The 2003 Heller Family Newsletter

Family Portraits by Dottie Hilbert

Dear relatives and friends. 2003 was quite a year for us.

Rebecca is turning ten and is in fourth grade. Her school practices “looping,” which keeps a class and teacher together for two years. Rebecca’s class and teacher are excellent, so she is really enjoying round two. Rebecca was chosen to represent her class in the school’s student committee. For kicks, she plays soccer year round, indoor in the winter. During the spring and fall, Rebecca plays “travel soccer” which is code for a serious family commitment on Saturdays. Rebecca has developed into an excellent ball-control player, especially as a keeper. She sports quite funky keeper-ware. In the winter, despite vertical challenges, Rebecca also plays basketball. She sets picks, takes charges, and lays it in the basket. She’s a team player, a sensitive girl, and a sweetheart.

Shari will be nine this winter, and she rules third grade. Her school, in the same building as Rebecca’s, focuses on the arts. This year, Shari once again frightened the judges at a local book store’s scary story contest, and her writing career is off and running. Her illustrated story was about gymnastics, her main diversion. Send email to Deb to request a digital copy of her story. The gym is Shari’s second home, and she loves doing cartwheels on balance beams and all those impossible things. Shari has entered the world of competitive gymnastics. In January we’re sending her to a boarding school in Russia so that she can train 300 hours a week. Shari wakes up early every day, and she will eventually rule the world. In the mean time, she’s too cute for her leotard.

Ilana turned five this summer and made the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Over the summer, Ilana explained that in fact she was going back to preschool. The week before classes began, Ilana attended an orientation session. In addition to seeing her classroom and meeting her teacher, the kids went on a bus ride without parents (an activity that probably distressed the parents far more than the kids!). The next day, Ilana announced that she’d be going to kindergarten. When we asked why she had changed her mind, she explained that she had practiced. Now, she enjoys going to school. Ilana does everything her sisters do, especially soccer and gymnastics; she excels at both. Ilana has been going to soccer camp in the summer, and she very much enjoyed kinder soccer this fall. Ilana practices gymnastics twice a week with the mini-kids’ group, the Hot Shots. She’s a happy child and a cutie to boot.

Debbie majors in private transportation. To simply say that she drives the kids to and from their activities is a pathetic understatement. The kids return the favor by focusing on the task at hand, being prepared, and never getting sick at sea. Well … hardly ever. Equipped with a PDA, Deb can juggle five schedules with one hand. Deb minors in puppy care. Our dog, Houdini, a black lab and shepherd and boxer mix, is about a year and a half, and he takes Deb for walks and runs. This complements Deb’s triathlon training. Deb spends her spare time (hah!) building her home based business, Cozy Covers.

Steve still works at Sun Research, but he has gone beyond focusing exclusively on garbage collection. He can still be found late at night emptying the dustbins of the surrounding offices; some habits never die. Since Sun also has dustbins in California, Steve visits his folks often on business trips. Between trips Steve does most of the nighttime dog walking.

That’s the kid-by-kid and rent-by-rent summary, a peek into our recent lives. We send all our best wishes to you. Have a happy and healthy 2004. Peace to you all and to the world.


Rebecca (galaxy19 at-sign comcast dot net), Shari (flipflop19 at-sign comcast dot net), Ilana (sixdigits6 at-sign comcast dot net), Debbie (triknitting at-sign comcast dot net), and Steve (steve dot heller at-sign alum dot mit dot edu)

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