Holiday Letter 2003

December 2003


Holiday Greetings from Elmira, New York, home of the Mark Twain Country Club, Mark Twain Inn, Mark Twain Museum and Mark Twain grave site. It’s also the home of Kate Holland Hanson. Kate, born on March 11th, is happy, healthy, bright and has the largest wardrobe ever amassed by an infant. Kate now has more clothes than Eric has had in his entire life. She also has a head of comic proportions. And we mean that in the nicest way possible.

Aside from Kate being born, which was not insignificant, there was not much else to report on the home front.We did have a foster child for a few months, but when Ellen rolled her SUV in August Eric cleverly seized on Ellen’s hospital stay as a cause to end that nightmare scenario. It’s not as if Chemung County would have been comfortable with Eric looking after one of their charges in any case. Ellen is, more or less, fully functional again; and not a moment too soon as the snows have come and someone has to shovel the driveway.

Home ownership was less stressful this year as we’ve basically given-up. Connor’s room was completed since we last wrote and the house was painted. The latter was Ellen’s idea and was no small feat. First Ellen had to select a painter, which meant getting quotes. Those of you that know Ellen know that she likes to comparison shop. When the first quote came in at over $8000, which even Eric thought was a bit much for our house, which is brick, it was apparent that we would have several painters visiting. In the end Ellen selected a guy who subcontracted to a gut who subcontracted to a guy who came to Ellen for advice. He asked her questions like “How the hell am I going to paint those peaks?” and “Do you have any scaffolding laying around that we can use?”. Beyond that, replacing our garbage disposal and putting a new coat of paint on the world’s oldest natural Christmas wreath may have been the highlights. We also had more than our share of website, email and computer difficulties this past year. Basically the website and associated email addresses from years past have been down for the last six months. A new site ( is now up and running.

In his third year now, Connor has, as far as he knows, started school. He may be in for a shock when the schooling starts and he no longer spends his school hours working with paper scissors and finger-paints, but Ellen (and others) felt that if he was going to spend large blocks of time with Eric it was best that he had a social grounding first. As an example of Connor’s interpersonal skills, yesterday after being scolded by Ellen and sent to his room Connor returned to the scene of the crime to set his mother straight. Connor, pointing to a stool, said “You sit down right there mommy. That makes me feel very sad. That’s the problem here. You hurt my feelings.” He turned his back on her and went and stared out the window. You really had to be there to appreciate what we are up against.

Wishing you a happy holiday season and an interesting year,

Eric, Ellen, Connor & Kate

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