Wednesday, December 30, 1987

1987 Christmas (12/22-30/1987)

Tuesday, December 22, 1987
Had our Christmas today, letting Kyle and Erich open their stockings and family gifts, including a video camera.
Christmas decorations from the PT party
Christmas tree
Erich and Kent open the family gift
Erich, Kent, and Kyle
Kyle and Erich chillin'
Gave Ruth and Martin Providence sweatshirts. They have been with us since Monday, December 21, after their 14-month trip across the US. They have picked up a cat along the way, and had to get a health certificate for “Pancho” in order to take him home to Switzerland.

Friday, December 25, 1987
Merry Christmas!
We were told to be at Mary Jane’s at 7:00, but the kids had been up since 5:00! When we arrived they were able to come down and were through opening gifts at 7:30.
Kyle and Erich
Breakfast of yogurt mixed with wheat germ and fruit, eggs and bacon, and muffins. Left after 9:30 after seeing the Nintendo Video Game System in action. Back at home Ruth and Martin were ready to do another puzzle! We had a big lunch of ham with noodles and salad. We said our goodbyes to them when we left at 16:00 to pick up Kyle and Erich and head for the airport. Checked in and through x-ray except the video tape and the Nintendo games. We left on time at 17:45 on USAir for Pittsburgh. Given beverages and a boxed snack of corned beef, turkey, and cheese on a roll, a bag of Cape Cod potato chips. A lotus biscuit (cinnamon-flavored cracker), and a jelly candy. Erich had the window for this leg, and we had to wake him from a deep sleep when we arrived late into Pittsburgh at 19:25. Somehow we had to go through x-ray again for the 20:35 flight to Cleveland. Took off with a slap-happy crew. The guy next to me couldn’t recline his seat or turn on his light, but he was just happy that the plane could fly. A half hour later we were in Cleveland, getting our luggage right away. Kent’s parents apparently were expecting us on a later flight, and were surprised when we called to say we had arrived. They came 20 minutes later at about 21:45. Back at Kent's parents’ house, we exchanged a few gifts and had Christmas cookies.

Saturday, December 26, 1987
Fruit cocktail for breakfast. Watched football games. Lunch of cold cut sandwiches and Doritos, and more Christmas cookies. Watched the big game, the Cleveland Browns against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I kept nodding off. When the Browns finally managed to win, we piled into the van to check out Christmas light displays. First went to East Cleveland, to the General Electric Nela Park industrial complex. Had to inquire at the police station for its location, on Noble Road up the hill. In front of General Electric’s buildings were several “arrangements” of lights in scenes: soldiers in front of a castle, forest animals, etc. Neatly done, but “Old.”
We headed downtown to see how brightly lighted Cleveland becomes. A huge tree on top of a building, bells on the telephone building in lights, tiny white lights crowded in all the saplings at the new Galleria. Then Public Square with three-dimensional light displays of a carousel, castle, and train featuring the Care Bears, since this is headquarters of American Greetings. A large bear in a stocking on another building, a huge metallic wreath in the BP building (formerly Sohio). On the way home we stopped at a private light display on Bonnieview Avenue in Lakewood, run by computer timing the lights in a tree with a star, another tree, Santa Claus in the chimney, skating snowmen, lights outlining the house, and lights scripting the words “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.” That was the most impressive of all!
Dinner was a special Viennese fish dish with sweet potatoes, rolls, cherry gelatin mold salad, pickled beets, and ice cream or sherbet for dessert.

Sunday, December 27, 1987
Fruit cocktail or cereal for breakfast. Went to the Rocky River Presbyterian Church for the 10:30 service, and wore name tags! Kyle and Erich were given activity booklets and crayons.
Children's activity booklet A
Children's activity booklet B
Long and very serious sermon. Kent's parents were sorry we wouldn’t hear the regular organist and choir, who had the day off since they gave quite a performance on Christmas Eve. Brunch of sausage and egg casserole, and blueberry muffins. Later we headed to Cleveland, and Kent and I were dropped off at The Museum of Art, and the rest went to the Natural History Museum. We had 1-1/2 hours, first going to the Byōbu/Japanese Screen exhibit.
Byōbu/Japanese Screen exhibit brochure
Then upstairs to see the W Eugene Smith photography exhibit with photo essays, mostly for Life Magazine, on a wide variety of subjects. Kent particularly liked “Life Without Germs,” with a guy in a space-like suit being bombarded with droplets of something in a booth. Also saw an exhibit of Master Drawings from an English collection, small exhibits of an English collector and photos of the Mideast, and a lace exhibit with examples from France, Italy, and Belgium. There were some absolutely amazingly intricate designs. Checked out the gift shop and looked for another exhibit that naturally, doesn’t open until January! We left the museum just as Kent's parents’ van pulled up; great timing! We headed for the Flats by the Cuyahoga River where lots of night spots are now popular. Then the Emerald Necklace of the Metroparks system to look for the bridge similar to the Adolphe Bridge in Luxembourg City, the Detroit Road Bridge (but much smaller scale). Saw three white-tailed deer with their tails raised like flags.
Back at home to play games and to video-tape how time was spent with the grandparents!
Kyle playing Nintendo
Kent and Erich play the electronic soccer game
Dinner of Hawaiian chicken, Swiss vegetable medley and rice, with ice cream or sherbet for dessert. Worked on a jigsaw puzzle until bedtime, when I said my formal goodbye to Kent.

Monday, December 28, 1987
Kent left at 6:30 to catch the 7:10 flight to Providence and work. After breakfast, we drove to the airport, or actually next door to the Lewis Research Center of NASA. At the gate the guard gave us a visitors’ pass and had us follow a blue line to the visitors’ parking lot. We walked across the street to the Visitors Information Center and picked up some pamphlets, seeing hundreds of models of aircraft and rockets on the walls.
NASA brochure
We hung up our coats and went through the exhibits, many with video or audio presentations, as described in the pamphlet. Saw examples of prototype aircraft now being researched. Covered the first floor and entered the auditorium for the 11:00 multi-media presentation showing all the responsibilities of the research center, in conjunction with two other centers. Upstairs were a few more exhibits, the most interesting showed everyday applications of technology developed by NASA for space exploration. It was hailing when we left the center, and became big flakes when we arrived home. Had lunch of sandwiches and fruit, and more delicious cookies. While Grandpa went shopping and Grandma napped, I played Yahtzee with Erich until Grandpa returned to take my place. Dinner of leftovers, ham and potatoes, mixed vegetables with potatoes and ham in it, and cookies and ice cream for dessert. Started working on a 2000-piece puzzle.

Tuesday, December 29, 1987
After breakfast, I was taken to the Triskett Metro station to take the train to Terminal Tower/Public Square, where my mom was waiting at the exit at 10:00. Great architecture in the Terminal Tower. Walked through Public Square in an icy cold wind! In the Sohio/BP building we saw their Christmas tree with a railroad ringing it. There was a small display of railroad memorabilia and prints. Walked over to the Arcade with several levels of wrought-iron railings and it was beautifully decorated in red and green with a poinsettia tree. We found the Fidelity Investments office for mom to open a Keough account. Continued over to the Galleria, a huge glass enclosed arcade-like mall. At 11:30 we went to meet my dad for lunch at Mr Hero, for Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches with waffle potato fries, and small Coca-Colas that were actually large. The largest size looked like little buckets! Dad returned to work, and Mom and I went through the May and Higbees department stores to the Terminal Tower to pay our dollar fares and go though turnstiles to catch a modern-looking rapid transit-type train, unlike NY subway type train I took from Rocky River. We got off at Shaker Square, a really quaint square surrounded by colonial style brick buildings filled with shops. Walked a short couple blocks to the Shaker North Apartments, with a canopied walkway and locked lobby doors. Up to the second floor to Suite 201. Couldn’t unlock the door, and went to get the manager. She had shown the apartment, and couldn’t lock the door from the outside, so had pushed the safety lock button! A maintenance guy had to be called with the master key. I opened my gifts, and Kathy had sent along our 1980 trip journal and scrapbook. Dad came home for dinner of steak and mushrooms, potatoes and green beans, with pastries from a local shop for dessert. Time for lots of slides!

Wednesday, December 30, 1987
After breakfast I took a shower, then couldn’t turn off the hot water. The maintenance man had to come up to turn off the water, and he would be back later to repair it. We all left at 10:00 to drive around Shaker Heights with its mansions and large houses on curving lanes. It was a planned community built around the Shaker Rapid Transit. We followed the Van Aken/Blue Line out to Warrensville, and went to an exclusive shopping mall to go to a bookstore. We drove to a high point to look back on the hazy Cleveland skyline. We returned to the Shaker apartment and had lunch of stew, before I left with dad to catch the Rapid. Here you just board, and pay when you get off. We got off at 34th Street to transfer to the Red Line, showing a transfer to get on. Dad got off at the Terminal Tower to go to work, and I continued to the airport. Arrived about 13:30, and as I came out of the station, I saw Kyle and Erich, and Kent’s parents walking from the parking lot! We stopped so I could transfer gifts into suitcases, and then we went to check in for the 14:20 flight to Providence, which is when we boarded. Said our goodbyes and thank-yous to Kent's parents. This time Kyle got the window as we flew first to Washington National, getting a beverage and peanuts. We landed at National at 15:20, and were told to stay on the plane, scheduled to take off at 15:50. Erich was now at the window. Another beverage and peanuts, and we landed in cold windy Providence at about 16:45. Kent was there to meet us and drive us home. We had to sort a few things, and then Kyle and Erich were taken to their mom’s.
Stopped for dinner at the Peking Restaurant in E Providence before going home to unpack.