This has been a year of transformation and growth for everyone in the Frost family. There have been many positive developments, some disappointments and loss, but we have faced our challenges and joys together and we are a formidable force—with our own military detachment!
A catalyst for much of the change was the loss of Jenny’s job with Random House (reported last year) after an amazing 25 year run. We have all had to adjust in many ways to this significant change. Time will tell, but 2010 should prove to be a watershed year for each of us and we hope and trust that the eventual outcome will be incredibly positive. Already much of the change has been positive, but change can be difficult and unsettling so it has not always been an easy year for any of us.
Returning to school after 30+ years has its challenges, but Jim has done spectacularly well in his first year of grad school. Ellie calls him the “curve buster.” He is motivated and his maturity stands him in good stead. More importantly, he is proving to be a passionate and creative teacher-in-training. He started the process thinking he wanted to teach high school English, but after a string of classroom observations and a course in Young Adult literature, he is leaning towards middle school. It has been a tough year with a heavy load of courses, but Jim’s perfectionism keeps him focused on each new assignment. With three courses each semester, including summer, it has been a push. In 2011 he will again have three courses spring and summer semesters and begin student teaching in the fall. With a little luck and smart hiring on the part of some school district, he will start teaching in January 2012. It is inspirational and exciting to watch him move to this new chapter in his life.
Alex’s year has been one of dramatic change. Having not found himself in his college studies and in the wake of Jenny’s job loss, Alex decided to join the Marines. He has worked very hard this year and grown immeasurably. Our couch potato started working out at his Recruiting Office in January. He did very well on his entrance exams and took his Oath in early April. His ship date to boot camp (Parris Island) was to be in September, but if a slot opens and the recruiter thinks a recruit is ready, they can go sooner. Alex got the call June 12th. With two hours notice, we said our goodbyes and he headed to Parris Island for one of the most demanding 13 weeks of training in the world. It was tough and those first few weeks’ letters were heartbreaking, but Alex did incredibly well. We had the honor of seeing him graduate September 10th and it was a thrill for all of us. Our boy lost 25 lbs. and became a man with a maturity and bearing worthy of a Marine. After a brief leave, he did a month of Infantry training and is now stationed in Pensacola where he is getting Intel training. He has a security clearance and we don’t know exactly what he is doing, but he continues to excell and seems to truly enjoy his life as a Marine. We look forward to a 96 hour visit at New Year’s. He should be attached to a unit in the Spring. We don’t yet know where.
Peter has also had a positively eventful year. Having attended the F.L. Chamberlain School for the past two years, he graduated in June. It was tremendously exciting to see Peter reach this rite of passage. For the first time in three years, Peter has been home with us to live and it has been unspeakably wonderful to have him with us. Peter has been thrilled to be with his cats, Zena and Zoe, and I think he likes us, too. Over the summer and fall, Peter has been taking classes at Westchester Community College. He is focused on math and physics. On his 20th birthday in August, Peter got his driver’s license—yet another major milestone. Peter’s next step may be Pace University in the fall or he may continue with WCC, but he is growing up fast and we are proud of his achievements.
This has been Ellie’s senior year of high school and that is without a doubt a year of big transition. It has been both great fun and unendurable misery to work through the college application process. Visiting the schools is fun. The essays and general tension and anxiety are the pits. This summer Ellie spent three weeks hiking and camping with NOLS in Wyoming. This was a rigorous wilderness experience and she learned a lot. The Wind River Valley was spectacularly gorgeous, but the regimen was quite demanding. Nothing stops Ellie, so she did fine, but it was no picnic. She continues with cross country and basketball and has a full load of AP classes. She also got her license and is driving Jenny’s red Dakota truck which she has named Betsy Snow for reasons unfathomable to the rest of us. Her room is a mess and she displays many characteristics of the species adolescent girl, but we are aware that this is her last year before flying the nest.
Without a doubt the saddest event this year was the loss of Jenny’s mom, Bobbie Isserman. As hard as it is to put into words what this means, it has to be a part of this news roundup. Bobbie was such a tremendously talented, intelligent, graceful and witty woman. She had such a positive mental attitude and lived her life fully. She is missed by so many and it is still hard to believe she is gone. Ferd is managing remarkably well and deserves tremendous respect for his attitude. He is busy and engaged and we are thrilled he will be joining us for Christmas.
Other big events this year include a delightful family reunion with Jim’s family in Livonia/Ann Arbor July 4th weekend and Ellie and Jenny’s summer long training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer (sixty mile) Walk October 8-10 for which they raised over $15,000.
With so much going on in the family, it was useful to have Jenny home more this year. After so many years of being at work, she was around to keep things running and provide support. Watching the evening news and cooking dinner weeknights were both unaccustomed pleasures. Dakota was particularly pleased to have Jenny at home more. Not working has taken a lot of adjustment and thinking through the future has been a lengthy process. She is engaged in a multi-pronged full-frontal assault on the job market and there will hopefully be positive news in the future. It certainly won’t be for lack of trying. One of the positives of this year has been having time to learn including social media. You can follow Jenny on Twitter @frostjenny, on Facebook, visit her web site www.jennyfrostassociates.com, read her blog www.twogirlswalkin.wordpress.com and catch her on LinkedIn. Meeting lots of new people and networking has also been both challenging and enjoyable. Some knitting and beading were also done as well as the growing of a vegetable garden with abundant tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers and herbs.
We all look forward to the developments of 2011. We wish you and your families all the best for this holiday season and the New Year.