Holiday 1998

It has been two years since we last sent out our “annual” letter. We can understand how reasonably minded people might interpret “annual letter” to mean something that is sent out every year. We did not mean to intentionally mislead our readers, but we contend that our understanding of “annual”, as it was defined at the time, included “semi–annual,” “bi–annual,” and “any time around Groundhog’s Day.” We are deeply sorry to have misled you, and hope you will forgive us. We are struggling daily to regain your trust, and are prepared to accept any discipline or censure that you deem proper.

Much has happened the past two years, so without further ado, let’s get to it.

Alena (11.5) entered middle school this year and as far as we hear, is doing pretty well with the adjustment. She continues to enjoy soccer, softball, and swimming and is making great progress in her piano and drum playing. Summers have found Alena at Tanager Lodge, the small summer camp that is so near to the Dannenberg heart. By all accounts, she loved her 7 weeks away and is noted for being a diligent swimmer – never once missing instructional swim and hardly ever missing morning dips. She has learned all sorts of camping skills and has enjoyed spending time with her new friends in addition to her cousins, Ari and Nathan, who are also attending. We know this to be the case not from any actual missives from our correspondence–impaired child, but rather from the accounts of the adults and from our own visits.

Danny (15) continues to be involved in acting, both during the school year, during summer vacation, and when asked who initiated any arguments with his sister. Since starting high school last year, he has been in 6 productions, our current favorite beingBlack Comedy where he gave a frighteningly excellent performance as an effeminate British antique dealer. He is attending weekly fencing lessons and, to his mother’s chagrin and father’s delight, is still enamored of golf. Music is still a big part of his life, and he juggles his schedule to accommodate the oboe, bass, and piano. He continues to do well academically, but it gives us all pause to contemplate the fact that he will be interviewing for college admissions all too soon.

Work is going well for Glenn as he was recently promoted to Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. While perhaps sounding impressive, we think the following interchange between Glenn and Danny summed things up pretty well. 

Danny: “Congratulations on your promotion, Dad.”
Glenn: “Thanks very much.”
Danny: “So did you get a raise?”
Glenn: “Uh, no.”
Danny: “Oh. So did you get a bigger office?”
Glenn: “Uh, no.”
Danny: “Uh–huh. So will it help you get more grants?”
Glenn: “Uh, no.”
Danny: “Oh…Well, congratulations.”

Glenn’s big adventure in 1997 was a trip with his brother, Stuart, to the US Comedy Arts festival in Aspen, Colorado. They were fortunate enough to get tickets to this event from their brother–in–law, Matt, who was event manager for the festival. Highlights included a Saturday Night Live re–union with 28 former and current cast members, a writer’s workshop with Steve Martin and Conan O’Brien (among others), a seminar by Michael Moore (Roger and Me), and numerous humorous skits and bits. Glenn was able to squeeze in some skiing as well. He skied into only one ski instructor and managed to avoid the tree that claimed Michael Kennedy on Copper Bowl. Stuart and Glenn also tested their predictive powers by forecasting Chris Farley’s imminent demise after seeing him overweight, sweating, and incoherent at the SNL reunion.

Ann(dy) cashed in 5 years of frequent flier miles and accompanied Glenn on a business trip to Hawaii. They flew first class to Kauai for a week before Glenn’s conference began on the Big Island. Their accommodation on the southern part of the “Garden Isle” was a bungalow right on a 17 mile–long stretch of beach. Attila the Wife took Glenn on forced marches through Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of Hawaii), the Na’Pali coast, and other remote locations while Glenn planned the evening’s dining activities and a helicopter tour of the island. The latter was particularly beautiful as verified by the pictures taken by Ann(dy) during the first (vomit–free) half of the flight. We both flew to the Big Island and Glenn stayed for a week while Ann(dy) left shortly for home.

Glenn’s convention was being held on the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, which is a fabulously ritzy place. Ann(dy) was enamored of the marine fossils in the limestone tile in the bathroom and the orchids placed on the pillow with the chocolates every night. Glenn was more impressed that the resort is the home of two 18 hole golf courses, and was pleased to break 100 on the South Course, which is the one used during the Senior Skins Game. All in all, it was a most relaxing, enlightening, and spectacular trip.

February vacation last year found the family in Maho Bay campgrounds on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Despite (Glenn speaking) or because of (Anndy speaking) the primitive accommodations, the family had a great time snorkeling, hiking, (except Danny) reading, sleeping, (especially Danny) and downing various tropical drinks (all of us).

In the fall of ’97, Ann(dy) left her position as Science Education Specialist at the Hahvahd Museum of Cultural and Natural History to work full–time toward her resolution of what to be when she grew up. She found that, try as she might, she couldn’t get away from science education, and spent the year attending and presenting professional development workshops in museums, volunteering in the education departments of the New England Aquarium and Arnold Arboretum, filling in as a teacher for a science education outreach company, tutoring high school biology students, and consulting for a few science education development companies. One major advantage of this year of “unemployment” was that she was able to fill her time with PTO activities in this, her last year as an elementary school parent. Leaving for Hawaii and actually missing the last day of school saved a lot of Kleenex®!

Just before that departure for points far west, after interviewing for the position on a whim, Ann(dy) was offered the job of Science Specialist at the Solomon Schechter Lower School here in Newton. To her surprise, she accepted the position and now spends three full days each week teaching rambunctious 7–9 year–olds — a job far more exhausting than anticipated. After a difficult initial breaking–in period, the kids seem to have Ann(dy) under control and everyone (parents, kids, administrators) seem thrilled to have her there. Perhaps the most unexpected benefit of the job is our increased understanding of the frequency of Jewish holidays.

Contrary to what one might conclude from our desultory attempts at maintaining correspondence, we do enjoy hearing from you. Please contact us at any of the email addresses below.

We send our best wishes for a happy penultimate year of the millennium.