas job in New York City, doing the Christmas decor for the usual roster of celebrity and otherwise rich clients. After five years, I am so adjusted to the high prices charged by the shop where I work, that I usually quote the clients an even higher cost than they normally charge! New York is always fun and exciting, there is surely no place like it.
On Christmas Eve I flew to Detroit where Dad collected me. We went to Midnight Mass at St. Raphaels. Dad parks at the barber shop and walks the rest of the way, even in zero degree weather. We were a little late and the church was full. The usher says "oh, Doctor Schmitt, right this way" and walked us up the center aisle to the very front pew, the exact spot where I sat for Mom's funeral! Mrs. Kohler and the other ladies did a beautiful job on the poinsettia tree at the altar, I told Dad how much it would've cost in NYC (about 10 times the Garden City Price)... Then Next day we went to Lucy and Mort' for Christmas dinner, dragging along Auntie Ev. Other highlights of my visit to Michigan included a dessert party at the Oldenburgs (Clarke greeted us at the door with the cake and an excess of creamy topping dripping off the plates and said "here, take it"). I had a nice visit with Greg and Amy, and of course I had to do the traditional inspection of Tom and Bev's additions (tour led by Auntie Ev, a licensed Guide at that Location). All in all a nice Christmas.
Then we had a nice New Years Day party at our house in North Hollywood.
Started working in the New Year at the Mauna Toni, then went off to Phoenix and did a little job and visited Alice and Ronnie for several days. Have also done another trip to Phoenix (Scottsdale) as well as a couple of jobs in Palm Springs and San Diego. Had a nice trip to New Orleans, what a fun city! Spent about a month in the office at Travel Incentives planning several trips, I like it much better working OUT of the office Had a wonderful trip to Tucson last week, the desert is really beautiful this year. And now here I am at the Mauna Lani.
So I am busy, busy., which is certainly good. Social life is active enough, who has time any more????
Our garden looks fantastic this year. All those weeks of rain not only ended the drought it also encouraged a lot of things in the ground to return in a most spectacular fashion. We have flowers everywhere. The roses have already finished their first cycle of bloom and are now at it again.
Am attaching my travel schedule through my birthday. After that I am hoping to plan a nice few week visit to Michigan and (hopefully) Minnesota.
Please forgive typos. This is being typed on an IBM Electronic Typewriter 60, very loud and much more complicated that the basic selectric. I could not use the hotel computer because I do not know word perfect, being expert only on the Macintosh with a mouse.
Hope to see everyone soon.... Love Mark
Mark's Schedule April-May-June 1993
Mon. April 19 Burbank to Tucson the Westin La Paloma(Carl's Jr) (602) 742 6000 Sun.
April 25 Tucson to Burbank Home for a couple of days
Wed. April 28 Los Angeles to the Big Island, Hawaii Mauna Lani Bay Hotel(Seagram) (808) 885 6622
Thu. May 6 Big Island to Los Angeles Home on the 7th and 8th Sun.
May 9 Drive to Newport Beach Newport Marriott(Carl's Jr) (714)640 4000
Thu. May 13 Drive Newport Beach to Home Home for the Weekend
Sun. June 16 LA to Seattle to Anchorage to Hong Kong Hotel Nikko Hong Kong(KIRO Newsradio) 852-739-1111
Sun. May 23 Hong Kong to BALI Four Seasons Bali(KIRO) 62-361 -71288
Fri. May 28 Bali to Hong Kong to Anchorage to Seattle Staying for a week or so with: Pam Salvatore AND/OR Paul and Cindy Schmitt
June 4 or 5 Seattle to Los Angeles or Burbank Back home for awhile
North Hollywood, CA
March 16, 1994
Dear Ones: Yes, I believe I missed the deadline for the last letter. The editors really do treat us like adults: no extra reminders, if you miss the "Final" deadline, you don't make it into print. I am sure I didn't make the deadline because of being "too busy"(too lazy).
So, to recap last summer, it was just more of the usual: a couple of trips to Brown Street to boss dad around and work in the garden. Philip and I planted more myrtle (Vinca Minor), this time under the evergreens in the front yard, assisted by dirt movers John and "little" Paul. Then on every other visit, all I did was water the myrtlefor hours every other day... anyone visiting Brown street should feel free(as well as obligated) to thoroughly water these areas.
Had a trip last summer to Hong Kong and Bali, my first time to Bali, where I stayed in the most luxurious accommodations I have ever experienced. Didn't shop much, although you might see some Hong Kong specials on a future gift-giving occasion. After that trip, I spent several days in Seattle and Roslyn(clients were advertisers of a Seattle Radio Station). I went to several little league games in Roslyn, and Cindy made sure to help me select my souvenir Northern Exposure T-Shirt . I selected purple. Pam Salvatore is doing fine, her son Sam is around 6 now.
Summer and Fall were more of the usual destinations, Hawaii and various California locales. In September I did another fabulous trip with my favorites, Hunt-Wesson Foods. It was a charter cruise on the Windstar, we sailed from Monte Carlo, making the usual Mediterranean stops such as San Tropez, and Portofino. We docked at the port of Rome for two days, sleeping on the ship and making day trips in to the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, and other magnificent attractions.
In mid-November I went to New York City for my 'Christmas Job". Got that started, then flew to Garden City for the Schmitt Thanksgiving. Dad and I were in charge of the feast, we shopped and cooked, got all the usual help. When Tom and Bev arrived, Bev checked all the pots and the ovens and announced that all was in order, she was going to have a drink. High praise indeed.
Back to New York after the Schmitt Thanksgiving, I had a real incentive travel program booked for the official Thanksgiving. It was 10 people, very deluxe and a lot of fun.
The Christmas job seemed more fun this year, I guess I am getting pretty good at it after all these years in a row. I called up all those rich clients and worked out our installation schedules, and even picked up a couple of new clients. We also decorated a big party at the Guggenheim Museum, my first time there. All the art in the museum was for a special exhibit, Roy Lichtenstein. The clients were more rich than famous, although I did do the fireplaces and mantles, etc. for Yoko Ono and also for her son Sean Lennon.
I spent Christmas Eve in New York City with my New York roomates, and Patti Mariano, who lives in NYC but also spends MONTHS with us in Los Angeles every year. Then I flew to LA on Christmas Day. We had our "famous" New Years Day Hat Party as usual, Dale was there to help with hosting and bossing around duties.
Judy Bedard came for a short visit on January 7. She is still in Sydney, more than 20 years teaching there. She is a music teacher and directs all the shows, she has not really changed in the 30 years we have been friends.
1994 started off slowly, but things are now up to speed. I've been to San Diego twice, Palm Springs twice, and Hawaii once so far. And in the next couple weeks I will be all over California and Las Vegas, with more on the books for the coming months.
I was at home in bed on January 17 when we had our big earthquake, yes it woke me up! Lots of things flew off shelves, including 2 TV sets, which still work fine. We lost a few treasures, but no Schmitt family heirlooms. The psychological damage is still there, but at least there are no cracks in the house, and at least the whole house did not collapse upon us. Our German Shepherd Duke is still a wreck.
I was particularly impressed with this year's family calendar, it is so beautiful with Martha's illustrations and Philip's wise 'pitcher" selection. Of course my favorite is the September Back to School composite submitted by Mary. Beautiful, beautiful.
Much love to everyone,
October 18, 1994 Seattle, WA (Pam Salvatore's)
As you can see, I am writing from out-of-town again. Listening to the news about flooding in Texas. I heard only the bright hope of another delay in starting this report. Am not sure when I last wrote, know I missed at least one. Here's the pared-down version of life since Easter, 1994:
Had Easter dinner with cousins Ron and Melanie, William and Mia and Aunt Bert and Uncle Bob Renauld. I saw Bert in a new light that of "fun-lover." Ron and Melanie live in Calabasas. Their home suffered quite a bit of damage in the January quake.
Dad arrived on April 16, then we drove to San Diego for a couple of days, staying with Jim Schmitt. High point was our visit with Bob and Florence Steed. Dad's classmates from Marquette. They live on Coronado Island, a lovely couple in a lovely setting. Dad also got to meet my good friend Holly Young. A nice short trip.
May took me back to Coronado and San Diego, then to Boston and (1st time) to Cape Cod to inspect a couple of properties, then to Grand Cayman Island to work a program. Cayman was nice, a typical (although richer) hot and humid Caribbean Island. I guess I will visit each one eventually.!
Started June and had my birthday at Walt Disney World, then to Garden City through the end of the month. Celebrations began that first weekend with the party at Lucy's. I drove up the day ahead with my little niece, Eleanor, who instead of sleeping all the way, chatted all the way, e.g.: "Uncle Mark, what do call that vehicle with such and such?" "Ellie, that is called a Motor home."
I was going to keep a "Brown Street Diary" this summer because it was so busy, but didn't. Here's what I can remember:
Sauerkraut Dinner Party, attended by Guminas and Oldenburgs. Jean damaged her foot or toe while getting ready, came to eat dinner, and only then sought emergency care for her foot! Charlie Gumina was not bemoaning the loss of his Vogel Junior High to the new housing development. Fun evening with two very difference couples.
Archie Hall got into the habit of popping over. You never knew when he would be banging at the door, waking up late sleepers & nappers.
We had one big party, catered by the New Peking. Guests included Thelma Hess, Mike Hess and his glamorous Central American wife, Sandy Briody, Father Downey, Chip Rose. Chip also invited our old neighbor Sharon Higgins and her pal Lynda Oliverson (also Dad's patients, of course). Mickey Hess was heard to comment several times. "This is the best thing that could have happened." They live in Oregon and don't get back much. A full house and a fun party!
Pietrina's father died during this time and so Brown Street promptly filled up. Dad and I were able to support Pietrina a little and it sure was great to see those grown-up grandchildren. After all the funeral activities, the grands went off to a party in Grosse Pointe, with their cousin Susan driving.
I did some gardening, mainly ground cover stuff in the back. Also dug up more black-eyed susans (for Dad) and sweet woodruff (for Greg/Amy) from Tom and Bev's garden. Dad still insists on cutting all those lawns himself, although he accepts help occasionally.
Back to California, I was in San Diego for a Seinfeld concert, a birthday gift from Holly. Then a nice program in Palm Springs, it was over 100o every day( but it's a dry heat), then off to Puerto Rico for the big Shaklee convention at the El Conquistador, extremely deluxe and pleasant, and extremely hot and humid. Great people.
Then the second week of August I went back to Brown Street just following the two week "Family Reunion." Dad patched up every crack in the driveway, we "discussed" things, and things were looking good again.
I had house guests to Brown Street. Two good friends from the travel industry, Linda Hart and Julie Rupp. We had one dinner party (food by New Peking), one lunch featuring Dad's seminarian friend, Dennis, and one cribbage/drinking party (Dad, Linda, Julie, me). I had the beginners luck so Julie and I won! Julie, Linda, and George Pendy (another travel friend who lives in Mich.) drove out to Holland, MI to stay at Julie's family cottage at Lake Michigan a Fleetwood Caddy).
This was another fun visit to Michigan, saw a lot of family and friends, ate a lot of home made bread and wonderful tomatoes fresh from the vines of all dad's friends.
Back to California for September, it was back to Coronado Island for another job. I also attended a wedding with Holly on the beach at Mission Bay at sunset. Then it was off to New Orleans for a 1700 person Shaklee convention, what a fun city!
October has brought me back to San Diego area (La Costa resort). Now I am in Seattle to see Pam, work a program, spend a few days climbing mountains in Roslyn, then back to LA for Halloween. The first of November I go with Hunt Wesson on the Sea Goddess, the most luxurious ship in the water, chartered. And here's the rest: November 16, I arrive Garden City for Schmitt Thanksgiving. November 20, I arrive New York City for my "Christmas" job. December 24, back to Garden City for one week on Brown Street. December 31, return to Los Angeles to start the New Year, 1995!
I wish I could learn to turn things in on the first deadline. My typing really does need to be redone, and I can only imagine the Headlines that could perk up this missive. Maybe next time.!
Here is my New York info, November 20-December 24:
c/o SALOU DESIGN, LTD. c/o PAT BRAUN 105 W. 72nd St. (basement 5 West 86 St., Apt. 16C New York, NY 10023 New York, NY 10024 (212) 595-9607 (212) 877-4472 FAX: (212) 496-7573
Much love and kisses to all,
P.S. Looked at my calendar, forgot to mention a few things. A busy year!
North Hollywood, CA February 20,1995
Hello to Everyone--
I last wrote from Pam Salvatore's in October '94. A lot has happened since then! But I now will take the easier writing assignment, starting with the calendar:
November 4 - 12 This was the Hunt-Wesson trip, always my favorite crowd of people to work with. It was a chartered cruise on Cunard's Sea Goddess, the extremely luxurious 120-passenger ship. The accommodations were spectacular, and the amenities(fifths of Jack Daniels, videos and books, toiletries, etc) were more generous than even I was used to. We sailed from Saint Thomas and stopped at every other island named "Saint".
On November 16, I flew from Burbank to Detroit for the Schmitt Family Thanksgiving, Celebration. Dad and I bought the biggest Butterball turkey, and we had a wonderful dinner. We had quite a good turnout and a lot of nice pies and other specialties. There was a major innovation in seating this time, we put everyone at one long table This severe challenge to tradition was cheerfully welcomed(accepted?) by nearly everyone. Lucy stayed overnight, she and Mary were making quilt parts down in the basement
On November 20, I flew from Detroit to La Guardia Airport , arriving in New York City for a full month of hard work at Salou Design Ltd. This was my usual glamorous Christmas job, shopping for trees and hauling them up the back elevators at the best addresses in Manhattan, then crawling underneath the trees to attach the expensive and complicated "best tree stand in the world." The work seemed harder than usual this season, I thought I was getting old. We decorated a major party at the top of the Rockefeller Center, the Rainbow Room Suite., and I did the mantels for Yoko Ono as usual, etc ad infinitum.
I arrived in Garden City on December 24, exhausted from my Christmas job. Dad and I went right over to the Rychlinski's Party where we knew all the usual suspects, and were able to sample the familiar foods such as Sandra's potato salad and the broasted chicken, plus hundreds of cookies. Phil was just finishing the family calendars, in fact Dad and I were enlisted to deliver several. Phil and Cheryl were trying to force little Steven to walk, we had a great time at that party and with that family. Then Dad and I drove through Hines Park for the show of Christmas lights. And then we put on our ties and went to St. Raphael for midnight mass. Bea and George Flees and young Henry Dryovage moved around to give Dad and I the best seats after the usher led us up to the front pew, where there wasn't room for us. Thank you George and Henry.
On Christmas Day, Dad and Auntie Ev and I drove to Lucy's for the afternoon, dinner, and overnight. There was a big coat of frost on everything the next morning, it is so beautiful in Michigan. The rest of the week was on Brown Street. Mrs. Milton's beech tree was cut down by GC, it was nearly dead and in the way of the new curbs. Dad hauled almost the entire tree across the street alone, he got the driver to bring the wood chips to the backyard. What a busy guy!
December 31 I went from Garden City to Burbank, arriving at home in time for New Years Eve dinner cooked by Dale. Dale and Aaron left on January 2, and my old friend Mitch(Bob Mitchell) from Washington, D.C. arrived on the 3rd, staying til the 6th when I had to drive to Huntington Beach to operate a program. I was really too tired to do the program, but the employer(Linda Hart) was persistent, and I have always believed it was a good sign to start working and get a check right away in the new year.
I finished the program. drove home to North Hollywood, and took to the couch and bed.
On January 16, Martin Luther King Day, I could not breathe and drove myself to the ER at the North Hollywood Medical Center, just a couple of miles from here. They hooked me up to oxygen and took very good care of me for four hours before I was transferred by ambulance to the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center Hospital(LAC/USC).
There I was diagnosed with PCP(Pneumonia) and had my blood tested for millions of reasons, including the HIV, which came back positive. I stayed in the Hospital five days, returning home on January 21.
In the hospital my lifeline to family and friends was my housemate Derek Bohon. He came to see me every day and called to notify numerous people on my list. I will be eternally grateful for Derek's attention and kindness to me during this time.
Coming home from the hospital, I didn't have to lift a finger. Alice arrived from Arizona that first night, and Jim Schmitt was already here, having visited me the night before. So they and Derek took care of those first several days. Poor Jim stayed a week, he trimmed the rose bushes, chopped down a big bush, re-did our guest room closet, and made me a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. He was ready to leave, and had assignments to do.
Mary was here February 3-7, we had a great time, kind of lazy although she got out my sewing machine to do a quilting project. My machine is a Singer portable, quite old, that Mom got at a yard sale at least 25 years ago. She couldn't get the instruction manual so she wrote out all the instructions in her lovely penmanship and installed them on the machine with clear contact paper. Mary felt that Mom was helping her with the project.
February 8 - 12, Dale was here for his Shaklee meetings and to visit us. He loves to shop and cook giant meals. We are still trying to find places in the cupboard for some of the jumbo things he purchased.
Now, that darling Alice is back for the President's weekend. We have made a couple of outings to visit my friends, and she did a lot of stuff around the house and garden(While I supervised).
I have more visitors on the docket, please don't get the impression that I am lonely!
My treatment is proceeding nicely at the 5P21 Clinic at LAC/USC. It is the biggest and one of the oldest HIV/AIDs clinics in the West. I like all the people I deal with there, they are all quite nice and caring. I go every week, and can drive myself there and back. It's "freeway-close", about 20 minutes each way.
My energy level is pretty good although I need to take rests occasionally. I take anti-PCP medications. My appetite is very good, and I weigh about 175#. I probably won't be going back to work, but we shall see what the future holds.
It's time to take Alice and her Lap Top to the Burbank Airport.
Thanks to everyone for the cards and letters and packages. I look forward to the mail every day.
Love to all, Mark
Life at 5910 Lathers was very nice. It was a charming brick
home situated in the center
of three lots. There was a screened breezeway and an attached one-car
garage. The front
door opened to an enclosed vestibule with a small-paned glass door to
the living room. The
dining room floor was made of cork tiles. The house was 1 and 1/2
stories, and upstairs
was one real bedroom, shared by Tom and Dick and Paul and Mark. There
were two sets of
bunk beds and two small bedside tables, two drawers per boy. To get to
our room, we walked
through Lucy's room, really a hallway.
Mary was also upstairs, in a tiny room with no window, but at least four boys did not have to traipse though her private space. Mary had a chifferobe for her clothes.
Children were fed in the kitchen, I guess Mom and Dad had a quieter meal in the dining room.
We had a big garden in one side yard, this was from Dad's youth on the farm. I recall corn and tomatoes and pumpkins and green peppers and cucumbers, and also the giant sunflowers planted by Lucy and Mark. We had a pool made from a circular black rubber tarp. The sides of the pool were railroad ties, the tarp went over them, and the water went in. In winter, we would ice-skate there. We also had a tent made out of an authentic World War II silk camouflage parachute
We got our first TV in 1953. Dad and Uncle Russ carried the TV down the basement. Our piano was also in the basement, no TV to be watched until piano practice was complete. American Bandstand and the Mickey Mouse Club were both on at the same time, causing a lot of negotiations and wars between the age groups. We sat on car seats, the bench types, instead of the more expected couches and chairs.
We all went to kindergarten and tot-lot at the old Douglas School on Maplewood at Harrison. To get home from school, we would walk through the woods, crossing the river(creek) on a fallen tree. Little kids would cross on their hands and knees. After a few years, we would get enough courage to walk across. After braving the woods and the river, we would emerge at the dead end of Lathers to the lady waving a butcher knife at us from her front porch: "You kids keep off of my property!" Then we would run up Lathers towards home. Participants in this wilderness trek included Terry and Larry Smith.
Our kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Sweet, the same teacher for Tom, Dick and Mary, Paul, Mark and Lucy.
Mark was once the victim of a drive-by shooting. We were playing in the front yard, some teen-agers drove by, and shot and got me with a BB Gun! Not seriously injured(medically).
Our neighbors on Lathers included Martha and Bob Wychor, Terry and Larry's parents Betty and Hayden Smith, and our next-door neighbors the Metosinka family. Garden City's postmaster Glenn Donner and his wife Ruby lived across the street in a two-story colonial, and their favorite was Anne, who was known for visiting the neighbors naked. Also across the street were the Whitmans, who owned a small candy and cigarette shop on Ford Road at Helen. Betty Smith regularly sent us there to purchase her cigarettes, 32 cents a pack. Eventually, a house was built between ours and Martha Wychor, and this was home to the McCombs family, son Billy being the most memorable one. Directly across the street lived our neighborhood juvenile delinquent, Speedy Coleman, and his slightly nicer sister Nina.
Babysitters included Christine Lawrence, who lived in a
trailer on Merriman Road. Her
father Stan was building a pink brick house for the family at that
site. The mother was
We were also taken care of by the twins, Mary Ann and Nancy Wagonjack. Then Mrs.Clara Blackman was discovered, and just one block down Lathers. The Schmitts enjoyed a long and happy association with Mrs. Blackman .Contributed by Mark
North Hollywood, CA July 16, 1995 Hello from North Hollywood! Since the last letter, my health seems to have improved quite a bit. I am over the pneumonia. I am currently on four medications, but I may be moving to a more aggressive protocol, involving more drugs more times a day. I feel good and everyone says I look good. Who am I to argue? I haven't worked since January, and miss the travel and social opportunities. I have been receiving disability payments, but their future seems very much in doubt. I may start to work slowly, such as a Shaklee convention. Maybe in September. Since I last wrote, I have had numerous visitors. both family and friends. Alice was here for the Presidents weekend; Philip and Martha were here the beginning of March. Dick and Pietrina came March 24; they did home repairs, tree-trimming, cooking, etc.
Also in late February, my friends Pat Braun and Steve Lilie were here. I work for them at Salou Design Ltd in New York City every Christmas season, we have been friends for over 25 years. They are coming again this week, on a buying trip to the Los Angeles Gift Show at the LA Convention Center. And we will most likely drive down to San Diego for a couple of days. Jim Schmitt and Holly Young have also been here a couple of times, and I have also driven to San Diego twice, once in April and once in July. My friend Richard Renninger of Washington, D.C. was also here for 10 days! We had a nice weekend in Palm Springs too. Our friend Julie Rupp had a big celebrity home for a few month, and we were able to spend one party weekend there. Palm Springs is just two hours from LA. In May Denise Resetar, Linda Hart and I traveled together to Illinois for our friend Susan Rumble's wedding to Stuart McCall. I ended up walking the bride up the aisle since her family is all in England. They are planning another ceremony, in England, in the fall(I'm not going). We had a wonderful time and felt we lent a sophisticated and worldly LA tone to the festivities. The locals in Elizabeth and Galena, IL were certainly agog ! Then I went to Garden City for a Spring visit. The lilacs came into glory while I was there -- also the lilies of the valley. I picked a huge bouquet of the lilies of the valley for Mrs. Hammer, from whose garden (according to legend) they originally came. She was delighted, and seemed to be doing quite well without the Judge to supervise her doings. She was gardening and out and about every day, looks good too. Brown Street had just been paved before I arrived. I was able to observe the pouring of the approaches from the street to the driveways. It is up a little hill now, the road is quite low. I'm sure everyone will get used to it. Greg loaned me the 1968 Buick Skylark, formerly Martha's. This was a great car for hauling it, and getting a lot of looks too. The house looks good with the new roof, but the road construction continued to create a lot of dust and dirt everywhere, and there was no apparent rush to clean up. I also saw all the local relatives. Greg and the girls and I drove to Lucy's for two overnights, we worked on the rock garden out back while Emma had her birthday party. We also exchanged plants with Amy and Lucy, with everything going into the ground right away, instead of the usual several weeks. Had a nice chat with Michael one night, saw Tom and Bev and Pete. Auntie Ev and I visited the family graves at the cemetery. I also had dinner with little Paul, Mrs. Polizzi, and Aunt Sophie (At De Luca's across from St. Mel's).
Did a little gardening, mainly transplanting more daylilies into the way back area. Then I left, and Dad said a lot of the new ones blooomed already. Philip and I hope to be able to redo the front near the new street in August. In June I had a nice trip to Roslyn and Seattle, WA. Spent several nights with Pam Salvatore and her son Sam. And I had the busiest ever visit with Paul and Cindy and the boys. There was a social function (pot-luck); every night, we went to the Ohme Gardens and the Rocky Reach ham at Wenatchee. We also had a cruise through the Puget Sound, went through the locks, and ended up in Lake Washington. We climbed a mountain, went to the lake, toured those mountain towns, we rented videos. I met a lot of the regular characters in their lives at all those pot-luck suppers. They have e-mail, faxes, and all the other modern things we city folk have. That whole family is working in the garden a lot more, and the improvement is obvious. This was a real fun trip.
I still have my clinic appointments once a month. They eyeball me, take some vital signs and blood, talk to me, etc. We discuss nutrition, etc. I am concentrating on a good diet, plenty of rest, etc. Although I am back to gardening pretty much. Thanks to everyone for all the attention and concern. This is a good family to belong to. Mark
Sunny North Hollywood, California February 13, 1996 [email stamp says May 4]
I am writing on a hard deadline, and sending this via e-mail. Why is it so hard to get started on this document we all love so much? I will proceed in chronological sequence from the last letter, published in July 1995.
In August 95 I enjoyed a nice month-long visit to Garden City. Mary was there for several days, and Judy Bedard was there the whole time, planning and executing her parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Dad and I attended the party, he can really work a room. Dad & I also went to Lake Michigan to visit Julie and Dodie, saw our cousins (Linda Renauld family), and even paid a pop-call to Uncle Stan and Aunt Bethel, and stopped to see Art Schmitt at his store where we bought the Joe Schmitt Honey.
Also had a nice overnight to Mike & Debby's with Greg, Amy, Wily, and Marti. Mike & Deb were away for the weekend, but we did spend some quality time with our grown-up nephew, the former "Little Chrissie", now known as Mike Schmitt or 'Schmitty-Schmoo" among other aliases.
Judy and I made a one-day pilgrimage to her alma mater, Central Michigan U at Mt. Pleasant (driving her Dad's Fleetwood). We stopped for dinner at Lucy & Mort's, all in all a great day. Judy and I made numerous outings for shopping and gallivanting, usually whenever I needed a break from watching Dad on the ladders.
I attended Mrs. Kasten's neighborhood party for the second year in a row. Every neighbor woman scolded Dad for working on ladders (14 days in a row during my visit). He ignored them all.
Judy and I flew together to Burbank, where she stayed with us a couple of days before returning to Australia for her schoolteaching career.
High point of September was a weekend visit from my little California nephews John and Paul. We did the usual Sunset Strip/Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills/Pacific Ocean tour in my Bonneville. They did the night club tour with Maria's glamourpuss friend Tamara, she's from Livonia and works here for one of the studios.
Late September/early October found me traveling to St. Cloud to see Martha and Jon and Jack and Karl. Don & Virginia invited us to Milaca for a full turkey Dinner, the other guests were Jon's sister Marie and her whole gang. I also inspected the Lutheran church and even met the minister (another Jon). Martha and I bought lots of perennials for their new front-door garden. The leaves changed color while I was there, and all in all it was really a nice relaxing visit.
In November I went to San Francisco to work the Shaklee Convention on Nob Hill. They didn't work me too hard, and it was great to see all my old friends and coworkers.
I also made a trip to GC for the Schmitt Thanksgiving Celebration on Brown Street. Everyone did a good job, and it was a wonderful holiday, it was great to be there.
Late November found me in Tempe, AZ for a weekend of taking naps and playing Skip-Bo every night with Alice & Ronnie.
In December I went to New York City for my regular Christmas job, it was all the same clients and penthouses. I'd get to work around noon(ish), and work at my own pace with several assistants to schlep the trees and garlands, etc. I was able to go out with other friends a couple of times. The people I work for at Salou are wonderful and care a lot about me. I really had a good time in NYC and am so glad I took the chance and went. I returned home to LA on December 25.
On January 1, 1996, we hosted our famous New Years Day Hat Party, with well over 100 hatted guests attending. Alice & Ronnie were here, also Jim Schmitt and the Renauld Cousins. We had a wonderful warm sunny day, and the party spread through the whole back yard.
Mid-January took me to San Diego for 5 days. I worked a program for Travel Incentives, Also spent some time with Jim Schmitt, including a visit to the Auto Museum in Balboa Park. Flew from San Diego to BUR-on a prop plane on the clearest, most beautiful sunny day, right up to coast. 4 passengers!
If it sounds like I have gone back to work, I really haven't. The jobs I've done have been performed at my new slower pace. I need to start later, and take several breaks.
My energy is good on some days, poor on others. I am maintaining a pretty good weight (175-180)(with some effort), and have my various aches and pains. I take numerous drugs, including all the new ones that have just been approved. I am also on a couple of drug studies at my clinic.
The 5P21 Clinic is the largest in the country, and the doctors there are among the top AIDs researchers in the U.S. So whatever is the latest is usually the treatment I receive. I still love my P.A.(Physician Assistant), Debbie Johnson. She is very straightforward about my status and what I need to do. She always has me at the top of the list for new drugs and drug studies, and I am almost always ready to try the newest protocol. She answers all my questions (I always have a big list), and she is very warm and loving, with a good sense of humor. She claims I am her favorite out of over 300 patients. Debbie thanks my family for expanding her Donald Duck memorabilia collection... Keep on shopping! I go to the clinic about twice a month these days.
My roomates Derek and Craig are very well and very solicitous to me. I am lucky to be living with them. I'm also enjoying a decent social life, and still gardening and cooking a bit.
I am glad to be well enough to keep visiting all my relatives here and there, and hope to do even more visiting this year. So, I'll hope to see you all, either at your place or mine, in the coming months.
Love from MARK
Dear Everyone... Well I guess I get the top prize for best excuse for missing the deadline... HEART ATTACK! Chest pains on August 18 and 19th put me in LAC+USC Hospital on August 20. It was a full-fledged MI, (Myocardial Infarction) with permanent damage. I went through all the tests: Ecocardiagram, Treadmill Stress Test, Cardiac Catheter. My interns and cardiac cath. Doctors were saying heart bypass surgery, but when the whole team converged, the plan was to manage me medically, with drugs. This seems a much more appealing course of action. I was supported by the 5P21 clinic including Debbie Johnson PA, Carole Wilson RN, and Dr. Judith Currier. (Currier's husband is a cardiac surgeon at LAC+USC, and is investigating my case).
Dale and Derek and Linda and Denise and Mary Lea were my devoted visitors. I stayed 9 days in the hospital and was delighted to leave without the immediate prospect of open heart surgery. Prior to the MI, my health had shown dramatic improvement, due mainly to the latest 3-drug therapy including the new protease inhibitor Ritonavir. My viral load factor had gone from over 1,000,000 to 370, and my T-Cells from under 50 to 115. The prospect of a longer life was right there. Now Debbie and I think that maybe the new drug somehow contributed to my heart attack. Certainly the high fat diet suggested for drug absorption raised my cholesterol to 419! So we are switching protease inhibitors and making changes in the diet.
I'm kind of laying low now, but hope to get to GC for my 30th H.S. reunion on October 12. Maybe to Washington DC for a visit and to NYC for my Christmas job. Dale moved in with us this summer and is now trying to create low-fat meals. He is horrified by our hot weather, which has been 100+ for over a month now.
I have been busy since the last letter in February. Had Kathleen Neumann and her daughter Kathryn for one rainy week in February. Then it was Dad's heart attack in San Jose. I went up to relieve John and Paul. They were so good to Dad (and Mary and me). John even let me drive his car!
In March, Pat Braun was here from NYC to help open the new Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills. I helped with the gala opening party. Even met 'that girl' Marlo Thomas. Late March our whole group went to Palm Springs for Julie Rupp's wedding, which she canceled 3 days before. We went anyway and she's still planning to marry him once she gets the pre-nuptial agreement more to her satisfaction! True Love!!
In April I went to Phoenix and had a nice weekend with Alice and Ronnie, and saw a couple of my other friends too. May took me to Las Vegas for a short weekend with my San Francisco friends including Dana Turner. Also had dinner with cousins Ron and Melanie Renauld and kids. We had our annual yard sale here.
June was spent in Michigan doing all the usual stuff with the usual suspects. Both HS graduation parties were fun. I made sauerkraut for Anna's'. Mary was helping me. I said cut up a couple of apples in wedges, peeled, so she cut them in tiny squares with the peel on. Then she corrected that, but did 7 apples and put them into the pot while my back was turned. You gotta watch her! But it was the most successful dish at the party, so I suggest you up the apple quotient next time you make this wonderful dish.
Dad and Peter re-roofed the Bike Shed while I was there. All I did was fix them lunches and cool drinks. They were careful with the ferns (that Anne didn't plant). It was quite the long project, but done right. Dad was also up his ladders as usual. He could open a ladder museum, I think.
I did some work on Brown Street yard, mainly the strip between our driveway and the Christensen neighbors. Lots of myrtle and black-eyed Susans, and watering. The yard looks good.
In July Pat and Steve were here from NYC for 10 days (in a hotel). They had a Lincoln Town Car in which I drove them all around town. The high point was our VIP hard hat tour of the new Getty Museum, ($74 million), under construction on the highest hill in LA, (next to the San Diego Freeway).
I also had a nice quiet 4th of July weekend away from my 3 roommates, dog-sitting for Denise and Gilbert in their Hollywood Hills home with a pool.
In August I had a nice week in Seattle and Roslyn. Played a lot of checkers and "chest" with Evan, and all us boys played Nintendo "Bonopoly." Flowers abound all over "Bedsyde Manor". It really is beautiful. Also had a nice few days with Pam Salvatore and her 10 year old son Sam.
Went to the Central California coast with Linda Hart and Elizabeth Simeone for a weekend, including a tour of San Simeon, William Randolph Hearst's fantastic castle.
Have been to the Hollywood Bowl for several concerts this summer. Our heatwave is quite draining. We got a "new" 2 year old black female German Shepherd named "Lucky". Poor old Duke is still hanging on, but those old bones are not going to support him too much longer. for all your attention during my recent hospital stay. The nurses were quite delighted to get flowers from the brothers and sisters. It sure is good to have 2 doctors for brothers and one RN sister who called almost every night to check my status! And thanks to all for keeping the hotline and rumor mill going. It's past time to go and E-Mail this to Dick. Love to all, MARK
BETTER TO FEEL GOOD THAN TO LOOK GOOD
Things are looking good to me! In the health department, my viral load is now called "immeasurable", (that's good), although the T-Cells are still less than 100. My cholesterol is under 200 (good), and electrolytes are normal. So all that is certainly encouraging. I feel good and "they" all claim that I look good too.
DID HE HAVE A LLAMA TIE?
October brought me to Garden City for the 30th High School Reunion. Pam Salvatore was my date and we had a great time. Of course I heard "you look just like Dr. Schmitt" more than once. The St. Raphael crowd had a photo together. I guess we go back more like 42 years! Lots of them are still in GC and environs.
We also enjoyed a Schmitt family gathering on Brown Street that same day. Those grandchildren sure are cute.
In November I went to San Francisco to work the Shaklee Convention for a few days. Worked with Jim Schmitt and all my old and dear friends. Lots of fun and hard work and long hours. Paul and John and Carolyn trained up from Silicon Valley for a nice afternoon with me on the Streets of San Francisco.
NO NOBLE PRIZE
Then it was off to New York City for one month. We had Thanksgiving dinner at the apartment. I made Mom's famous stuffing, for which I had to call Cheryl for the recipe. She finally got me of the phone by claiming she had a "screaming baby." My Christmas job at Salou Design Ltd. was the most pleasant in memory. We put out a lot of work, but all as scheduled and with a minimum of stress and false deadlines. Biggest problem was a lack of Noble Fir trees in NYC!
New York is getting more pleasant and civilized every year. Now it is against the law for every vehicle to honk the horn every time the light changes at every intersection. Weather was very nice, with only a couple of really cold days and no lingering snow.
MARIA SAKKED-TAKES THE FIFTH
Highlight of my New York stay was a short visit from Maria and her chatty friend Kathryn. Maria is so cute and smart and funny. Very stylish too, and she was laden down with purchases from Saks 5th Avenue.
GOING TO THE DOGS
I returned to Los Angeles on December 25th, then enjoyed 10 days with no roommates; just me and 2 German Shepherds, Duke and Lucky. Even though it rained everyday, we really enjoyed the peace and privacy. And the only Christmas decoration here on Camellia Avenue was one poinsettia! Of course I had already seen enough Christmas decor in NYC.
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
Jim Schmitt was here for a long weekend in mid-January. It was rainy so we couldn't do the usual number of projects he likes to do. Then his brother Donnie died later that week. Donnie was my age, I knew him when I was a kid and stayed with Uncle Don and Aunt Margaret (my Godparents,) on the cousin exchange. I remember him going to Barbour Hall at Nazareth. He had been to Vietnam. Was married to his second wife and lived in Tennessee, worked for Saturn.
ON A ROLL
Last weekend I played host to "Little" Paul, Carolyn, and their friend Linda from Chicago. Dale drove us on the full tour in the Rolls. Of course it rained all weekend, but we still had fun. Saw Evita, the ocean and the Venice Boardwalk too.
Past time to E-mail, so...
Love to all,
North Hollywood, CA
August 1, 1997
We all love to get the letter. We all hate to write it. We especially hate to write on a deadline, although everyone does it. Since I cannot remember the date of the last letter, I will start with February.
Had a nice visit with Tom and Bev in Feb. They were staying in Pasadena, so Tom got to meet my dear friend Mary Lea Carroll. Mary Lea loaned us her membership card for the Huntington Library and Gardens, so we made our visit in the early morning before the hoi polloi were admitted to the grounds. Bev exclaimed over each cactus in the vast gardens, and there are several thousand varieties. We also admired Blue Boy and Pinky. They were the first real art I had ever seen, as there were copies of them at the Caldwell Funeral Home. Tom and Bev and I also dined out numerous times, and even the jaded Bev was impressed by my skill at Parallel-parking the Bonneville.
In March I was host to our group's annual Academy Awards Arty, This is a gambling Arty, winner takes all. Winners were Denise's husband Gilbert and her brother Bob, who had to split the $260.
In Aprils, Francis came out for a visit. We went on his long anticipated agricultural tour of Central California, viewing trillions of grape vines, citrus orchards, etc... We also visited the Sequoia National Park, where we saw the largest living thing on earth, the General Sherman Tree. One day we had lunch with cousin Barbara(Banner) Scalice and dinner with Marge and Dick Greenwald, both in Huntington Beach. We also had an evening with Ron And Melanie Renauld. Dad stayed two nights at Linda Hart's. since our house is kind of too full. A good visit, and I was able to polish up on my driving skills with all Dad's helpful pointers.
In May, I went to Washington, D.C. for a visit with all my good old friends, staying with my old friend Mitch in Alexandria. Then on June 2, flew off to Garden City for another couple of weeks. Had the usual fine time there doing gardening and house projects. Also did a lot of driving Dad around for his eye operation and follow-up appointments, further perfecting my driving with further helpful pointers. Late June brought a quickie dinner with Tom and Susie.
July 4th I was in San Diego for Holly Young's big party. which was also attended by Jim and Susie Schmitt. OH, forgot to mention that my (nd Dad's) friend Julie Rupp was married in June, and I escorted her up the aisle and Linda was Maid of Honor.
Now I am trying to adjust to a whole new drug regimen. MY viral load had risen quite a bit. So now I'm taking a 4-part "Cocktail"
This new drug Protocol attacks the virus in four ways, So now, including drugs for my heart "Problem" I take about 50 pills and 2 gruesome liquids a day. I just started the new therapy this week, so am still waiting for certain adverse reactions to assert themselves. Debbie Johnson and the other fine staff at the. 5P21 Clinic are watching me closely so I am in good hands, and all the drugs are the newest and latest things. I feel good, although less energetic (if you can imagine)
I am excited about our trip to Chicago for Joe and Veronica's wedding. Dad and I are going to be room-mates. We had a little practice in April, and got along pretty good. We each claim that the other does not snore. It should be fun for the whole family staying in the big hotel, going on this and that cultural outing. I also have a couple of friends I hope to spend some time with while we are there. And I am looking forward to dancing at the wedding, I arrive on Wednesday August 27. depart on Tuesday, September 2.
As You can see, I typed this myself on my own typewriter. When it comes back to me, I know I will regret not making the earlier deadline, because I will miss those Headlines.
Why not pull together our memories of Anne for the next edition, it's 20 Years since she died in December 1977. That's all for now, see You all soon.
Love from Your favorite,
February 3, 1998
This is the first document I am creating on my "new" computer.
I'll start at the high point of last summer, the wedding of Joe and Veronica in Chicago. What a fun event, what fun people. That week in Chicago will truly go down in history.
I had a nice visit with Jon and Martha in San Diego in September. Jon had a conference at the Princess Resort. Martha and I shopped and visited around. Then we all had drinks and dinner every night. I stayed with my good friend Holly Young and her little family.
Also in September, I worked a couple of days for Travel Incentives over at Universal Studios. I also attended 2 parties in one day, the last Saturday. One was Uncle Mark Hollingsworth and Dan Logan's "End of Summer" Beach Party at their home right on the ocean in Malibu. That same day I drove clear to Pasadena for Mary Lea and Bill Carroll's Garden Party in their newly remodeled garden.
Flower & Power
In October I helped Pat Braun(of Salou Design Ltd. of NYC). He was in Beverly Hills working on a Gala for the Museum of Television and Radio. Pat and I directed the local Florists and Lighting People and Caterers and Photographers, etc.
In October I was also privileged to speak(along with 4 other clients) at the Spirit of Hope Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown LA. My clinic, the LAC/USC 5P 21, was among 4 organizations receiving the annual Spirit of Hope Award, given for outstanding work in the AIDS field. And it was the staff of 5P 21 being honored. I followed 2 Spanish-speaking women, so I was warmly received and understood by many. I was able to rattle off the names of so many of the personnel who have kept me alive and happy for the past three years.
People sure do like to hear their names, and the P.R, generated has done me no harm either.
Babes in Palmland
In November I had a nice weekend in Palm Springs. Linda Hart had a program that I helped her get started, then Susie Schmitt became Linda's cute young staff. Linda was impressed with Susie's knowledge, and that Linda can be quite a shark! I inspected Susie's bachelorette apartment, just to visit all the hand-me-downs I have arranged for her. She is conveniently located right at the tennis courts, and according to our friend Julie, if Sue needs help moving furniture or whatever, she just goes out to the courts and recruits the strong backs she needs. Denise and Gilbert and family were also in the Desert that weekend, and we also got to see Julie Rupp's new baby girl, Alexandra Louise Masmanian. You will recall that Linda and I stood up at Julie's wedding last summer.
In early November I also worked a one-day job for Holly Young's company, The Event Team. It was a road rally for a bank in Glendale.
Then it was off to Michigan for the Schmitt Thanksgiving Weekend. One morning I went to Mass with Dad and Auntie Ev at the beautifully renovated St. Raphaels. The Mass was for Mom's Birthday, and the occasion was duly noted. Father Prus even preached a sermon, soliciting religious vocations from the 7th and 8th Graders in attendance. On Saturday we had a great family Thanksgiving, I believe we counted 28 close relations. Then on Sunday we went out to Phil and Cheryl's new house for a light meal and the usual property inspection. What a place!
Joe and Veronica drove Joe's old computer from Chicago and presented it to me. I shipped it off to LA via UPS and now have it hooked up but not quite going. I still have to learn how to work everything. At least I am a fast typist, and pertty accurate.
Tails of Manhattan
Then it was off to New York City, just in time for the real Thanksgiving, which we celebrated with all the usual attendees at the apartment at 5 West 86th Street. I kept up my 6 days a week job at Salou Design, and was able to go to quite a few parties too. Patti Mariano and I even attended a Black-Tie Affair, for which I now have the complete correct outfit! I had more fun in New York than I have had in years, had plenty of energy and always got the job done in time too.. They also have a "new" 10-year old Yorkie Mix named Sparky,, and I had the strength to give him occasional walks in Central Park, just across the street from the apartment.
On Christmas Eve I attended Midnight Mass at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church on West 46th Street with my assistant Ronnie Cahn. Ronnie donates and keeps up the advent wreath there. This was my 2nd Christmas Eve there. Those Episcopals do a lot in Latin, have a lot of processions, and swing a lot of incense around. This is one of my favorite new traditions.
The longest day
On Christmas Day, I flew from JFK to PHX, then had dinner with Alice and Ronny and all their good friends. Then Alice drove me back to catch my plane to BUR, and I finished up my Christmas Day in Beautiful North Hollywood.
wHAT a PARTY!
On New Years Day we hosted our famous HAT PARTY, we had about 100 in attendance including Ron and Melanie and William and Mia Rose Renauld of Calabasas, CA.
Girls to the Valley
After New Years, I had a nice quick overnight visit from Susie and her friend Jessica, who drove in from Palm Springs for a night clubbing on the Sunset Strip. I must say the girls were glamorous and looked sharp when they went out!
I'm just back from several days in San Diego, traveling via Amtrak. Saw quite a bit of Cousin Jim Schmitt as well as Holly and her gang. Hoping to go to Phoenix and San Francisco soon, and in spring back to Washington DC and of course Michigan.So as you can see I manage to keep busy working a little here and there and traveling a lot there and there.
Cocktail wait? Yes!
I am feeling good and "they" say I look good, especially with my new Hair-Do. As for medications, I am currently taking an "old" 3-part "cocktail" as a kind of stop-gap measure, just waiting to get the newest drugs, hopefully within weeks. The meds are keeping me in a good holding pattern, and all my numbers are pretty respectable (considering). So next time I will be on the newest protocol, and hopefully will be doing as well as I have been all along. Keep my name on your prayer list, I appreciate it.
Hope to see everyone soon. Love from your favorite,