MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Frank & Cynthia Robben – December 2002
Cynthia, Maria and I send our best wishes to you. May the Holiday Season bring you the memories and meaning of good friends, the warm glow of the gifts and pleasure you have brought to others, and the realization of the value of the friendship you have received. We enjoy knowing about the lives of our friends who are scattered around the world and look forward to hearing from you. In that spirit a summary of the events in our lives this past year follows.
It is strange to me how my perspectives on life, on traditions like Christmas, have changed. Sometimes I feel I see more fully our place in all of humanity, in all of the earth as we know it, in the entire universe. The recent strides in scientific and technical understanding of life and of the universe are impressive and change the manner in which thinking people look at themselves. In some sense I am far away and all these interesting things are going on in which I may dabble if I so desire. Then I am back to my old self, with all of the sometimes overwhelming baggage of 68 years.
Since selling Kialoa II in the spring of 1999 I have felt I should “do something”! Not that I have not been busy. So finally I created a major, short term job for myself. In March I bought, not one, but two houses to repair and sell. I had been looking for some time, and in retrospect got carried away a bit. My role is primarily planning and hiring contractors, but I get to do a bit of the work as well. One house has been completed, it looked like a new house and has been sold. The second house has been sitting vacant, it is just up the hill from where we live on the slope of Punchbowl National Park. I have been slow on this project. A duplex has been designed to be built, and with luck construction should begin about February 2003.
Cynthia went to Europe in the summer; originally we were all going but the house projects took priority for me (the problems of a job!). She stayed with friends, arriving in London on the Queen’s 50th Jubilee and enjoyed watching the celebrations. In Hanover, Germany, she joined her friend Hilda for her 50th birthday celebration, visited “Mama” (a long story) in Kaufburn, Germany (see attached photo), a friend in Austria, and spent a week in Verona, Italy as a tourist with our English friend Dawn. She enjoyed the trip greatly, but politely said she was a bit lonely without me!
Cynthia and I have been attending the Unitarian Church, and they elected me to the board! Maria has also been involved a bit with the youth group. Socially, between the Sri Lankan community here in Honolulu, friends from the church, and other friends and activities we are fully occupied. In addition, Cynthia works a couple of days a week at a Juice Bar in the Honolulu Club, just down the street from us.
In summer Maria went to California, visited friends in Dixon, spent a couple of days in Berkeley with Willa, an old friend of mine, visited her brother Adrian in Bakersfield and then attended a UU camp (Unitarian Church sponsored) in the San Gabriel mountains north-east of Los Angeles. She found the camp a wonderful experience, meeting interesting kids from all over the US (and wanted to return for winter camp in December, but this was not really possible). Maria liked Berkeley and the University and at the moment thinks she would like to go there. I tend to think that the style of UC Berkeley fits Maria’s personality and ambitions – we will see what happens.
As a junior in High School Maria has matured a bit; she is more serious, studies hard and wishes to excel. She has been part of the school sailing team, tried paddling a bit, is president of the speech and debate team, and does not nearly have enough time for all that she wishes to do. In many ways a model teenager, an interesting and attractive young lady and a stimulating companion. The school certainly lays on a lot of work, far beyond what was demanded of me in High School in Dixon in the late 40’s.
In August I brought my mother Lillian (94) to Honolulu to live with us, but after arriving she only wanted to “go home”, and after 3 weeks Debi, who is very fond of my mother, came and took her back to Dixon and to her home. Irvin (96), her husband, has become confused with poor memory (senility I guess one would call it), and his family took him out of the home. Now Mom is living there with 24 hour care. A very complicated story, stressful for all, but Mom is happier there at the moment than any other alternative. She is still feisty and independent but does not remember things too well. We do not know what the future holds for her and us.
Cynthia’s sister Sylvia came from Sri Lanka for a 6 month visit in April. After a week with us she went to Dixon to help care for Mom and Irvin, and then came back with Mom. It was great having her with us. Two of Sylvia’s children were recently married, she now has one grandchild and another coming. She was quite anxious to return home and see them.
Recently I spent a few very enjoyable days in Stinson Beach (north of San Francisco) with my daughter Katie, husband Tom and my three grandchildren Björn (9), Anders (7) and Linnea (6). We had a wonderful time and it left me wishing I could be closer to them.
My daughter Pippi is firmly located in San Diego, has a quite compatible boyfriend Sergio and works at freelance costuming and clothing for TV, movies and catalogs. Seems no plans for marriage or family!
Anthony and his fiancée Andrea are planning to have a baby and Cynthia is excited to be a grandmother. They both are still going to school, Anthony has another year or so, and they are moving to Sacramento to temporarily live with Andrea’s parents. They are doing fine. Adrian has returned to California, he wishes to enroll in a computer school in Sacramento. Dalreen continues her job as a hostess for Robert’s Hawaii on a dinner cruise boat and has a second job at Guess clothing store. She has stopped going to school, we are not sure where she is headed at the moment.
We send our best wishes and look forward to hearing from you. Interested in visiting Honolulu? We have a spare room.
Love to all of you, Frank & Cynthia
826A Prospect Street
Honolulu, HI 96813