Eureka, MO 63025
Millennium and Leap Year greetings from the USA!
Dear Family and Friends,
I have to apologize to those of you that think I have forgotten all about you, but it seems that my Halloween Newsletter didnt get to everyone. So I will repeat some of the news again in this newsletter. Those that did get the Halloween letter please bear with me.
Hi, here we are 4 months into the New Year and all the hype of the media about Y2K (now a distant memory) never materialized. Life goes on at such a fast pace that before we know the true millennium will be upon us. Tony and I are very well and we can almost not believe that we have been here for 4½ years. At the end of this year we can apply for citizenship, then we will be Americans with these strange South African accents.
We had a wonderful and busy summer in 1999. My Dads 6-week visit flew by too fast. We had a wonderful trip through Canada and New England (the North Eastern states of America). Dad and I enjoyed the camping life but Tony had a less than wonderful experience we drove 3000 miles in the 2 weeks, which meant that Tony spent most of the time behind the wheel and the RV needed constant repairs, which frustrated him. I am trying to persuade Tony to rent the RV for later this year, to go camping next to Lake Michigan, but so far no luck!
A brief update on the weather we had (nothing as exciting as all your rain): Summer was extremely hot and dry. Autumn was wonderfully mild and the trees had such wonderful fall-colors. Winter was kind of mild, almost the same as winter on the highveld with the occasional snowstorm (we only had snow twice this winter), the only complaint I had this winter was that it is never-ending. Spring came almost a month early and it is very unpredictable at the moment with one day warm and one day cold. We also dread the onset of spring, which brings the thunderstorms and with that the threat of tornadoes. Buttons is extremely scared of the thunder and lightning and nothing we do or say can calm him down. When we know there is a big storm coming we dope him with some tranquilizer we got from the vet. So far it seems like we will have a hot and dry summer again, so please send us some of the rain youve had.
After Dad went back we had some short trips throughout the rest of the year. In July during one of the hot spells we visited our friends in Dallas and it was even hotter there! The last weekend in September we visited our Doctor friends in Canada they moved to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland and it was beautiful there. It reminds us of the Knysna and Wilderness area. In October we drove down to the Lake of the Ozarks to see all the beautiful autumn trees. We stayed in a Bed and Breakfast and it was still warm enough to go out on the lake with a motorboat. This time we left Buttons safely on Terra Firma, because the last time we took him with on the boat he was so scared he almost had a heart attack. During the thanksgiving week we drove down to Florida to Indian Rocks, a few miles north of St. Petersburg and we had a lovely relaxing week on the beach. We stayed in a beach cottage, which was about 50 feet from the beach. The days were still warm but by now it was too cold to swim. For Christmas we went to Branson, Missouri where Silver Dollar City is. The best way to describe this theme park is Gold Reef City in JHB. The whole place was decorated with Christmas decorations and lights. In the middle of the park was a huge Christmas tree and as soon as it gets dark the tree comes to life with lights and music.
Mercantile Bank, the company that Tony works for has been bought by Firstar Bank, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For about three months we were agonizing whether we will have to move to Milwaukee, which is about 150 miles north of Chicago and much colder in winter. After considering everything I eventually told Tony that I really dont want to move further north. I also feel for the first time that I belong again and to uproot again and to start again after only 4 years was almost too much to bear. The job they offered him in Milwaukee wasnt worth a major upheaval and he agreed that we shouldnt move. The company accepted his decision and placed him on the let go list for October 2000. In January we had a wonderful surprise! The company offered Tony his old job back and he gets to work from St Louis! It entails a monthly business trip up to Milwaukee and at the end of February Buttons and I went with. Oh boy, it was cold and icy and full of snow and Tony was so glad we didnt move there.
We were fortunate to have some South African visitors: Tonys professor from Wits Business School, Prof. Duffy and his wife, Heather, were here for a couple of days before going to a conference in Miami. Leon and Elize (my cousins) were on a whirlwind visit to the USA and we were lucky that they could squeeze in a visit to St Louis. They were based in Milwaukee and at the end of February, when Tony had to go there for his monthly meeting, we drove them back and Buttons and I got to see snow covered Milwaukee!
We were scarcely back when we decided to go to Las Vegas. What a wonderful experience to see a place that we have been aware of for so long. The sizes of the resort hotels on the famous "Strip" were unbelievable. There was so much to do that we really didnt have time to gamble, we are in any case to stingy to gamble. Luckily they have nickel (5 cent) machines and with $20 we could stay busy for quite a while.
We are planning our annual vacation trip for the middle of May to go and visit the Florida Keys (Key West). We will be stopping in Orlando for the year 2000 celebrations at Disney World.
At the moment everyone is out in the gardens clearing out all the dead winter growth and planting furiously for summer. Our garden is looking very pretty with all the tulips, daffodils and other bulbs. I am not a great gardener, but this time of the year is so pretty, that I am thinking of expanding and get Tony to make me another flowerbed. He grumbled something and I hope hell get around to it.
Tony designed a web site for us and those of you that have access to the Internet can log on to the following address:
We hope to come home for Christmas this year and hope to see everyone, however we dont know yet for how long we will be able to come. We miss everyone and hope to hear from you soon.
All our love, Licks,
Annelise and Tony Buttons and Tassie