Here are Beulah and Don in the early 1980s. Earl and Dixie had just been married and they went to visit all of Earl's siblings (the Original Gang of Ten). The newly married Dixie took this snapshot of the Griffes's.
Merry Christmas from Len and Donna Griffes - 2017
Click HERE to see pictures of Kelsie Griffes' Senior Recital at Eastern Nazarene College on April 22, 2017
Please welcome Katherine Jane Nuse!
Proud Parents: Zac and Emily Nuse; proud grandparents: Lenny and Donna Griffes; proud uncle: Josh Griffes
Merry Christmas 2016!
From: Len and Donna Griffes
Our news, our blessing, our miracle of 2016 is pictured at left. Our granddaughter, Katherine Jane Nuse, was born at 8:37 p.m. on November 23rd. She weighed 6 pounts, 11 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.
Although Emily's pregnancy was high-risk due to her cystic fibrosis (CF), she had NO complications and Katherine is CF free! The Lord worked a huge miracle and we are so grateful.
Don Griffes passed away on January 30, 2014.
Services for Don will be held at the Derby Community Church in Derby, VT on February 8th at 11:00 a.m.
Calling hours are on February 7th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Converse Rushford Funeral Home on Darlington Hill Road, Newport, VT.
The Gardner Family and their friends warmly remember Uncle Don and our hearts go out to Aunt Beulah and to her whole family.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s memory, may be made to the East Charleston Church of the Nazarene, c/o Beulah Griffes, 426 Farrant Street, Newport, VT 05855 or to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, c/o Len Griffes, 227 Lane Road, Newport, VT 05855. On-line condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at www.curtis-britch.com.
"I will miss you Papa but I know that heaven is rejoicing today since God has called you home. You have been such a blessing in my life, and I couldn't have asked for a better grandfather. You have touched so many lives, and will be missed by many. I have been blessed to see the passion you have for God and how you allowed Him to use you. What a blessing that you prayed for each of your grand kids every day, and always wanted to see your family find the same peace you found in Jesus. I will miss your endless supply of stories, your corny jokes, your musical abilities, fishing, tractor rides, all the things you did with us grand kids, and most of all, your love like only a grandfather could give. I know you are celebrating with some special people today; please give my love to Adam and Kyle. It must be great to finally meet their grandfather. I hope the way I live my life continues to make you proud. I love you always and forever Papa ~ 'When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be; when we all see Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory!'"
Posted by Kelsie Griffes (Don and Beulah's granddaughter) on her Facebook Page.
Just read the latest newletter. Very well done. Aunt Lois has always been a cheerful, helpful person. When our children were born, she always was there to help out. If she didn't babysit them at our house, she would at her house and the children loved to go visit her. It is nice having her close by, as we check on her often. Len just shoveled off her roof last week after all that snowfall.
Life has been so busy, we don't even remember if we wrote a Christmas letter last year to go in the cards.
Len is still running NEVTEC and business has been better than we would have expected in this economy, and for that we are very grateful. We have two employees who are not back to full time, but the others are getting full time work. We are thankful that work keeps coming in. The Lord is faithful to provide for everyone's needs.
After ten years of teaching at United Christian Academy, Donna resigned last spring and is now working part time for NEVTEC doing some of the bookwork. It is far less stressful, and it's nice for her to be home two days a week.
Emily is in her second year of teaching for the school district as a Title 1 teacher. She was assigned to our Christian school, so she gets the better of two worlds with this job. She is currently living with us and trying to pay off her college loans. During the summer, she went back to the ice cream shop for the eighth year to earn extra money, and to fill her time. Her boyfriend is a US marine due to be deployed soon after the first of the year.
Becky is graduating from Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, PA on December 17 of this year. She will have earned a BS in Bible, a BS in Women in Christian Ministry, a minor in music, and a certificate in something we can't remember the name of. She is looking forward to being done this stage of life and is currently looking for work in the Lancaster area. She has been blessed to find a very inexpensive apartment there.
Josh is currently in his sophomore year at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. He is majoring in political science and minoring in missions/intercultural studies, working too many hours, and studying hard. We haven't seen him since August, so we look forward to his return for Becky's graduation. He is looking forward to some much needed rest.
Both Emily and Josh continue to have good health. Em has started working out a lot and her pulmonary functions have actually improved despite us always being told once they were down, they wouldn't go back up. The Lord has really protected both of them from the ravages of cystic fibrosis. It will one day get bad, but for now, every day is a blessing of health for them. Nineteen years ago, when they were diagnosed, we were told life expectancy was in the late teens; it's now in the late thirties. Adult clinics have popped up all over the country because people are living longer, healthier lives (some into retiremen age).
We hope and pray all your families are doing well and look forward to hearing from you with your news from the year.
May you all know the peace, joy, and blessings of the Lord this year..
Love, Len and Donna
Read the 2009 Christmas family newsletter by clicking here.
All is well in our household ... different but well. We are empty nesters ... sort of. Josh has just finnished his first semester at Olivet Nazarene University and has adjusted well to college life, except for a bout of homesickness that extended over the last eight weeks or so. Becky has just finished her seventh semester at Lancaster Bible College; and because of a change in major, will have to go an extra semester or two. Emily graduated from Lancaster Bible College in May with a BS in Elementary Education and Bible. God blessed her with a full time Title 1 position at United Christian Academy teaching reading, writing, and math for students that need extra help. She is living at home, saving money, and paying off loans, etc. Donna is in her 10th year of teaching first grade at United Christian Academy and does payroll for Len at NEVTEC. Len is busy running the business and is active on the school board at UCA.
We pray all is well with your family and that you are enjoying this special time of year as we celebrate our Lord's birth.
The Len and Donna Griffes Family
It seems time just flies by and we realize you haven't heard from us again. We can't even remember why the cards were never sent last year - but this is a new year and we thought we would drop a brief note.
NEVTEC is quite busy - Praise the Lord! We are grateful we can keep all our employees employed and pray enough work comes in to keep it that way. Len is currently in NH at the Balsaams with five men on a five-day job. The Balsaams has many kitchens and we are replacing and renovating most of them, I believe. Next week brings a whole week of work at the Newport Correctional Center.
Donna is still teaching first grade at United Christian Academy. This year brings a first - all boys and only one girl in class.
Emily will be student teaching beginning in January - grade 2 in a Christian school, and grade 4 in a public school. She will graduate on May 15th after five long years with two bachelor's degree - one in Bible and one in Elementary Education. Dr. David Jeremiah will be the commencement speaker. She loves working with children. If you hear of any job openings for the fall, please let us know. She has had some health issues the last couple of years with her cystic fibrosis, but she is holding her own.
Becky is in her third year of college at Lancaster Bible College in PA and has discovered tennis. Having never played before, she joined the college's new tennis team this past fall and has grown to love the sport. She is unsure of her future and is no longer a music education major. Her major is listed as women's ministries, and this semester was supposed to help her with some decisions. We'll know more over semester break. Becky spent 10 days last May touring Spain with the college's choir singing and ministering in Spanish. It was an experience she will not soon forget.
Josh is a senior in high school and will graduate the first Saturday in June. He is directing the school's top handbell choir in the absence of the "teacher/director" as she is only here twice a month. He seems to be doing well at it;; he certainly enjoys the responsibility. He is our church pianist and the school's pianist for the worship team and chapel services. he has been accepted at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA and Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL, but he is not sure where he'll be next fall. College is such a financial burden. He thinks he will major in business. His health has been good, although he experienced a hospital stay the summer before last. His breathing functions are really good, and we pray they stay that way for a long time.
Oh, yes, after we wrote two years ago, we added a black lab puppy to our family. I guess it might have been a mid-life crisis, because I said I would never have an animal in our new house. She came to live with us on January 8, 2007. She was two years old on November 3rd and is a loveable addition, although she sheds like crazy. We are always vacuuming black fur balls. Her name is Lindsay, and her bark is enough to make the UPS man shake, but she wouldn't hurt anyone. Doorbells send her on a barking frenzy to the door (even if the doorbell is on the TV), but as soon as she sees a person, her tail is wagging. She is an attention sponge.
We pray you are all well, and celebrating our Savior's birth this season.
Love, Len, Donna, Emily, Becky, Josh
|Joshua Griffes - Class of 2009 - Age 17 - Taken 08-26-08|
|(Click on image to see it full size)|
(Click on a picture to see it full-size.)
|Cousin Donna Griffes, Emily Griffes, Aunt Lois, Cousin Jean and Becky Griffes||Uncle Don Griffes, Aunt Lois, Aunt Beulah, Cousin Jean||Cousin Lenny, Cousin Paul, Aunt Lois taking a tour of NEVTEC||Cousin Sheryl with her brood, Megan, Cole, Kristen and Calvin|
In the frigid and snowy Northeast Kingdom this chilly December day, we are well and warm. This has been a very busy year; our freezers are full, the pantry is well stocked and we have fuel to keep us warm until Spring. God has been good to us in so many ways. We especially thank Him for our family and friends, our home and good health (at 76 we are still able to care for ourselves and be busy every day). Our caring Lord has provided all our needs and many wants. In just a few days we will be celebrating Christmas, His birthday.
Twenty of our family were home for Thanksgiving. Beulah again did a great job as Master Thanksgiving Chef. Three of our six children (the ones who live in Vermont) were here with all their children; Sheryl and Gary, Len and Donna and Sharon and CJ. We now have 40 descendants in all. Shirley and Jack live in the Bahamas. Philip and Nicole, with their three daughters, live in Pennsylvania and Emily and Rich, with their son and daughter, live in Jackson, Michigan.
Mike and Debbie and Jay and Kim had Thanksgiving together in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Jay had spent most of this year in Baghdad while Kim, Alexander and Kelsie kept the home fires burning. It was a great help for Kim to have Debbie close by. Mike spends most of his time at the Pentagon, so they have sold their house in Portsmouth and are in the process of moving to Virginia. Daughter Caroline is in the Army Medical School in Washington (state). Son David is in the Navy, soon to be training in Great Lakes, Illinois, and son James is living and working in Portsmouth.
Beulah is still working three days a week at our business and Don keeps busy at home. When one of our grandchildren was asked by her teacher to write about her grandparents, she wrote, “My grandmother works every day and my grandfather stays home and doesn’t do anything.” Sheryl’s three youngest went fishing with Don last summer. He got them all rigged up, each with a pole; and before Don could get his pole ready, the fish began to bite. All he had time to do was to take their fish off and bait their hoods. They caught enough for several meals.
We made three trips to Michigan this year and we will be going again in a few days as Ruth Torrey, Don’s mother’s sister, passed away this morning. She was 88 and has been ill for several years. She was looking forward to Heaven and seeing her husband, mom and dad and her two brothers and four sisters who have already made the trip. Aunt Jo (Mandeville) Austin (96) and Aunt Edna (Griffes) Septrion (91) are the last left of that generation.
Aunt Jo is 96 and is still going strong. She still drives some and goes out to dinner and meetings several times a week. Beulah’s sister, Lois, turned 90 this Fall and she still drives every day. The family had a big surprise party for her. She is still living in her own home. Beulah has two brothers, Clayton in Seattle, Washington and Raymond in Reading, Massachusetts. Her oldest sister, Ruth Metcalf, passed away last Summer at 93. Longevity must be in our genes, so we look forward to this Christmas and many more.
Love, Beulah and Don
Important E-Mail Announcement from Cousin Geri Rosser
July 14, 2007
|I just got word a few minutes ago that my cousin, Sharon Manchester, is in surgery for a tumor found this week as a result of some pain she had while exercising. The early thought is that it is ovarian cancer, but we'll know more after the surgery. Please pray for Sharon, that if it is cancer that it would be localized and operable/treatable, and her family, that they will have the faith and peace they need during this time. Sharon was my roommate in college, so I have a special tie with her. I'll send you an update on Sharon as soon as I hear the results of the surgery.|
January 14, 2007
I just got off the treadmill. I walked half a mile in ten minutes. It is doctor's orders that I exercise. In October, I had severe pressure in my chest and aching in my arms. In ended up at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, NH. They did an angiography and discovered some plaque (60%) in one blood vessel, but not enough to inhibit the blood flow. So they thought I had a blood clot. Thus, I am on medication, diet and exercise. I feel fine now except for reaction to some of the medication.
I noticed in my RR letter of 05/18/06, I had said that Jay was waiting to hear about deployment to Iraq. As I write this, Jay is in Kuwait and will soon be in Baghdad. He will be there for a year. It will be hard for his family. He is a supply officer and will be working in one of Saddam's palaces. Jay is a Commander in rand and is one rank behind his brother, Mike, who is Captain. Please pray for Jay and his family.
I received Adele's November 30th letter and Raymond's December 4th letter a couple of weeks before Christmas and couldn't find time to write, so the letters that were lost caught up before I wrote this letter. This is one time that it was good to be late. Adele, in the picture of Lilla's great grand children's daughters, Katelyn looks scared. They are all beautiful.
Len as gone to Pennsylvania to take Emily and Becky back to college. He left early this morning and is driving back tonight. There is a bad storm coming. I'm hoping he doesn't run into it. Emily and Joshua did not have a very good report when they went to the CF (cystic fibrosis) clinic last week. Josh has lost weight and Emily's numbers were low. She will be going to the clinic near the college this week.
Sharon has two children in college also. Sarah is in Illinois and Christopher is in Massachusetts.
Sudoku looks too complicated to me. I'm sure it is fun to solve the puzzle.
Don and I are still involved with political work. he is vice-chair of the Finance Committee of the State Republican Party. Our state chairman has quit and is working for John McCain's campaign. So the vice-chair of the party has asked Don to chair a meeting to work on a budget and fundraising.
It sure is good to have the nieces' letters in the RR. It would be good if Nancy could write. I know she has a busy schedule, but she probably would do it.
We enjoyed all your letters and are glad the RR is flying again.
Love, Beulah and Don
May 18, 2006
I am not on a trip this time, but I am not home. I am in the Newport N. Country Hospital's waiting room. Don is having a colonoscopy and I am here until he gets out. I figures this is a good opportunity to write this letter. This weekend we are going to Portsmouth, NH to Mike and Debbie's house to go to Jim's graduation from college. At least that is the plan; however, they have had lots of flooding. They had two feet of water in their basement. Jay and Kim live close to Mike and Debbie and Kim will be going to the graduation. Jay will not because he had to go to Norfolk, VA for a Navy weekend. Jay is waiting to hear if and when he will be deployed, probably to Iraq. We are hoping and praying that he won't have to go to Iraq.
This is a busy time of year with graduations and political meetings. Tomorrow night we have an Orleans County Republican meeting, a dinner at UCA (United Christian Academy); and Saturday we go to Montpelier to a Republican straw poll convention. We leave from Montpelier to go to Portsmouth. The next weekend, or rather June 3rd, is graduation for Beck, Len and Donna's daughter. She is going to be valedictorian or salutatorian, we don't know which yet. Then they are having a graduation party at Grandma and Grandpa's house (our house). I am sitting at a desk in the waiting room writing this letter and people come in thinking I am here at the desk as a nurse or hospital employee and they start reporting to me. It is kind of humorous. Sarah, Sharon and CJ's daughter, graduates on June 17th and they are having a party at their house. Last Sunday, Mother's day, Sharon had a nice dinner for us as well as for Sheryl's family. It was a fun time. What a great family: God has blessed us! Lois and Dawnita went with us too.
I have an appointment at 11 o'clock today to go to a physical therapist to get instructions to do exercises for my knee. I have been having a lot of pain in my knee and sometimes I can hardly walk. I have had x-rays which showed arthritis. Exercise to strengthen the muscles around my knee is what the doctor recommends, so I am going to the therapist to get instructions for the proper exercises
I am home now and I will finish this letter and get it on its way. Don's procedure result: no problem! My knee - the therapist said I have a lot of work with. In other words, my muscles are strong, but have many exercises to do. She said if I did the exercises consistently, I would see and feel a difference in a few weeks. Raymond, I appreciate your humor too. The "Incontinence Hotline" is a riot.
Adele, I really enjoyed your letter. Keep them coming. I'm sorry Lilla isn't able to write. I know you and your family are taking good care of her. I know it is a challenge.
Clayton and Gerry, you are having some health problems. How is Gerry doing? Glad they caught the cancer early. And Clayton, was your knee replacement successful? Also, how is your heart problem? Don had an echocardiogram a few weeks ago and his heart is pumping well and his blood vessels are all open. Lois, it was fun having you and Dawn go to Sharon's on Mother's Day. Dawn gets so excited to go places. She is very appreciative. We appreciate you taking Dawn to your house every Sunday, as I know Rod and Irene do. And, not incidentally, we appreciate what Rod and Irene do for Dawnita. It is amazing what Dawn does for herself, but she would be pretty lost without Irene, Rod and Lois
We have some garden in - some peas that are up. We have been eating asparagus, though it hasn't grown much yet. We have a couple rows of strawberries that will produce this year and we transplanted a couple more rows of strawberries. I'm not sure how we are going to take care of and harvest all of this produce. I weeded the asparagus a few days ago and used a stool to sit on. It was easier on my knee. Dixie, you usually have a garden. Are you planning one for this year?
Ruth, I hope you get to come to Vermont this year. We would love to see you. You and Lois amaze me in your activities - you at 91 (I think) and Lois at 88.
We are planning to go to Prince Edward Island the end of June with Jay, Kim and Alexander. We bought a van (a GMC Conversion). We will drive that so we can ride together. I hope the price of gas goes down. WE have tickets to see the play "Anne of Green Gables" in PEI. This is where the story took place. Mike Griffes has a new job in Washington. He is special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, England. He will liaison between the Navy and the White House. No doubt he will be working with Rumsfeld. This is quite a high position with a lot of responsibility. They no doubt will move from Portsmouth, NH to Washington. I'll close for now and get this overdue letter on its way.
Love you all!
Beulah and Don
Christmas Greetings to All,
It is hard to believe another year has passed—another busy one at that.
In June, we celebrated with Becky as she graduated valedictorian of her high school class. At the same time, sadness permeated us as we looked at how quickly the children have grown and have gone on exploring new ventures.
Emily is a junior at Lancaster Bible College majoring in Bible and Elementary Education. At twenty, she is a hard worker and never gives up when the going gets tough. She has two more years as her program of studies is for five years, but will net two bachelor degrees. She has blossomed into a wonderful young lady, more sure of herself, and has developed some wonderful Christian friends at LBC. She also rings handbells, and sings in the worship team at the church she attends in PA. Working in her teaching internship has been a highlight for her this year. In addition, she works 4 to 8 hours a week in the "Charger", the campus café. Her health has been staying steady. Praise God!
More and more we receive information about CF patients living into their 40's, 50's and 60's. We pray God has that in His plan for her and for Josh.
Becky started college with a very full load. Her ACT scores were high enough for the college to give her three credits for Eng. Comp., but she still took 19 credits this semester. She is majoring in Bible and Music Education at Lancaster Bible College. She did not attend Houghton College as we mentioned in last year's letter, because it turned out to be too expensive. Music majors have many 1-credit classes that keep them very busy—piano, Conestogans (Choir), and handbells. Piano has required numerous hours of practice each week, as has the choir. Her choir performed a 1940's Christmas pageant for their production. We hear it was amazing and hope to see a tape of it. She hopes to take some CLEP tests over semester break to see if she can reduce the semester load. Her major also requires five years to complete, plus three extra classes. She is going to try to test out of as many credits as possible. We think the college allows 18 CLEP credits. Becky also is singing or playing piano for the church she attends in PA.
Josh is a sophomore at United Christian Academy. He got his driver's permit this summer, and can't wait to take driver's education next summer and get his license in August. His therapy keeps him so busy, he decided not to play soccer, but he was ball boy for all the home games. This certainly kept him running. In October, his lung functions dropped sharply, which concerned all of us. At his last check in November, the numbers came up after a treatment they gave him. Based on that, his CT scan, his weight gain and growth, the doctor does not think the CF is acting up, but his asthma may be. He is back on an asthma inhaler after being off for a long time, and we will find out in January if his numbers are still up. If they are, it is probably the asthma, which is under control. He is doing very well in school, and strives to be a leader among his peers. He plays piano for the school's chapel services and for all our church services. He also rings handbells and is going on a school trip to FL in March to ring in a number of places. Josh spent the summer working for Len. It was a dream come true for him. He grew in many ways from the experience.
We feel so blessed to have such wonderful children. They all desire to follow the Lord, are kind, considerate, and helpful.
We have another "son" in our family this year as we host a young man from Seoul, South Korea. His name is Soo Min Chae. He will be seventeen on the 16th of this month, and he has blended well with our family. He and Josh get along well, and he loves Len. He always asks when "Dad" is coming home. Len is often playing ball, air hockey, foosball, etc. with the two boys. Soo Min is a junior and if all goes well, he will be with us next year for his senior year.
NEVTEC is staying busy, although Len seems to make it home for longer periods now. That is a blessing. He has some good employees that help to make his job easier.
Donna is still teaching first grade, and enjoying this year a lot. She has a great group of kids to work with.
We trust that this letter finds you all well. We wish all of you a Blessed Christmas as you celebrate our Savior's birth.
Our Love to All,
Len and Donna
Greetings from the Griffes Clan in the Kingdom
It has been a late Fall with no snow in November but today there is 10" on ground and more on the way. We picked Fall raspberries up to the last week of October. Again the Lord blessed us with a great garden; the two freezers are full of fruit and vegetables but no venison or fish. I need to catch lots of fish when the lakes freeze over.
We had a great Thanksgiving with 31 at our 24' long table. Only two were not family. All the family were here except Shirley's. What a great time we had. It could only have been better if Shirley, Jack and family were here. That would have been 42 and would have required the third turkey and another table. Beulah did a lot of cooking and baking as did the rest of the Griffes ladies. Beulah still is a great manager of family affairs.
Our traveling was limited to a January and July trip to Michigan and the highlight was a 10 day trip with our son Jay and family, wife Kim, her folks, Ron & Lennie Budd from New Brunswick, Canada and grand kids, Kelsie and Alexander. We visited PEI and all the "Ann of Green Gables" stuff. Also Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where Kim grew up. We had a great time. Kim's folks will be here for Christmas and we will all spend Christmas day at Sharon's.
Beulah and I both have been-keeping the doctors-busy. -Beulah had a very-mild-heart problem late October but thank the Lord there was no damage and they have her on medication, diet and an exercise regimen. We both have had arthritis pain that has slowed us down a bit. We have two close friends, Clair Umstead and Anne Allen who had strokes and are totally incapacitated and even unable to talk. We visit them in the nursing home as often as we can.
Our family is doing well; Sheryl and Gary, and children Kristin, Megan, Calvin and Cole are very busy with school, work, and church. They will have an exchange student from Korea, after Christmas, for 3 months. Son Jay, a Navy Commander, is going to Iraq in January for 14 months. Wife Kim and children Kelsie and Alexander are understandably apprehensive. Kim home-schools both kids. Please keep them all in your prayers.
Len is doing well in NEVTEC, our family business. This will be the second winter in our new shop. Beulah still works part time as does Josh, Donna and Sheryl. Len and Donna's daughters Becky and Emily are in college in PA. and Joshua is a sophomore at United Christian Academy, UCA, where Donna teaches. They also have an exchange student, Su-min, from Korea. Sharon and CJ have an empty nest most of the time. Chris and Sarah are both away to college and Jennifer works two jobs and is seldom home. Sharon is busy with church projects and programs and CJ is busy in his farm and lumber business.
Mike, a retired Navy Captain, is executive assistant to Navy Secretary Don Winter at the Pentagon. Wife Debbie and sons David and James live at home in Portsmouth. The boys both work and daughter Caroline is an Army ROTC Senior at Cornell in NY. Debbie and Mike have an apartment near the Pentagon. They do a lot of traveling between DC and NH. Shirley and Jack are still in Nassau, Bahamas enjoying the tropics.
Eighteen of our family have been in the military beginning with WW II. When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, I was only 8 and remember it well. We were in DC, on our way home from a week at the NY Worlds Fair. News boys were yelling on every street corner "Extra, Extra, Read all about it, Germany Bombs Warsaw Poland" That day began my concern of war and the military. My concern intensified Sunday afternoon, December 7th, 1941, when President Roosevelt came on the radio to tell us that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by Japan. Then three days later Hitler declared war on America. Thus began World War II and its been one conflict after another to this day.
The Bible tells us that in the last days there will be "wars and rumors of wars". The war on terror is unlike any other in history. All of us are concerned with the troubles that beset us in the World, especially with the advent of 9-11. But even so, especially during the Christmas season, we can have peace and hope in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We are told in the Bible that His Peace is beyond all understanding. God gives us Jesus and Christmas, so we can enjoy His peace on Earth and Heaven some day.
Merry Christmas and may God Bless you all.
Beulah and Don Griffes
October 4, 2005
Here I am late again answering the RR. Lilla, if you feel badly about taking a long time to answer the RR, just look at my record. By the way, I agree with Raymond, that we don't want to drop you from the RR letter.
Time goes so fast - the summer has disappeared. Tonight I am writing this letter from a motel room in Montpelier, Vt. - writing this letter "on the road" again. Don has a meeting with about 20 republicans (several senators and representatives, a representative of Governor Douglas, and several John Q. Public people). Their agenda is concerning issues for candidates to run on or stress when running for the 2006 campaign. We are staying at a motel because neither one of us feel comfortable driving that far at night. Tomorrow we are going to do some shopping.
Healthwise - I am doing fine, other than arthritis in my knee and other places. My eye with the detached retina - the doctor has done all he can do. I can see out of it, but it is blurry. I am very thankful that God gave us two eyes. Don had a stent put in a blood vessel in the back of his heart the first of June. The blood vessel was plugged, but other vessels from his triple by-pass operation in 1991 are completely clear. He has improved in strength, but he has a long way to go. Just an interesting note concerning my knee problem - Sheryl's 4-year old Calvin prays for my knee ("Grammy's knee") every night. It is bound to get better.
Clayton, I think you know the feeling of fatigue. You said your letter was a medical report. We appreciate your letting us know. You have been through a lot - our prayers are with you. Raymond's letter has brought us up to date, that you had a back operation and your pain has lessened. I hope you continue to progress. The song that Theresa gave to Lois and that Lois included in her letter says it all.
In my last letter of May 15th I wrote that our new sheet metal shop had been started. AS of now, the building is almost finished. We will be moving in a couple of weeks. The building is big and very nice. It is exciting and a bit scary, especially looking at the debt we will have. It is better to go forward instead of stagnating and going backwards. I have been sorting and shredding some old records that we don't want to keep. We have records back to 1974. We have to keep all records for at least seven years, according to the IRS.
Ruth, it was good to see you last June. You look so good and you don't look to be 90. We missed seeing Greg and Geri.
Dixie, sounds like you are enjoying life and having a lot of fun - good for you! Irene, you certainly keep busy and live an interesting life. We were at our new shop today and Ames Electric workers were there getting the electric work done.
Raymond, I just can't understand why "that person" doesn't appreciate you picking up that screw. Ha. Ha. And Katrina, the hurricane, is surely not your granddaughter. What a tragedy! Sorry we didn't see you at the high school reunion. We had two other things to go to, - the Charleston' fireman's pig roast (which we didn't go to) and a family get-together at Sheryl's (which we did go to). Jay, Kim Kelsie and Alexander were here also.
I will close for now.
Until next time, love,
Don and Beulah
P.S. (10/09/05) Don and I went shopping, which Don never does unless he can't get out of it. We found quite a few bargains which is always nice. We had a relaxing day driving around Montpelier and Berlin and stopping at farm stands. We bought some apples for cooking (Northern Spices make good pies) and for eating (Macintosh). The drive was beautiful, although the leaves are a little dull this year. It has been very warm, which is one reason why the leaves are not very brilliant.
Len, Donna, Emily, Becky, Josh and Minji
It has been a couple of years since some of you have heard from us. Yes, we are still alive, but life has been extraordinarily busy. We will try to give you a fairly quick synopsis of what has been going on.
Emily graduated from high school in June of 2004 and is now a sophomore at Lancaster Bible College where she is double majoring in Bible and Elementary Education. She is due to graduate in May 2009 with two bachelors degrees. She loves Lancaster County, PA and has made some strong Christian friends at college. This past summer her health deteriorated with her lung functions dropping to 43 percent. She spent two weeks in the hospital on IV med's and is currently having her lungs checked monthly. At last check, her lung functions had come up to 62 percent, her lungs were sounding more normal, and the breathing graph was looking better. We know it is only by the hand of the Lord as so many have been praying for her. She will be rechecked on December 9th.
Becky is a senior at UCA. She plans to attend Houghton College in Houghton, NY next fall majoring in music performance. She is currently waiting to hear about her music audition to the Greatbatch School of Music which is part of Houghton College. It is a separate admission process. She has just completed a CD audition to compete for a scholarship. We'll hear any time whether she will be called back in February to compete for a $50,000 music scholarship. She was co-captain of the girls' soccer team this year, and how must devote her extra time to memorizing Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. There are so many notes on a page; we don't know how she does it. The Lord has certainly given her a special gift. Becky is our church pianist, plays for chapel at school, and is at the top of her class. She spent two weeks last summer in Panama on a missions trip. The only other Vermonter on the trip has also been accepted to Houghton and they may be roommates. She has grown into quite a young lady.
Josh is in the ninth grade at United Christian Academy. This summer found him finally growing as that normal growth spurt hit. He is taller than everyone except Len. His health is doing very well with breathing functions around 115-128 percent. He can't wait until next summer so he can get his driving permit and work for Len at NEVTEC. He is growing into a fine young man.
Donna is still teaching grade one at UCA. It is very demanding at times, but also rewarding. Last January found her injuring her knee, which resulted in surgery in June and much physical therapy. It doesn't seem to have done much good, but you just learn to live with it.
Len has been busy with NEVTEC as usual; however, this year found him building a new shop. The business moved in the end of October. The men finally have room to move. God has truly blessed us with more work than we can handle at times. He only has to drive four or five minutes to the office.
Last summer (2004) found us starting our new house. We finally moved on February 4th. The landfill bought everyone out on our old road, and we were fortunate to find land in the same town (Coventry) to build on. Although we were in the country before yet only ten minutes from, now we are only 2.5 miles or less from school and work. Our back yard/field had four deer running through it last Sunday. Others claim to have seen a moose (Josh has seen tracks), but we have yet to see one. We have seen a fox though. It is very peaceful here.
The building of the house took up much of Len's time as he did some of the work, and then went right into building the shop. We hope the pace will slow down a little now.
In August, we welcomed a new "daughter" into our home. Her name is Minji Kim and she is from Suwon, South Korea. She is sixteen and in the tenth grade at UCA. She will remain here until she graduates, only going home in the summers. She will continue to live with us unless she decides to move to a different host family. She and Josh get along beautifully. They have many classes together. We currently have eight students at school from Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Thailand, and Mexico.
NEW ADDRESS: 227 Lane Road, Newport, VT 05855 (Coventry does not have mail delivery)
SAME PHONE: 802-334-2678
E-MAIL ADDRESSES: email@example.com
(for Len's office) firstname.lastname@example.org
(for Emily) email@example.com
(for Becky) firstname.lastname@example.org
(for Josh) email@example.com
We pray this letter finds you all in good health. We look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. It is now past December 9. Emily's latest clinic visit revealed lung functions of 74%. The doctor said she sounds great. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for her.
This is our 75th year of our earthly journey, and it's been a year unlike any before. If I were to write even half of what comes to mind, this would be volumes instead of a page or two. Let me share some of the highlights.
We began 2005 by falling on the ice, New Years Eve, our 43rd anniversary. I tore up five tendons in my right shoulder, which required surgery and eight months to heal. Also, my heart needed a tune up in April and they installed another stent. My wonderful wife's eye showed minimal improvement after several more procedures. But her good eye is doing very well, praise the Lord. In October, I fell and messed up my ankle, but everything is working much better now. My cousin, Jaye Torrey, came from Michigan in May, when Beulah had her major eye surgery and had to lay face down for two weeks. Jaye stayed until August to help with meals, chores, yard and garden work. The helped the old folks a lot.
During all this we managed to raise a garden, pick berries, fill our freezers, and harvest 200 pounds of honey from our two swarms of bees. I was able to take several grand-kids fishing and spent some time with them swimming in our brook. Our two dozen plus grand-kids range from ages 3 to 35. On what blessings God has provided us!
NEVTEC, our family ventilation business, had its best year ever and we have just moved to our new site, a big new steel building on 50 + acres. Son, Len, is doing a great job with the business and everything else he does. He was elected our county Republican state committeeman in October, and now he is on the Vermont State Republican Committee. Last year, just before Christmas, Len and his family moved into their beautiful new home. Emily is doing well in her second year of college. She wants to be a teacher like her mom. Becky will graduate with honors next June and expects to have a substantial music scholarship to Houghton College. Josh is a freshman at UCA and is a great helper to his dad.
Sheryl and Gary are very busy with work, family, church and school responsibilities. Gary works full time for NEVTEC. They both work at United Christian Academy (UCA). Gary was able to get a moose permit and bagged a young moose, which is excellent flavor, much like good beef. They have two young sons, Calvin and Cole, at home, and two daughters, Kristin and Megan, in school. Calvin loves to fish. He caught a 16" brook trout last summer and was sure excited.
Our son, Jay, is a Commander in the Navy Reserves and works full time at the Portsmouth New Hampshire Navy Shipyard, besides monthly duty in Syracuse. Kim is home-schooling Kelsie and Alexander. Mike is still working in Washington on Homeland Security and other things. He gets home every couple weeks. Debby and their son, James, are at home in Portsmouth where Jim is attending college. Caroline is in the third year of Army ROTC at Cornell, and David is in his second year of Navy ROTC at Penn. State.
Sharon's youngest, Sarah, graduates in June. Chris is in college at ENC, and Jennifer is managing a sporting goods and clothing store in Morrisville. CJ is farming and is still in partnership with his brother, Allen, in the lumber business. They were able to spend Thanksgiving week in Florida. We still had 22 of our family at home for a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast prepared by master chef, B. E. Griffes, my wonderful wife. There would be 41 in all if everyone made it.
Shirley and Jack are still in the Bahamas. We hope to visit them one of these days. Philip and Nicole and their daughters, Sydney, Devin and Payton, are still in Pennsylvania. We had a great visit with Emily and Rich and our great grand-kids, Morgan and Keagan, in August.
In August, we were in Michigan to celebrate Aunt Edna Septrion's 90th birthday. She is my father's sister. We also visited my mom's sisters, Aunt Jo Austin (who is is 94) and Aunt Roth Torrey (who is 86). They are both doing quite well. We were able to attend the Buckley Old Engine Show, a gathering of well over 20,000. I played harmonicas two evenings with a group of about 20 other musicians.
We pray for our family every day. They are so precious. Christmas is such a great time for family. But there are those "grinch" types that are attempting to steal Christmas and its true meaning. Never before in my recollection has there been so many fighting against Christmas.
As I look to my right, I see a shelf of old books, may written in the 1800s. They set my thoughts a-whirl. Those old authors were so wise. I have a very old edition of Dicken's Christmas Carol; what a great story! There is Dicken's interesting account of his long visit to America in the 1840s and his observations and warnings. Then there is De Toqueville's account of his tour of early America. They both warned us of problems ahead with slavery, crime, Indian affairs, pollution, careless talk, entertainment and the media, - warnings that proved accurate.
There is a grandmother's old history book printed in 1879, and her diary of 1890. Her friend, Tilly, wrote: "Guard well thy thoughts. Our thoughts are heard in heaven." Then there are all kinds of poetry and stories. Those writings have so much quality and truth, a Godly character that is lacking so many today. There's Will Gardner's, Beulah's father, old dog-eared, well-worn Bible, - the Book for all ages. There are several old hymn books of long forgotten hymns and carols. We have lost so much of the real meaning of Jesus' birthday celebration, Christmas.
A wise man once said that America is great because America is good; and when America ceases to be good, it will cease to be great. America is on the brink of being overwhelmed with evil and anti-Christian sentiments. The Christ of Christmas can get us back on track if we follow Him. Most of our family is well aware as to the true meaning of Christmas because we believe that Jesus is who he said he is, and his spirit can lead us through these rough times if we follow.
Last week the Pope said that Christmas is too commercialized. When driving, I see so many decorations and lights. I can't help but wonder if the ones who put them up for us to enjoy really understand the real meaning of their display. Jesus is the reason for the season. Celebrating the arrival of Jesus, the son of God, to this world so we can know salvation and have eternal life in a place that is so grand it is beyond our comprehension. We expect to go there one of these days and hope you will come too. See you there, if not before. WE LOVE YOU.
Beulah and Don Griffes
May 25, 2005
I received the welcome round robin letters a few days ago and was able to read them all right away since I was confined to a special chair. I had an operation on my eye on May 2nd. The doctor made a small slit in my retina so he could remove some thick fluid that has been under my retina since it was detached in August. After he got the fluid out, he lasered the hole and put a gas bubble in to hold the retina so it could heal. For two weeks I have had to keep my head and eyes looking down at the floor so the bubble could do its work. We rented a special chair (I call it my torture chair) to sit in during the day with my head resting on pads. The pads were placed so I could look down and read or write. I even could watch TV with a special mirror. At night I had similar pads to place my head in extended over the bed. I had to lay on my stomach to sleep. Needless to say, I am glad I am done with this positioning. I am sure I will be able to see better with that fluid out, but I probably won't regain all my sight, especially detail. When my retina detached, the macula (enables to see detail) was detached; and when that happens, a person very seldom regains all the sight.
Our home has been like a nursing home lately. In December, Don fell on the ice and ripped some muscles in his shoulder. Three weeks ago he had an operation on that and hasn't been able to do much. He still is in a lot of pain. He no doubt will have to go for a lot of therapy soon. We go to his doctor tomorrow.
Don's cousin came from Michigan two weeks ago to help us, since both of us are incapacitated. She has been getting all the meals and doing some outdoor work.
I haven't been to work for about three weeks. There will be plenty to do when I go Tuesday. We are taking a big step and having a new building built on the land we purchased a few years ago. It is quite scary, but we need a bigger building because we are very busy and need to hire more people. Our building we are in now, that we rent, doesn't have room for any more employees. The building contractor has already started to build.
Len and four of our employees are working this weekend at South Portland, Maine Hospital. They are installing four big hoods at the hospital. They were having problems. The head nurse in the emergency room was about ready to quit because they were making too much noise putting in the hoods. Tin workers do make a lot of noise.
It is good to read all of your letters, though we all seem to have a lot of health problems. Clayton and Gerry, you seem to have your share. Have you had your knee replacement yet? I hope and pray that it is successful. Gerry, did the doctor determine what was wrong with your foot?
Donna, Len's wife, has to have an operation on her knee as soon as school is out. She has been on crutches for awhile.
Raymond, I am not real patient when Don does genealogy; but most of the time he doest it here at home, so I do other things. Right now, Don's cousin, Jaye, and he are doing genealogy downstairs. Jaye is Mormon and has access to Mormon records, which are very complete.
I have an old-time saying. "You know you are old when you bend over to tie your shoes and you say, 'what else can I do while I am down here?'"
Ruth, if you, Greg and Geri come to Vermont, I hope we will be here. We are going to Michigan about June 10th to take Don's cousin back.
Today, Sunday, Lois and Dawnita had dinner with us after church. We enjoyed their company. Dawnita seems to be doing well. Se is on the go a lot and very independent.
Dixie, did all the bulbs your sister-in-law planted come up? I think spring flowers are so beautiful and refreshing after the long winter. We have lots of tulips and daffodils that blossomed. They are beautiful. They are late blossoming this year because we are about two weeks behind on warm weather. It is still cold today; the high is 50 degrees.
Sheryl, Gary, and their four active children came for supper last night. We enjoyed them a lot. Megan, Calvin and Cole each had a microphone that Grandpa let them use and they were singing and carrying on with no inhibitions. It was fun listening to them and watching them. Kristin has a history project to do on the country of Ireland. Grandpa (Don) was getting information and pictures off the internet for her. It it amazing the information you can get on any subject.
I 'd better close now and send this on its way. We are going to church in Newport tonight.
Love, Beulah and Don
January 22, 2005
I have just reread all the letters again and enjoyed them all. Again, I am very late answering the Round Robin. I guess you will have to start calling me "the late Mrs. Griffes." That is what we used to call Sheryl, "the late Miss Griffes." She used to be late a lot. She has improved considerably; in fact, she amazes me with all she accomplishes. She has a very busy schedule with four children, Kristin 10, Megan 8, Calvin 4, Cole 2, and husband, Gary, to take care of. She works at U.C.A., the kids' school, three afternoons a week taking care of kids until their parents pick them up.
Len and Donna and family are building a new house a short way from where they live now. It has been a big task and they will be glad to move in shortly. They live on Airport Road in Newport now and there is a huge dump there. The dump has bought a lot more land and is expanding so all the neighbors made agreements with the dump corporation to sell their houses to it. Their new house is beautiful and is near their school and our business, NEVTEC LTD.
You asked what caused my detached retina. I hit my head very hard when I raised my head up and hit a shelf. The next day I couldn't see anything out of that eye. However, the doctor didn't think that caused the detachment. He thought that it had been coming on for awhile. There are two causes of detachment: cataract operations: cataract operations (which I have had) and old age (which I am)! Ha! Ha!
So, I guess I was destined to have a detachment. I have had several procedures, including laser treatments, several times, a buckle put on my eye, and a steroid shot in my eye. So far my eye is better, but I can't see clearly enough to read. It may improve over the next several months, and it may not. I have to go back to the doctor in a couple of weeks. He wants to keep an eye on it to see if it is improving.
True to form, I am writing this letter on the road. We are in Michigan and right now I am sitting at a desk in the public library. Don and his cousin, Jaye, are doing some genealogy here, so I thought it would be a good time to write the Round Robin. It is so much easier writing the RR away from home, because at home there is always so much to do. We left home last Monday and arrived in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday. Lois came with us and she is staying with Ruth and Ruth Anne while we are in Michigan. We stayed overnight with Geri and Greg. We will be going back to Columbus to pick Lois up and return home, probably a week from today.
Ruth is real happy with Ruth Anne. She has a very nice condo with a piano, which they enjoy. Geri and Greg live a few miles from Ruth Anne. They have a very nice home, which they bought a couple of years ago. Geri has a big grand piano that Greg bought for her when she finished her doctorate in music. We had a great beautiful mini-concert - Geri on piano, Greg on horns. We enjoyed being with them, if only briefly.
Emily (Len and Donna's daughter) is in Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, PA. This is her first year. She got grants and scholarships, both of which she worked hard for, - enough to pay for most of her first year. She is planning to be a teacher. When she was home on Christmas vacation, she substitute taught at the school where she went. Donna was sick a couple of days and Emily filled in for her too.
It is nice to have Lois close by. She sold her home in Florida and is doing well dealing with the cold weather and snow. She even drives in the snow on Sunday and picks up Dawnita for church.
Dixie, that apple dumpling made from your apple sounded delicious. Your husband must have felt special. We have an apple tree in our yard and I think it has only produced three or four apples in the many years that we have had it. Of course, it has been abused - like the snow plow hitting it, etc.
Clayton and Gerry, your granddaughter is adorable. I'm sure you aren't spoiling her! Glad that Gerry's knee was so successful. Don has a lot of problems with arthritis, so he can sympathize with you, Clayton. He takes a lot of aspirin and Tylenol.
We miss Nita so much. As one of her friends told me when I saw her after Nita died - she said - "I miss her every day." We went to see Nita two or three times a week, and it is a blessing that she passed away because she was so miserable. She isn't miserable anymore. She is happy beyond our comprehension in Heaven. We wouldn't wish her back. We have so many pleasant memories.
Ruth, we are so glad that we were able to come to your 90th birthday and felt blessed that we saw Henry just a few days before he died. We are glad you are happy with Ruth Anne in Columbus. Your daughters are good to you.
Irene, we miss Nita's letter very much, but are so happy to have your interesting letter.
Lilla, I hope you are feeling better. Sometimes the side effects are worse than the disease. Walking on stilts like Bryan was doing is quite an accomplishment. It would take good balance. Raymond, did you have a pacemaker put in?
Enclosed is a sympathy card from Lyle and Edith Cargill. After Nita died, she asked me to pass it on to the Family. I am not putting this letter in the mail. I am going to hand it to Ruth.
Love to all,
Don and Beulah
The Griffes' - 2004
is waning fast; in only two weeks, 2004 will be history. This has been
a bittersweet year. God has provided all our needs and some wants and
helped us meet each day's challenges. But we were very short on time;
of course, we are older, slower, "achier" and need extra patience with each
other. We both feel that the other has a hearing problem. Could
be because we are past three score and thirteen and Father time's "a
pick-en" our pockets.
We made it to Florida last Spring and Don had a great time fishing with our friend, Bob Blair. Beulah helped her sister, Lois, pack for her final trip back to Vermont. After 20+ winters in Florida, she has decided it's Vermont all year round.
Beulah had a detached retina in
early August and has had several surgeries. It may be several more
months before we know how successful the treatments have been. She
still has significant difficulty seeing.
We plan on going to Michigan right after Christmas for the first time in a year. Our last trip to Michigan was last December for Beulah's sister, Ruth's, 90th birthday celebration. Her husband, Henry Metcalf, passed away three days after we were there. Beulah's sister, Nita Ames, passed away in her sleep in October from ALS. What a trooper she was! A great spirit and a big smile right to the end! She couldn't talk, walk, eat or breathe without assistance. Everyone who visited her came away with her blessing on them and her prayers following them. What a gracious lady! Read more about Beulah's side of the family in the Gardner Newsletter on line at www.gardnernews.org .
|What a great family God has given us. We pray daily for them all. We had three grandchildren graduate with high honors from high school in June, and we attended all three graduations. They are: Mike and Debbie's son, David Edward Griffes, with a full four-year Navy ROTC scholarship to Penn State; Sharon and C.J. Manchester's son, Christopher, to ENC where his folks and Grandma Beulah all attended; and Len and Donna's daughter, Emily, to Lancaster Bible College where she is preparing to be a teacher liker her mom. Our friend and Vermont Governor, Jim Douglas, gave the commencement address for United Christian Academy's 2004 class where we have five of our grand-kids enrolled.|
Our family business, NEVTEC, is
doing very well and working at full capacity. Son, Len, is CEO and
doing a great job. We plan to build a new shop in the spring.
Len and Donna are building a new home and expect to move in shortly after
Christmas. Sheryl and Gary are busy with four children. They are
custodians at UCA and Gary works full time at NEVTEC, besides being very
active at their church.
Shirley and husband, Jack, who live near Nassau, made it through the hurricanes without much damage. It was interesting getting updates every few hours all during Francis as it passed them nearby.
Our middle daughter, Sharon, and
hubby C.J., are dairy farmers and also operate a lumber business in Johnson,
Vermont. All of us are going there for Christmas. Their two
daughters, Sarah, a high school junior, and Jennifer, a working lady, are
living at home and Chris is home on Christmas break from college. They
are a very busy family. Sharon should have a vanity plate like her
Florida cousin that says "CHURCH LADY."
Navy Captain Mike Griffes, our oldest son, has been much involved in the Pentagon and Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. Our youngest son, Navy Commander Jonathan, is E.O. of his duty station in Syracuse, New York. In Dover, New Hampshire, Jay's wife, Kim, and kids, Kelsie and Alexander, keep busy with school, motherhood and being a Navy Reserve wife.
We kept busy with political
campaigns, as is our nature. To be politically successful in Vermont,
it takes a lot of hard work to elect republicans. This is the most
liberal state in the nation and the breeding grounds of the likes of
jumping Senator James Jeffords, screaming Governor Howard Dean,
and socialist U.S. Republican Bernie Sanders. Our team was Bush
for President, Jim Douglas for Governor, and Brian Dubie for Lieutenant
Governor, who all won; and, on down the ballot, we lost a few and won the
rest. Granddaughter Emily Griffes attended a Bush rally in
Pennsylvania near her school and we took Kelsie Griffes to a Bush rally in
This was not a good year for gardens, but we managed quite well. We just didn't have as much to give away this year. The fishing wasn't that good either and neither was the deer hunting. We looked out the window a little while ago and saw 13 wild turkeys in the back yard.
|One of the big highlights was when we took grand-kids, Kelsie and Alexander, to a big county fair in Hew Hampshire. It brought back memories of my grandparents taking me to the Jackson County Fair in Michigan. Another highlight was the several family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving.||God has certainly blessed us. I hope I live long enough to get our book, The Vermont Family Griffes, compiled. Some of our family history goes back nine plus centuries. If any of you want to give us a hand, come and spend a day, week or month. We would love to have you.||
But now is the time and this is
the season to celebrate the reason for all the festivities.
Happy Birthday, Jesus! We love you!
August 15, 2004
First, I apologize for taking so long to write this letter. However, it will not be very long because I'm having trouble seeing to write. The reason is because I have a retinal detachment as of a couple of weeks ago. I have had a couple of procedures, including laser and injecting a bubble in my eye trying to push the retina back in place. I have had to lie on my side with my head elevated so the bubble is in the proper posture to work. I've been lying down this way for 13 days and nights and I am very tired of it. Don has prepared all the meals and done all the housework. (I could get used to that!) I am only supposed to get up to eat and to go to the bathroom. So, I can't write any more in this letter. I have some of my sight back and have to go back to the doctor in Burlington on Thursday.
Again, I'm sorry for the lateness of this letter.
19 Laramee Road
Newport, VT 05855-8647
September 9, 2004
Dear Friends and Family,
I'm excited to announce to you the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity I have for next summer. I'll be going on a missions trip to Panama City, Panama for two weeks with Brio Magazine - Focus on the Family.
The trip begins June 27 with training in Miami. We'll learn an evangelistic mime presentation, foreign language phrases and cultural sensitivity. From Miami, we'll fly into Panama.
Each day we'll minister to people through drama in parks, orphanages, schools, neighborhoods, and churches. After each drama presentation, we'll have the opportunity to share one-on-one with the nationals and lead them to Jesus with the help of volunteers from local churches. These local church representatives will get each new convert's name and address for follow-up and discipleship.
I believe that God has given me this great opportunity to see what other people believe, how they live, and to share the message of Jesus Christ with them. However, I must raise $2,250 plus a $30 departure tax. This will cover the cost of the international flight, lodging, three meals a day and transportation within the country. On top of that, I'll also need approximately $400 for my domestic flight to and from Miami. The cost of my passport is about $93 and I'll also need a couple of vaccinations. This is a total cost of close to $3,000.
I'd like to give you the opportunity to support me in this endeavor and to be a part of the life-changing experience, both to me and to the people of Panama. Please write any checks to Big World Ventures and send them to my home address included above. Your donation is tax deductible in the U.S. If you wish to make a donation to help defray the costs of my domestic flight, passport, and vaccinations, please make any checks out to Becky Griffes. These will not be tax deductible. Please pray for the folks of Panama to open their hearts to the love of God and for the lost to be saved.
For those of you who are unable to support me financially, your prayers are a much-needed support, too.
If you're willing and able to commit to either supporting me through prayer or supporting me financially, please reply as soon as possible. My first payment to Big World Ventures is due October 1st, with additional payments due the first of each month through March 1st. Thank you for helping me to serve the Lord in this way.
Venturing in faith,
Leesburg, Florida - November 9, 2003
Well, here we are in warm, rather hot, Florida! Raymond, I didn't want to make a liar out of you concerning always writing the RR letter out of state. Don and I brought Lois to Florida about a week ago. She left her car in Vermont and Don helped her buy another Honda (1971) here. Lois is 86 now (as of November 6th) and we think she shouldn't be driving that distance by herself.
Don has gone fishing here with a friend and has caught several dozen crappie. They are very tasty fish. We have frozen several packages. The man he goes with has a nice big boat and all the fishing equipment needed. Don fished with six poles and Bob and eight poles.
Besides buying a car, Lois has bought a new refrigerator and stove which she needed badly. She has to stop spending. I guess we are a bad influence on her.
We have been to several yard sales and estate sales. Yesterday Don and I bought a beautiful bedroom set, - three dressers and a bedstead. The furniture we have is old and some was purchased from an auction at the old St. Johnsbury Hospital. We will be leaving for Vermont a week from tomorrow. It will be busy when we get home, catching up on work at the office. My desk will be piled high unless someone has done my work. Also, we will be having Thanksgiving at our house and I haven't prepared any food yet. I intended to make pies and put them in the freezer. I did make several pies, but I used them for a church function and for the annual Charleston Fire Department oyster dinner. We probably will have 22-27 people for Thanksgiving. Jay and Kim and their family will be coming to stay for the weekend, and possibly Mike, Deb and family, both from Portsmouth New Hampshire. Our three Vermont families will be coming. Jay has a new job working for a leasing company in Portsmouth. He only has a 15 minute drive to work, instead of the one hour and 15 minutes on his other job. Mike is done with his job in Washington for Homeland Security. He will be doing consulting work for IBM, which means quite a lot of traveling. I think the work involves homeland security.
November 16, 2003
It is now late Sunday afternoon and we will be leaving Florida tomorrow morning. We have to pack everything. I hope we can get it all in the car. We have all the furniture in and I think there will be room for me. I think we are in for a rude awakening. The weather is quite wintry in Vermont. They had six or eight inches of snow and high winds a couple of days ago. I am going to say "adios" and mail this letter from Florida.
Wishing everyone a great Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Love, Don & Beulah
What a year. There was the ongoing, costly war against the terrorists, both here and overseas. Our "Homeland Security" restrained terrorists from further strikes on American soil, so far. There was the unprecedented, hateful campaign to destroy President Bush any way possible. There was increased persecution of Christians and attacks on our institutions of family and democracy that was shameful and unprecedented here in America. Through all this we still have freedom and well being beyond that of any other people in the World.
We were able to travel to Michigan three times, make several trips to see family in other states and go to Florida for three weeks in November, all without obtaining permits or reporting at state border checkpoints. We have had good health, raised a big garden and kept very busy with our church, family, business, and civic responsibilities. However, our well being and freedom has come at a tremendous cost. Jesus Christ, the true focus of Christmas, lived, suffered and died a horrible death for our freedom. He still enables us to be honest, compassionate and loving, even to our enemies. We are grateful and thank the Lord every day for the strength and blessings He gives us.
Our Godly ancestors suffered, endured and overcame extreme hardships and untimely deaths for our freedoms and our beloved nation. In our lifetime alone, millions have died needless deaths because of the rampant evil in the World. For many years our Nation's finest have made tremendous sacrifice to keep us free and extend that freedom to others.
As Christmas 2003 approaches, we think of those that have recently made that supreme sacrifice and will no longer be able to celebrate with family and friends on this earth. Our heart grieves for their loved ones and their families. Our prayers go up for those that have been wounded and have suffered hardship because of the eil ones. We pray for wisdom and compassion to bring "Peace on earth and Goodwill to all People of all Nations." We must pray for our leaders that God will give them wisdom and strength for their tasks.
In times like these we can still count our blessings. We first count our blessed family. There are 41 of us now, and all but Shirley and her family were able to get home for Thanksgiving. Our table was just under 23' long with 29 of us seated around it, to enjoy a great scrumptious 24 lb. turkey with all the trimmings. What a blessing that was! It could only have been better if Shirley and her family could have been with us.
Shirley and Jack were able to move into their newly constructed home near Nassau in the Bahamas; otherwise, no one else has changed their address. We will likely see several changes of address of our clan in this year ahead. Sheryl and Gary want to move back to Charleston; we expect to build us a new house overlooking the brook and upper pond. Len and Donna have bought land to build a new house, Jay and Kim would like to move from Dover and Mike and Debbie will likely be moving to the DC area as soon as David graduates from high school.
Last June Caroline graduated at the top of her high school class and is now a ROTC freshman at Cornell. Next June we have a big problem: we have three grandchildren graduating: Mike's son, David, graduates from Portsmouth, NH, Sharon's son, Christopher, graduates from Lamoille Valley High School, and Len's daughter, Emily, graduates from UCA in Newport. We don't have the times and dates yet, but it will be a challenge to get to all of them. We hope to do it though, even if we have to have a friend fly us to Portsmouth, NH.
We both are still very active in state, county and town politics. Our county has the reputation of turning out the greatest percentage of Republican votes of any county in Vermont. It has taken a lot of work to make this so. We still have "town meetings" to do the town's business. This is the purest form of democracy. Don is the town moderator, a job which he enjoys immensely. This last July we celebrated our town bicentennial. We had a parade and all kinds of activities. We had a "then and now" float. It was two scenes, and 1803 (log cabin) and 2003 modern living room. Each had a family dressed for the times and reading the Bible. The theme was "The Bible, a book for all ages." For pictures and more information click here.
Update on family genealogy: Don's great great grandmother and her mother both had the given name Peace, Peace Chase Sprague (1746-1811) and her daughter, Peace Sprague Mandeville (1787-1896). Peace Sprague was the 21st child of Revolutionary War Colonel David and wife, Peace (Chase) Sprague. She was born and grew up near the site of the Battle of Bennington where her father, Col. David Sprague (1731-1821), had his farm and was no doubt involved with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. He was a devout Baptist and his wife's family were Quakers. Col. David Sprague married twice and all 21 of his children grew up and married and numbered 420 descendants before his death in 1821. His father, Elder David Sprague, was a "Great Awakening" Baptist minister in Rhode Island, called under the preaching of the great English evangelist, John Whitfield.
Elder David's grandfather was William Sprague. He was the first our our ancestors to come to America on September 7, 1628. He came from England with Captain John Endicott on a very small sailing ship, the Abigail. Endicott was the founder, the first governor and the first to establish (October, 1628) a settlement in Massachusetts. William and his two brothers wintered in tents, befriended the Indians; and, in the spring of 1629, they established the second settlement in Massachusetts which they named Charlestown. Charlestown is now a major part of the greater Boston area. William's father's home (Edward Sprague) still exists in Upway England. Edward Sprague (born about 1570, died about 1614) was a fuller by trade, and his home is now a bed and breakfast. We sure would like to visit there.
There is so much more to be said, but we will sum it up by wishing you all a wonderful Christmas season with your many friends and family. May our Lord, the Christ of Christmas, bless you real good. Pray that the "Prince of Peace," Jesus, and His people called Christians, will prevail in spreading the peace that is beyond understanding throughout the World.
Our daily prayer is, "Please Lord, pour out your Spirit on your children and help us to be strong under siege, to prevail in battle and be kind and compassionate in victory. God bless us everyone."
Beulah and Don Griffes
March 27, 2003
We are in Michigan again; this time to try to help Don's cousin whose house burned. The house was damaged, especially smoke damage. She wants to sell the house and so we have been trying to help her, but she is very difficult to work with. We were here in Michigan a month ago and took Don's aunt to Vermont with us. She stayed with us for four weeks and we brought her back to Michigan last Tuesday.
Raymond, it sounds as though you have a good business selling books, and without much overhead. Margaret, I hope the Procrit is helping you.
Lilla, you talk about the weather in Vermont this winter. It started snowing in October and there has been snow on the ground from then until now. We didn't even have a thaw in January. So much for global warming!
Yes, Nita, life sure is full of changes and some changes are hard to understand. We will understand when we see the complete picture in heaven. But for now it is difficult. We love you and are praying for you. Yes, you are blessed to have Irene to help you. We are praying that the medicine to help the saliva problem will be available to you soon.
Lois, you will be heading back to Vermont soon. Dawnita knows exactly when you are coming back and she announced it in church Sunday. She sure looks forward to your return, as we all do.
Ruth, it doesn't look as though we will get to see you on this Michigan trip. We will miss that. We need to get back to Vermont for several reasons. One reason is because I have to get back to the business and send out the monthly statements, since April is next week. We came through the states instead of Canada. We thought it might be difficult at customs because of the war. The last time we entered Michigan from Canada there were 400 trucks lined up waiting to go through customs. Another reason we have to get to Vermont is because I am having cataract surgery in April or May. Also, I want to get back so Don can continue work on remodeling our kitchen.
Dixie, your big family keeps you busy and you seem t enjoy it. I hope your daughter, Sherry, gets help and the procedure is successful. The Pumpkin Patch sounds like a lot of fun for kids and maybe for adults too.
Clayton and Gerry, your family has had their share of medical problems. Glad you are on the mend. We enjoyed the picture of Ron and his wife. She is very attractive.
April 4, 2003
We are back in Vermont again! Yesterday was the funeral for Dale Davis who died Monday night. He was 88 years old. They had the funeral at the Congregational Church because they didn't think there would be room in our church. I think, because the funeral was on Thursday and the people had to work, there weren't as many people there and that there probably would have been room at our church. Alice Davis wanted the organ and piano played, so Audrey Frizzell played the organ and I played the piano. However, the piano was not in tune with the organ. Also, some keys were a little tinny sounding. Oh well, we did our best and there wasn't time to tune the piano. We just had our piano tuned at the Nazarene Church. It was tuned to match the organ. Henry tuned our piano last summer, but the heat had dried out the keys in the center of the piano and so it was out of tune with the organ.
While we were in Michigan, Sherm Allen, Sr. died. Both deaths were connected to our church because Sherm, Jr. goes to our church.
Dale Davis' funeral was our new minister's first funeral and he did very well. Our pastor is younger than our daughter, Sheryl. I'm at work, so I guess I had better do some work.
Love to all, Don & Beulah
by Bethany M. Dunbar
Reprinted from the Barton Chronicle, July 16, 2003
NEWPORT - If you want to know how to spell or pronounce the name of the state fish of Hawaii - the Humuhumunukunukapau'a fish - just ask 11-year old Joshua Griffes.
Josh has this and many other facts about Hawaii memorized. (It's also called the trigger fish.) He recently returned from that state as part of a trip sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Josh and one of his sisters have cystic fibrosis, and a nurse at the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington submitted his name for the wish.
"My mom won a trip," explained Josh. "She just bought a can of pineapple at Shaw's."
Josh's mother, Donna Griffes, did not even realize she had entered until she got a call one day saying she had won. Her Shaw's card entered her automatically. At first she and her husband, Len, thought it was a scam. Luckily, though, they did not hang up the phone. It turned out she had won a trip for two. That meant their three children would not be able to go because the family could not afford to take them.
"We were mad," Josh said. But when his nurse, Jackie Schwartz, heard about it she rectified the situation.
Dorothy Morrill of Newark and Carolyn Pearley of Richford are volunteer wish granters for the foundation and worked on Josh's wish.
"This was my second wish," said Mrs. Morrill. She said the foundation grants wishes for children with life-threatening diseases, not necessarily terminal illnesses. Her responsibility was to do paperwork and to try to get associated donations. For Example, Dora's Taxi of St. Johnsbury donated a ride in a stretch limo for the family fro home to the airport and back.
The trip was everything Josh hoped it would be. They were gone from June 14 to June 23. Asked what his favorite part of the trip, Josh said he really could not decide. He liked everything. But his father said he thought the snorkeling in Hanauma Bay was the best. Before that, Josh was not much of a swimmer.
"I was afraid to put my face in," Josh said. But they had the gear and decided to give it a shot, and when Josh heard everybody ooohing and ahhing about the fish, he had to put hi face in the water.
"It took these tropical fish to motivate him," said his father, Len Griffes. He said they had learned that when one type of fish is hunting, it points its nose down. They saw one of these and followed it to see if it would "go vertical."
Other highlights included a submarine ride, a helicopter ride, and a visit to Pearl Harbor.
"I met a Pearl Harbor survivor. His name is Richard Fiske," Josh said.
Mr. Griffes had just watched a History Channel video about Pearl Harbor that included an interview with Mr. Fiske when someone spotted Josh's Make-A-Wish bade. The person asked if Dick Fiske was there, and Mr. Griffes thought to himself, where have I heard that name. When they met Mr. Fiske, they realized that he was the person on the video.
Mr. Fiske volunteers at the memorial. He was on the U.S.S. West Virginia when the Japanese bombed, and the bomb went down far into the boat before it exploded, which meant that he survived. Mr. Fiske has met the Japanese man who dropped the bomb, and Mr. Griffes said he is now a good friend of Mr. Fiske's.
"No, he's his best friend," corrected Josh.
On the submarine ride, Josh got to see sea turtles. They went 117 feet deep. On the helicopter ride, they got to see a volcano.
"We saw Diamondhead, which is a crater, which is extinct," he said. "We saw this island called Coconut Island, where Gilligan's Island was filmed." They also saw the valley where the movies Mighty Joe Young, Godzilla, and Jurassic Park were filmed.
They saw a 1,500-foot waterfall on their helicopter ride.
The family visited a huge living maze in the shape of a pineapple and learned a lot about how the fruit is grown.
"It takes 18 to 22 months to harvest one pineapple," Josh said. "A skilled worker can plant 10,000 plants in one day, and that's only one-third of an acre."
"I don't think I'll complain about the price of a pineapple," said Mrs. Griffes, after seeing what goes into growing one. Now she would not be afraid to buy a fresh one because she knows what to look for.
"The whole trip was an amazing experience," Mr. Griffes said. "Everybody should go there and visit once," he said. "We kind of went with zero expectations," he added. It made the place all the more impressive.
The state is well prepared for tourists and welcomes them. The island of Waikiki has about 12,000 to 13,000 residents and at any given moment there are about 20,000 tourists.
Most people around here could not afford to live there.
Your basic house costs $300,000," he said. "A gallon of milk is $6."
But the climate is amazing. It is almost always between 75 and 85 degrees during the day. The Griffes family was shocked to come back to hotter, more humid weather in Vermont.
The water is beautiful but the waves can be unsafe; an undertow can be extremely dangerous. They heard a story about a honeymooning couple who were sitting on the beach, far up away from the shore, and a giant wave came along and swept them away. The man was never found. Waves can be 30 feet tall in the winter. The day the Griffes family was at Waikiki, there were 350 to 375 rescues for surfers.
Mrs. Griffes teaches first grade at United Christian Academy, and Mr. Griffes is part owner of a sheet metal shop in Newport called Nevtec. Among other things, he makes range hoods for restaurants.
Although two of the Griffes children have cystic fibrosis, so far they have remained healthy.
At a recent checkup, Mr. Griffes said, "their lung function was excellent ...
"We're blessed. We really are. For a bad situation, it couldn't be any better."
The Griffes family traveled to Hawaii in June thanks to a can of pineapple and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In front, left to right, are Emily, Josh, and Becky Griffes. In back are Len and Donna Griffes and Dorothy Morrill.
Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar
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Sheryl and Gary Hosford's son, Cole William, just had a birthday! To attend his party, click here.
I am writing this in Canada as we are on our way back to Vermont from Michigan. We left Vermont a week ago yesterday. We went to Jackson, Michigan to finish up helping Don's Aunt Jo with the remodeling project. We were only in Jackson three days this time. Then we went on to Ludington, Michigan, which is on the west side of Michigan on Lake Michigan, to another of Don's aunts. Her husband died a year ago and he used to fish a lot, so we took some fresh caught Vermont fish to her because she loves trout. Her birthday was August 18, the same as Jonathan (Jay,) so this was her birthday present.
After we left Ludington, we went to Buckley, Michigan where there was an "Old Engine Show" which was much more than old engines. There were over a thousand old engines and tractors, 500 flea market booths, and lots of music (gospel, country, and old favorites). We went to the old engine show because we had friends there. Once couple were my neighbors when I lived in Jackson who introduced Don and I, and the other couple were the ones we had a double wedding with. They each had an RV. There were several thousand recreational vehicles there. We stayed one night with them.
Don really enjoyed looking at all the old tractors. He saw several old tractors that he used to use on the farm in Michigan. He had been wanting to go to the steam thrashers convention in Rollog, Minnesota, so now he doesn't have to go. He sees RFDTV where they feature old tractors and advertise these shows.
I mentioned they had lots of music at the show. The music consists of people with music ability that gather in a jam session and play. Dick or a friend plays a bass fiddle, and Clair plays the harmonica. They have banjos, guitars, dulcimers, and accordions. They play for hours and the music is very enjoyable. At the end of the concert some people were still there and one of the dulcimer players, some singles, and a couple of guitars, and a couple of harmonicas (one of them was Don) played a couple more hours until midnight.
From Buckley we went to Ruth and Henry's. We stayed overnight and went to church Sunday morning. After a pot luck dinner at the church, we left for Vermont. We enjoyed Ruth and Henry's hospitality and enjoyed a delicious New England boiled dinner. Don played a special on his harmonica at church. Henry has lost quite a lot of weight and looks real good. Ruth is doing well in spite of her almost 89 years.
Sheryl and Gary had their fourth child on July 12th. They now have two girls and two boys. The baby's name is Cole William. Cole is Gary's mother's middle name. Calvin is only 18 months old, so they definitely have their hands full. It sounds as though everyone had a good time at the May reunion. We hated to miss seeing everyone, but we had a scheduled Michigan trip. We also missed the Brighton High School reunion. We had a political dinner that night. Our Republican candidate for governor (Jim Douglas) was there; we hope he gets elected. He is the state treasurer now and has been Secretary of State before that. He has done well for Vermont as treasurer giving Vermont a very high bond rating. Dixie, I hope your daughter gets to be governor. Who is governor now? I believe Tommy Thompson was until Bush put him in his cabinet.
We have a new pastor at church. He is younger than our youngest daughter, Sheryl. His wife is from the Malden, Massachusetts Nazarene Church. Lois knows her and her mother. I knew her mother when she was a teenager.
We have a funeral to go to in a couple of days, Sharon's sister-in-law. JC's sister had an aneurysm and died suddenly. She was only in her late 50s. Her name is Carolyn Hover and she had an antique business in a big barn just outside Cambridge, Vermont.
Boy, am I embarrassed to have kept this letter for so long. After we got home from Michigan, there was so much to do and catch up on, I put this letter out of sight and out of mind, I think. We had lots of vegetables in the garden to take care of. I think we are about done with them. I hope.
We are disappointed and saddened by the doctors' assessment of Nita's problem. The doctor in Burlington diagnosed it as Lou Gehrig's disease. We are praying for her and God can heal her.
We are doing some remodeling at our house. We started with the kitchen, but haven't finished it yet. Don decided he'd better do needed outside work while the weather is good. He has new siding on the back of the house. That wasn't completed when we built the post office. Yesterday I painted attic windows. There is always plenty to do.
I had better close now and get this bird on its way.
Love, Don & Beulah
Times sure have changed. In 1970 when we moved from Michigan we were only 39 and now we are in our seventies. Back then, we had only one married daughter and one grandson, 8 descendants then and 39 now. God has again abundantly blessed the VT Family Griffes in 2002. Last July, daughter Sheryl and husband Gary blessed us with another grandson, Cole William Hosford, their 4th child, our 39th descendant He was dedicated to the Lord on December 8th as were their other three previously. Our quiver is wonderfully full; the Lord has built and blessed our house abundantly (Psalms 127).
Shirley and Jack are retired and living in the Bahamas. Shirley's son, Philip, his wife, Nichole, and daughters, Sidney, Devin, and Peyton, live in PA. Her daughter, Emily, and husband Rich, daughter Morgan, and son Keegan, live in Jackson, MI. They are all busy with making a living and raising their families.
Mike is up to his ears in "Homeland Security" at the Pentagon. He gets home to Debbie and the kids every two or three weeks. James is in College. Caroline is a senior and David is a sophomore in Portsmouth High School. Debbie is still a super Mary-Kay distributor as well as military wife and mother.
Sharon is a church lady, wife to hubby CJ and mom to college daughter Jennifer and son Christopher and daughter Sarah who are in high school. CJ operates a good size dairy farm; and with his brother Allen, they operate Manchester Lumber Company in Johnson, VT. Chris works on the farm and Sarah is a big help to her mom. They are both active in their church youth group.
Len (Leonard) is anchorman at his church, chair of a neighborhood property owners committee, UCA (United Christian Academy) board member, and CEO of "NEVTec," the family business, as well as husband to wife, Donna, and a great dad to Emily, Beckie, and Josh who all attend UCA where Donna teaches first grade. Emily is working part time at a restaurant and has her driver's license. Emily and Josh, who have CF, are doing just great; thank the Lord. They keep right up with their peers. All three are very musical and the girls take turns playing the piano for church.
Jay (Jonathan) and wife, Kim, along with daughter, Kelsie, and son, Alexander, live in Dover, NH about 20 miles from Mike and Deb. Jay is a Navy Reserve Commander at Portsmouth Navy Base and works for Fidelity in Nashua, NH, which is a 1.5 hour commute. Kim is home-schooling Kelsie who is in third grade. They, along with several others, have started a new church, "The Seacoast Nazarene Church" and have a new pastor.
Our daughter, Sheryl, and husband, Gary, live in Newport with their four children, Kristin Elizabeth, Megan, Calvin, and Cole William. The girls attend UCA and the boys keep their mother very busy at home. Gary is Len's right hand in our family ventilation business, which specializes in commercial kitchen ventilation and fire protection all over New England.
We are both involved in politics and our party did quite well again in this last election. Politics, if done right, takes a lot of work to make the things happen that we want to happen. Beulah is the GOP County and Town Treasurer, and we both are active in our Republican Town, County, and State Republican Committee. We are both active in our church. Last August we hired a new pastor, Rick and Sandy Smith, and have them settled in now. They have two boys, one and four years old. Beulah is still the treasurer and pianist, and Don is the "chink" of the church. A chink is a think chunk of wood that fills in the cracks wherever needed in a log cabin. Don fills in the cracks, where and when needed.
Beulah is treasurer and bookkeeper for our business and works four days a week. Don has been remodeling our big old house. This year it has been new siding, chimney, roof, laundry room and pantry, upgrade of the heating system; and in the process of installing a new kitchen. We had a big garden and still have 50 heads of cabbage on hand to make sauerkraut and give away. Our two freezers are full. Our pantry and cold room is well stocked and one of us is home most of the time. So "you all come and visit when you can!" We have plenty to eat and lots of wood to keep warm. We made five trips to Michigan in 2002 to visit relatives and expect to be there for a week right after Christmas.
We are trustees for Don's Aunt Josephine Austin, sister to Don's mother, Elizabeth. Jo is 91 and still on the go every day. Our big project was to remodel her house so when she needs someone to live with her she is all set. last spring, Jo's car was hit by a semi-truck. It was totaled, but she was unscathed. The next day we found her a car just like the one that was totaled and she drove it home. The state thought they had better check to see if she should still be driving; and after a verbal, written and road test which she passed, she is still driving someplace about every day.
As you know, Don has an intense interest in our family roots which has led to some very interesting discoveries or events in our ancestry. Don's mother was a Mandeville, who we have good reason to believe descended from Sir Geoffrey De Mandeville the First, who was a close aid to the great Norman leader, William the Conqueror, who defeated Harold, King of England, in October 1066. Sir Geoffrey was richly rewarded for his service to William who was crowned King of England on December 25th, Christmas Day, in 1066. Sir Geoffrey was no doubt a witness to the coronation and he and his descendants for several generations thereafter were involved in the political affairs of England. They were in charge of the Tower of London and was the Earl of Essex for nearly two centuries. They were overseers in the building of Walden Castle and the Walden Monastery. Sir Geoffrey III was a signer of the Magna Carta and a knight in the "Knight Templars," King John the First's personal confidantes and defenders.
A British historian in the 1300s noted that the Mandevilles were one of the most respected and prominent families on either side of the English Channel. From the 11th century to the 16th century there were so many professionals and leaders in the family that before long we probably will be able to determine the true lineage of our Mandeville family for over a thousand years. We have it pinned down from the 16th century. Jansen Mandeville (1580-1650) was a prominent physician in Gelderland, Netherlands as was his father, Jon, in Normandy before him. Yellis Jansen Mandeville, our 6th great grandfather was born in France in 1624. He fled from France to the Netherlands and because of persecution was the first to come to America in 1659 with is wife, Elsje Hendricks. She was born in Gelderland, Netherlands in 1628. At that time, Manhattan was mostly a wilderness.
Back then the area was "New Amsterdam." Property records of that time reveal that Yellis purchased thirty acres, which had belonged to the Indians, to build his home and farm. That site was located in an area which is now between Eighth Avenue and the North River in Manhattan. Yellis' and Elsje's son, David, Don's GGGGGreat Grandfather, was the first of our family to be born in America in 1665. He inherited the family property and was a co-owner of hundreds of acres, which is now Manhattan, as well. The family then belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church which has a well maintained record of births, baptisms, weddings and wakes. There is a wealth of information here for genealogy buffs. The many stories and details of our family would fill volumes. Don is working on a family book which will tell many of those stories.
We want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas season with your many families and friends. May our Heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus the Christ, who is the source of all true compassion, love, and goodness, bless your celebration of Christmas, His birthday. He is our protector from the evil that would beset us. He, through us, if we cooperate, will make our world a better place for our families and descendants. This Christmas, pray that we all can be wise in our decisions, true in our love and deeds, and strong for the many trials and tasks ahead. May God bless you all real good this 2002 Christmas season, and we all pray that God will continue to bless America.
Beulah and Donald Griffes
The Senior "Vermont Family Griffes
February 11, 2002
I won't tell you how long I have had this RR. I guess you can figure it out if you want. I seem to keep busy with home responsibilities, church, and working about four days a week at NEVTEC. I usually answer this letter when we go away; we went to Michigan, but I didn't have time to write.
I guess our big news is that Sheryl and Gary are going to have a baby in July. Calvin was a year old December 29th, so she will have her hands full. They already have their hands full. I try to help her a little bit by babysitting some and doing some of her washing. Their house is not real big, so they are not sure what they will do about making more room. They may do some remodeling in their house and also add a room on. Don would like to build a house up by the brook on our property and let them have this house. They are considering this, but Sheryl likes to live in Newport because everything is so handy, including the Christian school. Also, I am not sure if we would ever get a house built unless we bout a prefab house.
The last time I wrote Jay had just been playing war games for two weeks; he is about to go again in March. Len and Donna's two children, Emily and Joshua, had a real good report when then went to CF clinic. Their lungs were in better shape than when they were there a year ago.
Henry, we are glad you are feeling better and that the doctors were able to help you. We were very concerned about you when we were there in September; you got tired so quickly. I remember when Don had his heart attack - that was one of his symptoms. Is your blood pressure better than it was; we hope so. Glad, Ruth, you are feeling better.
Nita's blood pressure is high and the doctor thought she may have had a stroke. So they ordered an MRI; they determined that she didn't have a stroke, thankfully. She is taking blood pressure medicine now.
Mike is working in Washington D.C. at the Pentagon Homeland Security under Governor Tom Ridge. His area of work centers on border control. Also, he is actually working under the Navy and reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Homeland Security information. It is very complicated and he doesn't get home to NH very often. We plan to make a trip to Washington, D.C. soon.
This has been a very mild winter for Vermont. We haven't had any big snow storms and the temperature has hardly been below zero. However, it is supposed to go down to 15 degrees below tonight. We weren't able to go to Florida this year; we have spent a lot of time in Michigan helping Don's aunt and it is hard for me to get away from NEVTEC for an extended period of time. There is no one to do my work when I am gone. When we went to Florida three years ago, Donna and Sheryl did my work at the office. Now Donna is teaching school and Sheryl is too busy with her family.
Raymond, Don really enjoyed reading the journal of Melissa Dolloff. Your grandchildren are beautiful; especially Cheryl's children in the picture enclosed in the RR.
It was good to read all of your letters and I had better get this letter gone before you all think the RR is lost.
Love, Don and Beulah
This is the Vermont Family Griffes’s 32nd Christmas here in East Charleston. Our landlord in 1971 gave us the handle “The Vermont Family Grilles” and it stuck. We have info that tells us that my GGG Grandmother, Susan Stilwell Griffes, wife of Orlin Griffes, was possibly horn in Vermont in 1807, at least her parents lived here. This is where Beulah got her start in life. It has been a wonderful 32 years since we moved our family from Jackson to Vermont. Our family, all grown, consists of 3 sons and 3 daughters, who have blessed us with 21 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Including spouses, God has blessed us with 38 descendants so far. There were 29 at our Thanksgiving day table this year. In the book of Proverbs, it says: “children are to a father like arrows to a mighty archer. Blessed is he who has a quiver full”. My quiver is wonderfully filled. Christmas will find our family gathered at our daughter Sharon Manchester’s big farm house, in Johnson, VT. Sharon and CJ’s daughter, Jennifer, is going to Eastern Nazarene College and son Chris and daughter Sarah are doing well in school. They keep busy on the farm and are very active in their church.
America has different priorities now since 9/l1. God, families and our military are now top priority as it should be. Our son Jonathan, a Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserves, is a supply officer and has not yet been called to active duty. Our son Mike, a Navy Captain, is on duty full time at the Pentagon where be is working on “Homeland Security” policy between the military and the White House. Their families are still living in the Portsmouth, NH area. Deb and Mike’s son, James, is attending Keene State College in Keene, NH. Caroline and David are in high school. Kim and Jay’s Kelsie is in the 2 grade and Alexander, their son from Cambodia, is 2+ and keeps them real busy. Jay works for Fidelity and they are working hard to establish the new “Sea Coast Nazarene Church” near Portsmouth.
Shirley and Jack are somewhere near Bermuda with their boat. Philip and Nicole live near Baltimore. They, with their 3 daughters, were here for Thanksgiving, what fun we had. Emily and Rich live in Jackson with their daughter, 2 ,and 5 mo old son. Emily and Nicole are both stay-at-home moms.
We have two of our kids and families living close by in Newport: Len, Donna and kids, Emily, Becky and Josh, who are all doing great. All three are great students, active in music and play in the state’s #1 UCA hand bell choir. Donna teaches lst grade at United Christian Academy, (UCA). Len is on the UCA Board, active in the community and runs the family business where he is his mom’s boss. Beulah is still working part time keeping the books. Sheryl and Gary’s son, Calvin, born last December 29th, and their two girls, Kristin and Megan, live in Newport. Both Sheryl and Len and their families are active in their churches.
We planted a smaller garden last summer but we harvested more from it than any previous garden. We filled our freezers (3), canned and we have a crock of kraut almost ready. Every time our kids come we send food home with them. Did some deer bunting but no luck. Gary got a small deer. Did very little fishing last summer except with the grand-kids. I hope to do some ice fishing this Winter, probably will start next week. We have plenty of wood on hand for this winter and a start on the next year’s supply.
We felt quite secure up here in the North East Kingdom along the Canadian border until 9/11. That all changed when the towers came down. It looks like we are in this for the long haul and it won be over very soon. Our President, our military, our whole government and all of our families need prayer in these difficult times ahead. All of us are now actively involved in that age old struggle between good and evil. As long as the Christ of Christmas is ignored and rejected by so many and evil is allowed to go unchecked, we will continue to be at war with evil. There are many more lights and decorations this year as more people choose good over evil and celebrate America and Jesus’s Birthday, the Prince of Peace.
Researching our family history has thrust me Into an in depth study of our family history. Thanks to cousin Lois’s hard work, the Griffes side is well along. 1 still have collected many great family stories to get typed and shared: We have been able to trace one of my maternal lines back to before Christ, thanks to my Mormon cousin Jaye. I was able to take another line, Mandeville, my mother’s maiden name, back to the original settlers on Long Island, which was then called New Amsterdam and even back two generations in the Netherlands. My main project in the cold Vermont winter months ahead, is to work on our family history and share some more family stories. Our ancestors went through a lot to bring us this great Nation and to preserve our liberties. I hope to compile a document that makes clear our families’ part in that struggle.
This genealogy business can develop some interesting findings. Cousin Lois tells us that the infamous “Lizzie Borden” and “Elsie” the Borden cow, figure in our family history. We have even discovered that one of my ancestors, back about 600 AD was known as the “Happy King” which was the basis for the old children’s story, “Old King Cole Was a Merry Old Soul”. I have found some neat stories, from our Rockford, Illinois relatives and old area publications, about our ancestor’s early life in upstate New York Then there must be some interesting stories yet to be found in Jackson, as so many in our family spent many years there before migrating to Northern Michigan in the mid 1800’s. Many of our family still live in Jackson. There are bear, deer, fish, farming and travel stories that have been handed down to me both by word and in writing, which I need to publish. This could be a full time job if I’m not careful, but it’s fun. Perhaps some of you would like to help in this project.
FYI if interested, here are thirteen Generations of the Grilles Family: - our 5 Great grand children, our 21 Grandchildren. Our 6 children, us, Beulah and Don. Don b 1931, was the son of Eddie Coval Grilles, b 1906 son of Leon Bails Griffes , b 1883, son of Ensign Seals Griffes, b 1853 , son of Orson Mitchel Griffes, b l827, son of Orlin Griffes, b 1804 , son of James Griffes Jr, b 1773, son of James Griffes Sr., b 1739, son of Thomas Griffes, b 1695, son of John Griffes, b about 1666. (Some of our earlier ancestors spelled it Griffis, with an i.)
We want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas season with your many families and friends Our heavenly Father, through His Son Jesus the Christ, is the source of all true compassion, love and goodness. Christmas is a celebration of His birthday. He helps us push back the evil that would beset us. He through us, (if we cooperate), will make our World a better place for our families and descendants. This Christmas pray that we all can be wise in our decisions, true in our love and deeds, and strong for the many trials and tasks ahead. May God Bless You All real good, this 2001 Christmas season.
Please God, continue to bless our families and our wonderful United States of America!
From Beulah and Don Griffes, the seniors of the Vermont Family Griffes
August 5, 2001
As you can see, we are in Michigan. The RR letter came just before we left, so I am answering it here where I have time, unlike when I get back home. There will be lots of garden produce to pick and take care of and plenty of work to catch up in at the office.
We left last Thursday and plan to leave here Tuesday or Wednesday. We are staying with Don's Aunt Jo, who is 90 years old. She has asked Don to help her with financial business and her will. Also she is making him her administrator and probably Power of Attorney. She has her investments and her income going into a trust that the bank holds. They charge $25,000 a year to manage the trust. So the bank suggested that she take it out of the trust because of the high fees and also their fees are going up. I guess her amount in the trust is not large enough to make it feasible for them to manage it.
It has been unbelievably hot since we have been here and it is going to continue to be in the 90s all week. The humidity is high too. According to the weather map, it is hot all over the country, even Vermont. Fortunately I brought our window fan from home and so our bedroom cools down at night.
When we leave here we may go to Ludington, MI to see an uncle of Don's who is 91, and not very well. From there we may head east to where some Jackson friends of ours are camping and attending a musical jamboree, which is a large group of people that have fun playing harmonicas and other instruments. If we go up north, we plan to spend a night with Ruth and Henry if they are home.
We have three gardens, even though we weren't planning to have a lot of garden this year. It has been very dry but we have watered the garden and it has really produced. Sheryl and Len were planning to pick beans, peas, summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers while we are gone.
(Jay) Jonathan has gone to Virginia to "play" war games for two weeks. He is in the reserves and goes to Rhode Island one weekend a month and then has the two week thing once a year. Kim, Kelsie, and Alexander came to visit us for five days a couple of weeks ago, which we enjoyed. Alexander will be two on August 25 and he is a busy little boy. When he got to our house he had to investigate everything - all the drawers and doors. We put rope on them so he couldn't open them and I emptied one of the bottom drawers for his toys, etc. Jay didn't come because he had to work. He works for Fidelity Investments.
In a couple of weeks Sheryl, Gary, Kristin, Megan and Calvin (7 months) are coming to stay with us for about ten days. They have a new pastor who is moving from Wisconsin. They have bought a house in the Newport area, but can't get into it for a few days. Kristin and Megan will be happy. Kristin is always asking to come to our house, which she did when Kim and Kelsie were there. Megan told me one day that she wanted to live at our house and I said she would miss all her family. She replied, "Well, they can come too."
Mike's son, Jim, graduated form high school in June and Sharon's daughter, Jennifer, graduated on the same day. Since Jim's graduation was in Portsmouth, NH and Jennifer's was in Johnson, VT., we couldn't go to both of them. We got the invitation from Jim first, so we went to Portsmouth. Sharon's son, Christopher, and Mike's son, David, are the same ago, so Sharon told us we were invited now to Christopher's graduation.
Don's granddaughter (mine too), Emily, and her husband and little girl, live here in Jackson. She is expecting a baby very soon. Don called there yesterday and her mother and Don's daughter, Shirley, is there to help her when the baby is born. Shirley livers on a catamaran sailboat with her husband, Jack; and since they sail all up and down the east coast and the Bahamas, it is hard to contact her much. So we were glad when we found out she is here. We are all going out to eat together tonight, including Aunt Jo and Aunt Ruth. Speaking of going out to eat (we have been doing a lot of that lately), yesterday, some friends (actually they were our neighbors on Indian Trail when we lived in Jackson - they also stood up with us when we got married), took us out for breakfast and Aunt Jo took us out for dinner.
We went to the Jackson Nazarene Church yesterday and saw a few friends, most of the people we knew have died, I guess, or have moved away. The pastor had an excellent sermon and it was a great service. The church averages over 600 in the morning service. They have two services. They are also in a building program adding onto their new church.
Raymond, I don't believe Mama gave lessons to Elinor and me. I know that I only had lessons from Miss Devlin in Island Pond. I always thought her name was quite appropriate because she was stern and I never was too happy to go for piano lessons. I don't know anything about obtaining the piano. Sorry I can't contribute much on this subject. Raymond, I do have one memory about the piano. You and Adelbert used to love to run by the end of the piano and bang on it when Elinor and I were playing. Elinor used to get up and run after you, and that seemed to encourage you to do it more. I recall that I ignored you and that took all the fun out of it
We did come to Ruth and Henry's and I am delivering this letter in person. It is now Wednesday. We are happy we can see Ruth and Henry for a little while. We plan to drive about half way home and stay overnight. We need to get home and take care of a lot of things, including the garden.
Love to all, Don and Beulah
May 27, 2001
Looks like I have had this letter for about a month. Time sure does fly. As Nita says in her letter, we went to Michigan about April 15th for a week. It was fun having Nita and Dawnita go with us. It was great seeing Ruth and Henry. We miss having them here in Vermont. They have a very nice parsonage. The people at the church are so happy to have them back again as their pastors. Thanks, Ruth and Henry, for your hospitality! About three weeks after we came home from Michigan, Don and I went to Michigan again to go to his uncle's funeral. I think we are wearing out the road from Vermont to Michigan, and also us and our car.
This week, Lois, Nita, Don and I are going to Boston for several days as delegates to our church district convention. Don has planted quite a lot of garden, but not as much as usual. At least I hope he doesn't plant as much. It is too much work to take care of it when it is growing and when it is harvested. It is wonderful having our own fresh vegetables and being able to go to the freezer (we have three) in the winter and take out frozen vegetables and fruit. Our children benefit from us having a big garden. We still have frozen vegetables left from the large garden in preparation for the year 2000!
On Tuesday, Don and I are going to have lunch with a man that used to be the executive director of the state GOP. He was fired from the state GOP and we don't know why. Probably because he was too conservative. He has a radio program in Burlington and also is editor of a couple of small newspapers. We are also going to meet with the new executive director. Our state GOP chairman is getting done and we want to influence electing a new chairman, so we plan to get involved with helping out at the state office. Our Republican Party in Vermont is quite weak because the grass roots of the party have not been encouraged to participate. The party has been run from the top down. I'm sure you heard about our (Republican) senator, James Jeffords, leaving the party. He should have resigned many years ago because he always voted with the Democrats. We called him a "RINO (Republican In Name Only). Enough for politics!
I need to close now and go to bed. Tomorrow, five of our grandchildren will be here, so it will be a busy and happy day.
Enjoyed reading all your letters.
Love, Don and Beulah
December 16, 2000
I realize that I am very, very delinquent in writing this letter. However, I think I have a pretty valid excuse or reason. For about a year I had had shoulder problems and writing was painful, so I had an operation on November 8. They found a lot of scar tissue and junk in my shoulder joint. After the operation I couldn't write at all as my arm was in a sling. As of now I can do some writing, but it is quite uncomfortable. I am going for physical therapy which I hope will eventually get my shoulder joint back to normal.
It seems like things come in bunches. Don went to the doctor last Monday because he was having chest pressure and heaviness. They put him in the hospital and checked him out with an angiogram. They found one artery that was 80% plugged; this three by-pass blood vessels were clear, so they did an angioplasty on the artery that was 80% plugged and put in a stent, which is a piece of mesh metal to push the plaque to the sides of the blood vessel, and made a good opening for the blood. Clayton, you know all about this, I know. Don is OK; quite sore and bruised internally. I am going to close now and wish you all a wonderful Merry Christmas.
Love, Beulah and Don
Here are Kim, Alexander and Jay. Sorry for the poor coloration, but the picture was not scanned with a high enough screen resolution. But you can't miss the expressions of sheer happiness on the faces of everybody!
Cambodia's most precious resource:
A Cambodian Child
KHMER ROUGE LEGACY:
Courtyard of Prison, Phnom Penh
Traffic - SE Phnom Pehn
Cambodian House on Tonle Sap River
Here is a group of small children
at the orphanage
KHMER ROUGE LEGACY:
Barb wire in front of open mass grave
At the orphanage: the children, their nannies, and us in the background.
Alexander Vichettra with his nanny,
Sok Chea, at the orphanage
Kelsie and Alexander
at his birthday party
April 14, 2000
I am writing this from Jackson, Mich. We came here a few days ago to a funeral. After this letter (RR ltr) came we made a trip to Phoenix, AZ. Don had a National Fire Prevention Assoc. meeting there and so I went with him. After the meeting we drove to Tucson in a rental car to see some friends. I am late as usual writing this letter. I guess my excuse this time is all the traveling we have been doing, baby sitting for Len & Donna’s children, and Sheryl & Gary’s children, and trying to keep up with work at the business. I have pretty much mastered the new accounting computer program at work, but I have a lot of catch up to do. I am still working on March data and Don tells me we may be going to WDC next week to a conference and also to Baltimore to take some antiques that we have to give to Don’s daughter Shirley. She takes all kinds of things and makes planters, lamps, picture frames etc. She is very creative and talented. Never a dull moment in our lives. Don hasn’t finished the hydro-electric yet. He needs to have Gary at our sheet metal shop to do some welding and we have been so busy at the shop he hasn’t had time.
Jay, Kim, Kelsie & Alexander Vichettra (Cambodian baby) lived with us until the middle of March, and then Jay got a job working with his brother Mike in his business in Portsmouth, NH. They haven’t been able to locate a house to buy until about a week ago. Kim and the children moved in with her Aunt & Uncle in Quincy, Ma, and Jay has rented a motel room for during the week. Portsmouth is only about an hour from Boston up the interstate. They are now in the process of buying a new house, but it wont be completed until the end of April. We were hoping they would be settling in the Burlington area, but it is necessary to go where the jobs are.
It looks like Spring, at least in Jackson, MI. It was 72 here today. VT may not be quite as warm but I think from the weather reports it is warming up. Don has planted peas and they have already come up. We are on our way home from MI. We take Rt 401 that goes from Detroit to Montreal. It is a beautiful road and we can make good time. It takes us about 13 hours. We take turns driving so it doesn’t seem so long. Don is wanting me to drive now so I’ll finish this letter now.
We enjoyed all your letters. It is so good to keep track through letters.
Love, Don and Beulah
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