Christmastime 1989

Dear Friends and Other People,

The Craton family apologizes for the slight delay in getting this annual Christmas missive out to all our fans. It seems that one of Debbie’s patients saw the stack of copies while in her office and took them home with her to use as lining material for her talking Tucan’s gilded cage. When asked why she would do such a thing, she tersely replaied that annual Christmas letters are worthy of no higher purpose and that Ann Landers would back her up on that. Fortunately the letters were hastily retrieved before Tucan Turk could provide his opinion on their content, and we can only ask that you excuse both the letter’s tardiness and its arrival.

Be that as it may, this year has been like all the others in the Craton household: weird, bizarre, unique, and occasionally even fun. John Douglas finally finished his sentence in the halls of academe and was grudgingly awarded his Master’s degree in audiology by a cowed but relieved Indiana University faculty. Their relief was not long to last, however, for though they thought they’d seen the last of old John, he returned in January to continue lecturing students on deaf culture and American Sign Language. He said he just couldn’t give up the singular pleasure of introducing new vocabulary to attractive young sophomore coeds. The IU faculty and students were finally free of his influence in June, when John became an employee of Dunn Memorial Hospital in Bedford and helped them begin their first audiology clinic. The clinic barely held its own just by the skin of the pinna for the first few months, but is currently showing signs of just possibly becoming a place of some small but sure — if ill — repute.

Dr. Debbie continues putting up with the various and sundried complaints of her many patients, and sometimes those of her family as well. Finally fed up with it all, however, she fled the country in March (along with her sister and her as yet unborn third child) to tour Spain. They seemed to have enjoyed themselves immensely — though the child’s opinion of the itenerary has yet to be ascertained — and even brought back a number of videotapes variously titled Debbie Does Madrid, Debbie Does Granada, and Debbie Does King Ferdinand’s Royal Throne Room. (Seems as though they could have come up with something more original, but who’s complaining?)

In July this year, said child made his official appearance as Stephen Michael came on the scene. He wasn’t altogether sure whether he wanted to be numbered among our household at first and so maintained respiration for the first few days only upon the insistence of a life-support system. We suppose that after he saw the pitiable condition of his father he decided to pitch in and do what he could to help the situation. He’s doing quite fine now after overcoming a nasty bout with Hyaline membrane disease. He appears to have suffered no long-term ill effects.

Debbie herself is not so sure of her own survival, now that she is the mother of three boys. She has astutely observed that TV mothers of three sons invariably die. (Witness Fred McMurray’s wife of “My Three Sons” and all three of the mothers of Adam, Hoss, and Joe Cartwright.) Given her propensity toward television viewing, she has serious (and possibly justifiable) concerns for her own well-being now that we too have a full complement of males in the household.

Stephen’s big brothers are progressing along nicely — in most ways, at any rate. Benjamin began kindergarten this year and has shown remarkable signs of maturation, having already abandoned his preschool sweetheart for another, more mature kindergartner named Jennifer. We’re not sure at this point whether it’s true love or simply their mutual interest in the Bush foreign policy program, but as long as they’re happy we’re not complaining. Jon, on the other hand, is manifesting pre-clinical signs of the Peter Pan syndrome, showing serious second thoughts about potty-training. Having once demonstrated that he is fully capable of exercising appropriate restroom etiquette, he seems utterly content now to rest on his laurels — regardless what else may be occupying the space between his laurels and his trousers. What he lacks in this area, however, he makes up for with his will and determination (i.e., temper). We feel that if he survives his bigger brother’s attempts to stunt his growth by being bludgeoned over the head with blunt instruments, he may manage to grow up to become a great Middle Eastern dictator or some such.

Until that day arrives (or until he becomes general secretary of the Republican National Committee), we wish you all a warm and happy holiday season.

Blissfully yours,
John Douglas, Deborah, Benjamin, Jonathan & Stephen Craton

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