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Christmas 2021

Photo Gallery below. Click on photo to see all.



A year ago we were ZOOMing along, and in some ways keeping in better touch with friends and family. ZOOM also helped in keeping our singing voices in shape with David Hill of London’s Bach Choir, Linda Radke of Vermont Public Radio, and Ryan Brandeau of Monmouth (NJ) Civic Chorus providing regular sing-alongs. Sadly, the virus never went away completely and governments at various levels put severe limitations on what we usually do in person. We hosted our second ZOOM Ogontz Choral Workshop in August and are planning for a real in-person workshop next August, with fingers crossed.

Early in the year our house showings picked up due to the extended pandemic, whereas before the interest was low due to the onset of the pandemic — we think? By early March we accepted an offer on our house of 47 years,  followed by inspections and estimates from electricians and moving companies. We were served well by our real estate agent Steve Gorman of Peabody & Smith, by Dan Dyke's crew of movers, and by Doug Riggie's two very sharp electricians.

Another reason to lift our spirits was getting our two shots of Moderna vaccines in February and March – Hoorah! Once we felt safe we managed face-to-face visits with friends. One bright spot at May’s end was celebrating our new chapter with many north country friends at a pig roast held at our beloved Ogontz. We had the comforting feeling that it was not “good-bye” but rather “later alligator.”

Even so, May was a difficult month. Most of the furniture was moved into the new apartment on May 1, and we camped out at the Haverhill house while it was completely rewired, sleeping on unreliable air mattresses for three weeks. In between patching and packing, Bob had bouts of abdominal pains and finally surrendered to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital for removal of his gall bladder — a surgery that took place the day before his final drive to PA on Memorial Day weekend. ‘Nough said there, except that our good friends the O’Briens, the Pritchards, and the Campbell-Bairds came to the rescue in hosting us when we were out of the house for good.

Claire made one more trip to NH to finish cleaning up the house and to pass on powers-of-attorney and closing documents to our realtor who finally completed the deal for us on June 10, after multiple postponements.

In June and July we had extended interactions with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation whose security measures and requirements rival those of the Department of Homeland Security. After only 10 weeks and six trips to PennDoT, we were licensed drivers and our car was registered and inspected!

We now rent an apartment in Bryn Mawr on tree-lined Montgomery Avenue, a hop, skip, and jump to four campuses and the SEPTA train station. We’ve scouted the places to go for groceries, car maintenance, health care, and a decent Philly cheesesteak. We accomplished our main goals of shedding the burden of a big house and being back with family and long-time friends. Bristol, where we both grew up, is a pleasant drive or train ride away.

In September Claire enjoyed a reunion with cousin Mary Jane at her lovely home in Beach Haven, NJ, a way-overdue return (50 years?) to the island where so many happy summers were spent in her youth.

Our good friends the Pritchards provided encouragement over many years and lots of support during the eventual transition. They’ve introduced us to many interesting places to recreate and be entertained and enriched, and they continue to do so. They also extended their hospitality for Claire’s college roommate Kay who visited from Chapel Hill in November. The three Dukies enjoyed spending lots of time together and visiting interesting local attractions.

Click on photo at the right to view entire gallery.

In case you missed it, Bob’s website has been given a brand new face and continues to be a work in progress. It’s right here at Feel free to poke around and let us know if you’d like to be added to his monthly email announcement.


We truly hope that you all remain safe and healthy, and we promise to try to do the same.


Much love and best wishes for 2022,

Bob and Claire

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