Before we form our new years resolutions, or reflect too much about the past events of 2011, we decided to live the last few days of 2011 to the fullest. The arrival of daughter Monika from Texas always gives us a boost and this season was no exception. She arrived with an excitement about the mansion and we were immediately blessed by running into Shelbina's twin dynamo of Kathleen Wilham and Jo Kampschmidt in the same room! They offer both excitement for the future and knowledge about Shelbina's past. An additional bonus was Kathleen's granddaughter Amy and her story of escaping the snow storms of New Mexico by driving seven hours to the airport in Lubbock, Texas. Monika had attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, so she could well appreciate Amy's adventure. Life gives everyone challanges and it is always great to have people in your life who can stay upbeat when faced with these events. Thanks Monika, Jo, Amy, Kathleen, and especially Marilyn my wife for your energy.
This was Monika's first opportunity to stay overnight at the mansion and experience staying a room that had so much history. She is both a software engineer and photographer by education, so her ability to see the features of the house in snapshots is uncanny. Add to this, we were soon joined by Robert Crist and his daughter, Robin. 2011 was still a lot of fun as they toured their former residence and gave us two "thumbs up". Robin told of her first years in the "big old house" with the rumors of ghosts and I noticed that Monika left a light on all night in her room. The day continued to be a lot of fun as Warren and Michelle Moellering arrvied with their four children. They were awed, but nervous about the ghosts of the house. Monika had to work for about twenty minutes to help them relax into normal boyish energy. She totally negated all the fear that I had worked to create over the past year. The mansion is growing with all the good humor.
We had even more fun in Clarence when Monika asked us to stop at a service station to photograph the old cars with mannequins. They are set in realistic poses and the station is filled with authentic antiques from the good old days. Our good luck contiunued as we met the owner, curator, designer and really enjoyed talking with him. We were once again fortunate to meet a person with enthusiasm. Finally, any trip to Clarence requires a slow drive past the home on the west side of town. It is both beautiful and unique. The design must have taken some courage to select and architechural skill to exicute. Take a look into Clarence, Missouri if you ever have the chance.
2011 has had its ups and downs for all of us, but we hope to "dig in" and make a contribution in 2012.