Grand Summer 

Grand Summer

For Aliceann and I who have decided to “age in place,” this has been a grand summer. We are healthy. Our home is like a shore vacation.. We get into our pool in seconds. No packing for the beach or concern for bridge traffic. This summer however began on the dark side. We had a tragic loss in the death of daughter Susan’s much loved husband Tony Avallon.

On the upside we were so proud of the high school graduation honors bestowed upon our granddaughter Katherine Hillenbrand. We were thrilled to see her off for her first year at Amherst College.

This has been a spectacular summer weather-wise with plenty of rain and almost no oppressive heat. With ample rain our farm crops are sensational. We have corn at 13 feet. The pasture grass is so thick that it's like wading through snow.

There were great summer guests highlighted by the visit of Susan with the twins Quinn and Perris They saw their first fireflies and were greatly impressed with the pandas at the zoo. We also had a great visit from Jeanette Zalder and her intended Alfredo Ramirez and their 13 month old baby Adrianna. I taught the little one the word Obama. We also had a surprise visit from William Wan. He changed plans at Dulles and his flight was canceled so he spent the night with us.

As a part of aging in place we exercise mentally and physically as much as possible. I am exercising through gardening, pool maintenance, car detailing and other chores. Aliceann keeps house and handles both flowers and bill paying. We have responsibility for four houses: a farm: a vacation farm house rental and have responsibility for three trucks and two cars. Aliceann is in a book club; visits museums and art centers with Dee Farber and keeps up with our neighborhood through a local list serve. She continues to be a leader in the local Juniata College alumni and helped with her class’ 50th reunion celebration. I am active in the Wednesday Clergy Fellowship and the Cosmos Club old-timers. I have been supportive of our Foundry Methodist Church efforts to welcome homosexuals. Despite the efforts of many clergy, we were unsuccessful in our effort to stop the location of the Bush Library and Rightwing think tank a Methodist University in Texas.

Together with Lee and Susan Fritschler we have purchased a condominium for our son Craig Fritschler. Now all our children have homes. We are delighted and so are Craig and his roommate of several years Keith who will continue as a tenant in the two bed bedroom apartment.

My year old blog HILLENBRAND REPORT has had only 400 hits and three responses. My first impulse is to be discouraged. Google, however, reports in excess of 10 million blogs. We are a wash in a gigantic hurricane of information. We have, for example, a new digital television with 300 stations.

One of the compensations for getting old is being grandparents. Our youngest grandchildren are Aidan Fritschler age eight and his sister Phoebe soon to be four who visit every week. Aliceann and Susan Fritschler take turns babysitting the pair. One of the highlights of our summer was Aidan’s poolside birthday party with ten of his eight-year old friends.

For a year and a half we have been intensely involved with the election process. In the primaries Aliceann and I supported candidate Hillary Clinton me in Maryland and me in Maryland. On our tour of Asia a studied Obama’s book Audacity of Hope. I think he is an incredible person and if elected will be an outstanding president. Politically I now have a new pro Obama cause. Every day I take time to comment by email on the major political stories of the day. My sense is that Mc Cain is as incompetent as Bush and much older.

With love, Bernie


Daughter Susan, Perris and Quinn Avallon with Grandpa at poolside
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