2000 letter


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Greetings from sunny, warm California!  (We say this for the benefit of our Canadian friends and relatives; those of you who live here or who have visited know that this part of the state is neither sunny nor warm this time of year.  But we’ll just keep that between ourselves, shall we?)  We trust that this letter finds you well and completely prepared for the holiday season.   

The last year of the millennium (yes, the last year—look it up) saw the Kroner family in happy times, deeply sad times, and even some exciting, adventurous times.

Down Under  Our first big event of 2000 was a trip to Sydney, Australia.  Ken volunteered to spend a few weeks at his firm’s office there, so we decided to pull Ryan out of kindergarten and find out first-hand if toilets really do flush counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere (they do).  The 14-hour flight, which could have been, as all of you parents know, pure, airborne torture, was actually pleasant.  So pleasant, in fact, that the flight attendants congratulated us on the lovely behavior of our children and gave us a box of chocolates to say “thanks.”  This really happened.  For those of you who want to stop reading right now, let me assure you that our children did the right, normal, healthy thing as soon as we got into the terminal and melted down loudly and in unison.

Saying Goodbye  We were able to see family several times this year.  We are thankful for the time we spent together, because Ted Kroner, Ken’s dad, passed away on October 24, of a heart attack.  We are so thankful, first and foremost, that Ted was a believer in Jesus Christ, so we know that he is safe and happy and that we will see him again.  We are also thankful that he went Home quickly and without prolonged illness.  We are thankful that his wife, Irma, was at his side when he died, and that he had just spent two weeks in Ontario, playing with three of his grandchildren.  But we are so sad for ourselves and for Ken’s mother.  Ken’s father was a remarkable man, and he will be missed—by us for what we remember and love, and by the children, for what they will not experience and know first-hand about their grandfather in the years to come.

Life  continues on, though, even in the face of death.  We were especially reminded of this at the graveside service:  Amber (who would not stay quietly in our arms) merrily frolicked over the graves as the pastor spoke about her Grandpa’s life.  Dad, who was a terrific amateur photographer, would have relished the vivid image of the beautiful little girl, blonde hair shining in the autumn sun, bursting with life and energy and joy in a place of death.  She and his five other grandkids are a big part of Dad’s legacy.

Ryan, who turned six in June, started first grade (“grade one” for the Canadians) in September, and loves recess, continues to bring wonder and knowledge of all things reptilian (preferably venomous as well) into our home.  He spent two hours yesterday writing and illustrating an 18-page book entitled, Animals of the World.  Here’s an excerpt:  Cobras:  Cobras are hiley venomous snakes.  They can kill you.  The King Cobra is the largest venomous snake in the worold.”  And from the T-Rex chapter: “Tyrannosaurus rex lived a long time ago.  How did the famus T-rex die ot?  No one nows for sure.  One of the main theres (theories) is that a hug meteor krasht into the earth and killed the dinosaurs.”  

On a flight this summer when we passed through the First Class cabin, Ryan said, “Let’s sit here today.” While the First Class passengers smirked, Jennifer quietly informed Ryan that, no, we were not going to be sitting in the front.  As we approached the coach cabin, Ryan said loudly enough for the passengers in both classes to hear, “Will anyone ever tell me what happens in the front of the plane?”

     Manly beach, near Sydney                           View from our hotel room!

Sammy is NOT in school, although we were planning for him to be.  Unfortunately, the preschool we chose (Ryan’s alma mater) has a strict “no diapers” policy, and our Samuel chose not to comply. For those of you who are still hurting because of the earlier perfect-children-traveling story, does this make you feel a bit better?  Sammy is still our lovely little guy, rapidly swinging from cuddle-bug to tiger.  He turned three this summer, and the Pacifier Fairy (I’ll bet that’s one you didn’t know about) showed up to help mark the transition from baby to big boy.  He speaks amazingly clearly and sometimes quirkily, referring to his cheeks as his “turkeys,” and making comments like, “Is this not fun?”  And he has an uncanny ability to mimic sounds; he can do an amazing impression of a bus applying its brakes.


Amber is our delicate little girl who can reduce both of her brothers to tears in short order.  She is a fierce little garden fairy who would spend most of her day outside if she could, rain or shine.  She is talking a fair amount these days, with “NOOOOOO” being the preferred word.  But she’s so darn CUTE when she says it. 

Shortly after Amber learned to walk (just shy of 12 months), we learned that she has a fear of heights. Whenever she stepped onto any kind of elevated surface, she would refuse to step down and, thus stranded, would have to be rescued.  So, for a few months, the boys would simply put Amber on a book if she started to mess up their Lego or train tracks.  Cruel parents also put Amber on said book a few times as a conversation piece or photo-op.



Ken traveled a lot this past year, to the point where he attained the most elite frequent flier status on two airlines.  He’s mastered the art of overseas travel (no more jetlag), but it is very wearing.  One of his goals for the coming year is to delegate more of his travel responsibilities.

Jennifer is keeping busy with kids, school, church, etc.  She volunteers in Ryan’s classroom and Sammy’s Sunday School class.  We finished our guest house construction project in the summer, which was a huge taker of time and giver of stress, but we are getting ready to tackle another project, namely, putting in a pool.  So that’s most likely what Jennifer will be doing in the New Year.

The year 2000 will be remembered in our family as the year Ryan started first grade and the year Ken lost his father.  It is firmly fixed as a milestone of the happy and the sad.  We’d also like to remember this as the year that we were good friends, fun, available parents, supportive spouses, friendly neighbors, hard workers, loving family members, and faithful children of God.  We’d like to.  Of course, we do have a few more days left in the year . . . I suppose we’d better sign off and get busy.


Much love from our family to yours,


Ken, Jennifer, Ryan, Sammy & Amber Kroner