Hello and Happy Holidays from the Icebox of the Nation! We’ve had a very busy year filled with travel and family events, and after taking a year or so off we thought it would be nice to return to this holiday newsletter.
Travel was the theme this Spring, Summer and Fall as we made no less than three trips to the West Coast for big family events. First in May, we had a reunion in Bellingham surrounding our nephew Forest’s high school graduation. Our daughter Sarah drove up from Eugene and we had a great – if brief – time together.
The big trip of the year was in July when an entire family got together for a two week reunion. Stephen flew out from the Netherlands with Rosemary and our grandaughter Katherine (then about 1.5 years old), Sarah made it up for part of the time and Rachel and Gabriel flew up from Los Angeles. We began in McMinnville, Oregon where we spent time with Jeff’s parents, sisters and extended family for about a week. As is the family’s style, there was lots of talking and hanging out. Our niece Emma (who’s now a mother of three) brought two of her little ones so Katherine had someone to play with. She has lots of cousins back home in the Netherlands so it was a familiar diversion.
Next, we moved to Bellingham where more family fun (and a bit more activity) was in store. Stephen and Rosemary got a chance to do some mountain biking while we watched Katherine, and we spent some more time with Oma and Opa Goller and Diane’s sister Michelle. Then came the climax of the trip. Gollers sprung for a huge rental home in Stanwood, WA that was big enough for our entire family. That meant Diane and I, Gollers, Phil, Michelle, Forest as well as Nim, Mailee, Zac and their daughter Kelia from Wenatchee. Sarah, Rachel and Gabriel also joined in as we enjoyed the soft summer weather and played a lot of Cornhole.
Later in August, Jeff had a less-fun trip when he returned to McMinnville to assist his parents in a major transition. Jeff’s father Laurel has moved to a memory care facility not too far from the Evergreen Air Museum where he volunteered for many years. His mother Janet is in the process of selling their home of 40 years and moving to an apartment at a senior center nearby. Laurel is settling in nicely and Janet will move early in the new year.
At Thanksgiving, we took one final trip, this time to visit Rachel and Gabriel in LA. We visited the Getty Art Museum, the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum, several favorite haunts of Rachel and Gabe’s and had a wonderful time between board games and turkey. One of the highlights was a visit to the Paramount Studio lot where Rachel was working that week. We got a private tour on the mostly deserted, but historic, lot.
After the Covid years, 2023 seemed extra busy. Diane continues to add new programs and services to the library, including a fleet of cross country skis for people to check out (now if we’d just get some snow!) while Jeff and Icebox Radio Theater took advantage of an opportunity to move to a new performance club in the Falls called ‘The Salty Jester’. They did seven live radio shows there in 2023 and plan to perform there monthly in the coming year.
We hope this letter finds you happy and healthy this holiday season. Merry Christmas from all of us here, and a Happy New Year.