100 Ivyhurst Road Buffalo, NY 14226 December 5, 1980
It is twenty years since we sent out an annual letter for the first time. We were in France that year, in the village of Le Mee sur Seine. We could not afford to live in Paris on our small grant with our young children and sought in this way to share our experiences with our friends.
Since then time has flown. For Jeremy this has been an eventful year. For a number of years he has been freelancing restaurant and food articles in his free time while working on a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Minnesota and teaching parttime. In May he was offered a staff position on the Detroit Free Press as food editor. The decision to leave Minneapolis and interrupt his studies was not easy, but then Jeremy has always liked to write. You will enjoy the introductory article he wrote for the Free Press. In the meantime another of his leisure time hobbies paid off. You may remember his cheese cake baking enterprise some years ago. This fall, Barron’s published The Joy of Cheesecake, a cook book coauthored with his friend from his Carleton College days, Dana Bovbjerg, the only cook book I know with a footnoted historical introduction. The book has received quite a bit of publicity, it is on a Book of the Month alternate list – and Jeremy is spending two weeks traveling through the country from Los Angeles to Charleston, S.C., publicizing the book on local talk shows.
Daniel, who was admitted to the Canadian bar last year, spent a year working on the staff of the Ontario ombudsman in Toronto. The job, which involved primarily research, was not funded for a second year and Dan has just started a job with a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. It is almost two years now since he and Maggie separated and there is no likelihood of the two coming together again. Both are now going their separate ways and Dan since this past summer has been going seriously with a new friend, Janet, who worked with him in the ombudsman’s office. We see a lot of Sarah. Our granddaughter. She was three in October, is lively, communicative, and affectionate. Sarah spends weekends with Dan. About once, or more often twice, a month Dan comes down to Buffalo with her. Maggie in the meantime has moved to Orillia, where her parents live, eighty miles north of Toronto, and is working again as a social worker.
Jonathan is at home. He has now completed all requirements for the BA at Canisius College and is waiting for a position. Last winter and spring he worked for the county Division of Social Services. This was a temporary job and he is now on the list of persons who took the civil service examination and expects to be called back. The job very much corresponds to his interests. For his BA he had a minor field in urban studies. In the meantime, while waiting. He worked for the U.S. Census and has kept busy with a magazine distribution business he has built up on regional college campuses.
Wilma has been quite busy. Enrollment in Modern Languages at Canisius College, particularly in German, continues to decline. She has very few students but four preparations and in addition administrative duties as the director of the office counseling students on graduate school opportunities. Despite this she continues to make progress on her history of the Jews in Bohemia since the Enlightenment. She is planning two volumes, one an anthology of Bohemian Jewish writings, now almost complete, the other a collection of her own essays. I continue to have a group of interested and interesting graduate students, although the number of students in our graduate program is declining as the employment prospects for historians become bleaker. My own research continues to center around the history of history as a discipline since the eighteenth century.
We spent the summer in Göttingen, again staying with Irmgard Bokemeyer in Rauschenwasser. We know Göttingen so well now that we feel very much at home there. It was a very busy summer, much of it spent in the library, but with many opportunities to see good friends and acquaintances. Wilma went to Czechoslovakia the beginning of August both to see friends in her old home region in western Bohemia and in Prague and to do research in Prague. I picked her up in Prague and we proceeded on the Orient Express, now an incredibly delapidated train to Romania to the World Historical Congress in Bucharest where I participated in the formation of an international commission devoted to historiography.
Last week for Thanksgiving we had all three boys here. Dan came with Janet and Jeremy was joined by his friend Gail from Minneapolis whom we thus had an opportunity to get to know better.
We are, of course, very much worried what the coming year will bring in the Middle East, in Poland, and elsewhere, including at home. Although we continue to have active concerns with civil rights and peace causes – I am still on the board of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP and continue to counsel persons in the military on questions of conscience – we feel much less effective than in the more optimistic days when we were in the South.
Our very best wishes for a peaceful and satisfying New Year and a happy Holiday Season,
Georg, Wilma, Jonathan