Have to rush to finish this column in time. Got a Christmas newsletter from Dave and Ann WHITMAN. To wit: "As you may have noticed, we were in the cold country again last year, in Vail, CO, for the holidays with family and friends skiing and relaxing. The week was a blast and included our family and in-laws and great friends from Air Force times past... We had a full year. Our summer project was having a pool put in the backyard and doing all the landscaping ourselves. It took from May, when young Dave and old Dave destroyed the backyard with a rented Bobcat (well documented by Ann's photography) through last weekend when old Dave finally finished the back deck. Maybe next year we'll even be able to take our first dip in the pool. But the year was complete when we took a week cruise around the Caribbean for our 30th anniversary...The children are all well.
Much of Dave's year in Vail was spent studying for his real estate broker's license, which he successfully completed in November. Kevin and Beth just finished a year and a half in Dayton, Ohio, at AFIT in a rigorous master's degree program. Beth was awarded a degree in aeronautical engineering and Kevin in electrical engineering. The best thing from our perspective, is that they are on their way here to be stationed at McClellan AFB in the Advanced Tactical Fighter program. They will be living with us while looking for a new house. Julie continues in her master's program working toward her physical therapy degree in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston...The exciting thing is that she will return to California this summer to be stationed at Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA, for her first tour of duty. It's been a long time since we will have this many of our family this close together on a semi-permanent basis. We feel pretty fortunate. Hope this finds you well..." Thanks for the nice letter. Keep in touch and have a great year.
Got a Christmas newsletter from Alfie and Allen JACKSON from Saudi Arabia, "...Our big news for the year was the birth of grandson number 2 -- Austin Conner McCauslin. Since Austin arrived early, Alfie was not there as she was when Casey was born. She got to Natchitoches about four days later, which was just in time for her to start playing grandmother and taking care of the baby. Allen arrived in Natchitoches on May 9th. We were able to stay in the U.S. until early June, so it was a nice holiday. We did go to Ft Walton Beach for several days to visit with Rusty. You can guess where we ate most of the time -- at our favorite restaurant, Hoser's. They are in their third year and doing reasonably well.
Several people have stopped in there for a drink or meal after reading about Rusty's place in this newsletter. He always appreciates the business. By early June, Alfie had her fill temporarily of playing grandmother and we were out of vacation time, so we had to start back. We stopped in Georgia for several days and visited lots of family. While in Jackson, some old friends got together to have a fish fry. From there we went to Paris for 11 days on a business trip to attend the Paris Air Show. The Air Show was huge and I don't know which is better, Paris or the one in Farnborough, England. We enjoyed both. We ended up with three days of vacation left, so in September we went to a neighboring country -- Dubai. It is one of the United Arab Emirates and is not like Saudi Arabia at all. No restrictions on the way women dress other than it should be moderate, and there is liquid refreshment available to those who wish to indulge. Saw George HARRISON this summer. He was over in Riyadh for a TDY as commander of the JTF here. I tried to call Charlie PRICE in Natchitoches but he had moved. Don't know where." Thanks for the news Alfie and Allen. If you are ever in Cocoa Beach again, call me. Enjoy the rest of your tour.
Got a Christmas newsletter from Nancy and Willie GRAY, just down the street from me. "This has been a most eventful year for us. Larry and Christine graduated from Florida State Univ. in May with degrees in elementary education (Larry) and psychology (Christine). Christine returned home after graduation to help Nancy with the wedding preparations. She and John Banko were married on July 31st at our United Methodist Church in Satellite Beach. The newlyweds have settled in Gainesville, FL, where John is employed at the University of Florida in their Management Info Sys Dept. Christine is pursuing a doctorate degree in clinical psychology. She was very fortunate to receive a completely paid fellowship for this five-year program.
Larry returned home long enough to pack all his valuable possessions in his car and then headed for Atlanta, GA, to seek fame and fortune. He relocated there so he could rejoin the band that he has played and sung with since high school. Nancy completed a three-week Montessori training course in June. She is now the head teacher for 20 lively 1st and 2nd graders to whom she dedicates about 10 hours a day (she says it's more than that). She continues to sing in the church choir and take care of the household duties (those which she hasn't delegated to Willie)... Willie is still working for Lockheed even though they were unsuccessful in their bid for the Eastern Range contract (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station). Currently he is working on business development in the Test and Evaluation sector. We wish each and every one of you continued health and happiness in 1994."
Got a call from Owen HAWKINS last month telling me that he was coming to Orlando with Connie and would Caroline and I like to join them for the weekend. So we did and had a great time. We started at Universal Studios and toured it for the day. Great rides that can shake your insides out. Headed over to the time-share condo for a rest and a quick cocktail. Then to Disney World for dinner at one of the fine eating establishments they have. From there we went to Adventureland or someplace like that to see the Laservision parade. It was spectacular. Then for a late night ride on Splash Mountain. The steep drop on the last hill took my breath away. If the picture is reproducible, it is hilarious. The next day we went to MGM-Disney Studios and really bustled around there. The long work week and the hours of walking took its toll. Caroline and I had to head back home on Sunday afternoon. Thanks again Owen for a great time.
Saw a clip in the Air Force Magazine that Don SHEPPERD was promoted to Major General. Congrats, Don. The Redtags in the Washington area and other parts of the Air Force said you are doing great things for the smooth working relationships between the RegAF and the Guard. Also saw a transfer notice for George Harrison: from Cmdr, USAF AIR Warfare Center, ACC, Eglin to Cmdr, AFOTEC, AFMC, Kirtland AFB, NM. Have fun in the desert, George. I remember that you were wing commander at Holloman several years ago; so this should be a piece of cake
Got a copy of a sad letter from the AOG to Dick KLASS telling him that Howie "Fish" NICHOLS died from cancer on 2 Jan. Our deepest condolences to Ellen. Anyone wishing to send a note can send it to Ellen at 109 Partridge Trail, Warner-Robins, GA 31088.
As I was about to go to press, I got a phone call from Fred HENDRYX. He and Arlene retired from Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, she on Dec 31st and he on Jan 4th. They plan to travel for a year scouting out possible retirement locations. They don't know if they will prefer Florida or the West or Cincinnati. They will be here in Melbourne with his room until June. He has his fishing license and plans to use it often. They plan to hit the big amusement parks in Orlando over the next few months. Take it from me, Splash Mountain will take your breath away and Back to the Future will shake the bloody mess out of you. They expect their oldest son to visit in Melbourne in April at Easter with the wife and grandkids. The other son is in Cincinnati. Fred helped him move into a new house recently.
Fred and Arlene visited Jackson Hole last year and plan to go back in August and September. Fred saw Dave LEE in December at the State of the Wing dinner. Herb WEATHERHEAD was also there. Fred plans to call Tom YOUNG over in Tampa and visit him soon. Well I guess that about does it. Keep the cards and letters coming. I really appreciate it. Thanks again to all those who made my job easier this month.