Tuesday, April 27, 1999

David at bat (Margaret Ann is over his right shoulder.)

Dear Steven, Grandy, Pappy, Grandmother, and Granddaddy,

We are back from a wonderful trip to Los Angeles. Steven, you were the perfect host, and we had such a good time. Thank you for letting David and Michael stay with you and for letting Michael and Dad attend classes with you. It was fun for me to see you in your environment and to meet your friends. You seem really relaxed and happy.

We left Wednesday morning about 9:30 a.m. and got to UCLA at 3:30 p.m., right on schedule. We packed for warm weather but found it to be cooler than usual, so even though we wore shorts the entire weekend, we wore sweatshirts as well. It only sprinkled on us once, but it was overcast much of the time. We stayed in a Holiday Inn near campus the first three nights, but they were booked the last night, so we moved across the street to a more deluxe hotel for the last night. David stayed with Steven on Wednesday night and enjoyed meeting his friends. It was a school night, though, so the dorm was fairly calm. David ate breakfast with Steven in one of the dorm cafeterias the next morning. Michael stayed with Steven on Thursday night and Friday night. He was able to see what a typical late weeknight was like. Steven says the dorm begins to come to life as the weekend approaches, but people still needed to study. Steven had about an hour's worth of homework, so Michael was able to read his book then. We stayed out so late on Friday night that Michael didn't get to see a typical weekend night.

Cathy and Michael Kalisvaart were in LA visiting her parents while Michael took several campus tours in southern California. They met us at UCLA on Wednesday evening, and Steven showed us his dorm room and took us on a brief tour of the campus. Afterwards we walked to Westwood and had dinner at a restaurant there. It was a very bustling place and lots of fun to walk through. On our way back to the campus, we walked by a theater that was showing the world premier of David Spade's new movie, and we saw the back of his head when he arrived in a limousine. That was the extent of our stargazing.

We picked up David and Steven at 10:00 Thursday morning and went to Universal Studios for the day. We couldn't believe how much it has grown since we were there fifteen years ago. We had a great time and even got a sneak preview of the new attraction, which is scheduled to open in May. It was well worth it. We returned to UCLA around 5:30 so that we could eat with Steven in one of the dorm cafeterias. We thought the food was quite good, and there were lots of choices, but Steven says that it gets very repetitive after awhile. We had time to walk around a bit before he met the other members on his college bowl team to warm up for the competition that night. We left at 7:30 when they were ready to compete. Michael got to watch them and said that he really enjoyed that. He remarked that Steven's team was very relaxed and seemed to be having a lot of fun, whereas the other team was very serious. Steven's team won the contest handily and now is one of the top eight teams on campus!

Steven has classes on Friday, so Michael attended chemistry lecture, physics small group discussion, and math lecture with him. He was able to understand much of the chemistry because he is taking honors chemistry this year, but he was rather lost during the other classes. David took a swim at the hotel Thursday night and then watched a movie on television, so we slept late Friday morning and joined Steven and Michael at UCLA for lunch. After lunch, Steven, Michael, and Steve went to Steven's physics lecture. Steven told Steve that he could go as long as he didn't embarrass Steven by saying anything that would prove the professor wrong. David and I passed the time by playing cards. Afterwards, we took a drive through Beverly Hills to see some of the large homes. Then we drove down Rodeo Drive before driving out to the coast for a romp on the beach. David managed to get wet, but fortunately, we had bought Michael some athletic shorts at the UCLA store, so David could put on some dry clothes for the ride back to the hotel. We ate dinner at a pizza joint that night, and then we went to the Third Street Promenade, where three blocks have been closed to vehicular traffic. There are several movie theaters and lots of restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and shops. We had fun walking around and watching the street performers before going to see Matrix. The movie was rather bizarre, but we enjoyed it.

Because we didn't get back to the hotel until about 1:00 a.m., we slept late and didn't get going until around noon on Saturday. We decided to go to Disneyland and stayed until closing at midnight. We got to go on just about everything we wanted to ride, and we saw several really good shows. Disneyland is about one hour away from UCLA, so we dropped Steven off late and said good-bye to him then. The rest of us left LA at 10:00 the next morning and arrived home about 4:30 p.m. Steve and I went to the theater Sunday night while David and Michael worked on homework.

Now we are back in the groove again. Michael completed his projects and is studying for tests. His grading period ends this week. He has only one more week of track and field, and then he will have a freer schedule. The football coach is really trying hard to get him to join the team and assures Michael that he can still play in the band. David is going to skip his baseball game this weekend so that he can go to the Boy Scout Camporee. I will work Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week as a science substitute, so I have been trying to get all my chores done yesterday and today.

Mother and Daddy, I'm glad you had a good time in Clifton and at the Hickerson reunion. I'm glad that you could go and take everyone with you.

Charlie and Bennett, I'm glad that you were able to see Hazel one more time before her death. She was so lively when we saw her in January that it's hard to believe she is gone. I'm glad that Doris is able to handle all of the traveling so well.

Steven, thanks again for the visit. I imagine you will enjoy getting back into your routine. Good luck on your next college bowl competition.

We'll talk to everyone again this weekend.

David (in red) playing first base