Happy Holidays to Everyone and Best Wishes For the New Year

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for all the good wishes for Gerry’s 75th birthday.  We had planned to have the whole family get together in Las Vegas to celebrate.  Susan had a surprise gift prepared:  she’d put together a book of her grandmother’s memoirs.  But Gerry ended up in the hospital with a hernia operation.

We compensated for the mishap by going on a romantic cruise in May.  It started in Rome.  In 1969 we visited Rome during our very first trip together.  But this time we went by boat.

On the way to the Vatican we visited the Castle of Saint Angelo, a papal palace with a pretty, green loggia in the upper section – we were surprised – knowing that it once had been an Imperial Roman mausoleum.  Our architectural pilgrimage led us to Richard Meyer’s Ara Pacis, an altar for Emperor Augustus.  It was now shielded by a beautiful white building where an exhibition featured small loudspeakers swaying like poppy pods in the wind, accompanied by exotic Brian Eno music.

From Rome we traveled on to Santiago de Compostela.  It had been a scheduled port of call on a cruise two years ago, but we never made it, having been rerouted by a storm in the Bay of Biscayne .  Now, after much anticipation, it was a great pleasure to finally have arrived, and we even had a chance to witness the famous incense ceremony in the cathedral.

The recently opened Norman Foster London Airport terminal was the final architectural event before flying back to New York.  It was a delightful contrast to the buildings we’d enjoyed that morning by attending not one, but two Sunday church services:  the first at Westminster Abbey and the second at St. Paul ‘s Cathedral.

Just by sheer coincidence, both Brigitte and Gerry’s October class reunions took place only one week apart.  Brigitte attended her Mary Ward High School Class of ‘58 reunion in the old town of Neuburg, Bavaria and Gerry at the Limberg Fortress in Westphalia.  The vacation started with these two historic venues and we continued on in the same spirit by staying at an old pilgrimage house dating all the way back to 1304 AD, and situated 2250 km from Santiago de Compostela.  From there we stopped at Haus Bröl, the moat surrounded estate house where Gerry lived during the first two years of his life.  Then we continued on to Fortress Rheinfels in the Rhein Valley, followed by another Richard Meyer building in Baden Baden, and finally Le Corbusier’s Notre dam du Haut church in Ronchamp, France .

We thoroughly enjoyed our travels this year.  It was nice to be able to meet with several of you.

The summer we spent at home having visitors from near and far.

We hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits, and we wish you a happy holiday season and all the best in 2009!