Christmas 2011

It has been a year of light and dark in Livelyville. Barry’s mother Clara passed on in July, Ellie continues with her quilting and Barry with his photography.  Ellie is also overseeing remodeling the kitchen.

Barry’s mom, Clara, was the last of the six Dye girls of Hundred WV.  She had spent the last seven years in a dementia unit at Westminster Village North and we couldn’t have asked for better support than that given by the staff.  Mom was cheerful and friendly to all right up to the end. She died at age 95.  Barry wrote about her death in a posting on this blog.  Here she is with Barry’s brother Rob, a few months before she died.

And here, with our father.  We were celebrating the wedding of our son in 1992.

Barry’s brother Rob came to help with final arrangements and to clean up Clara’s room.  The ‘two boys’ as they were known growing up were at it for some time when it came to the last item on the list, cleaning out the books on Mom’s shelves.  There were quite a few books and about this time Rob and Barry were, as Mom would say, planting in clumps.  Two boxes were set up, one for books going home and the other for those to be donated to the Westminster Village North library.  There was an old nondescript Bible that went into the WVN box.  This was toward the end of July.  In the middle of November, Barry heard from his cousin Claudia (Lively side) in Pittsburgh who was wondering if our great grandmother’s maiden name was Riggs; Claudia had been contacted by a genealogist who said that there was a family Bible found in an old folks home in Indiana with the name Martha E. Riggs in the front.  This was the Bible we had donated to WVN.  The Bible had gone to the library and was in turn consigned to the reject bin where it was discovered by the concierge who passed it on to the chaplain.  The chaplain took it home and showed it to his wife.  She has an interest in genealogy and contacted the genealogist who contacted cousin Claudia.  Dumb mistake by Barry and Rob, not opening that book, but think about how it got back to us.  Amazing.  Here’s the inscription on the first page of the Bible.

Ellie’s redo of the kitchen is proceeding apace.  The new cabinets have been delivered and Kevin, who is doing the job for us, assures us all the cabinets (there must be one to two million of them) will all go where they are supposed to and there will be none left over.  We’ll see.

When asked about what should go into this Christmas letter, Ellie immediately said ‘zip line!’  She goes to a Y camp a few times a year for a quilt camp.  No responsibilities for feeding others or doing chores, just quilting, talking, eating and sleeping.  This summer the quilters were invited to try the zip line at the camp and Ellie and her friend Grace jumped right on it.  She called home afterward leaving a message on voice mail.  Barry has seldom heard the excitement in her voice that he heard that day.  She loved it. Here she is with Grace (Ellie on the left).  If you visited us and couldn’t find her, she might be out looking for another zip line.

Barry’s photography can be seen in the blog postings here.  Here’s one example:

We are all in good health and hope to hear from you during the year.  Our email addresses are and  Check the main body of this blog for other goings on.

With love,


18 thoughts on “Christmas 2011

  1. Barry, you and your brother look just like your mom. The pictures are great, and the story about the bible is great. Merry Christmas to you all and thanks for all the support this year. Annie

  2. I love the pictures. The story of “cleaning out” tickles me–it makes me wonder what we discarded at Mothers. She was a great one for tucking 20$ bills into weird places.
    I have a new e-mail:
    We are all fine and getting ready for an active holiday–lots of cooking and then eating. I envy Ellie’s new kitchen but not the process of it becoming a reality. I wish you and yours the best 2012 and a Merry Christmas.
    Love to you both–Ann

  3. Great letter and wonderful Christmas wishes to you both. Yes Ellie, there will be a zip line downtown for the Super Bowl Hmmmm.

    I am leaving in the morning to spend Christmas with my twin Bobby. It will be the first time together for Christmas in 10 years and we are both so excited.

    I tried to explain to my Burmese family that I had a twin sister today and that we look alike…they weren’t getting the concept. So camera in tow, there will be twin pix to share soon.

    Merry Christmas. BB

  4. I hope you don’t mind robyn sent this to me what a beautiful lady clara was and I really enjoyed caring for her and meeting your family. Your photography is amazing and the story was great. I hope you all have a wonderful christmas and a happy new year. DANA

  5. Merry Christmas to you and your family Barry!
    I enjoyed reading your letter…it caught me up on stuff seeing how I havn’t seen you for a quite a while…. Hopefully this next year won’t be quite as hectic…..

  6. I really like Christmas letters and here it is easy to put pictures, too. I’ve used this method for several years, as you know. Then I have to make a call to friends who have lived life refusing to use a computer — and missing out on a lot of life, I think. Zipline sounds like fun to me; maybe on my 90th!! God bless you in the year ahead

  7. Beautiful pictures Barry. Thanks for the update. I have not done cards for the last two years as I have been knitting hoodies for Rebecca (who now lives in Galveston, TX). All is well; I am glad to be back in Human Factors. I read Arnie’s book, kudos to you for your contributions.
    Merry Christmas to you and Ellie (and Joyce).

  8. Barry and Ellie: I was just addressing our card to you when I read this. You will get our “tale” by snail mail, soon. Since snail mail may soon disappear, I thought I would give it one last try.

    We will have 9 visitors with us starting on 12/23. Four will be with us for 2 weeks, so Gio will be very busy.

    Have a great Holiday and New Year.

    Tom and Gio

  9. Lovely letter for the Christmas season. The great love for your mother comes thru in every word you use in telling your story. Ellie, keep up the adventures and get those cabinets in place for Barry.

    Have a wonderful Holiday,

    Mike and Sharon La Masters

  10. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Barry and Ellie! We enjoyed reading your beautiful tributes to your Mom both here and on your blog. We think Ellie should pay a visit to the Super Bowl village zip line downtown next month to show them how it’s done with style!!!

    Happy Holidays,

    Karen and Cliff Stewart

  11. Dear Barry and Ellie
    We so enjoy hearing from you – it brings back lovely memories of the time we spent “Wondering in Maine” with the Lively family. I re read your book very recently as I have attempted to do some Blurb publishing myself – your fabulous results make it look so easy, but it completely baffles me! We had hoped to visit New England again this Autumn, but had difficulty with my health insurance – hopefully this is resolved now, and we hope to come within the next couple of years, at the same time tempting Rob and Martha to visit Europe again. Your mother was fortunate to have such a loving and delightful family to look after her. We miss you all.
    With love

  12. Beautiful, Barry. I’m so glad to hear you’re doing okay! If it’s not too hard on you, you should stop by and say hi some weekend. Hope you have a great Christmas!! Oh, and btw, I graduated last weekend!

  13. I’m on the YMCA committee that approves facility spending so I’m very familiar with that zip line, but haven’t had a ride – YET. Very nice tribute to your mom and as we’ve been going through my dad’s things well, I just hope we kept the right stuff. Glad you got her bible back.
    You have a very Merry Christmas and to a Happy New Year!!

  14. Happy Holidays to you Barry, Elie and the entire Lively family.
    May “GOD ALMIGHTY” continue to bless you and your family as you all complete the 2011 journey and begin the journey of 2012. I pray that your blessing from our heavenly “FATHER” continue to rain down upon you and yours. Again Happy Holidays

  15. Barry & Ellie,
    Loved hearing all the news! Hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season! Would love to see pics of the kitchen remodel, how exciting,
    Thankyou for sharing the story about the Bible with the Bradley Clan. I am sure this Christmas brought back many touching memories of your lovely Mother.
    Look forward to keeping up in the new year,
    Dean, Cindy, Shannon & Sheila

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