2001 was definitely a difficult year for us. Aside from our national tragedies and Ben's illness, Allison's mother, Marilyn, passed away in November after a year-long fight with pancreatic cancer. Despite our grief and time spent with Marilyn and family - or perhaps because of it - we spent a fair amount of time visiting friends and family and enjoying ourselves. We started the Fall with Dana's first overnight camping trip - about 10 colleagues from the University of Maryland joined us at Cunningham Falls State Park in the Catoctin Mountains (in northern Maryland). We had a wonderful time, and Dana impressed us all by leading the group - and more importantly, sleeping through the night!
Then, Halloween rolled around and we visited our friends, the Hammers (see David and Lauren here). Dana was happy to put on her pussy cat costume again, and was delighted to find she could hold her tail. Unfortunately, this was her real introduction to candy, and life hasn't quite been the same since.
Then we went to our now annual adoption reunion. This year, we went to Williamsburg, Virginia and enjoyed perfect Fall weather. Dana has become great friends with Alina (blonde hair) and Holly (brown hair) - two of the girls adopted at the same time from her orphanage in Petropavlosk, and continues to ask about them all the time.
The big fun of the Fall, however, was Ben's father's 80th birthday. We had a wonderful catered party at Ben's parent's house in New York City. While lighting 80 candles on 3 cakes was no simple task, it turned out that blowing them out was nearly impossible - they were trick candles! It took half the people at the party 15 minutes to blow them out - but blow them out we did. Then the guests from all parts of big Ben's life told stories about him - it was quite a night.
Throughout the Fall, Dana continued to grow and amaze us all. She is an artist, an athlete, a Jew (she loves going to temple), a computer buff, and a general rascal.
Then, the worst came. Marilyn ("grandma mar" to Dana) spent the Fall in and out of the hospital, and then with her family at her side, passed away at her home on November 18, 2001. She has left a hole in our hearts, but also has given us so many memories and so much love that we are doing our best to move on - trying to live our lives in a way that would have made her proud. Allison described a bit of her life: "Marilyn Druin was an incredible wife, mother, a grandmother, a family member, a friend, an artist, and a mentor... " in her eulogy.
Finally, 2001 has come to a close. We celebrated the new year's coming with a 4-leg trip to NJ, NYC, Ben's family country house in Windsor, MA, and a visit to cousins Gary and Angela Magenta in Chicago. We are looking forward to 2002.
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All text and photos Copyright (c) 2001 Ben Bederson