Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

                                                                                                December 28, 2012
Dear friends,                                                                       

What to say on this feast day of the Holy Innocents? The Church called the little boys slain by Herod the first martyrs for Christ. But why do there have to be martyrs, and involuntary ones at that? After Sandy Hook, persons of faith are looking for God in the love of community and wishing that Christ didn’t have to come in the midst of evil and death. Persons of unfaith reach different conclusions--and all of us hold our young ones tighter.

In my fourth year of my third retirement, the eighth year without Denny, I spent as much time as possible with those young ones and older ones too. Alan paid a visit in March from Las Vegas; in April I flew to Boston to celebrate my granddaughter Megan’s Confirmation. Back up there in June for to my stupendous Wellesley 50th reunion, I was happy to see my dear friend Dona, who--after bravely suffering chemo--had emerged cancer-free and ready for Legal Sea Foods.  

After that exciting time: more excitement, with the quads’ 16th birthday. Can you believe they are looking at colleges; and grandson Max is a sophomore and granddaughter Hannah has sent out applications? Plus, the Tams will be back next summer on a college tour for Amelia.  Megan and Rachel took a tour of Davidson when they visited me in July. We giggled at a play, “Rumors,” and squealed during a “Downton Abbey” marathon. Heidi also dropped by from Colorado; and from August to November, my sister surprised me by moving into a little apt. right around the corner. Sue and I had a wonderful time going to book group, getting manicures, walking our dog, and watching “Hardball” on msnbc.

Yes, we got quite caught up in electoral politics, upset especially about the encroachments on women’s rights.  Sue supported my canvassing and telephoning for Obama. We suffered through the debates, the vote counting; and we celebrated the outcome. Now ho-ho ho-ho over the fiscal cliff we go!

Politicking was one way I spent time after deciding to quit writing. I have written three books and co-authored one and have a couple of completed manuscripts filed somewhere. The co-authored one was printed for classroom use, and I ran off the cookbook for family. I self-published The Santa Book. The Psalm Meditations is not even really a book but a congregational resource that sells poorly at Leader Resources (although it is actually lovely). I have enjoyed giving retreats and talks on Psalms, and there is a demand for revision of the cookbook, so I’m doing that. But I have QUIT, I tell you, quit!

Yes, I threw out Writing the Perfect Book Proposal and How to find the Perfect Agent. I tossed the files full of bios and plot synopses. I forgot all the “elevator lines” and trashed the “lists of names” an author is supposed to keep. Although I still blog, I seldom contemplate building a web site anymore. (Of course I’m still tempted.)

So in deteriorated prose, I greet you. I’m proud that grandson Connor has already published his first e-book. He has the talent and energy and savvy to keep it fun! I admire that Amanda has submitted the final revisions of her second book. She got up every day at four all summer to work on translating and writing commentary on Russian women’s poetry. I myself am still in the middle of the cookbook revision, because I like to sleep late.

Not writing also gave time for other kinds of research and learning. Genealogy progresses, with 17 cartons that Sue delivered to my garage. I feel like some kind of hoarder, only with archives. If there is a TV show for that I would like to go on it. Meanwhile, I have my own show of baskets full of historical matchbooks, old sunglasses, scrapbooks pasted with concert programs, movies of trips through the Panama Canal in 1937, and the handwritten minutes of the first Pi Phi meeting in St. Louis. 

In 2012 also pursued two other subjects: piano lessons and an on-line class called “Radical Hope” with Prof Jane Redmont.  In December I performed (most of) Mozart’s Sonata No. 1 in a recital—which for me was a triumph. I so enjoy playing through to the beauty of the piece. As for the Hope class, it made me wiser forever, as it included writings of Dorothy Day, William Stringfellow, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Nancy Eiesland. These theologians, who faced oppressive circumstances, even martyrdom, taught me that hope doesn’t come in the good times; it is for things that are not yet. Hope originates in God, who seems so absent sometimes; and hope stirs one to action towards the Reign of God’s justice.

Whatever is doing, I always begin and end with God. Prayers and worship and community support the faith that sustains beyond words; which is good because so often no words will do. I hope your faith, hope, and love sustain you, too. I miss you and wish I could see you. In my heart I hold you tight.


Deb Cannavino m. Alan Caplan --- div  --- Patricia Caplan Andrews --- wid. Denison Andrews

Karen-Caplan    Tory Caplan        Nick                Amanda &                Heidi&;           Heather& Drew       Kristen 
Perry                    Peter Tam            Caplan            Craig Ewington        Brad Rude      McCarthy                    Andrews            
Megan, Connor    Amelia (16)     Sophie( 15)     Angus(12)               Max (20)          Samantha (10)         Jack (8)
Rachel, Ben (16)  Isaac (14)         True (12)          Louis (9)                Hannah (17)      Jack (8)                    Emmett (5)


Monday, December 17, 2012

The Routine?

From my Diary Tues., April 17, 2007

"There was a poor father on CNN describing how he worred about his beautiful freshman daughter and kept 'doing research' to track her down. She wasn't answering her cell and finally about 7:30 p.m. one of the ambulance drivers broke the news to him and his wife; but they're not allowed to go to the morgue. They had checked all the hopsitals in their research.

"One professor saved his kids by blocking the classroom door, and he was killed. He was 76, a holocaust survivor; his son was interviewed in Israel.

"Some students blocked their own classroom door with furniture and kept the shooter out. He was a So. Korean named Cho who creeped people out with his disurbing writings. Seems he also wrote bomb threats. South Korea is very sorry. So is Paris. My daughter sent me an editorial from Le Monde about 'Prairie Mentality and the American Dream'.... leading to American tragedy."

Well it was sad. The worst mass shooting in U.S. history. A South Korean in Virginia acting out the "prairie mentality."

The day before Virginia Tech, my diary was ruminating on the sorrows of aging; the day after, evaluating a Psalms class I had taught and worrying about a friend in the cardiac ward. We went on with things after Virginia Tech.

But now--December 2012--we've had (to hit the highlights) the Tuscon mall; the Aurora movie theatre; and the Wisconsin Sikh temple. Now tonight on the "News Hour "we got to watch the faces of twenty little first-grade children go by in memoriam and we got to contemplate what an assault rifle wielded by a combat-clad 20-year-old had done to their little six- and seven-year-old bodies.

These scenes have made the country extra-traumatized, at least I hope so. In his speech last night, President Obama said we can't keep tolerating this, we can't just keep accepting these shootings as a routine part of living in the USA. He said, "We have to change."

We shall see.