1954 Will & Betty Harris Family Christmas Letter

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January 7th, 1954 314 North Fremont River Fall, Wis. 

(Delayed by a broken duplicator) Dear Ones All:(From New York to California and Minnenota to Texas)          The biggest news of the year is eight forms of good news: For the second time we are homeowners.  We did not buy as planned at Christmas time a year ago, but this October we finally found a house which insisted upon being purchased.  We have been in the peculiar position of having people wanting to buy a mortgage on a house we hadn’t  bought yet, so we obliged them and secured a nice mortgage for them and us. (Tax deductible, you know.)           We have frequently been told that except for a few of the new homes, we have the ”nicest home in River Falls”.  We are beginning to believe this ourselves.  We invite you to come and judge for yourselves.            This year Doug has liked school so much that he was quickly bored with vacation.  Both of his teachers have been outstanding graduates of our college and students of Will’s in a number of classes.            Bruce has had a good year compared to his past and is now a loyal Cub Scout.  He is working at skating and he finds that the hardest thing about skating is the ice, when you come right down to it!  We all have skates, and all other necessary winter equipment to enjoy our winter.             Merry surprised us all by winning a first prize (cash) in art at the Country fair this summer.  Her teacher entered her work without us knowing.  She is still nuts about horses and rides whenever she can, but her latest interest is chemistry, which occupies a large corner and two tables of our large basement.             Betty was a graduate school widow for eight weeks this summer while Will was at Madison, for the last time.  Betty had the kids, the garden, and the car, so WIll’s feet actually became a full size larger pounding the pavement of the streets of Madison.  Betty filled two lockers at our locker plant and so now we enjoy fresh corn, strawberries, peaches and all the rest.              While finishing his work at Madison, Will worked some at the Forest Products Laboratory and had a chance to see some of the Federal Government employees in action.  It is hard to understand why such able and fine people stay in such employment after the abuse they take.  Working for a state has its bad features, but deliver me from employment with the Federal Government.              High point of the summer was a nine-day trip to Door Country.  Do you remember the weather we had at the end of August?  WE were cool and lazy and swimmin’.  Will managed to wrench his back so he was led into the lake in the morning and assisted out at meal times.  Recovery was coincident with the day of departure.  Strange element?  Again we made some new, shiny friends, and they’re from Milwaukee, and they oughta know.               We made a flying two-day trip to Milwaukee early in the fall on business and pleasure, as we did not go to the State Convention in November.  We missed seeing many of our friends but we were working hard on our house, getting it ready for winter.             This holiday season we received eight letters of this family type.  This probably along with the many long notes on greeting cards was the finest feature of the season.  The letters came from Wisconsin, California, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Iowa.             We have a parakeet.  His name is Junior but we all have special names for him.  He is four months old and a beauty.  He loves people, anyone will do.  He will not be ignored if anyone is around at all.  He frequently frightens visitors by swooping at them and choosing a head or shoulder as a landing field.  His favorite repeat is to nibble on a person’s ear.  Are you sure you can’t stay for a visit?  Will has scooped him out of a full, hot cup of coffee, twice.  He sings, whistles and chirps but his language is still all parakeetish.  We have books and records to train him but he is not impressed.             We had a reception in our home for college faculty and seated 42 at one time with little crowding.  We also had our annual family snow party for our college familys.  Our fireplace has served well.  You’d like it. We would like to serve you coffee or strong tea (Pete) before a crackling, warm, log fire.

                                                       So, with best wishes to all, for                                                             A HAPPY NEW YEAR

                                                        Love from the Harris Family                                                                        Will                                                                            Betty                                                                               Merry                                                                                 Bruce                                                                                     Doug

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