Project 52, Week 35, Part 8 – Trip to America!

It’s time for Project 52, Week 35, Part 8!

2000_04 1 Springtime

Okay, wait a second. Really, it’s time for Week 36!

36 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, each week I’m taking one year of my life and blogging about it. This week, I should be covering the year I was 36 — June 14, 2000, to June 14, 2001, but the truth is, I still haven’t finished the year I was 35.

So I really need to reset. I need to give up the idea of posting all the gorgeous photos of Europe. Settle for a summary, Sondy! So — tonight I’m going to try to summarize the last half of the year I was 35. And then I will try try try to talk about the year I was 36 with ONE post. Not sure I can do it, but I’m going to try!

Last time, I got us up to December 1999. Which meant we had completed one “tour” in Germany. Since we extended for a “Continuous in place” assignment, the Air Force would pay for us to take a trip back to the States! I thought that was so fabulous. When we lived in Illinois for five years, we felt just as far away from family, but no one paid for trips to see them!

And it looked like living in Germany had truly broken my bad luck of missing snow every time I went to California and Arizona for Christmas. Not only did we get a white Christmas that first year, but this year we got a big snowfall in December before we left! Six inches of snow fell on December 19th, which was the most snow I’d seen fall at one time in my life up to that time.

1999_12_19 1 Snow

1999_12_19 2 Snow

1999_12_19 3 Snow

1999_12_19 4 Snowman

Hmmm. I’ll have to show more restraint than that! (Though you should see all the beautiful snow pictures I didn’t choose.)

Our first stop in America was Phoenix, visiting Gram E and Gramp E — and Steve’s sister Stephanie was there, too, with her husband Bruce and two kids, Karli and David. And we got to see Aunt Kay, who had now moved to Arizona.

Here’s a gathering with some Eklund cousins, I think at the Phoenix Zoo.

1999_12 1 Eklund gathering

Then we drove to Encinitas (near San Diego) to stay with my sister Becky. That was the year we’d been given Furbys. We put them in the trunk. After we’d driven a little while, we heard a loud voice saying “BORING!” coming from the trunk!

My siblings and parents gathered at Becky’s house for a Christmas gift exchange.

1999_12 2 Hatch gathering

And some aunts and uncles and cousins came, too!

1999_12 3 Hatches

We went to a Star Wars Exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art on New Year’s Day, 2000, with Becky’s family.

2000_01_01 1 Star Wars

And then we headed to Los Angeles. We stayed in a nice hotel on the water that had a deal with my Dad’s company. We connected with old friends there, as well as seeing my family.

We had lunch with my Dad near his work in Redondo Beach.

2000_01_03 Beach Restaurant

And we went to Disneyland!

2000_01_04 1 Disneyland

2000_01_04 2 Disneyland

2000_01_04 3 Disneyland

Darlene was in town, too! We got together at Ruth’s house with Jennifer there, too! And Jennifer’s two kids as well as mine.

2000_01_08 1 Friends

And we always have to do a Tall picture. This time we thought it would be fun to have the wives towering over the husbands.

2000_01_08 2 Friends

On the way back to Arizona, we stopped in Joshua Tree National Park. It seemed only fair for Josh to get a picture with the sign.

2000_01_09 1 Joshua Tree

That was the year we made a Super Timmy video. Josh wrote the script. It was delightful.

2000_01 1 Gram E

We took a trip to Montezuma’s Castle on a bright and beautiful (but headache-inducing) day.

2000_01_10 Montezuma's Castle

And now I’m sure we went to the Phoenix Zoo.

2000_01_11 1 Zoo

Back home in Germany, on February 7, 2000, we took a trip into France to visit Castle #89, Citadelle de Bitche, located in Bitche, France. (Pronounced “Beesh.”) Unfortunately, we’d forgotten how things tend to be closed on Monday. We decided we’d come back later, but thought it made a perfect Dark Lord’s fortress.

2000_02_07 1 Bitche

2000_02_07 2 Bitche

2000_02_07 3 Bitche

2000_02_07 4 Bitche

2000_02_07 5 Bitche

Josh took 3rd place in the All-School Spelling Bee.

2000_02 1 Spelling Bee

Josh turned 12 years old in March, and I went with their class on a field trip to Idar-Oberstein. And something happened which seemed like a tragedy to a mother of a Kindergartner.

Well, I went on Josh’s Field Trip. Though the trip itself was rather fun, it ended with a Horrible Nightmare.

Because the sponsors did not insist on sticking to the schedule and let kids buy souvenirs, the bus was 45 minutes late getting back to school. Well, Timmy had gone home on the bus (I had planned to get him off before they left, or else beat the bus home.) Although they were not supposed to let him off if his parent is not there, they did. (The other girl said, “Timmy, there’s your stop!” — so the bus driver let him off and Timmy felt he should go.)

While I was on Josh’s bus, we passed Timmy’s bus, so I knew it would get to Gundersweiler before I possibly could, but didn’t really expect them to drop him off. I got Josh to the front of the bus with me, and we ran to the elementary school office as soon as the bus stopped. I explained the situation to them, and asked them to call Steve if Timmy showed up there. Then Josh and I ran to the car, and I sped home — with a raging headache.

When we got near the house, there was Timmy, sitting on the step. When I saw his scrunched-up, crying face, all my worst fears came true. I burst into tears, parked the car without backing it, jumped out without closing the door, and hugged him and cried with him. I felt so horrible about not having prevented it.

When we went into the house, Timmy sat on the sofa and put a blanket over his head. I held him and cuddled him and read to him and we all calmed down.

But it was a horrible experience, which I will never forget. I really felt like I let down my son.

And I was never in a hurry to volunteer for field trips again.

The next week, Josh was one of the winners in the 6th Grade Storytelling Festival. (Such an expressive voice!) I left the festival early to be absolutely sure I could meet Timmy’s bus!

2000_04_06 1 Storytelling

We went to Holiday Park for Josh’s birthday.

2000_04_10 1 Holiday Park

2000_04_10 2 Holiday Park

2000_04_10 3 Holiday Park

2000_04_10 4 Holiday Park

Springtime in Gundersweiler was glorious.

2000_04 2 Tulips

2000_04 3 Tulips

2000_04 4 Tulips

We took a walk on our hill when everything was in bloom.

2000_04_22 1 Walk

2000_04_22 2 Walk

2000_04_22 3 Walk

2000_04_22 4 Walk

2000_04_22 5 Walk

2000_04_22 6 Walk

2000_04_22 7 Walk

We went on vacation on a quick weekend trip, traveled north, and touched 5 more castles. (I forgot to mention that we touched Schloß Herrenstein, Castle #90, on Josh’s field trip.) The castles on the weekend of April 29-30 were:

Castle #91, Schloß Sababurg, traditionally Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, so a Grimm Fairy Tales site.
Castle #92, Burg Trendelburg
Castle #93, Schloß Wilhelmsthal
Castle #94, Schloß Wilhelmshöhe
Castle #95, Burg Löwenburg – sort of a “fake” castle, built to be romantic, but more than a hundred years old, so it counts.


2000_04_29 1 Sababurg

2000_04_29 2 Sababurg

2000_04_29 3 Sababurg

2000_04_29 4 Sababurg

2000_04_29 5 Sababurg

2000_04_29 6 Sababurg

2000_04_29 7 Sababurg

Schloß Wilhelmsthal:

2000_04_30 1 Schloss Wilhelmsthal

2000_04_30 2 Schloss Wilhelmsthal

2000_04_30 3 Schloss Wilhelmsthal

The grounds at Wilhelmshöhe and Burg Löwenburg were amazing. Walking through them gave such a sense of peace.

2000_04_30 4 Wilhelmshohe

2000_04_30 5 Wilhelmshohe

2000_04_30 6 Wilhelmshohe

2000_04_30 7 Wilhelmshohe

2000_04_30 8 Wilhelmshohe

2000_04_30 9 Lowenburg

Oh! I wrote down in the front of my calendar that on April 28, 2000, Timmy read the whole book Bark, George!, by Jules Feiffer, aloud to us. And he learned to swing by himself the same day!

My calendar also notes that my headaches were doing terrible. I was having 3-5 headache days every week. I did finally go back to the doctor. It looks like I tried Verapamil about this time. It doesn’t look like it helped much. Let’s see, April 2000 was when I had a 9-day headache — the longest I’d ever had at that time. (Those were the days! Except later when I got longer ones, I don’t think they were as bad. That year was a super bad time for headaches.)

Ooo, speaking of illness. On May 7, we took Timmy to the Emergency Room with a 104 degree fever. He had scarlet fever. But did recover fairly quickly.

Our next day of castling was Mother’s Day, May 14. We went to Castle #96, Saalburg, and I wrote about it:

This year, Mothers’ Day was glorious. The weather was absolutely unbeatable. It was sunny and bright. The world glowed — with bright, new green and spatterings of flowers. There weren’t any clouds.

After church, we had a quick lunch and headed for Saalburg, just north of Frankfurt.

It’s an old Roman fort, built to guard the border of the Roman Empire, just set back from the Limes. 100 years ago, Kaiser Wilhelm II had it rebuilt.

The castle was beautiful — set in a park. It was a wonderful day to walk among the trees. We also looked at the exhibits of artifacts they found — even old leather shoes, remarkably like shoes we would wear today.

Next, we ate at a nice restaurant, on the patio. I had some wonderful salmon, followed by strawberries and cream.

After dinner, we walked to the Limes — the original earthworks are still there — now, almost 2000 years later. Amazing! They also had a reconstruction of the wooden fence of post that they put up past the ditches and mounds of eart. Truly a beautiful day.

I love this new tradition of going to castles for Mothers’ Day!

2000_05_14 1 Saalburg

2000_05_14 2 Saalburg

2000_05_14 3 Saalburg

2000_05_14 4 Saalburg

2000_05_14 5 Saalburg

2000_05_14 6 Saalburg

2000_05_14 7 Saalburg

We counted the Limes as Castle #97, since it was 2000-year-old fortifications.

2000_05_14 8 Limes

First, they’re being Romans.

2000_05_14 9 Limes

Now, they’re being Barbarians.

2000_05_14 10 Limes Barbarians

Some milestones happened in June: Timmy graduated from Kindergarten. Steve made Tech Sergeant. Josh completed Algebra I. And I got a Performance Award at the Library for my computerized check-out system.

And of course we went to a castle restaurant for my birthday dinner. I chose an old favorite, Altenbaumburg.

2000_06_14 0a Altenbaumburg

2000_06_14 1 Altenbaumburg

And that was the year I was 35! Now, can I even come close to being that concise for the year I was 36? I’m not sure, but I’m going to try… but not tonight!

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