Andrew, Candice, Claire and DJB on December 20, 2015 (Photo by John Thorne)
As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I continue my tradition of posting family photographs from the past year on More to Come… We have much for which to be thankful in 2016.
During a year when our country has seen much distrust, hatred, and focus on the worst aspects of our common life, we – like so many of you – are working hard to recognize the many blessings we have shared individually, as a family, and within our communities. Not everyone in our families and in our group of friends agrees with our outlook on life. But no matter where one stands on the political divide, it is clear that we have a profoundly broken country at the moment. Our family will try and be advocates for a loving, inclusive country that recognizes the gifts of all and the bounty available if we will only embrace the “we” as well as the “me” in our communities. I know we have to do more.
Last December, I gathered with all my brothers and sisters in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Not only was it a time when the family could come together to grieve the loss of Carol’s husband Raouf, but it was also the last time I would see my father – although I didn’t realize it at the time.
DJB with his brothers and sisters: Debbie, Steve, Carol, and Joe
With my father, Tom Brown, and brother Steve in December 2015
December is also the time when we celebrate Andrew and Claire’s birthdays. Now that they are adults, it is always fun to enjoy a nice dinner (with wine pairings!) at wonderful restaurants such as the Iron Gate.
Celebrating 23rd birthdays at Iron Gate Restaurant on December 20, 2015
2016 was the year Andrew’s professional focus shifted towards music. In January, he sang his first gig as a sub at the Washington National Cathedral, where he once sang treble as a Boy Chorister.
Andrew sings with the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys
With the children grown, Candice is able to travel with me for work on occasion. In late February I had a speaking engagement in Bedford, New York, and we took the opportunity to spend time at the Marcel Breuer House on the grounds at Kykuit, a National Trust Historic Site.
Candice enjoys a morning coffee at the Marcel Breuer House, a National Trust Historic Site
In early March, Andrew was invited to join Lady Gaga and other survivors of sexual assault onstage at the Academy Awards as she performed “Till it Happens to You.” Among the many people he met on that emotional trip was Vice President Joe Biden.
Andrew with Vice President Joe Biden following the Oscars
The family’s biggest 2016 adventure was my six-week sabbatical at the American Academy in Rome during March and April, and an additional two weeks of sabbatical during August in Maine. Candice joined me for the entire sabbatical and both Claire and Andrew came for visits of several days while we were in Rome.
My home away from home – the Chiaraviglio Apartments at the American Academy in Rome
Claire’s visit was early in our stay, and we used the occasion to explore Tuscany, as well as some of the very familiar sites in Rome.
Candice and DJB in San Gimignano
Claire and Candice in San Gimignano
At the top of Florence: proof that we made it!
Claire on her first day in Rome
We were lucky to be able to celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary during my time on sabbatical. The evening brought back many memories.
Celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary at Ditirambo in Rome
In addition to wonderful food and wine, Rome was full of beautiful architecture and new adventures (for us), such as Holy Week in the Eternal City.
The Pantheon ceiling and light
The priest leads the Palm Sunday procession at the Basilica di San Pancrazio
Andrew arrived in Italy after Easter, and we took advantage of his visit to travel to Venice. What an incredible city.
Andrew goes bonkers after catching a glimpse of the magnificent cutaway model of the basilica
DJB on the loggia of the basilica, overlooking the Piazza San Marco
Bridge of Sighs in Venice
Enjoying lunch with Andrew and Candice in Murano
All of us made like Italians and drank caffe at every chance we could get.
Andrew at Sant Eustachio il Caffe
Throughout my visit, I posted pictures and observations from some of the most beautiful places in the city. The Protestant Cemetery and Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane were among my (many) favorites.
Angel of Grief by W.W. Story
Dome of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane
We returned to the states in late April, in time for me to welcome musician Ben Folds to the National Trust’s headquarters in Washington.
With Ben Folds at the Washington Offices of the National Trust
In May, we said good-bye to the most wonderful father, father-in-law, grandfather that one could hope for. Daddy passed away as he was nearing his 91st birthday. It was a joyous celebration with hundreds of friends and family members.
Remembering Tom Brown
2016 was a good year for baseball in the Brown household. I checked off two more stadiums from my bucket list, including Anaheim Stadium with Claire, and Candice joined me to cheer for the National League Eastern Division Champion Nationals as they closed in on the division title in September.
With Claire at the Big A
Candice with her “Half Smoke All the Way” at Nats Park.
Our summer was filled with celebrations and time with friends. In June we all descended on Philadelphia for the wedding of Julia Pentz and Barry Katz. Candice and I also joined friends Oakley and Margaret Pearson at the 2016 Red Wing Music Festival in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
Claire and Andrew ready for the wedding
Sierra Hull with Justin Moore at Red Wing 2016
Claire wrapped up her year with the Episcopal Urban Intern Program in Los Angeles, but stayed in Pasadena to work for a second year at Hillsides Educational Center. Her EUIP experience was fulfilling and life changing.
Claire with her housemates from the Episcopal Urban Intern Program in Los Angeles
August took us to Maine for the second part of my sabbatical, and then to Murfreesboro, where Andrew and I brought back a truck of furniture, books, and other memories from Daddy’s house.
Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park
Andrew and Aunt Debbie prepare Daddy’s furniture and keepsakes for the ride to our home
Andrew (and his Beyonce shirt) have a foot in Tennessee and a foot in Virginia on Bristol’s famous State Street
I was lucky to take a second trip to Italy in 2016, this time to Milan and Lake Como with the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO).
Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como
The Last Supper
This fall has seen Claire and Andrew stretching their wings. Claire has been exploring Southern California, and took a hike up Mt. Baldy on the day the Supermoon was at its height. Andrew was on a plane to Norway that evening, to join a singing ensemble, Trondheim Vokalensemble, for a tour of the country. We lived their adventures through their photographs!
Claire on Mount Baldy
Claire and friends climb Mount Baldy in California with the Super Moon in the background
Trondheim – home base for Andrew’s Norwegian choral tour in November
Andrew in Norway
As you can see, it has been a busy and fulfilling year. During this Thanksgiving season, we give thanks for you, our wonderful friends.
With Candice, Andrew, and Claire (clockwise from bottom left) in Philadelphia last June.
Have a terrific Thanksgiving holiday with friends and families.
More to come…
Filed under: Family, Heritage Travel, Random DJB Thoughts | Tagged: American Academy in Rome, Baseball, Family, Random DJB Thoughts, Rome, Sabbaticals, Tom Brown, Tuscany, Venice, Year in Photos | 2 Comments »